Elly of @healthiforhappy has a feed full of tasty inspiration. She’s an absolute wiz in the kitchen, with a talent for creating nutrition-rich dishes for every meal of the day and any occasion, that look as good as they taste. We caught up with Elly recently to hear more about her obvious passion for a living a balanced lifestyle, what inspires her, and how she likes to spend her days when she’s not working on her Instagram feed!
It’s impossible not to feel hungry when looking at your feed, Elly! We especially love the variety of dishes you feature. From sweet to savoury, meals to snacks, you’ve got it covered. If you had to choose your favourite time of the day or week to get creative in the kitchen, what would it be?
If I had to pick a favourite time to get cooking when my creative juices are flowing it would be mid-morning, just after breakfast when the day holds an endless amount of opportunities to devour the delicious dishes I create. I am a bit of a sweet tooth and tend to gravitate towards sweeter dishes and cooking but don’t get me wrong, I do also love experimenting with lots of fresh veggies and cooking up a big dinner in the evening. I feel like it’s a great reward at the end of a busy day!
When it comes to downtime, you seem to be all relaxing with a good book, or chilling out in peaceful spot. Is taking time to yourself an important value of yours?
I can’t stress this enough: taking time out of your day just for you is essential, even if its 10-15minutes to put on a face mask, listen to some music or read a book, or play with your beloved pet. We all lead such hectic, busy lives that finding time to de-stress could never be more important to maintain wellbeing and it’s something I make time to do every day. At first prioritising myself was a bit of a chore, but now it’s the part of my day I look forward to most.
On that note, you really are a little bookworm! What are your favourite books, authors or genres you just can’t put down?
I certainly can’t go past a good book! At the moment I’m really loving auto biographies. I’m so intrigued by peoples’ life experiences, especially ones that are so different to mine. I feel like it gives me so much insight and acceptance for the reality of others, and as though it adds to my nature, making me a more caring, understanding person. One of the books heavily featured in the backgrounds of my pictures is A million Little Pieces by James Frey. It offers such a raw, insightful in count into his life and is certainly an eye opening read.
Elly, it must take a lot of time and energy to create all your dishes, photograph them and maintain such a stunning feed! What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers when it comes to commitment and goal-setting?
I think the biggest piece of advice I could give to those who are starting out is to be YOU. And the rest will fall into place. Don’t try and be someone you’re not. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your style, but make sure to be down to earth and true to who you are. Another thing I struggle with myself when it comes to blogging is the idea that everything must be perfect, right down to every last detail (being a perfectionist this is a big thing for me!). But I find when you relax a little and just do what comes naturally your enjoyment and often the quality of the content increases tenfold and the commitment to your page comes naturally because you are genuinely excited to get creating! In all honesty I don’t set myself goals when it comes to my account, I just like it to be what it is, let everything come as it will, and if it’s meant to be it will be!
Are there instances where you don’t have the time or energy to prepare a full meal or snack from scratch? What are your favourite snacks or tips for eating well when you’re busy, on-the-go or just time-poor?
Oh yes indeed this is my situation a lot of the time recently. I’ve been on the go working two jobs so I completely relate to feeling totally exhausted at the end of the day, and lacking motivation to cook a proper meal. But this is where meal prepping comes in handy. Depending on my work roster I will pick a day where I can cook a few recipes in advance and freeze them up ready to eat for dinner, that way you’re not having to compromise healthy eating. And the same goes with snacks, each week I’ll rotate my ‘go to’ snacks preparing them in advance and popping them in my bag ready to go.
We can see that fitness is an important component of your lifestyle. Walk us through your weekly exercise regime.
Being active certainly is an important part of my lifestyle. Not just to keep physically healthy but mentally healthy too. I always aspire to head to the gym each morning after breakfast where I do a 15min warm up on my choice of cardio equipment, followed by 45minutes of weights and a light stretch down. However on days where I can’t quite hit the gym I always aim to get out and walk, whether it’s to the bus stop, to the shops or with my dog, I do whatever I can just to get moving, I may even squeeze in a quick ab sesh. I aim to head to the gym 5-6 times a week, but making sure I’m getting out and about walking every day.
We can see you have an adorable pooch. Apart from your furry best friend, who are the most important people in your life?
Aw yes Jordy (my dog) certainly is the love my life, however I do share a lil’ bit of that love with my family (Mum, Dad and younger sister) and best friends Leah, Olivia, Sean and Euan, however I do also have numerous other friends who deserve a special mention too. I’m very lucky to have such amazing friends and family in my life, they continue to support me through thick and thin and I can’t thank them enough.
Do you do a lot of meal prep for the week ahead? What are your go-to dishes for this?
I do indeed! Meal prep is key if you ask me. My absolute favourite dishes to prepare are Chilli Con Carne, Spaghetti, and big vegetable curries. Sometimes if I’m even a little too time stretched to cook up a proper meal I’ll pre-roast up veggies and tofu and throw it together into a quinoa or rice salad. In my opinion you can never go wrong with roast vegetables, there are an endless amount of flavour combinations you can come up with so it never gets boring.
Your photographs are so dreamy. The lighting, balance, mood is colourful yet calming. What camera do you use?
Ah yes my baby. I’m glad we got to this question hehe! I use the Fuji Film X-a3. I absolutely adore its vintage aesthetic and it’s so easy to use with heaps of customisable settings. I tend to use the manual setting most as I have a background in photography so I enjoy setting the aperture and ISO, however the great thing about this camera is that it does also come with an AUTO setting, which has saved me on so many occasions. All of the settings take such lovely photos; I would highly recommend this camera. And the best bit, it comes with wireless connection to your phone so you can easily transfer photos.
Can you provide us with an insight into creating your feed? How do you plan recipes and photo-shoots, and what advice would you give someone hoping to start their own food blog or social media account?
Okay so I shall let you all in on a big secret, for anyone looking to create an Instagram, you need to download UNUM app. This app is a life saver, it allows you to create a feed as it would be seen on Instagram, so you can play around with what photos look good together. I try to set my feed up so that my main ‘go to’ are smoothie bowls and veggie bowls, however making sure to break them up with smoothie jars, parfaits, and snacks. But I’m not too fussed, if it looks good and feels ‘right,’ I’ll roll with it.
Are there any foods that you really dislike? And have you tried to be creative in order to consume them for their nutritional value?
Oh gosh yes. I have tried so hard to like apple cider vinegar. As someone who suffers from major bloating I feel like this could really aid my digestion, but I just can’t do it. I will never be one of those gals that wakes up to a big jar of warm water, lemon and apple cider vinegar. And to be fair I can’t stand just about all vinegar. I don’t know why it’s just a no go for me. I also really dislike olives. But apart from those two I’m pretty open to most foods. as long as they’re vegan-friendly.
Could you share the top five Instagram accounts you love?
Wow now this is a tough one! I think my all-time feed goals would have to go to @lovelightandbananas. I just have no words for Mel’s account. I often wish I could achieve those groovy nature backgrounds however the lighting in my backyard just doesn’t cut it. I also adore @mirsini_she definitely offers a lot of fitness motivation but her food posts are also out of this world. I also love @twinskitchen those two girls are so incredibly talented, as well as another two of my favourites @tessbegg and @naturally_nina_ who are always inspiring me cook nourishing meals and get active.
Your friends are so lucky to have you in their lives to feed them your gorgeous, healthy meals. Do you entertain much? What are your favourite things to serve, or do you use guests as the opportunity to test out new creations?
I certainly don’t entertain much I have to say, (I’m not a huge fan of big gatherings), but I do love delivering hand-baked goods to my best pals. My all-time favourite recipe to cook for them, are raw cakes. And I definitely do use my friends and family as the guinea pigs for all of my creations. One of the things that bring me the most happiness is seeing other people’s faces light up when you cook for them. It’s just such a wonderful experience.
Do you have any new and exciting projects on the horizon that you would like to share?
I do indeed. It has been a long time in the works but I currently have a recipe e-book in the making! It is focused on wholesome, nourishing vegan sweets that don’t harm the planet. So you can expect many, many pages of delicious vegan treats to come. At the moment the biggest struggle I’m facing is when to stop adding recipes. I just have so many exciting creations I want to share with you all I just can’t contain it!
Thanks for your time Elly! Check out Elly’s recipes for Cocobella Passionfruit and White Choc-Chip Muffins and Cocobella Vanilla and Coconut Waffles.