Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year....

I may have a little negative in my last post, but I really am grateful for this year. And the time ahead.
I can't help but look back and feel upset about how crap time at school was and how much I hated doing GCSE's, and blah blah blah but actually you know what, I am incredibly grateful. Some people don't get education, and I've had plenty of it. I also started my time at a wonderful college and have now made friends I LOVE that accept me as I am.
And, my fab family and puppies were there for me, so I am eternally grateful for that (blimey it's all getting a bit deep now, isn't it!).

This 2016, I'm really hoping to start on my 'proper' journey, my work-y journey. To really start up as a yoga teacher and really begin to focus in on drama as best as I can.
I will get the stuff I may not be as keen on done, so I can really bring the attention into the stuff I love.

I haven't really been into blogging that much this year either, and although I say this every year I would really like to push the blogging a little bit more.

Wishing everyone a sparkly, wonderful year ahead.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Want

I won't lie. I don't want Christmas to be over.
I feel different at this festive time, I feel jolly and warm and cosy and free and kind.
Like, what if I end up being scrooge the rest of the year?
But I need to flip this sorrow into something positive by thinking how bloody lucky I am to have had such a beautiful time so far in my life and just look forward to 2016. I know you can always start intentions and resolutions but this big back to beginning just feels so huge and different. I feel motivated to stay present yet still know there's an exciting year ahead!
I want to get rid of stupid OCD rituals completely, get rid of any tendencies I have left over from silly old eating habits that caused me to get skinny and unhappy and this time not just write this and say it but secretly carry on, I mean really stop.
I want to truly embody love, freedom and happiness.

Thank you 2015 for being a gorgeous albeit stressful year.
Here's to 2016... a year hopefully full of love and enjoyment, and staying cool through the tough bits.
Love to all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Happy Christmas everyone!!!!

I've had a gorgeous Chrsitmas Eve so far: yoga, last minute bits and bobs shopping, lovely lunch, baking, wrapping, eating mince pies - yeah!
Over this December (and I guess, most of the year....) I've been a bit up and down. I've been happy, smiley, yogi, bouncy Esh and then the next minute I've been extremely upset, angry and frustrated making myself workout because I ate some cake. It's been a swirly in my mind and next year (and for the rest of this year) I really want to try my hardest to dedicate myself to my passions so that there is no room for silliness.
Even yesterday, I was excited and festive and then someone said the weather was mild for this year and that was it. I plummeted in mood and started crying saying "it's not gonna be the same as last Christmas!" - I mean, how stupid is that? And it's not just the chilly-but-not-freezing weather, it's been everything from not doing yoga in the morning to how my tummy looks; all absolutely ridiculous, narcissistic, self obsessed tiny little things that actually don't matter. What matters? Love. Peace. Health. Happiness. So when I'm having a silly tizz over something meagre and petty, I need to really bring myself back to now - how lucky I am and how grateful I am for even just living right now.

Munch mince pies, laugh with your favourite people and smile when people open your gifts, and most importantly, love and enjoy the last gorgeous, sparkly, beautiful part of 2015.

Love and light and festive fancies,
Esh
xoxo









Monday, December 21, 2015

Thought Clear Out for Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!
I'm not entirely sure what this blog post is about, I guess I just want to share all the thoughts in my mind to have a clear out before Christmas... does that make sense?

Okay, thought number one: I'm really trying to relax. I know I have a lot of work to do - yoga stuff, college stuff, baking work stuff, but this year I want to have no worries and just do the work when I get time rather than stress about it 24/7 and just be a panicky mess.
Thought number two: Guilt can go shove itself in the bin. I feel guilty so often whether that's guilty for waking up later than I wanted to, guilty for watching vlogmas videos rather than writing essays, guilty for eating two bits of cake, and this is all crap leftover from stupid rules I must have made up in the past. Guilt doesn't really do anything. Sometimes, it makes me get off my bum and hoover my room whereas other times I feel like I'm in a constant battle with being guilty compared to just wanting to chill.
Thought number three: People talking about the weather like it's Spring or Summer is really upsetting me, and I know that sounds stupid because there are so many huge problems in the world that I shouldn't really be worrying about a natural cause. But it's still Winter! It's still Christmas! Just because it's a few degrees higher than last year doesn't mean I can't wear my christmas jumpers and you can't enjoy the festive season. It hardly ever snows in December, so just enjoy the end of the year rather than freaking out like I keep doing... which is why I'm writing this because I'm fed up of worrying when actually it's pretty normal and it is still chilly.
Thought number four: IT'S CHRISTMAAAAS! I know that isn't really a thought but this last few days have had me filled with fuzzy, sparkly, happy feelings of festive joy and I'm loving it - even if you don't celebrate Christmas, making the most of the end of 2015 with family and friends is such a lovely thing to do.

Much love to everyone, enjoy your Christmas, relax into it, enjoy the chilly weather and stay sparkly.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Happy (Healthy) Holidays!

We all know that 'tis the season to let your hair down, enjoy a mince pie (or five) and have onesie weekends, but don't we also all know that come January those pesky feelings of guilt will come sneaking in as we huff and puff trying to do one burpee?
Well stop right there, pals. I shall help you get through Christmas.

1. Enjoy natures' offerings

So many glorious veggies and fruits come into peak mode right now - helloooooo clementines, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, chestnuts, cranberries, kale, parsnips (my bae) and pumpkins! Bulk your Christmassy roast dinners/lunches with some plant based power! Not only will this help out your waistline but it'll also help your digestive system, skin, hair, nails, metabolism and it'll send the planet some well deserved love.

2. Make it a date!

*trying to think of a dried fruit related pun... nope, nothing*
Although I am one to have indulgences little and often (ahem, every single day I eat chocolate #werkit) it's quite nice to make those festive fancies a special occasion. On Friday after college, I have a soya gingerbread latte. On the weekend, I know I'll most likely eat some cake. I just think it's nice to know when you're gonna have your not-so-healthy-but-extremely-festive-treats. TREAT ALERT! TREAT ALERT! Using the words naughty with foods makes me a little bit twitchy. It makes food sound off limits and I don't know about you, but I'll just want more of it. So I like to think of my more indulgent foods as simply that - something I don't need everyday, but it's nice to have occasionally.

3. Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the gym is so delightful....

Going to classes at the gym, going on wintery runs or even having a yoga party at your house are all great ways of keeping fit and enjoying the seasons best asset: spending time with your loved ones! Or, you could take exercise as your 'me time' time. Christmas is a full on time of the year and maybe you're getting a bit bored of all the tidings and joy, so taking even just half an hour out of your day to zone out of 'TRA LA LA LA LA" to "OMMMM" can be a massive help on the old chestnut. 
Also, as we all know, exercise is pretty darn amazing on the body and the mind. You'll feel confident, hot-to-trot and very zen.

4. Give back

Christmas is a time for giving, so maybe make more of an effort to give to people in need. Think about what you're eating, where your shopping - not only does being conscious about others and the environment help everything out, but you will also get a lovely cosy, fluffy, warm feeling inside. It could be as small as buying a sandwich from Pret as they give money to the homeless, to signing a petition, to cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption, to making an effort to turn off all of your Christmas lights at night.

4. And relaaaaaaaaaaaax

Take some time out to watch Home Alone with a hot choc in your festive PJ's, or have a bath, do some meditation, just sit and do nothing. Take Christmas day completely off, and stuff your face silly. Keep calm, and jingle on.


Thank you very much for reading this, and if you have any tips of your own do leave them in a comment.
Enjoy this gorgeous festive season, spread love, kindness and joy like Christmas confetti!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Memories and Advent Calendars

Pffffttttttttttttttttttttt.

It's been a while. Again (again).
I do so apologise for being a la absent, but blogging really hasn't entered my mind, and I feel like I'm in a constant battle of finding balance at the moment. Balance between college work, yoga teacher training, going to the gym and doing nothing. I should be reading, writing a diary, working on my presentation, doing yoga for 2 hours a day but sometimes i just want to sit down with a cup of tea and some (correction: a lot of) peanut butter and watch vlogmas videos and do absolutely nothing, but I need to take blogging and possibly youtube in the mindset of fun, rather than work, and they capture such gorgeous memories and I am one to stalk my own old blogs and youtube accounts just to suck up all the festive-y memories.

So, it's December! If anyone knows me at all they'll know I'm a little bit of a Christmas addict (again, correction: a massive christmas-aholic). The festive season, no matter what holiday you celebrate, just brings so much joy and sparkly goodness into day to day life, whether that's a smile from the barista as you order your Christmas blend latte, or whether it's a group of people singing horribly but merrily out of tune to Shakin' Stevens.

My mum's made me this amazing advent calendar; each day is a new thing, whatever that may be. The days so far have ranged from everything from getting a little bar of dark chocolate, to going to a wintery walk, to getting some festive deely-boppers, so maybe that'll be what I blog about each day. Today, the 9th of December, I've been granted with a little mid week treat in the from of some 70% chocolate wrapped in golden paper. Looooovely stuff.

Have a gorgeous week everyone, lots of love!

Erin

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

'I Come From'

I now attend college, which means I'm a big grown up girl (even if I still sit with my legs crossed wearing a hat and making my family make me almond milky tea).
And in college today, I went to my first creative writing course where we did this lovely exercise that included taking a poem and shaping into a bit of an auto biography poem.
The poem we shaped was called "I Come From" by Robert Seatter, and here's my altered version:


I come from a village absolutely packed
with small children and over 60s',
from warm smiles, cosy homes,
rain visible from the cafe windows,
fitness teachers and greetings
if you look them right in the eye
I come from hippy upbringings,
eco toilet cleaners, atheist
ideas, peace and love
I come from 'The Green Bible Book',
doodles, scribbles, dancing,
a complete set of christmas spices
a family of independents with a love for speaking their mind
a London grandfather, an Essex grandmother
with a happy chappy accent
I come from happiness
I come from Jai Ho: Pussycat Doll
ukuleles, films, tea cosies
I come from slugs in the lettuce
and patterns and colours that I bring with me
back from the yoga studio
I come from extravagence
I come from where people don't judge

Monday, August 17, 2015

To Feel Happy For the Rest of My Life

Have you seen the new Paper Towns trailer? The main boy says to the main girl (sorry for not including names, this is a wee anecdote rather than a full on John Green discussion) how he feels his heart pounding in his chest and she says “that’s how you should feel your whole life”.
But I worked out how I want to feel my whole life. I want to feel free, calm and happy.

This sounds really odd and gross and way too TMI , but I’m sure I sweat more when I’m nervous/uncomfortable/unhappy. And today I’ve been rushing all day, working out in the morning, going to the shops, stuffing a soggy bagel down my throat, running across Edinburgh, running more, running more (all to make it to shows!), and I haven’t been sweaty. HOW WEIRD IS THAT? I understand that’s disgusting, but just think about it. Our bodies react oddly when we don’t feel quite right; you may get a twitchy eye, or an itchy arm. But whenever I feel properly happy, so much that I have to smile in savasana, my body and inner self feel so darn good.

It can’t happen all the time, I get that. Life isn’t always perfect and smooth, but please grab it. Grab it by the… I don’t know, grab it by the air or whatever - just GRAB IT and LOVE IT.
This is all very fridge magnet-y, but seriously, enjoy your life. Not having a good time? Change it (if possible). Move things around, whether that’s as small as moving your bed or as huge as moving your life to another country. Or just stay and be present and love it.

So there we go, preacher Esh goes off on one again. To be perfectly honest, these are more reminders for me. To remind me to love my life or change what I’m not loving. Like i said, things happen but don’t blame the things that just happen to happen on you. You’re not in control of the world, but you are control of your mind. Make THAT wonderful.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Globe Trotting Yogi: Meadow Lark Yoga Studio in Edinburgh

I love Edinburgh.
Everything from the drizzling skies, to the patchwork roads. The beautiful crepe stands to the promise of a warming chai in a cafe.

Every year, we come to Edinburgh for the festival and it is WONDERFUL, but this year I had a little something I was almost concerned with - how to keep my physical yoga practice up. Last year was the first year I was properly into fitness but luckily we stayed in a rather large flat and I managed to do kickboxing and pilates at home (my two faves), but this year I'm into fitness and stuff a whole lot more. The gym in my village is my second home and I adore it, so mum and I managed to grab a festival gym pass somewhere near where we're staying now but no yoga. I'm trying to keep doing my sun salutations in the morning and sneaking in some arm balances and balances here and there whilst exploring, but I do miss a full on class so I treated myself to a workshop at Edinburghs' infamous yoga studio, Meadow Lark.
Not gonna lie, I was ECSTATIC. I know this sounds fan girl-y and nerdy but I'd been basically stalking the studios' instagram over July just lusting over the gorgeous looking pictures and it delivered in it's gorgeous-ness. I did a 3 hour Hatha yoga workshop with Eleanor Spring, and as soon as I walked in the door I knew it was my thing.

Greeted by a smile, I plopped my Birkenstocks in the shoe holder (what is it with yogis and birkenstocks? I nearly took someone else's!) and made my way down to the Moon Studio. Promising already, huh? It gets better: the smell of incense lightly filled my lungs. In the studio, tealight candles made the room feel dream like and incredibly relaxing, whilst light decoration and that gorgeous smell of incense still made me feel energised. Fast forward lots of smiling, bakasana play and a long blanket covered savasana, and I was out. Beaming. Energised. Invigorated. I don't care how cheesy it is, I felt detoxed just by the pure happiness that covered the studio,

Plus, they have a cafe.

Yes, I ordered a large banana bread flavoured smoothie.




Yes, I guzzled it in about 30 seconds.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Reflecting


One thing I love thinking is that my past has led me to now, and now is all that matters. Obviously it isn't always easy, but focusing on the present makes me so much happier, and today I wanted to have a little chat about why your past can help you.

Looking back at my old Facebook pictures and memories brings up a heap load of emotions. I see myself smiling through forced friendships, see myself ecstatic and loving life, see myself as an awkward wannabe 10 year old. Regrets pop up all the time, of course I'm only 16 so it's not like I have a heck load of mistakes I feel I've made but I have a few, and I won't bother you and get too personal but I often argue with myself about some of the bigger decsisions I've made in my life, but you know what? That's no use. If I hadn't gone to school and stayed home educated, I wouldn't have learnt so much (not education wise, I didn't learn much in some lessons because my concentration at school was SHOCKING) about myself and others. Our past leads us to now and I really try to think positively about there being no use in regrets and wishes for change. Everything we do in life gives us more knowledge (I think I nicked that line off of '13 Going On 30'), and I know it sounds really uppity and cheesy but this is more like a message to myself. Who cares if I made myself ill and unhealthy, it's taught me now how to care
for my body - we learn, accept and grow.

Next time you're flicking through Instagram and feeling upset about who you used to be, try and learn from it. Work it and shape your life. Love who you are and love what you do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Travelling Beanie: The Den at Twenty Three, Colchester Review

A humble sized room with a big blackboard, some stalls, tables and a counter is what you see as you enter the modern yet cute cafe of 'The Den at Twenty Three'. As the first and only vegan cafe in Colchester which only opened around 3 months ago, you may think "hmm they're probably quite quiet" but oh no; It was buzzing with people to get their soya latte fix or a burger and a sit down.

On the outside window of the cafe, there are the words "100% plant based" and I LOVE that.
Seriously, I love that simple sentence. Why? Well because it's a much kinder and softer way of saying vegan. It calmly introduces everyone and anyone to plant based food - I mean, it really backs up the idea that you don't have to be labelled a 'vegan' to go into the cafe. Everyone could do with some more plants in their bodies, couldn't they? So by enforcing this title it really just grabs everyone, veg head or not.

I ordered the barbecued chickpea salad and oh my giddy aunts' cotton pyjamas. It was so good, and big! I am so done with cafes that give you, like, half a cereal bowls' amount of salad. Voluptuous, the bowl was filled to the brim of salad leaves, buttery avocado, sweet tomatoes and a zingy, smokey and warm load of chickpeas with this fab barbecue sauce.



The Den offers a plethora of vegan substitutes, like violife cheese, Vbites burgers, soya whip, veggie marshmallows, etc. Personally I'm not a fan of many vegan subs, I'd rather just eat the wholefood stuff only because a) the stuff I've tried before like vegan cheese has tasted gross, b) it's often quite pricey and c) I don't tend to miss those things I gave up when turning vegan, BUT saying that, I tried a bit of my mums' "cheese" and chutney sandwich and is was actually so good - SO good that we bought violife cheese as soon as we got home! And I sometimes crave a proper hazelnut latte with whipped cream or a hot choc with marshmallows so I completely respect these guys for giving the opportunity to not miss out to all.

It was really busy on the day we came, understandably, so we did have to wait a little amount of time but if anything it just made me even more excited for the food which was to arrive! They also gave us free cupcakes at the end which was so thoughtful of them, and they were delicious too. I had half of a chocolate one and half of a bakewell flavoured one - of course the chocolate was my favourite, but they were both gorgeous.

SECOND EXPERIENCE:

We went back, oh yeeeaaaaah. This was quite a lot later in time, and the reason I hadn't posted this blog post was because I thought mum wanted to write something but she got a tad busy with work (sorry The Den!).
The second experience was even better, probably because I was hungrier, or maybe just because I had got even MORE excited about going back. This time, I ordered a Messy Mexican Burger with avocado and it was so good! Literally, delicious - it was the perfect balance of a healthy meal and a  bit of a treat. Afterwards, I got some chocolate icecream and a big slab of watermelon (which Jen really kindly gave for free because it had been sitting in the fridge for a bit, nevertheless it was still super tasty) - the perfect Summer's day meal.




Please check out The Den at Twenty Three, whether you're plant based or not - you're guaranteed to have a lovely time and a very, VERY happy belly.

Natural Beauty

Let's start off with establishing that you're already beautiful. Okay? Okay, let's crack on.

No one 'needs' makeup, but it can make you feel better, boost your self-esteem, make you feel more creative, it's fun, it's comforting, etc etc, but that makeup you put on everyday (or, whenever) contains a whole lotta crap that your face is just sucking up. And frustratingly, much of what we put on our skin is absorbed and goes into our bloodstream. Now the reason that this is annoying is because it sometimes seems SO HARD to find natural makeup brands, and trust me, I know it is hard.

I remember when I was nine I loved to put makeup on my friends - I didn't just chase them around with lipstick in my hand screaming at them, but I would always try and persuade these poor 8 and 9 year old girls to be my models, and I got creative. Blue and green eyeshadow, I must admit, was a poor choice of mine, but as I matured I wanted to branch out a little, and buy my own eyeliner (I never wore it out, but just pretended I was in the 1950's at home). 10 years old, and standing in Superdrug, I felt lost. "Should I get the pen one or the brush one?" I asked my mum. "Either," she replied, "but you know that they test on animals." Horrified I put it down and ran out - I've been watching Legally Blonde for as long as I remember and I remember that bit when she tries to get cosmetic companies to abolish animal testing, so obviously I completely disagreed with it.

6 years on, and I'm still finding it tough.
Sure, there's more known non-animal testing brands (like Barry M) but it doesn't mean they contain good stuff. I won't further bore you with stuff about parabens (but click on this link to read more about the horrible things) but basically, they're not great. So now my filter section on makeup websites is even more pinickity - vegan, non animal testing, no harsh chemicals.
But I'm here today to share with you a few of my favourite finds, natural beauty style (i know, I know, it took me a while to get here).

I'll put a video just underneath this showing you HOW I do my makeup, although not complex, but here we go!


  • Origins Fill in the Blanks Eyebrow Pencil - £15 
Let's just get this straight, when you're as picky as I am sometimes you've got to prepare to splash out. It's so cool if you don't wear makeup, and most of the time I don't but I prefer wearing a little especially as I have tiny eyes underneath my huge glasses, so I know some of the products are a little pricy but in my (short sighted) eyes, they are worth it.
I've never been a fan of eyebrow pencils, they always make me look like I've taken a brown sharpie and drawn two upside down ticks above my eyes, but this I love. It's smooth and easily blendable, and has a great colour. I like to apply with tiny little strokes, hardly putting any pressure at all on the actual pen, mostly just filling out the bit closest to my nose, and then slightly tapering as I get to the end,

  • The Body Shop Flawless Tea Tree BB Cream - £8
I am actually still hunting for my perfect concealer (so far they've left me a little orange-y), so I'm carrying on using this. It's perfect for overall coverage, but as you can see inn the video I prefer to use it just on  the ickier parts, like under my eyes on my spotty areas. It works nicely to cover up lightly, but don't expect a heavy one block colour coverage, it definitely gives more of a natural finish, so if you're looking for something more heavy duty this may not be for you. I love it because it's light, breathable, quick and easy to blend, smells nice, isn't too pricy, lasts for ages, doesn't contain much crap (though I'd prefer to get a concealer from a more all natural company), doesn't test on animals (though once again, I'd prefer to find something from somewhere else as L'oreal Paris own The Body Shop which upsets me just a lil'), and has tea tree so I know it's doing my pores some good.

  • Origins Automagically Eye Liner - £15
I looooooooove this. It's so incredibly smooth and soft; very blendable and buildable but can also create a sharp line. You could go for a smoulder-y smudgey look where you rim all around the eye and blend like crazy, a simple thicken the lash line look like I go for, a cat eye, anything!

  • Neals Yard Lengthening Mascara - £16
This one isn't being used in the video because, stupidly, I can't find it. But it's fab. It's not very volumising, but gives you long fluttery eyelashes. The smell reminds me of herbs and marshmallows at the same time but in a kind of nice, comforting way. It's also full of goodness and I swear my eyelashes hardly ever fall out since using this. IT'S FAB! :)


Check out Neals Yard Remedies, Origins, Benecos, and Pacifica for fab, natural, nasties free makeup that will make you feel great!
video

If you have any recommendations, please do comment below and also comment if you'd like a follow up on this - my favourite natural body products or hair products.

Thank you!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Feeling Frisky and Fierce

I’ve left the evil enclosure of school, HOORAY AND REJOICE!
Fear not, it wasn’t that bad, but GCSE’s were pretty horrible and all my calm vibes completely left me, but now they’re back and I’m back in town ready to rock and Namaste.
 
Come September, I will be attending college – how weird is that? I know, I know, I look like I’m 10 but guys I’m actually 16, believe it or not. So now I’m a big grown up and all that, I now have to go to sixth form but, I’m not afraid to admit, I’m actually a little bit excited about it. I’ll tell you why:

  • -      I have had to buy two new notebooks (you can tell I’ll be good at making friends, can’t you?), which is super exciting because I am just a tad obsessed with patterned notebooks. There’s something about the crisp pages and lovely embroidered covers of Paperchase notebooks that make me feel a little giddy. Oh dear…
  • -    I only have to study TWO subjects. And they’re subjects I love; performing arts and creative writing. I know that there will still be a lot of work involved, but I don’t mind rolling up the sleeves on my Kale jumper and getting my head in the books as long as I find the subject interesting, which luckily I do.
  • -       It’s gonna be SEPTEMBER when I join. Anyone know why that’s so exciting? Well ‘cause it’s the beginning of AUTUMN that’s why. And in Autumn it’s chilly, and crisp, and golden and plum, and smells like rain on freshly cut wood. And I love it.
  • -       I GET TO WEAR MY OWN CLOTHES! No more uniform nonsense, I just get to live in my yoga leggings and a comfy t-shirt or jumper every single day. Hells yeah.
  • -       The college I’ve chosen who will (fingers crossed!) hopefully accept me when I get my results have a gym and outside activities so I’m hoping for a yoga club, and if there isn’t one, I’ll start one myself!
  • -       I’ll be doing my yoga teacher training very soon after starting, which further excites me for my future.

So right now, I’m just feeling happy and excited – which is how life should be! I know that if you don’t like something, change it, but unfortunately that was impossible with school and GCSE’s so now that’s all over, I’ll be making the most of my life.


Get excited guys, about today, tomorrow, next year, your next meal, whatever! Find what makes YOU happy and enjoy it. 
Dare to dream big.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dish up the Dirt: Why Organic and Home Grown Veggies are the BOMB.

There is something beautiful about simple plant based dishes, don’t you think?

Often, vegetarians and vegans are classed as having “boring” foods (which is crazy, I know! But hear me out…). Our foods usually thrive on vegetables and fruit, and many people simply have not tasted the wonders of plant foods. One too many times I have sat down for a meal at a restaurant or cafĂ© that is a little wary of veganism, and been presented (to my delight) with a plate of vegetables. Sadly, I then see that the vegetables are covered in oils and “jus” and “glazes” and other unnecessary frills. They don’t taste of actual vegetables either, they just taste of the chef’s fancy sauces – why is this? It’s because often they are not organic or home grown.

I know, I know, “organic food is expensive”. But it doesn’t have to be. In season fruits and vegetables are pretty darn cheap and organic versions are being sold practically everywhere and I promise you they are so much more full of flavor. Because organic fruits and veggies aren’t sprayed with pesticides, they give off natural defense chemicals and other molecules such as antioxidants (hello clear skin!) to keep the bugs off. It sounds pretty gross, but funnily enough us humans love the flavors of their defense mechanisms. Organic fruit and vegetables also normally contain more vitamins and minerals because of the natural unaltered soils, so even though they are sometimes a little rough around the edges, might have a speck of dirt on them or you might (if you’re lucky) find a little bug in your lettuce, it’s the way to go for you taste buds, insides and the little bugs themselves.

The thing I’m getting at is that simple food can be so delicious. You don’t need clever coulis’, just a bowl full of organic (or home grown!) vegetables and a bit of something extra. My mum told me that when she visited Italy, she stayed in this’ house which had a huge basil plant outside of their kitchen window which filled the air with the gorgeous peppery and slightly minty aroma, and a massive bowl of freshly picked cherry tomatoes still on the vine. The lady who owned the house cooked up some fresh pasta, and mixed in the tomatoes, basil and a little bit of olive oil, and apparently it was superb.

But, yes, there is a but – I also believe that non organic veg is better than no veg. If you don’t have the money for it or can’t find any, it’s better to just say “okay, I’ll stick with the non organic stuff” rather than steer off and buy no vegetables. Also, there are lists like the ‘dirty dozen’ and ‘clean fifteen’ which list which veggies and fruits are safer when organic, and ones that don’t matter as much. For example, your avocados are fine whereas an apple is a little more risky.


So next time you’re planning your meat free Monday dinner, or just any meal, think about keeping it real and simple. Instead of wasting money on expensive flavorings and sauces, buy some organic local veg, and get creative! Simplicity is bliss.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Importance of Being Connected.

Sometimes, I just feel like rolling my yoga mat out, putting my onesie on and just having some me time.
And that's great.
'Me' time is a fab way to listen to your body, connect with your mind and kind of dive into your thoughts and feelings. No distractions, no chit chat, nothing.

But,

I have noticed that when I feel connected with others, something magical happens. To stay connected to the universe, you've gotta stay true to yourself, but surrounding yourself with people you love and people that have the same interests in you can sometimes feel just amazing.
I'll give you an example; recently, I went to the most spectacular yoga supper club called 'Rocket 'N' Raw' which was organised by the lovely Secret Urban Escape. It featured a rocket yoga class led by Kathryn Fielding, which was fab, and then followed up by a delicious raw three course meal by Well and Happy

. Of course I was excited to go, but I was a little nervous - I often feel like I'm not quite 16 yet, I'm still to be treated like a child or something but no, I went with my mum and absolutely loved the whole experience. At the dinner part, I got to talk to a whole bunch of lovely yogis and we talked about yoga retreats, juice, pasta salads and cycling and it just felt wonderful to be a part of a community, even only for a couple of hours. I came home feeling inspired and motivated to properly push my passion for yoga.

The internet is amazing. Sometimes scary, yes, but on the whole it's pretty great. I can go onto Instagram and see into the lives of some amazing people, and even that is wonderful. Being connected to yourself is the most important thing, I believe. But when you combine that with being connected to other like minded and loving people, it is sensational.

So treat yourself - buy a ticket to a yoga event, or a spinning event, or a supper club or a baking class or whatever you're into, and open up and meet new people, go to new places and immerse yourself in kindness, love and gratitude.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Cope With GCSE's

My GCSE time hath come. This gargantuan dark shadow has been looming over me since year 9 and has been coming closer and closer until, bam, it's here. The shadow is, of course, the GCSE shadow (metaphors aren't my strong point). Stress and anxiety levels rocket up at this horrible time, but you've got this! YOU CAN DO IT!
Here are some little tips I'm using to get through this bit:

1) Put it into perspective.
I know this sounds a little harsh, but it's easy to get dramatic over GCSE's (see opening paragraph). Obviously they're extremely difficult and not many people actually enjoy this time, but just think of that gorgeous stretch of Summer and the new and exciting future waiting for you!

2) Have little incetives.
Okay, this may sound a little odd and not very, I don't know... it sounds a little over the top and selfish BUT this really has helped me when I'm feeling all stressed. I've got some things planned for the Summer, ranging from things like getting a nose piercing (yaaay!), to getting a smoothie after my exams, making banana bread and spending the day watching Disney films after my final exam, to just having the weight of all this stuff off my chest. Sometimes just thinking of the massive smile on your f
ace when you think about how free you are in the very near future can make you feel amazing. Just me? Oh, okay...

3) Work hard, recycle your worries.
When you work for an exam, do the exam and come out, that should be it for those thoughts. There is literally no point of thinking about what you COULD have written, how you COULD have made it better, how you COULD have included that thing you saw on the news the other day. Results day is always going to be scary but try not to think about all the things you missed or could have done after an exam, you can't change it and you did your best.

4) Plan yo' time!
I'm not very good at this, so this may be slightly hypocritical here (sorry) but, planning out your day or week or MONTH can help so much. When there's lots to do, planning your day by times or segments can make you feel so calm and kind of powerful. I like to include a bit of meditation in the morning, a nice breakie, one piece of work, lunch, another piece of work, exercise, dinner, relax. Sometimes work at night is essential and exercising for longer amounts of time has to be skipped but I really believe a bit of down time and a little bit of exercise or just general movement can help your brain and your health.

5) Meditate.
This really depends on what makes you feel comfortable of course, but I thought I'd include this because it seems to be helping me masses recently. I like to wake up, do all the morning routine business then get on the mat and just spare five minutes for some guided positive affirmation meditation a day. It makes me feel so calm and peaceful and throughout the day if I'm feeling fluttery and flustery  to just remind myself of some of the positive affirmations included. If you don't want to meditate, just focus on breathing at times of difficulty. Got a question in that geography paper that you have not a clue about how to answer? Lay your feet on the ground and take some deep breaths through your nose. A little bit of deep breathing can often help you feel so grounded (but don't be surprised if the invigilator has to double take to check if you're darth vader). You can also kind of actively meditate, by taking your dogs for a walk, or just going on a lovely afternoons walk or cycle ride.

I hope this was slightly helpful, and please tell me how you cope with exams/stress down below!

Friday, May 22, 2015

It's Simple: Love Yourself!

There are countless tips and tricks to get flatter stomachs, shinier hair, healthier hearts.
We're always told to look at nature, watch less TV, go on instagram less.
But we don't always need these little quick tips and fast fixes all the time - yeah, they can be fun to try out and sometimes you do something that clicks with you and sometimes it doesn't, and THAT'S FINE! (eg. I absolutely cannot stand lemon water in the morning, however detoxifying it may be - it just makes me feel lethargic all day, but, I find 5 minutes of meditation in the morning rocks my day... in a good way... does that make sense?)

Whilst I was just chilling out after a stressful week of exams, some things just clicked in my head. I've spent 16 years being told a lot of STUFF;




We're always bombarded by facts and statistics and simplistic daily occurrences are drilled into our minds, but sometimes I just get this wonderful feeling and all my angsty teenage stresses leave my body, and I've finally realised what it is. It's loving yourself.

When you think about it, if you truly love yourself, everything comes simply. Plant based foods filled with vitamins and nutrients do make you feel better, and look all shiny and glossy, and actually they're often pretty darn enjoyable, so by eating them you're nurturing yourself. Getting a sweat on, or your 'OMMMMMMMM!' on gives you a burst of endorphins, makes you feel better about yourself, and suddenly you're radiating rainbows and unicorns, so by exercising you're NOURISHING yourself. See the pattern? It's not like you're slumping through life, hating what you do, hating what you're being told to eat and just feeling icky, suddenly by caring for yourself you don't have to sob over the NHS food guide, you find what feels good and everything kind of slots into place (note: not everything, that is dazzling it up a bit, but everything that comes from within).

For me, and note that this is just me, getting some weight training in makes me feel strong and confident, doing kickboxing makes me get a rush of endorphins and makes me feel super duper happy, yoga teaches me to love myself and radiate natural beauty and happiness. Eating vegan not only makes me feel fab inside and out, but also lets me love and be passionate about what I believe in. Wearing colours gives me a boost. Baking gives me energy. Laughing and smiling make me feel my best.

Reading this back, it kind of sounds like I'm tooting my own horn (is that a saying? Is it appropriate in this context?) but this whole love yourself isn't always the case. Only until very recently, I must stress, have I really realised this and actually opened up to what lovely health and lifestyle gurus are always talking about. I still get days when I feel the need to wear leggings and a giant jumper to cover up my belly, and I still sometimes feel crap even after eating lots of fruit - but it's okay, it's a constant journey and it feels great just to be present, notice my feelings and try to make myself feel as happy and healthy as possible, whether I do that by drinking a green smoothie with some rice cakes or by eating a vegan piece of chocolate cake with Swedish Glace icecream (throw back to last night...).

So just try it, either forget what you deem to be an "imperfection", or work it. If you're gonna get shot down, take that thing and OWN it. I've always been super self concious of my nose, but finally I will stop trying to hide in and getting haircuts that are "suitable" for a big nose - I'll cut my hair however I want, not hide behind my glasses and y'know what? I'm getting a nose piercing! I couldn't care less if I was drawing attention to it anymore. Find what makes you feel good and start really loving yourself.


What makes you feel fab, free and fearless (gosh that was cheesy)?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fortify Cafe, Maidstone Kent - Review

I woke up, did some sweaty yoga practise and made myself a mean bowl of hazelnut porridge.
Tunes playing loudly, mum, dad and I all drove off to Kent for the day as dad had work there; quite a few hours later, we were all hungry and needed some good old plant based fuel. Where did we go? Fortify Cafe.

Fortify Cafe is a small, gorgeous and unique cafe which is 100% vegan. The ladies working there were lovely, the place was clean and really cute. One look at the menu, and the indecisive beanie had a meltdown.
"Should I go for the falafel and tomato chutney grilled sandwich or the sweet potato quinoa bake or the seitan kebab or should I go for something else? Do I want a sandwich? Maybe I don't.. Should I have the soup instead? Are we gonna have cake too? Do I need to pace myself? WHAT SHOULD I DO?" Yeah, it was a pretty tough time.

In the end I went for the homemade falafel and tomato chutney grilled sandwich which came with some salad (with the yummiest dressing, could've done with more of that it was so good!) and some crisps (which dad ate, "sneakily"). I also had the mango, banana and orange smoothie, which was a whopper, and later had the raw carrot and walnut cake.

The sandwich was deeelish. The flavours just went hand in hand perfectly, and it was really hot all the way through and filling and just lovely! What I also loved about this cafe was that it's the perfect mix of healthy and not-so-healthy. Sometimes vegan cafes are filled with "happen-to-be-vegan" things like white bread, and sometimes they kind of just appeal to the health nuts, which is great, but this felt like a perfect blend. My mum and I are both fully vegan so obviously this cafe was a massive excitement, but even though my dad loves fish, milk and cheese, he could not stop going on about how much he loved his mint "lamb" seitan kebab! Even the day after he is reminiscing about the lovely flavours!
my sarnie and opposite mums' cashew cheese and sausage sandwich which we all loved and nabbed a bite of!

one happy, sleepy and makeup-free beanie. Who needs to look nice when there's food.
dads' "kebab"
The smoothie was divine, but the cake I wasn't as keen on but that is purely because I have quite a sensitive stomach and I find processing a larger amount of raw foods and fats is really hard and makes me feel really tired, but the flavour was lovely.

I can't wait to go back again, which is annoying seeing as I don't live anywhere near it, but if you do (or if you don't!), please visit Fortify Cafe and give it some plant based love!

PS. The almond milk flat white. Just try it. You'll thank me (HOW DO THEY MAKE IT SO FROTHY?!)