Monday, 31 October 2016

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - HALLOWEEN FUN, MALICE ALICE, MURDER TALKS, & SUNSET DOG WALKS

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OCTOBER FAVOURITES!


GOOD HEMP MILK
Ahhhh this stuff is so good! This is my favourite alternative milk for sure. It's got omegas 3 & 6 in it - a 250ml glass can provide you with 50% of your RDA for omega 3. Omega 3 & 6 are essential fatty acids your body cannot produce by itself, if you didn't know already, and I get mine from this milk and flaxseeds. Good hemp milk is also fortified with calcium and vitamin D2.

Obviously, this milk is low in saturated fat as it has not come from an animal. It is free from dairy, lactose, soya, and gluten so perfect for almost all of the commonplace dietary allergies. It's free from artificial colours, preservatives, and free from genetically modified organisms of course. So, basically it is what it says on the carton - good! 

As well as nutritious, this milk is extremely tasty; it has a sweet taste to it but works well in a variety of things. I love mixing it with cacao powder to make a 'healthy' hot chocolate drink, and it's also great in smoothies with cacao, as it makes them taste like chocolate milkshake no matter what else you add into it. It's also great for making mash potato and porridge. It is great in tea, with cereal and lovely by itself. I plan on baking with it this weekend too so it really is an all rounder. 

Hemp is one of the oldest and most sustainable crops in the world. So it contains lots of vital nutrients whilst being good for the environment. Hemp breathes in and captures lots of Co2, it does not need pesticides, and every part of the plant can be used. The seeds are used for healthy food (and this milk) and the stalks for environmentally friendly building materials. Hemp also naturally regenerates the soil it grows in. It really is a magical plant. 

TESCO'S AVOCADO BUTTER
This and the vitalife butter are the two best vegan 'butters' I have found to date. I love this on toast, in sandwiches and in my mash pa-ta-ta. It's another source of my omega-3, thank-very-much-please (face-jacker voice). It's also a good source of vitamin A and D. Yes, it's 'high in fat', but the good kind that makes your hair and skin look good, and, if you're comparing it to cow pus butter, you really don't have a leg to stand on!

HIPPEAS CHICKPEA PUFFS
Oh my actual goodness, gracious, giddy Aunt McMildred-McFee, these chickpea puffs are the best snack I have ever tried (pre and post veganism). They're like a non-claggy vegan version of wotsits. I have had the pepper ones a few times, and are yet to try the entire range, but I thoroughly enjoy them. They were quite hard to find before but they now sell them in Holland and Barrett and WHSmiths. 

They only have 90 calories so they're perfect for those that are watching their weight. They are high in fibre, which is also helpful if you wish to lose weight as they'll keep you fuller for longer and work as an appetite suppressant. They're a source of protein too - boom! Yet another plant-based source of protein - Thank youuu. 

They are organic, gluten free, non-GMO and, of course, they do not contain the disgustingness that is MSG (monosodium glutamate). It's scary how many snacks that poison is in - it's also scary how many people don't even read the ingredients. We live in a world where people only read the label to check it won't make them fat, but not sick. We live in a world where people won't even check the label if they're told it'll make them beautiful. Being sick is profitable for many corporations whether you're willing to open your eyes to it or not. I suggest doing so as you and your health are your own responsibility, again, whether you want to open your eyes to that or not. Anyway, I digress; these chickpea puffs are far more nutritious than any other similar 'mainstream' snack and as tasty as can be.

PHB NATURAL ALL-IN-ONE MASCARA
This mascara is THE BEST mascara I have ever tried in my entire life. My lashes are long and full anyway but it literally extends them to my forehead haha. OK maybe not that far, but it is THE most lengthening, volumising, and thickening mascara I have ever used. The wand is the perfect width and shape and it doesn't clump up on your lashes. It has a neutral smell which I quite like, most likely due to the fact they don't stuff it with lots of harmful chemicals and label it 'perfume'. I love the ingredients in this mascara, some of which are rice bran wax, olive oil and coconut. The ingredients list is only a few lines long and I can understand everything on there, which is always reassuring when buying something you're going to put so close to your precious eyes. Speaking of eyes, it is suitable for those with sensitive eyes too.

This mascara is free from animal ingredients, parabens, SLS, DEA, TEA, alcohol (ethanol), artificial perfumes, petrochemicals, methylisothiazolinone, phthalates, colourants, sIlicone, mineral oils and propylene glycol. This product is also free from palm oil. 

PHB are an ethical, family run business that really deliver when it comes to amazing beauty products. They're all vegan, cruelty-free, and organic. I could spend hours and hours on their site (well I do) as it's informative, real, and everything a beauty brand should be - an all rounder. There's no use in making people beautiful if you make them sick in the process, and they clearly know this which is why they use such beautiful, kind to skin ingredients in their products. 

CRAZY RUMOURS BUBBLE GUM LIP BALM
Obviously, anything I put inside, and outside of my body is vegan, cruelty-free and as natural as can be. When I stopped using vaseline, I'm not going to lie, I was worried I wouldn't have been able to find anything as good but I found better. This lip balm is so hydrating, luxurious and effective. It also smells and tastes delicious - I know you don't buy a lip balm for these reasons but it sure does help you to love it. It's packed with Shea butter, which fun fact, has a natural SPF so provides naturally UV protection. It's also high in vitamin A and E so will keep your lips looking young and glorious.

GENERAL LIFE FAVES
The leaves in autumn - they're so pretty with so many colours. I love going out and walking when the ground looks as it does, filled with yellows, burgundies and browns. It is just precious. Another thing I love about being outside and walking at this time of year is the fresh, crisp air. Ahhhh! Dreamy!

I go to Puregym and it is the future of gyms - they have revolutionised gyms by taking everything you hate about joining a gym and resolving those issues. Expensive monthly charges, gone. Twelve-month contracts you're scared you won't even use, gone. Expensive added costs of classes, gone. I love the classes they have to offer and all of the equipment is up to date and in abundance. It's also open twenty-four hours a day so you can go whenever you like. 

Monzo is an app I could not be without travelling now. It's applying to be a bank  but it's a great way to manage your money. It's a prepaid card and you can see what you've spent instantly (unlike other banks). My cousin Jazz introduced me to it and gave me a golden ticket to jump the queue, which initially didn't work, but their friendly, amazing, and helpful staff sorted that out promptly. I particularly enjoy it for travelling because it shows you exactly what you have just spent with the correct exchange rate and what it is in pounds. The fact that it does this makes life so easy when you're spending a currency you aren't used to. My cousin also got overcharged somewhere and there was someone to message right there and then, who refunded it instantly. Revolutionary banking!

Peace and quiet. I just LOVE peace and good old quiet. To the point that I buy ear plugs in bulk and just have them in all day so I don't have to listen to the chaos of life. I don't go out with them in obviously but I find it really useful for reading and concentrating on work etc. I also can't stand the thought of going to loud concerts or parties despite being invited to a few this week. I would much rather just stay at home, in the warm and watch a film with my Ben Ten.

What have your favourite things been lately?

Peace out Potatoes! xo
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - FUCHSIAS & FOOD WITH FRIENDS

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FITNESS DIARIES: MY FIRST PILATES CLASS


I arrived right on time for my first pilates class and unfortunately the only place that was left was right at the front, in the middle of everyone and directly in front of our instructor. Obviously, this was so daunting, but I would be a fool to believe I am the only person who feels new classes, and the gym in general, can be quite daunting. 

I had never attended a pilates class before so this added to my anxiety - my balance was absolutely awful and I was wobbling all over the shop when I had to hold my leg out and balance on the other one. On the plus side, I learned that my core strength is actually pretty good and my arms are getting stronger from going to the gym, as back in June my upper body strength was appalling. I tried surfing whilst on holiday in Devon; no matter how strong I get I will never try that again as I hated that shazz.

I had to ask my instructor about the pelvic floor exercises after the class; I learned that I was actually doing it correctly and it is, in fact, an internal exercise. As I looked around the class some people were lifting up their bottoms and it threw me off ha-ha. Anyway, it showed me that just because you don't know the ins and outs of a class, and it's your first time, it doesn't mean you won't do at least some/most of it right so drop the anxiety, accept that you're a beginner, have fun and enjoy watching yourself grow in your fitness journey.

I LOVED pilates for the stretching side of things. It felt absolutely amazing to extend your body so much in all these new ways and pilates are definitely something I want to incorporate in my weekly life from now on, be it in a class or at home, and I would recommend anyone give pilates a go! 

Peace out Potatoes xo
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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

GOTHENBURG | SWEDEN

So last weekend my cousin, Jazz and I went to Gothenburg, Sweden for the weekend. Like with most of my travel posts, this is picture heavy hence why I am writing up here! I personally love looking through these sorts of travel posts, on both my own and other blogs. It means you to see a lot of a place and Imagine in a few years looking back on all these posts too, so many memories in one place!

Where we stayed:
We stayed in Backpackers Goteborg hostel and we loved it. The bathrooms were absolutely gorgeous with a shower and loo in each, so there were no shared bathrooms. Everything was super clean and trendy. The beds were so comfortable and everything is well thought out, for example, there are little lamps above each bed with a little shelf so everyone feels right at home. Jazz put it like this - 'This is literally how it would be if IKEA did hostels' and it was; modern, minimal and clean! I personally love staying in hostels - you always meet like-minded travel lovers who enjoy a chat and have a similar view of the world to you, it has such a community vibe and of course it's more economical. Having said that I do prefer hotels when I am traveling with my boyfriend, I can't imagine us staying in a hostel unless we had a private room. I also stay in hotels quite often when my friend's dislike the hostel idea (which they shouldn't - if you're one of those people honestly, don't knock it until you have tried it, you may be pleasantly surprised).

What we did:
So, on the first day, we went out for dinner and just walked around exploring this new city. I found the architecture to be a lot like that of Germany, so, Bavarian  but with an almost Russian twist I would say. We returned back to our temporary home and had a nap then set out for another stroll at night. We returned home quite promptly after we had left as we were exhausted from two days with no sleep and it was rather cold, so we headed back to get warm and cosy.

On our second day in Gothenburg, we went and explored the Botanical gardens and greenhouses. All the different species of plants in there amazed me. The tropical room was right up my street with lots of interesting plants I had never even heard of. We then went on a River Cruise and it was lovely. I have said this many a time in both real life and my blog, but I absolutely adore being close to water. There is something so calming about being on a boat, being close to the sea or just sitting by the water, even if it is choppy - I love it! I also think that when visiting a city with water, it is always best to see it by boat as there is far less traffic and you can see all the monuments in their glory in a calm and relaxed manner. We got to see where everything was this way and decided we would head to a Museum next. 

We decided to have a look around Gothenburg's CIty Museum and we loved it. If you are 25 years old or younger,you get free admission and they're very liberal with this so unless you're an octogenarian claiming you're 20 years old, it is likely you won't have to pay to get in. Jazz and I really felt a connection when we were reading about the Vikings and looking at all their inanimate objects. Our Granddad was a Norwegian sailor so maybe this is why and it is likely that he would have been to Gothenburg as it has the largest harbour in Scandinavia. His life would have been very similar to that of the societal history side of the museum too which really touched me. 

After our adventures, we grabbed some light snacks, returned to the hostel to get spruced up and headed out to check out the local pubs and bars. Now, the beer in Sweden is very expensive, but it was extortionate in the place we ended up in. We ended up in an Irish bar called 'The dubliners' which looking back was a really 'Guiri' thing for us to do ha-ha! The drinks were SO overpriced, it cost almost £18.00 for two beers. They had live music, but much to my dismay it was not traditional Irish folk music and the venue itself was very dingy and cramped. 

The following day we went out for some food, and I did aim to check our the Blackbird vegan pub as their food looked absolutely wonderful but it was shut. So we did some more wandering and chose a different pub to sit in and just chat the day away in. Jazz and I had some deep talks and really put the world to rights and I really appreciate that I just so happen to be related to someone who is precisely on my level. Of course, you can do those things at home, but there is something so nice about being in a foreign country and chilling in a nice bar with good company.

Our last morning was mostly spent in the airport because I am an eager beaver that got us there rather early. We got some food and cracked up about a lots of random shazz. 

What we ate:
OK, so, Gothenburg is AMAZING for vegan food. Whether you go to a specifically vegan place or not, there will be a very good option for you on the menu and the people are so friendly and willing to accommodate. 

On our first day, we went for some amazing food at open new doors at Tyska Bron. It is an all vegan restaurant and the food is exquisite. I had the coconut curry and Jazz went for the Hummus sandwich. Jazz is the perfect companion in this regard, he is not vegan but he doesn't mind going to an all vegan restaurant. I really, really, really enjoyed this curry and I went back the day after for some tea and a vegan chocolate cake, which was also to die for.

On our second day, we visited a small cafe close to the centre of town, forgive me as I do not know the name, but I have seen online that lot's of places do similar breakfast buffets. I had peppers, aubergine, green olives, black olives, bread, tomatoes, mushrooms, pasta, and all different types of beans. I'm not going to lie, it did make me think 'English people are a bit dumb for their traditional English breakfast being that it is just a plate full of carcinogenic meats and unhealthy trimmings and here in Sweden they have it sussed you need lot's of veg in your breakfast'.

For lunch this day I went for tea and cake in Open New Doors again as it was right outside of the City Museum. For dinner, we went to a tapas restaurant called 'Pico'eat' and they had a whole vegan menu! We opted for an aubergine salad in leaves, potatoes, bread and houmous. I have just realised I didn't take any pictures in this restaurant because it was dark and we were just enjoying a good old chinwag. 

On our second to last day, I got a tofu burger from this pub (it's the one that all the places have on their Menu in Gothenburg). They gave it to me with potato wedges and unfortunately, to me, it tasted a little bit too much like Pork so I was actually sick shortly after as I couldn't stop thinking about the taste and texture and it just wasn't my thing. However, if you ever liked the taste of pork and you miss it, that's the one for you.

On our last day the girl in a shop called 'Seven Eleven' made me a super yummy olive, tomato, olive oil, carrot, and spinach baguette. She told me I inspired her and it really touched my heart. Her kindness inspired me! The people of Gothenburg are so super friendly which leads me to my next category... 

I just love Sweden and here is why:
So, I picked a few Swedish people's brains about Sweden and a few people that were living there that weren't actually from there. The first thing I learned is that the Government there really seem to care about their people, which is precisely what this world needs. Apparently, the government there encourage working part time so you are a happy individual. Secondly, I learned that wages are super high, we met a Hungarian barman who had just moved from London to be with his girlfriend. He worked in a pub three days a week and earned the equivalent of £2000, he said his rent was only £200 - a far cry from the £400 he was paying for just one room in London. How a-m-a-z-i-n-g is that? I want to move there right this second. University education is free up until your masters there for everyone in the EU and it is taught in English. (fuck you Brexit from future generations). The water is so clean and like drinking Evian water from the tap. I was told they're not allowed any toxic chemicals in their beauty products, which I always try to avoid anyway - although I did see a body shop and they are not as pure as they would like to make out. Everyone just seemed so happy and friendly. Finally, according to Jazz, the women there have amazing skin... and bottoms! Ha-ha! Also, I love the viking history of the place of course. 

A few last thoughts...
Obviously this trip was amazing because, Sweden is amazing. The way the country is run seems to work splendidly and the people that live there make it the place it is but I think I had an even better time for getting to spend some quality time with my lovely cousin because after all, you can put yourself anywhere in the world but if the company doesn't match, what's the point? Jazz is a kind, decent, funny, interesting, intelligent, and well-rounded individual with a knack for seeing things for what they are while remaining logical and reasoned at the same time. My heart literally melted when I heard him speaking about his son, my mum has always said he is the best father and it really shines through when he speaks about his little boy. I'm really blessed to have someone who just happens to be in my family that I would want to be friend's with anyway. We spoke about so many interesting things from dreams to past lives to how we carry ourselves, what personality traits we carry with us, food, and the things that embarrassed us at children. Our time in Gothenburg has refreshed me completely! I have come back feeling more happy, positive and even more confident than before, maybe it's Jazz's relaxed yet realistic approach to life has rubbed off on me!

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