Wednesday, 31 May 2017

APRIL & MAY GRATITUDE DIARY - LIVING IN AUSTRIA!


I have had the most amazing two months here in Austria thus far. I’ve seen so many beautiful places and sights. Met the most amazing people that I know are going to be lifelong friends and I have learned so much about myself already. I’ve belly laughed more or less every single day and I have had a heap of beautiful experiences that I will cherish as memories already. I am endlessly grateful for the experience I have had here in Austria and I’m even more grateful I got to share it with such wonderful people. Without further or do, I shall list the other things I have been feeling particularly grateful for too:

Riley: At the beginning of April, Riley and I were inseparable and I miss that. When I return to the UK or we go and live somewhere else together – I will never take Riley for granted, not that I did anyway. That dog is the apple of my eye, he’s beautiful and so full of character and just writing about him is making me want to cuddle him right now. We had a little facetime session yesterday and it was lovely to see him run for a boy when I told him to fetch it. It also gave me a lot of comfort because he needed to know I haven’t abandoned him and I was still very much alive. It’s probably more me who needed to know that he knew that, but either way, it makes me feel a whole lot better about living abroad without him at the moment.

Good Wi-Fi connection is one of the best things on this planet. At the house I was staying at before the one I am in now, there was no Wi-Fi and although it made us do things like play cards, read and communicate better – it wasn’t very productive for getting around, keeping in touch with people, and working. I will never take having good Wi-Fi for granted ever again and I am so grateful that it should be all good from here on out.
Good healthy vegan food. Austria is very good for vegan food. In the larger Supermarkets like ‘Eurospar’ there are usually huge vegan sections in both the fridge and shelf aisles. I LOVE whole foods and have been eating lots of that here too. There’s nothing better than eating well. I love a good free-from section, it’s proof that people are waking up and treating animals better, and it's happening everywhere.

At first, arriving to and adjusting to a house share in Austria made me feel so grateful for what I actually had back in the UK. I LOVE having my own space; I love having my own living room to chill in with my beautiful little dog and I love having my own bathroom where I can have a bath with the door open. It made me realise how luxurious and comfortable my life at home actually is. I missed having all the kitchen gadgets you could wish for (and I still miss some of them). I miss having an abundance of herbs and spices to choose from. I miss being able to get all the vegan food I could ever need and I’m grateful that my home is in somewhere I can do that. I am also grateful that I have that to go back to. However, now the tables have turned; I feel so grateful for all of my housemates being around, my roomie and good friend Hattie makes my days so lovely and all of us are all so comfortable with one another now so I actually feel super grateful to be living in a shared house (albeit very cramped).

I am grateful for kind hearted souls that I happened to have landed myself with. They all make being away from home so easy because they feel like family. I love making new friends with people who have a similar mind-set to you. I have made new friends that I know I was meant to, who have had exactly the same life experiences. One of the things I have always been blessed with, is very good friends and I am so happy that I have made some more of those.

For the second time in my adult life, I am actually super sincerely happy and grateful to be single. I have no one to answer to. No one to have to talk to constantly and no one to ‘check in’ with. There are no arguments in my life, there’s absolutely no bickering, I don’t have to listen to any unnecessary opinions, I don’t have to compromise or be interrogated, and I have no obligations for another human beings feelings. Due to the absence of all these things – there is therefore, no bullshit in my life right now and It is fabulous. I love knowing I can go anywhere or do anything without anyone getting pissed off or having a complex about it. Literally I don’t think I’d give this up for anyone below the most amazing person, - ever, ever, ever again. I get so much more work done, and have much more me time to do things for just me. I am also so much more sociable for it because I like being around new people. I don’t hold back from any opportunities that are thrown my way that I may have done while I was with someone.  Also, when I think of even dating right now, I just think, what is the actual point? I don’t want to share my life, I want to be wholeheartedly selfish and look after number one only. When I am single, I am free.
Leading on from my above point about essentially being a strong independent woman – I thoroughly enjoy that I am intelligent and brave enough to just go by my own time and pace in life. Lot’s of people put a pressure on themselves to have ‘achieved’ something by a certain age and feel they should be somewhere they aren’t necessarily at, but I don’t feel that at all. I go by my own time; always have, always will, did it then, do it still.
Here in Austria, you will see views of a lifetime. Driving through the clouds is a personal favourite. All of the beautiful mountains and greenery is something I couldn’t see myself ever getting bored of, and then there are the beautiful lakes too. Austria has so much to offer when it comes to nature and waking up to views of fields and mountains inspires me daily. I am super grateful for Austria as a country. The people are friendly, everything runs efficiently and as I mentioned, the beauty of this country is just spectacular. The food is good, the shops are good, and the students I have been teaching have all been so kind and welcoming. I love the Austrian schooling system, they wear slippers in school, they have a break after every class, they play ping pong and other games in their break, and their day begins at 7.30 am and ends at 13.20, so they get to go home and enjoy the whole day and be with family – which is the most important thing in the world.

This is a bit of a bizarre one but I really love getting up early. I get up at 4/5 am every morning here and it’s amazing. It means you get to see the whole day, soak up all of the vitamin D, do lots with your day and feel productive. It’s not the best if you don’t go to bed early but I have been doing that so it’s turned into a new love of mine.
I am so grateful for all the qualifications there are in the world. I am so grateful for the ones I have already obtained, the ones I am working towards, and the ones I plan on embarking on in the near future. Qualifications mean meeting lots of likeminded individuals, broadening your professional horizons and learning so many new things. You learn a lot about specified topics, but you also learn a lot about yourself, which is what we are here to do. My dad always used to say that ‘Education is your passport to life’ and he was correct. Qualifications do nothing but open doors and enable you to put yourself forward for the best opportunities!
A decent shower cleans the soul. I love having a shower. At home, when I have a lot of time to myself. I really enjoy having a bath, but when I have a shower, I realise how refreshing and convenient it is. I would say I prefer a shower because I have one at night and one in the morning. I read somewhere that running water cleanses and rinses away any negativity and I believe it’s true. After a nice shower, I always feel so much better about everything and so much better in my own skin.
While travelling around Austria and Italy: I have realised that I find something so fulfilling about knowing I have everything I need in a tiny case. All you really need is a little bit of money, a passport, your toothbrush, your deodorant and clothes. It gives you the feeling of absolute freedom and I love it. I know some people hate it, but I love living from a suitcase. I know I don’t need a load of material possessions to feel good in this life, and it’s a great lesson to have learned.  
Having an open mind – instead of getting angry, it’s nice to realise that if someone has a different point of view that you don’t agree with - it’s their perception and opinion due to their own experiences and personal conditioning. Even if people are rude or nasty to you, remember it is internal to them and where they’re at, not where you are. I also love others open minds. Like attracts like I guess because I have met so many open minded people here in Austria. It’s another elemant of life that makes you feel completely free.
I have tutored for years, but before I came to Austria, I was super nervous about teaching in front of a class, but I pushed myself and did it, and found out that I LOVE TEACHING. I love it, it’s one of the most worthwhile, rewarding things you could do with your time. There’s something profound about sharing a skill you have with a group of people. I have so much fun with the students, I actually prefer working with teenagers as opposed to the little ones which was a surprise as I thought it might be the other way around. You can have a laugh and a joke with the older ones and it’s like hanging out with a bunch of friends.

Me: This may come across as a strange one to put on a gratitude diary, but I really appreciate who I am and my own self. I love lots of things about myself, like how I am very funny, super warm and kind hearted. I love how I am so loyal and kind to myself too - if I have a negative thought about myself, I think about the little girl me inside or if I would say the same thing to my best friend and it’s made me realise how caring and positive I am. Being around others and seeing their reaction to you is also helpful when learning to love yourself, as you get a reflection of what you put out. I love what I put out, I love what I get back and I love who I am!

People that are giving too. If you're a giving person, there is nothing worse than being around people that are only out for themselves and only know how to take. I prefer the whole 'I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine' - I am not saying one should give to receive because I think you should do things for others because you want to and nothing more. However, what I am saying is; if you feel someone is taking advantage of your kindness and not giving you anything at all in return, drop that scenario like a hot potato into a pit. Stop doing favours and kind things for them, and focus on doing those things for yourself instead. Luckily here in Austria, our house is a kind and caring one full of helpful people. We all help one another with out strengths and knowledge and it's just lovely.

I am so grateful for the memories I have been making here in Austria. A few weekends back we took the train over to Italy and explored. On Wednesday we went for a beautiful meal, on Thursday we went to our friends house, on Friday we had a basement party, on Saturday we had a road trip, Saturday night we went on a relaxing walk and we have made so many nice meals and had so many nice conversations within the house too. I am so happy I am making these memories.  There’s always something to do with this bunch and they’re all wonderful company.

Random little things I am feeling grateful for are: new food combos (strawberries, strawberry jam and avocado is a new fave), my hair straighteners, my hair, listening to music, reading, long car journeysfeeling cosy, lazy days (only had one or two so far in Austria and I LOVED them), my bed, a good nights sleep, feeling clean after a shower, homemade face masks, pamper evenings, an English cup of tea, a nice cold beer, my laptop, my phone, duolingo, chalk boards, cute classroom work displays, being organised, cute stationary, the sound of rain, the sound of church bells ringing, when somewhere has English tea and vegan milk in their fridge, the feel of the sunshine on my face, the sound of birds singing, the sound of crickets,  potatoes, tofu, vegan sorbet, bananas with peanut butter, dates with peanut butternatural beauty products,  health food stores, my vitamin supplements, melba toast, balconies, being outside, being beside water, the sound of water,  flowers, cute churches, candles, meals out, all of my previous work experience, NETFLIX, WhatsApp, Skype, getting the giggles and I am grateful I push myself outside of my comfort zone.


'There are always flowers for those that want to see them' - Henri Matisse

Peace out Potatoes xo

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

WHAT I EAT IN A WEEK #2 (VEGAN)


Monday
Breakfast
Jam on brown toast
Lunch
Houmous & tomato sandwich, three handfuls of almonds, & an apple
Snack
Mini pack of oreos (oops!)
Dinner
Spicy bean stew and a wholemeal roll


Tuesday

Breakfast
Chocolate cereal with soya milk and raspberries and crumbled oreos
Lunch
A handful of almonds, a wholemeal plain roll & nut cake
Snack
A banana
Dinner
Vegetable fingers, mashed potato, & beans

Wednesday

Breakfast
Overnight oats, cacao, brown sugar, banana, apple, soya protein, oreos and soya milk
Lunch
Salad baguette, peanuts
Dinner
Tofu omelette with garlic, onion, potatoes and tomato and a slice of bread with curry houmous
Snack
Bread, crisps, cucumber, falafel & Houmous (nibbles at a friends house) + two beers, cacao cereal and soya milk (so naughty!)

Thursday
Breakfast
Overnight oats with cacao
Snack
Banana
Lunch
Two jam donuts
Snack
Pringles & houmous + 1 beer
Dinner
Cheese on toast with garlic, olives and mushrooms

Friday
Breakfast
Homemade protein bar
Lunch
Tomato, gherkin, houmous & olive sandwich
Dinner
Bangers (vegan frankfurters) and mash with baked beans, onions and mushrooms + a beer, a JD and coke, & rum

Saturday
Breakfast
(skipped)
Lunch
Falafel, veggie burger, salad and bread + five bottles of beer (this food diary is really making me realise the errors of my ways)
Snack
Handful of almonds
Dinner
Vegetable pasta with vegan cheese

Sunday
Breakfast
Houmous on toast with olives, tomatoes and mushrooms, with dark chocolate and banana on the side
Snack
Handful of almonds, wafer biscuit, & a rice cracker with houmous (piglet! Haha) + a beer
Lunch
Tofu "ham and cheese" omelette with houmous on bread
Dinner
A banana and cashew nut butter, melba bread with houmous or peanut butter and jam.
This weeks food diary has made me realise where I am going wrong and why I've put on a bit of weight recently. I need to cut out the beer, and the sweet stuff! I also need to cut down on bread, but at the moment I'm always so busy so it's just such a convenient thing to eat and add to a meal. I also haven't had enough fruit or veg this week. I also really need to up the greens next week because that's where the vital nutrients are!

This week I have three aims from this food
* No more beer - choose water over alcohol
* Eat more fruit & green vegetables
* Don't buy any junk food (so no crisps or biscuits).

Peace out Potatoes xo





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Sunday, 7 May 2017

WHAT I EAT IN A WEEK (VEGAN)

Monday
Breakfast
Toast with jam and cashew nut butter

Lunch
An apple
Snack 
Handful of cashew nuts 
Dinner 
Homemade mini wholemeal pizza with garlic, spinach, olive oil, tomato puree, peas, carrot and mushrooms.

Tuesday 
Breakfast 
Corn flakes, strawberries and banana with hot soya milk
Lunch 
Pulsin raw chocolate brownie 
Dinner 
Wholemeal mini pizza with vegan cheese, garlic, tomato puree, tomato, mushrooms and fresh basil
Wednesday 
Breakfast 
Fruit salad with mango, apple and strawberry
Snack 
Handful of cashew nuts 
Lunch 
Basil tofu, tomato, mushrooms and asparagus
Snack 
Dark chocolate (four squares) 
Dinner 
Courgette and mushroom tomato pasta 
Thursday
Breakfast 
Corn flakes with strawberries and banana
Lunch
Banana, cashew nuts 
Dinner 
Chili non carne (lentil chili) with white rice
Friday 
Breakfast
Vegan cheese, garlic and mushrooms to toast 
Snack 
Vegan ginger cookie and a smoothie
Lunch 
Hummus and vegan cheese sandwich
Dinner 
Authentic Italian pizza with tomato, olives,
mushrooms, olive oil and basil
Saturday
Breakfast 
Coconut organic musli with soya milk, melba toast with jam and strawberriea
Lunch (skipped)
Dinner 
Vegan meatballs (wheat balls), soy sauce and an avocado and tomato salad
Sunday
Breakfast
Melba toast and jam 
Lunch
Pizza with courgettes, artichokes and mushrooms
Snacks
A scoop of lemon sorbet
Dried fruit: dried kiwi, papaya, pomelo, and mango
Dinner 
Fries and falafel pieces.

Peace out Potatoes xo
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TRIESTE, VENICE & UDINE | ITALY


WOW! What a place! (or what a few places). Italy is possibly the most beautiful country I have visited in a while, for so many reasons... The people are so warm and friendly, the men are SO stunning (not that it matters at the moment because I'm on a man ban haha - but I can still appreciate good looks), the food is delicious and the architecture, nature and culture are to die for.

We spent our first day in Trieste and it was lovely to get an authentic Italian feel for the place. We stayed with an Italian friend who showed us the best restaurant and bars. We had the nicest meal with authentic Italian pizza and Limon-cello. They also made melon-cello and pistachio-cello, which were amazing.

On Saturday I just chilled in the house. Which was bitter-sweet, my dad used to live in Spain and had houses there and it was so similar that I just felt so at home, maybe even too much so. I actually had an emotional crash on the Saturday, if I'm going to be honest here on the ol' blog. If you've lost someone, then you'll understand the feeling; I got that sinking, empty bellied, void feeling you get when you realise you are never going to have your favourite person back in your life again. I was inconsolable and I cried all day and all night. I haven't cried from my belly like that since my dad's funeral and I really just missed him. I missed him more than I ever have before and it was painful, but I'm still here, still breathing and this whole thing, is all part of the grieving. :-)

On Sunday, the three of us made our way to the beauty that is Venice. My goodness - Venice is simply wonderful. The views from the window of the coach were beautiful and inspiring. We past the deep blue ocean, various forests and cute little villages and towns. I just love being by the sea, it makes me feel so alive and so free.



When we arrived to Venice, we had a wander around all the shops, stopped for a drink, listened to Street buskers and got some gelato (in my case, sorbet). Venice has a beautiful feel to it. It's relaxed, beautiful and quirky and I would like to go back when it isn't so busy (we went on a bank holiday so it was 'ramo in the main room' -the streets and we couldn't move).

At one point, we sat in a small alley way with a doorbell to the canal and just watched the gondolas go by, no lie, this was one of our highlights. The gondola men were so entertaining: one tried to steal my friends Ice-cream, one pretended to faint after telling us we were beautiful and one was waving like a mad man and proceeded to kick himself off the wall to get away. We were saying that if we had more time in Venice, we would go there to read because it really was such a tranquil and sweet spot.



On Monday, my friend Hattie and I missed our connecting bus back to Austria, so we took an unprompted visit to Udine. Udine is a beautiful place, with wonderful architecture and fascinating views. We explored for a while, had some cocktails and absorbed all of the culture it had to offer. Our train ride from Udine in Italy back to Austria turned out to be one of my favourite experiences so far though. We had dinner in a posh dinning carriage, looked at all the scenic views from the window and got chatting to some Austrian natives. (check out my Instagram here for more photos and videos).

When I go to a country, I always prefer speaking to natives in order to get a real feel for a place and we finally got that for here in Austria. They told us about all the best places to visit, they spoke a bit about the food and they let us know a bit about what an Austrian person is stereotypically like.

I feel so blessed and grateful for what I have been able to experience so far in my life and I feel especially grateful that I have amazing people to share these experiences with. Italy is a place in which I can see myself living in the future. It has the people, food, and culture that I love and I adored listening to the language too. Listening to Italian when you know Spanish is a lot of fun, to me they sound a little bit like scouse, drunk Spaniards and depicting the language and piecing together what I already know was a lot of fun.

Peace out partitas xo



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