Monday, 31 July 2017

JULY GRATITUDE DIARY!


July has been an okay month for me, I have had my lows about my pops and my highs with my friends and family. I have been working hard teaching in a language school, and focusing on my dental health and studies. I've spent a lot of time with my Riles and I have been to a few new places here in the U of the K. Anyway, without further or do, I shall get on with writing about all the things I have been feeling grateful for this month.

I know I always repeat myself in these diaries, but it's because I am continuously grateful for the things I am writing about. Firstly, as usual, I am obviously super happy about having my little Riley. My main man, my best friend, my partner in crime doggy friend. I don't know what I'd do without him to be honest. He's been in my life for six years and he just brings me so much joy. He has been there through everything. He's such a comfort and when I have those nights where I just cry, he jumps up to me and tries to lick the tears from my face, it's the cutest thing. We have an amazing bond Riley and I, and I am truly blessed to have him. I know I'm obsessed with my dog, but seriously, the more I hang out with him, the more I realise he is better than most humans. I've also realised I need to find more humans with his traits.. He is loyal af, caring and hilarious. He isn't afraid to stand up for what he believes in (tennis balls). He's active, affectionate and adorable. He comforts me when I cry. He's chill about everything. He's unpredictable. He'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants in life (usually balls). He doesn't listen to other people when they tell him to do stuff because he knows I only tell him stuff out of care for his safety haha... He's a leader, not a follower. He doesn't bullshit his way around life, you get what he truly feels. He's as pure and as real as they come. If more humans could be like him then I'd probably like them more. We do so much together, and I especially love going on long walks in nature with him, which brings me to the second thing in my gratitude diary -

Being out in nature! I just love it. I love the sound of the birds, and the bugs. I love being out in nature in the Summer for many reasons too. I love seeing the fruits on the trees and picking them. I love seeing all of the butterflies floating around. I love seeing bees and wasps do their thing on all the beautiful wild flowers. I love the visual candy nature provides for you, the crazy plants you see, with all different colours and shapes. Being in nature is as free as can be, and it gives you so much back.

I am super grateful for my best friend Alison. She is my entire support network at times, and she just gets me, and I get her. We know one another so well now that we can see one another's next movement. We always have each other cracking up and quite frankly, I have not had her in my life enough recently. Alison is probably the only person on this planet that can always, always lift me up when I am down, and always knows the right things to say to give me the positive kick I need to get on with things. Alison if you're reading this, you're the best and we MUST plan more things together because, without enough Ali-Lis time, I'm actually going to go crazy.

I've been really enjoying juicing this month. I've been making lots of different combinations. I'm usually happy if it at least contains carrots, lemon, and ginger. I love that juices mean you can pump yourself full of vitamins. I love it even more because my Dad bought me a juicer as a moving in present a few years back, and every time I use it, it reminds me that my Dad always took care of me, and continues to do so in many ways. 

On to the topic of my beautiful Padre, it has been over six months since he passed now, and it has been nothing less than tough. I am really hurting, deeply and badly, but through all of this I still manage to see what there is to be grateful for. I am still eternally grateful that I got to have my Dad in my life for 25 years, I got to have him into my adult years, and I know that is very lucky. I am grateful that I knew my Dad at all, and I even got to know him very well. I am grateful that all his traits live on in myself and my siblings. I am grateful that I got to say goodbye to him and I got to show him just how much I loved him before he went. I am grateful that I was given such a profound relationship with my father, and such a profound everlasting love too. I am grateful for all the memories he made with us, all of the memories he has left for us all to share, and all of the memories I am living and will live in his honour too.

I like a life without routine. I have realised that through having one this month (and the month before), that I really enjoy life without fixed routine if I'm honest. Being in a routine drives me crazy. I always fancy it when I'm living outside of one, but then I try this life and it isn't for me. I like the higgledy-higgledy life best. Predictability it utterly boring for me if I'm honest. I can't believe people live their lives in a routine for several years, and sometimes decades. Nope, not for me. Lot's of people don't like change, but change is one of my best friends. I embrace change because I love change.

Peace and quiet is underrated. I adore peace and quiet. I don't know if it's because I live in a busy area, because I teach teenagers for a living, or because I have a big, loud family, but whatever it is, it has led me to love peace and quiet. I could sit in silence for days, and it would feel like heaven. I don't need to hear the radio, TV murmurs, or pointless chatter. I'm happy to be left alone with my own thoughts in still, soundless, solitude. Ah, it's complete bliss.

I love feeling pretty. I love having my eyebrows done and looking fresh. I love having my hair freshly cut. I love wearing new outfits and having my nails and skin looking pretty. I love having a spray tan. I love putting together a quirky outfit and feeling on top of the world when wearing it. I used to get pretty for the attention of others when I was younger, but now, I literally get pretty just for me, and it's great.

I have been loving family time this month, I always do, but I have been especially grateful for it this month. I spent a weekend with my brother and his beautiful boys in Lincoln the other week, and it was so nice. I love spending time with my siblings because we can remember our Dad together, but it is extra special with my brothers because they are men, so it feels as though I am spending a bit of time with bits of my Dad. My brother in Lincoln especially looks like my Pops, and has his sense of humour. He is also so similar to him when it comes to his parenting style; his kids adore him and like to sporadically tell him that they love him, which was exactly how I was with my Dad. He is both warm and firm, and it is wonderful to see my father's legendary parenting live on in his son. My sister is the same, she is warm and firm with her little Al-Al too. I love my sister like a best friend and a big sis, we can talk about everything. We have traits like our Dad but we also have similarities which differ to his, which is nice, because we have things in common without just being related. I love my Dad for giving us one another. I don't actually know what I would have done without them to be honest.

My time with my brother made me realise the two most important memory triggers, and made me love and appreciate them even more. The first of the two is music; music instantly triggers memories. As does the second thing I am about to write; which is scent. My brother has all of my Dad's old aftershaves and it was so nice to smell the familiar scents of my Pa. He loved to smell good and spent thousands of pounds on aftershaves. The man had style and class when it came to looking, smelling, and feeling good! My brother and I also sat there listening to all the songs that reminded us of our childhood and it was just amazing. I love music and the eclectic taste in music my Pa passed on to my Broseph and I.  

Living in the now: If you are suffering with depression, you are grieving or even just find yourself tackling negative emotions from time to time, I strongly advise living in the now. It is easy to focus on what is lost, but focusing on the here and now can really help lift your mood. Find the happiness in the moment. So, right now, I am happy to be writing as it helps me to get my creative juices flowing. I am happy to have my beautiful dog laying at the end of my beautifully made bed with stylish bed linen. I have a roof over my head and I am well fed and safe. Right here, right now, I am a very, very lucky, happy human being.

Eating off the land is my new favourite. I have been eating home grown blackberries, apples, beetroot, mint, tomatoes, basil and parsley most recently. We have a blackberry bush and tomato plant in our back garden, and a huge apple tree in our front garden. I have a kitchen herb garden to grow herbs like basil too. A family friend has also been giving me beetroot from his garden to juice with. I love cooking with fresh ingredients, and I love that I know exactly what is going on my food (nothing) so I eliminate the chance of nasty chemicals being on these products. I hope to grow a lot more in the coming year, but I first need to educate myself on how to do so. I would like to grow my own potatoes, beetroot, carrots, raspberries, asparagus, and beans too, and all in good time, I shall.

My job - it's so fun and rewarding - I've had the best class for the past two weeks. They started off very cheeky, but with a bit of extra attention and humour, I ended up having a lot of jokes and laughs with them while teaching them English Last week alone, I did a baking class, a bucket list class and an art class. It's so much fun teaching in a free environment when you can mix things up and make your lessons creative and interesting. I love sending a class away with extra language knowledge and skills and I had a few Thank yous and cute goodbyes last week which was lovely!

My vegan diet and lifestyle is the best. A big LOL to all the people who insinuate my diet is boring because I took the decision to cut out animal flesh and fluids. I love the taste, colours, textures and variety of foods I eat. I love that my diet is packed full of nutrition and my lifestyle is completely rid of cruelty too. I love cooking and making lots of different juices. I also love vegan, cruelty-free and as natural as can be beauty products.

Little things I have been loving - Zizzi's is my new favourite restaurant due to it's wonderful vegan options. I love burning candles, getting to know cool people better, going for nice meals, cooking, my handwriting, the supermarket Aldi, my home, hearing songs that remind me of my dad, my financial situation, my clothes, nice hot baths, drinking lots of water, ice-cold water, not drinking alcohol/ being alcohol-free, my bed, my eye mask, waking up to Riles, and cuddles with Riley.

I hope your heart has been full of gratitude this month too!

Peace out Potatoes xo






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Friday, 28 July 2017

The Perfect Raw Slaw Recipe

When I first went vegan a few years back, I was obsessed with raw slaw and I've tried so many recipes over the years, but now I think I've got it down to a T. I hope you enjoy it as much as my nearest and I do! I have also tried this with tahini paste too so it turns into a hybrid of houmous and coleslaw which is also super tasty. I also liked it when I added a bit of chili and turmeric too. I've also added peppers in the past to give it that Mediterranean feel! :-)

The main bulk
* 50g pine nuts
* 2 medium grated carrots
* Chopped red cabbage
* Chopped white cabbage
* 1 medium apple sliced and chopped

For the "mayonnaise" dressing
* 3 tbsp Sunflower oil (cold preased)
* 2 tbsp of water
* 1 tbsp of cider Vinegar
* Himalayan salt (to taste)
* A handful of soaked cashews
* 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard
* Lemon juice (to taste)
* 2 garlic cloves (chopped finely)

Method
1. Chop and grate all of your veg
2. Put the pine nuts (you can toast these if you wish), carrots, apple and cabbages into a bowl and mix
3. Put the mayonnaise ingredients into the blender and blend until it is a creamy mayo-like consistency
4. Pour the mayo into the bowl with the other ingredients and mix them all together
5. Enjoy with some jackfruit and sweet potato fries like I did!

Peace out Potatoes xo
 
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Sunday, 23 July 2017

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - ROOFTOP CINEMA, VEGAN ZIZZIS, FAMILY TIME IN LINCOLN & LONDON'S SHREK EXPERIENCE

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

My Saag Aloo Recipe


Ingredients
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
1 tbsp chopped ginger
500g potato (boiled) cut into medium pieces 
1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
½ tsp mustard seeds,
½ tsp cumin seeds,
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp of garam masala
100g spinach leaves


Instructions
1. Heat the oil in arge pan

2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 mins 3. Stir in the potatoes, chili, tomato, spices and half a tsp salt and continue cooking and stirring for 5 mins more
4. Add a splash of boiling water, cover, and cook for 5-7 mins
5. Add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan

6. Take off the heat and serve.
7. Enjoy!

Peace out Potatoes! xo

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Sunday, 16 July 2017

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - LONDON, MILDRED'S CAMDEN, DEPILEX MASSAGE, DOG WALKS, & GOOD VEGAN FOOD.

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Friday, 7 July 2017

MY CURRENT MOOD BOARD

I was watching lots of inspirational YouTube videos the other day and a lot of the people that I found inspirational had made mood boards to get to where they wanted to be. I don't have the space to do one in real life so I have decided to do one here on my blog. Some people don't like writing bucket lists or future plans, but I do. It helps me get things straight in my mind and then crack on with what I am doing anyway. Four years ago I planned on being fully vegan, and now I am. Three years ago, I planned on quitting alcohol, and now I have. Two years ago I promised myself I would never work in retail again, and I haven't since my last role, and one year ago, I promised myself I would be freelance - and here I am.

Fitness goals: I am going to work towards having a flatter tummy and thighs that aren't so wobbly. I need to feel comfortable with my legs and tum, because right now - I don't. I've been doing more exercise lately, I've been walking to work and swimming at least once a week since being back from Austria. Riley and I go for a long walk somewhere new every week too, which motivates us both to exercise more. My fitness regime isn't where I want it to be... yet, but it is getting there and it is far better than it was a year ago even!

Another way I have been working towards a body I feel better in is quitting alcohol. I have kicked the dreaded alcohol to the curb. I haven't been drinking since May and I love waking up at the weekends without a hangover. I love having all my money in the bank and all my dignity in tact. I love not having to talk to people who just repeat themselves and I love not having to participate in, or witness the act of complete self-loathing. I honestly don't believe that anyone who puts their body, finance, or energy through getting drunk all the time is happy with themselves. It may be conscious or unconscious but if you have to self-medicate that way, then something is up. I saw this in myself too, which is why I am trying to break through it. I'm not going to lie, not drinking is a hard process, I have to reject a lot of plans because I know I'll have to be around drunk people or they will try to pressure me into drinking. I now spend more time on my own because I find it much more enjoyable to be indoors saving my money, time and energy for the other things I am working towards instead.

To gain and finish all of my qualifications and maybe gain more. I have just finished my online TEFL, I passed with 'outstanding' grades (- obviously), I am doing my TESOL at the end of the month, and I am studying towards being a speech and language therapist as of September. I plan on doing my degree while keeping up my means of income on the side (translation, tutoring, teaching and interpreting) so I can achieve my following goals too.

By 2021 I will own a flat or a house by the sea. I have already saved towards this, however due to the fact I am going to be a student again in September and the way I earn my money, I cannot get a mortgage at the moment, but that is okay. It just means I have more time to save for my deposit, which will mean a lower monthly cost when I do get there. A life for Riley and I by the sea is the life for us. I've been looking at St. Leonards-on-sea, Worthing or Bexhill-on-Sea. Obviously, we will have to see what happens with the housing market by then, but they are looking very good. The properties are much cheaper, the places are more quiet and being by the sea is just as lovely from these places as it is from elsewhere. I am looking forward to calm beach walks, beach picnics and cute bike rides already.

I will also own a nice big comfy fabric sofa: It's more of what this represents to me than the item itself. I can't wait to lounge on my own, big, fabric sofa in my own living room. I have always lived in shared houses so I haven't had the privilege to have these to myself long-term yet, and I haven't had my very own living room. Not having my own living room means I haven't had the chance to choose a sofa yet either, and to be totally frank, people are doing it all wrong. Sofas should not be plastic, leather or rough. They should be made of nice, soft fabric for you to sink into and relax! I can't wait to have my friends over to just chill and watch films, to have gatherings and to cosy up in the winter. I think it will be amazing to just walk in to every room of a home and know it's all mine, and I worked towards that happening. Also, aesthetically, sofas are definitely the cutest piece of furniture you can buy!

To travel as much of the world as I can and visit each continent. I plan on travelling to every place opportunity offers me. My job can take me anywhere and teaching English and Spanish is in high demand in many places. I also have friends all over the world and If I have the time, and funds, then I will go there. The top places on my list are Asia, Central America and South America, but as the cliché quote that has made it round the internet says - 'everywhere is on my list'. I need to see this Earth, but I plan on having it all you know. People always say you can either have a house or you can travel, well, I think you can have both if you work hard enough, and that is what I plan on doing.

Peace out Potatoes xo
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