Shouldn’t I be doing more?

It’s a Thursday night as a 28 year old in London and a mixture of feelings are running through my mind.
Shouldn’t I be doing more with my life? Shouldn’t I have a house by now? Shouldn’t I have some high flying career? Shouldn’t I have taken the rubbish out by now? (Okay, definitely yes to the last one..)

But that’s just it. London was promised to me as a place opportunity, diversity and freedom but all I feel at the moment is entrapment and negativity. Who made this type of working life okay and acceptable? Working all hours of the day, being connected to emails at any given time to make sure work continues has just become the norm. Who allowed us to forget that we’re here to live our lives, (not be tied to a computer 24/7)? Who made me feel that what I have isn’t enough? So many questions, right? No wonder I’m exhausted. On a Thursday night, when I feel that I should be doing something with my life, I am instead slathering on coconut oil onto my face, sat in my dressing gown with wet hair (hair turban and all) and I’ve realised. It’s me. I’ve made myself feel like this.

I’ve allowed myself to absorb the negativity that London so seemingly gives out daily. From those rather cosy morning tube rides at 8am (*not recommended) to demanding businesses that expect the world from you on an everyday basis. London is competitive, there are so many successful people living and working here, you hear about their achievements everyday.And that’s just it, I’ve allowed other peoples goals (and business goals) to interfere with my own. That’s why I feel this way. My goals aren’t your goals. My goals are for me to be happy and I don’t need a house, I don’t need a high flying career to be happy (I do however need to take the bins out…). And I need to remind myself that it’s okay if I don’t have the same as everyone else, as long as I’m happy with what I’ve got. Did you know that I started this blog a year ago? A YEAR AGO TODAY (weird) I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. But it hit me, one year has passed since I made the promise to myself to spend more time on me. Believe me, I’ve improved (see coconut oil comment above) I take care of me in this big city but it goes to show, I still don’t put myself first enough. I allow day-to-day activities get in the way of my happiness and I need to put a stop to that.

I allowed London to suck me back into its busy and exhausting schedule and now I’m feeling it. Don’t get me wrong, I do love London. I honestly don’t even know where I’d get my coconut oil, almond milk and kale from. You have beautiful parks, beautiful buildings and wonderful people that I really do enjoy, but this whole balance of working life? London you have it so wrong.

I just need to remember that putting myself first and focusing on my goals will ultimately make me happy. Ignore the ego telling you that you should have more than you do, whatever you have, in what ever form is enough. You are enough.

So London, I look forward to waving goodbye to my ego and instead floating around in my own achievements with my wonderfully moisturised coconutty face and kale salads.

Make sure you’re putting yourself first 🙂 oh and just to finish, here is one of my favourite songs at the moment, enjoy.

Blog soon
O.N xx

2015 – where to start…?

Take a deep breath, I told myself, it’s a brand new year, the world doesn’t need to change…Or does it?
I mean, 2014 saw a lot of change for me, some bad, some good. Firstly, I was challenged with losing my amazing dog of 13.5 years very early on in the year. He was my childhood pet, who had been there through so much with me. This was devastating. But on the other hand my Brother married and we welcomed the loveliest of people into our family – such a great day! I also gave up gluten and dairy in 2014 (bye bye cheese…sob) because they had such a bad effect on me (skin, migraines, tiredness!)Giving this up has made me a better person because now I can function, hooray! But all of these things meant that my world did change. My family also spend Christmas in completely different continents for the first time EVER. What a change…

With so much change for me in 2014 the long break that I saw at the end of the year in the sunshine over the Christmas period and 2 weeks into 2015, with lots of G&T and BBQ’s (the dream?)felt like it was much needed. Anyway, with 3 weeks of doing nothing, my little brain started thinking “why do I burn myself out for the things that I don’t like doing”? We all have them, (don’t we?) those things that we don’t like doing (* okay, there are some things we HAVE to do, like putting loads of washing on, that I can’t escape just yet…) BUT it is important to identify the things in life that don’t make you happy. I have mine, I’m still in the process of working out how to fix that, but at least it’s been identified and I’ve shared it with my loved ones. They’ll help me work it out. For me, I found that giving my brain space on my 3 weeks away, led me to work out what I really wasn’t too happy with.

It’s funny really, the mind and body… sometimes they give us signs but we’re so busy getting on with life we just ignore them. For me, it was totally clear when I came back to my every day life after 3 weeks of sunshine, and I just felt so sick, so drained! I realised, my body was agreeing with me and I realised that I’ve made a good decision with the change that I need to make. Now I have to work out how. That’s the hardest part, right?

2015 for me is about making the change and getting rid of ‘that thing’ that makes me unhappy. What are you doing for 2015?

Right, it’s time for some freshly baked banana bread (GF and DR free) and mint tea 🙂 O.N xx

Video

Gluten and Dairy free | Birthday’s

So my Birthday is in just over a week and I have a great challenge on my hands: How to cater for lots of people with party food that’s gluten and dairy free (and so that they don’t notice, either!)?? I’m sure I’m not the only one that has these types of issues on their hands so perhaps I can lean on the online world for some advice? Because, I think I need it.

I mean, it’s one thing to organise a normal birthday party, let alone for someone who can’t eat gluten or dairy! I’ve done some research using my two go-to bloggers. Deliciously Ella and Honestly Healthy. So far, these are the ideas that I’ve come across. Let me know your thoughts on the below, I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions 🙂

Picky food

Roasted red pepper and paprika hummus
 Recipe from Deliciously Ella. I’ve made this before, and it was quick, easy and super tasty
Carrot sticks
Cucumber sticks
Either Avocado Cream or guacomole. The avocado cream is from Deliciously Ella as well. I love avocado, and a good dip is what every party needs.
Veggie crisps
Mains
Puy lentil, brown rice and sweet potato salad (from Honestly Healthy Living for Life (pg. 70)
Raw green curry with courgette ‘noodles’ (From HH as well, pg. 74)
Cauliflower pizza  (from DE)

Birthday cake is somewhat undecided, but perhaps this Orange and Almond chocolate cake from Honestly Healthy would be ideal!
http://honestlyhealthyfood.com/2014/03/29/orange-almond-cake-with-chocolate-icing/ (video below)

 

Other than these, I’m not entirely sure…. I need to make quite a bit in advance, and enough. This could be a busy run up to my birthday.
Next on the list is to look at non-alcoholic cocktails too. Yum!

O.N xxx

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Flowers, flowers and more flowers.

I love taking pictures of flowers, do you?

Here are some of the latest flowers and plants in my household. Everything from Lavendula, peppermint, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, onions, basil and some peonies and blue roses (I was so impressed with the blue roses, but slightly saddened when I realised they were only blue due to ink. They were once white roses now blue…) Enjoy the collection 🙂 . Do you take photos of your garden, urban garden or flowers? Let me know! O.N xx

Vegan_homegrown_project-14-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-21-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-22-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-23-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-24-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-25-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-26-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-28-2 Vegan_homegrown_project-29 Vegan_homegrown_project-30 Vegan_homegrown_project-32 Vegan_homegrown_project-33

My Store Cupboard

As I’ve recently mentioned. I’m now gluten and Dairy free. So I thought I would write about some of the alternatives I use.
I’ve listed below everything you can get from your everyday supermarket.

Almond Milk –
currently alpro, although looking to make my own soon. Anything without additives is much better! (Sainsbury’s and Waitrose)
Almond butter
a super delicious protein fuelled super spread. (Sainsbury’s and Waitrose)
Bread
Genius – this brand is great, tastes like normal bread, and great with the aforementioned almond butter…mmm. (Sainsbury’s and Waitrose)
Quinoa
most supermarkets now, hooray!
Co Yo
coconut yohurt, texture is like greek yoghurt…but slightly coconutty. I have the original, but you can get vanilla or chocolate flavour too I think. So far, only Waitrose supermarket sell this. But wholefoods store also sell this.
Gluten free pasta
If you like pasta, it’s a good alternative (Sainsbury’s)
Coconut oil
To cook with, or use as a moisturiser… I do both. (Currently, I’ve only seen this in wholefoods stores. I’m sure the supermarkets will cotton on soon)
Tahini (Cost cutter)

I’ve found that gluten and dairy free is pretty easy so long as you find recipes in advance.
Typically, breakfast is Coyo with berries, almonds and chia seeds. Lunch is a quinoa salad (if you can’t make it, pret sell pretty good dairy and gluten free salads). Dinner Salmon with sweet potato fries and salad.

Don’t forget to treat yourself. Wholefoods sell chocolate which is dairy free. It’s raw and it’s amazing. Treat yourself.

I’ll add to this at a later date I’m sure.
Have a nice evening.

O.N xx

Skin care – Liz Earle

If you’ve read my posts before, then you know that I’m nearly 28 and still battling with ‘bad skin’.
I have pretty much exhausted all routes…. Until now. I think I’ve found my holy grail (YES!!) And here’s what I’ve done…

To give you a bit of background,I was pretty happy with my dermalogica collection, coconut oil and honey….then I realised my skin was getting worse all over again.  I was getting frustrated and I still couldn’t understand why this is still happening?

A really good friend of mine happened to call and I share pretty much everything with her. I told her as she had also been using dermalogica (although her skin is pretty awesome, I would definitely trade…) and she was noticing that dermalogic wasn’t working for her  any more. So she’d made a switch to a new brand…

I stopped, I looked in the mirror and I thought… I need to find some answers for me.
The next day I went to see a nutritionist. Now, I eat pretty healthily and follow most of the big healthy bloggers out there so I was going for confirmation that what I was doing was right and also to scream HELLPPPP… Anyway, after a complex questionnaire I saw the nutritionist who said ‘give up gluten and dairy’. So I did. as of that night.

I skipped (actually I dragged myself, I had all my work bags and it was already 7pm) to Planet Organic and stocked up on healthy food.
The challenge was that I was meeting up with my family on Saturday for Brunch in one of my favourite places, Bills. I quickly worked out they had an awesome veggie breakfast that I could eat (gluten free bread, no dairy etc. soy coffee….) and my family were accepting of my extreme changes.
Whilst at brunch, one of our family friends said that she also used Liz Earle.

I thought, can it really be a coincidence that I’ve heard of this brand twice in 4 days when I’d never heard of it before?? I headed to the shops and purchased a small pot of the Liz Earle hot wash cleanse.

WOW.

After a week, those horrid lumps and bumps that appear on your face that hurt sooo much. Gone.
My new skincare routine was lovely. It smells great. It doesn’t irritate my skin (Something I’ve learned recently is that parabens have a serious impact on my skin too..  high street shampoo? Forget it…) and best of all, Liz Earle is No fuss! It takes a few minutes and I’m ready to go for the day / bedtime.

4 out of 5 people that I know who have tried Liz Earle have stuck with it. The 1 who hasn’t is because sadly, she is allergic to quite a lot of things. I would highly recommend using Liz Earle, but before you do, here is a list of the ingredients, because if you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s worth checking before investing.

If you haven’t tried cutting out gluten and dairy (I hadn’t tried the dairy previously) try it. I’ll blog later about some of my store cupboard to help out; but also take a look at Liz Earle.

skincare Liz Earle

Liz Earle, skincare routine

 

Happy Tuesday! 🙂

O.N xx

 

Sunday – A day of reflection

Recently, I’ve been caught up in what feels like absolutely everything. I was finding it difficult to live in the ‘now’ and it felt like no matter what I did or how hard I tried, nothing was going right. I thought that I was on top of everything, I thought that I had control over my life. And guess what? I don’t. I don’t think anyone does really. Yes, you make decisions in life but ultimately, there’s a plan laid out for us and I was forgetting to trust the universe with this one. Below I’ve listed the 3 main concerns that drove me to what I’ve called a ‘mini break down’ but in reality, it was the world telling me to stop, think and reflect:

Firstly, my work life can get chaotic and there’s a lot going on and every now and then I let this take over my personal life (wrongly, I’ll admit to that). What I mean by this, is that, I bring home my work problems, I forget to leave them in the office. I’ll either work late or simply still be thinking about work no matter the time, no matter the company I’m in. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to turn off when you are SO involved in your work…But there’s a time and a place, and it isn’t at home.

Secondly, my skin. I’ve posted about this before… It was also taking over my life. There was a very small proportion of my life where I wasn’t worrying. I’ve tried most things for my skin and it’s still hard to get it right.

Thirdly, and most importantly, family. I was lucky enough to be working from home when I got a phonecall saying that a family member was being taken to A&E and it didn’t look good. That was it. My life flashed before my eyes. What would I do without them? How much of my life would they miss? Did they know how important they were to me, how much I depended on them?

Well, as you can see my mind was worrying about a lot. My family (the most important thing to me), my work, myself. I wasn’t giving myself any time to enjoy life, to sit back and see what was happening before me. Just constantly thinking. And yep, I had a mini break down.

I went into work on the Monday morning trying to carry on as normal when my manager asked me if I was okay and I sobbed. I snapped at my team. I couldn’t do my job. I’m really lucky to have a manager who takes the time to go above and beyond her job. She listened to what was going on in my life and told me I needed a personal day. So I finished off the Monday as normal went home and thought about what a ‘personal day’ meant.

I’m not very good with days off… I try and fill them up with things. So what on earth was this day going to do for me? I woke up and laid in bed and made some serious decisions about what I was going to do. I exercised to clear my head. I read books like the Tao of Pooh, The power of now and some healthy recipes. Next to me, I kept a notebook and wrote down anything that really reached out to me. Quotes, recipes, links etc. During the day, I realised that I needed to make changes in my life. I will burn out if I continue not to allow some space into my life. So, my conclusions were:

1) Do something that I enjoy every day (baking, yoga, photography…). Helps me to forget about work.
2) Stop stressing, you can’t control everything in your life. Let it go. Skin is not the be all and end all. I’ve found some lovely skincare and this helps (I’ll share soon).
3) Tell the people I love that I’m thinking about them and that I love them. You really don’t need to wait to see someone / wait until they contact you to let them know how important they are in your life. What if one day it’s too late? It really isn’t worth the risk.

I think that perhaps this is getting to intense for  Sunday… So, I’ll end this blog with a question that I came across on my ‘personal day’:

“Is there joy, ease and lightness in what I’m doing?”
If the answer is no, then it’s important you find time to ask yourself why not?
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to change what you do, it may just be sufficient to change the how. “How is always more important than what”. “As soon as you honour the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease” (Power of Now).

So my advice? Take time to step back from a situation, allow yourself some space to reflect on the important things in life. For me, it’s working…But who knows 🙂

I’ve added into the post what I’m listening too whilst I write this post…
Enjoy your Sunday evening.
O.N xx

 

So, I’m getting a little slack…

I have to say, after being back in work for nearly 2 weeks. I’ve already forgotten to have my me time…. I haven’t posted on here much and I really haven’t taken any pictures. Although one thing that is continually on my mind at the moment is ‘skin’…

So, I’m currently still in work, having a late night catching up with some work and I thought I’d listening to the below video whilst finishing off some of the stats I was putting together for work. Learn whilst working, of course!

It’s an interesting video that gives you a bit of insight and some advice from a nutritionist… It’s nothing new to me as I’ve read a lot of blogs recently, but I like that it’s all in one lovely video. (I’ve already emailed a friend and shared it with her to hear her feedback!)

I was also having an intersting chat with someone in work who agreed that in order to solve the problems on the outside, you need to look within. So perhaps nutrition advice is the way forward?

Interesting thought for me tonight… I’m off home to go and lay on the sofa and mull over what should have been a pilates session tonight.
Have a nice evening and I look forward to hearing any nutrition advice you have to offer 🙂

Skincare disaster…on holiday.

It’s been a while, huh? I’m sorry… I’m not sorry. I vacated (YIPEE)!

I’ve been on holiday and took an absence from blogging for a while. I had really enjoyed starting up my new blog, but I let life get in the way (by which I mean chores, work, you know, the things you have to do but don’t want to, not really….) and then I left the country for warmer climates. I went to Spain, which was amazing. But it didn’t come without a few tears… I’ll tell you about that:

Firstly, I’ll start by saying that I really do need to make more time for blogging. I love it. Secondly, I loved my holiday but my skin got in the way…

I have always had ‘bad skin’ ever since I was about 17 or so and EVERYTIME I fly, my skin gets worse. I just can’t seem to get it right.
So, the Monday morning before I flew, I took a big bottle of green juice with me to the airport, had loads of water, ate a veggie burger before the flight (it got delayed 4.5 hours… yikes!) and more water. In my head, I’d done everything I needed to do in order to stay hydrated. I’m still not sure what I’ve done wrong. Maybe you have advice for me on this one??

At the time, before we boarded I felt really good with my approach. I was confident that was going to go well.

Well, we landed, got to our apartment, I looked in the mirror and I was horrified. Where did this…when did this…WHAT?!
Yep, my entire forehead had broken out. THEN I was allergic to the suncream. Total skincare disaster. So, by Monday evening I was a mess and we’d only just arrived. My confidence was hit… I was planning on wearing zero make up on holiday…urgh!
So what did I do? Firstly, although I’m trying to be hollistic in my approach to skincare I haven’t yet found everything I need (I have another blog about that coming up soon…) So I’d taken some dermalogica samples with me and I think they actually saved the day.

Instead of suncream on my face, I used Dermalogica skin tint with SPF 30. Who wants to burn anyway?? And at nightime I used their clearing gel. They really helped me out when I was in need. And my skin did start to clear up (I even got some kind of a tan, miracle). But I still haven’t quite got my skin back to normal (sigh).

Secondly, and aside from products, I found it really hard to maintain an entirely healthy eating whilst I was out there.  But, I tried. My amazing boyfriend (he puts up with everything!) walked for miles with me until we found a supermarket. We didn’t rent a car as our intentions were to stay by the beach, read and listen to music. Which we did 🙂 … anyway, where was I.. right, supermarket..

We stocked up with….

Breakfast everyday:
A massive water melon
green tea with mint
Almonds

….whilst sitting on our terrace looking out at the sea, listening to music. It was absolute bliss.

Chocolate (holiday, totally necessary….)

Lunch or Dinner we ate out but rarely both.
Eitherway it was packed with Salmon, prawns or muscles.
But we bought some ‘sin gluten’ pasta which I was really happy to find.

We carried all of this back to our apartment and I felt better knowing that I had some good food to munch on.

I  really love Spanish food, so when we ate out it was so exciting and yummy. I tended to forget about my skin, because I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend tell me how beautiful I am regardless. That usually makes me feel so much better.
….but seriously, Spain, when will they learn that you don’t cook everything in oil?? Even my ‘green’s were cooked in oil. Not even steamed. But they were yummy and I did enjoy them…guilty!

Anyway, now I’m back and you know where I’ve been. You know that I had a lovely holiday but that I also had to deal with my skin and cried. I’m not alone in that, I know. Do you have any suggestions, thoughts or comments? Let me know, I’d love to find out more about your trials or even connect to share the pain of this darn thing we call ‘bad skin’.

But I do hope that I can find out what causes it soon, I’m turning 28 in a couple of months. All I want for my birthday is not to worry about my skin….. Until another day 🙂

 

Skin care

Firstly, I know this blog is about my baking, or photography. But this post focusses on neither (sorry!) The reason being, I’ve been focussing on a part of me this week, my skincare, and I wanted to share this with you. So, here goes:

I haven’t said too much about ‘me’, not really. I’d done so for a reason, but I’ll let you into a little something about me…I’m actually 27 years old and I still suffer from ‘bad skin’… I take good care of myself, I eat well (taken to a new level recently, as you can see from my blog) and I exercise…. To sum this up, it’s annoying. It’s annoying because sometimes, you feel like you can’t leave the house and you don’t have the confidence you want to have to get on with life.

Now before you say anything,I do get it, the only person who’s really stopping me from going out or not having the confidence, is me. My friends don’t care / judge me for my ‘bad skin’. But I do. I judge myself. I give myself a really hard time about it. I’ve cried, I’ve not wanted to go into work and I’ve let it take over my life. There are plenty of bloggers out there who experience the same as me. I’m not trying to say that I’m the only one that feels like this, in fact, quite the opposite. It’s hard though, everything around us in our day to day life is telling us to be ‘perfect’. And, you know what? It’s impossible. Your version of perfect is different from my version of perfect and different to somebody else’s, so guess what? You’ll never ‘feel’ perfect or ‘be’ perfect. However, what you can do is make sure that you are the best possible, you. If you want to. And, only do it for you (would be my advice). For me, it’s about being comfortable in my own skin. My skin will never be ‘perfect’ and neither will I. But, I am determined to not let it take over my life.

I have tried everything to help my skin. From heavy medication -which made me feel sad, isolated, unable to move or walk without being in pain…but cleared it for up to 6 months afterwards. (Since then, I’ve been trying to claw back those days without going on this medication. It’s left me with especially sensitive skin that still breaks out. Why did I put myself through 6 months of agony??? It hasn’t helped in the long run and I’m still not sure what causes it.) To every ‘miracle’ cream you could probably consider.

At the moment, I use dermologica products which are great but still hasn’t resolved the whole issue. Due to the ‘heavy medication’ I used 3 years ago my skin is now  really sensitive. It means that most shop bought products are too harsh/heavy and that I still break out but it’s much much harder to ‘cure’.

So, on to the happier side of this post (hooray, you say!) I’ve recently been using coconut oil for quite literally, everything. I say ‘literally’ because, I use it in cooking as the oil base, I use it on my face as a moisturiser, eye make up remover, the ends of my hair to give them a bit of a sprucing and you know what? I don’t get why I haven’t heard about it sooner. I’d recommend checking out this website, this is the brand of coconut oil that I use.

It hasn’t resolved my ‘bad skin’, I’m still working on other areas for that. But this is one great addition to my bathroom and kitchen cupboard that I now can’t live without. It’s also helping with the scaring on my face and to be honest, it’s just helping me feel better about things. I know that it’s 100% natural, it doesn’t react with my skin and it makes me feel comfortable (as well as smelling super nice). What more could I ask for? So my regime is a dermolgica precleanse and cleanser and then topped off with deliciously smelling coconut oil as a moisturiser.

Let me know if you’ve used coconut oil for beauty or if you’re an adult still suffering with ‘bad skin’ and fed up of hearing ‘you’ll grow out of it’…But for me, yoga, healthy food and coconut oil seem to be making me feel happier…and or at least smelling coconutty!!

Enjoy your Sunday 🙂 xx