Category Archives: Nature

I can feel it in my body, I can feel it in my soul..

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There’s nothing like the feeling of your body absorbing nutrients from a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Last night I prepared some cacao-golden milk before bed (coconut milk, coconut oil, turmeric, black pepper, cacao powder, honey, cinnamon). 

There was some leftover and rather than be greedy (which I am far too often guilty of), I poured it over some gluten-free oats and chia seeds. Then mixed in some nuts I experimented in a dehydrator I’ve been kindly loaned (almond, walnut, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, leftover pulp from freshly juiced fruit and veg, cinnamon, honey). Tossed in cacao nibs and a couple of dates, then heated this morning with coconut oil, 1/2 a banana and handful of blueberries.
Didn’t take a photo in time and I’m sure it looks gross to most, but my oh my was it absolutely delicious. 

I did an intense Forrest yoga workshop last night, 2 sweaty hardcore hours in 30°c heat and only followed by a bit of fruit and coconut water to refuel (along with the cacao-golden milk).

So this morning my body is welcoming every single beautifully nourishing ingredient.

I’m so grateful for all the amazing things in my life – my health, the abundance of food provided naturally by pachamama, the gorgeous soul tribe who help me along my healing/growing path.

I’m truly blessed.

So yeah – random breakfast, full of goodness to set me up for a great day. In the words of that wonderful native American Indian song – I can feel it in my body, I can feel it in my soul! Heyaho!

Happy Sunday y’all!

1 Week in the Jungle – Definitely Not 1 Weak Heart

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Having recently spent an incredible 7 days at a detox retreat in Costa Rica, I’ve been left feeling pretty much like a ‘new’ person – Self 2.0, we could call it.

Each and every day brought a brand new adventure, and I lived in the moment as much as possible. This, along with the fact there were no clocks anywhere in the retreat centre, really helped slow down time, if not bringing it to a standstill when embracing particular beautiful moments as they happened (and it was certainly filled with an abundance of such moments).

I could talk (or type) for hours on why it was such an amazing, heart-opening, healing, consciousness-expanding, therapeutic, transformational experience. But I’ll leave some to the imagination, and some for individual posts.

For now I’ll keep it simple, and just sum up, some of the things I learned during my time in Costa Rica:

  • Walk gratefully through life, with no expectations. We can expect the best for ourselves (we deserve it), but we shouldn’t expect ‘specific’ outcomes. Have no attachments to the future.
  • Music is medicine. Vibration, tones and hertz matter – a lot.
  • Believe and know that you deserve all the good things coming your way. Know you are a Creator, and can make your dreams come true.
  • Know you are a divine creation, a being of Purity and Light. Your existence is beautiful.
  • Trust others. This one’s particularly important. It really is a powerful practice.
  • Open your heart. Allow love to pour out, and in.
  • Let go of the past.
  • Don’t look at the time too much! Live in the moment, as much as possible.

    I also fell in love, with my Self and with an Other… a feeling I’ve never truly experienced. All by having no expectations, opening my heart, accepting myself and trusting others, I allowed love to flow. And boy did it surprise me, in ways I never would have even imagined.

    I’m so grateful for my life, what this trip has offered and taught me, and for the chance to now integrate it and spread light into mine (and others’) every-day.

    -Love

    -Light

    -Healing

    -Peace

    -Happiness

    -Unity

    !

    Can’t Blog – Busy Fermenting…..

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    OK, so the title of this post may be a little of a contradiction. Considering a lot of ferments pretty much take care of themselves, it really isn’t a valid excuse for having uploaded zero posts in the past 5 months.

    But it is the truth I’ve been busy… busy making plans, busy ticking stuff off the bucket list, busy fulfilling dreams… regrettably none of the ‘drafts’ I saved got finished (something not unusual for me), but I’m here right now, and that’s all that matters… right? Man, I’ll deal with the guilt of procrastination later. For now I’m here to share with the world my new found love and fascination… the art of fermentation.

    When I used to hear the word ‘ferment’, I’d automatically think of bananas that have turned brown and mushy in the fruit bowl, or gone-off milk that’s been sat in the fridge for weeks, or how my teenage brother’s bedroom might smell, if I had a teenage brother.

    When in reality, the process of fermenting food (and drinks) is an age-old practice, utilised by our ancestors as a means of keeping food stored and edible for months on end, especially through winter.

    Not only that, the longer food ferments, the more the ‘good bacteria’ grows… good bacteria which when consumed, can actually work wonders for our guts and digestion. Everything from vegetables, fruit, tea, milk and seeds can be fermented. And let’s not forget those of us who regularly consume yogurt – this is simply cultured (fermented) dairy!

    Fermentation works by natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starch in the food, which creates lactic acid. This not only preserves the food, but also creates beneficial enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, b-vitamins and most importantly, a multitude of probiotics. The process also helps break down the food into a more easily digestible form.

    We’ve probably all heard of ‘probiotics’, and how they can benefit our health. But most store-bought products and probiotic supplements contain substantially less probiotics than home-made versions (not surprisingly).

    Admittedly, I’m really just a noob at all this culturing business. But I’ve been reading a LOT, and have dabbled in a few experiments for the past few months. And I can tell you, I have not been disappointed.

    It all started when my yoga teacher gave me a sip of kombucha to try, and I was instantly hooked. My body knew straight away I was giving it something so nourishing, and it wanted more. I won’t go into it too much here (will pend for another post – no procrastination!), but it’s basically black tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Yes, it sounds gross, but the magic happens when they all come together to create a delicious, fizzy, detoxifying beverage. And the benefits are amazing. I call it my elixir of life.

    Similarly, the first time I tried sauerkaut (simply shredded cabbage left to ferment in its own juices), my body heaved a sigh of relief, like it finally found what it had been waiting for in food. I could literally feel my gut grabbing and digesting with delight, like a party going off inside there. And it’s super easy to make! Now I have multiple jars of different sauerkraut, along with things like brocolli, kale, asparagus, beetroot and apple, all stewing in their own juicy goodness (my housemates think I’m a bit mental).

    There’s no going back for me now; fermented foods are part of my healing path. And I urge anybody who feels they need a health boost, wants to cleanse and re-balance their digestive system or just feel (round about) one-hundred times better in themselves to give it a try.

    There’s tons of information out there and I want to reassure you not to feel too overwhelmed by it – it really is a super simple process. Honest – just give it a Google, then give it a go!

    Peace and love friends 🙂

     

    6 reasons I fell in love with yoga

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    Through daily practice, yoga has become my foundation for a healthy, happy life.

    Just half an hour each morning sets me up with a fresh outlook and good intentions.

    On top of that, my fitness levels and general physique have improved so much. And after a year and a half, I can connect my mind and body, and do things I never imagined I’d be strong enough for!

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    So, just because the love has hit a deeper level recently, here are 6 reasons why I’ve fallen madly, head-over-knees in love with yoga:

    1. It clears the mind- if I’m feeling stressed, anxious or just generally down in the dumps, doing a few sun salutations or releasing some residual tension in certain areas of my body (such as the hips, where much of our past angst is stored), really helps clear that stuffy mind-fog. Sometimes, our amazing minds become so entrenched with thoughts (whether positive or negative), that it becomes overbearing and we need to just stop the flow for a while, to reset and regain some clarity.
    2. It tends to the body- physically speaking, yoga is a wonderful way to strengthen, tone and stretch our bodies, without even realising we’re doing it. Because much of the practice is so subtle- focusing on remaining calm, breathing mindfully and flowing through movements gently, it’s easy to forget we’re essentially getting a ‘workout’ the whole time. Then every few days you take a glance in the mirror and see some newly sculpted muscles here and there – awesome surprise!
    3. It reminds me how it feels to Be Alive- This feeling is so easy to forget. Too many times I’ve found myself stagnant, mooching on the sofa or playing video games for days on end, with no real activity. And the longer this goes on, the harder it is to pull yourself back. But once you do, even in that first downward dog of the day, a fire is ignited instantly and the energy flowing through your body reminds you of what it is to feel, what it is to be. And how wonderful it actually feels to be a living, breathing entity on this planet.
    4. You get back what you put in (and then some)- Like any healthy relationship, you reap the benefits when you invest the best part of yourself. Yoga has no expectations- all it asks is that you show up, and just be yourself. And in turn, the path will lead you to beautiful new places, inspiring new people and exciting new experiences.
    5. Anybody can do it- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Every body is a yoga body. Fat or thin, tall or short, muscular or feeble. We can all reap the benefits of regular practice. Of course, every body is different and every body will adapt and grow in different ways, but the truth is yoga is not exclusive for just already-bendy dancers or skinny fitness freaks. Yoga will embrace you, whoever you are.
    6. It will never leave me…. Sure, I could leave yoga. I could roll up my mat and stop practicing for the next 6 months, become shrivelled and tight. But the philosophy of yoga and the lessons it brings won’t ever go- I’ll always remember to breathe in stressful situations. I’ll always be more aware of how individual muscles and body parts feel at different times. And I’ll always remember the mind-body connection that yoga and I chiselled together through dedication and commitment. We’ll always have that mutual love. And that I adore.

    I’d love to see schools introduce yoga as part of Physical Education or maybe those odd, ‘Social Studies’ classes that encouraged even the nerdiest of kids to skive. This in turn would create the space and opportunity to learn mindfulness and stress-relief, throughout their education, which they then take with them to use later in life.

    In fact, I’d just love to see everybody try it, period. Sure, some won’t be as taken as I was, and that’s fine. But just to experience it would create a newfound outlook, everybody can benefit from.

    Maybe I’m being biased towards my love. But I believe in it so much, I’m even willing to share it with the world! Now that’s commitment.

    Peace and love all.

    Divine Devon

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    This weekend I was lucky enough to bag a visit to rural county Devon, staying with my cousin and her other half in their new(ish) home. They relocated from our home town in November, and it was my first visit.

    Despite leaving loved ones behind, I can see why they easily had no regrets with their decision. Their secluded village sits atop a hill, overlooking the beautiful Devonshire countryside. Woolacombe Beach (dubbed the ‘best beach in the UK’ and I’d say easily comparable to a beach in Spain) is just an hour’s drive, and an array of other touristic gems are dotted around, an even shorter distance away.

    It’s experiences like these that remind me England isn’t the dull, grey image that a lot of us often have. It’s brimming with stunning scenery, wildlife and nature spots. At one point near a place called Castle Drogo, I couldn’t believe I was still in the UK. A giant valley filled with luscious green trees, and a convenient path that lets you admire the view from different angles, literally took my breath away.

    Fingle Bridge, Castle Drogo

    Another trip took us into the heart of a huge gorge, with gushing waterfalls and mossy trees surrounding us on upward spiraling paths.

    Lydford Gorge was around 3 miles of massive woodland, ancient tree roots underfoot and an enclosed rock cove/cavern at a spot called the Devil’s Couldron. Standing on a bridge above, you can watch the water bubble and whirlpool madly around below your feet.

    Lydford Gorge

    Amongst scrambling up rocks, hiking up steep hills and sitting on the edge of cliff faces, I found a sense of tranquility I haven’t experienced in a while. The freedom felt while trekking across fields hundreds of miles from home, from anywhere familiar, was exciting and exhilarating. Living in each moment to moment, taking it as it comes and accepting the fact that it all ‘is what it is’, was an emotional release, to say the least. The fresh air definitely went to my head.

    Dartmoor Moors

    Devon is a beautiful place and as a ‘Brit’ I feel truly blessed to know we have such serenity on our doorstep- we don’t need to skip countries to get a dose of  escapism from the everyday England we’re used to. We just need to know where to look… and the drive to want to find the rest of the hidden gems the UK has to offer.

    So much brocolli 😍

    Don’t know whether to trust the weather.

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    Wherever we go, as humans we always seem to discuss the weather in social situations. 

    “Hot today init?”

    “Yeah Nan, baking.”

    “I prefer to be cold, me. Can’t be doing with the sweatiness.”

    The reason we reference the weather so much is because it’s literally the pinnacle of our survival and existence on Earth.

    How we utilise sunlight and fresh oxygen for example, is so important. So when in the UK we go from chilly and rainy to (years overdue) 34°c in the blink of an eye, our bodies respond as such.

    We need more hydration, more calcium to absorb the extra vitamin D from the sun, more protein for us to replace the  fat shed while basting in the heat or sweating on the sofa. Just as examples.

    Sunbeams creeping in

    If one was raised in a relatively sunny climate (or spent enough time in one), the body would adapt to the heat, the skin would gradually build a healthy natural tan (instead of burning like a lobster as many Brits do), etc.
    If one is raised in coldness such as in places like Iceland, again the body adapts to such temperatures and grows to its potential in that climate. Iceland interestingly happen to have one of the ‘healthiest’ population in the world.

    Here in the UK we tend to jump from.one extreme to another, and I believe it takes quite a toll on many of us. With such rapid change, the body is constantly trying to adapt from one state to another. And with the poor western diet followed by many, it can cause havoc on our bodies and minds, and sometimes serious health issues.

    Which is why it’s so important to follow a constant, healthy diet. And coincidentally why a simple vegan diet works so well (I won’t adapt here, I promise this one isn’t about the v word.!.vegan). Anyway. A diet that is part of your lifestyle, and not about losing weight (although there’s nothing wrong with getting trim; excess weight isn’t generally ‘healthy’).. one that becomes an easy routine, which you can rely on to get you through everyday. Then when the weather shifts from ice valley to dry earth with just a heartbeat in between, you’re always energised, strong and ready.

    Butternut squash, chickpea and spinach curry w/ cumin rice and gram flour tortilla

    Vegan pon road.

    Mother nature (and the universe generally) never cease to amaze. And the way we use the sun to fuel us, growing each new cell and shedding old skin is just another part of that.
    I suppose the point I’m making is that, depending where one is on Earth, we could potentially evolve into different kinds of humans. I could go to Costa Rica and become a bronze beauty, to Iceland to get lean and strong, to India and be a happily shrivelled yogi.

    Endless possibilities for infinite consciousness. All influenced by the God that is the Sun…… I felt they both needed capitalising. 

    Doris; she belongs to my housemate and thrives each year.

    I’ll leave with thoughts of sweet, home grown strawberries. Peacee 

    Wettest Weekend in Wales

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    This weekend I was lucky enough to spend 2 nights camping in the Welsh valleys, specifically Beddgelert in Snowdonia.

    The aim was to hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon (invested in hiking boots and everything), but unfortunately the weather didn’t quite allow- 5 hours and 2 small children was already going to be a challenge, but in torrential rain near impossible. So we opted for the toughest route (Watkin path), but only went for a couple of hours.

    Some of our group disbanded and went back down after they decided they’d had enough,  and the rest of us continued up to where we could see the clouds.

    So yes, I got to stand inside a cloud, and I also drank actual mountain spring water (it was flowing beautifully clear down some slate ‘steps’ and I just had to try it). And yes, it was delicious, crisp and I didn’t die. 

    So although I didn’t make it to the top, I’m grateful I have the health to try. And some people who are special to me and have always been afraid to try such ‘adventurous’ activities actually gave it a shot. Which to me is a bigger achievement and far more fulfilling than getting to the peak myself. I was very proud of my friends in those moments.

    I was also grateful to bear witness to the magnificence that is the Welsh countryside; rolling hills, huge valleys, sheep running along roads that wind on the sides of cliffs, gushing rivers and sparkling springs, beautiful lucious trees everywhere I turned.. it was just incredible.

    All in all it was a wonderful experience and I’d love to go back and attempt the climb again. Hopefully this time the weather holds up! 

    Skewers are a BBQ-loving Vegan’s best friend

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    My fourth BBQ in 3 weeks of turning vegan. And I’ve realised how much of a life saver 4 simple metal skewers have been.

    Just simply marinating some chopped vegetables in the morning, transporting them in the same container, poking the skewer through them when you’re ready to cook, and whacking them on the grill, has proven deliciously helpful.

    I went to a treetop climbing/zip line adventure in the woods today to celebrate my birthday with friends. We decided late the night before to have a BBQ, leaving me no time to prepare.. “F***, I’m vegan, cooking on a BBQ for dinner! ”

    Then there’s always a nice side dish to go with whatever the main may be. My favourite veg so far has been courgette, red onion, pepper, mushrooms and baby plum tomatoes. They can be nice and crispy or just warm and tender, with a hint of smoky charred BBQy loveliness.

    Because there’s nothing quite like cooking and eating outdoors, and the alluring smell of the coal heating up, drifting through the warm spring/summer air… and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue to be an enjoyable experience, whether vegan or vegetarian.

    For these I have no recipe… I literally poured Nandos garlic sauce over and let it baste. Super quick, tasty and vegan.

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    Adding some colour

    16/05/16: The Day I Gone Vegan

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    I just thought I’d write a short post to inform whoever might care, as of one week today I’ve been trying a vegan diet.

    I thought it made sense to make it known the reason why all of the recipes I upload from now on will suddenly turn vegan (if not obvious already).

    So yes, I’m officially vegan. And to be honest, I’m very surprised at how easy the transition has been so far. I know I’m only a week in, but the array of mouthwatering recipes I’ve seen and foods I’ve tried has already left me super excited about this new endeavour.

    And of course, the fact that I’ll no longer be adding to the already huge problem of animal based diets, which is not only detrimental to human health and our planet, but also horrific for our fellow animal beings.

    I shall try not to preach; for a few years now I’ve known that the time will eventually come for me to become vegetarian. And more research into veganism led me to realise this diet made the most sense.

    I’d already cut out the majority of dairy products, indulging in protein yogurt or a bit of cheese now and then. And my replacement of meat products for veggies and legumes has been going on for a while now too. So basically I was already half way there.

    Now I’ve taken the plunge. The biggest challenge will certainly be the chocolate addiction… but I’ve already seen and tried lots of exciting vegan alternatives. And they’re not only dairy free, but actually healthy for you!! Definitely exciting times ahead.

    I’m glad I can rest peacefully at night knowing I’m no longer adding to the problem, but doing my best to actively be part of the solution. And although there will likely be some tough times ahead (eating out is my favourite pastime), I’m super excited and ready to embrace change, for the betterment of the planet and my Self.

    Go Vegans!
    😁✌

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    Recipe from Ella Woodward: Pesto Butterbeans with Spinach, Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seeds. My first attempt at a vegan dish, I wasn't disappointed..


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    First time being vegan at a BBQ on Saturday.. no biggy: mushroom (instead of chicken), pepper and onion basted in spicy peri peri sauce and cooked until crispy.. I can handle this

    Yo..

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    Since beginning my yoga journey some twelve+ months ago, I’ve experienced a whole new level of Self. My inner being feels cleansed, I’m more aligned, and I have a much deeper sense of Oneness.

    Every posture, from the simple yet delightful up-dog, to the muscle-tingling baby grasshopper (I’m yet to find my way to the more hardcore version; the daddy Grasshopper) takes me on a journey through the mind and body.

    Becoming and being aware of one’s own physical structure, discovering the sensation of each muscle maybe for the first time, feeling the body, brings with it new self-inquiry, and a deeper understanding of what lies beyond. Whether warming up for the day, playing around after work to wind down, or just passing time, it seems there’s always something new to be had from practising yoga.

    It also gives a wonderful head-start to a meditation session, placing you nicely into a relaxed and calm state, especially after a well-earned savasana. I’ve found myself in many a ‘surprise’ meditation right after yoga, where my body and mind fall right into place.

    Aside from the spiritual side, there’s also the health benefits that are complimentary with a dedicated yoga regime; more energy, self-satisfaction, balanced chakras, reduced stress, increased happiness,  a strong physique. And I’m sure there are many more fellow practitioners/yogis  could claim.

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    I personally recommend anybody who hasn’t, to give yoga a try. Don’t let age, weight or flexibility get in the way of your will – yoga is for every body, and after discovering it, everybody is for yoga 🙂

    Peace and love.

    Namaste.