Category Archives: Travel

Divine Devon

Standard

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 😍

Advertisements

Wettest Weekend in Wales

Standard

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! 

Being Vegan Week 6: Is this level of excitement normal?

Standard

For the past few weeks, I’ve literally been unable to stop thinking about food.

And it isn’t because I’m hungry… it’s because everything I’ve eaten has been so daym delicious, I’m always thinking about what’s coming next.

image

Clearly I need to take some self control (yet again, even as a vegan it seems I can’t control my cravings for food… any food), but I just can’t help it.. and now more than ever, knowing that what I’m eating is not only helping preserve the planet (albeit it on a small scale), but is actually good me for, leaves me constantly searching for new recipes.

Since becoming vegan, literally most of my spare time has been devoted to the kitchen (or supermarket). And all the new tastes and flavours dancing over my tongue, and making me feel fantastic afterward (and not sluggish or ugh) are really making this an enjoyable feat.

image

From sauces to ice creams to seasonings and dressings, I can’t get enough.

Today alone, I’ve enjoyed:

Banana, almond, coconut and chia smoothie for breakfast.

Almond butter rice krispie squares for mid morning snack.

Carob bar as an afternoon snack (first time trying, I’m not disappointed).

Brocolli with garlic, ginger and spring onion sauce and sesame brown rice for dinner.

Peanut butter cookies for dessert.

image

And being unable to stop thinking about more food, despite my tummy already being satisfied, I couldn’t help but indulge in some blueberry and raspberry buckwheat pancakes. Now it’s safe to say I’m VERY full (2 tbps apple cider vinegar with warm water aiding my digestion).

Unfortunately I’ve not taken the time to photograph much of this, as it’s been more of a cook it – eat it style, trying to perfect recipes etc. Plus experimental cooking doesn’t usually make for very appealing food snaps (I’ll add recipes soon enough).

image

But over the past few weeks I’ve also enjoyed some gorgeous meals and treats, such as pad tai noodles, courgetti noodles and sundried tomato pesto, roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad, turmeric quinoa coconut curry, falafal, chickpea flour wraps, mushroom burgers, black bean burgers, sweet oat and rice krispie squares, raw chocolate brownies, gooey black bean chocolate brownies, mixed berry crumble, mint choc chip ice cream… not to mention all the amazing stuff I tried in Amsterdam last week!

Yup, I actually made it through 3 days in Dam as a vegan… not one churro, waffle or piece of cheese passed my lips.

Instead, I got to enjoy vegan cheese sticks, samosas, rice wraps, blueberry cheese cake, chocolate cake and ice cream, raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes, houmous salad wraps… most of which I did photograph..

image

image

image

image

image

image

Turns out Amsterdam is a hot bed of vegan eateries (compared to my small town in the UK anyway). And the food is AMAZING!!

I’m truly grateful to be vegan right now. Sure it takes some effort and preparation, but if you plan ahead and always make sure there’s at least one healthy snack on hand, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

Embracing new flavours and ingredients, reworking my taste buds and retraining my body to enjoy vegan alternatives, has left me lighter (I don’t weigh myself but I’ve definitely lost weight), more energetic and generally happier. I’m also creating a whole new self.. I’ve begun a journey that I just know will take me to places I never imagined before,  in whatever form that may be.

And I cannot wait! Nor can I wait for breakfast tomorrow!! I’m thinking hemp seed and fruit smoothie, and possibly more buckwheat pancakes.

Nommm blessings and goodnight!

Yo..

Standard

image

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.

image

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.

A dance with insanity

Standard

Out of mind
Out of time
An outline
Of broken home

Confined deep within
Pushing hard without
Divine circuitry
Want to disembody

Don’t want to part
There’s much more
To be done
Upon these planes

Pump pump-
Pump-pump
Neurons throb
Divine expression

Acceptance is key
Even detachment isn’t real
But real like what?
Define reality

Close your eyes
And for a moment
Experience absolute
And total peace

Why Did the Hens Cross the Mountain? Cos they were Brayve as cluck.

Standard

Last weekend I stayed in Bray, Ireland for my friend’s ‘Hen Do’- three days of mad ‘girly’ partying stirred up with peaceful beach strolls and lung – busting island hikes.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend, made perfect by a combination of fantastic people, clean air and stunning views.

image

Such deep, lucious, earthy colours, filling blankets of forest with dewy greens and the like, that invites you in with deep breath, like one giant, leafy hug. So refreshing and satisfying. Therapeutic for both the mind and body, and nutritious for the soul.

image

Post – spiritual awakening, the end of each new trip I make now leaves me with a new sense of growth and wisdom. Like I’ve discovered another part of myself, within the new pastures I’ve tread. Even if I just go camping for a night- I feel renewed, of sorts.

image

I’m so grateful for the experience in Bray. And the moment I emerged over the top of that mountain(esque hill), and it felt as if I’d risen over the horizon and sea itself… well, it was breathtaking, to say the least. More than exhilarating… it was nothing short of being on top of the world.

image

If touring the Earth (or considering it), I’d highly recommend visiting the Irish coast when in Europe. It’s a beautiful country and one I’ll certainly never forget.

image

image

"Freedom exists"

image

A Hippy’s Day in Whitby

Standard

I recently visited ‘the UK’s Goth Central’, the quaint little town of Whitby. Coaching through the Yorkshire Moors and its lashings of purple and red heather fields, I got excited. Beautiful rolling hills and endless paths and trees. Not knowing what to expect, the only reference I had to Whitby in my head was from Robert Swindells’s eerie book Room 13, which I’d read over and over as a kid. And I must say, when we arrived, I decided immediately it was a delightful place.

The docks and beach merge peacefully, the scent of fresh fish and chips washing on to the seafront, mixing with the salty sea like an invisible enticement.

Mindful of the giant seagulls (if they were seagulls) that might dive in at any minute, I savoured my scampi for as long as possible, before revitalising with a long awaited grounding.

Burying your bare feet in the sand and letting the sea wash around you really is one of the best grounding practices I’ve felt. Then I got excited over a couple of tiny coves (“I’m inside Earth!”) and snuck a doobie in near some rocks. With another giant bird lingering nearby… so big I was shocked when it turned out to be a baby version.

image

Walked up the 199 Steps to Whitby Abbey, and watched a 3-man (1 woman, 2 men) outdoor performance of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It actually turned in to a lot of laughter and improv from the cast, as one guy in particular (who was absolutely brilliant) couldn’t help but keep drawing attention to a repeatedly naughty kid in the audience, through his dialogue in the play. It was actually hilarious, the guy had me in stitches. Though I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed it half as much had it not been for their unexpected hilarity. None the less, I could feel the historic energy surrounding the place, and it was a great experience.
image

image

image

The ride back even blessed us with a rainbow and a beautiful sunset. Real heavenly. And I was settled by the thought that I was unsurprised, alas naturally grateful, that the day ended in such a beautiful way. It had manifested perfectly and I accepted it.

image

image

Oh, and then there was this giant full moon which I couldn’t capture on my phone through the coach window. Alas! It was a perfect moment.

All in all a great town, spotted a campsite just down the road too. I’d definitely go again- Halloween would be great- as there were a few more areas I’d like to see. And the vibe would be perfect on October 31…

Thank you all for reading, and I bid you all goodnight! I shall retire to my coffin now.

image

image

image

image

image
image

image