Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Day 52 - 24th February 2016

Good morning everyone, the sun is shining and everything looks beautiful although I know it is freezing out there.  The car has frozen over as has the garden however the sun makes it all look so serene and picturesque.

Woke early as I have my appointment this morning for my first Bowen Therapy session in the UK and am so looking forward to it.  However before that I have a new gardener coming to look around and give me a quote to start tackling the garden as it is now quite overgrown and before that, I had enough time to make a quick fresh juice to set me up for the morning, Carrot, Orange and Ginger.

I have also managed to prepare lunch as I won't be back home until 1pm and this is a delicious recipe I have made before and shared with you all a little earlier on in my blog.  It is a brown lentil rice dish served with a large salad.  I don't think I am going to have time to make any protein (tofu or tempeh) so the lentil will have to do and perhaps some added avocado in my salad will assist with the protein intake.

(Warm and mix it up when ready to serve).

Ok so I have a few things to do before leaving the house so will catch up with you all a little later or tomorrow.

Thought for Today

Apologising does not mean that you are wrong and the other one is right....
It simply means that you value the relationship much more than your ego!

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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Day 51 - 23rd February 2016

I am happy to say that UK weather has welcomed be back with open arms and sunny weather and it really isn't too cold right?

Well this is great for me after having enjoyed some truly gorgeous weather West Coast of US.

This truly inspires me to get out and about in this beautiful weather.  I had quite a restless evening and didn't manage to sleep until 4am and was woken up by my mum at 9am as I had a couple of morning meetings and errands to run.  However, once these meetings and errands were completed and a quick run around the shops accomplished, I managed to venture out to Bedford Park and have a lovely refreshing walk for about 30 minutes.

For lunch, as I didn't really have much to prepare in the morning, I made something real quick yet healthy and very tasty.

Avocado Pesto Pasta (Vegan, GF & Nut Free)
2 servings

1 cup of gluten free pasta (fusilli)

2 small avocados
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup of washed fresh basil
1/4 cup of vegan parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil the pasta up in some salted water
In a blender, combine avocado, lemon, herbs and spices
Mix until smooth
(Optional:  pine /cashew nuts)

Once the pasta has softened to your liking, rinse and mix well with the pesto mixture.

Serve with a green leaf & vine tomato salad
Sprinkle with vegan parmesan.

Very tasty, healthy and fresh.

In total this meal took me 20 minutes to make so there really isn't any excuse for not eating healthy and fresh right?

There is a lot of planning going on in preparation for this weekends VegFest in Brighton.  Although I am really looking forward to this, I am quite apprehensive as there is SO MUCH to do and get done, lots of shopping and food preparation in order to offer all our visitors great food, both savoury and sweet.  So if you are free, please get your tickets and come and visit what will be a great event with lots of vegan goodies.  They not only have a number of delicious caterers there but also offer lots of vegan toiletries, foods, drinks, supplements, clothing and so much more.  Come down and don't miss out on all the fun!

Before then however, I am looking forward to my Bowen Therapy which is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  As all this preparation for the weekend commences and the physical activities start to take on the body, I want to make sure that I am as fit and pain free as possible so tomorrow is going to be quite an important day to give me a little extra support physically (no pressure for my therapist lol).

So for the rest of the day, planning continues, food ordering commences and as well as lots of water to keep the body hydrated and taking my supplements to additionally support my body, I feel a nice cup of coffee is in order - first of the day.

So until soon my friends, I will leave you with todays thought x

Thought for Today

Many people think that being spiritual means being positive!
But being spiritual means being conscious and aware.
To become conscious is a different thing than to become positive.
To become conscious and aware, we must become authentic.
Authenticity includes both positive and negative.
~ Teal Swan

Monday, 22 February 2016

Day 50 - 22nd February 2016

Good afternoon friends, it has been a few days since I last wrote from sunny Laguna Beach.  I am now back in the UK, having arrived last Friday and taken advantage of the weekend to catch up on rest and sleep before kicking off today with catching up on mail, calls, emails etc. etc.  It is amazing how although being in a different country whilst on holiday and knowing you have access to emails, you feel so out of touch and whatever you do do to catch up doesn't quite prepare you for the practicalities of when you return and the 'real' catch up begins.

Anyways enough of that, we are back on track and heading in the right direction ~ forward!

As most of you will know, this weekend sees up supporting VegFest 2016 down in Brighton by having a catering pitch to provide a diverse range of foods, from wraps (including gluten free) with a number of delicious fillings to delicious raw treats and snacks (chocolate brownie, energy balls etc.).  So please don't forget to come by and visit us and grab a delicious bite to eat.

Although on holiday, I was able to follow a mostly healthy way of eating as well as being able to provide a lot of what Virtuoso Foods offers here in the UK over in the West Coast, to family and friends and new friends and contacts that were made there.  I was very fortunate to also be able to host to private catering events which were both surprisingly 'Raw & Gluten Free'.  RAW foods seems to be a very popular way to eat West Coast (LA/Laguna Beach) as it is not only light, yet filling and tasty and when done right, looks so good.  So that was a success and pleasure.

Coming back to the UK I am still in 'jet-lag' mode however that hasn't stopped me in preparing good for to eat at home and keep me fuelled in the right way.

This was my delicious lunch prepared earlier, after a morning of shopping, doctors etc.

Avocado & Rice Salad with Tofu

A mix of vine tomatoes, avocado, brown rice, chick peas, spinach and tofu tossed in a delicious balsamic and sesame seed dressing.  Very tasty.

I had a very early morning appointment at the Multi-Skeletal Clinic to see what can be done with issues in the back.  Basically it was concluded that the pain I have been suffering with is due to joint issues and not the actual discs.  The options moving forward are to have physiotherapy to work on muscles and joints as well as acupuncture to help relieve the pain and then consider having steroid injections to see if this will also help relieve the pain and inflammation in the muscles, joints and nerves.  As I have had steroid injections before, I will put this on hold as a last resort as the injection going into the body in itself is agony!

The other therapy I had the pleasure to experience whilst in the States was called, 'The Bowen' Technique.  The Bowen Technique is a remedial, hands-on therapy that is applied using very gentle pressure. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on precise points of the body to perform Bowen's unique sets of rolling-type moves which stimulate the muscles and soft tissue of the body.

I had 3 sessions of this in the US and to me, it truly did work wonders to the point that the initial pain I experienced in the right hand side lower back/hip area, which when the pain struck, really did disable me and restrict my movement/sitting, seemed to go away.  Although I feel a niggling pain in the same area, I don't have the sharp pain shooting up my spine and attacking my nerve system which is an excellent result in itself.

With this result, I investigated how I can continue this therapy back in the UK and found a practitioner in The Bowen Technique not far from me here in Bedford and have booked my first appointment with her on Wednesday so am really looking forward to this.  I will keep you updated on this progress and of course I will await my appointment with the physiotherapist to see how that too can assist in recovery.

Now that I am back, I need to pick up my 'movement' activities, in terms of walking more and perhaps starting to swim.  After lunch, I walked along the Embankment for 35 minutes as the sun cam out.  Beautiful.

Picture is from the Embankment River in Bedford, sun shining, river looking beautiful.

Well friends, I will leave you with todays thought and until soon x

Thought for Today

If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Day 42 - 14th February 2016

Happy Valentines Day!

Firstly apologies as it has been a few days since my last update.

Ill-health took over my mind and body and I was pretty much knocked out for about 5 days.  However, although my head is still bunged up, full of sinus like symptoms (the weather here is warm yet very cloudy and foggy and low in oxygen) I am feeling 75% better and at least a bit more functional.

Today, as we all know is Valentines Day, and this to me is showing the people around us that we love them and care for them, whether it is a lover, family, friends or someone who has shown us unconditional love and kindness, it is always nice to show them a loving gesture.

This morning, feeling a little more energetic, I decided to get and start baking and cooking. 

This is nothing out of the ordinary for me as this is what I do and of course my passion however I thought it would be nice just to go that extra mile to make sure I had prepared all the favourite foods and cakes and treats as my way of saying 'Thank you' to my big sis, for accommodating me so well whilst being here and taking good care of me.

I will be back in the UK on 19th February and once rested after my trip will be back to normal in my schedule and will start to keep more regular with my blog updates.  However, for the next few days, I will take a break to fully recover and spend time with my sis and friends during the last fews day of my LA trip.

So until soon my friends take care and have a great week ahead x

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Day 37 - 9th February 2016

Good morning everyone from sunny Laguna Beach, CA.    The weather has really heated up and it is Summer hear (for me it is although everyone around me calls this Spring)!  It is 26C!  Lovely.

It has been a few days since my last update as we have been busy with friends as well as travelling to Las Vegas for the weekend and of course resting in between.

Las Vegas was a place I had always wanted to visit, for many years now, and now that I had the opportunity to see it in all its glamour, I can certainly tick that off my list of things to do (please see my bucket list also within this blog).

Tao Restaurant & Night Club
(they catered to our vegan and gluten free diet well).

The Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip

My nephew beautifully orchestrated our weekend.  We stayed in a suite at the beautiful 'Venetian' Hotel, found a couple of restaurants that catered to our dietary requirements (vegan and ideally gluten free), and saw a couple of very good shows Jabbawockeez (a dance act from the winning show 'America's Best Dance Crews') and a Cirque de Soleil show 'Zoomanity' which was a burlesque type performance.  Both excellent and highly entertaining.

We walked the famous Las Vegas 'strip' which is approx. 4 miles long and came face to face with street performers, live street DJ's, dance crews, drunks, comedians, plus so many more wonderful (and not so wonderful) characters.

Yesterday, 8th February, having been back a day, and all of us feeling quite tired and needing a chill-ax type of day, I decided to prepare some quick and easy food yet very tasty and 'clean'.  Below is my recipe for a delicious Sweet Potato and Chilli Soup.

Sweet Potato, Chilli & Coconut Soup (gluten free & vegan)

Served 4-6 people
1 large white sweet potato, 1 large orange sweet potato, 1 medium red skinned potato (desiree) - all chopped into small pieces (the smaller the quicker they cook)
4 stalks of celery with all its leaves
1/2 cup of coriander leaves & stalk (keep 1 tbsp of leaves aside for decoration)
1 can of organic unsweetened coconut milk
10 cups of water (boiled)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp of coconut oil
1/4 tsp of chilli flakes (or more if you can stand the heat)!

In a saucepan, put the coconut oil and chilli flakes to sauté for a minute before adding all the vegetables
Saute for about 5 minutes before adding the boiling water.
Add salt and pepper to taste and let mixture simmer for about 30 minutes (until veggies are tender).
Add the coconut milk and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Blend mixture until smooth.
Serve and garnish with coriander leaves.

Simple yet so quick and delicious!

For dessert, as we were having people over and I wanted to offer something uncomplicated yet healthy and tasty, I made some no flour cookies.

No Flour Banana & Raisin Cookies (gluten free & vegan - no added sugar)

Makes 12 medium cookies

3 ripe bananas
1 cup of medium/large oats
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (or other nuts you enjoy)
1/2 cup of raisins (or mixed dried berries)

Mash the bananas with a fork.
Add the oats, walnuts and raisins and mix well (until they all come together).

Using a flat baking tray (or you can use a muffin tray), spray oil onto the tray and spoon the cookie mixture on top.  You can make these into as small (bite-size) pieces as you like or large.

Great for a snack and healthy energy boost and totally delicious.

So far, experimenting with different foods, eating out V eating in, avoiding gluten, avoiding dairy has highlighted to me the times when I feel good and the times when I feel tired, weighed down and sleepy.  It is a great way to work with the body, feed the body and test it to the point that you listen to eat when it can not digest or tolerate certain foods and more importantly, food combining.

Whilst being here in Laguna/LA, I have met a few people who have brought to my attention the importance of 'food combining' and which food groups are best to be consumed together and which should be consumed on their own with the aim of perfect digestion as well as enhancing the bodies capacity to cope and perform at its peak.  So another imminent project of mine is to look into and research 'food combining' and bring not only to myself but be able to share with you all great foods and recipes that work well together or even on their own.  So watch this space!

Ok well another day is passing us by so I will leave you with a great thought.

Thought for Today

A negative mind 
will NEVER give you
a positive life!


I wanted to put together a list of things I wanted to achieve during the year of 2016.

I truly feel that this is a magical year and looking forward to all it has to offer.

Below are all my goals, some dreams and milestones I would like to accomplish.

Let us see how far I get :) (list in no particular order)!

1.  Establish a successful business in an area I am passionate about.

2.  Take care of my body:  a) physical = work on the structure to help support the back, spine and nervous system b) mental = take more time out to rest, relax, reflect & meditate.

3.  Walk at least 30 minutes every day.

4.  Living in the UK, where the grass is green, the roads clean (mostly) and the streets pretty safe, get out and be in nature, come rain or shine.

5.  Run beautiful retreats in Europe at least 5 times per year.

6.  Run regular workshops to help assist people in the understanding of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and RAW foods, cakes and treats.

7.  Visit Las Vegas.

8.  Visit a West End Theatre at least twice.

9.  Visit Los Angeles/Laguna Beach.

10.  Write a recipe book.

11.  Practice the art of being patient & tolerant.  DAILY

12.  Be in the 'moment' more (less tv, less computers, less mobile phones).  DAILY

13.  Spend time with people who truly care and love me, positive & selfless people, and based on this, be confident to let go of people who serve me no purpose.  Create a new network of people that truly care and deserve to be with me.  I VALUE MYSELF.  I VALUE MY LIFE!

14.  EAT WELL.  Clean food, clean living = well being.  DAILY

15.  NETWORK:  not to be afraid to network.  Get out there and know I have so much to offer.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Day 31, 2016

Wednesday 3rd February.

Days really seems to whizz past without me knowing where time has really gone.  

We wake, cook, shop, walk, eat, drink, cook, bake, visit, eat, drink, read, plan, chat, etc. etc. and the day is over.

Being in a different timezone also assists in the speed of time.

Having a lovely special popular sister only increases the speed of time what with planning, networking, visiting friends, lunches, dinners, coffees, teas, drinks, sight-seeing etc. etc. make time go fast.  Hence I have already been here for nearly 2 weeks and it only feels like I arrived yesterday.  

It is definitely nice being busy and occupied in the right way and I see the benefits of taking time out regular in our busy day to quieten the mind, reflect and let go of all those busy activities, meditate, simply be in the moment and rest both mind and body.

Having said all that, I have plenty of opportunity to show of my cooking and baking skills.  So for today I made wraps for lunch and boy they were gorgeous.  Take a peek inside :)

1 = Greek Salad (feta cheese, mint, tomatoes, avocado, coriander, spinach, lemon juice)
2 = Nutty Naughty (feta cheese, walnuts, mind, rocket, avocado, hemp seeds, lemon juice)

Sneak peak inside :)

Beautiful morning - great start to the day.

Ok now off to doctors and some shopping before coming back to prepare dinner for our guests tonight.

It is a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you are ready.

I have this feeling now, that actually,

no one is ever ready to do anything.
There is almost no such thing as ready.
There is only now,
and you may as well do it now.
Generally speaking,
now is as good a time as any.
~ Hugh Laurie

If you would like to receive daily inspirational 'thoughts', then please go to this link on Facebook and like the 'Thought for Today' page.  It is beautiful and inspiring and sometimes, these thoughts come on the day you need that extra boost.

So until soon my friends, I will leave you with todays thought.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Day 28 & 29, 2016

Well what can I say about today, Sunday 31st January.

The last day of January brought to Laguna Beach (and most of Los Angeles/West Coast) very turbulent weather, severe winds, very heavy rain which resulted in us losing electricity for most of the day as well as telephone/internet connections being down.  The windows shook loudly, the furniture on the patio moved, all the covers being thrown around everywhere and branches and leaves surrounded us.

However, despite all of this, I woke early (because of the loudness outside), showered, changed, meditated, took a few minutes to myself before setting to work in the kitchen.  

Today my nephew and his friends are coming over for lunch and I have a feast planned for them.  Basically the menu consists of 70% raw and the rest cooked.

The Menu

Starter:  Tempura made with rice flour and loads of delicious veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, red pepper, shiitake mushrooms) served with a miso chilli dressing.


Main:  Rice rolls filled with rice noodles, carrots, tofu & basil served soy sauce.  Raw noodles (courgettes and red cabbage with a raw cashew pesto) with quinoa mango salad. 

Dessert:  Apple crumble alternative style served with banana ice-cream.

All the dishes above are gluten free, vegan and very tasty.  

I find that to cook from scratch, using fresh ingredients really does make a difference, both in taste and also in how we feel afterwards, because we know exactly what we have put in our food.

So the lunch went well and was was enjoyed by all so happy days!

After lunch we decided to venture out and watch a film at the movies and all decided upon 'The Revenant' with Leonard de Caprio.  It was a little gruesome but a great film and well worth watching.  All in all, it was a good day.

Monday 1st February

Wow doesn't time fly.  I woke up this morning and things seem to have calmed down a lot. The sun is shining however the wind is still bussling away although not as fierce as it was yesterday.  Today is going to be a day for relaxing and catching up with all my emails and planning of work activities which is great as since I have got to the US it has been non stop and I really feel it is good to take a step back and recharge.

Having said this we all need to eat right?  So the key to successful eating is planning.  So having got up early again (my body clock seems to be stuck on waking me around 5.30/6am).  I guess it is good thought right.  Anyway I digress - I woke early and started to prepare lunch for today so that whilst I get lost in the 'technical world' everyone can be fed well when the time calls.

I have decided on making a veggie soup to start.  As it is cold outside, soup is strongly called for.

Veggie Soup

1 cup of mixed chopped carrots (here we have got purple, orange and pale yellow).
1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
1 chopped red skin potato
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
3 tbsp of tomato puree (optional)
2 tbsp of white organic basmati rice (pre-washed)
1/2 cup of rice pasta

In a saucepan, put 8 cups of water and add the rice.
Let the water boil and rice cook for about 15 minutes.
Then add all the vegetables except the coriander.
Let the whole mixture boil for about 20 minutes then turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes.
Make sure that the veggies are tender before serving.
Add the coriander and then simmer for another 5 minutes.

For our main luncheon, I have prepared a brown rice, kale and shiitake mushroom dish with a side of mixed coloured carrots.  

Nutritious, healthy, gluten free & vegan.  What more can anyone ask for. 

Health wise, I am feeling fine.  I wouldn't say 100% but about 75%.  After a long day yesterday, my back felt somewhat challenged and still a little achy now but tolerable and I have a little head pressure and I think because of this, my eyes feel extra sensitive today.  So I am regularly compressing my eyes and drinking lots of water to wash out any toxins.  I also had all my morning supplements as well as a deliciously strong shot of Aloe Vera.  So all in all, I know what to do and am doing it and along with some rest, I will be recover.

So my dear friends, until soon and another day, have a wonderful day/evening x