May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).

Before we start this ‘free from favourites’, I want you to know that I am not sponsored by any of these companies, I just like sharing with you all a few of my favourites in the hope it can help. I remember all too well how frustrating and difficult it was when I discovered my gluten intolerance and whilst being vegan seems easy enough, pairing the two started of being quite hard.

Continue reading “May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).”

Beautiful birthday gifts.

As I have told you many times before March is one of my favourite months and only partly because my birthday is in March. I love March because it means Easter is on it’s way, the warmer months are starting to appear, the fields are filled with Spring time blooms and everybody seems to be happier.

Whilst enjoying this month I have also been enjoying a few of the following finds and birthday presents to. Each year I am surprised at how well my loved ones know me, the thought that goes into a present and card fills me with gratitude for those around me, thanking every single one of you.

Starting with two atmosphere mists by Made by CoopersAwaken– An uplifting blend of five essential oils designed to awaken the soul and lift the spirits. Grapefruit, Orange, Black Pepper, Palmarosa and Frankincense.’ This mist is just that, truly uplifting and brightens up each morning, the perfect scent to wake up and start my day to.

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Calm– A calming blend of five essential oils designed to relax the mind and body.
Lavender, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Rosemary and Frankincense.’ Another perfect statement to describe this utterly calming scent. I spray this every night before I go to sleep and after having a few weeks of insomnia it has been a life saver.

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I can not recommend these products enough and I am already looking forward to trying more vegan and ethically friendly products created by the wonderful Made by Coopers.

Another new natural brand to me is Nathalie Bond Organics. Buying me soap is always a little daring as my skin is sensitive, thus I am trying to reduce the amount of chemicals I use. Going natural is not as easy as it seems, with companies quiet often using terminology to trick people into thinking their products are natural. Finding a brand like Nathalie Bond Organics is so helpful and so far, using their soap bars has reinforced my already belief of natural is always best.

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Here I have been using the ‘Rose Geranium and Patchouli-Combining the light and floral scents of rose geranium with earthy patchouli, the Rose Geranium + Patchouli Wash Block is both sweet smelling and bursting with benefits for your skin.’

And the ‘Peppermint and Eucalyptus– Dusky grey in colour and minty in scent, the Peppermint + Eucalyptus Wash Block is a stress buster, scalp healer and chemical cleanser. Often used in aromatherapy, peppermint and eucalyptus allow you to unwind and refresh at the same time.’

Each soap block leaving me feel cleansed as though my skin is beginning to heal. Also with soap usually long lasting I believe these will be a very good investment. Again, I adore finding new ethical, vegan friendly beauty brands and I can not wait to explore the store.

Those of you who know me, will know how much I love pyjamas, there is just nothing like a new pair of pyjamas! My friend, Rosie, bought me these Cath Kidston floral (of course) pyjamas and I adore them, I can not believe how soft they are.

As mentioned in my ‘March Free From Favourites’ these are the chocolates I have been enjoying this month but I am all ready for the Easter bunnies arrival.

As mentioned in my earlier post, ‘A different path’ this summer I will be working at a summer camp in New York, of course I will also be exploring and me being me I want to make the most out of every second. To do that I will have to be prepared and what better way to be prepared than by reading? Starting with all the tourist guides I can get my hands on, thanking my parents for each of these accompanied by bookmark post it notes, yay! Travel stationary is totally a thing.

Speaking of traveling how adorable is this Sass & Belle collection? With a beautiful vintage map print and sweet quotes, making me even more so excited. This travel tag and small note pad are packed away ready for my adventure to begin.

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Next is this light box, I am not sure where this was from but these seem to becoming very popular amongst bloggers, my brother being the last person I would have thought to buy me one. I have been using it to write positive quotes and sayings, I love putting it on with the rest of my fairy lights whilst I practice yoga and meditation.

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Lastly and one of my absolute favourites this truly unique, Aries print my sister bought me from Etsy, although I can not seem to find the artist. Etsy is filled with beautiful creations and this is no exception, I just love it. It’s bright, colourful and beautifully designed, personalised with my date of birth. Bringing a touch of Spring to my bedroom all year round.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, maybe it has given you some gift ideas, for yourself as well as others!

Nicole

January free from favourites. (gluten free & vegan)

After not writing a ‘free from favourites’ in such a long time, this month I have decided to, attempt to, bring them back, I say attempt because well, my months seem to be getting busier and busier.

I find posts like these so helpful wether it be vegan, dairy free, gluten free or both, I always find reading posts such as this great for not feeling like ‘the fussy one’, finding new foods and places I didn’t know were allergy friendly and with Veganuary seeming more popular than ever I thought it was the perfect time to get started.  Continue reading “January free from favourites. (gluten free & vegan)”

A peaceful Christmas.

Hello all, I hope you have enjoyed Christmas time and are all well.

I write this post as a reminder to myself that looking after my mental health during this time of year is really rather important, a kind of follow up from my ‘A Healthier Christmas’ post.

Being completely honest my promises to myself were a little slack and keeping on top of meditation and mindfulness during this time was much harder than I had originally thought. I had a couple of moments of anxiety but I rationalised my thoughts and feelings and made a conscious choice to bring myself to the present moment.

Unlike past Christmas days, I kept well and I really enjoyed my day because of this, here are a few photographs to share with you. Beginning with Christmas Eve, I of course completed my Moo Free  advent calendar, I think I shall be opting for the same calendar next year to! I then wrapped some last minute presents including my fathers gifts for my mother (I just love to wrap!), visited my grandfather and helped my mother prepare some of the Christmas lunch, I then cuddled up with the boys and watched film after film, what better way to spend the night before Christmas?

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Christmas morning was very relaxed, my family and I exchanged presents and awaited more family to arrive before having lunch. Of course there were many gluten-fee, vegan options including, a cranberry and cashew nut rose, rosemary and red onion sausages, seasoned roasted brussel sprouts and new potatoes, roast potatoes, red cabbage, peas and carrots, a vegan feast pictured before my second plate and a covering of tomato sauce and chilli flakes (it’s good to think outside the box, right?) Speaking of all things vegan my parents bought me this truly beautiful tin and filled it will all kinds of vegan chocolates.

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Vegan Christmas dinner aside, my day was filled with family, laughter and a great feeling of gratefulness, I am truly blessed and very lucky to have such wonderful people (and dogs to) around me.

 

As tradition on Boxing Day my parents, Archie and I enjoyed a beautiful walk, in one of my favourites, Llangollen. We were blessed with blue skies and bright sunshine. It was also so lovely to see other people out walking and enjoying the morning.

After our walk my father and I had to drive over an hour to pick up my MacBook. During this drive, whilst sky gazing yet again, I was reminded of those not so peaceful times, my aunt used to take me out for drives to try and clear my mind and I couldn’t help feel such gratitude to be where I am today, to be healthy, happy and at peace with myself. For those who may be reading this who are where I once was please have hope, I promise it is possible.

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A short post but one I hope you have enjoyed reading, I always love to hear other peoples Christmas traditions, and I couldn’t resist a little vegan ramble, what with ‘veganuary’ approaching.

Wishing you well,

Nicole

A few days in December.

The last couple of weeks have been much busier than expected and I do apologise for the lack of festive posts, and to think I was going to attempt blogmas! Although busy and at times quite hectic I have managed to say somewhat calm and mindful to. My business has been filled with plans for the new year, all very exciting and hard work to but with balance in mind I have found time to enjoy with my loved ones and for me that’s what this time of year is all about.

Here are a few December photographs I would like to share with you, of course, if you follow my Instagram you will have seen my adorable Syd and Archie all wrapped up and looking cosy. This day was filled with putting the Christmas decorations up, listening to festive songs, wrapping presents and my mother and I even enjoyed some roasted chestnuts (my favourite).

Another lovely day was spent visiting my Aunty (kind of like my great grandmother), I feel like I have spoken about her many times before and well, she is a truly inspiring woman. The fact that she has lost her sight and is still baking Christmas cakes from scratch just shows you how wonderful she is. I always enjoy visiting her and leave feeling not only grateful but also inspired, she reminds me never to give up. On returning home my family and I all watched Hairspray live and it was just a lovely evening, nothing special but all together.

Throughout December I have also enjoyed some beautiful winter walks, although too cold to take my gloves of to take any photographs, each walk has been filled with bright, colourful skies and twinkly lights. One of my favourite things about dark, winter walks is walking past homes, seeing the warm glow from the windows, I imagine families to be all cosy, winding down for the evening and I know it probably sounds silly but it gives me a feeling of peace.

This month I finally met up with my friend Jessica, we ‘met’ over four years ago, and have not only been on very similar journeys but we are also kind of scarily similar. Meeting up in London was truly wonderful and we did so much, catching the tube here there and everywhere, seeing all the hustle and bustle of London life and enjoying a much different kind of beauty, the high buildings, the different smells (not all beautiful I must admit) and of course the sparkly Christmas lights.

I also got to visit The Mae Deli (sorry Liv), it was not what I expected at all, like a touch of home amongst the city business, it gave me a similar feeling to my winter walks, only I was the one escaping into a warm, cosy home. I enjoyed one of the Mae bowls, filled with four festive dishes, now I realise none of my attempts and Deliciously Ella’s recipes will ever be as good as the real thing. It was very strange to have more vegan, gluten free dishes than not, I guess either I will have to visit London again or hope for another deli opening up North.

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For more on my time in London please read my ‘More than a training day’ post, also it never fails to surprise me in how easy it is to be vegan and gluten-free in cities. Whilst in Pret a Manger, enjoying my breakfast of their new five grain porridge (I highly recommend, does anybody know how to make this at home?), I noticed the amount of people ordering soy coffees, compared to when in coffee shops up North. Also, how easy it seemed to have an allergen friendly lunch, instead of the usual ‘ooo that must be so hard’ response.

As for this week, I shall be hopefully spending more time with my loved ones and enjoy a couple of days to relax before the beginning of all the exciting adventures this new year will bring. Just in case I do not write before, I wish you all a truly wonderful Christmas, be kind to yourself and others.

Nicole

The 1st of December.

The magic of December is finally upon us and with a gentle reminder that this month is not a month for pressure nor stress, I have come up with an idea for advent, to reflect on each day with: an act of kindness for myself and another, something I am proud of and something I am grateful for. No matter how small, looking at these four things at the end of my day, as a way to be reminded that there is more to Christmas than the hustle and bustle that can often overwhelm us.

First, my act of self kindness, this has to be my breakfast, okay I know, I might be cheating slightly as I have a good bowl of porridge every morning however, today I took a little more time than I usually would and allowed myself time to enjoy it. Also the addition of a cup of Christmas coffee along with my  moo-free advent calendar chocolate gave it that extra bit of kindness. There is just something about advent calendars and breakfasts in pyjamas that make me feel all cosy.

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My act of kindness has been harder than I thought it would be, which being completely honest saddens me a little. Maybe I am unsure what an ‘act of kindness’ really means, or how small it can be. I mean, does taking my dogs walking count? Or making my father a cup of tea? Perhaps the raffle tickets I sold? I think this one needs some work.

Something  I am proud of, after a few months without running, this week I have got back to it. I have only been on two very short runs/walks but I am very proud of myself for allowing myself time for me and I am so happy I have. I am not only proud of myself for starting again but also for not pushing myself too far too soon, small steps. Ps, I did not start that fire, I simply stumbled upon it and stood there for a little warmth.

As always I am grateful for the sky and I apologise these photographs were taken last week and yesterday, I was in the woods whilst the sun set this evening but of course I feel very grateful I have been able to see such beautiful skies and grateful I am surrounded by such beauty. I could go on with a whole list of what I feel grateful for but today I choose the sky, the colours and the beauty that surrounds me (that counts as one, right?)

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I hope you have had a lovely day,

Nicole