This is dangerously delicious and so easy! I recommend everyone to give this a go because you can’t go wrong. It’s all about rough chopping, chucking things in a saucepan/baking dish and letting the oven do the work. I love Christmas spices and fruits and they compliment each other all so well in this recipe. This is a great one for you to share with your loved ones at this wonderful time of year.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

6 Plums
4 Apples
1 inch grated Ginger
2 tsps Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cardamom
A handful of Raisins

For the crumble topping:
1c Oats
1c Pecans
1 tsp Vanilla Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp pure Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Coconut Oil

Dice the fruit and put into a saucepan with the dried spices, grated ginger and raisins, plus enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by about a centimetre. Let this simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, crush the pecans in a food processor (or just bash and break them if you don’t have a machine) and combine with the oats in a bowl. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Warm the coconut oil in a pan along with cinnamon, vanilla, 2 tbsps of maple syrup and a little extra grated ginger; this will only take a minute. Pour this wet mix over the oats and pecans and combine. When the stewed fruit is ready, pour it into your baking dish (a ceramic one with depth is ideal), then top with the crumble layer. Finally drizzle with 1 last tbsp of maple syrup over the top then put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

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My yoga classes throughout December are going to be focusing on reconnecting with primal movement and instinct.

We humans, particularly in the west, are becoming further removed from where we came from. Artificial environments and daily habits are drawing us out of touch with our natural instincts, which is causing both physical and mental suffering.

As a yoga teacher I provide advice to a whole group of students. My instructions are heavily geared towards keeping the class safe, however as soon as I feel like my students have enough knowledge of safe alignment, I hugely encourage them to move more freely, exploring their own pace, depth, even perhaps angling the body differently to create a new stretch of that feels good in their body.

Try rolling out your mat with no plan; no rules or ideals about how yoga ‘should’ look. Step onto your mat and begin to move. You may begin on all fours, in child’s pose, in a comfortable seat, laying on your belly/back; however you please. Just be there for a moment or two then allow your body to move of its own accord. You may begin with some very simple stretching, yawning open the body, and then continue; tuning into what feels good in your unique body. This doesn’t stop at movement in the body but you may also like to draw on sounds; things like heavily exhales with an open mouth ‘HAAAA’ can help to really release (lion’s breath) and gentle ‘hmmmmm’ing exhales through the nose can quieten the mind and relax the whole system (bhramari).

I think it can be nice to do this practice in, or at least with a view of, nature. Being in nature always helps me to reconnect with what makes me happy, what I can shed and most importantly, the present moment.

Being in the body this way can give a sense of freedom, without societal constraints. Our own led movement can lead to us towards feeling far more open, in tune and at ease; mentally and physically.

This porridge is so delicious, warming, comforting, nourishing, wholesome… The list could go on. I love it so much and keep making some variation of this recipe over and over again. It’s actually so easy to make a berry compote but feels rather fancy. I way prefer topping my porridge with this kind of berry goodness rather than cold ones from the fridge.

Ingredients:

1/2c Oats (I like jumbo oats)
1 tbsp Coconut Yogurt (I use Coyo)
1 large handful of Berries (blackberries, blueberries or raspberries)
1 tsp pure Maple Syrup

Optional:
2 tbsps toasted Coconut Flakes
1 tbsp Maca
1 tbsp Flaxseed

Simply rinse the berries and put them in a saucepan with a dash of water (maybe like a quarter of a cup of less) and maple syrup. (I would make the compote in larger quantities then refrigerate and just lightly warm again in a saucepan before use.). Let this simmer for about 5 minutes then get your oats and flax seed, if using, in another pan with enough water to cover. Add the dash of maple to the berries. Now keep the lid off both saucepans to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Turn off the heat and stir the coconut yogurt and maca powder into the oats. Pour the oats into a bowl and top with the berry compote and coconut flakes.

P.s. I always top my porridge bowls with nut butter; one of my 5 desert island foods!

New York was the last stop on my American adventure before I flew to Ireland to reunite with my family, and then back to England. This infamous city was of course bustling and there were so many food options, covering pretty much all cuisines. During my 5 days, I walked the sky line, visited the Friends apartment, explored the One World observatory, wandered through the outskirts of Central Park and indulged in a little shopping spree. It was fun and interesting but honestly, by this point in my trip I was not feeling grounded, I was up in the air with feelings of anxiety and for a girl who isn’t inclined towards city life, New York was a lot. However, I had some yummy eats and most importantly, I found one of my favourite yoga studios ever.

I was shown extreme generosity again and was able to stay with a guy who had a gorgeous penthouse apartment in Brooklyn. He opened his home to me, showed me around the city on bikes and gave me all his top tips for food, bars, things to see etc.

On my last evening in New York, and what was in fact my final night of over a two year trip away from home, exploring the world, the universe opened its forever loving arms to me and blessed me with an indescribable sunset. The unedited photo above (from my iPhone 5c) gives an idea but of course doesn’t even touch on the fluorescent reality. It was a pleasure to witness and made me feel safe and supported.

Laughing Lotus Yoga:

A good friend of mine from Byron had told me a lot about this yoga, I knew she was a huge fan and had travelled from Australia to America as well as India in order to carry out Laughing Lotus trainings. I had this recommendation in the back of my mind but was not prepared to trek across New York to get there. However, when I arrived in Brooklyn and headed to the apartment I was staying in (my friend’s boyfriend’s best friend’s place!), there it was; no more than a 5 minute walk away. There’s only two studios in the whole of New York, what are the chances?! And so, I bought an unlimited two week pass and I fell in love. I went to 6 classes in the 4 days I had the pass; each with a different teacher, each totally amazing in a similar, yet distinct way. The style of yoga taught at this centre is like dancing; it’s fluid, feminine movement which is led beautifully with a true knowledge of and dedication to yogic philosophy.

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One of the things I love about yoga is that there’s an unlimited number of styles. Each individual has their own yoga but even when distinguishing main stream categories, there is a huge difference from say ashtanga to kundalini. For me, the style at Laughing Lotus is perfect. I felt like my body was transformed into pure liquid love. It was a total privilege to attend these classes and I will definitely keep them in mind for future trainings.

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Food.

Abracadabra Cafe:

This is on Bedford Ave, basically where it’s all happening in Brooklyn. It is so gorgeous, from the homemade Turkish-style whole food (gf + vegan), to the lovely staff, and to the cute decor with books on offer to have a read of while enjoying your time at Abracadabra.

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Quinoa
This is also on Bedford Ave (it’s a long street!) and is more of a take-away style. You can sit in by the big window, which I did as it’s the perfect people watching spot. I had a yummy box full including kale salad, sweet potato fries and a quinoa veggie burger.

DeKalb Markets:
These markets are also in Brooklyn but are a totally different side to Bedford Ave, about an hour walk away, or perhaps a little longer. There is an array of different food stalls and I really got a great meal from a place called Three Spoons which was all about that healthy whole food. This was the inspiration for my Ginger Miso Noodle Bowl I posted a couple of weeks ago.

Dō Cookie Dough Confections:
Now, this place is the absolute opposite of anything resembling ‘healthy’ but oh my, it’s the true American experience and it’s amazing to go/see/try! This spot is over in lower Manhattan and must draw tourists from all over the world. First of all, they have a cabinet that looks like an ice cream bar but it’s all cookie dough. I saw it and thought ‘wow, yum’ and sampled a couple of different flavours. Now I swear to you I love sweet stuff but this was just too much, even for me. I felt like I was literally crunching on sugar granuals in my mouth. They looked incredible though with all sorts of different flavours and if you love cookie dough then you would surely drool.

So, there you are thinking I’m this super healthy no cookie dough gal… Wrong! I then saw this big fudgey brownie and my name was written all over it. I bought it and walked to the end of the road to Washington Square Park. This square was like a brownie cake/caramel slice/fudge bar all mixed into one with a thick middle layer of cookie dough caramel. It was UNREAL and I delighted in every mouthful.

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I absolutely love this salad. It’s easy to make as the pumpkin just sits in the oven and the quinoa on the stove while you assemble the rest of the salad. I like to make this in big batches as it keeps so well so it really is worth the half an hour.

If you’re not a fan of any of these vegetables/herbs, as always, I encourage you to swap them with something you will enjoy. This is the fun of cooking! Here’s my recipe for what suits me but if you prefer to roast squash, beets or sweet potato then go for it. Similarly, if you’d prefer fresh mint or chives, perhaps you want to chop those on top instead of coriander.

Enjoy creating.

3 portions:

1c Quinoa
1 large Cucumber / 2-3 small Cucumbers
3 handfuls of Rocket
1 handful of Pine Nuts
1 handful of Cherry Tomatoes
1 1/2 Avocados (a half per portion)

1 Pumpkin
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Pepper
Mixed Dried Herbs

1-2 lemons
3 tbsps Toasted Sesame Oil
Coriander

First, heat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare the pumpkin. If it’s organic, I always keep the skin on as it adds a lovely texture, if not I cut off the skin in attempt to remove most of the chemicals. Cube the pumpkin and add to a baking tray with the seeds and drizzle with olive oil then add salt, pepper and dried mixed herbs. These can stay in the oven for 25-35 mins depending on the size of your cubes. Be sure to move them around at least once during cooking. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well then add to double the amount of water in a saucepan, along with some dried herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Bring to boil and leave to simmer for 12 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Set the quinoa aside while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. Slice the cucumber longways twice then chop across to create small slices, quarter the cherry tomatoes and halve the avocados. Add the pine nuts to a saucepan on a low heat to allow them to toast. Add all of the vegetables to the quinoa salad and combine the sesame oil and lemon then cut in the coriander while keeping a watchful eye on the pine nuts as they burn easily, keep them moving. Put a handful of rocket and half an avocado on each plate then add quinoa salad mix. You may like to add an extra drizzle of oil/lemon, an extra sprinkle of coriander and a crack of salt/pepper. Enjoy!

A woman’s moon cycle is a beautiful thing. It provides the opportunity for a monthly detox and an inward journey.

I lost my periods for over two years. I began my cycle at a young age and was always very regular with minimal discomfort over and above usual cramps and aches. Then, I took off in a plane to the other side of the world; travelled and lived in Australia, back packed through South East Asia, returned to live in Australia and topped it all off with a roadtrip through America. Two years and two months later I returned home; two weeks later, my period came back.

I had spent two years dreaming of the day my flow would return and throughout that time I learned so much about my body, about the female body as a collective and about the art of menstruation.

Firstly, I want to mention The Pill. While I was in my second year of university I lived in a house of eight girls and every single one of us took it. Now I see that as crazy but at the time it was perceived as totally ‘normal’. The Pill totally alters your inside makeup, releasing chemicals into your precious reproductive system, causing a totally unnatural cycle. Bleeding while on The Pill is not a ‘real’ period but is instead a withdrawal bleeding. Therefore, many of us have gone years completely detached from our cycles. Our bodies are so clever and each system works in a specific way for a reason, to tamper with that can be detrimental to our health.

Throughout my time devoid of periods, I dug deep. I saw doctors, nurses and a whole host of healers including: reiki masters, naturopaths, Ayurvedic practitioners, a TCM practitioner many times and even attended a whole day workshop on ‘Balancing the Female Hormones’ at the Yoga Barn in Bali. I was tested through blood, urine, stool, swab, ultrasound, and was treated with herbs, tinctures, acupuncture, yoga, and even reintroduced a little high quality red meat into my diet for a short while until I realised it was to have no effect. It turned out that the only way my body was going to be truly soothed, nourished and able to let go, was to come home.

A large part of my journey was focused around me connecting to my feminine energy. This is really important and is a beautiful way to honour your cycle.

1. Turn inward. This is not a time for expelling your energy outward, it’s a time to conserve the energy within. You might like to get creative with artwork by painting, sewing, baking, writing, music, or perhaps switch off and lie in your bed with a good book or your favourite series; whatever allows you to best relax in divine peace.

2. Be gentle. This is also not a time for raising your heart rate and temperature. Menstruation is already a heating natural process, therefore you want to cool the system. Perhaps take an extra day or two off your usual workout and go for a walk instead; switch your vinyasa practice for a restorative practice; make whatever provisions allow you to draw your energy in and down, rather than up and out.

3. Allow yourself to feel. During that time of the month it’s common to feel more irritable and agitated with a lack of sympathy and even hot headed anger. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you’re a bad person! It’s important to recognise this happening and lovingly remind yourself that it’s ok. Recognise this as a symptom of your hormonal upheaval, take a deep breath and let the pent up tightness be released from your body. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like roaring, roar (in a private place). Try not to push down your feelings even if you recognise their supposed ‘unwarranted’ nature, instead allow them to move through you so that they can be released.

Mornings are sacred. Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga) teaches many beautiful rituals which I have loved incorporating into my life. This is not a stress and not something you ‘should’ do, it’s advice which you may choose to take on board to make your mornings, and then whole day, brighter, lighter and more special.

Personally, mornings are my favourite time of the day. It’s a chance for a fresh start. You can make today whatever you want it to be. So why not start off with nourishing your own needs, creating a balanced environment within so that you can then diffuse the air and those around you with this sense of calm and contentment.

Throughout the night, during sleep, our bodies are hard at work detoxifying. To make full use of all this incredible work it’s important we expel those toxins clustered at the edges of our body ready for takeoff. The very first thing I do every morning without fail (even while living in the desert), is scrape my tongue. You can buy or order stainless steel scrapers for less than £10. I bought mine over a year ago and have never looked back. This simple action rids you of the toxic build up on the tongue and we can examine our tongue to gain an insight to our mental and emotional wellbeing. I won’t go into this here as it’s far too lengthy for this post but definitely look into it if you’re interested! Other ways of eliminating toxins are brushing teeth, eliminating the bowels and bladder, showering/bathing and having this delicious ginger, honey and lemon tea…

Agni boosting tea:

1cm fresh grated ginger
A squeeze of fresh lemon
1/2 tsp raw honey

All ingredients would preferably be organic, most importantly the honey (which you also want raw). Do what you can. Often markets sell local honey, just check it isn’t pasteurised.

Simply add the three elements to your favourite mug and add (almost) boiling water. I like to top with cold water by about a centimetre or two then pour the water from the kettle on top. This means I can drink it sooner and doesn’t overly heat the honey.

This tea works to continue the detoxification process, cleanse and also stimulate the digestive system before breakfast. It’s super yummy too, such a delight!

So really the importance here is to properly take the time to be with your medicinal mug-ful. Here you have created a drink with the intention of tending to your health, continue this gesture of self-love by taking the time to truly be with it and enjoy. Drinking tea can be a wonderful meditation. Taking this 10 minutes in the morning will really set the tone for the rest of your day. I am sure that you deserve it.

 

‘Burning Man isn’t your usual festival. It’s a vibrant participatory metropolis generated by its citizens.’

… And I’d have to wholeheartedly agree.

Burning man is not an event you go to; it’s an event you create, you and your fellow burners.

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This was my first time and after hearing only incredible reviews, that all still seemed rather mysterious, I was very excited to experience it, and now I can share some of that with you.

If you’re interested in going, the first thing you need to know is that you need to be prepared. It’s not something you can just rock up at almost by accident. To acquire a Burning Man ticket is your first challenge. I know many people who tried to get tickets but were unsuccessful, due to the enormous amount of demand for this world famous event. Now I’m going to let you in on the best kept secret… Low income tickets. These are released in February, before the main release yet you have to wait at least a couple of months before you know if you’re successful so it is a risk. You must provide documentation to prove your low income status. I was very organised with this and asked my mum to take photos of certain documents I had at home and then send them to my phone in Australia. I had everything prepared and was sat at a laptop in Perth, Western Australia, at 4am when the tickets were released… On my 23rd birthday I found out I was successful! I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. That was that, I was meant to go to Burning Man and so that was what I would do.

Getting into the Nevada Desert is the next challenge, but really it’s not a challenge; it’s fun, well, I guess it depends. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride with a guy coming all the way down from Alaska! He picked me up in Portland and we rode all the way down… 20 hours later I pulled up to my camp. Av, who brought me, was volunteering and so had an early access pass for which he could get a +1, he got that for me and so we cruised in the day before main entry, missing the big queues. Don’t worry though, I hardly heard any horror stories of 10 hours queuing in the desert as his year they opened the gates at midnight so the influx of people was much better spread out, I’m guessing they will continue that system.

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On the outskirts of the setup are all the people who have come alone/with a small group of friends i.e. Not part of an organised camp. This is an option but I joined a camp because my good friends have been part of this camp in previous years, and I was so incredibly happy about that. I paid $300 camp fees and $100 for my half of the yurt I shared with my friend. So this included a hot meal per day, the amazing, super fun community of friends, the cleverly designed yurt we slept in for 8 nights and ALL my water for 8 days, including that to drink, to shower with, to brush teeth with, to wash pots with, everything. You would have to bring a serious amount of water with you if you were coming yourself. Due to my joining the camp, it allowed me to rock up with hardly anything. I think I must have been one of the lightest burners going. Together we created our incredible art car, bar, chill out area and all the yurts. Many of the guys there had done so so so much more than me before I even arrived. As soon as I got there I got to work on the art car and actually ended up wiring the whole sound and light system! Every effort was so highly appreciated; my first look into this amazing world of pure, genuine kindness and gratitude.

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So how did I stick to my healthy habits at Burning Man? On the journey down with Av, we stopped at an organic Oregon grocers which was perfect. I stocked up one box full and was really happy with all I’d taken and here it is:

Avocado
Rice cakes
Cucumbers
Apples
Banana Chips
Big jar of Peanut Butter
Oats
Himilayan pink salt
Pure honey
Bare Blends Greens powder
Bare Blends Berries powder
Bare Blends Peruvian Powder (-my favourite protein from where I worked in Byron. It’s an earthy, delicious blend of cacao, maca, mesquite, lucuma, sacha inchi, vanilla, cinnamon etc.)

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Note: I was also given some hot meals by my camp (inc in fees, but I only had two.)
Extra note: my amazing friend came the day after me and brought us lots of extra fresh fruit, tamari almonds, salted cashew, more avo, more rice cakes, and tomatoes, lemon and lime. We shared everything.

I LIVED ON: avo on rice cakes with salt and lemon and also, oats mixed (in an empty nut butter jar) with water, Peruvian powder, honey, salt & peanut butter. Genuinely ate both of these everyday and loved them every single time.

So after all that, all I’ve discussed is getting there and food. Burning Man itself is quite unexplainable, it’s like nothing else. It’s an alternate universe that’s a playground for all the senses. It challenges, radicalised and opens your mind. As the days go by, more and more layers get stripped back, even from those tepid first timers. I believe that anyone can enjoy this wonderland. There is so much on offer at every moment of everyday and it’s a place that never sleeps (although you can!). You are told time and time again, ‘welcome home’, you are met with open arms and love, sweet love. You are squeezed and soothed, nurtured and pushed; there are no more boxes to remain in. The creativity and self expression will blow your mind in ways I simply cannot even attempt to describe. Burning Man will give you what you need, just allow the desert to sweep you off your feet.

I’m so incredibly glad I made it to Burning Man. I was 22 when I applied for a ticket. I applied alone, knowing no one else going and I was currently living in Australia. I was 23 (exactly) when I found out I got a ticket and from there the magic happened. Flights were booked, a ride share was found, a sleeping bag was given to me and everything somehow fell right into place. If you’re meant to go to this wonderous dreamland of:

Radical Inclusion. Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. …
Gifting. Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. …
Decommodification. …
Radical Self-reliance. …
Radical Self-expression. …
Communal Effort. …
Civic Responsibility. …
Leaving No Trace.
… Then the whole universe will conspire to make it happen!

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While in Byron, I was reading this amazing book on Ayurveda that comes from the institute in the area. It’s a study book that I became quite obsessed with because it was so good!

One of my favourite things in there was this idea of the ‘bliss list’. On the topic of sweetness, it discussed how sweet is often a taste we go to for comfort when we need that extra nourishment, particularly as modern day lifestyles can often leave many rather devoid. The bliss list is about spending some time tuning inward and reconnecting to what it is in life that makes you happy. We can get sweetness from many more things than food.

My bliss list ended up expanding and expanding and really I could add to it everyday. Just have a think of what lights you up inside, what makes you smile and what it is that creates a positive day for you.

You can go as big and small as you like, for example, a certain place you love to visit on holiday (big/expensive), yet also a certain cup of tea that warms your every sense (small/cheap). It’s both the simple and extravagant. Make a note of this and ask yourself how often you could/should incorporate this joy into your life… Why wouldn’t you?!

The task is just wonderful and helps us to realise how simple it can be to create happy memories and a sense of peace and positivity inside. My list was actually pretty much all easy activities such as giving presents to people, quiet time, yoga, walking in nature, watching sun rise, abhyanga, flowers, hot baths with salts and essential oils… All bring such joy!

You may find that some of the things on your lists feel like luxuries; personally I think that spending money on things that truly light you up and bring you more peace and happiness should be high priority on our spending options. Have a think of what will work with your lifestyle and enjoy tending to your body and mind with sweet, nourishing goodness.

I recreated this bowl after eating it at the DeKalb Markets in New York a couple of weeks ago. There were many food stalls but I was really happy to find Two Spoons which used all organic and naturally gluten-free produce. I loved the broccoli so much I asked them how they cooked it, to which they answered, baked with tamari and curry power – easy! The bowl includes many of my favourite foods which is why it was so easy for me to recreate without even planning it. I hope you enjoy the lovely colours, textures and flavours as much as I do.

In this bowl I’ve included raw carrot and cabbage which can both be a little harsh to digest. By ensuring its grated/finely sliced we help to break them down before they enter our system but I would recommend being especially mindful of chewing as much as possible to lighten the load. I like to eat this at lunch time, rather than at night, so that the body has longer to work through the earlier digestive processes. Each body is different but I think it’s important to point this out. If you do find raw food too harsh on your system, I recommend sautéing these vegetables instead to break down the outer wall, while still creating a very similar dish.

Soba Noodles
1 small Carrot
1 handful Rocket
1 handful shredded Cabbage
1/2-1 head of Broccoli
1-2 tsps Olive Oil
1 tbsp Tamari
1 tbsp Curry Powder

1/2 Lemon
1cm of fresh Ginger
1 tsp Tahini
1 tsp Tamari
2 tbsp Water

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Chop the broccoli into florets then place on baking tray with olive oil, tamari and curry powder, making sure it’s all combined. This will take around 15-20 minutes. In the meantime, grate the carrot and finely slice the cabbage and set aside. Grate the ginger, then add to a cup to mix the dressing. Add the lemon juice, tahini, tamari and water to the cup with grated ginger and mix everything together well. Cook the noodles as according to instructions given (- I bring water to boil then have the pan simmer for around 6 mins then drain and rinse under cold water). Put the noodles into your bowl then assemble the carrot, cabbage, broccoli and rocket before pouring your ginger miso dressing over the lot.