My way

 

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I have been taking steps to really live the way I want to recently. It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘norm’ and how others think you should be living, looking, etc. 

It wasn’t until recently that I felt like I had the confidence to say ‘no’ to some things and totally embrace others. I think this came from fear of other’s reactions and having that somehow change the way I felt about something. For example, not too long ago I would shy away from having the ‘why I’m vegan’ conversation or feeling like I had to defend MY choice to not have a TV. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. Everything I do has OB in mind and Seb totally gets me and they are the two most important people in my life. 

My challenge to myself is to live as closely to my ideal as possible, at all times. I am going to speak up when something is important to me. What I will defend are the voices of those who can’t do it themselves; animals in factory farms, asylum seekers being treated as criminals, orangutans being sacrificed for the money hungry palm oil farmers, natural environments being destroyed at the hands of powerful companies with dollars in their eyes, independent green grocers going under because large supermarket chains have a strangle hold on the Australian market. I know I can’t single handedly stop these injustices or reverse damage done but what I can do is important and worthwhile. I can say no to products that exploit animals and precious environments, I can choose to buy local, I can choose to support programs that give asylum seekers a voice and stand up and say ‘no’ when the government proposes inhumane practices that no one would ever allow to happen to a family member of their own. I can sponsor animal sanctuaries and help promote good and fair by having meaningful discussions with friends and family and by teaching Oli that everyone is equal and that precious things such as the environment and animals deserve our upmost respect and care.

My little family is going to try harder, be better, do more. I am reevaluating the way we do a lot of things at the moment and I’m hoping that by opening my mind to the possibilities, I can make some significant changes that will positively affect the impact we have on the environment, our community and the way we feel within ourselves.

I am currently going through all of our cupboards and really asking ‘do we need this?’ It is hard because I find myself rediscovering so many things and swoon over how pretty/ adorable/ lovely/ ornate the thing is but truth be told, if I managed to forget about it entirely and it holds no real family or sentimental value, why keep it? I think this process will not only yield a much tidier and cleaner house but I’m hoping that it will change the way I look at objects and consumption. I’m not the kind of gal that has 15 different types of sandals for summer and twelve handbags with matching sunglasses. I’m not like that but I know that I can do better.

I’m also committing to Buy Nothing New Month which is October in Australia. I love the idea behind it, that is, to not buy anything new other than food, hygiene products and fuel. I love this initiative. I don’t very often buy new clothes or things just because but I am a sucker for books and magazines, so that will be where I notice it, I think. What I will be doing more of is visiting the library more often. My local library has a great selection of magazines and no shortage of books waiting to be devoured. I’m up for the challenge. Join me, won’t you? 

I can make a difference. Everyone can. It’s about realising that living to your potential may not be the way everyone else does it but that’s OK and, if you’re like me, it’s even preferable. 😉

Peace and change.

E. x

 

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For a picnic

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You can’t really go wrong with a good ANZAC cookie and they are even better when homemade (isn’t everything?).  Here is the vegan version I made last night when my sweet tooth took over my hands and made me whip up a batch. 

When I’m baking, I like to get out all of the ingredients first and have them in front of me. As I use them, I put them away. That way I know if I’ve missed a crucial ingredient if something is left out. Maybe that’s a little OCD but I like to clean as I cook so I don’t have a disaster waiting for me at the end.

Ready, Set, BAKE!

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup wholemeal plain flour

3/4 cup desiccated coconut

3/4 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup vegan margarine – I used regular Nuttelex

2 Tbs golden syrup

1tsp bicarb soda

1 Tbs boiling water.

Combine oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl.

in a small pan on the stove melt the margarine and golden syrup together.

In a separate (small) bowl combine bicarb and boiling water. Once you have done this, place the bicarb and water mix into the melted pot of loveliness. You will see the chemical reaction here and it will go all frothy. 

Now add the wet to the dry and mix well. Place rolled balls of mixture on to a lined baking tray and press down lightly on them with a fork.

And that’s it!

Bake for approximately 12 minutes. They will be a lovely golden brown colour.

I enjoy this version because it isn’t too sweet and goes perfectly with tea or coffee. If you want it a little sweeter just bump up the coconut to 1 cup. I also used wholemeal flour rather than white and brown instead of white sugar. These are adjustments I regularly make to recipes as OB usually eats my creations and if I can make them a little healthier, I will.

I’ll be making these for our next winter picnic. 

Peace and cookies.

E. x

two years // history

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It is almost two years to the day since I made the hardest decision of my life and separated from Oli’s father. Just after the separation I nursed my Nan in her final days until she eventually lost her fight with cancer and last July I was involved in a dispute at my workplace that gave me such anxiety that I was taken by ambulance to hospital after collapsing in the staff room.

Needless to say, the last two years have been hard. It has been a period of grieving, adjusting, healing and it has taken a damn lot of work to get to where I am now. I was very confused and angry at myself and at the circumstances I had no control over. I lacked direction and at times had a very hard time remaining positive and ‘together’, many times I just couldn’t. My best friend was so patient with me even though, as she later revealed, she thought she had lost the old me. Gosh she must have grown tired of hearing my mindless rants all the time but she stuck by me and was key to my recovery.

I met Seb in February 2012 and the lights came back on. He didn’t know what I was sorting through or what had happened before we met. He was this gorgeous, handsome, interesting man and he was into me, from the very start. We have been together since the day we met, at a Steam Rally, no less. He has brought me back to where I see hope, direction and given me the confidence to again be ambitious and dream big. He would say that he has no idea how he did it, or even that he was doing anything at all, but that’s just the thing, isn’t it? When you meet the right person, magic just happens.

Over the last five months I have really made some huge steps to living a life I can be proud of. I managed to get an amazing job that serves my local community and that I love and I have resumed my studies and am working hard at my Bachelor of Education (Primary). I have things under control now. I have direction, I am enjoying my new ‘simple’ life and most importantly I am happy and proud of myself again. 

What I want to do now is something totally selfish because I have head space for it as well as (maybe) the time. I’m launching ‘Operation Best Me’. This is just a silly way of saying that I’d like to have more energy to fit in all the things I need to do as well as maybe look a little bit foxy come summer. I’m taking a different approach to it than I have in the past, though. I’m not going to use the scales to measure my success and I’m not going to join a gym. 

I’m going to use all the lessons learned through simple living to get me to a place of health and complete contentment with my body. I am going to employ techniques such as discipline and self motivation and I’m going to use this space to stay accountable. I will give a brief update and some tips, if I have them, every Monday. Maybe some of you have some little improvements you’d like to make? I’d like to stress that this is a long term and lifestyle choice I’m making, not a diet. 

I need to be a healthy, fit and energised lady to have any hope in hell of keeping up with all the things I’d love to achieve. I’ll share recipes as I go and hopefully you will see little improvement over time. I don’t want to use numbers as an indicator of my success as I feel like I may set myself up for failure if I base this achievement on something as silly as a number of kilos. It’s bigger than that and deserves more credit than a number.

When I listen to my body, make healthy choices, spend a lot of time outdoors and have energy for study I am a very happy lady. I’ve decided to make that the norm, rather than just a ‘sometimes’ situation. I am investigating local bushwalking trails (apparently there are a few, ya know, in the Blue Mountains! haha) I have also reclaimed a bike from the side of the road that will be fixed up in no time and I’ll be rolling all over the place. 

This is my ‘Go you!’ gift because I’m proud of where I am in life and I’d like that to be reflected in my health and appearance.

Please let me know if you want to join in as there is always strength in (people) numbers. 😉

Peace and wheatgrass (hehe)

E. xx

Buzzy feelings // thought bubbles

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Tonight is one of those funny nights where I’m all buzzy from so many ideas that I can’t really focus on one in particular. Does that ever happen to you? Bear with me as I purge some of them on to the page in no particular order. 

~ I’ve been taking my simple living a step further by making my own laundry liquid, pastry and pestos. It is amazing just how simple each of those products / processes are, yet for so long I just mindlessly bought them. Recently I have become more mindful in many ways, one of which is in my product purchases as well as where I buy from. I am trying to cut out major chain supermarkets and department stores as much as possible in favour of specialty shops, market stalls and recycling/up-cycling what I have. 

I believe that a strong part of my journey to a simpler life has been influenced by a lack of advertising. As I don’t have TV, I’m no longer aware of the latest ‘trend’ or kitchen product or pre-packaged masterpiece available in the freezer section. I must say, it’s been a refreshing eighteen months. I enjoy being able to seek out product information when I need it, not when I’m being told that it’s necessary for me. This has also had a positive impact on Oli. Less hounding, more imagination. Happy home.

~ There are three craft projects that I’m keen to make in the near future, one of which is more like ‘research’ for a bigger project that I will reveal in good time. 

~ This past weekend away has me really inspired and well rested. It’s lovely to know that you don’t have to go anywhere ‘fancy’ or exotic and spend lots of money on flashy new things to feel on top of the world. Family and friends are the glue and this past weekend has proved that. I am so very lucky that Seb’s family are so lovely, welcoming and relaxed. Being in their company is magic.

They are a few of my current little thought bubbles. I may share some more tomorrow as my list is a mile long and full of fantastic things to work on throughout the day.

I also wanted to say a big hello to all of the lovely Down to Earth readers that have taken the time to stop by. Thank you for so many comments as well. Interaction like that with other like minded people is magic to me and I appreciate every comment and visit. So welcome and I hope you find something that strikes your fancy or maybe even your imagination here in these virtual pages.

A deep, uninterrupted sleep is in order now so I may be the most productive version of myself tomorrow.

Peace and ideas.

E. x

I Heart Veganism

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Some beautiful and inspiring books on the ethics of food and the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.

I had been an avid vegetarian for ten years. It always felt good, but not great. There was often a part of me that questioned whether or not to go further and become vegan. I used a lot of excuses and I often felt as if I didn’t have enough knowledge and or self belief to be able to stand up for what I believe in.

Life experience over the last couple of years has given me a lot of confidence in myself and consequently, the conviction to be vegan full time and to be able to explain to people, when they inevitably ask, why I have chosen this lifestyle.

Last December I decided that it was time to make the change and stick to it.

I always knew my best friend (Hi, Ella!) would support me all the way, she always does, but I was a little concerned about telling Mum and Dad and my partner, Seb. Boy, was I silly to worry. My parents have been through my previous attempt at veganism before and, whilst the don’t understand it, they were supportive enough. My partner on the other hand was, and still is, SO supportive. I nearly cried out of relief. This is not to say that I thought he would be super negative about it but it is a totally new concept for him. He and I go out to cafes and restaurants quite a lot and I was worried he would see it as a barrier to a favourite activity we share. He asked me why I wanted to make the change and once I explained it to him, he was nothing but supportive and understanding.

It’s funny how sometimes, even when we think we are strong, we can still be reliant on the approval of those we love. I don’t give two hoots what Joe Blogs thinks about my dietary choices, but when it comes to those closest to me, it matters. I guess it’s a two way street when I think about it because those that really care about you will understand why you do certain things and love you for it all the more. There is definitely a relief and comfort from knowing that those closest to you have your back and you can count on them to support your endeavours.

I have a couple of friends who are vegetarian but none who are vegan. This is not a problem thanks to the amazing world wide web where I constantly find inspiration and support for the cause I so passionately believe in. Instagram is another medium that facilitates that community feel when it comes to being a vegan. I love that this connection can feel so strong and be so inspiring. I feel as if I identify with this ever-growing community of like minded people, even if it is through pictures and blog posts. (Through these networking opportunities I have also come to the realisation that I NEED to be in Melbourne. full stop. NOW  *sigh* I will live there permanently one day and soak up all the juicy goodness that the city offers.)

Anywho, back to veganism. If you’re thinking of making the switch but can’t quite comprehend explaining the ‘extreme’ lifestyle change to those around you, I urge you to press on, start the conversation and know that there is an entire community of like minded people out there, people who live cruelty free every day and are all the better for it. And at the end of the day, only you can make those choices for yourself. Stick by them and the sceptics will see the benefits, if not in your overall physical health, they will notice it in your outlook, your demeanour, your ‘gumption’ levels because you will feel better for it, if you believe in it.

OK, rant over. This applies to anything, though. It just so happens that my experience is with veganism and I also totally dig it.

Stay true.

E. x