Down that Little Lane . Powered by Blogger.

When you live and learn...


I wrote on Instagram about how I am choosing to live with less these days and make a conscious effort to not waste my time with things that bring no value to my life.. in turn I am making a concerted effort to do more of what does.

For me that comes in the form of learning and growing. Learning and growing by listening to anyone that offers advice and reading and researching things I don’t know or understand.

I have had so many of these moments in the last year that I decided it was time to share the ones that have shaped me the most.

Honesty is hard but so worthwhile, hearing it or giving it to others takes pulling up those big girl panties but the weight lifted from your shoulders when you do so is so much more so that the pain it takes to do it or read/listen to it on vice versa.

Acceptance to criticism, to situations, to limitations.. sitting with them and allowing yourself to ease into the reality of what they bring will have you change for the better in such amazing ways.

Selfishness comes from sometimes leaving or saying no to the ones you love is what you have to do for the ones you love most.. its not like extended family and friends don't mean the world to me but my husband and kids are top and when you allow them to be your main focus it feels liberating and it feels justified.

Giving or being of service is beyond rewarding.. go seek it out.. something you enjoy but gives to others.. charity, school, friends or even just doing something that fills you with pride for your own little family unit.

Trust that things will all be good in the long run. Expenses spring up, relationships go, life throws you curveballs and leaves you so uncertain so many bloody times but what purpose does it serve to dwell on it or let it pull you down. There is rarely anything we can do to change the past or even dictate the future but if we just trust in the now and stay happy with where we are at that time then the future will always pan out to be good..
It is probably the toughest one but the most powerful one too.

I am living and learning each and every day but these are the foundations that have repeatedly felt the most important to me in the biggest way..

What are your biggest lessons you have kept with you year after year? 




Do you take your kids to magical places?

I was talking with someone the other day who was saying she doesn't take her kids places as she feels they won't appreciate or remember it until they are at least teenagers.  Now don't get me wrong, I think most of us will say they don't appreciate half of what we do or give them but no remember to maybe appreciate later in life? 

I know I wish my parents had spread their wings with us a little more instead of going to the same place each year. They spent good money and I have so many happy memories of those holidays but now as an adult I realise we could have done more of Europe than just Spain!.

I didn't take anything other than beach holidays with the kids in the early days but since they were 7 we have been trying to show them lots more and I don't know if they are unique but they remember lots of it, we share stories and we plan the next adventures.

Last week we followed Dad to New York for the 2nd (last time was 12 months before) and we ticked some serious bucket list spots. The kids had a blast and we mixed in more serious stuff with candy stops just to keep it interesting... I figured I would share them in case you or someone you know was heading that way with small people.


Brooklyn Bridge : The best view is walking it from the Brooklyn side so we walked Manhattan and took Brooklyn back. If you are there on a Sunday there are fab markets Brooklyn side that you could visit before taking the trip back across.


Food is EVERYWHERE : We were told by locals that people hardly ever eat in and often book dinner at 10pm. WTF?! I could never afford that but then again I have no want or need to spend all our wages on eating, lol. We are plant based so all ours were vegan or had options but my favourites were By Chloe, Le Botaniste, Dirty French. The Sprinkles ATM was a stop for the kids as was Dylans Candy Bar..


Ground Zero : We could not visit NYC without paying our respects and going through the tough but needed process of discussing this horrific event with the kids. I didn't think I would be all that emotional given the time that has passed since the actual event but I could not have been more wrong.
Seeing all those names, reading the special area for first responders, taking in the magnitude of what it did to the country and even the world.. It was huge, the sadness passed quickly but the memory of . my feelings will last for sure and I am so glad we went.


Empire State Building : The views are just amazing and it gives you such a solid geographical knowledge of the city. Its a wicked way to the see the city, full stop. You can buy a VIP Pas to skip to the front of the queue on each level. This will save you an hour on the less busy days and a few on the busy ones.. 


Around and about : You can't go past visiting Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park.. The Flatiron is on the way alongside The Chrysler Building. We also went to walk The Highline which was fab but would be a billion times better in Spring Summer


Christmas Time in NY : If you are there for Winter just pray it snows before you arrive and you get there the day after, we were there for the snow AND the day after. One was freaking freezing and the next was magical


Statue of Liberty : It is a must see, just be ready to wonder why it is not humungous.. it is not like it is small but it isn't a touch on the Empire State etc. We got tickets to go just to the pedestal and that was high enough.. as it is not that high and also on an island away from the city I can't imagine any higher will give you any more of a view. I don't know for sure but that is my thoughts..


Subway : It seems weird to say travel the subway as its just a train huh? Well yes it is but it is quick, cheap and easy AND has amazing buskers, a few mad people and just feels pretty cool as the kids have seen them so many times in films.

Have you taken your kids anywhere awesome? Do you wait until they are older too? 

Sweet Potato & Tofu Veggie Balls with Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce

Thats quite a title huh?!.. BUT it is so easy and the Veggie Balls are fab for lunch boxes, go with rice just as nicely and can even be frozen..



INGREDIENTS :

1 cup (220g) Brown Rice
2 cups (500ml) Water
2 Mushroom Stock Cubes

2 cups (300g) Sweet Potato

2 tablespoons Avocado Oil
1 Chopped Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
2 cups (200g) Cooked Brown Lentils
9oz (250g) Cubed Tofu
2.5oz (75g) Peas
3 tbsp Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1tbsp Tahini
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Curry Powder

Sesame Seeds for Topping

2 cups (300 g) Cherry Tomatoes
1 tin of Diced Tomatoes
3 or 4 tbsp Vegan Cream Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste



DIRECTIONS :

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 C) and lightly spray a baking tray

Cook the Brown Rice using the stock water until well cooked and boil the Potatoes until just cooked.

Saute your onion and garlic then add them to a food processor. Add in half the sweet potato, half the rice, half the tofu and half the lentils and blitz until well combined.

In a bowl place all your other ingredients.. the remaining sweet potato, rice, tofu and lentils alongside the nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, peas, tahini, ginger and curry powder.

Combine the blitzed stuff with the ingredients in the bowl and combine but don't make it all mushy.

Hand roll the mixture into 3cm round balls and place on the baking tray, sprinkle them with Sesame Seeds then cook for 35mins or until golden brown and firm on the outside.

For the tomato sauce just blitz the tinned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and vegan cream cheese in a food processor then warm it to serve over the veggie balls and pasta or rice your choice. I love Edamame as it is light, gluten free and just darn tasty!


Life Lately..










: I met my first nephew by blood, Atlas. I had to fly back to Australia to do it and it hurt like hell to leave but I am so glad I went. It was my birthday present from Marcus and he managed the kids for nearly 2 whole weeks. I have never been away from them for more than 3 days and that hurt like hell too but again I am so glad I went. I miss my brother, I miss my SIL and I now miss Atlas but seeing the brilliant unit they are and their happiness reminded me of how important it is to do what you need to do for your unique unit and that selfishness sometimes breeds content.
: How have I lived in Australia for 16 years and never made it to Byron? The weather was shit when I was there but in between showers I ran the beaches and went walking with my nephew. I drank beetroot lattes and ate heirloom vegetable stacks and did all the things you are meant to do in Byron. I WILL go back and next time my kids will be by my side.
: U.S traditions. The Christmas Tree. We went to a Christmas Tree Farm and chose our very own. The kids played hide and seek between the rows and rows, Maggie went nuts for the smells then we selected our White Fir and chopped it down ourselves. The kids carried it to the car and we drove it home. Loved EVERY minute
: Nana & Papa came to visit from the UK. It is so nice to be closer for the while that we will be and we are so lucky they love to travel. I have never not worked when they have visited before so it was REALLY nice to have the time to look after them properly and actually have downtime with them where I was fully present in conversations not answering emails under the table at the same time!
: We are ticking off the US traditions one by one and loving it. Pumpkin patches for Halloween are just brilliant, picking your own from hundreds and meeting the farm animals on the side.. I mean what is not to love?
: I did a fly in fly out to Long Beach with my kids to support our friend Rod in his swim across the Catalina Channel. They watched him dive into pitch black water around midnight and swim for hours, they heard him negative talk and they saw him get through it. A chance of a lifetime to witness such bravery and an experience they will never forget.
: Training solo in the lead up to my 50k trail race, training with my man getting ready for Ironman 70.3 in Hawaii and training with the kids for our Spartan Race. Safe to say training is back in our life in a big way
: The Plant Powered Life continues.. being Vegan suits us just fine. We don't miss meat, its no hassle eating out. Cooking at home is easy as anything and our food bills are way lower. Its all a win, win so far and so far is well over 9 months now.

What you been up too? Been making up any new traditions? 


Two Yummy Vegan Soups..



1. Pea Soup w/Roasted Edamame Beans

INGREDIENTS FOR SOUP :

1 Leek
1 Onion
3 Garlic Cloves
3 tablespoons Avocado Oil

4 cups/1000ml/35oz Water
3/4 cup/30g/1oz Mint, Chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Mushroom Stock Cube 

800g/28oz Peas 
2 Potatoes
2 heaped tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast

INGREDIENTS FOR ROASTED EDAMAME :

400g/14oz Shelled Edamame
2 tablespoons Avocado Oil
1/4 teaspoon of :
Onion powder
Smoked Paprika
Garlic powder
Curry powder
Cumin
Salt
Pepper


DIRECTIONS FOR SOUP :

Blitz your onion, garlic and leek then add the oil to saute for a few minutes

Add your salt, pepper, mint, water & stock to the bowl and bring to the boil.

Add the chopped potato and cook for 10 minutes (or until vegetables are tender).

Add the peas and nutritional yeast and bring back to the boil then let it cool a bit.

Blitz/ Process the mixture until smooth.

Season to taste & serve with the edamame beans sprinkled across the top.

DIRECTIONS FOR BEANS :

Preheat Oven to 180C/350F

Mix the oil and all the spices together in a bowl.

Drop the Edamame in and coat them all and then scatter across a baking tray.

Roast for 15-20 minutes or until crispy (mine often take 20+)

I also made falafels cookies to sprinkle over the top. Just a normal falafel recipe but I make them flat and bake longer so crispy for crumbling over salads and soups 




2. Cheese and Broccoli Soup

The thing I have loved most about turning plant based is that we never have any food waste. The minute I think something needs using up I design a soup/salad/loaf or buddha bowl around it.

I had some broccoli the other night so I looked up broccoli soups and then adapted the yummiest sounding to make it Vegan. Marcus was back for seconds so it wasn't just me that thought it was lush.

INGREDIENTS :

1 Onion
30g/1oz Vegan Butter

400g/14oz Broccoli, Roughly chopped
150g/5.3oz Potatoes, Roughly chopped
800g/28.2oz Water
1 Mushroom Stock Cube 

150g/5.3oz Vegan Cream Cheese 
150g/5.3oz Almond Milk
2 heaped tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
150g/5.3oz Vegan Hard Cheese, Roughly chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste
Dried Seaweed to re hydrate if wanted

DIRECTIONS :

Blitz your onion then add the butter to saute for a few minutes

Add your broccoli, potatoes, water & stock to the bowl. Cook for 20/25 minutes (or until vegetables are tender). Blitz/ Process the mixture until smooth.

Add the Cream Cheese, Almond Milk & Hard Cheese and Nutritional Yeast then Blend until cheese has melted into the soup.

Season to taste & serve with toasted bread on the side or if you want to stay light on the carbs you can add dried seaweed for seasoning which rehydrates to yummy gooeyness..

The Nutritional Yeast means it tastes cheesy but has the added bonus of fabulous Vitamin B12 and the Seaweed adds Omega 3 which are both things that Plant Based peeps often don't get enough of. 

Who has a favourite soup I can play with to make it Vegan? 

Finding my new role as... MUM


Moving from the UK to Australia was a big thing but I did it at a young age, with no kids and not really any major belongings.

My boyfriend and I at the time (now my husband), owned a flat in London but we rented that and just came with suitcases. We shipped about 4 packing boxes and post Scotland Yard Interview where we were informed those were absolutely gone for good we basically had sweet F.A.

Shocking start, YES, Pressure to make it work, ZERO.

Roll on 16 years and it is 2016. I am married, have 2 kids that love our life where we are, a dog a gorgeous house and some amazing friends. My brother that I have been apart from for 16 years+ has moved to Australia and is pregnant (well his fiance is) AND I run a very successful business with another growing rapidly beside it.

Not to blow my own trumpet but I was good at what I did work wise and not only had lots of people come to me for mentoring but I also spoke at multiple business events on the subject. To my close friends I was the person they know they can lean on. 

Why tell you all this? Both of those qualities were things I treasured and got a huge buzz from in sharing with others. They made me feel of value and service to the world around me.. Not to mention that bringing in money to the bank account I share with my husband was something I was proud about.

So what happens when your husband wants to move to the U.S for a new adventure? Well that story is here but this blog post is about my story after that move..

I sold my business and overnight became 'JUST' Mum or should I say MOM..

Not only was I adjusting to life in a new country but I suddenly didn't work. I had never had home help, family around or even a regular cleaner during my working days so the house keeping was nothing new but not working was ABSOLUTELY out of my comfort zone.

I struggled, there was no validation of my value in being asked to lecture to others on a subject. 
I had no one asking for advice as I knew more than them. 
I suddenly knew why I had lost one of my girlfriends friendships back in the day. 
I felt insignificant.
I felt like a groundhog day slave.

It is one year later now and I LOVE my role as 'Mum'. I have new value and feel more of worth that EVER before.

I slowly brought structure back into my day and created work goals within my new job. 

I had a couple of new people to answer too.. I was still my own boss but I needed to be of service to a new group of people or events

My kids and husbands wellbeing, our dog's exercise, my children's personal growth, the ability to volunteer at school, enabling extra curricular activities and lastly my own passion for fitness.

I went back to my calendar and created a schedule just like I had at work. I gave myself structure and I started to focus on the amazing things I now had time to do that I didn't when I was working.

The simplest of things now give me the buzz I used to get from mentoring and lecturing alongside running a business.

Being able to explain things calmly until my little guys get the importance instead of being frustrated and just glossing over the subject with 'oh whatever' as I don't have time. I am working on them from the inside out..

Taking them to sports and actually watching.. then hiking with the kids and their dog after school instead of having them IN after school care and seeing the happiness it creates in those little faces.

Researching Plant Powered eating and taking our diet to new levels where we can count on one hand how many take aways we have had since. Where we are all leaner, stronger and more knowledgable.


I realise now what value I have found in being a Mum and JUST a Mum, how much pride I take in nourishing my family with food that prolongs their future and has them all looking and feeling better than ever.. I used to place my value on what I was adding to the bank account but now I see another world and I kinda love it!!

Have you made the transition? One way or the other? How did you go with it? 

Visiting Palm Springs.. the TRUTH..


Palm Springs Baby!!.. I assumed it was a vibrant, hip and happening place in the desert. How could I not when all the images you ever see are mid century funkiness in pinks and pastels?

Well the houses ARE mid century and there IS a huge amount of fabulous colours BUT it is a huge area that is really spread out and is mainly residential, with a large portion of those residents being retired alongside the heat for most of the year it results in 60% of the year being rather like a ghost town.



We went there for a 'downtime' holiday so it was perfect. We had a full week in a house with a pool and just chillaxed with a visit to Joshua Tree and Salvation Mountain, an afternoon at Wet n Wild, Movies and Dinner out a couple of times.

The first morning I went for a run at 7am and I nearly died by 8am from heat.


The second day I left at 5.45am and laughed my head off as EVERYONE was out and about walking their dogs, doing their exercise and mowing lawns etc.

I had found out the secret.. get up early, get outdoors then spend the day by the pool or in the air con.

There are amazing places to hike and visit close by but we chose the Joshua Tree and went for Sunset. It was magical. I wonder whether I would go back to hike there but to be honest as the terrain is very dry and rocky I would prefer to hike where the plants and growth changes more dramatically over the seasons.




Salvation Mountain is in the middle of nowhere and hotter than hot in the Summer but oh so weird and wacky. It is a shrine to God and feels like some whacky kids program film set. We loved it just for the happy vibes and random location.






The Palm Springs Tramway is like going to another world and SO beautiful. You get up 2.5 miles about the desert and it is cooler and greener with these amazing views across the desert. A total must in my book if you like being amongst nature and climbing rocks.


Lastly if you have kids, Wet n Wild. It is small but fab. On an afternoon you can go in after 3pm for a reduced price and that is more than enough time to get around all the rides for sure.


I need to show you the other places we have been since I took my break from blogging.. anyone else coming San Francisco way soon? 

Do message me :)

VEGAN ZUCCHINI BREAD

I have posted this baby on two occasions on Instagram and always get requests for the recipe as my kids demolish mine and it appears others do not on the version they are making..



One piece of important advice... DO NOT skip out draining the juice from the zucchini.. DO NOT..

INGREDIENTS :

6 tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
1/4 (160ml) cup warm water

1 Sweet Apple
1/4 (160ml) cup warm water
1/4 cup (160 ml) melted Coconut Oil
1 1/3 cups (266 g) Cane Sugar
4 Normal Size Zucchini

3 cups (384 g) Whole Wheat Four
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 tbsp Salt



DIRECTIONS :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly spray a bread tin

Make the flaxseed egg by mixing the Ground Flaxseed with the 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside
'
Create Applesauce by blitzing your apple with 1/4 cup of warm water in a high powered blender.
Add that flaxseed egg, the coconut oil and sugar until combined.
Grate your Zucchini and squeeze out the excess water then add to your mix.
Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt (preferably sifted) over the wet
and combine them all REALLY well.

Pour it all combined into your bread tin and bake for around 50 minutes.

Tip your loaf out and let it rest on a rack, only slice once cooled and if you want to turn it into a desert it is AMAZING with a simple Vanilla Soy Ice Cream.


Do you have a favourite loaf? 

lemonade lusts : salihah moore



When you come across an artist and bookmark her website for a personal purchase then walk into a shop a fortnight later and they same artist is stocked there, I would call that a sign. Well I ignored it and then had her crop up at a friends house and AGAIN on another website.

Lets just say I am pretty sure I need to own some Salihah Moore. Salihah is an artist and designer of hand beaded jewellery and wall hangings. 




Originally from California, Salihah developed a deep love affair with the ocean, sand, flora and fauna of the Pacific coast. Working with the seed beads reminds her of sifting through sand grains as a child and being in awe of the hues and variations.

All her weavings are hand sewn at her home studio in Boulder, Colorado with a needle and thread using Czech and Japanese glass seed beads. 


You can find her whole collection HERE...

2 Podiums in 3 weeks.. what did I do?!


Taking up trail running was not a new thing for me as The Northern Beaches of Sydney certainly have their fair share but the elevations here around Marin Headlands where I live are a tad different..

In training for a 50k race you have to get out there and do some intermediate distances in the time leading up to the big date. I did a 30k and a 21k around a month apart and got 1st and 2nd place in my age group.

I will not claim for a second that I would ever have expected it, but now that I have it has caused me to reflect and see what I did right and differently over my past races.

I truly think it has been a combination of things..

RUNNING : Of course, gradually growing the miles/ km's on my feet per week is the first part (once I have finished my 50k I will share my schedule in case it is of use to anyone)..

REFORMER PILATES : Having a strong core and building my leg strength was HUGE for maintaining strength when I hit the hills on those trails

YOGA : I have never bothered to be diligent with stretching whilst training so doing a full hour Yoga Class twice a week was amazing and protected me from injury I am sure

HIKING : On trail runs you can never run the same pace as you do on road races, the hills are super steep and you just have to walk some of them but walking them with strength and holding a decent pace means you really loose very little time but you 100% save your heart rate and core temperature from rising past a point you find it hard to get it back down from

MEDITATION : I will admit I have not been doing this the whole time but the wording is the simplest explanation I have for taking the time to focus on mental clarity a few times a week. On the tough parts of the race my inner monologue was strong and powerful as I had a huge bank of previous positive thoughts I had used as my daily practice.

DIET : I do have to give credit to going plant based for a certain part as quite simply I have never recovered so easily from such a decent load of training activity.
Are you training for anything at the moment? What do you find gives you the most results? 

Your next habit..


I told you last month about the first of our habits that has become our lifestyle.

Did you try it? It is never to late to start but you may want to read this one and decided between the two if it is all new..

As promised I am going to post a new idea each month. One that is easy to accomplish but transformative in its results.

So what is this month?

We call them lovenotes and if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen them in my Instastories.

Everyday, whoever wakes first needs to write a little note to the family with thoughts for the day, challenges, inspiration or just praise for something you love about them, your life or the family as a whole.

It's a lovenote.. no need to over think it just share from your heart and spread positivity.

You can do that can't you? Go on.. grab a cute notepad and pen and get started..