Making kind choices in your everyday life.

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2017 – and it’s a wrap

Posted by on Dec 30, 2017 in Year's End Wrap | 0 comments

With a few more grey hairs (even Garp, on his little eye patches) and wrinkles amongst us….this is my little family as we wave goodbye to 2017 and greetings to 2018.

 

Here are some of the highlights which I read / ate / listened to / admired throughout the year.

Books

Movies

TV Series

Music (am trying my darnedest to extend my playlist – please help my meager list)….am currently liking

  • Japanese Breakfast

Inspiring People

  • Jo-Anne McArthur – her photography and Unbound Project highlighting what incredible things women around the globe are doing for animals. Her books (We Animals and Captive)are phenomenal.
  • Eleftheria Prodromou (Ellie) – founder of Penny Marathon. I met her at Marrickville Markets during the year and her devotion to  helping animals is off the charts. I love following her on facebook to see what heart warming missions she is on (currently abandoned Greek street dogs).

Fab websites for recipes and inspiration

Eating Out

Highlights

  • Sydney Flash mob choir (sign up, it is really fun)
  • Ubud, Bali – can’t get enough of that place
  • My Blue Mountains sojourn
  • Walking the 28km Otford to Bundeena track with treasured friends
  • Book of Mormon in Melbourne (soon to be in Sydney. If you haven’t seen it, you must. Inappropriate and hilarious).
  • Extracating myself from my comfort zone and doing 2 big presentations in front of lots of people (eek) about the indisputable domestic violence / animal abuse link. Join / follow Lucy’s Project if you want to know more.

2018 – looking forward to 

  • Raising lots of money for Animals Asia by selling my lovely clutter. (Was meant to do this last year. Luckily, more time has given me lots of friends’ lovely clutter too)
  • Doing the 30km Coast Trek in March with 3 dear friends for the Fred Hollows Foundation
  • Doing Veganuary again in January to whip my “almost vegan” self back into line. I’d love you to join me !
  • Lots of travel – both near and far
  • Tracking down some much coveted  Tasmanian Artisa plant based cheese (specifically the Launceston blue) – it’s always sold out when I try and get my mitts on it !

I’m keen to show up on this page more. I want to concentrate more on what wonderful things are out there in the world of kind living. I am an utter bandit for writing out lists and saving recipes / places I want to see, swim in or stride upon / people I want to catch up with / little, kind businesses I want to support / picnics I want to have. I want 2018 to be the year that I DO more of these things and share my experiences here. Hope you will join me – virtually or in person xx PS I would LOVE to hear what made you happy / intrigued / fulfilled / moved in 2017……please let me know in the comment section below.

 

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Smoothie Bowl

Posted by on Dec 16, 2017 in Kind Companies, Recipes - breakfast | 4 comments

 

On this sticky Sydney summer’s day, I’ve finally got around to making a smoothie bowl. It was utterly delicious, oozing with healthiness and quick to make. Here’s how I made my creation (serves 2) :

2 tightly packed cups of baby spinach leaves into the blender with half a cup of coconut water (normal water would be fine too). Blend.

Add a chopped up frozen banana and about a cup of frozen mango and cherries. Blend some more.

Pour green concoction into bowl. Add little rows of whatever takes your fancy. I included raspberries, hemp seeds (now legal in Australia !), blueberries, mint leaves and granola.

More on the Granola…….It comes from a lovely company in Eveleigh (they are also in Melbourne) called Two Good. 2 liters for $25 in a reusable jar. Money well spent – not only for the scrumptious taste but my purchase meant that another jar was sent to a local domestic violence refuge. The same concept applies for all of the other lovely things (like salads, meals in a jar, pickles, Christmas hampers, boxes of tea and body creams and shampoos/conditioners) they stock. Plus they employ disadvantaged women, make deliveries by bike and reuse the jars. Definitely a good, kind company to support !

 

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Lonesome (but not lonely) in Leura

Posted by on Nov 4, 2017 in travel | 3 comments

“It’s Just Me, Myself and I” – De La Soul

I’ve said this before but it does deserve repeating. We must not forget to be kind to ourselves as we endeavor to tread kindly about this earth. Mingling with a big gaggle of extroverted people may well make you feel happy, alive and wonderful. For me, however, it is some unadulterated alone time, sometimes away from my nearest and dearest, which is essential for my sanity and soul. I try and treat my rather  hardcore introvert within at least once a year. This time I picked Leura for my solo journey.

Just a mere hour and a bit on the quiet train carriage of the Blue Mountain line, sipping in a thermos of tea (yes, I am now of a certain age) before I was in the midst of the beautiful Blue Mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My smug / excited face when I knew that all my review stalking of airbnb had paid off and  that I had selected the most perfect accommodation choice.

 

My morning view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything about my airbnb find Elphin was truly delightful – including it’s owner Lou (who I gladly put my solitude on hold for to natter to on a few occasions). Groovy decor and quirky pictures galore, a gas stove, privacy, peace and quiet, the sweetest dog who’d venture down for a visit, a bath (mandatory for me), comfy bed, bird noises and ethereal mistiness in the gully to gaze upon. Such bliss. When I was not reveling in my alone time in my little palace I :

Ate out :

  • Delicious bibimbap and apple / ginger tea at atmospheric little Korean restaurant Sinwiye in Katoomba. There were quite a few vegan / vegi options. I’ll try their renown vegi dumplings next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to keep Laughing Elephant up my sleeve for my next visit. It is reported to have great vegan Banh Mi and Pho and is nice n’ handy to the Charles Darwin bush walk.

Bush walked :

The Charles Darwin Walk from Wentworth Falls railway was idyllic. I did a circular trip which took me about 3 hours. It was sufficiently quiet people-wise – just a few selfie stick wielding tourists were roaming around – but not too quiet either which would have freaked me out (alone walking in the bush can feel a tad creepy / Wolf Creek-esque). The falls were not at their peak glory due to the lack of rain but were beautiful all the same. As was my icy foot soak in one of the many watering holes along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Street walked :

 

 

 

 

 

With the obligatory “I want to buy a cute little cottage in the mountains” domain search and subsequent street stalk….

 

Cute hey ? On sale for about 530K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop browsed :

I didn’t buy anything, only browsed, but  Leura Whisk is filled with groovy things. The owner’s are obvious animal lovers with a Voiceless collection tin at the counter and a poster to urge adoption of homeless dogs.

Had a massage and a facial :

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facials are a once a year indulgence for me. Oozing femininity, softness and gorgeous smells, I picked Awen Natural Beauty after googling cruelty free products / facial. Being lavishly pummeled by the beautiful and serene Ange was a blissful change from the rather rough / no nonsense Chinese massages I am used to. I felt like a spoilt little princess by the end of it – in a good way ! The very ethical products used to lavish me were Edible Beauty and Juniper – they felt and smelt divine and I floated out of there like a cloud.

Now, back in the shouty world of traffic, early mornings, work and chaos it’s time to plan the next sojurn.

I’d love to hear about any solo travel spots you’ve relished…..pray tell !

xxx

 

 

 

 

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Good Buys

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Kind Companies, Shopping | 0 comments

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want” – Anna Lappe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garp says YES, to people being able to marry whoever they damn well want to. In doing so, his mum (me)’s purchase of his utterly spiffy neck tie also supports the work of Penny Marathon (check them out, they do such great things for abused and neglected animals – you too will want to run a marathon when you learn about what they do!)

First things first, it has been an obscene length of time between blog posts. There has been no particular reason for this – just life and all it’s chaos getting in the way of my witterings. Alas, I am back, hopefully on a more regular basis. There’s lots I want to say and share with you !

As every second person seems to be doing these days, I’ve ventured into the quest of decluttering and simplifying the little world around me. Spring is the perfect month for such activity – it has seen me inching around the house at a glacial pace, drawer by drawer trying to rid my surrounds of THINGS. I am on the added mission (which I’ll post about another day) of sending as little as possible to landfill in this process.

My post is a bit ironic. As I try to rid my house of excess, I’ve also been bringing a bit more into it. However, they have been conscious purchases, ones I need and things I intend to be around for a long time (aside from the chocolate, wine and candles – not so long for these!). They are ones which result in good things happening – not just in respect of my enjoyment of them but for what my money is doing for the small businesses (and the causes they support) they have come from. Here’s a little list of delightful ethical wares I’ve discovered of late together with a blurb about what your money will support through your purchase.

Chocolate

The Chocolate Yogi : This all vegan, local business makes delicious flavours such as Frothy Toffee.  Some of the money from your purchase goes to support Sea Shepherd and the Orangutan Projects.

Swim Weam

Tahitian Lime : Gorgeous cossies and dresses from a local Cairns company (they list their 8 dogs as staff members !) who give 10% of their profits to the superb animal charity BARC in Bali.

Shapes In the Sand : stunning Australian made cossies. They are made from recycled materials and invest in projects including the Australian Marine Debris Initiative which collects rubbish from beaches in remote areas in Australia.

Shoes and Bags

Humankind : beautiful vegan shoes, wallets and bags. 10% of profits go to animal charities.

Miomojo : I have been lusting after one of their bags for ages. Stunning, ethically made bags of all shapes and sizes. 10% of profits go to incredible animal charities such as Animals Asia.

Candles

Scent to Rescue : Delicious, affordable, extensive array of scented candles. Handmade in Western Australia. A staggering 100% of proceeds go to animal charities such as Greyhound Rescue and local WA animal sanctuaries. I love these candles so much. Easy communication with Lynda via facebook to organise purchase and delivery.

Keep Cups

Thankfully all the rage these days since ABC’s  War On Waste series. Love these Sea Shepherd ones – 15% of profits go back to supporting Sea Shepherd and their brave ocean quests ! Great ones are available from Edgar’s Mission too – have a peek.

Tee-Shirts

There are so many fab ones out there. I am in love with my recently purchased Where Pigs Fly one – modeled below. All purchases / sanctuary visits go towards supporting their incredible Hunter Valley based sanctuary for abused farm animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spied these ones recently from Katmandu – which I’ve got in mind for my quirky t-shirted loving fella. $5 from each top goes to the Australian Himalayan Foundation which does great things for the education and health of women and girls in and around India and Nepal.

Calenders 

I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of the new Sophie Gamand calendar for 2018 which will be filled with beautiful souls like deaf Sky, shown here, who is awaiting a home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie’s is one of my favourite, most heart warming Instagram pages. Her stunning flower head pieces adorn the heads of abandoned bullie breed dogs to help them find new homes. The images aim to transform the sometimes negative impression that some people hold towards bullie breeds.

I loved my Edgar’s Mission 2017 diary this year so I will definately be buying their soon to be available one for 2018 (with lots of rescued farm animals peeking out from each of the pages). When I place my order, I’ll be getting one of their new cookbooks too – Cooking With Kindness. Packed with recipes from all the Melbourne vegan foodie places I love – like Smith and Daughters and Veggie Bar. It looks delectable. Edgar’s Mission is just wonderful and they have lots of great ideas for presents. All of which support their invaluable work for neglected and abused farm animals who are lucky enough to find sanctuary with them.

Wine

I do a shout out to Goodwill Wines whenever I get the chance. They donate an outlandishly generous 50% of their profits to all kinds of charities from Animals Asia to the Asylum Seeker Refuge Center. They’ve raised over $200,000 – incredible ! Their wines are fab.

On line Shops

I love Ecolosophy who practice what they preach with sustainability and contributing to local projects. They have a great array of all kinds of lovely things.

My latest find is Flora and Fauna who frequently donate to wonderful projects like the Australian Koala Foundation. They have so many cruelty free goodies on hand – some of which (like The Chocolate Yogi and Sea Shepherd Keep Cups) I’ve mentioned above. I’ve started buying all my skin care products from here.

I’m aiming to make all my future purchases considered, kind ones. Ones which will result in a win-win outcome. A win for me in having a long lasting, well made item I need and – most importantly, a win for the animals and others in need when they get some funds or awareness as a direct result of my purchase.

Any good ones you can share with me to help my kind buying ways ?

xx

 

 

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The Highs and Lows of Veganuary

Posted by on Feb 5, 2017 in Recipes - breakfast, Recipes - Savoury, Recipes - Sweet, Soup, Topical | 2 comments

“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.” – George Bernard Shaw

 

It’s been nearly a week since I proudly completed Veganuary, along with my very un-vegany partner – which makes me doubly proud. It has been a brilliant show of solidarity with nearly 60,000 people world wide joining together to abstain from all animal products for the month of January. My pre January diet was about 80% plant based with the remaining 20% made up of a tiny bit of fish, a fair amount of eggs and the occasional product containing dairy. Here’s what I discovered / learnt from the full experience :

PROS

People are overwhelmingly kind

My partner’s very blokey fire brigade crew all decided to have vegan meals for all of their shifts together – entirely off their own bats, to show their support for him ! Bless !

I found a couple of working week staples which I fell in love with

Overnight oats (1/2 cup of oats, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup coconut/almond milk, 1 tsp acai powder, 2 tsp chia seeds, 2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp maple syrup – mixed together and left overnight) every morn’ and

a quinoa buddha lunchbox creation (1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1 tbsp kimichi (from green street kitchen), 1 square of flavoured tofu (Thai, Japanese etc)  1/3 avacado, 1 tbsp sesame oil, chopped capsicum, shallots, a few spinach leaves), every lunch.

Dark chocolate

Happily munched on the 90% Cocoa Lindt variety and adapted to it’s bitterness with ease (as opposed to my super sweet, milk containing Caramel variety which I usually eat).

Greek Delis are a good source of great vegan cheese

I was pleasantly surprised by this.  I learnt that Greek people abstain from animal products leading up to (and perhaps during) Easter. My purchase of a big block of their most popular vegan cheese (name unknown) from a big Marrickville Greek deli has kept me going all month. They told me that more options will be available closer to Easter.

Dairy Free Kingland  yogurt is delightful

Particularly the berry / chai one. It does not have that overwhelming soy or coconut flavour that some non dairy yogurts have.

I am in good company

There are many but my new discovery this month was the tennis champ William sisters.

My friends were happy to give a bit of vegan eating a go and joined us for a brilliant feast at :

The Green Lion – the new vegan pub in Rozelle, Sydney. It was a big hit and I’d thoroughly recommend it.

The list of sublime things to cook up is infinite. The standouts this month were :

Spicy Braised Tofu Tostadas,

*this ridiculously easy chocolate cake

Corn Zuchhini Fritters (in which I replaced the eggs with the aquafaba from the chickpea can – 6tbsp for the required 2 eggs) topped with avocado,salsa and Toffutti creme cheese

* even in the midst of a horrendously hot summer, this spicy Thai soup went down a treat.

* I am yearning to try this baked spinach and artichoke pasta. It’s on the menu this week.

My go to recipe sources just keeps expanding

The Happy Pear was my favourite discovery this month. I could happily live on their recipes alone. These healthy, inspiring Irish brothers are utter gems. I love their instagram feed of their early morning Irish sea swims.

Other people have removed the hard work / label stalking in supermarkets

Thank you Vomad. Your free guide specifically for Australia is outstanding (helps to identify products containing palm oil too).

I’ve scored a good one.

Not only did my fella dedicate 31 days to a plant based diet with no slip ups or complaints but he upped the anti at the end of the month. I had used some bribery to get him to commit to Veganuary by promising him that I’d make a $10 a day donation to his favourite charity (Medicens Sans Frontiers) per day that he made it through unscathed. He ended up donating the $$$ himself, enabling me to donate the same amount to my charity of choice (Project Hope) to let me say thank you. They have helped a situation I have been closely involved in over the last few days which is not my story to tell here. Suffice to say, the staff over at Southern Cross Vets are phenomenal.

CONS

  • Spending $12 on 3 miniscule donuts and cupcakes at a way too trendy little vegan Sydney place.
  • Put on a couple of kgs – too much good food to try !
  • I didn’t achieve the full conversion (or even partial really) of my fella as I had hoped – alas, he is adopting a couple changes (like my overnight oats) so I am happy.

So, looking at the pros versus cons…the way forward for me looks pretty clear. For me it is the most intentional way that I can express my love and respect of animals. It is also the most practical way that I can do my bit to fight against climate change (google animal agriculture and climate change, pick a reputable source, and you’ll see what I mean).

Despite it’s name, if you want to dip your toe in and give it a try, you can sign up with Veganuary at any time. The resources, information and recipes are great.

As per the beautiful words of Pam Ahern from Edgar’s Mission “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?”

Why not indeed ??

 

 

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