Wednesday, 18 September 2013

2 days to go..

There are only 3 days until we are in Bali, and there is still SO much we need to do!
There have been a few recent hiccups in my well thought out plan for packing (*cough*), which included resigning from my current job, and having to get myself prepared to start a new one as soon as we return from holidays... which is a little exciting, and a lot stressful. :(

Our first leg of the trip is one night in Perth on Saturday to meet up with an old friend of Travis' and see the beautiful and mysterious Western city. :-P
I am personally extremely excited to go, because I've never been over the other side of the country, so I look forward to seeing it! (I will post pictures of everything!)

Our next flight is to Denpasar on Sunday morning, where we should land at mid-day to meet my sister and some friends, who will then escort us to our lovely villa in Seminyak (hopefully with chilled beers waiting for us) :)

I am SO looking forward to the break. Hopefully it will help to ease the new job anxiety!!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Scarecrow

My sister sent me this link yesterday saying "this is right down your alley", so I checked it out, and she was right! It is an amazing clip, with an even more amazing message to convey.

The cartoon was made by fast food chain Chipotle, and it is aimed at factory farms and food chains who use steroid enhanced, and cruelly treated animals for their products.

I love everything about this ad: the presentation, the music (Fiona Apple, Pure Imagination - from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), the story, and most importantly the message is gives. Absolutely beautiful.
Everyone should watch! :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Documentares that helped us transition to Veganism

Lately Trav and I have been trying to learn more about what we eat... or don't eat. Which means watching a lot of documentaries! (Not to mention the hours of research done in our own time.)

I thought I'd present to you a short list of a few of the documentaries that have impacted on us the most - whether it be the message or the story, I think there is something in this list for anyone interested in learning  a little more about where their food comes from! (Whether you're vegan, vego or omnivore!)

Our first foray into the world of factory farming expose was Earthlings.. We jumped right into the deep end with this one....

Earthlings Poster

It took us 2 nights to watch - not because of the length, but the content. I simply couldn't sit and watch a lot of it (I couldn't see the screen at times through the tears and hiccups).
It is a beautifully created masterpiece (narrated by Joaquin Pheonix, score by Moby) full of gut-wrenching footage of some truly inhumane practices including the "kosher" slaughter of a cow, euthanizing cats and dogs, and the general disgusting practices within places like slaughterhouses, factory farms and circuses.
I would recommend everyone watch it, but I would also recommend a box of tissues.
You can watch Earthlings for free on their website.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
I LOVE documentaries like this one! I love transformations, people gaining new life skills (healthy eating), and I love seeing people come out of their shell!
This documentary starts by following Joe Cross, and Australian businessman, from Sydney to America on a quest for better health.... by juicing...

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Poster - Joe Cross

So I have always been a little sceptical of juicing being that amazing for anybody, but this documentary showed how much Joe's health improved just by drinking green juices for 60 days! Everything is improved for him by fasting, then by following a vegan diet after the 60 days of fasting is over.
It is amazing to watch him become visibly healthier.
Joe then meets another man who is overweight and sick, and he then helps him to start his own journey.. It is quite amazing. I sat there absolutely floored by the improvements in both men.
After Trav and I watched this one we both started raving on about buying a juicer.. it is yet to happen, but I'm sure it will... We're both suckers for a health craze. (unless its an ab machine.. we're not that silly)
The only negative I can think of with this film is Joe's accent... I guess I understand that the Australian accent sounds funnier when it is exaggerated (loved travelling in the US and replying to the "where y'all from?" with "'Straya".. because it's fun), but in this film, it made Joe sound uneducated every single time he said "g'day mate".... Ugh. The Crocodile Dundee/Steve Irwin accent isn't an accurate representation of how we truly speak... some of us can be quite well spoken. (Please do NOT look up Australian accents on YouTube)
This film can be bought on Amazon.

Vegucated is the most recent film we've watched. I found this while looking at a few other films about veganism. This one is about a vegan who decides to try to convert 3 meat-lovers (found on Craigslist) to veganism (makes it sound like a religion! Haha).
So the idea behind this is that if someone tries it, and sees how easy it is to live vegan, then they will realise that it isn't so crazy/extreme/hard after all! It's a good idea, and all of the people she enlisted showed amazing signs of improved health after only 6 weeks, but the fact that some were resistant to the change made it a little more of an uphill battle. There was one girl that frustrated me to no end, and it was like watching an episode of a reality tv show through parts of it, but overall I enjoyed watching people's perception of veganism change throughout the course of their experiment. :-)

Forks Over Knives is the one that changed Travis' mind about veganism. He was a little undecided on the whole idea until we watched this one.. And I am eternally grateful to T. Colin Campbell and Caldwel B. Esselstyn for the amazing research they have done!

This film has definitely been my favourite of all that we have watched so far. The research that was done prior to this film being made is SO thorough and comprehensive, that I don't really understand how everyone isn't living vegan? The evidence is there that this diet can prevent so many issues and diseases, and yet people are still dying from heart disease, diabetes etc. every day when some of these deaths could have easily been prevented by eating a healthier diet.
Travis' reaction to this movie was: "I don't want to die from drinking milk" and from that moment he went from vegetarian to a devout vegan. <3

Supersize Me is a common one that most people would have heard of, and our reaction was the same as most peoples to that one - pure disgust.
The World According to Monsanto is one that isn't focused on veganism, but is about the big business of food, and in my opinion is one that most people should watch to learn where their food comes from, and who is profiting most from small businesses/farms losses.
I think it is a good idea for people to educate themselves on not only what they're eating, but where the food they're eating comes from - GMO's are bad y'all.

Have you watched any documentaries or films that have been particularly inspiring lately? I'd love to hear about ones you've watched that have interested you, or made you make a change in your life that you wouldn't normally have considered. :-)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Time to get back to reality...

My goodness! I have had SUCH a ridiculous time of it the last few weeks! It is finally time to take a breath and start preparing myself for relaxing and holidaying...... excceeepppttttt I still need to do all of the pre-pack washing, cleaning, preparing food for the puppies and also getting myself ready for another crazy week of work before any relaxing can happen...... poo. It would be great if this hangover would cease to pester me too.

Oh well, at least I have right now to take a breath! :)
Unhappily for me I have spent the last month doing 2x the job I do already, so I have had quite the busy schedule/work life. Thankfully the woman I have been covering for is now back, and I can spend some quality time here with you!

So, let's see... What's new with me.....
I got a library card!
I have 1 week of work left until we leave for Indonesia.

My god! I'm SO boring!

It is sad that the most exciting thing that has happened to me in 3 weeks is that I borrowed a book from the library..


I (finally) got a library card!

I have been sick of trying to find new books (with no spare time) that I can read on the train on my way to work (and CandyCrush really won't keep anyone occupied for 2 hours of train-ing), so yesterday I thought to myself: "why not join the library?" So i did! YAY!
I have not been a member of a library since I was a child, so this was shiny and new to me! I borrowed my first (non study) book in over 10 years, and have been avidly reading ever since.

The first book borrowed
I know I'm an adult, and I really shouldn't be this excited about it... But shhhhhhh! I like that I can be excited over small things.
A few reasons why I love our library:

  • I can borrow from any council library within our shire and still return the book to my closest library.
  • They have an online selection of e-books that I can download to my e-reader! (for free!!!!)
  • They set up a pop-up library at my train station once a week so that commuters can return any book they have borrowed, and they can also pick up a new book for their train ride! -Personally I think that part is AMAZING! 
My pretty little library

I have always had an issue with borrowing.. mostly because of my LOVE of owning books (book hoarder right here).. I love to look at my bookshelf and see all of the wonderful titles that I have read and loved and read again. But I decided that there is absolutely no way that I can continue to purchase all of the books I read. I simply can't afford it!!! It seems like the cheapest way I can still get a book fix without forking out.
I have decided that I will still buy the books that I have loved and cherished, such as the 3 that I have recently purchased for our holiday.. But I will get to those later! 

Do you prefer to borrow or buy books? 
Are you a member of your local library? Some of them have amazing things to offer if not! Definitely check them out - mine lets people borrow a tandem bike for the day! 

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Yes, you're still eating Meat...

Lately I have been a little sick of some people I know claiming to be vegetarian or vegan who are still clearly not.

 I know it is a little rich to sit here and quote my own definition of "vegetarian" and "vegan", but I will say that only cutting out beef or pork does NOT make you a vegetarian. It also doesn't mean that you don't eat meat.
Meat is the flesh of another animal. Whether it be a cow, pig, chicken, turkey, or (shock) fish!
I don't understand why someone who eats chicken or fish would presume to call themselves vegetarian? You have simply replaced eating one animal with another! (Also, someone that chooses to remove all meat except fish from their diet is called a "pescatarian")
Please don't get me wrong, I think that any reduced amount of animal products consumed by friends or family is a wonderful thing! But I don't believe that people should take something like being a vegetarian and brand themselves as such, without actually living by the moral code that comes along with it.
I stopped eating meat because I couldn't stand the idea of causing the pain of another just to satiate my own unnecessary desire for their flesh.. it is slightly repulsive to me to be honest.
I do not begrudge others who don't feel the same, I truly am not going to walk up to you on the street and pressure you into becoming a vegan! But I don't believe that anyone that does choose to eat meat (from any animal) should then brand themselves as something they are not.

Rant over.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

One Month to HOLIDAY Countdown!

I was going for a walk on my lunch break today and as I walked past the airport I saw the planes  soaring into the clouds, and I realised that we are leaving for our own holiday in only one month!!! EEP!
A plane coming in to land at Sydney Airport
In 30 days we fly out to Indonesia for a week of sun-bathing (with sun-screen on because I'm not silly....... and because I am pale as hell and don't suit blisters), swimming, enjoying cocktails and fresh fruit on the beach, and soaking up some beautiful culture! As I mentioned in a previous post, this is one of the things I had planned to do for this year that I can (very soon) cross off my list.. YAY!
So when we booked this holiday, I said to myself: "Erin, you're going to be a good girl this year, you're taking your health seriously for once, and you're going to go to the gym as many times a week as possible and become some sort of beach goddess in Seminyak."  -That lasted about 2 months... which is pretty good for me! Unfortunately during this time frame, my back - which has been a douche for a while now - started to give me  a little trouble. I ignored it for a little while, then when the pain became ridiculously unbearable I took myself off to the chiropractor in stead of the gym.
I still maintain that it was a great move on my behalf, as they found a few underlying issues there that could easily have become chronic issues had I not addressed them sooner.
Needless to say, my gym routine went out the window for a while as I was healing myself and re-learning how to stand.
Unfortunately for me though, I am now attempting to get back into a routine I had easily created months ago, and now seem to not be able to get back into: be up at 4:30am to be at the gym for a 5am start.... ughhhh. It's even more hideous written down!
This morning was my first day back at it, and I am feeling amazing! But I really did struggle when my alarm went off at 4:30.. I may have even gotten up to turn it off then crawled back into bed with my phone snuggled sweetly under my arm... But only for a minute! Then I realised how important it was for me to get up, so I did! (wonder of wonders!) - it didn't help that Domino was meow-ing constantly from the minute my alarm went off.

Our stunning villa in Seminyak

So I am trying to set myself a little goal of going to the gym as many mornings as I can until we go, doing yoga as many evenings as possible, and going for a walk in my lunch break when I can also - all in the hopes of being able to put on a bikini in Bali and feel confident when I get to that amazing pool (above).

Have you ever tried to set yourself a ridiculous goal such as this one? Are you a self-saboteur as well? What's your workout routine like?


It's Election Time...

It's federal election time again here in Australia.. We're only 2 weeks away from the cardboard booths, ridiculously large sheets of paper, and the head-down walk of shame past the local candidates wanting to shake your hand (it's FLU season people!).
Politicians are generally the same world-wide - there are plenty of gaffes, dorky dancing, and oh so many ads - thankfully we don't watch TV during the week.

One of the many memes of this election - Sarah Palin / Stephanie Banister
I fear this election is not showing the world how intelligent our nation is... really! It is terrifying that people might group Australians with the likes of Stephanie Banister, Tony Abbott (including the wider Liberal community), and James Diaz.

Seriously! Australians invented the refrigerator, the notepad, zinc, Hills Hoist clotheslines, cask wine, and the Ute (utility vehicle).... We are obviously not all as silly as our politicians would like everyone to believe.

This is all without mentioning that Julian Assange is now running for senate with the Wikileaks party....

I am not saying that I am against all politics (can I hear anarchy?), I just think that a lot of people would feel more engaged (*cough* youth *cough*) if things were a little less ridiculous -..I know, I know.. silly notion.. -and maybe more centred on the actual issues?? (cutting education funding may need addressing some time soon..)
I have always believed in making a conscientious vote, and attempting to know as much as possible about the party that I am choosing.. that being said, I generally don't change my opinions on parties once I've decided, and have always voted the same way.. but at least it is an informed decision.
I urge people not to walk into the polling booth on the Saturday and pick a party at random just because it has "sex", "gun" or "fishing" in the name..
Voting in Australia is compulsory, and I think that has made a lot of young people completely switch off - being told you have to do something has never made people too interested in doing it, has it? (how many times did you refuse to clean your room when you were told you had to?)
Maybe they should try engaging with youth? I was completely ignored at a train station by a local member (who shall remain un-shamed). She was handing out fliers for her party and skipped me completely even though I was obviously interested in receiving what she had to give me(I had forgotten my book that day). I'm not sure if I may have looked under-age that day, or she thought I looked too left-wing to be interested, but I thought that seemed slightly discriminatory and counter-productive.

What are elections like where you are? Is there as much ridiculousness? Do you switch off, or does it make you more interested when there are things to keep you entertained through the process?

One of my least favourite candidates - Mr Abbot - showing his sexy/ignorant side

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A few reasons why I love Lush..

I went into my local Lush store today, and I always forget just how amazing it is in there! The customer service alone is worth the trip.
Here's why:
  • I walked in, was greeted warmly & even recognised by staff
  • She allowed me to walk around and smell things until I was ready to be approached
  • I was listened to attentively, and felt like every minor concern I brought up was completely understood.... even while I explained my dislike of one mask simply because the texture put me off..
  • I was offered a bunch of products for every concern, and the few I picked out were tested on my hands first - probably the most lovely part - she brought me over to the sink, where she began rinsing and lathering one hand, then setting a mask on the other - so that I could feel and smell them.
  • I was given a free sample of one product I was unsure about, and when I bought all of my goodies, she invited me to a VIP night to test out their new range of scents. YAY!
That is basically a repeat of every time I've ever been into that store!
The best part of going into Lush is that I always walk out feeling so much better about myself than when I walked in!

If you've not heard of Lush, check out their products here. Most of their products are vegan, and nothing in their store has been tested on animals.

Some of the bits and pieces I picked up :)

Some masks, a spot treatment, toner, cleanser, perfume, exfoliant & glitter bar!

    My favourite cleanser:
    Fresh Farmacy
    A new mask!

A little sample of Angels on Bare Skin

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Noticeable Benefits of going Vegan

I thought I should write down some of the things I have noticed that changed since I have gone vegan.. maybe there are people who are interested in veganism, or other vegans who have experienced similar (or extremely different) benefits of going vegan.

  1. My nails! From the first month I noticed that my nails had started hardening and growing much quicker than normal. Since I was a child I have always had soft, brittle nails that tended to chip and snap off before they could get to any use-able length. I had tried hardening polishes, cuticle creams, shellac, and ultimately acrylic nails (*shudder*) to achieve the beautiful, long nails of my favourite celebs... Little did I know all I had to do was ditch the dairy and I would have Dusty Springfield nails in no time! Ta-Daa! 
    My "long" nails - thanks to quitting dairy
  2. Weight loss. Duh! It is a complete no brainer that when you remove high-fat foods like butter, cream, milk, (most) chocolate - and all the things that include those nasties - you are going to lose weight! I also really don't understand diets that claim to help you lose weight by eating more meat... I cringe to think about how disgustingly constipated those poor people will be :( Seriously, plant based diets are the way to go to lose weight. I lost a few kg in the first month or so, and it was great!
  3. Clear eyes. This might be one you're not so interested in, but I have found that it brightens my face up so much having clear, white eyes.. And it makes the green in my eyes stand out so much more! 
  4. Skin improvements. So my skin is not the best. I get hormonal breakouts, and wear make-up most days - all day - for work... So I still get some breakouts, but nowhere near as many as I used to, and for nowhere near as long as I used to. It's brilliant :) I'm sure switching to all natural face and body products would have helped too, since my skin isn't clogged up with lots of nasties!
  5. More day-to-day compassion. I have found that in everyday life I seem to feel more compassionate toward not only animals, but other people too. Spare some time (or some $$ if you can) for a charity or group that you think does some good in your area..
  6. Bloating-be-banished! I never feel bloated after I eat anymore! It is fantastic... no matter what I eat, it seems to settle in my tummy so quickly, and I never seem to feel icky and the dreaded "bloat". (another benefit along with this one for me is being "regular".. hehehe)
  7. General health - My health seemed to improve dramatically after I went vegan! I noticed it most when winter started, and everyone at my work seemed to get sick within 2 weeks of each other, and I was the only one who resisted the flu! I was confounded at first, until I realised that it was the food I had been eating! I had paid attention to my health, and it had paid off!
Me "suffering" through Sydney winter - no cold for me!

I will try to think of more changes I've noticed too, and I will post a follow up if I do see more! 

If you're a vegan, and noticed some awesome changes in yourself, let me know! We can compare notes! 

P.s I asked Travis some things he's noticed and he said "my nails are harder to bite through" and "I fart more" hahaha. Guys are so observant.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A little obsessed with zombies

First scene of The Walking Dead - walkers

Now that Game of Thrones is over for the season (sigh) I have been in need of a new show to watch... and since the lastest season of The Walking Dead has aired, Trav and I have started watching the latest half of the season.
We came across the show when season 2 was almost finished, so we spent a little over a month watching it from start to finish, then when it ended felt that horrible sense of loss until the next season began airing. It became a little like crack for us.. I even began having dreams about the zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately for me, in these dreams I always ended up in a city, with a population of about 1 million un-dead... scary  (If I could choose: I would hole up somewhere safe with high walls and enough provisions to wait it out - preferably in the country.... with people who know how to grow veggies....... and no zombies)

I must admit, I have been slightly obsessed with zombies snce they resurrected(hur hur) after everyone seemed to tire of vampires.. I love zombie movies (World War Z, Warm Bodies, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead etc etc).
I even have the running app: Zombies, Run! and have finished all of the runs in season 1. I have just downloaded season two and I am OH so excited to be chased by zombies while I'm running around my neighbourhood on the weekends!

Zombies, Run!

If you haven't used the app yet, if you love anything Zombie, and enjoy running (or need an excuse to get motivated to run), then definitely try Zombies, Run!

Official Day One of the 30 Day Yoga Challenge!

Getting ready to yoga!

Tonight my lovely boyfriend decided that after a couple of days watching me yoga it up at home, he thinks he would like to challenge along with me! Isn't that nice? Although it does mean that I had to start from day one again so that we could do it together from the beginning, I didn't mind, because it can only benefit me, right? :-)

Basic update: my shoulders and arms are a little sore from all this downward dog-ing, but my back is feeling amazing! 
The tension after a work day seems to release - which is amazing - and leaves me feeling relaxed and ready for bed :) 
Overall: Feeling amazing, and happy to continue on for the rest of the 29 days ahead! 
Tip: Don't push anything that doesn't feel right. Relax into the poses and concentrate on your breath.
Are you Yoga-ing too?

Monday, 5 August 2013

30 Days of Yoga Challenge


Hullo there! Mid-week boredom has spurred a challenge!!!!

So.... I am not the fittest person in the world, and I would never claim to be, but since I hurt my back a few weeks ago and haven't been able to get to the gym, what was left of my fitness has only declined..
The last week I have been attempting to go for a walk every day on my lunch break, not only to get out of the office for a little while and get some much needed vitamin d, but also to get my body moving since I haven't done much of that the past month..
As I am sure I have mentioned before, I am a procrastinator.. and I have been procrastinating about going to yoga for probably years now. I get ready to go to a class, then I find an excuse not to go - my yoga mat has a tear, I don't have my sports bra, my shirt sits funny today... etc etc until I finally have convinced myself that it would definitely be a bad idea to go today.. bad karma or something.
So I have decided to try and make myself accountable for actually doing it! Because I have been told that yoga will help to strengthen my back and neck and hopefully correct some of the damage I have done through years of poor posture. So I have decided to do a yoga "challenge" of sorts. I have videos to use through the week, and there is a class locally for me to go to on weekends to make sure I am doing everything correctly. I have attended a class here and there, so it is not completely foreign to me, but still a challenge is a challenge, and I am sure it will feel it.
So basically, the rules are: 1. Do yoga every day for 30 days. Got it? Good :) I'm not into setting crazy rules that I cant live by though, so if there is a day when I reeeeaaaally can't get it done, the I will have to do it twice the next day.. Morning and night. Fun!
Wish me luck, or join in for the fun!

Let me know if you've ever tried a challenge like this one, or if you're interested in trying it out with me! It would be great to know I am not the only ridiculous one out there.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

A quick lunch - Vegan hotdogs with a twist

Vegan Hotodog - With a Twist

Vegan hotdog - in a corn tortilla

Out of sheer desperation, I searched our cupboards and fridge and couldn't find anything to make for lunch! **shopping day woes**
Finally, I looked in the freezer and found a packet of vegan sausages that I'd bought on a whim a few weeks ago, and half a packet of corn tortillas from last week..  et voilĂ ! A delicious and QUICK lunch - vegan style :-)

Vegan hotdog - in a corn tortilla

I used:

  • A corn tortilla - fried with some Canola oil spray
  • Vegan sausage - Sanitarium brand - cooked under the grill
  • Coriander (cilantro)
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mustard
  • Yeast flakes
  • Fried Shallots 


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Commuting sucks

Just a word on why I hate commuting.
Lately I have been extremely lazy, and not waking up early enough to catch my train, which means in stead I am driving.... Naughty naughty, I know.
Besides clocking a LOT of unnecessary mileage on our new car, it also leaves me very frustrated by the end of the day, especially when there has been excessive traffic.... Much like this morning!
A car caught on fire  on the freeway that I travel on to get to work, and left all 3 lanes of traffic crawling. Although yes, this sucks, it meant I did get to take a pretty picture of the fog receding over the mountains:

Hawkesbury from Brooklyn Bridge
Definitely not one of he worst parts of commuting.. and I must admit: being awake to see the sun rise over the water every morning is probably one of the nicer parts of my day.

Long story short, I did eventually make it to work on time.. After narrowly avoiding another breakdown, and sitting through the regular city traffic.. PHEW!

Oh well.. TGIF right?!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Lunchtime retreat

Sitting in an office all day can start to make me feel a little cabin-feverish after a while.. So I decided that while the weather is unseasonably warm in Sydney to make the most of it and go for a walk during my lunch break..

Something cute I made on my walk
Besides the obvious relief of pent-up office-induced stress and boredom, it is good for while my back is out and I can't be at the gym in the mornings like I usually would, and I need to be doing something!

Lucky for me, my office is quite close to a river and a path!

Unfortunately, not too far along the path you come across this:

Sydney Airport
 ...stupid city ruining my peaceful walk :-(

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Things I'd like to do this year

I thought if I write down some things that I have been meaning to do this year, then I might actually do them!

Things I want to do this year:

  • Go to Bali - I already have this one planned for September, but I thought I'd add this one to the list mainly because I'm super excited to be going, and because it is something I want to do this year! ;-P (starting the list off easy)
  • A cleanse!
  • Go to the snow - Trav and I have a mutual  love for the snow and snowboarding (even though he is much better than I am), last year we managed to go down to the Snowy Mountains (3 hours south of Canberra) twice, and had so much fun there together! But this year it is half way through the snow season already and we haven't yet been :-( We will hopefully be able to go before we go to Bali.
  • Renovate the bathroom -  this one is SO necessary! The villa we live in was built in 1980, and when Travis bought it the entire house was in nearly original condition (kitchen, carpet, paint, bathroom). So last year we renovated the kitchen ourselves, and we have painted the entire house twice (Ughhhhh! Painting is probably my most hated house-reno job so far!), but the bathroom is the one that we haven't gotten around to yet. Hopefully we can get it done by November at least! I am so excited to have a new bathroom already! 
  • Teach Radley to shake - Radley is a lovely pup, who is so cute and snuggly, but he is very easily distracted. I would love to be able to teach him a few new tricks to distract him when he sees Domino - like shake and roll over - because at the moment he is woeful! 
  • Cook a grand vegan feast! - I have wanted to try my hand at making a fabulous vegan feast for a while now, but I am still not super confident with  my cooking abilities.. So a goal for this year is to cook an amazing array of dishes to serve to friends or family and show them how delicious vegan food can be! (Unfortunately most of them still think all I eat is salad)
  • Buy a new oven - I've been oven-less for over a month now... enough said :-( 
  • Do a creative writing course - I love writing, I went to uni to become a writer, an editor, or a publisher, but became too scared of showing people my own work, and dropped out of the course. I'm not sure why, but I have always hated to show other people my own words... so I guess having a blog is a remedy of sorts. Now I think that I am finally comfortable enough to actually submit something, so I will give it a go! I will post more about the course once it starts...
  • Finish all of the books on my "to read" list! Unless you couldn't tell by the ridiculous list above, I am a procrastinator from waaaaaaayyy back! I have trouble finishing things once i start them... (hence the list) and sometimes there are books that you may not be 100% enthusiastic about from the beginning, and those are the ones I have the most trouble finishing... Although I am proud to say that this year I finally finished Wuthering Heights, which I had notoriously picked up and put back down over 30 times before I finally did finish it....... needless to say I was devastated with the result....

If I think of anything else that I really should get done this year I'll make sure to add them, and I will cross things off as I finish them! 

Check out my Instagram, Pinterest and Goodreads for more! 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Another weekend gone..

I've always scoffed at people suffering on my social media from "Monday-itis", but lately I have been sighing and shuffling and generally moaning about having to go back to work on Monday.
I'm not sure why - maybe commuting, getting up early, being bored - but it is definitely getting me out of sorts.
It is funny though, because I don't hate my job, I generally don't mind public transport (though if my train is over 5 minutes late - that's when my inner Hulk emerges), and I enjoy having a schedule that I must follow every day as it keeps me organised and accountable.

I think my issue is that after I have been home all weekend with the dogs and Travis, and getting a chance to walk around in my "comfy clothes" with no make-up on - I miss being home. I love the idea of a day spent snuggling on the lounge in my happy pants and over-large t-shirt, with a series of whichever show I am addicted to at the time on and eating as much as I want. I LOVE those days. They're my absolute favourite! But I know that if I did that every day I would become fat, and severely deficient in vitamin D :-P ..But it is nice to think about those days, and hope that your weekend can include one of those days.. sometimes it can help me to get through the week!
But this is where I think the issue lies.. I look forward to those days relaxing so much that I am disappointed if I don't get to have one of those days on the weekend, and I end up depressed on the Monday, wishing I could have had just one more day to do NOTHING! Selfish? I think so. Lazy? Definitely!
I know that all of you have had a Monday back at work and wished that you could have had that one more day to sleep in, have a scrummy breakfast, then do nothing!

So.. back to the main topic! The weekend!
We had a productive Saturday: cleaning, bought a new vacuum (finally - we had needed to replace our haunted vac for ages!), washed the smelly puppies and then went out for dinner and drinks with friends.

Sunday I attempted to get washing done - and failed. Mostly because I was too busy catching up on Game of Thrones, and because I REALLY didn't want to do anything! :-P
...I finally finished season 3 of Game of Thrones at least! I think it helped to be in my comfy clothes for those final episodes.. I had a few moments of tear-induced hiccups, and I may have sobbed a few times (but it's ok because I was home alone).
I am kind of outraged that they ended the season half-way through the book! It frustrates me having to wait to see how they will create a few key moments in the book.
Have you read any of the series? You can see where I am up to on my Goodreads page. If you've watched season three, I am sure I'm not alone in my grief!

I think it is time for me to do more interesting things on the weekend. Travis mentioned my boring-ness, and doesn't know how I can stand to do what I do when I have nothing else to occupy my time (other than things that don't exactly excite me). Oh well. I think that is when the "each to their own" motto comes in handy. :-P
I am sure there are some amazing things to get up to in Sydney every weekend, and every week I plan to do something fabulous, but I lose the energy to do it as soon as Saturday rolls around, so maybe I need to set myself a weekly plan to do something fab every weekend!
Hmm.. that has me thinking! A new goal perhaps?

Don't forget to check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Vegan Cashew Cheese Recipe

So I thought I should post the recipe for the cashew cheese I used. I had seen lots of recipes for it, and thought it looked easy enough, so I tried my own :)
I used my food processor for this, but I think a good blender would work fine too, you may need to just stop and start a little more than with a food processor, just to push down the sides.
Also, I used a herb in mine to make it a little tastier.. for some reason I had seen dill at the supermarket and thought it would be nice, but as with most cheeses, any fresh herb would suffice!
I found that this cheese ended up tasting a like a ploughman's cheese. I used to love one certain brand, and this is very close to that! I was very pleasantly surprised!


Raw cashews - 1 1/2 C
Nutritional yeast - 1/4 C
Garlic Salt - 1t
Onion Powder - 1T
Juice from 1/2 lemon - be careful with not adding too much to make it overly lemon-y.
Canola oil - 1T
Dill (or other fresh herb) - diced - 2T


  • Soak the cashews - I've read a lot of people saying overnight, I only soaked mine for 4-5 hours, so if you know you want to make it that evening, soak in the morning, or if you want to the next day, then do it the night before :) easy. (I am very poor at remembering to soak things the night before, which is why I generally opt for the day soak)
  • Drain and rinse the cashews, and place in the food processor or blender with the nutritional yeast, lemon juice,  garlic salt, onion powder and oil.
  • Blend - scraping down the sides of the food processor every minute or so.
  • Keep processing until it becomes smooth.
  • Add in the fresh chopped herbs and blend until combined.
  • Serve in a cute bowl, and eat with EVERYTHING! I stored mine in the fridge overnight covered in some plastic wrap and it tasted just as good the next day.
So far we have served it on fresh bread, toasted bread, crackers, and on our yummy Vegan Burgers!
Also, stay tuned to see how this cheese turns out in my Lasagna this weekend!

Check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more!

The results of my cashew cheese experiment!

Creamy cashew "cheese" with dill

I am so proud of myself! :-P Not that it was truly that hard to make.. I think I had just deluded myself into thinking that it was too hard to make anything that had the words "vegan" and "cheese" in the same sentence.
It has come out creamy, tangy, and delicious! We are eating this one with Jatz biscuits and yummy crunchy bread.
I will definitely be making this one again, Travis has suggested a lasagne this weekend after he tried the cheese.. SUCH a good idea! I have tried and failed a few times at the perfect vegan lasagne, but I think with this extra added cheesiness it could turn out well! I'll keep you posted on that one! But for now, back to the cheesy goodness...

Check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Vegan Burgers!

I love food that is quick, with little mess, and can be eaten with your hands. It is my favourite kind of food.
I had seen a few vegan burger recipes floating around the web, and decided to make my own a few months after going vegan, just to see if I could.. and surprisingly enough they turned out delicious!
We have eaten these quite a few times now, and it has turned into a weekend treat for us. 
I always use my signature bean for the patties - Kidney beans -  only because I always seem to have a can of them floating around somewhere. Lentils also make an appearance for this recipe, not sure why I used them, but I think they help with the texture of the patty.
This is one of Travis' favourite meals of mine, and I hope you like it just as much! It is simple, and rather painless, so I'm sure you will do fine :-P

Vegan Burgers

Kidney beans - 1/2 can
Lentils - 1/4 can
Mushrooms - 4-5
Worcestershire Sauce - 2T
Cumin - 2t
Paprika - 2t
Onion powder - 1t
Oil - 2T
2t chia seeds + 2T water - mixed to a paste
Burger buns - Turkish seem the best so far

  • Combine the lentils and kidney beans and mash them in a bowl with a fork until there aren't very many lumps.
  • Add the worcestershire sauce, the cumin, paprika, chia paste and the onion powder (or fresh onion can be used), and mix through the patty mixture.
  • Chop up mushrooms, and cook in 1T of the oil until brown, then set aside. 
  • Make 2 patties out of the beans and lentil mixture, and place in 1T of the oil in a fry pan - they will not hold together very well, so you will need a good metal spatula to scrape and mould them.
  • Flip the patties once they start to crisp on the bottom
  • Cut up the avocado and tomato, and anything else you like to put on burgers.
  • Halve the buns and place under the grill until crisp

Serve as you like! (I also added a little of the cashew cheese i made yesterday..mmm)

Check out my Pinterest and Instagram for more food!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sick Days

Home today! I hurt my back over the weekend - I think it's from too much washing, therefore I have told Travis that's the universe telling me I'm not supposed to do it anymore... Damn :-P
So I have decided to try my hand at cashew cheese! I have seen the recipes, and been jealous of lots of friends for making it, and I have had some raw cashews just sitting in the cupboard for weeks now, so I think today is the perfect day for it! 
I am pre-soaking the cashews now, and will be gathering a few extra ingredients after the chiropractor this afternoon then I will definitely be posting some pictures of my attempt (and a recipe if it is successful)!
There have been so many yummy "cheese" recipes that I have seen lately, and I have meant to try them all, but with limited time, and SO many house-chores to do on weekends, I barely get time to cook us anything exciting! 

Today also gives me an excuse to keep an eye on Radley, who was a very naughty dog on Sunday morning and broke into the cupboard where his biscuits are kept. He was nearly a quarter of the way through the (quite large) bag when I caught him! 
He was a very miserable dog all day yesterday, and with a belly as big as his was I can see why! 

Radley and his oversized belly!

Most unfortunate for me has been his unbearable gas (and that he is very attached to me when I am home)! 
Thankfully his tummy seems to have gone down overnight, but I was very worried about him last night, and am happy to be able to keep an eye on him and make sure he is a little more lively today - he is. 

Radley and Suzie 

Today also means that I finally have a chance to catch up on Game of Thrones season 3! Travis isn't a fan of the show, so I am lucky enough to be able to watch without having to worry about ruining the show for him when I tell him all about it later tonight :-P 

Why I love weekends! (And my Scrambled Tofu recipe)

My weekends are precious to me. Not only because I get to spend some time with my lovely boyfriend (Trav works every second weekend), and adorable pets, but because I get some time to spend to myself - cooking, reading and relaxing!
My favourite time on the weekends is when I get to make us a big vegan breakfast. YUM!
It's great, because it's the time when breakfast can become lunch, and you actually have the time to savour your food, you're not rushing to eat it because you're at work (check out my "desk breakfasts" here), and you have a chance to sit and decide what to do for the day over a cup of yummy tea or coffee.

My usual weekday breakfasts 

I came up with my own version of scrambled tofu - as everyone does - and I think what I like about it best is that it incorporates most of the foods I love into one meal!

Scrambled Tofu

My Scrambled Tofu! 

Tofu - around half a block depending on how hungry you are!
2 T Oil - I used olive this time because I ran out of coconut
Cumin 1tsp
2 cloves Garlic
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce - 1T
Soy sauce - 2 tsp
Mushrooms - 4 medium
Savoury Yeast flakes - 1tsp
Sunflower seeds - 2 tsp
Crusty bread
Soy Margerine
Baby Spinach


Roughly chop or break up the tofu and place in a medium sized bowl.
Sprinkle with Cumin, and pour in Worcestershire sauce - stir through the tofu. 
Add in the sunflower seeds and soy sauce.
Chop up the garlic, and heat the oil in a fry pan on medium heat.
Add the garlic to the fry pan, cook for a minute - stirring constantly - then add mushrooms and fry until browned around the edges.
Add the tofu mixture to the mushrooms, and cook until the tofu is cooked through and brown on most sides, then set aside.
Cut your bread into thick slices and toast (I like mine extra thick and cooked under the grill - mmm)
Butter your toast, place baby spinach on each piece then finish with the tofu and mushrooms on top - Et voilĂ !

(Best served with a delicious cup of coffee, or if you're me and constantly forget to buy coffee every time you're at the shops you will have a Chocolate So Good. )

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Foods I'm Craving This Winter - and other things I generally can't live without

So Sydney does not get that cold.. But Sydney-siders like to complain about the cold as if it were Siberia anyway, and I am one of them. I can whinge with the best of them, and with feet that are permanent icicles in winter (it's true, ask my boyfriend), I like to keep myself nice and toasty with yummy comforts.... and bed-socks.

Some things I cannot live without in winter:
  • Toast - with lots of soy butter and vegemite/peanut butter - mmm
  • Chocolate - I am loving Sweet Williams individual mini chocolates at the moment
  • Porridge - I soak my oats overnight in a jar with some soy/almond milk and add other yummies like dates, cinnamon, maple syrup, chia, blueberries and always banana
  • Coffee - it keeps my hands warm!
  • A huge printed scarf
  • Vegan shepherds pie -there is nothing better than this dish when it's miserable outside! (I'll post my recipe soon)
  • A good umbrella - one that's small enough to fit in a handbag!
  • Waterproof pleather boots
  • Individual chocolate mug cakes
  • Lip Balm! The current favourite is Bonne Bell Baby Lips - Pink Lolita 

Don't forget to check out my instagram and pinterest!

What I'm reading at the moment

There hasn't been a time since childhood when I haven't been reading a book (or three). I have a stack of at least 5 books next to my bed (even though I generally don't read in bed I just realised.. hmm), and I have around 200 books on my digital reader I am attempting to work my way through (mostly the free classics that are complementary with the device).
I find it comforting to know that I have something to read when I am on the train, or relaxing at home. Which obviously leads to panic and depression when I have finished all of the books I was reading, and am left desolate and bookless until I can find something new (or old) to fill the void.

At the moment I am in the middle of the George R.R. Martin series A Song of Ice and Fire (who isn't?) and I am currently up to book four A Feast for Crows.

My slightly worn out copy of A Game of Thrones

For those that have never heard of A Song of Ice and Fire, or watched the HBO series Game of Thrones (where have you been?), it is a fantasy series set in the fictional land of Westeros, which focuses primarily on the fight for the coveted Iron Throne of Westeros, and indirectly on the lives of the Starks of Winterfell.
So it is basically told in lots of different voices of characters throughout the series, and each book changes narrators as George R.R. Martin picks and chooses who he will unceremoniously slaughter, much to your joy or dismay.

I won't give out any spoilers, because I have no interest in making enemies at this stage, but I will say that everyone I know that has read, or watched this series has become captivated, no matter if they are fans of the fantasy genre or not (generally I am not), so I encourage everyone to give it a read/watch.
...even though I can't get my very open minded boyfriend to watch it..(though I have a feeling that may be because I have already ruined it for him by gasping in horror and shock at every turn of the page.. and by telling him everything that has happened).

Generally as I read something modern, I will be tackling a classic at the same time so that I can give my brain a little respite. At the moment that classic is the Shakespearean "comedy" All's Well That Ends Well. It isn't much of an epic, and it is relatively light, though I still like to read Shakespeare in small doses, otherwise I find that I start thinking in iambic pentameter.

If you'd like to see more of what I'm reading right now, and what I've read recently, take a look at my Goodreads page!

If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, or just looking for a giggle, don't forget to check out my Pinterest  page.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

 As soon as I saw the clouds this afternoon i knew this was going to be our dinner for tonight. 
For some reason every time it gets cold I crave this meal. It's easy, relatively quick (depending on how many distractions you have at the time), and totally hits the spot!
There is something completely retro about this meal, it is something my mum or dad would have cooked for us when we were really little, and it always reminds me of the 80's and 90's.. It might just be me, but I love that it makes me think of that time.

(Sorry about the poor quality of the photographs, I am not a photographer, and only have a point-and-shoot at the moment, and not much time for editing. I am hoping to improve with practice, so please be patient with me!)

 I like to cut my vegetables fairly rough, because I like to be able to see all of them when I cut into my pie, but you can do it how you like... That's the best thing about this recipe, it can be adapted to suit your own personal tastes. 


Ingredients List

  • 4 Potatoes - washed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small Sweet Potato (prep as above)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Cup Vegetable stock
  • 1 Carrot - Peeled then diced or grated (as you prefer)
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can/Container texturized vegetable protein (I use Sanitarium brand)
  • 5 Mushrooms - sliced
  • Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • Frozen Peas and Corn
  • Cumin & Paprika
  • Savoury Yeast flakes
  • Garlic Salt


  1. Boil water in a medium pot and place in potatoes and sweet potatoes until soft enough to mash.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot and add chopped onions and garlic. 
  3. Once the onion is clear add in the spices. 
  4. Add the tvp and stir to mix through the garlic and onion. Leave to cook through for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add the rinsed kidney beans and tinned tomatoes, then let the sauce simmer on medium until most of the liquid has evaporated. 
  6. Add the chopped vegetables and frozen vegetables, then the vegetable stock, and leave on a low heat until the vegetables are cooked. 
  7. After the vegetables are cooked, add the worcestershire sauce and taste to make sure no added seasonings are needed at this point. If so, add more paprika and cumin to taste. 
  8. Drain and mash the potatoes while the sauce simmers, adding the vegan butter and soy milk until it is just fluffy enough. 
  9. Ladle the mixture into bowls, spoon the mashed potato on top and sprinkle with the savoury yeast flakes and garlic salt.
  10. Place the bowls in the oven, and cook on high for 5 minutes, or until the potato is golden and crispy on top.

Erin xo

Dont forget to check out my Instagram for more photos of my food..

Sunday, 14 July 2013

My Little Family


Suzie is a 6 year old English Staffy that we adopted from the RSPCA in May 2012.


She had kennel cough, fleas, was severely malnourished/underweight and had recently given birth to a litter of puppies.
After months of healthy meals and walks she gained weight and energy, and is now completely content to sleep on the lounge or bed all day until we come home from work. She receives lots of kisses, cuddles and food every day and is spoilt rotten by Travis.

Suzie likes

Lower back scratches

Suzie dislikes: 

When we leave for work
Being outside
Raw carrots


Radley is a 2yo Kelpie x Staffy that we adopted from the pound the day he was to be euthanised in April 2013.
Radley - being cuddly

Radley was a stray who had been in the pound for months before we saw him on their "kill list" and decided to adopt him. 
He, like Suzie, had kennel cough and fleas, and his tail had been cut off at some point in his poor life.
Radley shadows everyone through the house - begging for attention and love. He is such a softie, we can't imagine what life would be like without him anymore!

Radley Likes

Ear scratches
Getting into cupboards
Chewing.....everything (my glasses, lounge cushions, books...) 
Chocolate - much to our displeasure

Radley dislikes:

The vacuum cleaner


I adopted Domino from the RSPCA as a kitten 4 years ago.

Domino - reading

She can be quite temperamental, but loves to snuggle with Travis in the mornings after I get up to go to work. 
She is very protective of her food, and if she can get to it, she will! 
Domino is like a perpetual kitten, she is slight, and very playful! As soon as the lights go out at night, she seems to think that means it's time to play! 

Domino Likes:

Sharing Pillows
Sitting on any computer/paper/book you are using
Staring at me until I wake up
Attacking feet from hidden places

Domino Dislikes:

Being ignored


Travis is the best boyfriend anyone could ask for, he is considerate, kind, and compassionate.
Of course we have our moments - someone forgot to do the washing up, or whose turn it is to turn the light off before bed - but neither of us would be happy if there weren't little things to argue about every now and then ;-) 

Travis likes: 

Triple chocolate chip anything
Vintage watches
Superhero movies

Travis dislikes:

Public transport
Working on weekends