Weekend Blog – Lion’s Rock and Art Jamming.

EDIT: My 100th post! whooo!

Happy Monday Y’all! (I would literally never use ‘Y’all’ in real life and I now feel incredibly awkward haha.)

Anyways! The majority of this weekend was spent outdoors witnessing the beautiful weather Hong Kong had on offer whilst training for the upcoming Spartan Race in 3 weeks. I’m incredibly nervous for this race because I am by no means a runner, so much so that my boyfriend bought me some VS underwear to match my relationship with the action.

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Although the Spartan Race is only a 6km run, it also involves 20-25 obstacles which will require strength and endurance which I probably have more of than cardio respiratory endurance. As my training consists of high-intensity training, Bootcamp and Bear Camp once a week, I can’t say I feel too prepared! However, I am looking forward to being completely pushed out of my comfort zone mentally and physically and hey, who knows, I may actually enjoy it!

Saturday started with our weekend routine of Grit Strength @ The HIT ROOM. It was a pretty hard class but as I felt myself getting fitter, my motivation pushed me through to the end. It was probably the first class in my life where I hadn’t missed a single rep. With my endorphins running high, we agreed to go on a hike with some friends over on Kowloon side.

As we were making our way to the beginning of the route, my fatigue started to set in which left me wondering why I couldn’t have kept my damn mouth shut and spent my Saturday poolside. It took us a good hour and a half to get to Fei Ngo Shan in Ma On Shan Country Park and we set off on our merry way. After about 30 minutes uphill, we realized that the taxi dropped us off nowhere near the starting point of the hike and after an hour of extreme heat and grumpiness (on my part), we finally reached the beginning of the hike up to Lion’s Rock.

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The views were spectacular and I can’t imagine how beautiful they would be at night. I would even say that these Kowloon sites rival The Peak.

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I wouldn’t say the trail is challenging up until the last 20 minutes up stairs to reach the top. On the way down, we were fortunate to run into some jungle monkeys which was amazing to observe. They were totally unfazed by mass groups of passing hikers however, one did give me the stink eye whilst I was attempting to take a picture. They can be vicious so make sure you have no food or bags in your hands.

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All in all, it was a great day and despite me being absolutely exhausted after 4 and a half hours of exercise that day, I would 100% recommend this route to everyone.
Duration:
About 3.5 hours total
Difficulty: 6/10. Steep climbs towards the end.
Appreciation: 8/10. The Kowloon views were stunning, even on a smoggy day like we experienced.

Transportation: Get to Won Tai Sin MTR station, Exit B3. Don’t make the mistake of cabbing it from Choi Hung MTR station!

On Sunday we were hit with extreme jelly legs so we decided to take it easy and bring my dog squad for an easy walk up the mountain to get some blood pumping to the legs. Sometimes, I can’t get over what a beautiful place I live in and I hope to never take it for granted!

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In the afternoon, my boyfriend had planned for us to go Art Jamming. As it was our first time, I had no idea what to expect. We turned up to Blush to find two spaces set up for us near the window of what looked like a flower arranging room. Our easels faced the busy concrete jungle of HK and it was such a relaxing experience. They provided little sandwiches and cakes, background music and were happy to help my boyfriend with his eager beaver questions on his brush strokes.

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That’s it for this weekend. What did you get up to?

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Our trip to Guilin, China.

Thanks to my job in education, this summer meant 7 weeks of pure blissful holiday! The only downside was being in between contracts, which meant no salary for 2 months and concluded in no real plans for a summer vacation. Although I was prepared for a summer spent down at my local club, living the life of a Tai Tai, by the first month this quickly grew old. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for the stunning weather Hong Kong displayed for pretty much 2 months straight, I just craved a change of scenery.

As much as I would have loved to be drinking a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc poolside of a Southern Eastern paradise, I wanted more of an adventure which wouldn’t break the bank, didn’t eat up too much of my boyfriend’s annual leave and meant that I didn’t have to fly.

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I came across Guilin which I found out was only 4 and a half hours by train. Guilin was also the first trip I had ever taken without my parents at the age of 10 years old with school (shout out to the DBIS squad!) so it seemed like the perfect place to return to, 16 years later with my boyfriend. So two days later, we were off to China. I’m not going to lie, I tried to talk myself out of going, especially when I had done my routine Social Media account check after awaking to find out there had been a close earthquake only 12 hours previously. Others would feel excitement at the chance to go away, but it did take a lot of courage on my half to force myself to Hung Hom station at 6am.

DAY 1- After a very pleasant 2-hour train trip to Guang Zhou, we cabbed it to another train station to catch our train to Guilin. Now this train experience was very different and we both felt like fish out of water. It was cramped, loud and in all honesty, a little bit grim. Though the views from the train were breathtaking and I wouldn’t have traded for anything as we got to see what most miss whilst flying. Just as the obnoxious man next to me continued to scream at his phone in a conversation for over 2 hours, we caught eyes with a little girl sticking her tongue out at us. After a game of sticking out tongues, she then came over and offered us a peanut, followed by handfuls over the next 30 minutes. I had luckily bought a colouring book and felt tip pens in my tired state in Guang Zhou which I gifted to this little girl. The look in her eyes was something I’d never forget and her mum ensured she repay the favour by giving us some face cream from the cosmetics factory she worked for. That was my first lesson of the trip, don’t prejudge anyone, not even the asshole on his phone who’s  giving you an earache.

We arrived in Guilin at around 8pm and caught a Taxi to the Shangri-La where we would stay for the next 5 nights. It was a nice hotel with lovely staff and beautiful views from the room but don’t expect too much food wise. However, I would say that the hotel especially catered for children and I would 100% recommend The Shangri-La to families staying in Guilin.

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DAY 2- After a long sleep in the extremely large comfy hotel bed, we headed out to do some exploring of the area. First stop were the Reed Flute Caves which I remember doing on Year 6 camp. We arrived at the site where we chose to enjoy a 7-minute walk through the botanical gardens, rather than paying for a 2-minute train journey. Got to get my 10,000 steps in!

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The caves were truly magnificent, although like many attractions, it was a total tourist trap with gift shops coming out your eyeballs. The arrangement of the lights were absolutely stunning and I was in constant awe walking through, so much so, that I didn’t want to leave.

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After the Reed Flute caves, we headed to Zhengyang Pedestrian Street which is known as the shopping and food quarter in Guilin. It was quite an interesting place that apparently comes alive at night.

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Surprisingly enough, the no. 1 restaurant in Guilin according to my trusty Trip Advisor was the Indian Restaurant of Kali Mirch and as avid Indian Cuisine fanatics, we just had to try it. It was good but I quickly realised how spoilt we actually are in Hong Kong with amazing family run, authentic Indian joints.

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Day 3 – Due to a typhoon passing Southern China, it brought a halt to our site seeing which meant a day spent at the hotel. Luckily, the weather had improved by evening so we took an evening Two Rivers and Four Lakes Cruise which was recommended by the hotel. Apart from the Sun and Moon Pagodas (pictured below), the cruise consisted of lit up buildings and fishermen bird shows which just seemed overly rehearsed and staged. It was actually quite upsetting watching these bird chained up, made to dive for fish, swallow fish and regurgitate them every 5 minutes when a new cruise boat would pass. Everything about it was so gimmicky and I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to experience true Chinese architecture and culture.

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Day 4 – Today was a day of accomplishments for me both physically and mentally. We booked a bike tour as we had wanted to tour the countryside whilst getting some exercise in. We met up with our tour guide Mark Tang , who led us through manic streets through to the outskirts of the city. We rode to the rurality of Guilin and enjoyed the view of stunning limestone hills, rice fields, old villages and beautiful rivers. Half way through the ride with some burnt shoulders and a numbed backside, we stopped off for some roadside famous Chinese rice noodles. You were able to add your own toppings such as chilli, chives, bamboo shoots and soybeans. They were the best noodles we had ever had, all for 5¥ (HK $6) !

img_1439img_1433img_1430img_1427img_1424img_1423dsc00931img_1440The views were stunning and our tour guide Mark was extremely friendly and had such in-depth knowledge of Guilin and China. If any of you are ever interested in a bike tour in Guilin, make sure to contact him via Facebook or here.

Day 5 – On our last day, we took a boat cruise tour down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. The cruise is over 52 miles long and is estimated to take 3 and a half hours. The eye-feasting landscape did not disappoint!!

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When we arrived at Yangshuo, we were given 20 minutes to explore before we were given the choice of a tour of a silk factory or the countryside for an additional large amount. After spending 5 minutes in Yangshou, we knew we had to sack off the tour group and explore at our own pace. Yangshou was filled with bars, restaurants, shops, hostels and had a great energy about it. Our only regret was that we didn’t spend more time experiencing all that Yangshuo had to offer as I have read that the hiking and the scenery were some of the best in the country.

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It was great to return to a place 16 years on, travelling through mainland China by train and immersing ourselves in a culture so different to Hong Kong despite it being so close in distance. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone every single day and all in all, I am so grateful for my out of the norm summer experiences! x

Fitness update & HK’s best veggie/vegan restaurants (Vegan Char Sui??) :O

What a beautiful sunny week it’s been in Hong Kong!

I am now only 10 days away from completing the 8 week fitness challenge and I wanted to continue to write a short update on the second half as well as the lead up to the final fitness tests. I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by!

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Week 5 started off great. I was feeling healthy and active and continued to build strength and endurance, I was on cloud 9! It wasn’t until week 6 that I had suddenly felt like I had been hit with a tonne of bricks. My joints ached, my muscles were tight and I felt fatigued. I no longer had the energy I had built up over the last 5 weeks and even though I was eating the same foods and exercising the same amount, I just felt tired. Just as I started to feel panicky and frustrated, the fitness challenge nutritionist, Lisa Tarquini from Eat Move Glow , sent the email below and suddenly I realised I needed to take a couple days rest, fuel my body and reset.. which is exactly what I did :)

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As well as cutting down my exercise, this week was filled with friends and family birthdays and surprise engagement parties which meant quite a few naughty days. By the end of the week, I was bloated yet satisfied!

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After my glorious 2 days of rest and eating my heart out, I have started week 7 with determination and gratitude. I am pushing through the burn and loving every second of it. Today was the first 6am spin class where I didn’t feel out of breath and for me, that is a milestone!

 

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  • If you’re feeling hungry, It’s probably your body asking to be nourished. Don’t obsess over calories and do not go to bed hungry after a workout.
  • I have noticed in the past couple of weeks that slight glimpses of borderline obsession have peaked it’s ugly head. I have started to feel GUILTY that I’m only exercising for an hour a day…which after a chat with a colleague, I realised how ridiculous that is. Each day, for that hour, I am giving it my all, whether it’s spinning, attempting to increase my body pump weights, HIT training, Bootcamp or Strongman training, I am trying my best to push that little bit extra each session. So, why do I feel that unless I exercise 2 hours a day, I am unfit?
    I have taken part in an 8 week challenge to improve my fitness, raise money for Bali Kids and make a lifestyle change, not to obsess. I am now in a routine where I no longer dread exercise, it is just a part of my day which comes and goes. I was constantly comparing myself to my fitness level 2 years ago where I could do an hour of Grit Strength, an hour of cardio and an hour hike and feel absolutely fine. It is important to keep reminding myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Day by day I am getting fitter and stronger, whilst actually enjoying myself. That’s most important.
  • Take the time to relax and treat yourself. Take Epson salt baths, book massages, yoga classes..anything to make your body feel looked after.

 

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I set myself the below goals for the final week:-

– Fit in more yoga sessions as I LOVE this practice.

– Loose at least a kilo

-Do one of HK’s many beautiful hikes

– Stop snacking on pita chips and make some filling snacks like protein balls!

-Don’t look at Week 8 as the end of a challenge but the end of the beginning. I fully intend on keeping my routine change as my new lifestyle.

-Raise more donations for the Bali Kids cause. If you’re interested in supporting this amazing cause, please donate to HERE!

Now moving on to something just as important to me…. FOOD! Over the last couple of weeks, I have been on the hunt for vegan friendly restaurants around Hong Kong as there is only so much I can take of having to pester waiters every time I dine out. I had heard of these 2 restaurants online and not meaning to sound over the top in the slights but THEY HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE!!!

The first was newly opened HOME – Eat to Live. Not only does this place sport beautiful and cosy interior but, the menu had me more excited than the time Back Street Boys were rumoured to be touring Asia.

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I ordered a custom flatbread with olives, falafel, roasted red onion, spinach, classic alioli and roasted garlic hummus and a side of sweet potato fries. I am not sure what I was expecting a flatbread to look like, but a wrap was not it. No complaints here though, the food was delicious!!

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A meal deal came with your flatbread of choice, a side, a healthy version of lemonade, your choice of sauces and small bar of raw dairy free chocolate.

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The flatbread was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, flaky and grilled… oh my days, get me back there.

And now, for the best bit of the meal and one of the best dessert ever to grace my tongue, THE RAW HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SLICE. Hand crafted by angels, constructed by kings and queens and sprinkled with fairy dust. This was heavenly. Nutty, chocolatey, rich in flavour and so addictive.

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Now for the restaurant that I decided to drag my boyfriend along to last night, which genuinely nearly wanted me to cry happy tears. The Loving Hut is one of 200 worldwide 100% vegan restaurants. Being Vegan and dining out at Chinese restaurants is pretty much a no-go so you can imagine my happiness when I found out this place did VEGAN CHAR SUI BAO (life changing). Funnily enough, I had been craving them earlier this week…must’ve been The Law of Attraction hey?

Although this place was far from fancy, it was warm and friendly and everything you need it to be.

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We ordered the char sui bao (bbq ‘pork’ dumplings) and the veggie dumplings to start. They were everything I had dreamed of and more.

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For the mains we ordered the Char Sui with vermicelli noodles and a noodle laksa. The mock meat char sui looked and tasted so similar! It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a tasty BBQ glaze. Next time I’m back, this will be the first thing I order. (Hello boyfriend, can we go this weekend, please?!)

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Lastly, we shared a Tiramisu. It didn’t exactly taste like tiramisu (needed some alcohol!) but was still enjoyable.

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The loving hut offers food ranging from vegan pizza and french fries to Ramen and fried rice. If you’re veggie or vegan, or just enjoy veggie foods, you MUST try this place out. I can guarantee you it will not disappoint.

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Have a great week and I hope your days are as happy as I am with my ‘pork’ bun :)

 

 

 

WEEKEND BLOG: 2 DAYS OF SUMMER

On Saturday, I woke up to chirping birds and light glistening through the window.. It just couldn’t be….. could it? Had our longest, wettest winter finally buggered off for bigger and better things? It was official. SUMMER WAS HERE (for the time being!)

With a jump to our step, we headed to one of our favourite HK spots, Mavericks, Pui O to take advantage of this beautiful weather. As I’ve said in a previous blog, I can’t get enough of the vibe and more so, the decor at this beachside surf shack. Not to mention, dog friendly.

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The food is a little pricey for the what you get but I guess you pay for the atmosphere. I ordered the sweet corn, chickpea and red pea cake with frisee leaves and basil pesto with fries and the boys ordered burgers.

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Now these margaritas were worth every penny!

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After the boys had a few too many, we headed down to the beach to let the dogs have a run around and watch the sunset. It seems that I had forgotten how beautiful Hong Kong can be after enduring 5 months of constant awful weather.

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We started today with a cheeky dragon boat practice before taking my mum out for a Mother’s Day Brunch @ Isola. It’s always a good feeling to be out in the water, especially when the sun is peeking through the clouds.

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Isola is located on the 3rd floor of IFC and boasts some great views. Their lunch menu includes a delicious antipasti buffet, along with a main of your choice, followed by a dessert buffet.

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Luckily for me, there was a vegan option on the menu, Tomato risotto :)

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Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful Mum! 

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I was pretty gutted when my boyfriend came back with this plate of dessert….

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UNTIL I found out the chocolate fountain used DAIRY FREE chocolate!!

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Pretty grateful to call this place my home. 

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As always, have a great week and apologies for the image heavy post!

My 8 Week Fitness Challenge: UPDATE

Happy Happy Thursday!

It’s been just over 2 weeks now since I first started my 8 week fitness challenge and I just wanted to fill you in on how I’m doing and what I’m learning (for those who are interested!)

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I thoroughly enjoyed my first week of the challenge and found myself energised, determined and motivated. I felt that I needed a change from my usual exercise routine of BodyPump and HIT training classes as I had grown tired of repetition and needed some new motivation in my life. I decided to limit the classes at my old gym and sign up to Guavapass to try out some new classes. I have had such great fun trying out a variety of classes, from TRX on a trampoline to flipping tyres and dead rowing kegs. It’s been great getting back into it and being able to workout with friends also completing the 8 week challenge.

Week 2 started off with a bang and even included a 45 minute self-made garden HIT circuit whilst away in China for the long weekend. It wasn’t until the end of the 2 day trip that it all went udders up! Even though I packed a few Vegan snacks, our supposed hour long car trip turned into a 4 hour one due to traffic, which meant, these saved snacks rapidly decreased at the rate of frustrated, tired 3rd cultured kids. Mainland China is probably the least Vegan friendly place on this planet and I ended up eating bread for every meal with either a bit of fruit or a couple vegan sausages. With these bad food choices and 5 days of restless sleep, I got hit with the flu. It’s been 3 days since I’ve exercised and I’m itching to feel better and carry on with my new routine.

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  • Slow and steady wins the race. I found that not going completely mad on exercise (more than an hour a day) for the first couple weeks was not only wise on my energy levels, but also allowed me to correct and revise proper technique without running myself down and risking injury. As the weeks go by, I will start introducing more cardio sessions during the week.
  • BEARCAMP @ URSUS (think strong man) and BOUNCE LIMIT (cardio on a rebounder) are now my two favourite studios/gyms in Hong Kong!!
  • It’s important to keep a food journal. There’s nothing more irritating than having to write down the shitty, processed, meal you just endured.
  • Leaving exercise to the afternoon can leave you feeling sluggish and can turn into a cycle of having to muster all of your willpower instead of watching reruns of Jerseylicious.

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I set myself the below goals for week 1&2:-

– Exercise 6 times a week (one of those days being either dragon boat training, hiking or yoga) 

– Use the Elle Active Get bendy stretching guide + foam roll 3 times a week. X I only completed one long stretch session (not including 5 min after class stretching) 

– Listen to my body and give it the rest it needs. 

– Eat the rainbow. Double my veggie portions and cut out the bread. 


– Try tofu as a soy protein source. √ Yuck, Yuck, Yuck..Not a fan. 

– Practice my headspace 7 days a week. A healthy body and mind go hand in hand.  + X – only practiced 4-5 times this week but still better than none at all!

-Lose a kilo or 2. √ -2.3 kg :)

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Week 3 & 4

– Set your alarm to 5:30am every morning and exercise before work. Attempt to make this your new routine as the post work sluggish feeling isn’t motivating!

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– Exercise 6 days a week, and exercise morning and evening (cardio + weights split) 2-3 times a week.

– Enjoy everything you’re doing. Don’t do a class you don’t enjoy even if it may be a big calorie burner or if everyone else is doing it. If you enjoy it, you’re likely to be in it for the long haul.

– Stretch and foam roll MORE!

-Leave the bread for a weekend treat, no matter how much you love smashed Avo on toast!

-Keep tracking your protein on MyFitnessProtein but don’t become obsessed with calorie consumption.

-Raise more donations for the BaliKids cause. If you’re interested in supporting this amazing cause, please donate to HERE :)

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Instagram: @maidenhk

Snapchat: Katydayhk

 

 

 

 

The hardest thing about being Vegan.

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It has been nearly 2 months now since I have been 100% vegan. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time and it truly feels like my mind has been opened up tenfold. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel I’ve had to give up much compared to the amount I have gained. However, the hardest things about going vegan may surprise you:

DEALING WITH OTHER PEOPLE…….

Prepare to be the topic of many dining conversations – Whether you like it or not, the fact that you eat plants, will be discussed and dissected and made fun of. It’ll be hard at times when all you really want to do is enjoy the meal in front of you instead of constantly being reminded that you’re the outcast in these situations.

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People will constantly ask where you get your protein from – When I first turned Vegan, my mum was worried that I would develop a protein deficiency. I would explain to her that there was such a wide range of vegetarian protein sources but, still she was wary. After a while, I started to doubt whether I was getting enough protein so I decided to download MyFitnessPal and track my macros for a week to see. To my surprise, I wasn’t only reaching my protein goals for the day, I was exceeding them. I was also consuming more protein than I was when I was consuming meat.

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You will feel down at times – Once you have educated yourself on what goes on in the meat and dairy industry, and I mean what REALLY goes on, you will have a hard time trying to accept that some people are happier not knowing or seeing the truth while others, just don’t care. You can’t make everyone watch slaughterhouse and dairy farm footage, read countless studies or research on the link with the meat industry and causes of climate change, species extinction, ocean dead zones, deforestation, world hunger and so on. And lastly, people often find change hard, which I can totally relate to. It took me 26 years of eating meat and dairy to change and Culture; History; Conformity; it’s what we are used to, so why would we change so easily?

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Everyone you know is suddenly a nutrition expert – Listen to your body, not to anyone else.

You will get defensive because you actually give a shit about something other than the Kardashians and premier league results.

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You will have to read every package label! You will have to avoid foods you never thought would include any animal byproducts. Who knew that Guinness contained fish bladder in its brew? Marshmallows contained gelatine? and raspberry-flavoured sweets contained the anal glands of a beaver? Not I.

People will think you’re trying to be morally superior when all you’re trying to do is make this lifestyle work for you and others who have expressed interest. I’m not out there to force anyone or try to turn my friends and family into strict vegans. I’m not saying you deserve to burn in hell because you eat meat nor am I trying to shove facts down people’s throats. I am no better than you because I live a certain way, I am just expressing myself and my experiences. If you can post countless LadBible articles and football rants, leave me to post adorable pictures of micro pigs and hummus recipes.

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You may be told how to live your life – You will be told by ‘famous’ Vegan Youtubers such as Freelee and durianrider that drinking coffee isn’t vegan (even with substituting with soy or almond milk) because it is an addiction, you will be told that you shouldn’t have children because of world hunger or eat cooked food before 4pm. You will be told to live your life a certain way, but don’t buy into the bullshit. It is your life and you should live it like you please, vegan or not. As long as it’s good for you and your body.

Even though, there are many hardships to endure, when becoming vegan, there are many more gains!

This is me and this is what I believe, if you don’t like seeing it, unfollow, unsubscribe, unfriend. It’s that simple. I am not going to change for no one :)

 

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FIGHTING FAT TO FIT FOR BALI KIDS

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For the first time in my life I have started to notice small changes in my health and the way I feel. I can’t remember the last time I’ve slept well through the night and not woken up without feeling like a groggy knackered mess, but since becoming vegan and cutting out dairy, my digestion, sleep and energy levels have improved remarkably.

One thing that hasn’t magically improved is my weight. After coming back from the UK where I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle of constant boozing, takeaways and lack of sleep, I came back to Hong Kong with my hormones all over the place and 14 kilos heavier (cheers dominos you delicious bastard!). Whilst I am eating the healthiest I ever eaten with a plethora of fruit and veg, I have also not been limiting my processed carbs, vegan junk food and have not been feeling motivated to exercise.

When a friend mentioned an 8 week fitness challenge for charity, I jumped at the opportunity. I needed something out of routine and the norm to push me to live the healthiest life I can live and improve my fitness and hopefully reach (if not exceed) the level of fitness I had 2 years ago. And if I can’t motivate myself, I know raising money for Bali Kids will.

 

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The Angels Fitness Challenge was set up by a HK based non profit organisation, Angels for Orphans , whose aim is to provide funding to improve children’s lives worldwide. All proceeds will be donated to Bali Kids who provide health and medical care. Bali kids are kick starting a new Anti-Smoking Education Program as currently, children in Indonesia do not receive any education on smoking and it is one of the biggest killers. This is something that is very close to my heart as my late father smoked for a large portion of his life and when diagnosed with skin cancer the majority of tumours were found in his lungs. A doctor I am not, but I have always wondered if things could’ve been different if there had been no smoking. It is incredibly sad to think that there are a large number of children as young as four who are hooked on cigarettes and do not know the dangers of this awful habit.

This challenge will last 8 weeks and will include 53 participants from all over Hong Kong. We have been split into teams and I will be proudly competing with my Discovery Bay ladies to win most improved fitness as a group as well as some individual categories. I will be exercising every day for the next 8 weeks, decreasing my intake of processed foods, giving up alcohol and hopefully gaining some muscle! This is something that is going to challenge my mind ever more so than my body and I would be so grateful for your support and enthusiasm!

 

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If you’d like to donate, please click here. Any donation big or small will be greatly appreciated.

 

Today was introduction day where we met the brains behind Angels Fitness Challenge 2016 as well as top HK nutritionist Lisa Tarquini and were put through our first fitness test! We were tested on planks, wall sits, push ups and had our weight, BMI, measurements and fat percentage measured.

 

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and tomorrow THE CHALLENGE IS ON! Wish me luck :)
now for one last glass of champers…

 

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If you’re interested in following my journey, add me on snapchat @katydayhk and Instagram: @maiden_hk for regular updates.

 

Have a lovely week ahead!

 

Carnivore approved Black Bean and Chickpea Burgers! #Vegan

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For the first few weeks into my 30 day vegan challenge, I had this intense feeling of FOMO when it came to letting go of the usual dishes I have grown up with and burgers were one of them. At first, I found it rather hard having to give up my usual junk food treats such as pizza, burgers and desserts, but I soon realised that you can make a vegan alternative to nearly EVERY single dish.

So here’s my take on an easy, cheap, simple, healthier version of a burger:

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 INGREDIENTS

Vegan chickpea and black bean burgers (6 servings)
  • 1 tin (425 grams) chickpeas
  • 1 tin (425 grams) blackbeans
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp himalayan salt (or regular table salt if needed)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

(If you don’t have any of the above seasonings, just add whatever seasonings you fancy!)

1. Blend 1 cup of oats in a blender until it reaches a flour consistency.

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2. Add your garlic, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and olive oil and mix.
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3. Rinse your chickpeas and black beans.
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4. Mix beans with the oat flour and mash together. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry or add a little flour if too wet)
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5. Roll into balls and flatten and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready, cook in frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil until the surface is browning and crispy.
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And don’t forget the oven roasted rosemary chippies!
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6. Create your burger! I added half an avocado, red onion and ketchup to my burger bap.
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7. Enjoy your burger! Enjoy it even more because no animals were harmed for your tastebuds and your digestive system will thank you :)
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5 minutes that changed my life.

Happy Easter, friends!

If you’re sick of hearing about my transition to Vegan then I would simply close the tab pronto.

If you read my blog from time to time, you would have seen that I took part in 30 days of Vegan where I cut out all meat, dairy and any animal by-products. Whilst it is something I feel very strongly about and continue to document, I too can remember a point where I would constantly roll my eyes at certain vegan Facebook friends who never stopped posting about animal rights. I found them annoying and inappropriate, but after completing 30 days and involving myself within vegan communities, I found myself turning into that very person I use to find irritating.

I found these people irritating because it was easier than facing the facts, it was easier to not feel guilt over my pizza binges, my love of a good burger and be blindingly ignorant. Ignorance REALLY is bliss. To think thousands of animals have been slaughtered for my taste buds during my lifetime, died at my expense for what? For 10 minutes of satisfaction? Now, I am fully aware that my strong opinions will annoy individuals, I may even loose friendships over my choices, but at the end of the day, I feel that this route is for me and if I can open at least one persons eyes to this cruelty free, healthy, environmentally friendly way of life, I feel that my job on this earth is done.

So. I officially completed 30 days of Vegan last week and what did I do? I had a 4 day cheese BINGE. I dug a cheese filled hole full of pizza’s, mac and cheese’s, mozzarella panini’s and cooked and ate half a block of hulloumi for the sake of it. What made me do it? I have no idea. I congratulated myself and convinced myself that if I have a little bit of cheese here and there it won’t be that bad, at least an animal won’t die…right? I was then recommended to watch a 5 minute video and from there, my eyes were well and truly opened and my life forever changed. I can now confidently and happily call myself Vegan and will never consume dairy again.

If you’d like to know the truth behind the dairy industry, please click on the link below.

Now back to the weekend….I feel like I haven’t stopped moving and have had such a great, much needed weekend with family and friends.

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SATURDAY & SUNDAY – We woke up early and decided to stay at my boyfriends mum’s house in Sai Kung whilst she was away on holiday. We took the dogs to the beach where I had never seen them happier and then on to Classified for some lunch.

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I ordered the Pomegranate & Mango smoothie which included pomegranate kernels, mango, spinach, organic raw cacao and flax seed. It was delicious! Their menu had a variety of 12 different smoothie mixes which is great to see.

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I then ordered the dish that started off my cheese binge! Mac’n’Cheese.

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We spent the next two days relaxing in the sun, going for walks and watching our dogs run riot in the garden.

MONDAY: The following day, I woke up and devoured a oats bowl full of peanut butter, blueberries, oats, cinnamon and coconut shavings.

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Despite my extreme fatigue from consuming all that cheese, my boyfriend dragged me on a mini hike to Mui Wo with one of our friends. Of course we had to stop off at our favourite restaurant, The China Beach Club.

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TUESDAY: Today I caught up with a friend over some Mexican food. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find any Vegan options, but how silly was I! Mexican is one of the easily adaptable cuisines when it’s a staple consist of corn tortillas, avocado, salsa, black beans, jalapeños and rice etc. This tortilla bowl salad was THE ONE!

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I also tried passionfruit for the first time and oh my days, why did no one ever tell me about the watermelon + passionfruit combo!!

What did you get up to over the Easter holidays?

 

OH MY GOD. BEING VEGAN IS SO HARD.

A couple days ago, whilst attempting to make plans with a friend, he mentioned we could go to a restaurant ‘for vegetables’ due to my dietary needs. It just got me thinking how HARD it is being Vegan, just having to eat vegetables all day. I mean, I could go as far as saying it is probably one of the HARDEST things I’ve EVER done.

I mean it is just so HARD eating pancakes with agave nectar and blueberries.

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Soy based Coffee ice-cream milkshake? YUCK YUCK YUCK. 

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I mean Samosa’s….. EWWW

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Moo-free Chocolate covered strawberries??? THAT IS SO WRONG. 

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Salads with  colourful and nutritious veg? I CANT EVEN.

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Oatmeal cookies…NO NO NO.

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Smashed avocado toast with paprika… AVOCADO IS THE DEVIL.

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Curries with vegetable pakora? HELL NAW.

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Even chips with curry sauce….. GROSE.

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Veggie burgers with onion rings, avocado and bbq sauce… VOMCANO. 

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PASTA’S….Garlic pasta in white wine sauce and olive oil… THAT’S JUST NUTS.

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Red wine with Oreo’s… WHAT IN GODS NAME!

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Cold pressed fruit and veggie juices…ERGH.

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Sweet potato and hummus? THINGS ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND NOW. 

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Massaman curry and spring rolls? THIS IS MADNESS.

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That doesn’t even cover all the awful nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and grains like rice and couscous, risottos. Don’t even get my started on those vile fruits like mangos, watermelons, berries and vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin, peppers eggplant.

Being Vegan is just too damn hard.

Have a good week ya’ll!

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Weekend Blog: Brunches, BB gun wars and Burritos.

Apologies for the lack of posts (for those who read this blog!) The last week has definitely been a busy one. The first reason being, was that is was my the second anniversary of my dad’s death, which is always a tough time mentally, physically and emotionally, but it has also involved a couple nights of remembrance dinners and drinks. We decided that instead of eating out, I would cook dinner for the family and we would listen to all his old music. As I’m the only herbivore of the pack, I wanted to put out a spread which I know everyone would enjoy. It was a lovely night of memories, good food and paying our respects.  It also happened to be one of the best sunsets I have seen in a while.

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I prepared some roasted sweet potato and pumpkin, a Greek salad (without feta), hummus, olive dip, avocado dip, salsa, pull apart pesto bread,  and other tapas. I also bought some cold cuts and chicken for the carnivores.

On Saturday morning, we made our way to our friend’s 30th birthday brunch at The Grill Grand Hyatt Hotel in Wan Chai. I was a little unsure that I’d be able find vegan options considering the brunch specialised in meat and seafood ,but thankfully there were a range of Vegetarian options and a few Vegan options I could choose from. The quality of food was  a lot higher than some of the other brunches I have tried. Paired with free flowing Champagne, what’s not to like? I’d even go as saying this brunch may be one of the best in Hong Kong. 

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We awoke on sunday with slight hangovers so we decided to make some vegan pancakes! These pancakes are so easy to make and just include brown rice flour, mushed banana and your choice of sugar (we used coconut sugar). We added some cacao nibs and paired the pancakes with some mango. Delicious!

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Post lunch, we took our fur babies for a mini hike up the mountain not far from our house. As sad as it sounds, it totally made my weekend watching the rascals run around the rock pools like mad with their new puppy friends.

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After some much needed relaxation time by the rock pools, we headed back to get ready for our second birthday party of the weekend, which was at a BB GUN WAR ZONE! 4 hours of BB gun wars with 3 different maps = ultimate fun. I have to admit that the combination of experiencing some painful close up shots to the arm and not having protective shoes, the fear got the better of me and I took a few breaks. However, it was ended up being one of the more fun Sunday nights I’ve had in a while and definitely beat my usual routine of binge watching reality TV shows. Oh, AND I even got to order my favourite vegan burrito from Cali Mex ;)

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Thank you again for a great weekend!

Follow me on instagram: @maiden_hk

A week of firsts – Weddings, vegan pizza and Maid Of Honor surprise!

My first week of adapting to the vegan lifestyle has flown by. It hasn’t been a week of feeling deprived and unsatisfied, like I had originally nervously anticipated. After the first 4 days, I started noticing so many changes within myself and my body. Even though it has only been a week, my energy levels have slightly improved, my brain fog has lessened and my junk food cravings have started to diminish. The he majority of what I’m eating are carbs but I do find myself filling my plates with a variety of fruit, veg and legumes instead of breads, pastas and vegan junk food. I have been trying my best to adopt a healthy mindset and look at food as fuel, rather than a treat and whether I end up feeling the best I ever have or I end up piling on loads of weight, and I’m excited to see where this may take me.

Earlier this week, I stumbled across this vegan pizza recipe from Minimalist Baker and just had to try it! Paired with a Greek salad (without feta), I recreated this pizza for a midweek treat. Being the pizza fanatic that I am, I was once again pleasantly surprised with the alternative options vegans have these days.

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Below are some of the other meals I’ve had during the week:

Quinoa bowl with broccoli, sweet potato, peppers, cucumber and onion. 

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Cauliflower rice with a tomato lentil sauce and roasted butternut squash.

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Passion green juice @ Mana

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My favourite after work go to, sweet potato with hummus and arugula

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Coconut oil popped popcorn with chill salt and lime. This stuff tastes exactly like pad thai! 

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This week was definately a week of firsts. My best friend has asked me to be her Maid Of Honor for her wedding! She seems to think that I would’ve already expected it, but, since she has friends from all over the world, it was such a lovely surprise to open the box below! Not only is the wedding located near her birth town, it is also an area which I hold close to my heart and where my god mother resides and have spent many amazing summers with my family. Bring on the best wedding ever summer 2017 in beautiful Spain!

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Speaking of weddings, I attended my first ever wedding last night which was such a good time. It was held at Hullet House in Tsim Sha Tsui and the setting was beautiful.

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The menu was a 10 course, meat filled, Chinese set menu which unfortunately meant I ended up only eating a few pieces of veg which resulted in my massive hangover today! I have to admit that I did drunkenly consume a few pieces of chocolate which WASN’T vegan. I was starving and intoxicated, but in my eyes, slip ups are always part of every new process. I am someone who feels strongly about the corruption of animals and will try my best to limit all consumption of all animal based products, but, I can’t say on my life, that I will never taste an ice-cream or  piece of cheese ever again. I can only hope and try my best.

Since being inspired to turn vegetarian months ago and now vegan, I’ve noticed that within the vegan community, with some individuals, the focus is being drifted away from the welfare of our beautiful ecosystem and inhumane treatment of animals and on to whether or not you’re sticking to all the 100% strict vegan rules and restrictions. I have seen numerous YouTube vegan activists attempting to publicly shame fellow vegans for accidentally eating something that had contained honey in it. It seems that there are many vegan public figures that believe you should not or cannot ever fail. To me, there should be compassion for both humans and animals and people in no way, shape or form should attempt ‘out vegan’ you.
I understand that the majority of vegans are out there to promote a healthy lifestyle, but, how on earth has coffee been banned by the community? For goodness sake, if you feel like you want a coffee (using soy or almond milk, of course) then have that coffee and do not like anyone tell you otherwise! No animals have been harmed for that coffee so bloody enjoy it!
BUT ANYWAYS, If you’re interested in checking out some lovely, ordinary vegan YouTube channels, you must check these guys out:-
Thats just about enough posting about food. Wishing you a great upcoming week!

Vegan No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies! (healthier version)

 

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4 ingredients + all Vegan friendly + no oven required = HEAVEN. 

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Ingredients: (makes 8 cookies)

  • 1 cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 40 grams of Vegan chocolate
  • 1 1/2 bananas

Let’s begin!

  1. Mash the banana using a fork. (If your bananas aren’t ripe, throw them in the microwave like I did, for a minute until soft)

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2. Add a cup of oats, one tbsp of peanut butter, your cut chunks of your vegan/dairy free chocolate and mix!

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3. Once mixed, pick a handful of the mixture and roll into a palm sized ball but flattening into a cookie shape

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4. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

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5. Enjoy!

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30 days of Vegan.

I can no longer stand sifting through my Facebook feed and being presented with crying calfs, skinned dogs and red raw chicken being pumped with hormones. I can no longer BARE to justify buying into these industries when I know the horrible truth and torture these beautiful animals have to endure just to satisfy my taste buds. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that the truth of our meat and dairy industry is finally out there for all to see and it is becoming harder for people to put their blinkers on and play ignorance. But like I have said in my previous blogs, I absolutely love and worship animals and truly think that they are the greatest gift to this earth.

After transitioning from full on meat eater to pescetarian, over the last few weeks living purely on a vegetarian diet, I thought I would attempt to go the full circle and give up all animal products in the hopes that my overall health improves. I have done plenty of research on the nutritional benefits of the vegan diet as well as the deficiencies which can seriously deplete your health, but I guess if I don’t try, I will never know. These days there seems to be scientific evidence backing up every diet, fad or lifestyle, claiming to be the ‘healthiest’ and foods which go from being a cancer causing to a food you are recommended to consume daily. I am a strong believer that everyones body is different and one lifestyle may work for one and not the other, so over the next 30 days I will document my transition (why is it that every time I write transition I automatically envision Caitlin Jenner?) The good, the bad and the ugly. Here’s hoping I finally find a healthy lifestyle that agrees with me!

The beginning…

For breakfast, I started the day with a vegan protein smoothie bowl with spirulina, chia seeds, Rawnola, oats and peanut butter. These bowls are so easy to make and spending those extra two minutes to make it look pretty really makes me feel more grateful for the food I’m eating.

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My boyfriend and I have a wedding next weekend so we decided to head to Tsing Sha Tsui to  do a spot of shopping as well as check out this restaurant I’ve been reading about for a while.

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(Riding the Star Ferry NEVER gets boring.)

Woodlands is located in Wing On Plaza in TST and offers vegetarian (and vegan friendly) Indian food. My boyfriend and I are huge fans of indian food and I was extremely excited to try it!

 

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We shared the South Indian Thali platter which was a full course meal with plain rice and three purees and two chapatis. Two Bajis of the day, Sambar and Rasam. It was full of many flavours and surprisingly felt quite light. We then ordered the veggie samosa’s which were by far, without a doubt, the best samosa’s I have ever had!!! A thinner pastry than usual with extra filling. My boyfriend then ended his meal with an Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun which were deep fried milk balls soaked in syrup.

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After a long day of walking around TST and Mong Kok, we headed back home to catch up on the netflix series, Making A Murderer. For those who haven’t seen it, you must get on it! It may be the most gripping yet frustrating documentary series I have seen yet. My boyfriend and I have this unhealthy habit where we MUST purchase snacks for every film or series we’re following. SO, we picked up our favourite red, The Chocolate Block and a packet of Oreo’s (Oreo’s are vegan! Can you believe it?!)

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Today was not a healthy day at all and I now know more than ever that even though something may be vegan, It sure as hell doesn’t mean it is healthy. It is very easy to devour a pack of oreo’s just because you feel like you are deprived and want to satisfy your cravings. It requires a lot of effort to produce nutritious, balanced plant based meals which do not lack in protein, good carbs and fats.

After this binge fest, I started to feel really really strange. The headaches started to pop their ugly heads followed by a gradual decline in my mood. By the time it was early evening, I started to feel depressed for no apparent reason. I noticed I had a very short temper for the first few days as well as problems with digestion (I was burping every 5 minutes). My craving for cheese has been the strongest it’s ever been and I have been extremely fatigued.

For dinner, I decided to get over my fear of vegetable versions of meat (Quorn is the devil) and try making a veggie bacon and avocado sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised with how similar the ‘bacon’ smelt and tasted.

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I’m now 3 days in and I feel worse than I did before. Lets hope this cleansing/detoxing period doesn’t last long because I’m not sure how much longer I can feel like an irritable, achy zombie.

Wish me luck!

P.s – If you have any tips or product suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. Thanks

 

Weekend Getaway – THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MACAU MADNESS.

Like every Hong Konger, you will have either been to Macau or have heard of it. Situated only an hour away by catamaran and coined ‘Asia’s own Las Vegas‘, it is no wonder that it’s a popular destination for anyone over the age of 21.

My boyfriend and I were sitting on the couch one morning discussing how to spend our weekend and within 10 minutes we had booked 2 nights in Macau on a last minute website. We were looking to take a break from responsibility for a couple nights and Macau was the only place that didn’t require either a flight or a visa. So, within an hour we were on route aboard the Turbojet.

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We arrived at the Grand Coloane Resort and the rooms certainly didn’t disappoint. The hotel was located around 10 minutes from the Cotai strip and 25 from the ferry terminal.

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To our surprise the hotel was situated not far from one of Macau’s favourite restaurants; Fernando’s. This Portuguese restaurant is considered a ‘must do’ and attracts locals, tourists and celebrities.

We ordered the garlic prawns and sea bream which were accompanied by french fries. We had heard that Fernando’s did a good sangria to which we were asked if we’d like red, white or green sangria. Yes, you read right. GREEN SANGRIA. I had never heard of this concoction so of course we had to order it. It turned out being sparkling wine with sangria mix and was rather tasty!

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The next day we woke up just in time for breakfast at the hotel. I can’t say I was expecting much, but we were delightfully surprised! For HK$170, the buffet provided such a wide variety of foods from dim sum, to vegetarian curries, to on request omelettes and pancake stations. There were cereals and pastries, cheese, fruit platters, bacon and sausages.

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After breakfast, we decided to delay the casinos and see what more Macau could offer. We bought an open bus sightseeing ticket for HK$150 and hit the road. The first stop was Macau Fisherman’s wharf, which was pretty much a tourist trap. Some built roman architecture with an attached mall of shops and souvenirs. Never again.

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Our second stop was the Macau Science Centre. I wasn’t particularly interested as I didn’t see how it was considered a sight to see, but once we were in there, we ended up having a pretty good time.

 

Our third stop was probably the stop I had been most excited to see, The Ruins of St. Paul’s and Leal Senado Square. It was probably the most cultural area in Macau yet, despite the Portuguese influence, it was overrun with commercialism and more SHOPS.

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For lunch, we found a hidden Dai pai dong offering a range of Vietnamese dishes. We both opted for Pho and my goodness, it was delicious. That’s what I LOVE about Asia! Sometimes the best meals are dirt cheap and are found in makeshift ‘restaurants’. 

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When in Macau, do as the Macanese do and end your meal with a Portuguese egg tart! Fresh out the oven, these bad boys are only priced at $9 and according to my boyfriend, can be eaten by the dozen.

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Our last stop was the Macau Tower. By this time, we had grown tired of sightseeing and were desperate to hit The Venetian. However… After loosing more money than we had hoped on the blackjack and Sic Bo tables, we ended the day with drinks at the Bellini Lounge which is always a great time!

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I have been to Macau many times and have had great nights out and comfortable stays, but it seemed that the more I saw of it outside of the casinos, the more I started to dislike it. I’m a believer that beauty can be found anywhere, even in the darkest of places. Whether it be crystal clear beaches or grimy, smelly back alleys somewhere in mainland China. There is always an element that stands out, whether it be the energy/atmosphere, design or culture in every place I visit. However, I cannot say the same for Macau. I feel like I spent the whole time thinking what it lacked. Sure, it had some gigantic casinos and super clubs where you could experience a couple hours of thrill but the novelty soon wore off. Macau lacks that energy and thrill that it should possess given its comparison to Las Vegas. Macau could have had such potential, but unfortunately 90% of the place looks run down, dirty and ghost town like, purely existing to empty your pockets at tourist traps and gambling.

All in all, I had a great weekend in Macau and at The Grand Coloane Resort but I think that was purely down to the person I was spending time with and what we made of it.

What are your thoughts on Macau?

 

CNY holidays -My first veggie burger & our fur babies first trip to Sai Kung.

The week before CNY I managed to catch a flu virus which was going round my workplace. I can’t remember the last time I have felt this ill from the flu and spent around a week in bed with minimal interaction with the outside world. By the time it got to the holidays, I was desperate to be able to talk to someone other than my two dogs and determined not to waste anymore time indoors, despite feeling horrendous.

On Saturday, a friend invited me to try out an aerial yoga class in Discovery Bay. This was my second time doing aerial yoga and after getting over the initial laughing fits from watching my friend struggle to move her long limbs whilst upside down, I remembered how fun this type of yoga was. It’s not often you get to stretch your body out whilst swinging from material.

After yoga, we were invited on one of our friends boats for the day. The weather was beautiful, sunny yet cool, just like a good English summers day. Unfortunately, the seas were a little too rough for my liking and not wanting to ruin everyone else’s time with my panic ridden face and gasps, we cut the boat trip short and headed for a bite to eat.

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My boyfriend and I were both craving some Mexican so we headed to our local Mexican chain, Carumba. We started with some jalapeño poppers, (which were definitely worthy of the #foodporn tag!) Nachos Simpatico, accompanied by a green apple mojito.

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The next day we decided to visit my boyfriends mum who resides in Sai Kung. I absolutely LOVE Sai Kung and hope to one day live there myself. The only downside is that it literally couldn’t be any further from where we live, which means, enduring an hours taxi with our two furry little vomit buckets. Much to our luck, we had forgotten some vomit catching bags which resulted in me instinctively catching it in my hands (who does that!?) The rest of the journey was far from pleasant as you can imagine….

We arrived late morning to a fresh fruit breakfast of mango, grapes, blueberries and pomegranate.  Luckily my boyfriends mum always has an array of fresh fruit at the ready which can be a godsend after some greasy Mexican the night before. It’s crazy to me to think I only tried mango around 6 months ago and now I can’t get enough!

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This was the dogs first trip to their grandmas home and they loved every minute of it. They spent most of the day running round the garden and it was so lovely to see. It was nice not having to keep an eye on them at every second whilst outdoors.

We then wandered down to the beach to let them run wild some more. It was so refreshing to have the sun shining down and my feet in the ocean after these winter months.

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After we tired the fur babies out, we headed into Sai Kung town for a drink and a snack. On the way, we passed a couple selling roasted chestnuts and sweet potato. After living in Hong Kong for over 20 years, it was almost embarrassing that I had never tried roasted chestnuts so I had to grab myself a bag. They tasted nothing like I had thought and the texture definitely needed some getting used to.

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We walked along the pier to our favourite hidden snack joint for some egg puffs. These little balls of batter are delicious and will always remind me of my teenage years hanging around Causeway Bay. This place is extremely popular and specialises in bubble tea. I’ve yet to try bubble tea, but will get my hands on some next time I visit.

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With a day well spent, we said our goodbyes headed back home. We finished off the day with yet another bad decision and gobbled up some more greasy food. However, I have to say Mcsorleys do an amazing veggie burger!! With it being my first time trying a veggie burger, I can honestly say I was expecting to hate it, but it tasted so similar to a beef burger AND didn’t make me feel ill after. #winning!

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Veggie patty, red onion, swiss cheese, avocado, bbq sauce and mayo.

Now it’s time to ditch the deep fried foods and finally get over this virus!

 

 

 

10 OF MY KITCHEN MUST-HAVES!

Happy Tuesday! ( doesn’t it always feel like just a second Monday?) Hope you’ve all had a great weekend. This post is going to be dedicated to all those foodies who may suffer from intolerances/allergies or just want ‘healthier’ options. I say healthier in quotation marks as some of the below products may not be the most wholesome of foods when comparing them to 100% organic, GMO free, low glycemic, low fat, low carb blah blah blah. BUT, they are definitely some of the products my kitchen AND taste buds can’t live without. I feel that these products are great substitutes for when you’re craving junk foods and are helping me make better choices on the road to better health.

Okay, so lets get started.

  1. Lemon and cucumber water 

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I am completely obsessed with water infusions! I’m not one of those people who finds it hard drinking copious amounts of water, but water + fruit = heaven. Not only does lemon and cucumber water alkalize the body, which aids in your body functioning at its optimal level, but its also packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and silica making it an amazing immune system booster and a nice energy boost. It will also cleanse toxins as well as purify the liver and digestion (great for those party animals!)

2. CHOCOLATE!

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Okay, who doesn’t love chocolate? When I was living in London I developed this really unhealthy habit of HAVING to have something sweet after lunch and dinner to cleanse my palette so to say. This 72% dark chocolate bar is made of organic cocoa beans, organic coconut blossom sugar and organic cocoa butter. It is suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and is organic, wheat-free, gluten free, soya free, dairy free, nut free, low GI and all natural! It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron; a delightfully natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. BEAUT!

3. Himalayan salt

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Pink Himalayan salt boosts 84 naturally occurring minerals and is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago. The many benefits of Himalayan salt includes effective detoxification purposes, (and has been proven to be much more effective than white table salt versions) lowering your blood pressure, aids you in replenishing the loss of electrolytes, banishing sinus and respiratory conditions and improving the condition of your sleep. I use Himalayan salt when seasoning my food, but the two most uses for this salt for me is straight after incredibly sweaty exercise classes and for gargling a mixture of water and himalayan salt when I have a sore or phlegmy throat. It works wonders!

4. DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM 

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At first I was a little hesitant to try a dairy free ice cream, but after tasting it, you can see why this vegan ice-cream is stocked in numerous stores around Hong Kong. All Happy Cow ice creams are dairy free, soy free, gluten free and low glycemic. They have a coconut cream base and offer 25 flavours ranging from chocolate chilli to strawberry shortcake. These ice creams really are the SHIZZ.

5. HERBAL TEA 

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There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work and settling down with a herbal tea. I use the wild apple and cinnamon with ginger when i’m craving something sweet, the warming camomile and spiced apple(camomile has a very calming effect on the body, allowing for a more restful sleep) before I go to sleep and the peppermint infusion for when my intolerances are acting up and I am sporting a sexy bloated stomach.

6. Brown rice pasta

Even though these pastas are still processed, they are however perfect for people with gluten and wheat intolerances. They are just as delicious as white or whole wheat pasta , however, the texture may need some getting used to. Brown rice pasta = happy tummy.

7. Water Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) 

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The ultimate probiotic. The grains in water kefir are made up of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeast. The healthy bacteria that feeds on the “bad” unhealthy bacteria in our stomach and intestines. It is suitable for vegans as it provides an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

8. Roasted chickpeas

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yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. I do normally make my own roasted chickpeas, but when I’m short of time, I usually pick up some of these store bought bad boys! Chickpeas have become a regular in my diet since giving up poultry and they contain healthy protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some good flavour combinations for roasted chickpeas are cayenne pepper & Manuka honey, simple salt and pepper and cinnamon.

9. Soy sauce and apple cider vinegar 

Living in Asia, it can be a nightmare ordering Chinese food when soy sauce has a such a high gluten content. Everything is coated in the stuff. However, my local health food store has just started stocking gluten free soy sauce and this is music to my ears! This calls for some homemade fried rice and noodles.

Now Apple Cider Vinegar is my go to salad dressing. I could live off the stuff. Apple cider vinegar has many uses. It can help dissolve kidney stones, detoxify the body, relieve allergies and heartburn as well as help kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It wards off the flu, lowers cholesterol, soothes bug bites and clears skin. A good time all around.

10. Granola & Almond Milk – 

Anything But Salad’s Life Rawnola is Organic and includes dehydrated clusters of sprouted buckwheat groats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. It is GF, a good source of protein and fibre as well as high levels of antioxidants. Paired with some almond milk, it makes an easy and nutritious breakfast.

What foods are your everyday go-to’s?

 

 

A post to my old self

I was rummaging through my drafts and came across a post titled ‘22 things I learnt being 22′. I only got to writing 11 things but found it so interesting looking back at my mindset 4 years ago. I am now 26 years old and have a far broader outlook on life. I thought I would go through each of the things I learnt at that age to see if anythings changed or developed since :) So here goes…

Turning 23 last month, my 22nd year on this earth you could say, has resembled a wild roller coaster ride. I’ve most definitely experienced and learnt something from nearly every single aspect of life. Here are 22 things I’ve learnt in the past year which I feel have somewhat changed my outlook on situations I’ll probably be presented within the future.

1. Don’t be fooled by empty words. People can promise you things over and over and there’s always that hope that this time will be different. If their actions don’t back them up, don’t give chances, give them a one way ticket out of your life. Luckily I’ve become much better at distancing myself from people who suck the energy and soul out of you. I call these ‘soul sucking dementors’ (HarryPotter4life). Anyone who doesn’t lift your spirits or make your environment a happy place to be in, stick up that magic middle finger of yours and tell them to jog on!

2. Exercise really does help your mood & well being. I’ve never felt so at peace after sweating buckets and my god, that was not me two years ago. I still can’t believe there was a time where I despised exercise. Now it’s my sanctuary. I’ve had health problems and anxiety for most of my life and have found that since exercising these symptoms have reduced by 70%. There was a time where I was so ridden with symptoms that it was a struggle to get out of bed every single morning and every day would be spent walking around like a zombie. Exercise won’t cure all your problems but it will definitely give you the confidence, calmness and strength to get up and keep going. 

3. I will forever be grateful for the person who invented nachos. I am still incredibly grateful for nachos and hold those cheesy, crunchy goddesses so close to my heart but 4 years on, I am grateful for SO MUCH MORE. In the past I’ve really struggled with my negative mindset and could never see the positives in most situations. I used to think bad stuff happened to me all the time and just couldn’t see why all these things kept happening to me and what I did to deserve them? I can now see that it was the way I looked at each situation. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days and times where I just want to scream at someone for cutting in the line or sneezing snot rockets all over my back. Each morning I now wake up and start the day with a warm cup of lemon water (Keep calm and lemon water) and write 10 things I’m grateful for. It is amazing how much your day can transform when you are grateful for being there and doing what you’re doing. I am grateful for the most simple things like being alive. Just being alive on this earth is enough for me. 

4. Always be grateful for your own, your friends and your families health. It is so much more important than most things you have, if not the most important alongside the people you love. I wrote this a couple years before my dad passed away. I think when he was first diagnosed with cancer was when I started to become more grateful for my health. I no longer wanted to spend my nights drinking bottles and bottles of sauvignon blanc and vodka soda’s, gorging out on junk and what I thought was the only yummy food  on offer. When he passed, my grief and confusion for my loss turned into symptoms of not only emotional pain but was more so turned into physical pain. My body took a huge knock to the system and still hasn’t 100% recovered. My weight slowly dropped off due to my love of exercise and watching what I ate to being the smallest I’ve ever been. I lost all my curves and resembled a bobble headed toy. Food wise I was healthly but mentally, I felt this constant pressure to be in control of every single thing I ate. I became OBSESSED with counting calories and stopped enjoying food. When I moved to London shortly after my dad’s death, I began to heal emotionally (well you never really heal from losing someone) and stopped caring about what I was eating and just wanted to enjoy life. 12 kilos heavier, I am not where I want to be weight wise but I have learnt the most important lesson of all when it comes to your health. BALANCE. I am trying to focus on nourishing my body with whole foods and eating meals which energise me the majority of the time but if I want a pizza, I want to get that pizza and enjoy every moment of it. 

5. Choose a life/job/career you enjoy even if it pays little…master the job you love and money will find its way in. I’m not exactly in the place I want to be in job wise right now but my time will come and any experience is always great experience. I am still not on the career path I have always wanted but to be honest, I still don’t know what I want to do. At times It can be daunting considering at this age I always thought I would be on a secure career path. I have had a variety of jobs from model booking, social media marketing and my current job working with special needs children. I have picked up skills from each job and even though I may not be where I want to be financially, I have never ever been happier and don’t dread waking up to go to work.

6.Never a failure, always a lesson. Still true. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without all the fails I’ve made. 

7. Always keep your standards high. You only live once so why settle for anything less.  Especially when it comes to how others treat you. When it comes to how others treat you, I really think that it is dependent on who you surround yourself with. I no longer care if someone may be treating me badly because if they’re worth having around, they won’t treat you that way. Growing up in Hong Kong, like most places, you made your friends where you lived and you made your friends at school. Then comes university, then comes living in another country and then comes moving back home. I naively expected to return home and for things to be like they always were but what I’ve learnt in the last 8 months is that people change and some people leave. It is okay to not like the people you were once friends with anymore. It is okay to distance yourself from people because they never have anything positive to say. It is okay if you’re not interested in hitting the clubs anymore and you’ve turned into an old woman overnight. It is okay to not let others treat you badly and its 200% okay to walk away. 

8. If someone cares about you, they won’t ever make you doubt it. I think I wrote this when I was either dating someone or had just broken up with them?! (which would explain the randomness) Whether it’s a friend or a partner, you will know if someone cares about you. I have felt like Jeremy Kyle the amount of times I’ve listened to friends harp on about their love interests and justifying all their shitty actions. Erm, your ‘boyfriend’ hasn’t called you for 6 days? DUMP HIM. Your ‘boyfriend’ has been emailing his ex girlfriend? DUMP HIM. Your ‘boyfriend’ is always talking about how good looking other girls are? DUMP HIM. For goodness sake people, DUMP THEIR ASSES. 4 years ago, I knew I was in a relationship that wasn’t right. I knew he didn’t care about me as much as I had liked him yet I still made the excuses. It’s only now that I am in a long term relationship with the love of my life who treats me with respect and shows me he cares and loves me every single day that I fully believe in the statement above. 

9. Weird people are fun and I’m happy I am one. Still weird. Still like ‘weird’ things. But now I don’t look at them as being weird things, they are just things you enjoy. Yes I was once so fascinated by watching a fly up close clean all the water off it’s body, I made my boyfriend watch for about 5 minutes until the little winged cutie was done. Yes I still have the imagination of a 5 year old. Yes I still find pulling the ugliest face possible one of the funniest things ever. I am fascinated by what society would call ‘weird people’. I like watching documentaries about men who are in relationships with blow up sex dolls and polyamory relationships and people with phobia’s of carrots. Weird is interesting. Weird is good. 

10. You’re not always going to be liked and many people will prejudge you without getting to know you, I honestly couldn’t give a flying fudge. I have to say that this statement was probably a massive lie at the time. I think I always wanted to be liked by others but I’ve also always wanted to not care what others think of me. I don’t so much mind individuals not liking me but if I’m honest, what annoys me most is when people who haven’t really spent much time with you don’t like you. If you get to know me and still don’t like me, fair enough. It doesn’t matter! I won’t loose any sleep over it!

11. Give as much as you can to others in need. If you’ve got a roof over your head, a bed, a fridge full of food and clothes on your back, you are richer than 75% of the world. I interact daily with people who care more about buying designer clothes than the world around them. It does anger me at times but I’ve come to realise that you can’t change people or change their views. I wouldn’t appreciate a christian shoving his bible in my face nor would I make people watch animal slaughter house videos on repeat in the hopes they eat less meat. But what I can say is that if you are reading this post on your computer or mobile, you are one lucky being. If you gave up your morning coffee for a week, you could feed a family of four for weeks. Doesn’t seem like that much hey? Help is needed at all times, all across the world. 

Funny how things change eh?

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