18 things 2018 has taught me

As with all of us, my life has been full of experiences, both good and bad, and throughout the years lessons have been learnt. However, I feel in 2018, simple every day lessons have not only been taught and implemented, but they have stayed with me, to the core and are now just part of a better, well rounded and more productive me! I am not sure why they have really stuck and worked this time, but whatever the reason, I am very thankful for it!

*This list is obviously specific for me and may not work or be needed by anyone else, but for the ones that strike a chord, do give them a go!

Lesson No 1: Wake up a little bit earlier than you need to. (or before every body else in your household). This is one habit that I find super beneficial. Whenever I wake up earlier than I need to, I am able to 'wake up' slowly, fit more things in my day and on winter days help make my day longer and more fulfilled.

On a work day, this is pretty much my routine:
  •  I get up lazily (using a gentle alarm, such as 'bird song'. This way I get woken up gently and somewhat naturally rather than rocket up with some blasting alarm that gives one immediate adrenaline similar to being in fight or flight mode before you're even fully awake!) 
  • drink a glass of water
  •  make my bed
  • make/drink a coconut matcha tea or herbal tea, even chamomile
  • sometimes read, sometimes do a bit of yoga, sometimes both. 
  • I then work on Deliciously Me and other personal goals
  • I then take a shower and start breakfast
  • Get ready for work; at this point, more often than not, drink a black tea and check emails/ texts before heading out to work (or to my desk if I'm working from home). 

This way, I feel in control of my day and most importantly for me, I get some 'me time' and 'quiet time' before the hustle and bustle starts. Goodbye to snooze buttons that make me feel even groggier, taking a one minute shower, making a tea that I end up not even drinking, checking my messages whilst brushing my teeth and grabbing a piece of toast and eating it as I'm putting my coat on! I pretty much do the same on 'non work days' with the exception of no alarm, to let my body sleep as much or as little as it needs, and not checking my phone and emails for the first couple of hours.

Lesson No 2: No need to check your emails, texts, whatsapp and social media every minute! In fact, I don't have notification set up for any of these so that I am in control of when I want to check them. I rarely check my emails when I am not working and I look at my phone even less. For those who follow me on Instagram, you know I take a lot of pictures with my phone, so I have started putting my phone on airplane mode, so that my phone mainly works as a camera rather than a phone that needs my attention constantly. It has taken time to stop feeling guilty about 'not being available to others' but people just accept it. As to social media, I have cut down considerably and am trying to schedule time for social media with the goal being 30 minutes mid morning and 30 minutes late afternoon and 30 minutes at night. This sounds like a lot but is actually less than when I'd find myself checking every few minutes on auto-pilot.  The above helps me stay more grounded and be more productive and relaxed and feel much more in tune with my surroundings and world around me. However, I understand that some people thrive and live for technology whereas my body and soul needs to gravitate more towards nature.

Lesson No 3: Make your bed soon after waking up and your productivity will thank you for it. Can you believe 2018 is the first year I am actually making my bed every single morning!? Yep, I am ashamed to say this is true but hey, better late than never (sorry mom!), and wow, what a revelation! Making my bed subconsciously tells me, I am ready to face the world, I will not be lazy and step back, I will take on the day head on. I also notice it gives me confidence. I think as small as a task that it is, I am making myself do it every single day without fail and that to me is about discipline which is something I don't have that much of, and so this action somehow instills more back bone (I know! All this from making your bed, you ask!?). Lastly, it keeps the bedroom more serene and streamline and a lovely sight when you stagger into your bedroom at night, to see a lovely clean & made bed, ready for you to dive into!

Lesson No 4: Never feel bad for doing some thing your own way, when others are telling you it's the wrong way. Ask yourself who is it wrong for? It may be the wrong way for them, from their perspective, from the path they are walking on, but it isn't wrong for me. Also, I have found, through the years, that people have given me advice, and I have missed out on big opportunities because I have listened to their comments - and then, believe it or not, when it became their turn, they went ahead and did the thing they were so against and stopped me doing!!! Be confident in what you want and how you want it and don't let anyone make you feel bad for how you are going about it. Whether these be parenting tips, lifestyle tips, makeup tips or even money tips. Sure, be open, but really listen to your gut. Are you apologising for something you shouldn't have to? Are you being true to yourself? These certain people may have your best interest at heart, or they may not at all, either way, don't get diluted, keep your focus and stay determined.

Lesson No 5: If you believe in something, go for it! This is really more of the above; it doesn't matter how crazy or far fetched it sounds, but if you believe you are the one who can do this, then do it! There is no one stopping you but you! I am going ahead with my Deliciously Me YouTube channel eventhough many people don't get it. I hear things like, 'but everybody is a cook!' 'But everybody has a cooking channel' 'but your name is similar to Deliciously Ella so no one will take you seriously', but how are you going to make money out of this' and then I get advice on how to present it and how to liven it up. The advice at least comes from a positive place, but still it is 'their' ideas, not mine. Be true to yourself, be you, and if you have a dream, whatever it may be, however big or small, and for whatever outcome you wish to get out of it, stay authentic to you and just do it!

Lesson No 6: Save for a rainy day. Whether it be not being able to work due to illness, being made redundant, have family in hospital, or an unexpected tax bill, all these things can be so much less stressful than they already are, if I have some money put aside to just pay the expenses without financial worry added to the pot.

Lesson No 7: A 'sun' holiday once a year is non-negotiable. Apart from having SAD and experiencing a hard winter if I don't get any sun in the year, and apart from becoming vitamin D deficient, if I don't get enough sun, which then leads to a lower immune system, stiff bones and exhaustion, amongst other things, I need a holiday at least once a year, to just 'get away', 'switch off' and slowwww down. Without our physical and emotional health, life can become very difficult. The doctors in Hungary, Germany, Italy and France have got it right; doctors there prescribe spa prescriptions!!

Lesson No 8: People are emotions and everyone has a story. People are sad, happy, angry, insecure, loved, unloved, people are feelings. Be kind. The person at the bus stop who pushed passed me, didn't actually mean to be rude, but her mind was on her ill child in hospital. The guy who didn't thank me when I held the door for him wasn't even aware; he was on automatic as he'd just lost his job and didn't know how he was going to feed his kids in a month's time. Of course some people are just rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate and others are just trapped in the constant hamster wheel forgetting to care for themselves properly, let alone care about others, so on the day to day, most people usually have an underlying reason, valid or not. I suppose everything is relative and we have to bear in mind that all is not always what it seems. (Though I still feel people could be more thoughtful at bus stops, and line up like civilised, respectful people! Yep, I think I'll always rant about this one lol and will also appreciate Nottingham for their civilised and respectful bus lines!)

Lesson No 9: Not every illness is visible and not every same illness has the same side effects. This I have learnt the hard way. I have a hiatus hernia and a yet to be confirmed PMR, so sometimes just standing or holding a piece of paper can cause agony, therefore when I get on a bus for example, if I am carrying something or sometimes even if I am not carrying something I honestly can not give up my seat, either due to pain or serious fatigue. I usually do, even in pain, but sometimes it's just not possible and I realise that I look inconsiderate. I have learnt a lot about chronic illness and soo many ways people can't get it. I don't think you can fully understand what any illness feels like until you actually experience the illness or a similar one then when you really can truly empathise, at least this has been the experience for me. Again, even if you have the same illness you may not understand the other person's as their symptoms can be very different to yours and again I have been guilty of this too.

Lesson No 10: Vision Boards work! (also, the mind is a powerful thing, so be careful what you wish for and try to be exact in what you want). I have had vision boards all over my homes at different times and I can't really remember much ever manifesting from them....until 2018... when I made a private board for myself on Pinterest. I would look at it every morning and every night and add things and sometimes took away things. Within days, I started getting things that were on my vision board. It was crazy! They may not have come in the ways I anticipated but they came! I then questioned how come these were coming now rather than all those other years, and I realised that the difference was I actually looked at my board every day, most of the time, twice a day. Whereas, the vision boards on my walls became just part of the furniture and I seldom paid attention to them. I also find desktop wallpapers useful too as we look at them often. But please, do go ahead and make a vision board on pinterest and look at it at least once a day and comment below what you find happens!! :D

Lesson No 11: If you are putting anything off, just do it asap. Get it off that list. The anxiety of anticipating it is always far worse than the feeling of relief after you've done it. So, go do that one thing you've been avoiding right now! (you're welcome! ;D)

Lesson No 12: Live your desires! 

Life passes, you age, some dreams do not have the same meaning a few years later -  so if there is something you want to try, try it now! Don't put it off. Live your life! Make it full! I made a bucket list for everything I wanted to do by thirty, then it became by forty and guess what, out of 20 things, only about 3 have been accomplished and I need to rewrite a much revised one for 50 soon!! Granted there were a lot of things on the list and most required quite a lot of money (buy villa in Tuscany comes to mind as one, others like master the tango, I achieved, but I didn't go to a milonga in Argentina after, as I had wanted). I was young and naïve! Now, I know to start with one or two and once achieved those, move on to another two and so on..

I am also talking about the simple things, like wanting to visit the lavender farm I did this summer. I had been saying this for the last 5 years, and I nearly didn't go again, this year, but I made myself do it. I just told myself that there will always be other things I need to do, so just make this a priority this week. So, whatever your passion, follow it, whatever dream holiday you want to have, start planning it now, and then do it! The sooner, the better, as we never know what our tomorrow brings.

Lesson No 13: Put yourself first.

Even if you want to be there for everyone, you still need to put yourself first. In fact you need to put yourself first even more to enable you to be there to support and help others. Putting yourself first is not 'selfish'. You need to value yourself, treat yourself and your body and mind and emotions well.

This is what I wrote somewhere the other day about what self-care means to me:

'Self care is listening to your needs, believing them and making sure those needs are met. These for me include several meditative practices such as stretching, yoga, tai chi and Qigong, photography, not using technology every minute , giving my self ‘me time’, saying no, and saying yes! Going for walks, being in green, soaking in the sun’s rays, watching and listening to the waves.
Eating good food, cooking, singing, even though I can hardly hold a note, drawing, even though I am no Van Goh, doing these things anyway as they bring me joy and feed my soul . For me self care is keeping myself balanced and happy and grateful and keeping my stress levels as low as I can. The above are just some- some days will need different needs, like doing voluntary work, getting a massage, putting a face mask on or going to the cinema. Mostly though nature gets involved! And for that guilt that pops up from time to time, the one imbedded from childhood and past society or someone you know, you can give of yourself, but never give up yourself. That’s not self care and for the people who think you need to be, once they see you care for yourself and prioritise yourself they will see that you are there for them in a much more healthy and present and productive way too. 🙏🏻💛'

Lastly, but most probably most importantly, never give up anything that makes you, you, that ads to your life, that makes you feel alive and happy. For me, that's photography and I make sure I include it in my life on an almost daily basis, even though I am no longer a professional photographer, I am a photographer, that is my personal identity, it is part of my soul.

Lesson No 14: Give, Give, Give! Watch out for this. Sometimes we take things for granted for no bad reason, just not taking a moment to 'be there'. If my significant other is giving me a foot rub third night in a row, I will turn around and say, hey, I'd like to do this for you tonight instead, and while we're at it, would you like a shoulder massage too!? If I haven't heard from a friend for a while even though the last two times I called her, I'll still call her because I'd know that she is obviously going through a busy period. If I hear my mom tell me her friend cancelled her coffee and I sense my mom was disappointed and at a loose end I'd stop by for a coffee myself. Giving feels so good and we can all do it as long as we have checked in and look after our needs too.

Lesson No 15: Drink more water.

To be honest, I used to be this person and for some reason, in the last few years, it changed. I found myself not drinking much water at all. I'd drink so much tea instead! Nowadays, I still drink tea, but it's not 7 strong black teas a day! and I drink different kinds of teas in between to compensate, such as fruit and herbal teas. However, the big change has been that I have started drinking loads of water again! Halleluja! And on days that I don't feel like it, I get my motivation by putting fruit in my water bottle, like I have done here for work (I then add more water to it as the day goes and finish up eating the fruit at the end of the day too!

Water is AMAZING. When my body is sluggish, or bigger, or bloated, or my brain is foggy, or I'm eating more, I realise it is because I haven't had much water for the last 1-2 days. Yes, it only takes that to completely mess my body up! When I'm working I actually grab a glass of water before I go for that caffeine boost of tea and it doubles my sharpness. When I find I am eating and not getting full, I try and listen to my body and ask if I am actually thirsty. Usually I am and a glass of water stops me having thirds! When I am not being regular, water, when I am bloated, water, when my skin and eyes look dull, water.. Yep water is AMAZING.

Lesson No 16: 

Breathe in Nature:  Green! I need the outdoors like I need oxygen, which hey, green space has a lot of! I need to go and sit on a tree, or yes, even hug a tree or two or three! I need to be surrounded by nature.

Get near and stare at any body of water. Whenever I see any ocean, or body of water, I just stare at it and I find my breathing slows down, either with each wave or if the water is still just because of the calm.

Lesson No 17: Make time for your friends and family. For me this is about true, solid, supportive, good friends and family, people you love and who love you, people that want the best for you and you want the best for. It's not about competition, it's about sharing and being there for one another,supporting eachother in everything that life brings, good and bad. Making time for my friends always lifts my mood and I have made an effort to communicate more with them even when I think I do not have that much time, I realise there is always time for important people in my life.

Lesson 18: Being Thankful.

The more thankful I am every single day the easier and more content my days turn out. 
If you haven't already, try it! But don't do it just when you are feeling low and don't do it just for a week and stop, do it constantly and see the rewards build! 

What I do: Very close after waking, I voice note all the things I am thankful for. When I first started, I started with three things I was thankful for, some days there would be 10! Soemtimes I even say it to myself, or even out loud, if it's amazing 'THANK YOU!' as things are happening as I walk along etc.

I am thankful to have a roof over my head.
I am thankful that I am loved by so many of my friends and family. 
I am thankful for my lovely, kind daughter. 
I am thankful for the warm sun and to be able to witness the beautiful moon and stars at night.

and most days I will be thankful for specific things that have happened on that particular day such as:

I am thankful I have a boss with a good sense of humour who made me laugh so hard with that joke today.
I am thankful I remembered to go back for my keys, before I got on the bus.
I am thankful I saw a beautiful dragon fly in the middle of the street right here in London!
I am thankful I brought a giant smile to that lady's face when I complimented her on her lipstick colour.

What this has also taught me, is to see the good in a bad situation, such as I am thankful that my missing the bus this morning that made me late for work, and caused me to stay late, enabled me to bump into my long lost friend at a time I wouldn't have normally been out.

It also helps you think more - I said I was thankful that I was loved - why not expand on that and be thankful for being able to feel love and having found people that I love so deeply too. 

Being thankful in the morning starts my day on such a positive vibe and I carry those feelings with me throughout the day. Of course this doesn't always last, because, well life! So, I do make sure that right before sleeping, I spend five minutes saying what I am thankful for and usually by then there will be different things to be thankful for.

This has probably been the greatest life lesson to me, personally. If you do try it please come back and comment below on your thoughts, or if you do it now, let me know what benefits you get. Of course, you don't have to voice note. Most people write a list but I have found saying these out loud somehow gets it out into the universe for me in a more powerful permanent way.

What has 2018 taught you? I would love to know.

Raha x

Roqberry Sushi & Spice Green Tea

If you follow my Instagram then you know I LOVE a good cup of tea! All kinds of tea from English Breakfast, to Earl Grey, to Matcha, to Rooibos and beyond! Tea is my comfort and I love how different ones have different effects on me and how the same ones have different effects at different times, ranging from calming, focusing, sleepy, energetic and everything in between. Therefore, I couldn't pass the chance of asking Roqberry if I could do a review on their Sushi & Spice Green Tea and had them kindly send me a box to try! :D

I have to be honest, I had no idea what to expect from a 'Sushi and Spice' Green Tea. I know what green tea tastes like (and I am a big fan of matcha tea) and I know what sushi tastes like, but I just couldn't figure out what the flavour would be. Was this tea going to taste of  raw fish..!? Was it to compliment alongside sushi? I didn't want to get influenced by my experience so I didn't look on their website so I could get the full unbiased experience and taste.

Firstly, can I say the tea bags smell divine! I don't know if it's the cardamom or what, but the scent is of a beautiful delicate (not overwhelming) perfume.

So, I brewed my tea for about 3 minutes and for me, I realised I needed to give it a couple of minutes more and also not drink it in between taking these pictures! So, I sat down, relaxed and drank it and no, it actually didn't taste (or smell) of fish! Even though it does have dried seaweed in there, plus I know some green teas can smell of fish. It tasted lovely, warming and the green tea came in strong.

Then I decided to eat some sushi with it and WOW! It did really, really compliment it. Then I had some after the sushi (yep, I tried it all!) and again, it was beautiful.

On the package it says to brew for 3 minutes and I understand why they say this as if you leave it in for say, 7 minutes, it becomes very strong. I actually ended up using the same tea bag over and over again, and loved each strength to be honest, as I like all kinds of strengths of teas, so that before bed, it was just a mild relaxing tea, much like how it was at the beginning and how Roqberry advises us to drink it.

What I love most about this tea is you can tell you are getting good quality Japanese Sencha Green Tea and that they are not skimping on anything! I also love how all the other flavours are subtle, complimenting each other, giving each a chance to make their appearance. Such as a taste of roasted Brown Rice Flakes (though it doesn't say they are roasted..) and the warming ginger visiting the tastebuds as nice surprise. 

Roqberry's Website describes the tea as:

'Tokyo in a teacup, this moreish blend of savoury, spiky, aromatic flavours offers a respectful nod to the art of Japanese cuisine. Yummy or as they say in Japan, umai.'

I totally agree and for someone who studied Japanese at Kings College for a few months, I am ashamed to say I do not remember much of my Japanese except to say Watashi no namae wa Raha desu! Which means my name is Raha! Which you all probably already know! and Genki desu ka? which means how are you/ are you healthy? Neither of which will help me order a nice cup of tea! (side note to self; study properly!)

The ingredients are:

Japanese Sencha Green tea, Spices (Cardamom. Ginger, Wasabi (Horseradish, Mustard, Wasabi). Brown Rice Flakes, Puffed Quinoa, Arame Dried Seaweed.

So yes, I see it definitely is a nod to some Japanese ingredients and therefore no wonder it complimented the sushi so well!

I am really impressed with this tea and now want to go and try a few other flavours, especially the S'Mores!!! And also the Masala Chai and Coco & Jo. Ok, and the Melon Berry and Orange & Root! When I get them I will make sure I write about them on my Instagram :).

*Please note I approached Roqberry and asked if I could review this tea. I did not get paid for writing this blog post (well, I did get the box of tea for free :D ) and as always my posts are all my honest opinions.

The Deliciously Me Youtube Channel

Hi Everyone!

I just thought to put a note on here about My Deliciously Me YouTube Channel!
This is a channel I started a couple years back but never fully spent time on. Well, that is changing!

From January 2019, I am ensuring I have a different video up, once a month, and in order to do this I need your help!

Please do go on Delicious Me YouTube Channel and subscribe!! Also please do take the time to watch both my videos and let me know in the comments what you would like more of. Are there any types of cuisines you would prefer to see, or a particular recipe? Let me know and I will make a video of it!

Presently, I have a few restaurants lined up and can't wait to film, edit and show you guys!

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

Raha x

Seasonal Affective Disorder and similar

I don't know about everyone else, but for me, here in London, the daylight saving time had me more confused than any other year! I just couldn't adjust to the new times... I'd wake up the same time as I previously had, as that was what my body clock had gotten used to, so I gained no advantage to the time change. Plus I ended up finding myself ready for bed much earlier. A friend said he felt he was living in some parts of Norway or Alaska where it is dark 6 months a year, the disappearance of the bright sun at the same time did not help!

Two weeks on and my body has adjusted more, I even had a little lie-in today, BUT now, as of a couple of days ago (note, it was dark and rainy) , I have noticed how my psyche is not as happy as it was just a couple weeks back and then I had an 'aha' moment - of  course! The days are much shorter and that has for many, many years depressed me.

I have never been diagnosed as having SAD but these are the symptoms according to SAD.org.uk :

Seasonal Affective Disorder – How do i know if I’ve got it?

An example of SAD Symptoms include:
  • Lethargy, lacking in energy, unable to carry out a normal routine
  • Sleep problems, finding it hard to stay awake during the day, but having disturbed nights
  • Loss of libido, not interested in physical contact
  • Anxiety, inability to cope
  • Social problems, irritability, not wanting to see people
  • Depression, feelings of gloom and despondency for no apparent reason
  • Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, leading to weight gain
It took me years to recognise the shorter days affected me so much as they crept in- usually by end of September/beginning of October I was affected and pretty depressed and low by Christmas. A friend once pointed out to me that I was almost always anxious around Christmas time. Once I realised, I tried a few things, even SAD lights and even took them to the dark office I used to work in - I looked like some alien at my desk, but I wouldn't have cared if it had worked, but all it did was give me headaches! 

Since then, I have thankfully found ways to make the Autumn/Winter pass by easier and depression-free, and most of this is due to having a sun holiday. However, having had a good summer in London a couple of years ago and then life just getting busy this last year, I never had the chance for a holiday and didn't think anything of it, until today. 

Note to self:

1. Go away on a sun holiday at least once a year and preferably by August or in September. Although, I went one year after already suffering, in October and another year in November, it not only took my depression away but kept it away for the next year too!

So now here I am, in the middle of it, no chance of jumping on a plane,  unprepared and already falling so I've decided to take some action. This may not work for everyone. We are all different, have different nervous systems and are fighting different battles. But I know for me, the following will help, so I started taking action today. If you like, try them too and see what happens. 


The mornings and the day:

1. The mornings: I don't have to get up until 8.30am (I know! Lucky me :)) BUT I will start waking up properly (as in getting out of bed) at 7.00-7.20 as I will get optimal advantage of the light for a while, as sunrise was 07.12 today in London. 

2. No matter what the weather, dress appropriately and get outside! Go for a walk - and don't just go for a walk and look at the pavement! Look at your surroundings, especially the empty spaces between the buildings, look at the trees, the sky, take in the light, take in the day. (do this in the morning before work and in the mornings and lunch time when not working)

3. Eat a healthy and full breakfast to keep you going through the day. Eat porridge ( I love adding cooked muesli, berries and bananas to my porridge), baked English Breakfasts, scrambled eggs on toast, kedgeree and other nourishing foods. *Snack on fruit and nuts.

4. Drink lots of water throughout the day

5. I only work 3.5 days a week in an office and don't get a full lunch break - but guess what, from tomorrow, I am not going to run, grab my sandwich and eat it in the office, I am going to get my sandwich and go sit on a bench outside, no matter what the weather, unless it's raining... and if it is raining I am going to sit at a café nearby that is surrounded by tall windows and really take in the day as I enjoy a hearty soup perhaps.

6. Wear Bright coloured clothes and make up! Get inventive- reds, pinks, purples, oranges, splashes of yellow. 

7. On my days off, go out and be outside most of the day. The paper work, the cleaning, the cooking, the errands, the appointments, the emails & phone calls, leave them all for after 16.00, as sunset at the moment is 16.16!!!!

So yes, I guess the above theme, if you haven't guessed it by now is GO OUTSIDE. Any outside will do, though of course, being surrounded by nature will have added benefits.

The afternoons and evenings:

1. Shop, Cook, Eat, Nurture - Do more on-line shopping to not waste precious day light in stores,  but of course enjoy shopping in the day too - but don't spend too much time doing it, unless you're shopping in markets! Cook nutritious foods. These can be mega comforting but don't have to be junk.
Limit fast food. Slow cook stews, soups, bake potatoes, make chilli, make lasagne, but make sure you add plenty of healthy ingredients in each. Today, for lunch I made baked salmon with kale, carrots and spinach on the side. I felt super strong and clean after! Tomorrow, I'm planning to make a healthy stew and serve with brown rice.

2. Meet up with friends over coffees/drinks/meals. Surround yourself with loved ones and have a fun, cosy, time. Play cards, charades, chess, backgammon, board games or just talk or chill.

3. Chat on the phone if you can't see people in person

4. Watch Netflix/Movies etc 

5. Go to the cinema (and theatre once in a while)

6. Visit galleries/museums/ exhibitions

7. Watch comedies!

8. Pamper yourself with bath products, face masks, hair masks,  foot and hand and body lotions, massages, whatever you like! Treat yourself to a pedicure. They don't have to be expensive if you are watching your money- ask a friend/family member or partner to massage your shoulders, or self massage, put salts in your bath, buy a 99p mud mask. Do some stretches or yoga. Self care doesn't have to be expensive if you don't want it to be.

6. READ!  Listen to the radio, or podcasts

7. Learn a language (or craft or instrument or anything!)

9. Go to the gym/do yoga/meditate/

10. Remember winter evening walks can be so soothing and exhilarating and fun!
11. Do something creative - whether that be drawing, colouring in, writing, etc.

12. Remember to stop eating at least a couple of hours before bed so your body can shut down for sleep and keep you up trying to digest your food rather than get a break! (and so that you're ready for the next day, fitter)

13. Get off your phone or computer for an hour before to make sure you get good quality sleep and not supressing your melatonin which 'blue light' does (so you sleep deeply and are energised for the following day)

14. Wear natural fibres to bed, get cosy and comfy- wear cottons, silks or satins, wear anything that comforts you and at times of feeling more anxious than others, wear calming colours such as soft blues and pale pinks.

15. Book that holiday! Even if it won't be asap, it will be on the horizon and help for limiting/erasing next year's effects.

I hope some of these tips will help some of you and if you have any tips, please do put them in the comments below. Also, it would be nice to see some pictures of your walks, so please put them in the comments below. I'd love to see that! 

Wishing everyone bright days ahead!

Raha xx

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice and All Things Nice!

The first time I discovered pumpkin I was about 5 years old and I dreaded seeing it! Why!? Because it would mean Cinderella might be found out and I really wanted her to enjoy the Ball and get her prince!

Forward to present day, and my romanticism hasn’t died but my feelings towards pumpkins have!
I absolutely LOVE pumpkins!
I love turning them into jack-o-lanterns every Halloween, then roasting and eating their seeds after.
I love putting them in yummy stews, making pumpkin pie and using them as decoration throughout Autumn and Thanksgiving dinner.

Although Pumpkin Spice Latte was invented by Stanford MBA, Peter Dukes, (a basketball player with a BA in economics), for Starbucks, more and more people have started making their own versions. I have to say I find Starbucks' lovely if only it didn't have so much of that 'syrupy' taste. That's me personally though - others were trying to get this through the black market back in the day!!

I looked on line and saw Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte to consist of the following:
  1. 1 cup milk.
  2. 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice syrup.
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla simple syrup.
  4. 2 shots espresso or 1 cup coffee.
  5. Whipped cream, to garnish.
  6. Pumpkin spice (equal parts cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground clove), to garnish.
I was hoping to try Pret's PSL but may not get a chance before I post this. Anyone tried it? Is it good? Oh and word of warning to those in London, I went to get myself my second pumpkin spice latte of the season from my local Starbucks yesterday and they told me they have now stopped making them for this season as they have sold out!! and that it was only for Halloween!!! But Halloween hasn't even happened yet I thought!! and then she offered me a Christmas drink!!! But It's October!!!! Thank goodness I was planning to make my own today anyway.

Now for my concoction!
What you need:
One mug
One saucepan
One whisk
French Press/cafetiere
1 level tablespoon pumpkin spice

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon good quality coffee (I can't drink coffee so I substitute with good quality ground decaffinated coffee)

2 teaspoons vanilla
1 full mug milk ( I use coconut milk, but I can imagine almond milk would be divine with this recipe) 
sugar or honey to taste

What to do:

Put the coffee, pumpkin spice and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence into your French Press and pour boiled water into it, and press as you would when making normal coffee.

In the meantime, cook the pumpkin with a mug of milk and the last teaspoon of vanilla on medium heat and whisk and watch it bubble.

Pour the milk/pumpkin into the coffee, how much is dependant on how milky you would like it. For me, the perfect measurement was half/half.

*Some people put everything in the blender after to make it super smooth but I feel that the whisk did the trick and there was no need for a blender on this occasion.

Add sugar, honey (or some even put mollasses) to taste!

and drink immediately!

Happy Pumpkin Day!

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