Saturday, 25 May 2013

dark chocolate + avocado pudding

As promised here is a recipe that, I swear to you, you want to try!
Especially if you are one of those people (like myself) who love combining flavours...
I'm talking to the lovers of chocolate with sea salt and mixing peanut butter and banana in to your oatmeal. You need to try this pudding!

As usual, I discovered this dream blend of coconut milk, dark chocolate and avocados via Pinterest.
Do you pin? I'm semi-obsessed with it. Must be because I'm not working right now and have the time but these days I've been feeling a lot like this>>>

Can anyone relate to this? hehe!!

To the recipe ^.^

This recipe is not only delicious but also very good for you!
Dark chocolate is loaded with anti-oxidants and is good for your heart and brain while coconut milk is full of healthy fats that won't clog your arteries and avocados are a super-food with a wealth of health benefits, including being a great skin beautifier.

Bottom line is~ you can enjoy this smooth and creamy and deliciously chocolately pudding without having to feel 'the guilt' afterwards. AND, it's incredibly easy to make. All you need is 5 minutes and a blender.

~ 200 ml coconut milk
~ 4 ripe avocados {remove skins + stone}
~ 4 tbsp low fat cocoa powder
~ 4 tbsps honey, to sweeten
~ 1 large bar of good quality dark chocolate
~ 2 tsps vanilla extract
~ pinch of sea salt

Blend. Done.

See, I told you it was easy!
Please, enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

clean eating inspiration

{{mango + avocado salad}}

When I began this post it was purely going to be a recipe post for a delicious chocolate avocado pudding  and an update on my clean eating regime. However, as I thought about my current eating habits I realised how they tie in with the story of my last few months in South Korea and how I came to leave my job and move back in with my parents for some much needed recovery from the bashing my mind, body and metabolism had been though.

It's a tough story to recount, and even though I'm not 100% comfortable with baring my soul like this on-line, I think it will be a cathartic and healing practise for me to write it.
Perhaps some of you who read this will have had similar experiences.

I've been interested in superfoods, clean eating and nutrition in general for many years now. Throughout my twenties I have managed to maintain a constant low weight through a combination of diet and yoga.

And then last year happened. I started a new job at the beginning of my third year in Korea. The hours at my new school were crushing, the responsibilities and workload were threefold that of my previous school. At the end of every work day I was mentally and physically beat. I would stay up as late as I could every night, despite being exhausted, just to try and delay the moment when I would have to wake up and do it all over again.
 Needless to say my health and fitness habits became sloppy to say the least. Instead of using exercise to combat my work based stress I turned to all the quick fixes~ smoking, take-outs, boozy nights out after work. 
Before too long my health started to suffer, not only physically but mentally. It was around this time that my anxiety disorder became out of control, I couldn't visit a shopping mall or supermarket without having a panic episode. I decided, after 15 years of refusal, to seek pharmaceutical help for my stress and anxiety.

Two prescriptions later I was heavily medicated on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant meds, wired from my crazy work schedule, still drinking and eating unhealthily. 
9 months in to my contract I began to unravel.
My relationship suffered, my friendships suffered, I was suffering. I was burnt out, strung out on the medication, constantly sick with something and abusing alcohol to mask all the pain and disappointment I felt with myself.

When I put myself in hospital after one night of complete despair a big decision needed to be made.

And so here I am... back home, in therapy, off meds, working out and eating clean.
I'm back on track and ever, ever so thankful for the love and support of my family right now.

Now, more than ever, I realise the importance and quick-fire benefits of a good diet and active body.
When I stepped off that plane from Korea and entered Arrivals to meet my parents my Mom said she was shocked at my appearance; I was pale, thin, listless, the sparkle gone from my eyes. I had zero energy and would need to nap for a couple of hours if we did as little as go out to do some food shopping. I've never felt so zapped and depleted in my life.

But since I've got back on track and readjusted my lifestyle I feel one million times better.
I notice it in my hair, my skin, my energy levels, my mood.
Even my breathe, as gross as that is!
The fact is  (for those of you still with me!) my diet has been the cure-all remedy for all of the stress, anxiety and despair that I was going through.
It's always easier to reach for the cigarette or the slice of pizza, or to crack open a can to help you relax. But the truth is none of those things contribute towards your well-being. They will only contribute towards a second rate version of you, and who wants that?

I hope this post doesn't sound preachy. I just wanted to share my personal experience and journey.

And so I don't miss the complete point of my original post~ here are a few of my favourite and even peculiar healthy eating inspirations from Pinterest
{+ I will return shortly with the pudding recipe!}

Here's to eating yourself happy!

{{basil + peanut butter on wholemeal roll}}

{{date + coconut oatmeal topped with banana + dark chocolate}}

{{grilled grapefruit topped with honey, ginger + cinnamon}}

Monday, 20 May 2013

sunday's child

At 4 months old our Jess is a detergent ball playin', gift wrap helpin', window washer watchin', growlin', teethin', toilet trainin', foot lickin' dose of love.

I've been a forever dog person, long, long before we ever even owned one (I was around 13 when we got our first Westie, Peppy), I've always had an affinity with dogs. 
I think it's because they are capable of displaying and responding to affection and me being a very tactile person, I just adore the love they are capable of giving.
And one look into those deep liquid brown eyes and you can have a whole conversation with your pooch. There's a wealth of understanding in those eyes of theirs, sounds strange but fellow dog owners will agree!
My ultimate breed of choice would be a British bulldog. Named Buddha.
Not that I over-plan or anything ^.^

Yesterday we had some family over to celebrate my Aunt's 80th birthday~ I love this snap of me with my Pops. His belly laugh is one of the best sounds in the world ^.^
I made my speciality dessert; a boozy Bailey's chocolate cheesecake for the event, a sinful indulgence which is made only on special occasions.
  My Mom and I definitely do not orchestrate special occasions just so we can make the cheesecake. Oh no.

I was over the moon when Artful Blogging magazine asked if they could use my blog header in their 'Banners We Love' feature in their Summer issue.
Today I'm reading it curled up with leftover cheesecake and good strong chai tea.
I've been asked a few times about who designed my header, while I came up with the initial design I was helped by the lovely Savannah at Oh So Pretty to tweak it and bring it into fruition. I highly recommend her for anyone looking to design their own blog template~ she was wonderful to work with >.<

Thursday, 16 May 2013

into the wild

Here are a few shots from our road trip up to the coastal town of Gweedore in Donegal.
We spent 2 nights and 1 day enjoying the brisk Irish weather!
I LOVE the Donegal beaches... I love that they are one and the the same beaches my Mother and her brothers and sisters would use as their playground in the summer when they were kids.
When we weren't walking the length of the beach we were combing the white sands for shells and stones and ocean trinkets, all wrapped up tight against the chilly May winds that were doing their best to blow us back to the cottage. 
There's nothing quite like coming home to an open fire with fresh sea air in your lungs, salty tasting lips and stowaway sand in your shoes.
The sound of waves crashing in your ears in the evening is such a treat for the soul ^.^
This little corner of Ireland has remained blissfully sleepy and untouched by urbanization and there is a whole skyline of mountains and fields and stone cottages to enjoy.

I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful week!

Monday, 13 May 2013

a blueberry pancake kind of day

I woke up today with the notion that this was a blueberry pancakes for breakfast kind of a day.
When your notions speak to you in the morning I find it's best you mind them because then the day might finish and no blueberry pancake batter will be chilling in the fridge ready for round two tomorrow!
I'm a sucker for little blueberries, they're like sweet little reminders that Summer is waiting just around the corner.

This little dog of ours is both sweet and irascible depending on which way the wind is blowing.
Here she is giving my feet a good wash...
this is after she pulled both my socks off  and murdered them with her bare teeth ^.^
She's a character, our little fat bellied baby, my favourite is when she's all sleepy from play and she conks out on her back like a human heart melts!

Tonight I'm packing my bags for a short trip North to my great grandmother's cottage in Donegal.
I love escaping to this part of Ireland, there's so much of the country's original, untouched landscapes, glens and white sandy beaches to explore.

Except if it rains. Which it probably will. If so an open fire, books and board games are all to be seen in my tea leaves!!

See you in a few days!

Friday, 10 May 2013


⋙⋙⋙ reading⋙⋙⋙

I picked up my Dad's copy of Willie Nelson's 'Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" and have started  thumbing through it... my old man managed to find a copy signed and doodled by the bandanna man himself which is pretty cool!

The book is full of hilarious anecdotes... my favorite so far is on the art of farting:

"My grandmother slapped a fart out of me one time that whistled like a freight train. It scared both of us really bad.
 She never hit me again."

⋙⋙⋙ planning⋙⋙⋙

Next week I'll be heading back to Gweedore in Donegal for a few days of beach combing~ I plan on filling the car trunk with rocks, shells and driftwood which I can bring home and paint.

⋙⋙⋙ watching⋙⋙⋙

Jess curled up by my feet, asleep.

⋙⋙⋙ eating⋙⋙⋙

Tomato and basil soup with pesto and sun dried tomato wholemeal bread rolls.

I've also just discovered Sage tea~ it has anxiolytic properties which are of great benefit to me as I'm weaning of anti-anxiety medication right now.

⋙⋙⋙ writing⋙⋙⋙

I love to write my blog posts in the twilight of the day...when the sun has kicked it's boots off 'till the morrow and I can hear the birds shooting the breeze through the open window, ringing and chiming from the trees like little bells.

⋙⋙⋙ listening⋙⋙⋙

Lots of Patti Smith, Willie and Tom Waits, also I discovered Camel Heads through the penabranca tumblr which describes it perfectly and thusly:

"Influenced by Dead Man and North African desert blues, these long-form kraut jams will leave your brains baking on a rock in the Global South, drenched in cosmic sweat. Like waves crashing into the shoreline, the ebb and flow of Anoluz will free your mind, bury your toes in pink sand, and orient your lawn chair towards the sunset." 

Listening to this I kind of feel like I've walked into a bar in one of those Western films and I got a tinglin' in my trigger finger.

⋙⋙⋙ learning⋙⋙⋙

I can always learn a little something from John.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

london trip// driftin'

A lunch made for one.

Cherry blossoms in the wind.

Cloud gazing.

Map reading and pavement pounding

The charm of the tube.

I had such a time in London. It's my birthplace, my old haunt, my history. 
Since I left it to roam and drift around I gave scarce thought to ever returning again. 
But in the warm, charming little bubble of my birthday visit I found myself falling back in love with the place, enjoying the crowds, the vibe, the unmistakable spirit of the big smoke. 

I felt home.

I love it when birthday gifts filter through long after the day has faded into history...
when I returned back to my parent's house in Ireland I had two lovely packages waiting for me.
Dallas sent me the sweetest bundle of Korean paper goods and a baby Totoro on a keychain.
A little baby Totoro!!! I can't even.

Also one of my best friends Jen runs a small print business and had my blog header printed on to a mug for me! It's shameless self promotion but hey, I love it!! hehe!