Travel theme: Sparkle

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Ailsa’s adding some sparkle to January with this week’s travel theme – click here to see more entries. I took this photo at a caravan park in Tenby, Wales because I loved the way that the early morning dew made the spider’s web sparkle. Also, I wanted to capture the moment because the ill-advised spider had decided to build their web on the children’s play area, so it probably wasn’t going to be there for much longer.

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Too Young to Wed: Photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair’s fight to end child marriage

Please find 10 minutes in your day to watch this film. Child marriage is something that happens all over the world. I have lived in parts of Europe and heard stories of child brides just down the road. One day, the thought of marrying children off anywhere in the world will seem as archaic as it already does here in the UK and other western countries. We need to bring that day forward and end child marriage as soon as possible. I’ve always believed that education is the key to solving a lot of humanity’s problems. I’m lucky to have a father who believes I am entitled to the same education as my brother. We should pay that right forward to every young woman and girl in the world.

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“Stephanie Sinclair has spent the last decade documenting some of the world’s most controversial subjects, from Yemen’s child brides to Texas’s polygamists. But her goal is simple: to record what is in front of her and pass as little judgement as possible”. Her beautiful photographs take us in and make us want to help change the tragic realities we are seeing. Her work also inspires hope that change is possible. 

In October, I had the honor of attending the ONE Women and Girls inaugural AYA Summit in Washington DC. The summit was an inspiring two days filled with some of the world’s leading speakers and do-gooders who advocate the rights of women and girls in the developing world.

On the first morning of the summit, I had the fortuitous opportunity to met a woman who has inspired me for years, award-wining photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair. Sinclair’s famous photo of Nujood Ali, who stunned the world in…

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Travel theme: Autumn

A very seasonal travel theme from Ailsa this week (click here to see other entries). As well as the usual falling leaves, autumnal colours and longer, colder nights, autumn in our neighbourhood also means it’s time for our annual local arts festival. I didn’t have time to take any photos of Made in Roath this year because I was too busy being a part of the festival, but here are some photos of last year’s activities.

Eat Well: Live Well Expo 2014

OK, I’ve got something to tell you all.

Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve not been as active on it this year. That’s because I’ve been sooooo busy, I’ve even pushed my own definitions of what the word busy means. At the beginning of March I enrolled on a course that began four months of intense physical and mental study, exam papers (haven’t had to deal with them since I left sixth form in 1998!), what seemed like endless coursework and very little time to sleep. I’m very proud to say, though, that all that hard work was worth it because at the end of June I became a fully qualified personal trainer! If you’d have known me six years ago, you’d have thought I had more chance of becoming an astronaut or brain surgeon in my thirties than working in the fitness industry.

Since qualifying, I’ve kept myself just as busy working three jobs whilst I transition between my current full-time role and hopefully working for myself one day. Hence the reason sasieology hasn’t been posting as frequently. You’ll probably also notice some changes in my blog, because now not only am I obsessed about living plant-based and travelling, I’m also obsessed about fitness as well. I’m learning more and more every day, and I love it.

On Saturday, I took myself along to the Eat Well: Live Well Expo right here in Cardiff. I enjoyed the day so much and came away with so many great ideas for my blog and my business, and I want to share with you what I learnt about the amazing products, services and people that I met during the day. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see all the events because I had to dash off to one of my paid jobs (the story of my life at the moment!), but here’s what I did manage to catch. PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

Tara Hammett actually told me about the event, so I have to say a big thank you to her. She put some lucky volunteers through their paces for one of her 12 minute workouts, and having witnessed first hand the sweat pouring off them at the end of it I can testify that they really do work. I also got to try one of Tara’s famous chocolate sprouts. They may sound strange, but don’t knock it until you try it because they are delicious. Check out her website for info about the chocolate sprouts, workouts and lots more tips and tricks to stay in shape.

Having recently started adding vegan protein powder to my diet, I was excited to discover that Marvellous make their own right here in Wales with hemp and pea protein. I’ve started using it alongside Sun Warrior on days when I’m training and I already feel more energised. As a rule I advise people to stay away from protein powders, especially animal proteins, but Marvellous is 100% organic, gluten free and vegan, nothing like the synthetic chemicals I see people guzzling at the gym. They specialise in other superfood powders too, and you can order straight from their website.

DSC_0941Juicing is something that I’ve wanted to get into for ages, but I’ve not been able to make it work for me so far. Until I discovered the Natural Juice Junkie that is. If you have any questions about juicing, juicers, what to juice, when to juice, how to fit juicing into your life or how to make it work for you, this is the guy to ask. During a fantastic, informative and entertaining presentation, Neil told us his personal story, how he came to completely change his life through juicing and how he helps other people through their own journeys. I then harassed some of his team with lots of questions, and they were brilliant. They answered everything I asked, and encouraged me to download some free juicing recipes from their website. The Natural Juice Junkie is holding a 2 day masterclass in Swindon in November which I would recommend to anyone seriously considering incorporating juicing into their healthy diet. I’ve already had my juicer back out and been giving it another go, and I’ve found it so much easier with the great, simple recipes and advice Neil gave us.

If you’re still unsure about buying a juicer and venturing down the juicing path yourself, there are great companies out there that can deliver the juices straight to your door for you. Fresh Start offers such a service here in Cardiff and they deliver all over the UK. I tried two of their lovely juices on the day. Beat It is a comforting mix of apple, beetroot, carrot, lemon, mint and a kick of ginger. Super Survivor is a healthy green blend of apple, cucumber, kale, pineapple, watercress and lemon. They both tasted delicious, and I can’t wait to try more of the other juices that Fresh Start make.

I was happily surprised when I came across the Hero Health Room stand, because it’s the first time I’ve seen the DSC_0940term ‘Plant-Based’ actually written on anything in the UK. Luke and his team are committed to helping people live a healthier, happier, plant-based lifestyle. As you can imagine, I had lots to talk to them about and it was great to share plant-based experiences with people face to face.

I am a chocaholic! There, I said it. Even though I no longer eat dairy chocolate, I still treat myself to vegan and dark chocolate and when there is some on offer I can’t resist. Shirley’s Raw Chocolate is some of the best vegan, gluten free chocolate I have ever tasted, and believe me I have tried a lot of different brands. I was spoilt for choice with all the different flavours to choose from, but in the ended I went with the orange chocolate and it is to die for! You can find Shirley’s-Homemade Raw Chocolate on Facebook.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERALuckily I didn’t fill up on the chocolate, and I left enough room to try some of the great snack bars from Ernest Food Co. Filled with nuts, fruit, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa and puffed quinoa to add a satisfying crunch, their bars are totally natural with no added sugar, syrups or flavourings. I have officially found my new snack of choice for when I’m travelling/hiking/away from home in the middle of nowhere with no plant-based food around.

PROMO CODE ALERT! The lovely people at Ernest Food Co have given me a promo code to share with you guys so you too can experience the yumminess of their snack bars. Enter the code “ernestlove” when you order a carton of snack bars from their website and receive 20% off.

As well as chatting to all the amazing people I met, and trying all the free samples, I also had lunch from The Parsnipship, a long time favourite vegetarian caterer of mine. Some of the Boulders team were also there with the mobile climbing wall. I’ve been a member of Boulders for a few year, and as you know I love climbing, so it was great to see them. Anyway, I’ve got to go and try and get some sleep before I’m up at 5.30am for one of my jobs 🙂

Travel theme: Bountiful

When I read that Ailsa’s travel theme this week is Bountiful, I immediately thought of our little community garden. OK, we may not be feeding the entire neighbourhood just yet, but we have seen some pretty good harvests for a previous piece of waste ground run by volunteers.

Click here to see more entries from this week’s travel theme.

Travel theme: Noise

My goddaughter trying to drown out the noise of a fire engine

I thought I would flip this week’s travel theme on it’s head. Instead of posting pictures of things that make noise, I’m using a shot that shows the effect of noise. This photo of my goddaughter was taken a few years ago when she was still a baby. We were at a charity fun day, and the local police and fire brigades had kindly come along to show the children their vehicles. All the other kids loved turning the fire engine siren on full blast, but my goddaughter didn’t look too impressed. Things have changed since then – nowadays it’s usually her making the most noise!

 

Click here to see other entries from this week’s travel theme.

 

Why I choose not to partake in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Yesterday, my 3 year old goddaughter nominated me to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This has left me with the difficult challenge of explaining to her, and my omnivore friends, why I vowed not to engage in the game. You see, the challenge presents ethical problems for plant-based vegetarians and vegans. For me personally, I choose not to give money to or promote a charity that funds unnecessary animal experiments. Also, my belief is that money and time would be much better spent encouraging people to convert to a plant-based, whole food diet to improve their health.

It was never my intention to write a post about this subject, or even to get involved in the debate. I was simply going to avoid taking the challenge. However, if you click on this link you’ll see a video from the Eco-Vegan Gal and chef Jason Wrobel discussing their reasons for not accepting their nominations either. Working along similar lines to the Ice Bucket Challenge, they are inviting others to join the discussion and keep the debate moving, and they have inspired me to write this post.

My intention is not to judge those who choose to take part in the challenge, everyone has a right to support whichever charities they want. This post is simply my response to my nomination and why I politely decline.

Travel theme: Endearing

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is Endearing. And, as she aptly demonstrates on her post, possibly the most endearing beings on the planet are animals.

Click here to see more entries from this week’s travel theme.