Friday, 18 December 2015

getting ready for christmas #5

My lovely friend Maddy has started the most gorgeous blog about her family and home-schooling. Vist it here to read about how she is going to work with some friendly fairies rather than that creepy elf on the shelf!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Getting ready for christmas #4

am also gonna make these!
ooo yum.
we don't really go in for too much sweet stuff, so these look so good - Christmassy but made with spices, chestnut flour, almond flour, molasses and coconut oil.
I'm always on the look out for bliss balls that don't have nuts in - perfect to take along to yoga classes for a treat at the end.
recipe here


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Books read in November

Hello, 
It's late - but these are the books I read in November. Wasn't crazy on hex hall or the book of speculation, but everything else was ace. Have you read any of the? You been reading anything good? I think December is THE reading month.xx

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Getting ready for Christmas #3


Today a little bit of Internet shopping, but mainly staying on the sofa with a blanket as I have a cold. It's been busy, busy here - lots on in work, lots of yoga classes to teach, shopping, drinks.... 
Today I think should be about watching cooking shows, reading books and maybe wrapping gifts.
With love
Sian.xx

Friday, 11 December 2015

getting ready for christmas #2

I wouldn't mind a puppy for Christmas!
(not really, Sadie-cat would hate it)
I'm quite up for getting books though!
what are you hoping for in your stocking?
x

getting ready for christmas #1

hello!
I thought I'd share some things I plan to do for Christmas.... starting with Vegan Baileys! ohmygosh.
I haven't made this yet, but have been thinking about it for MONTHS. here's a link to the recipe, but essentially its just whisky, coffee, coconut milk and agave or maple syrup.
nghghghn

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

hello!

 hello everyone! here are some photos from my life recently. above is a tea party we hosted at the museum for Contact the Elderly.
 this was at an art college i went and did a little talk at.
 teaching yoga! this was a class i covered at a church hall. cute.
 making bunting at a hen party in work.
 eating kale
 crocheting blankets
 reading books. this is what i read in september i think!
 me and bert went to see the Lemonheads! oh gosh! it was fun.
 it's getting cold. everyone needs soup! i made this for halloween.
 and i think this is what i read in august....
 books read in november...... autumn is the best time for reading.
and i love this picture of me and bert drinking green tea in a festival.
how are you all? miss you.x

Sunday, 11 October 2015

hello!

hello!
how have you all been?
I have been too busy to blog... what with work and yoga classes and teaching yoga and festivals and watching movies and cooking food...
this picture is our lovely tent in End of the Road festival. We had such a great time there and saw some amazing bands (including Sufjan Stevens - wah). i'll share some more pictures soon. I love a picture of an inside of a tent! cosy.
here's the lovely studio I teach yoga at. I have a regular class on a sunday morning at 10am if you are cardiff based and want to hang out with me and do yoga! It's such a pretty studio!
over the summer we went to see a Richard Long exhibition in Bristol. Here I am in front of one of his pieces.

and here's my favourite boy looking dapper and handsome with stripy trousers and a mustache. 
His beard has grown back now it's autumn.

We are excited now it's october - reading, staying in, eating stews...
I hope you are all enjoying life too.
xx

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Nut butter balls

Hello everyone!
how are you all doing? doesn't it feel autumnal? last weekend we went to End of the Road Festival (which was delightful) and that always feels like it marks the end of summer.

I was looking for some nice treats to take to the yoga class I teach on a sunday (if you are based in Cardiff and fancy coming a long let me know!) and spotted these nut butter balls on a free recipe booklet I got when I bought some online yoga classes from Carling Harps. I had to go shopping for the ingredients, and buying them all at the same time is a little pricey, but they all come in pretty big bags so will last a long time. These are easy to make and super healthy and yum.

here's what you need.
1/2 cup of gluten free oats
4 tbsp cashew butter
2 tbsp flax seeds (more commonly known as linseed in the UK)
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maca powder (this was a bit expensive but it makes things taste a little butterscotchy and you can also put it in smoothies or hot chocolate too - it's also meant to help treat fatigue and anemia)
1 pitted date (I didn't put this in... didn't have any.)
2 tbsp maple syrup (I put about 2 1/2 as hadn't added the date)
coconut shreds or cocoa powder to coat them in.

here's what you do
put the oats in a blender and pulse a few times until roughly chopped.
add everything else (other than coconut obvs) until all blended together a bit like cookie dough.
roll into little balls (this recipe makes about 8-10) and coat in coconut or cocoa.
put in the fridge to firm up.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Anniversary: year three

august 15th was year three of marriage. 
we were unable to take a good picture on that day tho it seems...
bert bought me a  yoga mat and I bought him a little painting (will share in a separate post)
three years is apparently leather... which is no good to us. and no one likes pleather. 
anyway.... 
lets enjoy the last few years of photos!
last year

the year before

and the original!
yay-hey!
anniversary's are fun.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Books read in July


Books read in July!
Hey! More Lucy Knisley comics - this time Displacement which is about going on a cruise with her grandparents. It's pretty cute. I loved the Bryan Lee O'Malley graphic novel Seconds - all about having another go round at life events so you can change them by eating magic mushrooms. Skim was another graphic novel that was totally fun and also about witchcraft. 

Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope was great - probably only if you are interested in yoga though....

The new Harper Lee was pretty big news huh? I enjoyed it, but found it more of an interesting addition to To Kill a Mockingbird, rather than a great book in its own right.

Among Others by Jo Walton was a re-read for me as we were reading it for book group. I really love this book - it's kinda fantasy, but only slightly... It's also about the power of reading. It's really wonderful.

The Sally Mann book called Hold Still is great - it's a memoir about her life as a photographer (you may remember her photos from the 90s of her kids? There was a bit of a hoo-ha around them as her kids were naked for many of them) and it's beautifully written all about love, life, family, art (Cy Twombly appears in it) all wrapped up in a touch of southern gothic, a great read even if you've never heard of her.

And These Broken Stars was a teen sci-fi novel which I was totally captivated by! Set in space! And then a strange planet! Wah!

You read any of these? 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Vegan coconut bliss balls


hello!
i've been interested in making bliss balls but most of them have dried fruit in (i think we've covered the issues with bert and fruit before??) so i was searching for a recipe without fruit and possibly without nuts... (hi allergies!)
I found this recipe for coconut balls on line - and there are a few different versions (here's one) so have a little hunt! Anyway, these are super easy to make and are relatively healthy! I'm interested in trying out different chocolate for the covering - I just used a good quality dark chocolate, but  maybe some kind of raw chocolate would be good. I made these to take for yoga class and then made another two batches for bert to snack on with his friend Lucy while they had a Beverly Hills 90210 night.

here's how to make them:

blend (in a blender) a cup of desiccated coconut with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. once blended form into little balls and place on a tray covered with parchment paper.
then melt the chocolate - the recipe i've linked to above says a cup and a half of chocolate chips, but I fancy it would be too much. I found that a bar of chocolate was enough for two batches of these, but I guess it's just how you like your balls!

so melt chocolate and then drizzle over balls. just before the chocolate sets sprinkle a little sea salt on the top. yum! pop in the fridge and leave there for a couple of hours.
eat with pots of tea and bad tv.


Saturday, 25 July 2015

hello!

hey!
well. today I have a whole day off. and I have a cold. Not to be dramatic, but I can't actually remember the last whole day off I had... I think this cold is saying - lie on the sofa and read some comics and young adult novels. and I am obeying it.

I have started teaching yoga! I have two regular classes a week - one in a yoga studio and one in a gym. I love it - but it's lots of work preparing and thinking.... I also sometimes cover classes - hence the no days off. If you happen to be in cardiff or just want to know about the classes I teach, I have a facebook page you could like. 

So today, even tho I'm snuffly - is nice. I have books, I have the cooking channel, I have vegan broccoli cheese and bert is at work. I hope you are al well.
x

Monday, 6 July 2015

books read in june 2015

here are the books I read in June!
I had some time off in June and also I got REALLY into Lucy Knisley, my favourite was Relish - a really touching and delightful graphic novel about food and cooking, and I really enjoyed her others too. Bert bought me The Plantpower Way - a new vegan cookbook/lifestyle book by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt which was totally great and had lots of pictures of Rich running without a top on. 

The Kelly Link book Get in Trouble is a short story collection. There were a few of these stories that didn't really do anything for me, but then there were a couple (especially summer people) which were so freaking awesome that I'm still thinking about them a good six weeks on. She is really interesting - read her if you can.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley is a young adult alrernate worlds fantasy novel. I loved the first half so much! So much.... But it lost me slightly when it went all out fantasy. I have since developed a huge crush on the author though and am looking forward to reading more of her books.

Alice Hoffman has been letting me down recently with her novels for adults, but Nightbird (written for young adults) is back to her magical best. A total magical delight.

Everyone has been reading Sarah J Maas and I wanted to try her too but I was worried that her books might be a bit too much high fantasy for me, so I decided to try A Court of Thorns and Roses which is more of a fairytale retelling. I super enjoyed it and will be trying her others too.

I also read a pile of yoga books, uh huh. Yoga is taking over my life.x

the clouds of sils maria




A few weeks ago me and Rhys went to watch The Clouds of Sils Maria in the cinema. I didn't know much about it before seeing it - other than the wonderful Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart were in it and that Kristen won an award for it... but since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, and can't wait for the dvd to come out at the end of the month.

It's such a great film, weird, compelling, complex, confusing... it has mainly women in it with Kristen and Juliette being just wonderful. I think we are all in agreement that Juliette is amazing anyway right? but Kristen? Kristen is so, so great. I loved her anyway before seeing this film, but now I may devote my life to her.

Have you seen it? what did you think? and if you haven't go watch it and report back.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

smoky tempeh

Hello! the lovely Heidi came across this recipe for smoky tofu bacon. Then the equally lovely Rachel said 'I bet that would be good with tempeh'... and then YUM. 
So essentially you just marinate some tempeh (or tofu - I tried both and liked the tempeh more) and this is what you marinate it in:

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (depending on how addicted you are to smoked pap - i eat it on everything)
a couple of dashes of liquid smoke. (you could totally make this without liquid smoke but I think this really adds something to it. I'm not sure how easy this is to get hold of, but you can certainly get it online and there is also a cute new shop in cardiff called Simply V that sells it)

slice your tempeh and add it to your marinade and then leave for an hour or so or overnight in the fridge.
when you are ready to eat it just fry it up and tip all the marinade over it so it gets all sticky.
gosh.

Birthday Boy

It's this boys birthday today! 
Happy Birthday Bertie!!
hurray!
you are the best.x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Books Read in May 2015



Hello! Here are the books I read in May.  It was supposed to be a non-fiction month, but I only managed to complete two non-fiction books (tho started loads of others).
spiral Jetta by Erin Hogan is a book that's a bit travel, a bit memoir and a bit art. Hogan goes on a road trip visiting land art across America and the stuff she writes about art is really interesting, but some of the other stuff she writes is really obnoxious and snobby.
Seed by Lisa Heathfield is a young adult book set on a commune. It is a total page turner and creepy and weird too. The ending is a little bit much, but a good read overall.
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes is also young adult. It's based on an event that happened to the author and feels very real, mundane and then totally shocking. This is a really good book that you might not want to read when you're feeling delicate.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika this is another yoga one obvs. It's actually pretty much a yoga classic and has loads of great stuff in it and a little bit of crazy stuff too. If you are interested in yoga this is a must-read.
Border Country by Raymond Williams was our book group choice and is a Welsh novel set in the 20s and 60s. It is gentle and nostalgic and says some really interesting stuff about family, class and valleys life. This is a good book that I'm sure loads of people would enjoy and it also has a lovely style to it. Must say though, it wasn't quite 'me' tho can appreciate that it's a goodie.

Have you read anything good this month? Have you read any of these books? We have some time off this week so expect some extra reading round here!!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Beautiful new blog

hello!
my lovely friend Amanda has gone on a trip, so you may need to read her blog and look at the beautiful pictures!
it's right here
xx

Monday, 4 May 2015

books read in april 2015

Hey there May! and nearly summer and readers of this blog! how are you all? Here is what I read in April - it may look like quite a lot - and that's because it is. but it is also because I read a lot of young adult books, graphic novels, snuck a cookbook in there, and we also took part in a 24 hour readathon. Bert also read lots this month, and if you'd like to know exactly what, just visit his blog.

I started the month by finishing off The Strange and Beautiful Lives of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. This is a young adult book that is in the vein of Chocolat by Joanne Harris or books by Alice Hoffman, yep, it's choc-full of magical realism, maybe a little too much? it's a lovely book though and I enjoyed reading it but there was a little something missing for me. 

Next up were a couple of graphic novels - Mercury by Hope Larson and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. Mercury was a strange little story set in Nova Scotia partly in 2009 and partly in 1859 that I really enjoyed. Sisters is based on Raina's life when she was little and it's so super cute! I enjoyed it so much that I got another book by Telgemeier out of the library called Drama which was about putting on a play in school - it was also cute, but not as cute as Sisters. 

I'd been interested in the Maggie Stiefvater books for quite a while, and finally picked up the first part of the Raven Cycle - The Raven Boys. It started off a bit slowly for me and I was mainly interested in Blue and her family and all their tarot readings, so didn't want to read all the other stuff. It totally picked up for me midway through though and I am planning on reading the next two parts.

I got myself a new tarot deck this month by the Wild Unknown which is so gorgeous. I also bought the guide book to go with it and read it all.

I borrowed Deliciously Ella from the library and it is a really lovely, pretty book. It's vegan and plant based with no refined sugar or gluten. There are some nice recipes in here and I tried out the baked beans- which I mentioned in a previous post- but some of the recipes are qutie basic. I imaine that if you had just come to eating in this way it would be a really helpful book though. I also read The Yoga of Food by Melissa Grabau - it wasn't quite what I was expecting - more about eating disorders then I realised, but it was really interesting, informative and wise. 

Signal to Noise is a young adult book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and it's set in Mexico in 1988 and 2009. It's an interesting novel that felt quite unique. It's all about music and magic and relationships, the main character is also a little grumpy and mean. 

Everyone has been talking about I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and it's with good reason. This book is really addictive and quite the pageturner. I read this book during readathon and therefore read it in one day (it's a great book to binge-read!). Saying that, and even though I did really enjoy it, it is a little cliched and cheesy and overly romantic in some places. 

And finally I read The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger - my only adult novel I read this month! huh! Anyway, I had previously read The Dissident by Freudenberger which I really loved and Freudenberger is the kind of writer that I'm really into - y'know, that kind of really good contemporary American literature stuff. This book is about a woman who meets a guy on the internet and moves from Bangledesh to the US to marry him - it's about relationships and family and adjusting to a different country, it has a slight bleakness and repression to it and it has a faintly devastating ending. 

So that was my reading month. Have you read any of these? what did you think? what are you reading? 
all my love
Sian.x





Wednesday, 22 April 2015

hello!

do you like this picture?
face resting on a hand is more thoughtful and flattering no?
also, I've popped a little red in my hair. 
like angela chase.
I haven't been updating my blog as much as usual and when I do it is mainly recipes or books. my blog has become very book/food. I still feel super busy over here.... work things (i think) have started to calm down a little and I have a lot of holiday days to take this year after not taking them all last year and I've also cut down on all the weekends I've been working (although worked this weekend just gone). I have been doing my yoga teacher training course and that has been taking up some time! not so much the hours put in on going to the actual course (long and pretty intense weekends), but also the written work, the reading and all the extra yoga classes I've been going to. and then because I'm spending so much time on yoga matters, I worry I've been neglecting bert! argh. We've been catching up in the evenings though to watch episodes of Castle... and this saturday we are taking part in the 24 hour readathon. 
a work/life or work/life/yoga balance can be hard....
x

beans!

hello! lets talk about baked beans! Do you like them? do you eat the canned ones? I rarely do, but Bert is crazy about them and we were both interested in making our own version. I was looking through the Deliciously Ella book which I got from the library and she had a recipe for them which looked pretty good. So we made them and bert had them on toast and I ate them with roasted cauliflower and rice. They don't really taste like the canned beans, they taste more like a tomatoey bean dish you may get in Italy or Greece - and that's not a bad thing! They taste fresh and healthy! I pretty much followed the recipe that Ella gave, but if I made them again I think I'd change them a bit - maybe not quite so much tomato puree or garlic... they WERE good tho - you should try them. 
Here's the recipe:
Cook two tins of chopped tomatoes with 2 cloves of crushed garlic and 2 tablespoons of date syrup (I used coconut sugar and a bit of agave syrup) for about 30 minutes. Then add 1 tube of tomato puree and two cans of haricot beans (I used cannellini beans). Cook for another ten minutes until everything is heated through and season with salt and pepper. 
That's it! simple huh? I'd be interested in ay other recipes you may have for baked beans - let me know. 

 oh, and these two pictures? the first is hot water with fresh ginger and lemon which Bert loves drinking. and the other is scrambled tofu with chili and spinach and avocado which I ate for breakfast with my yoga friend Laura at Waterloo Tea.

Friday, 3 April 2015

books read in march 2015

Hello!
March was meant to be multicultural month books wise - the plan was to read books from, y'know, mulititudes of cultures. I didn't do too badly, but could have done better, and actually, I now have some really great authors on my TBR pile.

First, I finished off Michelle Tea's memoir (which I started in feb) How to Grow Up. I adore Michelle Tea and I really enjoyed this too, but had a few little niggles with it and didn't feel that it was as good as her early stuff.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was a big ol book at around 500 pages or so, and it was pretty epic in both size and scope. This has superb writing and a plot that spans years and countries. I liked all the stuff about race way more than the relationship stuff, but this would be my recommendation to you guys this month, because me and Beyonce both loved it.

Playing in the Dark:Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison was up next. This was a short, powerful little book that was more academic than I was expecting and something I think is owed a re-read. Really interesting tho obvs.

The reading group book this month was Diamond Star Halo by Tiffany Murray, which is a coming of age novel set in the 70s (and then goes up to the 2000s) and is about a bohemian family who run a recording studio in Wales. The reading group really enjoyed this one, and while there were elements of it that I liked, it wasn't really my bag.

Because of my yoga course, I have a lot of yoga related books that I need to read, and Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Satyananda Saraswati was one of them. This book is one of the Bihar books which all have the most amazing covers sometimes from the 60s and 70s. They are so amazing they often look like sci-fi books, but sometimes they can be a little dry. This one though is great! I mean, you need to be in to yoga to get anything out of it, but it's totally fun to read (if a little crazy towards the end - two words - turmeric root).
And finally I read Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh. Now i'm not currently going through a storm, but if I was I'd want Thich by my side. The man is a genius and a calm one at that.

If you want to know what bert read in march, go here, and as usual I want to know if you've read any of these books and what you've been reading too.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

vegan sweet potato and mung bean curry

So, remember the other day I made kitcheree? well this is kind of following on from that - it pretty much has the same ingredients and the same ayuervedic principles.Like the kitcheree this is made up of mung beans, rice, and sweet potato. Here's how I made it. 
Ingredients
onion
fresh ginger (about the size of a thumb!)
3 garlic cloves
2 sweet potatoes
cup of mung beans
3 tomatoes
coconut milk
tomato paste
smoked paprika
turmeric
cumin 

method - fry the chopped onion in a little vegan butter and olive oil (coconut oil would have been better but I didn't have any), then add chopped garlic and grated ginger. Cook down for a little while and then add the spices, cubed sweet potato and 3 tomatoes (peeled and chopped). Add the mung beans (which have been soaking overnight) and tomato paste (a good squirt), cover with water and the lid and cook for about an hour or until the sweet potato and mung beans are cooked. Take off the heat and stir in a can of coconut milk. Serve with basmati rice. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

picture update!


hello! here are some photos from my life recently! my new jumper! my face! treats from the vegan kind , inspiration for a magazine we are putting together in work, a face scrub from my ayurveda course and some food! scrambled tofu on toast and soup! life is good, no?









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