Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February Life



HOW I'VE BEEN FEELING


February has come and gone like a whirlwind! I know it's a short month but that along with being away for some of it has meant it has flown by. I've been feeling better than I was during January and the break away to Finland definitely helped. I've also been keeping busy with blogging and keeping fit which has been both fun and helpful with motivation levels. I think I may finally be out of my new year slump! 

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Monday, 27 February 2017

Cradle



With two new vegan cafes opening within the last 6 months, it would seem that the small Suffolk market town of Sudbury is quickly becoming the new local hot spot for plant based offerings. Cradle, which has only been open for four weeks, is the new kid on the block and offers up something quite different from the already established Kind Cuisine on the other side of town.  

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Vegan Chocolate Chip & Raspberry Pancakes



Every year I find myself really looking forward to Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday) and for some unknown reason I tend to forget that I could eat pancakes at any time during the year and not just on one day! I think it's a British thing and rather than pancakes being a staple breakfast food they are instead considered a one off treat to look forward to every February. 

Vegan pancakes are actually pretty easy and straight forward to make. I was quite surprised when I made my first batch by how few ingredients I needed and how they still tasted like the old pancakes I used to love. The need for eggs and milk is just so unnecessary and this recipe really proves that.



This year i'm sticking to my old recipe but mixing things up a bit to create something a little more indulgent!

Ingredients


150g plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
300ml water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Dark chocolate chips
Raspberries
100% maple syrup
Icing sugar

Method


Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and add in the chocolate chips. 

Whisk the water and oil together in a separate small bowl.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir util blended. If it's slightly lumpy thats ok!

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat and drop in the batter by large spoonfuls.

Cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry then flip the pancake over onto the other side.

Repeat with remaining batter.

Finish by topping with raspberries, maple syrup & icing sugar.


I really enjoyed making these pancakes and it was the first time i've ever added chocolate into the mix and I have to say that it worked really well. The combination of chocolate with raspberries is just divine! I also tried them with some Schlagfix vegan squirty cream which was delicious...


Have you tried vegan pancakes yet!? 

Let me know if you give this recipe a go and tweet me your photos to @thevnicelife!
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

My Favourite Places To Eat Out Vegan



I'm often asked where my favourite places to eat out vegan are and sometimes I find it difficult to answer because, firstly, there are just so many places and, secondly, it's really dependent on the occasion and location, along with who else we'll actually be dining with. One thing's for sure though, I certainly don't struggle for options for eating out particularly if I have some element of control over where we'll be eating. 
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Postcards From Lapland


For as long as I can remember my husband and I have talked about our dream to see the Northern Lights and booking a snowy adventure holiday. It's a holiday we have mentally planned out in our heads for years and this year it finally happened. In January the overwhelming urge to go to a really cold country and hunt out the elusive Aurora Borealis finally took hold of us and before we knew it we were online booking our flights and researching hotels.

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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

My Top Self Love Tips



Self love is something I am determined to practice more of this year. I've had my battles with negative thinking in the past and i've learnt how damaging it can be to my self confidence and to my emotional wellbeing. 

We are always often our own worst critics and if anyone else could hear the things you tell yourself they'd probably be shocked. We can be so hard on ourselves on a frequent basis that for many of us it can take a lot of time and practice to master the art of self love. If you tell yourself the same things over and over again you end up believing them.

"The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself". So forget about anyone else this Valentines Day as the only person you really need to show some love to is yourself!

Make Time For You


Life can be so busy and it can at times feel like a struggle to make time for others, let alone yourself. Something that I personally swear by is taking a little time out away from everyone and everything else to just be with myself. Whether I just sit or lay down in silence, spend half an hour reading a book or watching my favourite YouTuber's latest vlog, time with myself on my own is important and needed. And sadly nope, it doesn't count if you spend that time online! 

Take A Break

 

I was feeling so low in mood during January and my outlook on everything had turned a little bleak. Rather than sit around and allow those feelings to fester and get worse I decided that I needed a change of scene and to get away. My husband and I had a few nights away at an Air BnB in Brighton at the end of January and it was the best thing we could have done. We enjoyed some lovely long walks along the seafront, ate some nice food and, importantly, spent time relaxing away from our usual stresses at home. It made the world of difference. If you're not in a position to go away right now I would suggest grabbing a notebook and planning out what your perfect mini break away would look like and researching where you'd like to stay. 

Enjoy Some Pampering

 

Whenever I am feeling low or  being really highly self critical I always like to try to fight back by doing some things that help me to feel good. A really simple and quick way of doing this at home is to enjoy some self pampering. It could be as simple as a long soak in the bath, shaving your legs or painting your nails. Whatever it takes to help you to feel better about yourself and more relaxed! If you want to splash out a spa day is always another great option. Take a book, lock your phone away for the day and focus on you. 

Say 'No' More Often


I think we're all probably guilty of saying 'yes' too much to things that deep down we don't want to do or don't want to let others down on. I think it's important to prioritise what you actually want to do and what you enjoy doing. If something is bringing you unhappiness or making you feel like you want to cancel even before the event has come around then is it really worth putting yourself through it? A big part of taking more time out for you is going to be sacrificing other areas of your life so it's time to work out what really makes you happy and if it isn't filling you with joy perhaps it needs to be cut? 

Praise Yourself


It's up to you how you choose to do this but it's important to remind yourself of what you're good at and positive things about yourself. Maybe at the end of every day write down one positive thing from that day that you done or that you feel proud about. Maybe someone paid you a compliment today that you immediately dismissed? Well, write it down! It could be that you received a kind tweet from someone or an email telling you that you done a good job, either way save it in a place that you can go back to and read again when you're not feeling too great. 

Endorphins


Sadly, due to my all or nothing thinking patterns, I have a love / hate relationship with exercise. I'm either hitting it hard or doing nothing at all! However, what I can say is that I feel ten times better in myself after I have exercised. There's just no getting away from this! Sometimes I find myself eye rolling when I read 'exercise' as a depression or self care tip but, as much as we may not want to face up to it, it's a scientifically proven fact that it's going to help you to feel better. Whether you go to the gym, for a swim or even for a brisk walk around your neighbourhood, it's going to have its benefits. I'm personally loving my aqua aerobics class at the moment and I actually look forward to going to it which makes a change. Find something you enjoy, do it, and see how differently it will make you feel about yourself. 

Make Your House A Home


Do you feel happy in your environment? This is something i've reflected on a lot recently and as a result we are hoping to move house this year. I've also spent some time thinking about what my ideal home would look and feel like. Somehow, over the past few years, I have accumulated a lot of junk that I don't need anymore. My style has also changed and i've realised that i'm now less 'shabby chic' and more 'minimal contemporary'. It's natural that our tastes will change over time but rather than sticking with what you have I think it's important to invest some time and effort into getting your home how you ideally would like it. It could just mean having a huge clear out and de-clutter, which by the way can do wonders for your mind. If there's anything in your home that makes you feel anything other than happy then maybe it's time for it to be removed? 

Accept Help

 

Accepting some help from others doesn't mean you're failing and shouldn't make you feel any worse about yourself. If anything you should be pleased that maybe now you have some extra time to spend doing things that you enjoy. There's no benefit to struggling along and feeling unhappy, particularly if you have someone around you who is offering to help. One small change that we made last year was to hire a cleaner. At first it felt like an extravagant thing to do but then after speaking with the cleaner we soon realised that this is something a lot of households now do. It may cost £20 - £30 for a cleaner to come into your home and spend a few hours making everything clean and sparkly, but in my opinion it's money well spent. Even if we only use them once a month it makes a difference to our lives. Accepting professional help could also be a huge benefit to your mental health if you're struggling in that department.

Be Mindful About Your Diet

 

There's no denying that what we choose to eat has a real impact on how we feel about ourselves. As you all know I try to lead a completely plant based vegan diet which is something I really enjoy and it eases my conscience that I am not contributing towards animal cruelty or environmental issues. Switching to a plant based diet also completely cured some previous issues I was having with IBS and constipation. Both of which used to make me feel really unhappy. 

My only downfall at the moment is the occasional junk food binge and I probably eat too much sugar. If I am completely honest I know that eating the bag of chips is going to make me feel terrible afterwards and eating a plate full of greens will make me feel really good. But i'm also a big believer in everything in moderation and I don't like to deprive myself. Balance is key and if you fancy an occasional take away then there's nothing wrong with that. But I do think it's important to reflect upon how what you're eating is making you feel and take action in eating more of what helps you to feel good. If the junk food is going to make you self loathe afterwards is it really worth it? 

Surround Yourself With Good People

  

Ending toxic relationships and friendships is something i've had some good experience of in the past and I can really sit back now and feel content with who I choose to surround myself with. It can be a really rough road getting to this stage, and there will be some tears along the way, but it's totally worth it in the end. I spent way too long entertaining negative people in my life and they ultimately impacted on my emotional wellbeing and enjoyment of life. 

Times change and people change and there's nothing wrong with making a decision to end a friendship or relationship if you feel that it's impacting on you negatively or draining you of energy. Think about who really matters and who is there for you during the good times and the bad. Who's going to be there to cheer you up when you're at your lowest? Who's going to have your back no matter what? They're the people you need in your life and who will bring you the least stress.

Do What You Love

 

If you're going off to a job every day that you dread and can't bear the thought of spending any more time at then don't sit there and allow it to swallow you up. Spending every day completely miserable doing something you hate is one of the worst feelings in the world and will quickly lead to you hating your life. Make plans, make changes and do whatever you can to change the situation that you find yourself in. Maybe it's time to train at doing something different? Perhaps there's an evening course that would help you to feel like you're getting one step closer to achieving your dreams? Sometimes you have to take some big risks to get to where you want to be but not taking the risk could be a scarier prospect.

Get Organised


Every Sunday I sit down with my diary and weekly planner pad and I plan out my week ahead. It's kind of therapeutic and motivating as it's like i'm making a deal with myself as to what I am planning to achieve over next seven days. I'll factor in work, exercise, food plans, social activities and anything else that needs to get done. I'm also conscious not to over plan too as I know my limits, I know when i'll need some all important 'me time' and when i'll just want to do nothing and enjoy having no plans. Being organised isn't about cramming as much in as possible, it's about feeling in control of your life and what happens. 

Spend Less Time Online


This one's hard. Really hard! But I genuinely believe it's key to being a little more happy in ourselves. Being online all the time can become really consuming and almost tiring, especially if you're a blogger or your work involves it. It's also addictive and before you know it you're trapped in a cycle of scrolling numerous apps / websites for no reason at all, meanwhile neglecting other more beneficial things you could be doing for your own wellbeing. It also leads to more comparison to others which can be really damaging to your own self love. I'm recently back from a trip where there was limited wifi and I can't begin to tell you how much better I feel for it.

Get A Good Nights Sleep


This is such an important one as sleep deprivation can really impact on how we're feeling in ourselves on a day to day basis. I believe the key to a good nights sleep is in the pre bed time routine and nailing this will help you to achieve a decent nights sleep. Set a time you'd like to be asleep by in order to get those important 8 hours in and work backwards from there to schedule in some wind down time. It's a good idea to set a time when you'll switch off all technology as being so wired and alert so close to bed time will do you no favours. Whether it be a hot bath, reading a book or a little meditation exercise, get yourself in the zone to sleep and you'll be grateful that you did.             

Be Kind


Kindness and compassion are completely underrated in life. It's so important to be kind to yourself and others. Showing kindness can be a really fulfilling way of liking yourself a little bit more and helping yourself to feel good inside, as well as brightening up someone else's day. Treating others how you would like to be treated is key but maybe take it a little bit further. Go the extra mile for someone, volunteer yourself up more and maybe take part in some random acts of kindness that you wouldn't usually do. 

Happy Valentines Day! 

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Friday, 10 February 2017

Lush Valentines Picks



With Valentines Day just around the corner I thought I would share with you my top picks from Lush's new Valentines 2017 releases. As always I really look forward to Lush's seasonal products and this time I really couldn't wait to get my hands on some of their loved up and romantic offerings!  

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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Brighton 2017



We all know January can be a really gloomy and depressing month and this year was sadly no different for me. I found myself feeling unmotivated, low in mood and generally pretty bluergh. So in a bid to lift me out of my lull my husband and I decided on a spur of the moment trip down to Brighton. It's one of our most favourite places to visit and it's just perfect for a mini get away.

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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Blog Anniversary Giveaway



This month my blog turns the grand age of two years old! Hip Hip Hooray! 

I'm so happy that I decided to start The V Nice Life back in 2015 as it really has been such a positive creative outlet and it's enabled me to get to know so many amazing people in the online and blogging community. It also feels amazing to actually work hard on something that I am so passionate about on a daily basis. The blog and all the background work that goes with it can at times be extremely hard work, and much harder than people probably imagine, but when it's something you really love doing it makes it all the more worthwhile.  

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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Cruelty Free Bags For All Occasions

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