One of the prettiest beaches in Angus - Lunan Bay

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One of the prettiest beaches in Angus - Lunan Bay

Scotland you are spoiling us! We have had this May and June so many prefect days for an outdoor adventure! If this weather continues, no one will ever believe us that it rains here most of the year. We have been so spoiled  with this glorious weather and it’s not even summer yet.

It was still May when we packed our photography gear and headed out to Lunan Bay. It was sunny and warm and almost zero wind. Simply amazing. Ironically, while we were filming our yoga sequence I got a notification from the Met Office issuing a heavy rain warning in the central and west part of Scotland.We never got a drop of rain tho. ⚠️

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Lunan Bay is probably one of the prettiest beaches in Angus. It offers you a magnificent sweep of sand, with a cave and arch at its northern end. Beyond all the sand dunes you can see ruins of the Red Castle, proudly overlooking the bay. It is hardly surprising that in 2000 Lunan Bay was voted the best beach in Scotland. It’s a good place to visit after a heavy storm go find some hidden gems as the beach is famed for its good sources of agates and other gemstones. It’s one of those places that unless you are local, you wouldn’t have known of.

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We arrived to the area before 9am but the sun was already strong. By noon the ground got so heated the condensation created a faint smudge of steamy smoke hovering just above the ground and into the water.  We had a great day of recording some yoga footage, with a simple sequence from Finlay’s book, playing with Coops and soaking in the beauty of this amazing place.

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Yoga on the beach is a fantastic idea. You can try poses without fear of face planting because let’s face it, the landing is pretty soft! 

I also had an opportunity to play with Finlay’s camera, Canon EOS 600D . It’s not the newest model but pretty amazing and sharp. It’s an entry-level model so perfect for anyone wanting to take their iPhone photography to the next level. Those pictures were done with a 70-300mm lens, it’s a telephoto focal length lens so helps you to capture the detail of distant subjects and gives you that lovely blurry background (with a little help of well adjusted low F stop). This is what I came up with today.

I use Nikon myself so it was a great to play with Canon and explore all the functions it has to offer. I have been chatting a lot with my photography pals Siobhan and Kirsty about Canon, they both are professional photographers and using full frame Canons. So this is a wee treat.

Now, acro... well this was another adventure! After a few hours on the beach we decided to move up and explore the ruins of the castle. The Red Castle of Lunan is a ruined fortified house on the coast of Angus. The earliest structure on the site was built for King William the Lion in the late twelfth century to repel Viking invasions to Lunan Bay. It was rebuilt several times and pretty much used until 1770 but in the last few centuries in went into a gradual decline so all we can see now are the ruins. 

We set our camp, secured Cooper and off we went to film our acro...however the uneven ground, a whole group of tourist that appeared out of nowhere and walked on us and Cooper chewing on the lead meant that I dismantled myself off the very first pose, landed on Finlay, practically gave myself a concussion and almost broke my pinkie finger (although not sure how I managed that). We just really like a good dose of drama! I am pretty sure the whole Angus could hear us laughing, cursing and laughing more (just imagine the facial responses of those poor, confused tourists). 

We had no food today but our friends recommended finishing our day with a naughty and very vegetarian lunch and the Lunan Bay Diner. Vegan burgers with halloumi cheese AND baked beans - yummy!! Even Cooper enjoyed it. 😂

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If you made the sticky toffee pudding then you need some...Vegan Caramel Sauce

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If you made the sticky toffee pudding then you need some...Vegan Caramel Sauce

You can't have the sticky toffee pudding without the sauce !!

What do you need?

  • 13.5 oz tin full fat coconut milk 
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How do you make it?

Combine milk, sugar and salt in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Immediately lower heat and simmer for 30 – 40 mins stirring occasionally. For the last 5 minutes stir continuously. Remove from the heat and stir in coconut oil and vanilla. Serve warm or store in a sterilised jar in fridge and use as required.

Won't blame you for wanting to lick the bowl lol

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Ultimate king of all deserts -  vegan sticky toffee pudding

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Ultimate king of all deserts - vegan sticky toffee pudding

This sticky toffee cake is delicious and is so simple to make. Served warm with vegan caramel sauce it has all the taste of an indulgent, traditional sticky toffee pudding but it’s made with healthier ingredients. Give it a try and we guarantee you will not be disappointed.  

What do you need to make this heavenly indulgance?

  • 250g dates pitted and chopped (medjool dates are best)

  • 100ml dairy free milk

  • 85g coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 3 large eggs or equivalent flax eggs

  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

How?

Pre-heat oven 180 or gas 4. Grease and line a square baking tin.

Soak dates in 190ml boiling water for 10 mins then blend dates (and water) with all other ingredients in a food processor and pour into prepared tin. Bake for 35 – 40 mins. 

Delicious served warm with vegan caramel sauce. 

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Our journey to the wild amphitheatre of the rocky Corrie Fee - with Kilted Yogi

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Our journey to the wild amphitheatre of the rocky Corrie Fee - with Kilted Yogi

This was my second visit this year to this wild amphitheatre of rocky landscape! It was amazing to see the changes a few months can do and I am hoping to show you both the winter wonderland and spring awakening. 

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This whole area was sculpted thousands of years ago by the power of ice and water which left behind corries, cliffs, moraines and a mesmerising river. Today, this beautiful area is a true haven for plants, birds and animals. Sadly, it is also an example of Britain’s lost wilderness areas as it was untouched by humans for centuries up until about 200 years ago.When sheep farming was introduced this area started attracting more deer which meant that trees and sensitive plants didn't stand the chance. The woodland virtually disappeared and grassland expanded. Deer population now needs to be controlled, wolfs are gone, and sheep roam the world. This makes me so incredibly sad as I really wish human hands were less invasive. 

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We decided on Corrie Fee as the weather was shaping beautifully but we had very little time. First stop was the Ranger’s Office. Did you know you can check in before you embark on your walk and check out afterwards for added safety? This way if you won't come back they will know by sundown and send a rescue party. 

Once you start walking the route crosses White Water and follows the bewitching Fee Burn into the nature reserve. It's a stunning site with the magnificent bowl shaped valley backed by a impressive waterfall. We came here when the waterfall wasn’t too dry just yet so the pictures are exceptional. As we started so early, the whole way up we were alone and this quiet, remote landscape was literally filled with roaring, tumbling noise of only water and sounds of the nature – here you can really understand why corrie in Gaelic also means ‘cauldron’.

Look at the difference between March and May…stunning !

Finlay managed to climb all the way to the top of the waterfall which you can watch on our video below. I stayed with the kids (aka pups)  keeping them safe and calm (and saving my fear of heights for another adventure)

One of my favourite drinks to take for a sweaty, exhausting hike is my chai latte (aka. toxic coloured broth), filled with nutritious fats and energy…if you eat to learn how I make it then jus follow this link. 

Now, the big thing about this trip is that we finally got back to our aero sessions! Finlay and I used to do it literally every day, creating those wee videos from the gym, parks, studios. Two years ago when my husband and I decided to open a wellbeing studio in Broughty Ferry our whole energy was literally poured into creating this space and we both got a little bit lost in the amount of work and challenges a new business brings. As I was entering into 2018 I made a pledge to myself to come back to all those things that used to fill up my heart and let go of those draining me. Acro was one of them. 

When was the last time when you had to trust the person that is literally holding and balancing you over the edge of a cliff! ⠀

Strength and independence have been the backbone to my identity since the first day I walked into nursery and was confused by all the tears of other kids pleading their mums not to leave them for just a few hours. The same thing happened at 18 when I became a fully independent young adult living alone. Yep - strong and independent - but I really had to be! How else would I conquer the world and make any sense of my life?! ⠀

And then the AcroYoga happened. In Acro the roles are reversed, the submissive role (flyer) can’t just go and exert the dominance. I’m literally folded in half and perched upon my partner’s feet. And need to listen really carefully! I’m a meter or more off the ground (on this video a hell a lot of more!) and I can easily imagine how much it would hurt to smack my face on the ground. 

It really did make me think why have I always felt like I need to be the strong and independent and why it’s sooo hard for me to just let go and trust. I have neglected AcroYoga for a few years and just recently begun peeling back my negative connotations from dependance and weakness. It takes time but it feel really liberating to just trust somebody else and let them hold you. 

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Subscribe to Finlay's You Tube channel for more videos to come!

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'It was a start of a journey for me...' - interview with Hannah

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'It was a start of a journey for me...' - interview with Hannah

On a snowy, stormy and extremely cold Friday afternoon we all arrived to Elie to discover that the house suffered a heating problem. Which meant NO HEATING on the coldest, most windy and awful day in Scottish history! We are talking horizontal rain with snow and all. We had a choice: stay and make the most of it or go. After a few organisational changes, purchasing an extensive amount of portable heathers (thank you B&Q Leven), Phil bringing more heaters from the studio and a delicious dinner at Ship Inn in Elie, we settled in for the night. 

Five incredible women remained with us through that experience and we have had one of the most transformative and exceptional retreats. The heating was restored the next day, but not until Debbie made soup from scratch in the oven (another blog just on that coming soon).

Today we cough up with Hannah who came to the retreat and this is what she thought of it.

What was your favourite thing about the retreat and why? 

I don’t know if could choose my favourite part as each and every minute was my favourite part for different reasons. Probably cosying up by the fire and doing the relaxing yoga before bed and having the best nights sleep I’d had in months. I also loved how amazing everyone was. We were all very different but all got on so well. We all felt so looked after and nurtured by both Daria and Debbie.

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What did you think about the accommodation?

The accommodation was gorgeous. Homely and cosy but modern and luxurious. It was the most lovely place to relax and I was surprised at how at home we all felt. The beds were so comfy too and it was so nice to have a relaxing bath.

Was yoga THIS scary?

None of it was scary. There were parts which were out of my comfort zone but in a positive way. I felt I was able to be encouraged in a positive way which made me feel I had achieved. It was so satisfying and empowering!

How did you feel?

I’ve never felt so relaxed. It brought lots of emotions to the surface and made me realise the issues within my life and what I wanted to change. It gave me a positive outlook and a way to make positive changes. I felt connected with everybody there and it didn’t matter about age, lifestyle or our individual reasons for going on the retreat in the first place.

What did you think of the food? How yummy was it?

The food was AMAZING! There was plenty of it and each dish was so tasty and filling. It was so nice to have such fresh, nourishing but yummy food which catered to everyone’s needs.

What did you learn? Was it an inspirational experience ?

I learnt a lot about myself, about my life, my job, my friendships, my family, my exercise routine, my eating and what I wanted to change as well as small changes to make to achieve this. It was VERY inspirational and the start of a journey for me. My friends, family and colleagues all noticed the difference in me after the retreat. This also made me LOVE yoga even though I was a beginner and didn’t think I had time for it before.

Retreats are not just holidays... they transform lives.

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Scotland... 'It's like the whole country is built just to fall in love with.'

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Scotland... 'It's like the whole country is built just to fall in love with.'

Today I have a wee treat for you guys, an interview with my pal Danielle who I used to work with and literally run the Fulbright Summer Institute back in the days. She is a Californian chick with a pen and a brilliant mind. Read her bio on the bottom of this page and follow her writings. 

Tell us a little bit about your stay in Scotland: why did you come here?

I came to Scotland to attend the University of Dundee in 2011, I lived in Dundee, Scotland until I graduated from uni in 2014. I've been back once since I graduated to visit the old stomping grounds. I was initially drawn to the culture and magicalness of the country, and now hold Scotland very near and dear to my heart. 

What was most striking thing you discovered when you moved here from California?

Trying to understand the thick accents when I first moved to Scotland was so difficult, I remember sitting in an english lecture and not being able to understand a word of what the professor was saying. I went and transferred out of the class right afterwards;-). After the initial shock, I quickly learned what "taking the piss" and "taking the mick" meant, and when I would visit California on break I would always get asked where I was from. 

Another pivotal moment was when my British friends taught me to make a perfect cup of tea. They used to recoil when I first made them tea, incredibly uneducated I would leave the tea bag in for way too long, drown it in milk and use completely the wrong spoon! The horrors;-)  

What made your heart melt? 

Scotland is a gorgeous country. The green hills and fields, crisp mornings, cold rough oceans and rugged landscapes. And that's not even mentioning the ancient castles scattered about the place. It's like the whole country is built just to fall in love with. 

What part of Scotland do you love the most and why?

I loved the people the most, but that's the next question. So I guess the next best thing would be the pub culture, how anytime is time for a pint. But more than the pint, it's just about connecting. After lectures, Friday nights, Sunday mornings, a sunny afternoon—there's always a reason to sit down with good company and enjoy a drink and a laugh. I loved slowing down and taking time to shoot the breeze. 

What did you think about the people? 

The Scottish people are so quick to crack a joke—at their own expense or someone else's—and to throw back a pint. It feels like the entire culture is built around sharing a pint. They are so friendly and welcoming and take SO much pride in their country, whilst simultaneously taking the absolute piss out of it (cue Trainspotting).

Your favourite whisky? :)

I might get in trouble for saying this, but I was really drawn to the Scottish gins over the whiskeys. While visiting different distilleries—especially Oban—was such a fun experience, I feel like the Scottish gins are really on the up and up. Especially the yummy gins from St. Andrews' Eden Mill. 

Are you coming back? 

While I don't have any definite plans at the moment for moving back to Scotland, I wouldn't say it's out of the picture. Scotland will always be a very special place and a second home to me. 


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Danielle Ames is a freelance writer who loves happy hour, getting sweaty, and a good sentence. 

A California native, she’s lived in Scotland, Italy, Thailand, and England, and wishes that list was much longer (and included Genovia).

Her accomplishments abroad include a string of bar jobs, and playing a key role in intoxicating the underaged over(fake)tanned Scottish population. 

She writes the blog Not Enough Middle Fingers

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Coconut, almond and lime energy balls

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Coconut, almond and lime energy balls

Those are an amazing energy boost, easy to make (you don’t need a fancy food processor) and yummy.

All you need is:

  • 120g desiccated coconut plus just a wee bit more for coating
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2 table spoons of melted coconut oil
  • 3 table spoons of agave syrup (or any other syrup you like)
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tea spoon of matcha powder
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Preparation is even easier. Put all ingredients into one big bowl and use your palms to mix it all together. You can add more oil or almonds depending if the mixture is too dry or wet. Trust the process and spend some time mixing it together and maybe even forming a test ball before you start adding oil. A lot of our clients thinks that it’s too dry to stick but you just need to squeeze it a little bit and wait for the juices to release.

After everything is mixed together, start forming little or larger balls. Once they are ready, coat them in spare coconut flakes.

Refrigerate for 30mins

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy and use when you are on the go.

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Notes from the wonderland: Ben Vrackie adventures with the Kilted Yogi

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Notes from the wonderland: Ben Vrackie adventures with the Kilted Yogi

This week’s adventure was a fine walk up my favourite Ben Vrackie, the ‘speckled mountain`. The translation comes from a time when white quartz rocks were scattered across its slopes, which isn’t the case anymore but still reminds one of the most badass views I have ever seen.

It probably is one of the well known and much loved hills, not too high, not to tough and forms a scenic addition to the vibrant resort town of Pitlochry in Scottish Highlands.

It’s a Corbett as it’s just over 2,500ft high and measures 2,760ft. We literally had all four season in a space of 5-10minutes and at some point were almost swept off by wind, horizontal snow, rain and hailstorm. However, as you know in Scotland you just need to wait 5min and the weather changes! Waiting was worth it as when the sky cleared we could see all the way up Beinn a Ghlo range to the north and the sweep of Strathtay and Strathtummel to the west, including my other favourite Schiehallion. Below we could see the elegant Pitlochry with its stunning Atholl Palace Hotel, and further Glen Tilt and Blair Atholl.

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We started from a small car park at Moulin, close to the path taking us up. It can get quickly full at weekends and busy times of the year so be sure to arrive early. The whole walk takes normally between 3-4h but obviously we were longer as we were recording our vlog, and chasing Cooper who stole my bra! 

The path is very well maintained by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust. I always like to check who maintains the paths and what group of rangers is assigned to the area we are in. I think their work is often unnoticed and unappreciated. So, next time when you decide to leave your trash behind, just stop for a deep breath and think about all those people carrying about our beautiful landscapes! Also, as a side note - do you know how long it takes a banana skin to decompose? Google it! While you are waiting for those bananas to break down, you would have enough time to apply and receive a passport! Impressive, right? The skin can be potentially toxic to some animals that aren’t accustomed to those tropical fruits so take it back with you.

Back to hillwalking tho, once you start your hike up, just trust the path! It’s very well-constructed and offers a delightful walk across the heather moorland. If you are early enough you may spot red deer as well as shy mountain hare and lots of wild mice (Cooper’s favourite to chase!). 

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If you are going up, make sure your are dressed for the weather! ( note that kilt is optional lol) Scottish hills may be tiny in comparison to the Alpes but should never be underestimated, people die here every year (a bit of light and positive comment always helps, eh?). You can see from the video how quickly the weather changed from a really sunny and warm day to storm and vice versa. On your way to Pitlochry you will pass Perth and a splendid and well equipped outdoor adventure store - Tiso. This is definitely a good stop if you haven’t got everything you need.

You always need a map, compass and it’s really good to take with you a copy of the iternary from Walk Highland’s webpage, it’s very informative and gives you all the info you need.

In the video I mention simple energy balls that Debbie and I make at our wellbeing retreats. I will post the recipe shortly. 

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Finally, I have been thinking about doing those super liberating, shameless taps aff pictures forever now. I will explain you my reason in another blog. HOVEWER, the little I knew that it’s never going to be so easy with a sighthound present on the scene! Just watch it yourself !

make sure you subscribe to Finlay’s channel as this is where all the future blogs are going to be and you don’t want to miss more opportunities to laugh. 

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YOU MATTER

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YOU MATTER

Here’s the thing NON-yogis 🔻You don’t need a yoga body to do a yoga retreat. If you have a body (and I hope you do) and you come to a yoga class -then you already have a yoga body. 🔻you don’t need most bum firming, expensive and fashionable pants. But something that is stretchy and doesn’t have a hole in your crotch and you are set 🔻you don’t need a buddy to go with you, you will be fine! Seriously, none needs to hold your hand, we will do it and it will be the most caring hug you have ever had. Alone you will have the freedom to air your mind and connect with people - and guess what - like-minded folk normally attract one another and chances are, you will be lying in savasana next to someone who has gone or is going thru the same thing.

Stop overthinking something that is so simple - YOU MATTER!

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I am sorry ... but tell me why do we feel the need to apologize so much?

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I am sorry ... but tell me why do we feel the need to apologize so much?

How often do you say ‘I’m sorry’? 

It is probably the most over-used word in the United Kingdom: whether you are sorry about the weather or sorry because someone else has bumped into you. 

Notice how often do you say ‘sorry’ and why? Saying sorry too much can trivialise the act of apology, making the important ones carry less weight. Why not save it for when you really need it, and mean it. 

There is a lot of expert advice around the ‘sorry syndrome’. It stems from a sense of insecurity, and it is also said that women, more than men, will often apologise for things they do not need to or start a question with 'sorry' so they do not seem too demanding. In a lot of cases low self-esteem can be a big reason that people say 'sorry' so much. Think about it, how often when you say 'sorry' in unnecessary situations are you in fact avoiding eye contact and just trying to get out of a situation where you have made it awkward or someone else has. 

Start now by using different words to get the submissive, powerless behavior out of our system. Instead of saying, “sorry for talking too much” you can say, “thank you for listening.” Instead of saying “sorry” when you move past someone on the street, you can say “thank you for making room.” At the studio or retreats we ask students to say ‘sexy’ instead of ‘sorry’ as it’s so much better and worthwhile to be sexy rather than constantly sorry for not other reason than devaluing your own worth. 

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Banana Coconut Flapjack Heaven

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Banana Coconut Flapjack Heaven

One beautiful day Debbie though she will clear her seed cupboard....as a result we got most delicious flapjacks ever!

ingredients you will need:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 4 tablespoons honey/agave syrup (ideally syrup - leave bees be)
  • 4 tablespoons nut butter of your choice
  • 200g oats
  • 100g raisins or dried cranberries
  • 75g shredded coconut
  • handful sunflower seeds
  • handful pumpkin seeds
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted
  • toasted coconut flakes


Pre-heat the oven 200c (fan oven 180c)

First peel the bananas and mash them in a large mixing bowl. Add the honey and nut butter or your choice and mix well. Now add all the dry ingredients and lastly the coconut oil. Mix well and spread in a greased and lined 20cm square brownie tin. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into 16 squares.

Tell us how did you like yours? info@wandertreat.com 

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Roasted beetroot hummus

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Roasted beetroot hummus

Beetroot not only tastes amazing, but also has amazing health benefits. It’s high in vitamin C, is fibre rich and contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium.

The wonderful bright pink colour makes it look so appealing on your plate - colourful foods look so much more appetising!

If you have a hand blender or food processor you’ll be able to make this hummus easily and very quickly. You can still make it without a blender, but it will take a little longer to mash and it will have a thicker consistency.

What you will need:

  • 1 medium roasted beetroot peeled
  • Can chickpeas drained
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend mixture until smooth.

Delicious on toasted rye or sourdough, also yummy served with a salad of your choice. I love to top with chopped walnuts!

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Incredible yoga retreat in Poland - interview with Ashley

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Incredible yoga retreat in Poland - interview with Ashley

What was most memorable?

I’m not sure I could pick just one memorable moment, the whole retreat was fantastic, from moment of arrival to departure, everything was perfect. If I had to pick some highlights, then it would probably be the food and being away with some amazing people! 

How did you like the idea of an active holiday?

Using yoga as a way to energise and prepare you for the day and restorative yoga to wind down and relax.

The yoga was amazing, but it always is when Daria is teaching! Starting your day with yoga is fantastic, I always feel so much more energised and ready to take on the day. The afternoon yoga was fun and always a bit of a challenge and ending your day with restorative yoga was just bliss! 

What did you think of the food? Did you inspire you to try new yummy recipes? Did you learn something new about Polish cuisine? 

The food was probably the highlight of the whole trip, delicious 3 course meals, 3 times a day. I even ate mushrooms, which I usually hate but I couldn’t not try them when they were so fresh and beautifully presented!

We also had our own barista to make us coffee, absolute heaven! 

How did you like Kwaśne Jabłko?

The accommodation was wonderful, definitely a 10/10 from me. From the kitchen/dining area to the beautiful bedrooms, everything was just perfect! 

What did you think about the area?

Kwaśne Jabłko is very remote and is surrounded by beautiful Polish countryside. Didn’t see too much of the surrounding area but we went on a few walks which were lovely. You get a true sense of being secluded from the rest of humanity in a perfect little bubble of relaxed bliss, honestly the ideal retreat if you want to just get away to re-energise recharge. 

What was the weather like? 

The weather was fantastic, the sun shone from sunrise to sunset. Suncream was definitely needed! 

If you were to describe the retreat with one word, what would it be? 

Incredible

Want to join us in ur next summer adventure in Poland? we are there again in May 2019. Just click here to learn more. 

 

 

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craving something sweet? Quick hazelnut cacao butter

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craving something sweet? Quick hazelnut cacao butter

Your own butter as a response to a very strong urge for something sweet? nothing easier...

you just need to...

  • 300g hazelnuts roast for 19 mins at 180 degrees C
  • Allow to cool in tin
  • Blend to a butter in a powerful food processor for 10 mins
  • Transfer to a clean bowl with 3teaspoons raw cacao, pinch salt, splash of maple syrup (about 2 teaspoons and a teaspoon of vanilla essence 
  • Transfer to sterilised jars

It's THIS easy!

Just put it on a slice of bread, pancake and leak it straight of the spoon...crazy...isn't it?

You can eat clean and healthy every day and it takes less time than going to shops. 

 

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More wilds of Glen Tilt

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More wilds of Glen Tilt

This was our little Easter Weekend treat - a whole weekend in Blair Atholl and more Glen Tilt. What a stunning area - I may seriously be in love by now. 

Queen Victoria called Glen Tilt 'the prettiest view she's ever seen' - and that says something, doesn't it?

The weather was gorgeous (despite really cold, wintery forecast) and the views over the Beinn Mheadhonach and later on over Carn a'Chlamain were breathtaking.

I was glad though we were safely nested in the Glen rather than climbing any of those big boys as it looked really icy up there. 

If you are interested in visiting the glen, look at WalkHighlands website. if you prefer a shorter walk, just as ours then just start at the Blair Castle, walk up to the Shooting Range and through it, and just follow the river. Walk as far as your legs allow you, preserve your strength for the journey back the same way though. Marble Lodge is around 5miles away from the castle and should take you around 3h to walk. 

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Vegan chocolate berry muffins - yummy HEAVEN

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Vegan chocolate berry muffins - yummy HEAVEN

Who doesn't love muffins? What makes them so amazing and yummy?Even the name 'muffin' is amazing in makes you crave one right when you hear it.

Are you already thinking about a muffin?

Or maybe it's their unique shape. I reckon a muffin without its distinctive dome wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable. Just like a bagel without that circular shape and the hole in the middle. 

Mmmmm.... muffins....

Those muffins will revolutionise your world. 

What do you need?

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  • 1.5 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 60g raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 20g arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 170ml maple syrup
  • 120ml coconut oil
  • 170ml coconut cream
  • 1 smalll sweet potato - peeled cooked and mashed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 100g raspberries

Instructions

Pre-heat oven 180 degrees C. This will allow you to make 8 muffins

Combine the flax seed with 90 ml water and let it stand for a few mins. Add raw cacao, bicarbonate of soda, buckwheat flour, ground almonds, arrowroot and coconut sugar stir until well combined.

Stir in the coconut oil, coconut cream, mashed sweet potato and salt and combine together before gently folding in raspberries last.

Line a muffin tin with paper cases and divide mixture between the paper cases. I like to add more sea salt on top before cooking.

Cook for around 25 minutes in the centre of the oven. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.
As there are no refined sugars and due to the fresh berries and sweet potato content the muffins will only stay fresh for a few days in an airtight container.

NOTE: If you don’t have arrowroot or tapioca just add 20g extra buckwheat or ground almonds.

 

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Wilds of Glen Tilt

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Wilds of Glen Tilt

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Glen Tilt is a little gem. Nested next to the stunning Blair Castle, offer you an idyllic woods, clear wild water and lofty peaks. 

This route is just a wee walk but absolutely stunning and worth the journey. The easiest way is to start from the car park just beyond the Old Bridge of Tilt (or just walk from the castle). Walking up the hill you see on the pictures with Cooper looking down can make you feel a little bit like Sisyphus rolling his immense boulder up the hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top. But luckily, once you are at the top, struggle is over and the rest of the journey is down hill.

You will be passing river Tilt as well as many little waterfalls which are just stunning. Be careful in spring as sheep are everywhere and you MUST keep your dogs on the lead. 

The whole route shouldn't take you more than 2hours 30 minutes. The tracks are good with paths. It's about 6km.  

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Ben Cleuch - pretty damn good idea for a adventurous hike.

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Ben Cleuch - pretty damn good idea for a adventurous hike.

Not a Munro, not even a Corbett but pretty damn good hill to walk. Ben Cleuch may not appeal to many as it's not on the 'list' of fancy pants mountains to climb but to me it was one of the most satisfactory hikes I have done for a while (I'm even eating my celebratory dark chocolate as I type this).

It is the highest point in the Ochil Hills - 721 metres (2,365 ft) high and can be approached from many directions. Today was such a wonderfully clear day, the views were excellent! Particularly those to the north looking towards the Southern Highlands. Ben Lomond and my second favourite - Ben Vorlich were especially prominent. Looking to the south gave excellent views over the Forth Valley region, the Forth bridges (the new Ferry Crossing!) and Edinburgh to the east, Glasgow to the west: almost a coast to coast view but not quite. I swear I could see Dundee at some point. 

I have used WalkHighlands for inspiration - if you want to follow my route just click here. They describe it really well, much better than if I attempted to write all of this down. 

Just be warmed - when they say 'steep' they really do mean freakishly STEEP! I was lucky Cooper the whippet was wearing his new Ruffwear harness as otherwise he would break his back. With the harness I was able to lift him and help him on some of the steeper parts. Otherwise he is a born mountain junkie and did very well for a wee whippet. 

 

 

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Cashew butter turmeric chai yumminess

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Cashew butter turmeric chai yumminess

We all have our go-to-remedies and one of my favourites is turmeric! This immune-boosting remedy is one of the world’s most powerful natural healers. Its active ingredient - curcumin, has been known for centuries to have extremely potent medicinal properties.

This Turmeric Chai Tea is an easy and nourishing morning beverage. The tea gently wakes you up, turmeric coats your body in protective cloak and the ritual of drinking a slowly and purposefully made drink is a perfect morning elixir bringing mindfulness to the day.

Allowing yourself to slowly drink the tea while setting your intent for the day feels amazing. Maybe you can even squeez in a little bit of yoga? 

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Cashew Butter Turmeric Chai

  • 1 cup of hot water (let it cool a little bit before you put it into your nutribullet) 
  • 1 tea bag of your favourite chai tea
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Sometimes I add a couple of black peppercorns but not always
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • I don’t like it sweet but if you find it too blunt then I suggest 1/2 tsp of agave syrup or a banana

Place your chai tea in a mug with hot water and let it brew for 3-5 minutes. Add all ingredients to nutribullet and blend max 2 minutes. It will quickly turn smooth and frothy.

Enjoy with a smile. 

**Version with non-dairy milk

Heat your favourite non-dairy milk (mine is almond) in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Remove from the heat, add in the teabags and cover with a lid. Let steep for 5 minutes.

Remove the tea bags and place the milk into your nutribullet with the other ingredients. Mix for 1min and voila!

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Your habits aren't your destiny

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Your habits aren't your destiny

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
— Albert Einstein

Most of us will admit to having a habit or two. You may even admit to having more than that. How often have you heard someone referring to you as a 'creature of habit'? Like it or not, as humans we ARE ALL creatures of habit. However, whether those habits are good or bad for us—and whether those habits are completely unconscious or purposely planned is largely within our control. Learning what habits are and how they are created is an important step in creating a happy and meaningful life. ⠀

According to a Charles Duhigg - 'habits aren't destiny, even once they are rooted in our minds. We can choose our habits, once we know how'. 

All habits can be ignored, changed or replaced. But the only way to do it is to really understand the habit loop. Duhigg talks about three-step loop:

  1. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use.
  2. Then there is the routine, which can be physical, mental or emotional.
  3. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.

Over time, this loop: cue, routine, reward, cue, routine, reward... - becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. Therefore, unless you find new routines — the pattern will unfold automatically.

Habits are not the bad guy!! We think they are, but a good, nurturing and loving habit can be extremely beneficial. They fulfil a very important role in our lives. However, if follow the usual automatic processes of our lives without taking the time and energy to analyze between those that serve us, and those that work against us—we are slaves to our habits. ⠀

So set new habitual routines that help us to create the kind of life we say we want to live. Habits then, become our friend and lead to living happier and more meaningful life.

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Handstand pictures by Siobhan Diamond Photography

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