All posts by Natalie

Pearl Grace Life, check out blog

Check out

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Is it time to check out of life’s inessentials?

Pearl Grace Life, check outOK, I’ve got a question for you guys…

Is it time to check out of life’s inessentials?

Over the past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time unsubscribing from email newsletters, turning off my notifications and opting out of group chats.

Basically anything that I felt was no longer serving me or that I felt I wasn’t learning or growing from, I decided to call departure time on. I checked out.

Why?

Well, because when you choose to check out of the things that are no longer benefiting you in a productive way you free yourself up to focus on more exciting and enriching things.

Obviously, you still have the same 24-hours in the day but you can now use these precious moments more wisely doing the things that increase happiness and improve the quality of your life.

When we choose to check out of the inessential things that often clutter up our lives we can check-in with your friends and family on a deeper level.

We can also use our time to check-in with ourselves and on our own life’s purpose; what drives us, turns us on, motivates and supports the acquisition of our dreams.

I found the process of checking out of a few group chats the other day very liberating.

I know I sound a little dramatic but here’s what happened.

After I checked out, I realised that I had no reason to check the WhatsApp group to see if anyone had posted anything.

I had fewer reasons to carry my phone in the back pocket of my jeans while I hoovered the house.

There was no need to take my phone with me when we went out for a Sunday family walk or heaven forbid take it with me to the little girls room. (I mean, what on earth is so important that you need to read your phone whilst sitting on the bog!)

Here’s the thing, before I decided to leave these social groups, I thought about how much Ipearl grace life check out was contributing to them and how much I was getting out of them. I suggest you carry out a mini survey of your own.

If after closer evaluation you realise, like me, that you are no longer giving or getting as much as you once did then the decision is made.

Now, I hasten to add that my love for the peeps in the group chats remained unchanged but my need to be part of the online group was no longer a necessity in my life – at least not right now.

So, you might be curious about what I decided to check out from…

  • emails from people/companies that I never read
  • newsletters that I subscribed to but no longer have an interest in
  • Facebook, twitter, pinterest and other social media news and updates that I don’t need to know about
  • text messaging and email notifications that distract me from what I’m doing at the time. I switched them all off.
  • Flashes, vibrations, beeps, dings and all other noises that my phone can make that interrupt me throughout the day. I turned them all off.

I know they seem like obvious things but it will amaze you to see how much energy – mental, emotional and psychical – you use up in reacting, responding or replying to all the inessential things that show up throughout your day.

So, here’s what I decided to do. I decided to trade texting for talking.

I opted to make a conscious effort to phone my friends more and have a good old fashioned chat.

Do remember the good ol’ days when we used to call each other and hear the other person’s voice?! 

pearl grace life check outIf they’re overseas friends then I’ll FaceTime them.

I’ll spend quality time checking-in on that relationship and make my friend a priority, because they are.

It’s worth stating that this check out process has been very cleansing.

I realised that some of my friendships are really important to me and those are the ones that I am passionate about and committed to honouring and investing in.

But here’s the kicker, I realised that some friendships are not. That might sound a little harsh but it’s true.

There might be relationships in your life that you need to break away from.

Perhaps it’s time to check out of it so you can experience something or someone new.

Since starting my check out program I have seen a massive shift to the positive with respect to both my work flow and productivity as well as the quality of social time I’m spending with friends and family.

So, here’s what you can look forward to after you check out…

  • You’ll get more done. You’ll be more productive and focused.
  • You’ll engage more with the people around you.
  • You’ll begin to appreciate the gift of living in the present a lot more.
  • You’ll have more time to internalise your own thoughts and emotions and think about YOU; what you’re doing or plan to do.
  • You will ultimately free yourself up to enjoy the real joys of life. And appreciate the richness of your life.

And that’s what I want for you – A life of true abundance; more love, more joy and a true sense of meaning and purpose.

After all isn’t that what life is all about ? – the real connections we create throughout our lives.

Now before I go, I’ve got a treat for you.

To say THANK YOU for subscribing, supporting this blog and for being part of this amazing online family, I want to give you my FREE 5-Step Guide to ‘checking out’ with ease.

You will discover easy-to-apply habits that make checking out a breeze. It will arrive in your Inbox in the next couple of days so keep your eyes peeled for that.

If you’re not subscribed to our mailing list, then what have you got to lose!? Subscribe Today – its FREE but the tips are PRICELESS.

‘Til next time folks,

All my love,
Nat x

 

Title image courtesy of islamzpeace.wordpress.com and content images courtesy of www.picturequotes.comwww.thediydaily.com and homeandfarmsense.com who own the copyrights respectfully.

pearl grace life tomato and goats cheese tart

Tomato and Goats Cheese Tart

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Tomato and Goats Cheese Tart

pearl grace life tomato and goats cheese tart

If you’re looking for a dish to impress but actually is super easy to prepare then my tomato and goats cheese tart will be right up your street.

I always make sure I have a roll of puff pastry in the deep freeze that I can pull out the night before and all the other ingredients are easy to grab from your local supermarket or green grocers.

Ingredients:

320g Puff pastry sheet (this is the one I use)
125g Spreadable goats cheese
425g Ripe vine tomatoes
1 tsp Dried mixed herbs
Crush of salt and black pepper (if desired)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
A drizzle of olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven 180 degrees.
  2. Thinly slice the tomatoes and leave to one side.
  3. Pour the goats cheese into a bowl and stir to soften slightly. Add the dried herbs and stir some more.
  4. Grab a flat baking tray and roll the pastry out onto the tray. Using a sharp knife lightly trace a 1cm width border around the edge of the pastry. (This will create a puffy edge after cooking)
  5. Pour the goats cheese onto the pastry and using the back of a spoon gently spread the cheese to the edge of the knifed border, creating a thin layer of cheese.
  6. Then assemble the slices of the tomatoes on top of the goats cheese. Add some salt and black pepper, fresh thyme and a drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Pop in the oven for 40-45 mins.
  8. Enjoy either hot or cold with a side salad and some new potatoes – dee-lish

pearl grace life tomato and goats cheese tartSwitch it up!

You could modify the toppings to include a variety of roasted vegetables like courgettes and sweet peppers.

A while ago I made it with some thin slices of peppered salami nestled between the tomatoes, and it was delicious. The edges of the meat got ever-so-slightly charred and crispy, which was very nice.

If goats cheese ain’t your thing then you could always use Philadelphia spread instead and achieve equally tasty results.

I hope you like it.

Lov Nat x

Choose to use organic and local produce when possible :)

Pearl Grace Life: Give what you want

Give what you want

Give what you want

Pearl Grace Life: Give what you wantI’ve got a question for you.

What’s the one thing you want most? And no, I’m talking about the latest Ferrari or pair of Louboutin heels.

As nice as they both sound, gifts of the material variety are not what I’m talking about today.

I’m asking you to consider what one thing you crave the most in your life right now.

Do you want more confidence? More courage? More love? More companionship? 

Do you desire more success? More meaning? More peace? More passion?

Go on, dig deep and ask yourself what you really want right now?

At the time of writing this post, I want more patience.

It feels as though my little boy has hit the quote-unquote “terrible-twos” a year and half late.

He is driving us absolutely crazy and right now what I want, and desperately need for my own sanity, is more patience.

Now, all my habitual yoga and meditative practices seem fine when I’m lying on my mat in the calm and peaceful dawn of twilight while the rest of the house is asleep.

But when the creek of Ealy’s bedroom door breaks the silence of my meditative state I know that soon enough all hell will break lose for then next 12 hours.

So, I’ve been thinking, how can I get better at dealing with my ‘incredibly-adorable-but-makes-me-want-to-pull-my-hair-out’ son?

And then I remembered something that I heard a couple of years ago from author and personal development, Darren Hardy, in his book The Compound Effect.

He said, “Whatever I want more of in life, I’ve found the best way to get it is to focus on giving it to others… The ripple effect of helping others and giving generously of your time and energy is that you become the biggest beneficiary of your personal philanthropy”. 

And all of a sudden, right then and there, I decided a shift in my behaviour was necessary.

If I wanted to have more patience throughout the day then I needed to focus my attention and energy on demonstrating it to others.

That meant, not getting in a strop at the Post Office because the clerk was taking longer than I would’ve liked with another customer.

That meant not looking at my watch when Drew started to tell me about his day.

That meant not yelling at Riley for stopping “too much” to smell the grass and play with other dogs while on the morning walk.

Pearl Grace Life: Give what you wantNo. Right then and there, I decided that in order for me to invite patience in to my life I had to demonstrate a patient attitude to everyone with whom I came into contact with.

By doing this, I found that it naturally filtered through into my interactions with the Little Master of the house.

Now, I’m not saying that it works every time – heck, I’m still dealing with an unpredictable 3-year old – but for the most part it really helps.

As we embark on the start of a new week and as we approach Valentine’s Day, I want to pass this philosophy over to you.

Ask yourself, what do I want more of? And then ask yourself, who can I give more of that same thing to?

If you lack confidence, think about who you can give more confidence to. If you want more success in your life, think of the people you can inspire and help to attain success in their own lives.

And yes, as Valentine’s Day creeps closer and closer, this question is very befitting; If you want more love, who can you give more love to?

And I’m talking about all forms of love; from intimate love to platonic love, from the love you show to your children to the love you show to a stranger.

I believe that when you give more love you open yourself up to receiving more of the same. And that same rule applies to everything else that you choose to share/give to others.

Now, before I go, I want to leave you with this final thought. Don’t forget to include yourself in the list of worthy recipients.

Show more love to yourself this week. Show yourself more kindness, more tenderness, more patience and more respect.

When you screw up – as we all do from time to time – say nice things to yourself, don’t beat yourself up. Tell yourself, you live to fight another day and will do better next time.

So, my darlings, go now, and give it a try. Then come back and tell me how it impacted your life.

Go give what you want.

Love Nat x

Discover more about Darren Hardy HERE.

Title image courtesy of www.breckcreate.org and content images from www.pinterest.com and quotesgram.com

Oh and in case you were wondering why I’ve chosen a Dirty Dancing pic for the title image. It’s because it’s full of many of the themes we’ve talked about here; love, courage, passion, self-esteem, bravery and the rest. Plus it’s hot ‘n’ steamy – ideal V-Day viewing x  

Pearl Grace Life

Decision Detox

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Do you need to go on a decision detox?

Pearl Grace LifeAlright guys, this week’s post is a juicy one so let’s jump right in.

Now, as you know I absolutely love finding out new things that get me totally fired up and last year I watched two documentaries that totally blew me away.

They were That Sugar Film (trailer below) and Fed Up.

Oh, and psst.. just a little warning. Before you hop on over to iTunes and hit download be sure to keep your lap and sofa free from the following: toffee syrup coated popcorn, cheesy pizzas and chocolate bars. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Pearl Grace Life Decision Detox
Click to view trailer

Well, after watching both films, Drew and I were buzzed about cutting out all kinds of foods from our diet.

Although both documentaries inspired us to eliminate processed foods and refined sugars as much as possible.

The truth was I was already on somewhat of a health kick as I had stopped eating meat, gluten and dairy earlier in the year for lent.

Now, fret not, I’m not about to harp on about the benefits of eating whole organic foods because you already know this and plus it’s not my style.

But truth be told, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having more energy, more patience, less brain fog and no bloating.

But that wasn’t all. I was mostly excited about how easier my day-to-day decisions regarding food had become.

Reducing what I put into my mouth simplified my choices. This made the decisions I was making around food less stressful and time-consuming.

Let me just jump off and share something that I learnt the other day.

Did you know that there’s such a thing as decision fatigue? Yup, that’s right.

According to some scientists we have only a finite amount of decision-making energy per day.

Think of it like a car engine. Every time you make a decision throughout the day, resist temptation and demonstrate discipline you are using up your decision-making gas.Pearl Grace Life Decision Detox

That’s why, by the end of the day – if you’re like me – you’re totally spent and can’t be arsed to make another fricking choice.

This is because you’ve been draining your tank throughout the day and by the evening you’re practically running-on empty.

This is also why we tend to make “less smart” decisions at the end of the day. You know the ones like, ordering take-away instead of cooking a meal, having a beer instead of making a juice, watching tv instead of exercising and I could go on and on.

So, in modifying my diet and stripping it back to mostly plant based foods, I began to experience physical and mental benefits.

I had far more mental energy because I had far less choices to make.

It sounds over the top to say this but it really did transform my life.

I think in our overly competitive, commercialist and consumer driven world we live in we are told that having more choice is a good thing and in some rare cases that might be true.

And for the most part I disagree. I stand by the old adage that less is more.

Pearl Grace Life Decision DetoxHere’s a great example to illustrate the point, have you ever opened your wardrobe, filled to the rafters with clothes, shoes and accessories and said, “I don’t have anything to wear”.

 Now, if you’re a Pearl Grace follower then you’ll know that I’m passionate about living as ethical a-life as I can.

That’s meant that over the past few years I’ve significantly reduced how much “stuff” I have and buy.

Only when something is falling part – quite literally – do I replace it. And even then, I spend a considerable amount of time deciding if I need a new one at all.

People say life is a game of chance but I think it’s a game of choice.

Our lives are the sum total of all the choices we make: Who we marry, where we live, what we eat, what we wear, what we say, what we read, what we listen to, the friendships we make, the people we admire, the values we live by, the person we choose to be, etc etc.

Our lives are the accumulation of all the choices/decisions we make.

So let us not be complacent about the seemingly small choices that we make because the truth is they are responsible for the big wins or losses we experience throughout our lives.

Even those little insignificant decisions like buying your coffee every morning instead of saving your pennies and making it at home might seem so irrelevant in the moment. But over the years that act alone could make all the difference between whether you can afford that dream house or not.

I know I sound a little dramatic but it’s true.

Choose wisely and you can experience some incredible things in your life. Choose poorly, and eh, well, maybe not so much.

So, here’s my challenge to you:

Where in your life can you limit your choices and make easier decisions?

It might be in the area of food, like me or it might me with your spending habits or with your exercise programme.

Whatever it is, pick an area and then I suggest you go on a 10-day decision-making detox. Go on give it a try. The outcome might surprise you and everyone else around you.

Now, I know some of you might be a little sceptical about this. Or perhaps you think that you’ve got a handle on your decision-making habits. So, here’s something for you guys. Treat it as a gentle reality check…

Here are the types of decision-making battles we face on a daily basis. Now, be sure to answer honestly….

  1. The alarm goes off… Do you wake up or hit snooze?
  2. In the morning…  Do you read, meditate, exercise, practice yoga or watch the news and read the paper?
  3. Before noon… Do you work on your writing and top priority or check your emails and hop on social media?
  4. And here’s the clincher if you do go on social media before you’ve even brushed your teeth (shame on you)… Then do you feel torn over whether you should go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest? (Now, that’s a real dilemma. Urgh.)

You see, the choices we feel we have to make can feel so important in the moment when in reality their not.

By limiting the choices you make today you will have limitless freedom in your future tomorrows. @PearlGraceLife Heck, I like that, let’s make that our tweetable!

Alright, guys and girls, it’s over to you.

What aspect of your life could benefit from a decision-making detox? Where could you limit your choice and attain more physical, mental, emotional and spiritual freedom?

Please share your thoughts and intentions in the comments below.

Thanks for your continued love and support,

Love Nat x

 

Title image courtesy of  and content images by www.jantoo.com and deadline.com

Pearl Grace Life, Salad

Zesty Salad

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Nat’s Zesty Salad

Pearl Grace Life, saladI know, it’s January and it’s cold outside and the last thing you probably fancy eating is a salad.

But January also provides us with a great opportunity to start the year off right in terms of leading a more healthy and balanced lifestyle.

When it comes to what I eat, I don’t really pay attention to what the weather is like. It could be chucking it down with rain and I’ll rustle up a salad or a bowl of summer berries or it could be hottest day in summer and I’ll choose to make a soup or a fish pie.

It doesn’t really matter in our house and although I try to eat consciously and choose ingredients that are local and as seasonal as much as possible, I often cook and eat dependant on how I feel and dependant on what my body needs most at that time.

Now after an over-indulgent holiday season I know that what my body needs right now are clean ingredients, lots of water and green juices to flush my system out and eliminate as  many toxins and nasty stuff as possible.

So, although a salad may not get you buzzing right now, believe me when I say, after you wolf down a bowl of this goodness your cells will be buzzing with glee and you’ll feel amazing.

If you’re like me and the mundane and repetitive task of washing and chopping veggies is relaxing and therapeutic then great.

However if setting aside 20 minutes to make this bad-boy-bowl-of-colours fills you with dread and a sense of boredom then whack on your favourite tunes and chop away to the music and the time will fly…

like this sweet little number:

Tweet it out peeps: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients” – Julia Child via @PearlGraceLife

And the great part of tucking into a cold salad is that all the ingredients by their very nature are raw, which is great for you and the planet.

Eating raw and fresh ingredients ensures that your body gets the optimum level of vitamins, minerals and nutrients so you can function to the max.

Now, guys, at the risk of stating the obvious, its a salad so you can jazz it up or tone it down with whatever ingredients you fancy. My zesty salad just gives you an idea of how creative you can be.

There’s just one little tip that I’d like to share when it comes to making a brilliant salad and that is to find a balance.

You’ll see from the list of ingredients that I love to partner up soft textures with a little bit of crunch, and some sweetness with a dash of sour and as many gorgeous colours that I can find in my fridge.

So, beautiful people, here it is: Nat’s zesty salad:

Pearl Grace Life, SaladIngredients and Method:

Grab a large bowl and begin:
2 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves (a selection of baby spinach, red lettuce and lambs lettuce is what I had in my fridge today) You could add some romaine lettuce as well for extra crunch.
1 small handful of chopped parsley
1 small handful of chopped mint
1/2 a cucumber
8 cherry tomatoes
8 radishes
1 yellow pepper
1 avocado
1 red chilli (optional and deseed if desired)
Seeds of 1 small pomegranate
2 kiwis
A handful of dried cranberries
Sprinkle of mixed seeds
Juice of half a lime
A drizzle of oil (extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil are two my favourites on salads)

Grab yourself a large fork and tuck in or if you’re feeling generous, share with friends or family and enjoy as a side dish.

Switch it up!

You could add as many ingredients as you like. Olives, peppery rocket leaves and some salad cress work nicely.

For additional healthy fats scatter over some walnuts and crushed pistachios.

I like to keep my salads as “free from________(fill in the blank)” as much as possible.

But you could up the ante and make this less vegan and more vegetarian by adding a boiled egg or crumbles of feta cheese or stilton for additional natural saltiness.

And for the carnivores out there, cooked prawns, sliced chicken or turkey could work too. In fact this salad could go with just about anything, that’s why it’s so awesome.

You could use it as a filling in a wrap or as part of a quesadilla. I sometimes pour spoonfuls of it on top of slices of crusty bread like a soda crumb, spelt or rye variety. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top of each little portion to enhance the flavours even more.

I hope Nat’s zesty salad hits all the right notes for you.

To good health,

Nat x

Try Nat’s zesty salad with my baked mushrooms with cumin and paprika

Images courtesy of NatMillie

Pearl grace life blog creativity post

Japan, Poison Ivy and Creativity

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Japan, Poison Ivy and Creativity

Pearl Grace Life Create yourselfSo beautiful people, how psyched are you feeling about 2016?

Ready to get creative and set new challenges,  soar to new heights, achieve those big tantalising dreams, meet the love of your life?? All the above? 

Heck, why not?! Anything is possible, right? And you’re the only one who can make those dreams come true.

But the truth is nothing will change if you don’t change. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true.

If you want things to be different this year then you have to do things differently. In layman’s terms you have to change.

To think otherwise is a sign of insanity, you know, doing the same things over and over again expecting to get different results.

Now, I know you’re not crazy – well, at least I hope you’re not – and I would love for 2016 to be your best year ever.

I truly want it to surpass last year and for you to be better, happier and more fulfilled than ever before.

So, in today’s post, I want so share a story with you.  I heard it a few years ago and thenPearl Grace Life Creativity blog post stumbled across it again while clearing out my mailbox over Christmas.

On the surface it appears to be about the power of the mind but really I think its about something even bigger than that. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts so be sure to tell me at the end.

As the title suggests, its about Japan, poison ivy and creativity. It goes a little something like this:

There was a fascinating study done in Japan where they blindfolded students and then told the students that their right arms were being rubbed with a poison ivy plant.

Afterwards, all the students reacted with classic symptoms of poison ivy, such as itching, boils and redness. But only a harmless shrub was actually used.

On the other arm, actual poison ivy was used but they were told it was simply a harmless shrub. Only 2 of the 13 students broke out with poison ivy symptoms. 

According to psychologists this is called Expectant Theory. This is when the expectations that the brain creates can be as real as those created by events in the real world.

Isn’t that incredible?!

Pearl Grace Life Creativity blog postIt proves how powerful your mind is.

So when it come to the new year and the “new” you, if indeed that’s one of your goals, then consider this, you will get out of life what you tell your brain is achievable and possible.

Think doom and gloom and that’s what you’ll get.

Think glass half full and nothing good ever happens to you and, yep that’s right, that’s what 206 will look like for you.

That’s why the adage: you get in life what you put in is so true. It’s said so often that it’s practically a cliché and it’s easy to become numb to what you hear all the time.

But the reality is that what you choose to focus on will eventually manifest into reality.

If you focus on stumping your toe on the bed in the middle of the night when you take that sleepy trip to the loo then you will, most likely sooner or later, stump your fricking toe.

I know that’s a silly example but you get the drift.

Tweet it out peeps: “Be the designer of your own destiny” – Oscar de la Renta via @PearlGraceLife

So, let’s wrap this up with a little food for thought, what are you telling your brain to create in 2016? What visions are you holding in your mind’s eye for the months ahead?

Are they hopeful, joyful, brimming with health, vitality, love and success? Are you foreseeing fun Pearl Grace Life Creativity posttimes with family and friends, trying new things, experiencing new adventures and creating lasting memories?

It’s all possible for you. Just you give your brain permission to create it.

That’s why vision boards are so powerful. They remind your brain of the things that are important to you and of the things you want to have or achieve in your life.

As creative beings – that’s all of us by the way, not just people who “quote-unquote” are ‘creative’ or have ‘creative and artistic jobs’ – it’s our responsibility to create the life we wish to enjoy.

And as creative beings our lives are a sum total of the things we create and I mean the total of everything; our relationships, our jobs, our health, our finances, our homes, our car, our style, our attitude, our habits and routines.  Everything.

Pearl Grace Life Blog Creativity PostBut the most incredible factor in all of this brain-and-creativity stuff is that our imaginations are limitless.

To para-phrase the great Napoleon Hill, “Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve” so don’t hold back.

Let 2016 be the year that you truly GO FOR IT.

Let it be the year that you become more and do more; more living, more laughing, more loving, more caring, more reading, more growing, more learning, more sharing, more touching, more listening and yes even more crying.

Let it be the year your permit your heart to feel more, be moved more, understand more and to appreciate more.

Can you imagine how incredible 2016 will be for you… Wait a minute, you can! … Well, then go on and create it.

Hey and don’t be shy, tell me how you intend to create a magical year in the comments below.

All my love,

Nat x

 

Title image courtesy of beginlifetrek.wordpress.com

Pearl Grace Life: Anchors and engines

Anchors and Engines

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Anchors and Engines

Pearl Grace Life: Anchors and EnginesI’d like to share a story with you.

The other day I was with a friend and we got to talking about our hopes and dreams for next year.

As much as I love chatting about this stuff with you here on the blog, I often find myself quite guarded when asked about my dreams, never really knowing how much of myself to share or what parts of my dreams to throw out into the conversation.

So I listened to her and then I started talking about the blog and my passion for writing and sharing ideas with like-minded people etc.

The more I talked the less I felt like I wasn’t being listened to but rather judged.

Her look of, “what-do-you-know-about-helping-people” was glaringly obvious.

I then found myself trying to justify my intentions, “Well, you know, I’m an avid reader and love listening to self-improvement material and I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my life and relationships. I also love people and really want to share these tips and ideas with my amazing readers on the blog because I truly feel it can make a difference in their lives. And don’t we all deserve to be happy? The world needs happier people, right?… blah blah blah”

By the end of my bordering on D.D. sounding speech – desperate and depressing – I was quite literally Pearl Grace Life: Anchors and Enginessick of the sound of my own voice.

It was clear by the look on her face that her mind was already made up and  I was a fool to think I was anything special or that I could make a difference.

It sucked and later that night, I realised that not only did her silence and disapproving eyebrows leave me wanting to “explain” myself but it also left me doubting and second-guessing who I am and what I could achieve.

My buzz was killed. I mean well and truly annihilated and left on the battlefield where other hopes and dreams wither away and die at the hands of the big bad naysayers.

It would come as no surprise that I felt pretty shitty. Perhaps, she was right, “Who am I? What gives me the right to write and share my thoughts with the world? Holy crap, maybe she’s right!”

I’m sharing this story with you because if you’ve ever had something like that happen to you then I want you to know that you’re not alone. I feel you.

We all have people – it may even be our partners or family members – who love to be our “reality-check” when in actual fact I prefer to regard them as life’s kill-joys, buzz-zappers and dream-snatchers.

Tweet it out, peeps: “Don’t let someone else’s “no” resonate so loudly that it drowns out the inner “yes” beating in your heart. ” @PearlGraceLife

Pearl Grace Life: Anchors and EnginesIf you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve been made to question yourself. Or you’ve not gone after something that you really wanted because of another person’s limiting beliefs then I urge you not to listen them.

Instead do some ‘social decluttering’ – as in tell those said folks to take a flying jump – then prove them wrong, take action and be amazing.

A wise person once said, “You can’t hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life”. So, reviewing the people we hang around with –  including our friends and family – is massively important.

But another thing that’s equally important is to always be conscious of the kind of friend we are presenting to the world.

For example, How do you show up? Are you positive, supportive and inspiring to be around? Are you an awesome friend, dependable, loyal and loving? Are you everything that you would look for in those closest to you and what you hope people would say about you in your absence?

If not, why not?

As you know we get out of life what we put in. So, if you want your friends and family members to be incredible and meet you on a level that makes you feel happy to be around them then you need to exemplify those exact same qualities yourself.

Having said that we all know people who are stubborn, pig-headed, and down right sour-pusses and no amount of good cheer and positive vibes will change that.

No matter how much sunshine you bring to the party to brighten up their day, that grey gloomy cloud that holds permanent residency over their heads will remain in situ regardless of your good intentions. C’est la vie, baby.

But in all other cases, be the best person you possibly can be and try not to let negative outside influencers distract you or throw you off course from achieving all that you imagine possible in the world and for you.

As we wrap up, I would love to leave you with these wonderful words by model and Pearl Grace Life: Anchors and Enginesbusiness mogul, Kathy Ireland in an interview she gave for Success Magazine:

“Do you surround yourself with anchors or engines? In life there are engines that propel us forward, believe in us and are supportive. And then there are the anchors who weigh everything down. It’s important to stop and think are you surrounding yourself with anchors or engines. Are you an anchor or an engine?”

I love her take on this and think it’s something we can all consider as we move forward towards building, re-building (as the case may be) and strengthening our relationships with friends and loved ones.

And you know what, if you’ve ever been in a situation when someone has been an asshole, – sorry, I mean an anchor – then perhaps its worth firing up your own engine so you can propel yourself in the direction of your heart’s desire.

Never forget that everything you need to succeed and to be your happiest possible self lies within you; what you learn, achieve and the people you meet along the way are your beautiful bonuses.

What you waiting for, go “whip your hair” and be incredible,

All my love,

Nat x

PGQ: How do you push past negativity and the naysayers? Share your tips in the comments below.

For more on Kathy Ireland head over to her site.

Pearl Grace Life, A Schoolboy's Dream

A Schoolboy’s Dream

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A Schoolboy’s Dream

Pearl Grace Life, A schoolboy's dreamSometimes you hear a story that perfectly exemplifies what you are going through.

Well, the other day I was playing imaginary games with Ealy.

Most of the food that I give him, take on different characters and embark on a variety of incredible adventures between the time of leaving his plate and reaching his gob.

This morning was no different. His slice of toast was a scorpion that magically transformed into a helicopter when it reached space. (Pretty, cool, huh?!)

Anyway, somewhere between burning the toast and tripping over Riley with a cup of peppermint tea, I thought about how amazing Ealy’s imagination is. To him everything and anything is possible and his dreams have no bounds.

In that moment I felt compelled to write about it but first I knew I had a canine to walk.

As I headed out the door I stuck my headphones in my ears and an audio program began to play.

It was playing Darren Hardy’s Living Your Best Year EverIt was approaching the end of the recording where Darren tells a story about a schoolboy’s dream. The story originally came from Jack Canfield and you’ll find links to these guys below.

It’s a real pleasure to share the same story with you here because I think it beautiful showcases the power of vision, imagination, having a dream and pursuing it.

  

Tweet it out peeps: “There is nothing like a dream to create the future” – Victor Hugo via @PearlGraceLife

So, here it goes…

There’s a man named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in Santa Cedro.

Standing before a group of people at a fundraising event, Monty tells the story of a young man who is the son of a roaming horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch training horses.

As a result the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be when he grew up.

That evening he wrote a 7 page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and even drew a diagram of a 200 acre ranch showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track.

Then he drew a detailed floor plan of a 4000 sq ft house that would sit on the 200 acre dream ranch. He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he proudly handed it to the teacher.

Two days later he received his paper back.

On the front of the page was a large red F with a note that read “See me after class”.

The boy with a dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, “Why did I receive an F?”

The teacher said, “This is an unrealistic goal for a boy like you. You have no money. You come from a nomadic family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires lots of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.”

Then the teacher added, “If you will re-write the paper with a more realistic goal I will reconsider your grade.”

The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, “Look, son, you have to make up your mind on this however I think it’s a very important decision for you.”

Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all. He said, ” You keep the F, I’ll keep my dream.”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said I tell you this story because I am that boy and you are sitting in my 4000 sq ft ranch house in the middle of my 200 acre horse ranch.

I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace. He added the best part of the story is that 2 summers ago that same school teacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.

When the teacher was leaving he said, “Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher I was something of a dream-stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids dreams. Fortunately, you had enough gumption to not give up on yours.”

So, as we wrap up our chat today, I want to urge you to never be discouraged and never let anyone steal your dream, nor you theirs for that matter.

Let’s take extra care of the dreams and goals of our kids.

Their spirits are so precious so let’s support them as much as possible. Giving them permission to fantasise, pretend, imagine and dream those wildly ambitious, sensationally unbelievable and extraordinary dreams. Who knows, they may very well come true… wouldn’t that be amazing!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, “what’s with the Katy Perry vid?” Well, it’s there as a gentle reminder of how incredible and unique you truly are. You know, in case you forgot!

So, as Katy says, go and, “let your colours burst.”

With my love, always,
Nat x

Please note: the story, the names, references and entire passage is property of Darren Hardy from his program, Living Your Best Year Ever. Pearl Grace Life does not take any credit for it – I just love it’s message and believe such messages are worth sharing.      

For more on Darren Hardy check out his blog here and to learn more about Jack Canfield head here.

Title image courtesy of eceknealwaldenu.wordpress.com and content image from professionsforpeace.com

Pearl Grace Life: baked mushroom dishes

Baked Mushrooms

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Baked Mushrooms

Pearl Grace Life: mushrooms and a walnut saladI love food that is simple and delicious and my baked mushrooms tick both boxes in less than 20 mins.

Not only are mushrooms incredibly good for you.

After all, they’re packed with tons of nutrients such as iron, minerals and vitamins B & D. But they are also known to strengthen your immune system, improve bladder function and metabolise fats and proteins in the body.

In fact mushrooms are a fantastic alternative to meat for those of you looking to integrate more veggies in to your food plan in an easy and in and affordable way.

You can make some wonderful meals using mushrooms, from warm and comforting soups and risottos to light bites like ‘shrooms on toast and mushroom pâté.

I have to admit that mushrooms have become a fridge food essential in our house for the past few weeks and at the moment this recipe is one of my favourite things to whip up when my belly is rumbling and time is short.

For this recipe I use chestnut mushrooms because of their meaty texture and because they hold their shape so well after cooking.
Pearl Grace Life: mushroom dishes

My oven baked mushrooms however make a fabulous dish on their own with a side bowl of hummus for some dunkage action.

But it’s also very versatile dish because you could choose to serve it as a side dish with some protein, or mixed in with rice or tossed in a salad or on a bed of steamed green veg.

The ideas are endless and it’s entirely up to you!

I love to eat them with roasted sweet red peppers or wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves with avocado for a snack or a light lunch.

Pearl Grace Life: baked mushroom dishesAs a more substantial meal or for dinner, I like to serve them on a bed of curly kale and sweet potato. Mmm.

I have to confess, I make this meal at least twice a week because they are a massive hit in our house.

It couldn’t be easier to rustle up so here goes:

Ingredients:

250g Organic chestnut Mushrooms (or white button mushrooms work well too). I keep them whole but you can cut them if you like.  Hey, if you can dispense with using extra utensils the why bother!)
Olive oil (regular olive oil works perfectly well… save your precious extra virgin stuff for something else!)
Black pepper (and salt if desired)
1 tsp cumin (roughly – add to taste)
1 tsp smoked paprika (roughly – add to taste)
1 tsp mixed herbs (or herbs de provence)
1 tsp chilli flakes (roughly – add to taste)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash or wipe mushrooms to remove dirt. Pour into a non-stick baking tray.

2. Pour on the olive oil, pepper, herbs and spices. Using a spatula or wooden spoon toss the Pearl Grace Life: mushroom dishesmushrooms so they are evenly coated and spaced out.

3. Put the mushrooms in the oven on the top shelf for 15-20 mins, taking them out for a quick stir and toss at the half way point.

4. Take them out when soft and roasted but still firm to the touch. Grab a fork and tuck in, baby.

Switch it up!

I love using chestnut or button mushroom for this recipe because of their meaty texture but feel free to experiment with other mushrooms.

Also my choice of seasonings are simply what I like to use but you could throw on ground coriander or use chilli powder instead of chilli flakes for a more intense heat.

Or if you wish, you could strip it back to just some light herbs if you’re feeding little mouths or people with milder palettes.

Pearl Grace Life: mushroom dishesMy measurements are approximates so add the amounts that work for you.

For example, increase the amount of mushrooms according to the number of mouths you’re feeding.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce.

Title and content images courtesy of Nat Millie

Pearl Grace Life, Sleep your way to the top

Sleep your way to the top

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Sleep your way to the top, without compromising your integrity

Pearl Grace Life, Sleep your way to the top I’ve got some interesting facts to share with you today.

Did you know that sleeping more hours could help you loose weight?

Did you know that napping during the day reduces stress and aids productivity?

Did you know that sleeping more soundly could reduce your risk of severe illnesses, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and even some cancers. 

Well, it’s true.

However the sad reality is that many of us are sleep deprived.

We are trying to function; hold down jobs, run the household, bring up children, sustain healthy relationships and look after ourselves on an empty tank.

No wonder we feel stressed out, tired, unengaged and stretched too thin on a regular basis.

Here’s the thing, when I was younger I would do what I called “pull all nighters” and I did this all the time.

This basically meant that I’d stay up all night.

Why you might ask? 

And the truth was to watch TV.

Yep, I spent most of those precious nocturnal hours watching mind-Pearl Grace Life, Sleep your way to the topnumbing TV.

Today, my mind boggles at the thought of how ridiculous this was but I did it.

If I had known back then what I know now then I probably wouldn’t have made such insane choices.

When I think back to my life back then I was suffering with cases of eczema,  had stiff joints, lacked energy and felt – for want of a better word – tired.  (It’s like, Duurrhh!)

Fast forward a few years and The Universe, God, or [insert your choice of higher power here] hands me a bambino.

All of a sudden the one thing I wanted more than anything else was sleep.

Between the round the clock breastfeeds, nappy changes and eating, I craved sleep on a massive scale.

I wanted to sleep like it was going out of fashion but sleep was the first thing to go, closely followed by sex, a tidy house and a neatly waxed bikini line.

Here’s the thing, amazing gifts like children make the sleep deprivation worthwhile but when there’s no justifiable reason to hold off putting your head to your pillow and catching some uber important Zzz’s then I just don’t get why we wouldn’t choose to sleep.

Many of us believe that we are being more productive if we choose to work longer hours, stay up late to finish off the report or sacrifice our sleep for trips to the gym.

But the truth is you would be are far more productive if you switched off the computer an hour earlier and took some time to unwind with a bath and book instead.

Tweet it out, peeps: Sleep is a performance enhancing tool and your single greatest free resource in achieving a more abundant and joyful life @PearlGraceLife. 

Here’s something worth noting…

People who tend to sleep better tend to be happier, which in turn makes them feel less stressed.

When we feel less stressed we tend to treat people better and approach situations in a more measured and compassionate way.

This in turn leads to a feeling of having stronger bonds and connections with people.

This can benefit both our professional and personal relationships leading to greater productivity, happiness and success all round.

You could literally sleep your way to the top and improve every area of your life; in business, health and well-being, your attitude, finances and personal life, just by choosing to make sleep a priority instead of seeing it as just “the thing we do” to join up the days.

You know that phrase, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. Well, I can’t think of a more ridiculous notion!

The sad truth is you might wind up dead a lot sooner than you’d like by not getting enough hours sleep while you’re in the company of the living.

Now, we’re all unique and therefore may not all require the same amount of sleep.

But as a general rule most of us need somewhere between 6-10 hours a night to enable us to function at full throttle.

Pearl Grace Life, Sleep your way to the topThe truth is, the better we sleep the better we feel.

In fact the more we sleep the better it is for our hearts, brains, internal organs, skin, hair, nails, you name it.

Instead of buying into the next beauty product that claims to reduce wrinkles and remove bags from under your eyes, just hit the sack a littler earlier every night.

Think of sleep as natures way of giving you everything your body needs to function providing you don’t neglect it.

By the way, sleep is as important in the health and well being of men as it is for women.

I know guys that take sleep for granted and almost wear their lack of sleep like a badge of honour. It’s crazy!

So, share this post with your partner, your spouse, your main squeeze, friend, colleagues or anyone else you think could benefit.

It serves the world, the economy and the health care system if we all made a conscious effort to catch more shut eye.

Trust me, with more Zzz’s under your belt you’ll feel and look incredible and people will start to wonder, what’s your secret?

And when you tell them you’ve been sleeping, they’ll be stumped because it sounds way to easy!

Now, I’ve put together 15 easy tips on how achieve a more restful slumber here.

And as always, tell me what you think.

Some of you have been super-sweet by sending me personal emails – I love hearing from you so please keep them coming.

I love hearing your thoughts, ideas, and take on the random things I ramble on about so thank you so much

Also feel free to share your comments below because your insight and perspective could help, inspire and increase the happiness level in another person’s life.

Till next time,
Big love, Nat x

 

Discover more on Arianna Huffington HERE and more TEDTalks HERE.

Props to www.makers.comwww.aliexpress.comwww.quotescover.com and  julieflygare.com for the images.

Pearl Grace Life, How to sleep better

How to sleep better

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How to sleep better: Tips for getting a better night’s sleep

Pearl Grace Life, How to sleep betterHey beautiful people,

If you haven’t already checked out my post on sleeping your way to the top then hop on over to it here.

This post provides some tips on how to sleep better and feel rested and rejuvenated:

1. Eat a light dinner up to 2 hours before lights out.
A light but still nutritious meal is easier for the body to breakdown and digest. You won’t feel full and uncomfortable when bedtime rolls up, instead you’ll feel content and satiated and ready to sleep.

2. Exercise daily even if you can only a 30 minute brisk walk. Do it early in the day. You’ll feel pumped and energised afterwards which will put you on the right path for the rest of the day. Come bedtime you should feel tired and ready to hit the sack.

3. Air your room 30 minutes before you crawl between the sheets. A cool room has been proven to create a more restful sleep.

4. 10-15 minutes of quiet mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing before you sleep.
This calms the mind and relaxes the body – a good state for you to be in for you drift off.

5. Invest in good quality mattress and pillows and clean your bedding regularly.
So many people sleep on poor quality mattress and on pillows that don’t support the head and neck. In all honesty one of the best places to sleep is on the floor because its hard and level.

But if the floor ain’t your thing then a firm mattress that promotes breathability is ideal.

Also, find a pillow that provides comfort and support or do away with it altogether. I know it might sound strange but sleeping without a pillow and allowing your body to lie in complete alignment is better for your muscles, circulation and oxygen flow . But I guess that depends on whether you prefer to sleep on your back, front or sides.

If you suffer with neck or back pain then get professional advice before making a purchase.

6. Burning essential oils in your home. You don’t have to burn them in your bedroom in case you find them too overpowering but a fragrance like lavender has been proven to calm the mind and aid relaxation.

7. Darken the room with binds and/or curtains and use an eye mask if your room is still quite bright.

If you live on a busy road consider using ear plugs to drown out some of the outside noise or opt for a “white noise” appliance, which might help.

8. Reading has been proven to relax the brain and body. Read whatever you fancy but here’s a little tip that has worked for me, read a few pages of something  happy, positive or inspiring. You’ll still get tired but reading something like that will trigger the reactors in the brain so it can conjure up fantastic ideas throughout the night while you sleep.

9. Wear lose fitting clothes in bed or better yet sleep in your birthday suit. Let it all hang out, baby! Give your skin opportunity to breathe.

10. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine as much as 5 hours before bedtime.

11. When you’re tired, sleep.
I know this sounds obvious but yet so many of us, myself included, don’t do it.
Don’t fight it. In fact a lot of companies won’t mind if you grab 20 minutes of shut eye in your lunch break because napping is known to increase alertness and productivity.

And when it comes to bedtime only go to bed you feel tired.

There are few things in life more frustrating than tossing and turning yourself to sleep so resist putting yourself through this ordeal.

If you find yourself staring at the ceiling after 20 minutes then get up, go into another room, read a book or do some relaxation exercises until you begin to tire.

12. Avoid visual stimulation up to an hour before you get into bed.
I know this is difficult in the hyper-connected, always switched on world that we live in but this means no TV, not laptops, no iPhones, no iPads etc.

Try to keep your bedroom a Devise-Free-Zone. Don’t worry, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will still be there in the morning.

13. No heavy chit-chat before bed.
Bedtime is not the right time to talk about emotional topics.
Do it at some other time of day. If your partner wants to engage in a heated discussion when your in your jim-jams then suggest you discuss it the following day.

14. If switching your brain off is a struggle then take up journalling or get in the habit of writing down what’s on your mind before you get into bed. That way you clear your mind of the worry and prepare it for relaxation instead.

15. Avoid drinking too much liquids before bed.
The theory behind this is to prevent you from waking up in the night to go to the loo.
Now, this is an interesting one because if you’re like me and falling back to sleep after a trip to the loo is easy then I wouldn’t worry too much about this point.
However if you struggle to get back to sleep then give it a try.

Got any sleep better tips of your own?  Please tell us in the comments below.

Till next time, sweet dreams x

 

Love to desktopbackgrounds4u.com and iheartdogs.com for images

Are you lying? Pearl Grace Life

Are you lying?

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Are you lying about who you really are?

Are you lying about who you really are

I had a really strange encounter with a family member the other day.

I went round to her house and she had cooked lunch for us.

She had gone to great effort and presented a generous amount of food on the kitchen counter for me to dip in and out of as much as I liked throughout our time together.

The thing is when we spoke the previous week about meeting up I had no idea that she was going to go to so much trouble.

If I knew, I wouldn’t have set myself the challenge to juice it the same day.

So, I turned up to her house with a handsome supply of green juices in hand, which I quickly and rather sheepishly (after seeing how much trouble she had gone to) stowed away in her fridge for later. Talk about awkward.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that this particular relative is very sensitive. She would’ve taken it personally if I didn’t eat her food and if I didn’t acknowledge my pleasure whilst doing so.

But to make an awkward situation even more difficult, the food that she had so lovingly prepared was stuff that I haven’t eaten in months. (In another post I’ll tell you about my life since abstaining from meat and dairy but that’s a whole other story.)

Back to the post. So, when I was confronted by a pot of chicken stew and a side dish of potato salad with eggs and mayonnaise I didn’t know what to do or where to run and hide!

So, I lied.

Tweet it out, peeps“This above all; to thine own self be true” – William Shakespeare via @PearlGraceLife

I lied to her when I said I was full after my last green juice.

I felt her eyes on me as I sparingly added a small spoonful of rice to my plate and a drizzle of gravy so I lied.

But I also lied to myself. By pretending that I was happy to eat when in fact I had planned on drinking the juices that I had so gleefully made a few hours earlier, I was committing a serious sin. Lying.

To be honest I came away feeling a little disgusted with myself.

And it was at this point of self-loathing that I started to wonder, why did I do it?

And more to the point, why do so many of us, out of fear of being judged or criticised, “pretend”, “gloss over” or “fake” who we really are.

Despite the fact that I had told her I was juicing it that day, she still would have been offended if I didn’t pile up my plate.

Now, in her defence once upon a time I would have done precisely that.

I absolutely love her cooking but in recent months I’ve also changed my diet and have been feeling all the better for it.

Now, here’s the kicker, if I had explained that to her, I would have run the risk of hurting her feelings – not something I wanted to do.

Are you lying? Pearl Grace Life blogSo, instead I pretended that I was hungry enough to have a little bit of food to avoid any upset.

I was guilty of lying to her and as a trade off for sparing her feelings I felt like shit.

I felt like I had let myself down for not sticking to the goal I had set myself that day.

But more importantly I felt bad because I hadn’t acted in alignment with my true self and my true intentions.

Basically I lied about who I really was in that moment.

You see, in that moment, I was supposed to be healthy and disciplined but I didn’t follow through. I let myself down.

Instead I sacrificed my own happiness in that moment – which actually lasted the rest of the weekend because every time I thought about it I cringed – so that I could safeguard another person’s feelings.

Now, let me just jump off here and say I’m not suggesting you stop caring about other people. That’s not what I’m saying at all. Far from it.

I’m just saying that when you are doing something that is positive and that is making a transformational difference in your life, either personally or professionally, you should be proud of yourself.

You should be happy and take pride in your achievements and feel enthusiastic about the goals you set yourself.

The last thing you should feel is awkward or embarrassed.

I know my example might seems a little trivial but I think the point is a valid one.

In your pursuit of greater meaning, happiness, deeper love, more success, a real sense of vitality, abundance and joy in your life, whatever it may be that you consider to be of enriching benefit to you and those you love, don’t let anybody steal your truth.

Don’t allow a single person, situation or circumstance to take you off track or make you doubt or question who you really are or who you truly want to be.

You are amazing and incredible, never forget that.

Here’s to living in your truth,
Love Nat x

Before you go and live in an awesome way please share your thoughts to today’s post:

Have you ever lied, denied, pretended or faked who you really are, how you feel or believe and how did it make you feel? And more importantly, what did you decide to do in the future to overcome the lying trap?

“Standing in the hall of fame
And the world’s gonna know your name
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame
And the world’s gonna know your name
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame” – The Script feat. will.i.am, Hall of Fame

 

Love to: humanenrich.com, www.desicomments.com and www.seecrazy.com for images.

Pearl Grace Life, Playtime

Playtime

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Playtime

Pearl Grace Life, playtimeI saw an awesome tweet the other day that I loved so much that I faved and retweeted it. And now I’d like to share it with you.

It was a simple question that went like this, “Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

I thought it was so beautiful and a nourishing piece of food for thought.

So many people in the world are living only a fraction of the life they dreamed possible when they were little.

So many of us have resided ourselves to a life of doing the mundane, living a life of mediocrity and being reliant on the behaviours, attitudes and opinions of other people to determine our own happiness and sense of self-worth.

Over time our idea of what is actually possible in the world and our true potential become skewed after years of conditioning from outside forces.

So, when I saw the tweet, it reminded me of the things I used to love doing when I was a kid; playing dress up – usually like my favourite pop star – and dancing around my living room.

I loved pretending to cook in my imaginary kitchen, which was situated on the top bunk of the bunk bed I shared with my sister. I would then serve my culinary masterpieces to my customers who were seated on the bed below. (You know what, I still think that’s a pretty cool idea for an 8 year old!)

I would secretly re-organise the furniture in the lounge whenever my folks were out and pretend to be the American gymnast Dominique Dawes and I’d flip and roll over the floor and chairs.

I would make up a ton of stories in my head with different characters, write scripts and perform my “hit show” to my mum while she cooked dinner. (No wonder my folks sent me to theatre school).

Needless to say I was a carefree dreamer and was open about expressing it.

Then mum got sick and by the time I was 19 both my parents had passed away.

Tweet it out peeps: “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein via @PearlGraceLife

As you can imagine I had to grow up very fast. And for the next decade of my life I got “serious”.

I became serious about getting my degree, getting a job, working hard, buying my first home.

It was what I felt I had to do.

But I love how the universe conspires on your behalf. And sometimes the most unexpected of events, such as falling pregnant, can offer you an opportunity to reassess your life choices and purpose.

I had no idea how much of an impact having a baby would have on my life.

Ealy has been – and remains to be – the single greatest teacher I’ve ever had.

He teaches me about the beauty of life every single day and his sense of wonder is inspiring.

When I look at him I’m reminded of how fascinating and incredible little people are.

They find joy in the simplest of things. They are fascinated by everything, hungry to learnPearl Grace Life, Playtime post and approach everyday with a sense of wonder.

Ealy finds everything enchanting from the crawling ants to the grazing cows.

He marvels at the rain and the sound of wind. And he’s amazed by trees and would chase after butterflies all day long if I’d let him.

He appreciates these precious gifts that the world offers up for free all the time.

And yet, I don’t think I stopped to smell the fresh air once in my 20’s. I was simply “too busy”, too preoccupied and too old.

But now, I do it every single day. I hasten to add that Ealy has inspired me to relight my fire (Cue Take That) for the things I loved doing when I was a kid.

And now I get to do many of them here on the blog and in life. For example, one of the perks of having a toddler is that cartwheels in the park and playing dress up come as standard!

Ealy has reminded me of the little girl that believed in tooth fairies and mermaids because she was also the same little girl who dreamed of the impossible.

This week, this month, this year, I’m hoping that we all remember who we were before the world told us who we ought to be.

Take a trip down the memory lane of your childhood and remember the things that use to bring you joy, make you happy and gave you the feeling of flying high on the wings of life.

Our boundless imaginations are still swirling around inside of us. They are in our hearts and minds our entire lives waiting for permission to soar.

Show the world who you really are. Let your inner child out to play because it’s playtime, baby.

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Do feel like your creative, spirited wings have been clipped by society or the people around you? If so, how do you let your inner child out to play? 

Share with me in the comments below.

All my love,
Nat x

Quick point: Please check out the video (above) by Sir Ken Robinson discussing the need to celebrate children’s creativity more in schools. It’s very funny, insightful and well worth a watch.

 

Images courtesy of kristinahollis.wordpress.comwww.stylehasnosize.com and thornleyfallis.com

Pearl Grace Life, wild rice and chilli prawns

Wild rice with chilli prawns

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Wild rice with chilli prawns

Pearl Grace Life, wild rice with chilli prawnsIngredients:

Half a cup of wild rice
A can of black beans (230g drained)
1 tbsp spoonful of coconut milk
150g of king prawns (I use raw organic prawns but you could use the ones that are already cooked and warm them through)
1 tbsp of olive oil
Dried chilli flakes
Black pepper (and salt if desired)
A squeeze of lemon

I love this dish so much so that every mouthful makes me very Happy… “Like a room without a roof”.  Take it away, Pharrell, baby…

Method:
1. Cook the wild rice. I use half a cup of rice and a full cup of boiled water (use the same cup to measure) Pour both into a saucepan.

2. Drain the can of black beans, rinse and add to the saucepan with the rice.

3. Place the saucepan on a high heat till the water begins to boil. Then turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 25-30 mins or until the rice is cooked. (check while it cooks and add a little water if the rice and beans look dry)

4. When the rice and beans have cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the spoonful of coconut milk.

5. Then heat the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the prawns. If you’re using raw prawns then cook till they turn coral pink. If you’re using cooked prawns then cook till they’re piping hot.

6. Season the prawns with the chilli, black pepper and salt as desired.

7. Add as much rice and beans as you crave into the wok and stir together for a minute so that all the flavours and juices infuse.

8. Turn off the heat and serve immediately with your favourite pair of chopsticks. Drizzle a squeeze of lemon juice over the prawns and enjoy!

Switch it up!

The carnivores amongst us could swap the prawns for slices of chicken or beef and to the lovely vegan and veggies out there you could toss in some tofu instead or some stir fry peppers and mushrooms.

You could also choose to use noodles instead of rice or a different type of rice if wild rice ain’t your thing.

It’s a very forgiving recipe – like most of what I make – so switch it up to suit your taste.

Give it a try and share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions below.

So, curious why I love wild rice so much? Check this out

Love Nat x

 

Images courtesy of Nat Millie 

Pearl Grace Life Benefits of eating Wild Rice

Wild Rice

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The benefits of wild rice

Pearl Grace Life The benefits of eating wild riceI love rice. As the kid of parents that hailed from the Caribbean it will come as no surprise when I say rice was often the backbone of the meals served up at home when I was younger.

Over the years I’ve experimented with different types of rice from brown to white and long grain to short grain.

Japanese Jasmine rice played a prominent role in our kitchen for a while till I discovered wild rice.

And when I began to realise I was hooked on this nutty stuff I thought it would be a good idea to find out if it was in fact good for me.

Not only was I thrilled to learn that it was but I was even more amazed to discover that they boasted some incredible health benefits as well.

So here goes, for your culinary pleasure, here are 10 Wonderful health benefits to eating Wild Rice

1. It’s gluten free.

2. Is sodium free: great news for your heart and for your blood pressure.

3. It has a warm nutty flavour which is very unique and makes it a tasty dish in it’s own right.

4. It contains twice as much protein as brown rice.

5. It’s a healthy option for diabetics because it’s not polished or refined like other types of rice.

6. It’s very rich in antioxidants—containing up to 30 times more antioxidants than it’s white counterpart! Which means regular consumption of wild rice protects you from disease and ageing.

7. Is high in fibre. This means wild rice keeps your digestion smooth and helps lower cholesterol.

8. Wild rice is a good source of essential minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and folate, which give you energy and nurtures your bones.

9. It’s a natural source of vitamins A, C and E, which are essential for overall health and strengthening your immune system.

10. And for the weight watchers out there, a serving of wild rice is lower in calories than other rice varieties. So, you can enjoy it to your hearts content without worrying about your waistline.

So, go grab yourself a bag of this awesome stuff and get cooking, baby.

Not sure what to cook first… Why not try my Garlic Chilli Prawns with wild rice and black beans.  It’s dee-lish!

If you have a tasty recipe containing wild rice that you’d like to share with the world then please post it in the comments below.

As always, you’re a star for reading,

Lots of love,
Nat x

Title image courtesy of ww.itimes.com and content image by www.kitchendaily.com

Pearl Grace Life, 10 benefits to eating chia seeds

Chia Seeds

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Chia Seeds – 10 Incredible Benefits

Pearl Grace Life, 10 benefits to eating chia seedsAfter recently discovering these incredible seeds and learning of their health benefits I’ve become hooked and have been looking for ways to integrate them in my diet as much as possible. I use them in smoothies and tossed over salads whenever possible.

Here are 10 incredible reasons to eat chia seeds:

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds’ lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids — specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.

2. Fibre

Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fibre per day.

3. Antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.

4. Minerals

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.

5. Satiety

Pearl Grace Life, berry juice recipeSatiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fibre and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.

(In my Berry Blast Juice I mentioned how I make my chia seed gel (aka soaked chia seeds) Here’s a vid showing you how – I do it just like this except I mix it into my own fresh juices. Plus a cup of chia seeds gel can last in the fridge for unto 5 days.)

6. Gluten-Free

Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.

7. Egg Substitute

The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes.

8. Can Be Digested Whole

Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrient or egg- replacement benefits.

9. Dyslipidemia

A study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce central obesity.

10. Blood Sugar Regulation

Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

So, guys, go grab yourself some chia seeds and enjoy!

Love ya x

 

Title image courtesy of crispfood.com and content image by authoritynutrition.com and Nat Millie

Pearl Grace Life, berry juice recipe

Berry Blast Juice

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Berry Blast Juice – a rockin’ way to start your day!

Pearl Grace Life Berry Blast JuiceAs you guys know, I love my berries (Cue clip from Ice Age), so it will come as no surprise that I often start my day with a delight deluge of some sweet zesty fruity jewels.

My Berry Blast Juice is truly an awesome way to get your body fired up first thing in the morning.

Naturally it’s packed with an abundance of fructose but I love to throw in some seeds (sunflower, pumpkin and chia) and smoothie-fy it with some coconut milk yoghurt.

Over to you Lil’ Richard… 

Right, here’s how I make it…

Ingredients:
2 heaped handfuls of blueberries
2 heaped handfuls of blackberries
2 heaped handfuls of raspberries
2 heaped handfuls of strawberries
2 heaped handfuls/ a large bunch of seedless grapes
2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp of sunflower seeds
3 tbsp of coconut milk yoghurt
3 tbsp of soaked chia seeds (check out my post on chia seeds to see what I mean by ‘soaked’)
A dash of water

Bits you’ll need:
A colander or a large deep bowl
A nuitibullet, blender or juicer

Method:
1. Wash all the fruit thoroughly under cold water and put in a colander or large bowl. Remove green tops of the strawberries and cut into smallish chunks if they’re quite large.

2. Spoon half the fruit in the nutribullet (or your preferred appliance). Add a dash of water and the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Blitz for a few secs to a juice-like consistency.

3. Add the rest of the fruit, yoghurt and chia seeds. Blitz one last time till smoothie-like.

4. Pour and enjoy!

Switch it up!

I don’t tend to eat much dairy which is why I opt for the coconut milk yoghurt however a greek style yoghurt will generate the same results so use whatever you prefer.

Check out the chia post HERE.

Till next time, my pretties x

Images courtesy of Nat Millie

Pearl Grace Life, Worry or word up

Worry or wise up

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Worry or wise up

Tell me, do you ever find yourself worrying about something that you have absolutely no control over?

I do.

Do you ever stress about the opinions of other people?

I’ve been guilty of this too.

The truth is it’s only natural for us to worry about things we can’t control and to stress about the opinions of others, which is again something we cannot control.

The comforting thing is there are a couple of easy ways to combat this so that being worried no longer preoccupies your time.

This is something I’ve found to work really well, especially recently when I found myself stressed out when Ealy started nursery.

I used to worry from the moment he left to the moment he returned home.

In the free hours that I had to work, exercise, plan and prepare for the day and forthcoming week, I would be distracted by my worrying thoughts about his safety, his well-being, whether he was happy or if he ate enough during the day.

Throughout the day I would worry about one of these things at least half a dozen times so much so that often I’d reach the end of the day and had barely applied myself long enough or with enough focus to achieve anything substantial.

Quite frankly, I was a pathetic mess.

So when, I discovered this beautiful concept I decided to start applying this simple strategy and it has result in a calmer and a more productive Nat all round.

Tweet it out peeps: Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles it just empties today of it’s strength @PearlGraceLife

Wise up or worry

Here’s the thing, we only really have to choices in life when it comes to this.

We can either worry or not worry. That’s it.

But I think it’s super cool to believe in a force bigger than yourself.

That force might be God, the universe, lucky stars, crystals, fairies, whatever. But something that makes you feel like you belong to something bigger than lil’ ol’ you.

You have to believe that this larger entity has your back. That it’s cheering you on. Wants you to rock it out in an awesome way and is conspiring to work in your favour.

Here’s how I see it..

I’m just a little gem in this crazy and fabulous world. In believing whole-heartedly that Mother Earth will handle my worries and cares far better than I can allows me to operate in a place of faith, which is in itself quite a beautiful thing.

Now, when I say faith I don’t just mean of the religious kind although that’s absolutely fine if that’s your thing.

I mean faith in the more generic sense of the word, as in having complete confidence that this larger force will carry my cares for me so I don’t have to.

I think prayer and meditation is a great way to free up your worry.

Remove the stress of worrying from your being and give it to whoever or whatever you believe brings you good luck and good fortune.

Trust fully in whatever you believe in to take care of the problem so that you no longer have to carry the weight of the burden on your shoulders, in your heart or in your head anymore.

So, for me, whenever one of those worrying thoughts about Ealy being at nursery starts to present itself I send out a little prayer. I do this immediately and it takes less than 5 secs.

The moment I think, “I hope Ealy is happy, unhurt and content” I close my eyes send it out as a message to the the big blue sky and whisper something like, “Hey, M.E (aka Mother Earth), watch over Ealy today, keep him safe, fill him with joy and happiness.” Then open my eyes, smile and carry on with whatever I’m doing. That’s it.

I don’t worry. Instead I send my wish out into the world. And carry on living reassured in the faith that Mother E will do everything she can to fulfil my wish.

I know this might sound a little whacky but it works if you have faith in something bigger than yourself and if you understand that worrying alone will not change the situation or create a certain outcome. So, why bother do it.

Worrying is futile. When it comes down to it, you have one of two choices: you can either worry or wise up. You can’t really do both.

Now, if the idea of praying gives you an uncomfortable feeling then reframe it and call it something you are more comfortable with like a love request or a wishful blessing.

Something that doesn’t unsettle you but still enables you to let go of the worrying woes so you can and live, love and laugh in the NOW.

Here’s to a worry-free weekend.

Lots of love
Nat x

Fill me in… Do you find you ever worry about things you cannot change? Do you ever worry and pray simultaneously (not such an uncommon thing)? But let me know in the comments below.

Wise words to consider from Miss Taylor Swift about negative people and vibes. But I think the same idea can be applied to your worries – just shake it off, baby!

Title image courtesy of www.hollywoodreporter.com Content image courtesy of www.barbroose.com

Pearl Grace Life, Nat's dog Riley

How dog are you?

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How dog are you?

Pearl Grace Life, Nat's dog RileyI was gonna write, how Dawg are you? Thinking it would be funny and cute to get all Southern with it but then thought better of it. (Just sharing an idea I was toying with – oh well!)

Any-whoo, back to the post, which might I add, is a super-hot gem of an idea that I’m crazy psyched to pass forward to you!

So, here’s the question: How dog are you?

And, no it’s not about listing your favourite breads – I can hear some of you now… Mmm, well I really love schnauzers, oh and beagles are cute and ah, I adore little yorkshire terriers!

Nope, as fun as that might be to all you dog lovers out there, that’s not what this post is about.

So, let’s dive right in!

Puppy love

As you know we have a 6 year old yellow lab called Riley.

From the day we brought him home at 8 weeks old he has been an absolute sweetheart.

Every morning without fail he greets us with a smile – yep, he smiles. He showers us with so much love, in the form of slobbery kisses and cuddles, that you’d think we’d been away for a month.

He reacts the same when we go out for the day or whenever someone comes over to visit.

He shows us (and everyone he meets) unconditional love no matter what and without fail.

He never tires of expressing his affection and after 6 years he’s as bouncy and as loving as ever.

Tweet it out peeps:Tweet: Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its troubles it just empties today of it’s strength @PearlGraceLife

Puppy past time paradise

The other day, Riley and I were walking in the woods and we were approached by a dog who a couple of weeks earlier showed signs of being dominant, over-zealous and boisterous with Riley.

I recognised the dog and was tempted to take a quick detour along another path when my plan was vetoed by Mister Riley who bounded up to the dog playfully wagging his tail.

I had no choice but to follow. And although I was aware that I felt some anxiety in the pit of my stomach I couldn’t help but notice that Riley seemed absolutely fine. He was actually really happy and calm and so was the other dog.

Eventually the nervous sensation I was experiencing passed and I found joy in watching to two dogs playing.

For the rest of the walk I couldn’t help but wonder about the characteristics of dogs and how forgiving they are.

Riley didn’t care about the previous encounter with the dog – he probably didn’t even remember it. All he cared about was playing with the dog in that moment.

And this is how he lives his life on a daily basis. He lives in the moment.

Quite frankly, he doesn’t care if I’m tired, stressed, unwell or upset, he greets me with an abundance of love every single day – no matter what.

He doesn’t stress about yesterday or worry about tomorrow. All he cares about is the present – the joys and happy things that are occurring in his life right now.

Some puppy pearls of wisdom…

So, you might be thinking, what’s this got to do with me? How does this help me live a more happy and inspired life?

Au contraire… the truth is it does but only if we’re brave enough to embrace some dog-like attributes. 

If we lived life more in the present – no longer stressing about the past or being fearful of the future – we could be happier.

If we chose to let go of our grudges and forgive those who have wronged us we would feel more at peace.

A contented spirit and a calm mind enables us to apply ourselves to more challenges, engage in more enriching and positive thoughts, which in turn lead to opportunities of enlightenment and inspiration.

And, here’s the ultimate doggy trait we should all try to master. If we gave ourselves permission to love those around us without prejudice, without conditions and without boundaries every single day, like Riley does – wow-  how much of a difference do you think that could make in your life?

I’m guessing some pretty incredible shizzle could unfurl for you.

And it’s not that hard to do – we can all do this. Riley’s life isn’t complicated. Quite the opposite in fact. A dog’s needs are really simple, as the video explains.

However it’s human nature to over complicate things when in actual fact life needn’t be as complex as we often make it out to be.

It takes more effort and drains more energy from us when we are angry, resentful and unforgiving.

Whats more, the universe spins in the wrong direction for us when we act in a way that is not conducive to having a kind and loving heart.

So, in reality we are doing ourselves more harm than good.

Dogs instinctively know this and that is why they are a terrific example of how to live and thrive.

So, I propose you give it a try for one week and see how much of a difference it makes in your life.

Approach everyone and everything you do with full-hearteded appreciation and commitment.

Remain aware of your intentions and if you feel yourself slipping into a human-like trait of judging and condemning then snap out of it and let your inner dog out to play.

Now, I would absolutely love to hear from you on this.

1. What dog-like trait do you think you could start to implement in your life right now and why do you think it could help you improve, either personally and professionally?

Quick PG Note: If you are a dog owner or dog lover then please CLICK HERE to see a great video. It’s fun and informative. But most of all, it’s full of useful tips and tools to help you become a calm and assertive pack leader. And even if you don’t have a four-legged companion in your life then still watch the video because there are some great principles and philosophies about life that we all can benefit from.

If you liked this post or know someone who struggles with any of the issues raised then please share it and spread this message. It could make a real difference in their life.

Thanks so much for reading,

All my love
Nat x

For more on Cesar Millan check out his website HERE.

Find out more about Mister Riley HERE.

Title and content images courtesy of Nat Millie.

Pearl Grace Life, Super green salad

Super Green Salad

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Super Green Salad

Pearl Grace Life, Super green saladIf you’re looking for a salad that’s brimming with green goodness then look no further than this super green salad.

I often make a big bowl of it for lunch and snack on it throughout the day.

It works perfectly as a side dish to meat or fish but is equally satisfying on it’s own.

I think the most essential part of a great salad is it’s freshness. Try to use fresh produce and prepare it just before serving. There’s nothing more depressing than a limp lettuce leaf!

Having said that if you hold off adding the dressing and avocados till just before you’re about to tuck into it then the salad will keep well in the fridge for a few hours.

This super green salad is light but packed with nutrients that your body simply can’t get enough of.

And because it’s a salad you can literally eat as much of it as you want – none of that calorie counting malarky! Look out for my post on the benefits of eating leafy greens coming soon.

As with all my recipes you can jazz it up as you see fit (cue vid). You can use this recipe as a starting point and have some terrific green endorsing fun by experimenting with different ingredients.

My measurements are approximates and makes enough for 4 greedy souls. Tweak the quantities to suit your needs.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of baby kale
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2 handfuls of rocket leaves
2 handfuls of baby green leaves
2 handfuls of baby chard leaves
1 romaine lettuce or cos lettuce, roughly chopped
Half a cucumber, cut into quarters
3 salad onions, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 avocado, chopped in small chunks
2/3 tbsp of pitted green olives (optional), chop if using large ones
1 handful of pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Green basil pesto (homemade would be divine but the shop bought variety works fine too)
1 small handful of Parsley, finely chopped and sprinkled on top (optional)

Method:

  1. Throw the kale, spinach, lettuce, rocket, baby greens and baby chard leaves in a large bowl.
  2. Toss in the cucumber, onions and green pepper.
  3. Add the avocado, olives and pumpkin seeds.
  4. Just before serving, add the olive oil, parsley and basil pesto. Add as much as desired

Switch it up!
Try mixing in some warm wild rice for a different texture and a beautiful nutty flavour. Plus it’s loaded with incredible goodness that you’re body will love. I’ll do a feature on wild rice in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned.

If you’re looking to boost your green intake then add some broccoli and cabbage to it. I normally steam them for about 10 minutes so they still retain there crunch.  Pure gold.

If you find it hard to find the leaves I mentioned above sold individually then you can grab a mixed bag of salad leaves from your supermarket. Most are already washed so you can just throw it in a bowl with minimal fuss.

Go green, baby! x

Title and content images courtesy of Nat Millie.