Pearl Grace Life, What's your fuel?

What’s your fuel?

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What’s your fuel?

Pearl Grace Life, What's your fuel?Ok. ‘Fess, up what’s in your cupboard and fridge right now? What have you been putting in your face recently?

Fair play it’s been Easter and it might be a little unfair of me to put you on the spot but as a general rule how well do you eat? In other words, what’s your fuel?

Now, it’s not my style to get all preachy about the do’s and don’t’s of food because I’m not perfect and I like the odd cookie and glass of wine myself. (shoot me)

And don’t worry I’m not gonna ride your butt like Zorro in this post and make you feel bad about yourself – heck, we’re in this together.

But in honour of World Health Day (April 7th) I thought I’d share my thoughts on this.

I’ve also included a link to my delicious and gloriously green salad recipe at the bottom which will get your body rocking and shaking with disco fever delight.

“That’s the way, a-ha a-ha, I like it a-ha a-ha…” (Love it!) Ok, back to the post…

The truth is, if you’re passionate and committed to living a life of abundance, joy, meaning and fulfilment – you know all the things I rave on about here on PGL – then it will be an uphill struggle to achieve all of those wonderful things if you’re not conscious and aware of the fuel that you put in your engine.

Here’s the thing, a jockey wouldn’t feed his thoroughbred burgers and chips because he knows better than that.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that the mechanical whiz kids over at Ferrari aren’t filling their world class race cars with the wrong kinda fuel – that would be insane.

Yet so many of us are filling our own engines with dangerous, toxic and hazardous fuel.

Hey, its cool to have fun and enjoy the food you eat. If eating something sweet, having a glass of wine or getting your chops round a fillet of beef floats your boat then I’m to gonna stand in your way.

I’m not here to tell you to stop – that’s not my place – furthermore I enjoy tasty treats too.

As the French say, Tout dans la modération, même avec modération (Everything in moderation, including moderation.)

All I’m suggesting is we start to view our bodies as championship racehorses and  Formula1 race cars because we are valuable commodities worth treasuring.

So, let’s appreciate, respect and honour the vessels we were given.

Show your body love by feeding it with as much nutrient rich food as you can.

Your body will love you all the more for it. And when you love it in this way it will do it’s part in making sure you operate in a peak state as much as possible.

At the end of the day your body wants to support you fully so that you wake up every morning feeling unstoppable, unbeatable and formidable.

I’m not really sharing anything here that you don’t already know to be true but I know it can be difficult to make the right food choices.

So, to help you get started here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Pace yourself

If you’re a little uncertain about changing the food you eat then I reckon small and gradual steps is the way to go.

Slowly phase out the ‘less ideal’ option as you slowly add in the good stuff. For example, where you would normally use white potatoes swap it for sweet potatoes instead.

Before you know it you’ll notice how awesome you feel eating the good stuff that you won’t crave the bad shizzle anymore, well, at least not as much.

2. Jump right in

The second option is for those of you who prefer to jump in at the deep end and go for it.

For those of you wanting to get militant on this I suggest you grab the Bull of Health by the horns and take control.

Go to your store cupboard or pantry and chuck out everything that contains ingredients that you cannot pronounce or don’t know. Go do it now. No excuses and no justifications. If you know it’s not good for you or your family, Bin It.

If a guy in a white coat has fiddled with it then chuck it out however if it’s what mother nature created then chomp on it proudly.

Get militant!

Our challenge

Last month Drew and I set ourselves the challenge to only eat and drink food that contained ingredients that we could pronounce.

It’s alarming the amount of ‘added this’ and ‘added that’ we found in the food in our cupboards – some of which claimed to be healthy!

It was a month of going back to basics and we felt all the better for it.

I challenge you to give it a try. And in honour of World Health Day, this week is as good a time as ever to start.

You don’t have to do it for a whole month but try it for at least a week and see how you feel.

Why not share your experiences with me in the comments below.

And to help you get started check out my super green salad – it’s like spring in a bowl.

To your health and awesomeness,

Nat x

 

Title image courtesy of www.carsguide.com.au and content image from www.techinasia.com

Keeping it real: I’m not a doctor. Please seek professional advise if you’re considering changing your diet. 

Pearl Grace Life blog Me Myself and I

Me Myself and I

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Me Myself and I

Pearl Grace Life Blog Me Myself and IAnd before you ask, no, I’m not talking about the slow-jam about female empowerment by Beyoncé. Sorry Queen-B fans.

It just so happens that as well as being the title of a hit song, Me Myself and I, is also the attitude of many people in the world.

Take a sec and consider this…

Do you know someone who loves to talk about themselves? They love nothing more than to hear the sound of their own voice – which is usually telling you how awesome they are, how fabulous they look, all the amazing things they’ve done and how incredible other people think they are.

Do you know someone like that? I bet you do. Unfortunately so do I.

But here’s the kicker, if you’re honest with yourself, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve been guilty of doing this yourself at some point. Come on, let me see a show of hands!

I, for one, cringe at my own admission of this behaviour in the past.

Thankfully, we live in a world where we can learn from our poor judgements,  grow and evolve.

According to Dale Carnegie, “People are eternally interested in themselves”.

Continue reading Me Myself and I

Pearl Grace Life, love.

Love

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Love

Pearl Grace Life. LoveI love this. I saw this video and simply had to share it with you guys.

Not only did it make me smile from start to finish but it really touched me. I felt happy for the rest of the day.

It’s about love. It’s about universal, unbiased, whole-hearted and true love. It’s beautiful.

I know we live in a world where many of us are trapped by dogma – either our own or by the opinions of those around us – but at the end of the day the one thing that we can all relate to, understand and feel an affiliation with, is love.

I know it’s a cliché to say this but love is incredibly powerful.

I believe that in conjunction with education (self-education in particular), love is our strongest and kindest weapon in the fight against injustice, war, famine, disease, poverty, discrimination and the rest.

In our ability and willingness to love each other without judgement we open ourselves up to feeling and expressing compassion and empathy. As a result we are often left with a desire to connect, help and support each other.

I hope the video makes you feel happy today. I hope it makes you smile. I hope it makes you love harder, stronger and more deeply.

If there has ever been a ‘block’ in your heart to love everyone equally then I hope this video prompts a heart shift, even if it’s only small.

I believe that we are all born with love in our hearts. It’s ours from day one and in that moment it’s pure, unaffected and unspoiled. It’s the one thing that every baby has in common.

And I believe that the same innocent spot that we had in our hearts as wee little ones is still there today.

I love videos like this because they remind me to tap into that special non-judgmental place. To welcome diversity and to invite into my heart a sense of oneness. I think Bob said it best…

As the video above shows love doesn’t discriminate it only connects, heals, strengthens and blossoms. It blossoms into something even more wonderful… and that is more love, more abundance, more joy, more meaning, more peace.

Here’s to your abundance. All my love,
Nat x

How did this video make you feel? Please share in the comments below. 

Title image courtesy of www.kinwomen.com and content image courtesy of addictedtoradio.com

Pearl Grace Life recipe: Fruit bowl

Fruit bowl

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Fruit bowl with coconut yoghurt, seeds and berry compote

Pearl Grace Life recipe: fruit bowlThis is my absolute favourite way to start the day. (Well, straight after my hot water with honey and lemon).

My fruit bowl with coconut yoghurt, seeds and berry compote is brimming with vitamins, minerals and bags of goodness. And it’s pretty darn yummy too!

In fact it’s a bowl of everything you need to ensure you start your day off in the right way.

It’s super quick – literally only requires the act of  pouring and devouring – so it’s a fabulous choice if you’re short on time.

I’ve stated a handful of everything but you can add as much or as little as you wish.

Ingredients:
1 handful of blueberries
1 handful of raspberries
1 handful of grapes (green, red or black. I eat mostly black for their amazing health benefits)
1 handful of pumpkin seeds
1 handful of sunflower seeds
3 tbsp of coconut milk yoghurt (this is the one I eat)
2 tbsp of Nat’s berry compote (optional) Look out for the post on how to make this coming soon)

Method:
Ok, seriously, this couldn’t get any easier…

1. Throw all the fruit in your favourite cereal bowl.
2. Pour on the coconut milk yogurt.
3. Scatter over the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
4. Drizzle on the berry compote.
5. Mix together gently and enjoy every mouthful.

Switch it up!

One of the great things about fruit bowls is that you can include whatever fruits you like. I know I’m stating the obvious but it’s true. Bananas and apples work well too and offer their own additional health benefits.

Or you could top your bowl off with some dried cranberries and raisins or include cubed pieces of melon and pineapple. They all taste delicious and work really well.

And of course if you wanted to use fresh natural yoghurt or Greek style yoghurt instead of coconut milk yoghurt then that would work perfectly fine too.

Another idea that you might want to try is adding oats or flakes of almonds. And a handful of your favourite cereal for extra crunch can be equally satisfying too. Drew loves to add a handful of this to his bowl and it tastes especially scrumptious.

Experiment and have fun.

My only suggestion would be to make it as colourful and as texture-filled as possible. Make it a real breakfast treat.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce and wash the fruit thoroughly.

Title and content images courtesy of Nat Millie.

Pearl Grace Life You are good enough

You are good enough

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You are good enough

Pearl Grace Life You are good enoughIf you’ve ever questioned whether you are good enough then today’s post is for you.

If you’ve ever thought, I’m not worthy of_____________(fill in the blank) then don’t beat yourself up. Just know that you are worthy and you’re not alone.

The truth is many of us tell ourselves that we’re not deserving of love, success, happiness, money, friendship, peace, and the rest.

But as I talk about in the post Story time these are the stories we tell ourselves because in many instances we are afraid of what will happen if we reach out and actually attain that promotion, that relationship, that new skill that can transform the quality and trajectory of our lives, that physique we’ve always wanted and the career we’ve only ever dreamed about.

It’s therefore easier for us to remain in a place that is comfortable instead of challenging ourselves to achieve what is scary and uncertain.

Even if we’re not entirely happy with our current situation many of us will stay in the same place because it is what we’ve always known; it’s comfortable and it’s familiar. (For more on this check out the post Story time HERE).

But today, I’m asking you to doubt yourself, to question yourself and to feel slightly insecure.

I’m asking you to tap into the thing that makes you feel vulnerable.

Wait a sec, I know what you’re thinking, What, the frick! I came to your blog to feel happy and inspired, man, what the hell is this shizzle?

Well, here’s the thing, realising that you’re human, imperfect, and vulnerable is an important exercise on the path to really finding, or as the case may be increasing your level of joy and happiness.

It’s OK to have moments of self doubt. In fact they’re gonna happen whether you want them to or not. But when they do you should acknowledge how you feel in that moment- and own it.

Say to yourself, “Mmm. ok, I’m not feeling happy about myself right now… I’m feeling a little self-conscious, uncomfortable, ashamed, embarrassed, (whatever.)” Then say, “Ok. let me sit with these feelings for a sec.”

Don’t brush your emotions to one side or under the metaphorical rug. Don’t deny those feelings exist. Accept them because they are a part of you.

You can’t go through life loving and celebrating only the great parts of your character but shunning the parts that you don’t like. No can do, baby.

As the video explains, vulnerability is a powerful tool.

When we open ourselves up to being vulnerable  we also open ourselves up to receiving joy, love, happiness and more meaningful and deeper connections with the people around us.

We all have light and dark sides to our personality – they are what completes us. Being truly happy is about being honest with yourself about who you really are.

It may sound harsh to say this but you’re not perfect and neither am I. Yet despite this glorious fact we are still good enough.

You are good enough to be, do and achieve everything your heart conjures up and whatever your mind plots to achieve.

You are worthy of all the happiness in the world NOT because you are perfect and do all the right things – but just because you are NOT perfect but deserve them anyway.

And if you are passionate, ambitious, dedicated, kind, compassionate, generous and a student of life then you are well on your way to actualising whatever your mind can conceive. The world truly is your oyster.

Let me share this with you…

When I first became a mum, I was scared. Scratch that, I was PETRIFIED!!

I was terrified because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. And when I finally thought I had it sussed Ealy would go through a new phase that left me stumped again.

I was constantly wondering if my mum would be proud of me and if she would support the decisions I was making as a parent. (Confession: this is still a hard one for me to get over – it’s a work in progress.)

I was scared that I didn’t have all the answers, that I was really bad at geography and still counted on my fingers.

Being Ealy’s mum was – and still is – one of the biggest and scariest challenges I’ve ever had to face.

But it was made all the harder because I wanted to be the “perfect mummy” or at least I wanted to be as close to perfect as possible.

Now, logic and life had taught me that “perfection” didn’t exist but nonetheless I still struggled with this feeling that I wasn’t good enough.

Then over time, I found myself again. My old self. My pre-mum self. That person that was up for a laugh, ridiculous fun and who danced around the house like a lunatic.

She began to reappear and man, was I happy to see her again.

I realised in that moment that the best mummy- not the perfect mummy – but the best mummy Ealy could ever have was me.

With all my quirks, flaws, imperfections and rough edges, I was still the best mummy he could ask for because all he needed from me was love… and that was something I had in abundance and I never doubted my ability to shower him with it.

So, I think being happy is a state of mind and heart. Understanding that you are worthy of everything you have in life right now – the good and the not so good – is important if you want to find inner peace and joy.

You aren’t perfect – you never will be – and thank the lucky stars for that.

You will only ever be the best YOU that you can be in that moment.

Sometimes you’ll soar and sometimes you’ll suck.

But in those sucky times you’re still as fabulous, as splendid, as marvellous and as wonderful as you could possibly hope to be.

Believing in your heart that you are worthy of all the great things that life has to offer regardless of your shortcomings is the way to live.

You are MORE than good enough. I know it.

All my love,
Nat x

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” – Brené Brown (Researcher & Storyteller)

Discover more about Brené Brown HERE Images courtesy of  http://brenebrown.com

Pearl Grace Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Soup

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Warm Root Vegetable Soup

One of the things that I love most about this dish – aside from the fact that its incredibly delicious of course – is how easy it is to make and how much it makes from just a few ingredients.

It can generously serve up to 6 people and because its so simple to whip up its a great treat after a family walk or on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The only elbow grease you’ll have to expend is in the chopping. But chop away to a little bit of this and the time will fly! (Even with curlers in his hair this man is still my guilty pleasure!)

This warm root vegetable soup is packed with flavour and goodness – you’ll definitely be on track to reaching your 5-a-day quota!

Ingredients:
2 knobs of butter (I use Rachel’s Unsalted Organic)
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
3 parsnips (s) or 2 large ones, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
1 swede, finely chopped
1/2 a medium butternut squash, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, finely chopped
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 1/2 litres of veg stock (I use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillom Powder. 4 tsp per litre)

Method:
1. Heat up a large pot or a casserole pot on medium. Sweat the celery for a couple of mins

2. Toss in the carrots and cook for 5 mins stirring frequently to prevent sticking

3. Throw in the rest of the veg.

4. Add the thyme leaves. Stir for a couple mins to prevent sticking at the bottom.

5. Add half the stock. Increase the heat to bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cover with a lid.

6. Leave for 30 mins or until the vegetables are soft. Stir 2 or 3 times during this time.

7. Ladle in spoonfuls of the soup into a food processor/ blender. Add some of the remaining stock to create a smooth soup-like consistency. Repeat until all the veg has been whizzed.

8. Transfer soup back to the pot on a medium heat. Add any remaining stock to reach the consistency you desire. Add any additional seasoning to taste.

Dish up and enjoy with a crusty grainy slice of bread.

Tip!
Freeze any left overs. It lasts up to a month. And is a quick tasty meal option on a busy day. This dish is so versatile – you can literally throw in any left over bits of veg that you may have in your fridge to create your own variation. It can work as a starter or as a main course.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce

Title image courtesy of Nat Millie.

Pearl Grace Life The Power of Words

Change your words Change your world

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Change your words Change your world

Pearl Grace Life Change the worldI saw this video and it reminded me of the power of words so I wanted to share it with you.

How we describe our situations and how we perceive the world around us is incredibly powerful and ultimately affects how we treat people and how they treat us.

For example, let me paint you this picture.

It’s a grey Monday morning and is raining cats and dogs outside my window. Ealy had a restless night and spent most of it tossing and turning in our bed and I woke up with a stiff neck.

That’s one way I could see it. Or I could say,

Last night was amazing because I got loads of hugs and kisses from my little man and this morning I woke up in a warm and comfy bed. I love the sound of rain against my window pane and I can’t wait to have an awesome week.

Both are true but the one I choose to express to the world and most importantly tell myself will either help or hinder me.

Which version would you subscribe to?

The thing is, how we choose to see the world is massively important and affects the quality of our lives.

If I’m all doom and gloom then I’ll probably find myself alone a lot of the time. After all who wants to hang around with a sourpuss?

Most of us like to be around people who make us feel good.  We like to be in the company of people who brighten up our day and people who lift us up when we’re down. We love people who support us and who see the best in us.

It’s all about the power of the words and this video beautifully exemplifies that changing our words can change our world”.

So, this week I challenge you to think about the words you use to describe your situation.

Choose your words carefully and where possible attempt to find the positive and beauty in your experiences.

If you choose to see your circumstances as optimistic and hopeful then you open yourself up to receiving more of the same in your life.

By the way, I’m not talking about being fake. That won’t work.

I mean let’s be real, sometimes shitty things happen and it’s OK to be pissed off when they do. We’re human beings full of a wide spectrum of emotions and we are free to express them as we feel fit.

But perhaps in that moment you can find something in the situation that makes you laugh so you can brush it off and move on.

No more glass half empty excuses. Keep your glass topped up and add a fresh, squeeze of lemon juice or some sparkly cordial, throw in some crushed ice and a decorative swirl of lime peel. Sit back and enjoy, baby!

Remember miraculous and beautiful things happen to people who believe in miracles and see the beauty in what surrounds them.

So, how do you see the world?  Can you think of a time when things seemed bad but you were able to see the good in the situation? How did it affect you and those around you?

 

Title image courtesy of pastormarkmartin.com Content image courtesy of imgarcade.com

Pearl Grace Sugar Sweet

Sugar Sweet

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Sugar Sweet

Pearl Grace Life Show me yoursOk, this one’s for the girls, although fellas you’ll appreciate it too. In fact I’ll go as far as to say you will love it.

Before we dive right in, you’ll find a link to the audio post that inspired me to write today’s post at the end.

But for now here’s the general gist…

According to Darren Hardy – who by the way is an incredible guy, author, speaker and publisher of Success Magazine – what a man really wants isn’t what we ladies have always thought. You know, food, sex and refuge. Nope, that’s not what he wants.

Here’s Darren’s take:

He wants to be your hero. He wants to impress you. He wants your praise.
ALL we want… more than anything or from anyone… is to hear praise from our woman, to be impressive to her, to be HER hero.

He goes on to say,

Tell your man he is your hero. Be his biggest fan and cheerleader. Make him feel that he is impressive to you. Don’t let others praise and appreciate him more than you do. Continually praise, appreciate and pat him on the head and he will be your best friend and loyal companion forever.

Ok. Girls what do you make of that? 

You gotta listen to the whole thing to reap the full benefit of what he says but when I first heard this perspective I couldn’t stop laughing.

Not because I disagreed but because I felt like this guy had rumbled me and the jig was up!

I’ve been guilty of doing exactly what Darren talks about – holding back the praise because I didn’t think Drew needed it.

Let me be real for a sec. I know my man, and as much as I love him, I often hold back on showering him with sugar sweetness because I think he’s pretty good at stroking his own ego. (I mean that in the most loving of way of course).

But as Darren says so brilliantly, that’s beside the point and totally the wrong way to look at it.

If the only true thing your man is craving on a daily basis is your adulation, your praise and your eternal love then why not just give it to him?

I forwarded the message to Drew much to his delight and he was singing Darren Hardy’s praises for the rest of day! (It was very annoying.)

The truth is it takes nothing for me to tell Drew that I think he’s awesome, that he killed it on a brief (if he did) and that he looked amazing the other night he went out…  you know, girls, all the sugar sweet things that we love to hear our fellas say to us.

And guess what? It works both ways. If we give our men the reverence they so fervently desire then they’ll most likely do the same for us. Win-Win baby!

And to drill home the point further, I’ve been rinsing Maroon 5 on my iPhone this week; while out walking Riley, while strolling through the supermarket, whilst doing the laundry and cooking dinner and the lyrics to their song Sugar is not just wickedly awesome but it  reaffirms Darren’s thoughts on a man’s true needs. Making it a fabulous song for today’s post.

“Sugar, yes please, won’t you come and put it down on me. I’m right here, cos I need, a little love and sympathy. So baby show me good loving make it alright, I need a little sweetness in my life.” – Maroon 5, Sugar

And so for your viewing pleasure…

Hey, why not for the purpose of today, this week, this year, imagine your man singing these words to you…Mmm, Adam Levine… uh, I mean Mister Drew 😉

Sugar Sweet lovin’ baby

x

Discover more about Darren Hardy and listen to the full audio HERE (you’ll love it!)

Title image courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

Content image courtesy of bebrightblog.com

pasta bake title pic

Cheesy pasta bake

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Triple Cheesy Pasta Bake

pasta bake content picOk. This is a creamy and naughty cheesy delight.

I wouldn’t recommend having this too often if keeping your waistline in check is a top priority.

But if you’re looking for some comfort food that’s quick and easy to prepare then this triple cheesy pasta bake is a must try.

It’s super simple and takes less than 25 mins to rustle up. And what’s more you could prepare it in advance. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and then throw it in the oven when you’re ready to devour it – a great time saving dish! (Allow a little more time if cooking from chilled).

You can use different pastas and cheese too if you like. See some suggestions below.

Ingredients:
Penne Pasta (enough for the number of people eating)
Olive oil
2 tsp of green pesto
3-4 chopped chestnut mushrooms
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 handful grated cheddar
1/2 a ball of mozzarella cut or torn into dice size chunks
1 handful of grated parmesan
Black pepper and salt (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg. Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water with a teaspoon of olive oil and salt if desired. Cook pasta till it’s al dente (firm to bite).

2. While the pasta boils heat a spoonful of olive oil in a pan and add the mushrooms. Stir often to prevent it from catching. Add the mixed herbs and stir. Turn off the heat when the mushrooms are soft.

3. When the pasta is cooked drain and return to the pan. Add the pesto (enough to coat the pasta evenly). Add the mushrooms, black pepper, (salt if desired) and the cheddar. Stir together.

4. Pour into an ovenproof dish. Top with the mozzarella and parmesan. And if you like pepper as much as I do then add another couple of crushes of it at this point.

5. Place in the oven for 10-15 mins till the top is brown and crispy and the cheese is melted and gooey.

6. Remove from the oven and serve with a side of your favourite green veg and a couple of slices of warm garlic bread.

Switch it up!

For the meat lovers out there you could add a breast of chicken for extra flavour. Cut it into bite size chunks, cook it separately and season it with fresh thyme and black pepper and salt. Then stir it into the pasta with the other ingredients.

Or try with pancetta or smokey bacon for a salty meaty kick.

If penne ain’t your thing then fusilli or rigatoni will work perfectly as alternatives. And you could try it with smoked gouda or goats cheese for other cheese ideas.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce

Title and content images courtesy of Nat Millie.

Pearl Grace Life Thanks

Happy tears

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Happy tears

think of you Pearl Grace LifeI cried the other day when I watched this video.

I confess they were happy tears but I felt so moved by this sweet video that I couldn’t hold them back.

For so many reasons the topic and content really resonated with me.

I wanted to share it in hope that it may do the same for you.

After I watched it I was left thinking about the people in my life that I’m eternally grateful for.

The people who have shown me relentless support, backed me in every endeavour, been my biggest champions and who have always been there when I needed them.

Can you think of people like that in your life? – I’m sure you agree that those individuals are pretty special.

By the end of the video I was inspired to take action.

It was time to take my feelings of gratitude to the next level.

Last weekend my brother and his girlfriend came to stay.

This provided me with the perfect opportunity to express my gratitude.

I love my brother. We’ve been through a lot together and although we’ve not always agreed, I’ve always known that our bond was unbreakable.

We’re closer today than we ever have been and our relationship goes from strength to strength.

He’s an incredible person and means so much to me. So, I decided to tell him precisely that when he stayed over.

He was touched and so was I by his reaction. Together we all had a beautiful weekend; great food, drink, fresh air, conversation. That weekend we created some happy and lasting memories.

But I wasn’t done.

As the weekend came to an end I turned my grateful eye to Drew.

We say we love each other all the time and as lovely as that may sound, we do run the risk of saying it so much that the words lose their meaning.

So, I decided to write him a card outlining the reasons why he’s so special to me.

Granted we do this in cards to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries but this time there was nothing specific in the calendar and no event that the rest of the world we’re participating in.

Because there was ‘no official’ reason to writing such a card, it surprised him.

He said it meant so much. It now sits proudly on his bedside table so he can see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

I didn’t realise how much expressing my level of love and gratitude for other people would affect me.

It’s been incredible.

I’ve felt in a really good mood since. Happier, if that’s possible. It’s hard to explain…

All I can suggest is that you give it a try yourself and see the benefits work for you and those you love.

One final point…

Here’s the thing, we all think beautiful and magnificent things about other people (or at least we should) but rarely do we tell them.

Chances are those people that you adore and think the world of have no idea how you truly feel and the difference that they’ve made to your life.

Tell them why you value them so much. Tell them how much they’ve influenced you. And how special they are to you.

It might feel a little uncomfortable at first – even if you’ve known that person for your entire life – but you’ll start to feel better when you really get into it.

You may feel nervous and tempted to hold back a little but try not to. Allow your anxieties to dissipate and open up your heart.

And here’s the cherry sweet bit in all of this… What you give to others you get in return.

The goodness you put out into the world will find its way back to you but you have to start by giving.

As Jim Rohn said, “Giving starts the receiving process”.

Trust me, the love will boomerang back to you because that’s the nature of the universe.

I know if you’re reading this then you’re a happy and loving soul so doing this will be in alignment with everything you stand for and hold dear.

Just remember, you’ve gotta show love and express gratitude from a sincere and genuine heart felt place.

No flattery, ok. Mean what you say and say how you truly feel.

Go all out and express yourself fully. Feel it to the point of happy tears.

So, why not pick up the phone and make that call? It might be the best chat you ever have.

Who are you grateful for and why?

Please share with us in the comments below.

 

Title image courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

Content image courtesy of pixshark.com

chilli pearl grace life

Chilli

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Slow Baked Chilli

chilli PGLMy slow baked chilli is a great winter warmer and a fantastic dish for a casual night of entertaining with friends.

My slow oven baked chilli is packed with tons of veg and bags of flavour. Plus it’s a great way of ensuring you reach your quota of 5-a-day!

After a few minutes chopping, the rest of the cooking is simply spent throwing the ingredients in a pot, stirring and placing in the oven for a couple of hours.

Enough time to take the dog out for a walk, do a spot of cleaning, reply to emails or catch up on an episode of Game of Thrones.

You can adapt this super simple recipe to suit your own palette but here’s my take on the classic Chilli Con Carne.

Ingredients:
Oil (Hemp, Olive or your preferred cooking oil)
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 carrots chopped
400g of lamb mince
3 red chillies – 1 chopped finely and 2 halved to add to the chilli before placing in the oven
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
5 large tomatoes par-boiled, peeled and chopped (if from a can, add a level teaspoon of sugar to balance out the flavour)
300ml of stock (1 tbsp of bouillon or stock cube)
1 courgette chopped
1 sweet pepper chopped (red, yellow or green)
6-8 chestnut mushrooms chopped
400g of kidney beans (if from a can, drain and rinse before adding)

Method:
1. Preheat oven 180 deg F. Heat a large pot (that’s oven proof) on medium with a tablespoon of oil.

2. Add the garlic and onion let them sweat a little. Add the carrots and stir till slightly soft.

3. Add the mince. Turn up the heat. Stir until the meat browns a little.

4. Add the chopped chilli and spices. Stir together.

5. Add the tomatoes and let it boil and bubble for a bit. Add the stock and stir.

6. Add the courgette, pepper and mushrooms. Mix together. Allow to bubble. Add the kidney beans and stir. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven.

7. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Take out stir and taste. Add the halves of chilli pieces if desired. Return to the oven uncovered for 1 hour stirring half way through or as often as required.

8. Allow to cool a little then dish up with your favourite rice, warm tortilla wraps and a dollop of fresh yoghurt or soured cream on the side.

Switch it up!

You could traditionally use beef mince instead of lamb – I just love the flavour that the lamb provides.

Alternatively you could skip the meat altogether and make this a vegetable dish adding extra peppers, a selection of different mushrooms, various beans, with butternut squash or sweet potato in replacement.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce

Michaela DePrince

Badge of Honour

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Badge of Honour

Michaela DePrince Pearl Grace Life I was wondering, have you ever felt like you were different? Like you just didn’t fit in?

Have you ever let the feeling of being different stop you from going after the things in life that you truly want?

Or perhaps you were convinced by other people that you could never be anything more than your present situation or than the conditions you were born into…

Well, today, as you embark on a new week, I wanted to urge you wear your difference like a badge of honour.

Let your quirks and your unique qualities be the beautiful aspects of your character that you celebrate and that you proudly show the world.

Never let anyone convince you that you are inept of achieving all that is possible in the world and possible for you.

My wish for you this week is, that you find it in your heart to turn those parts of yourself that you were once ashamed of, or embarressed by, or felt insecure about, into a badge of honour that you show the world with your head held high.

Be proud to be different; to look different, to speak different, to work differently and to dream differently.

It’s OK to stand out from the cloud. It’s OK to be different. In fact it’s incredible.

You’re a star like everyone else so shine bright. You deserve to soar like an eagle to the heights of your biggest, scariest and most triumphant goals.

To rise to the pinnacle of your heart’s deepest desires so you can actualise your dreams.

That’s what I wish for you this week. And I’ll do the same.

Let this week be the turning point.

Be proud of who you are – every single part of your being – and share your splendour with the world.

After all, how dull would the world be if we were all the same?

Michaela DePrince… 

I’m sure as you watched and listened to Michaela’s story you were moved.

I first discovered her a couple of years ago when I watched the documentary, First Position, and I was deeply touched by her story.

The tale of a war-orphan that was rescued and became a ballet dancer. As she says at the beginning of the clip, her life is the stuff of fairy tales.

But hearing her describe her life in her own words you can see that her life was anything but that.

Her vitiligo and her struggles are the badge of honour that makes her special and that makes her beautiful.

They have aided her in becoming the incredible dancer that she is today.

They make her an inspiration to so many young girls and women around the world.

In sharing her story she has decided to wear her differences; her tragedies, challenges and ultimately her triumphs like a badge of honour.

What ‘differences’ have you once struggled to overcome that you can now wear as a badge of honour? 

 

Title image courtesy of www.teenvogue.com

Content image courtesy of www.dailymaverick.co.za

bruscetta

Bruschetta

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Bruschetta with a twist

bruscettaHere’s a special twist on the classic bruschetta.

In theory you could add your favourite toppings to satisfy your taste buds but this is one of my favourites.

Ingredients:

2 slices of spelt bread (or a crusty and seedy wholegrain option works beautifully too)

1 ripe avocado (diced or mashed – up to you)

2 large ripe vine tomatoes, chopped (or 4/5 small/cherry ones if desired)

A drizzle of Hemp oil (or Olive, Rapeseed or your whatever you like the taste of)

Crush of black pepper and Himalayan salt (or sea salt)

Scatter of chilli powder or flakes (optional)

Method:

1. Toast the bread

2. Top one slice with the avocado and the other one with the tomatoes

3. Season as desired and drizzle with your favourite oil.

Can be enjoyed at anytime of the day, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Switch it up!

For an alternative flavour, try a slice with a combination of pitted olives. It’s delicious.

Or add a healthy dollop of hummus on the toast before spooning on your topping. Nutritious and yummy.

Fresh herbs are also an option. Fresh thyme or basil work marry well with tomatoes.

Where possible use organic and locally grown produce

Scrubs Love

Love

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Love: The gift of choice this Valentine’s Day

JD and Turk LoveLove is in the air. Can you feel it? 

The day of love is fast approaching.

I know its the day we’re supposed to shower our beloved with gestures and tokens of affection.

Now don’t get me wrong, I welcome little boxes of chocolates, bouquets of  flowers and sentimental gifts like every other lady on the planet.

But if we strip away the commercialism and clever marketing that sells us on the idea that February 14th is in someway more special than any other day in the year, then we have to admit to a certain degree that Valentine’s Day is mostly hype – albeit fun and O.T.T but hype all the same.

Now, I’m not hating on Valentine’s Day. In fact I love it.

It presents us with a wonderful opportunity to be playful, silly and over the top.

Some childish fun can provide us with a welcome break from the adult trappings of our daily lives.

I say, indulge in all the alluring Valentine’s Day pleasures available to you. After all it’s only for one day.

But the truth is your main squeeze should know you love them 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Regardless of all the teddy bears, balloons, presents, frolics and fanfare your feelings should be clear.

So, I was thinking the other day…

What if we looked at Valentine’s Day from a different perspective.

What if this year we used it as an opportunity to celebrate all kinds of love?

Check out Turk and JD in Scrubs expressing their “Guy Love” in a truly awesome way!

Here’s the thing.

February 14th rolls by and we tend to focus the majority of our attention on our intimate relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact it’s lovely.

But love is love – romantic love and platonic love. It’s all beautiful.

So what if we extend our focus this Valentine’s Day…

What if we expressed our love to more than just the person with whom we share our bed with?

How memorable would that Valentine’s Day be?

For example, if you knew someone spending the day on their own. You could send them a little message of love or invite them round for a bite to eat or a cup of tea…

How wonderful would that be?

Not only would it brighten up their day but it will surely fill you with a feeling of true abundance.

I can practically guarantee it.

And what’s more, the impact of such a gesture is likely to last a lot longer than anything you could buy.

The person on the receiving end would never forget how you made them feel and that’s definitely a gift worth giving. Worth sharing.

LOVE. Give it to as many people as you can this Valentine’s Day

So, how can you demonstrate love in a more meaningful way this Valentine’s Day?

Love Nat x

 

Title image courtesy of galleryhip.com

Content image courtesy of www.hollywood.com

 

A Path Appears

A Path Appears

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A Path Appears – Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

“Our world is now a global village” – Desmond Tutu, A Path Appears

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunnI love that quote because it reminds us that we are all connected.

Devastating events that take place on the other side of the world affect us, affect the whole world.

Perhaps not physically but we are human beings and we are programmed to feel.

We are designed to be touched, to be moved and to be affected by what we see and hear.

I was moved by this video so much that I knew I had to share it with you.

It’s definitely a message worth spreading.

Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn highlight some of the most severe cases of human oppression that takes place around the world in their latest documentary A Path Appears.

They are joined by actors and activists Malin Akerman, Mia Farrow, Ronan Farrow, Jennifer Garner, Regina Hall, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, and Alfre Woodard.

Travelling throughout the United States, Colombia, Haiti and Kenya they uncover the harshest forms of oppression and human rights violations that are truly devastating.

They also offer up solutions that are being implemented to overcome these problems and ultimately provide the women featured in the film with hope.

It’s always worth remembering that we can overcome even the most devastating and spirit crushing events when we see or are shown a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Even if it’s just a flicker in the distance we should always consider it as a symbol of hope.

Its in the belief that things will get better and that our situation can change that gives us the strength to keep our chin up.

Whatever challenge you may be facing, and God knows I couldn’t imagine how painful it is for you, I hope you never lose the belief that you can survive and and you can thrive.

There is always tomorrow. You are stronger than you know.

The book A Path Appears was released September 2014. The documentary premiers January 2015 on PBS. (Not sure where/when it will appear on UK tele but I’m sure it will be available online at some point – keep your eyes peeled)

Please visit http://apathappears.org for more about A Path Appears

Title image courtesy of www.youtube.com

Content image courtesy of www.amwa-doc.org

blank page

Masterpiece

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Got a blank page…Write an awesome story. Create your Masterpiece

masterpieceYour life is a masterpiece.

As you embark on a brand new week and on another month I wanted to remind you of that incredible fact.

It’s always worth remembering that you are your own hero.

You are the star of the show you’re performing in.

You are the author of the story you create and the true creator of the world you design.

Embrace the start of a new month, of a new week and of every single rising sun that marks the beginning of a new day.

Each and every time this happens you are presented with a clean fresh page watermarked with your name on it.

A personalised page to design the life of your dreams.

It’s been given to you so you can inscribe the next chapter of your tale so make it count!

It’s your responsibility to write, draw, colour, paint and decorate your page however you  wish.

It will be as unique as you are.

It will be as original and as bespoke as you want it to be.

It can be quirky and whacky. Bold and striking.  Soft and gentle. Whatever you want.

It will be all yours but the world will get the opportunity to enjoy it, marvel at it, and value it every single day.

They’ll do this in every word you speak and in every move you make.

Ensure your actions and words are an accurate representation of the ‘masterpiece’ you’re creating on a daily basis.

Don’t let yesterday’s troubles hold you back from doing what you were destined to do or prevent you from becoming who you were born to become.

Today is a new day. A fresh start. A new beginning. Start your story now.

“Today, is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.” – Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten

Title images courtesy of musingtestament.com

Content image courtesy of www.quotessays.com/blank-page.html

Oprah gives away cars

Exceed Expectations

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Exceed Expectations

Oprah's car give away 2004Now, here’s an awesome example of how we can exceed expectations.

You may have already seen this video or you may have heard about it.

But trust me, it wont hurt to see it again.

After all, you can’t get tired of seeing joy, generosity and love.

So, back in 2004 Oprah surprised her audience with a massive surprise.

It began with 11 members of the audience being asked up on stage.

Unbeknownst to them their family members had contacted the show telling the producers that they each needed a new car.

Oprah, surprised them all by giving each of them a new car.

Now, that’s pretty cool in itself. But, hey this is Oprah and you know she wouldn’t stop there.

She then exceeded everybody’s expectations by handing every member of the audience a gift box.

She said, “one of the boxes holds the key to the 12th car”.

Everybody in the audience we’re buzzing with anticipation at this point!

Building the suspense she told everyone to wait and open their box at the same time…

When they did, they were surprised to find that they all had been given a new car and Oprah shouted, “Everybody gets a car! Everybody get’s a car!”

Check it out!

Now, I know it’s Oprah and we’ve come to expect her to blow us away with her generosity and fanfare.

But the truth is so many people in a similar position to Oprah’s don’t go the extra mile like she does.

In fact we all have within us – irrespective of our social standing or financial status – the ability to live our lives in such a way that we exceed the expectations of the people around us.

In going the extra mile to show someone how much we care, displaying acts of kindness to a stranger, listening more attentively, putting in extra hours at work; on a project or on your business for reasons beyond just monetary or selfish gain, and the list goes on and on.

The funny thing is this. The person in the clip getting the most joy and ecstasy from the whole thing is Oprahsee how giddy she gets when as she recalls the highlights from the episode.

And this would be the same for anyone in her shoes.

When we help others, we are in fact helping ourselves.

It’s nourishment for the soul to bring happiness to others.

Einstein expressed it perfectly when he said, “Only a life lived for others is the life worth while.”

We all have the capability to surprise another person and touch their life – no matter how small we think our impact will be.

And, guess what, it doesn’t have to take massive amounts of efforts to achieve.

Exceeding someone’s expectations can be super-small. Like the other day when I returned home from walking Riley to see Drew hoovering the lounge.

It was one of the many things I had to do before getting dinner on the go but he surprised me (and helped me) by doing it without me asking.

In that moment, he exceeded my expectations. What’s more he got a buzz out of seeing my face light up as I opened the door to hear the hoover humming away.

It’s totally win-win.

Give it a try!

So, tell me, how can you exceed someone’s expectations of you this weekend?

Sexual Chocolate

Soul Glow

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Soul Glow

I’m super excited about this page because it will be dedicated to all the amazing things that we can do to de-stress, aid relaxation, sleep better and so much more.

I’m hoping it will be a place of sanctuary for you.

There will be an abundance of free material all geared towards helping you to operate from a place of calm and serenity – (well, as much as possible).

This page is desired to shine some much needed light on our souls – in other words, on ourselves – so that we can shine all the brighter in the world; be more productive, feel happier, love more openly and ultimately serve the world in a more meaningful way.

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re a giver.

You probably give up so much of yourself to other people before you take care of yourself.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t have enough time, or enough energy, or enough money to treat yourself, whatever, then fear not. This page will be just the ticket.

By the way, I think its wonderful that you have a generous and selfless disposition. It’s amazing and I wouldn’t suggest you change.

However its equally important that you don’t neglect yourself and your own needs. It’s essential that you love yourself.

And that’s exactly what Soul Glow will help you do.

I won’t say too much right now. Instead I’ll let it manifest organically before your eyes.

Just know that there will be loads of content for you to watch, read, try out, discover, embrace and share.

I can’t wait. It’s gonna be epic! 

Resources

Resources

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Resources

One of my favourite quotes comes from Jim Rohn who often talked about the importance of self education.

He said the power of a good book should be considered in terms of “Bread for the head.”

Feeding our minds with nourishment rich food (information) is so important.

I believe what we read and watch, who we talk to and what we listen to can determine how we perceive the world.

Debbie DownerIt stands to reason that if you hang out with Debbie Downer and fellow Nay-sayers and chomp down on burger and fries every night you’ll have a very different view of life and the world to say someone who reads and listens to positive resources and starts their day with a green juice.

So, this page (when it’s ready) will be devoted to books, resources, tools and programs that help us to see things from a glass half full, the world is my oyster and a reach for the stars perspective.

More details coming soon …

In the meantime for your viewing pleasure and to whet your appetite for all the amazing goodies that will fill this page, here’s a trip down memory lane.

Jim Rohn teaches the principles of getting what you want.

I love what he says about, “making plans like an adult and believing in them like a child”

That’s a pretty cool philosophy.

Check out the video and share your thoughts in the comments below.

It’s so retro – I love it!

So, are you asking the right questions?

Let’s make 2015 the year we arrive at the Beach of Success with a bucket, baby!

Love Nat x

juices

Recipes

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Recipes

That’s right you guessed it, here’s where we’ll be cooking up a storm.

Meals, snacks, treats and smoothies galore that have been cooked and whizzed up by yours truly (and sometimes Drew) will be flooding this page soon enough.

I’m a busy mum – like so many of you out there – so I get it, your time is very valuable.

And as much as I love cooking, and my new kitchen (just had it fitted!) there are also 101 other things that need to get done by bedtime.

So, my recipes will honour that.

I believe life is a delicate game of balance.

It’s no fun to just eat healthily if you don’t enjoy it. Just like it’s a bad idea to eat crap that rots your insides just because you like the taste. (Sounds a little dramatic, I know, but it’s kinda true)

Finding a happy medium is what it’s all about and that will be reflected in the meals I’ll be dishing up and sharing.

I personally like my meals brimming with flavour using the best ingredients I can find.

Wherever possible everything listed will be organic, fair trade and free of any nasty stuff. That’s how I roll.

For me simplicity is key – some of my favourite meals are, One Pot dishes – like my lamb tagine with butternut squash and apricots. Quick salads, like my tangy sardine, tomato, avocado and basil salad with lemon juice. And fresh juices like Drew ‘Green Monster’ packed full of green veg, berries, wheatgrass, macs. Short of putting hairs on your chest, that smoothie definitely fires you up and prepares you for the day.

Basically, you’ll find awesome ideas for you to rustle up at anytime of your day, for you, your family and for entertaining.

Easy, Tasty, and fun to make.

Stay tuned for up coming vids…