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Easy Vegan Meal Alternatives

vegan meal ideas alternatives easy
It probably hasn't escaped your attention that veganism is EVERYWHERE at the moment. #Veganuary is in its final stages, supermarkets are producing vegan ready meals, and we're even getting vegan Cornettos soon. Now I don't know about you, but I think that's a massive win. But before I delve into this post about easy vegan alternatives that I've personally loved this month, it's time for me to talk about something that I haven't been liking so much...

Outdoor Activities for Winter

outside outdoor winter activities ideas

When searching online for inspiration for how to spend time outside on a wintry weekend, I came across plenty of articles advising everything from making snow angels to cross country skiing. However, here in the UK we're not normally blessed with more than a couple of centimeters of snow at a time in the winter (and even that tiny amount sends public services into meltdown) so sledging and ice fishing are unfortunately off limits. (Yes, ice fishing was a genuine suggestion in one article). Sensing a gap in the market when it comes to snowless winter fun ideas, I've decided to put together my own post of UK-suitable outdoor activites to inspire you to wrap up warm and get outside!

wintry outside fun activity inspiration

But first, why the hell do I recommend getting outside in the winter? I'm a country girl at heart. I grew up on a farm in rural Suffolk with no neighbours, no road noise (aside from the occasional tractor), and birdsong aplenty. These are things that I miss so much now that I live in a big city. Don't get me wrong, I love Leicester and the lovely flat I live in here, but sometimes, I crave that peace and quiet, without a car in earshot. Walking through a blissful green field with only your own thoughts for company is an introvert's dream. It's an important opportunity to recharge and ground yourself, something I try to do regularly, whatever the season. But enough of my ramblings, let's get into the guide of how you can embrace the outdoor life just like me!

cold weather ideas activity

Go on a photography adventure

This post is actually brought to you by a photography adventure that I went on last weekend! I was lucky enough to receive a new camera lens for Christmas so I was dying to try it out on some new subjects. I found so much inspiration for new angles and ways of using my lens (even having a play around on manual mode, eek) in the outdoor environments of the Cambridge Botanical Gardens, which brings me on to my second outdoor activity idea... 

Visit your city's Botanical Gardens

Cambridge isn't the only city with gorgeous Botanical Gardens, you can find them in Sheffield (beautifully shown off by Jessica and James in their day out post), as well as Oxford, Newcastle, Birmingham and many more! Botanical Gardens are a lovely mix of wide open spaces as well as greenhouses and indoor areas to explore if you're feeling a little chilly - ideal for a winter's day!

Walk a journey you'd usually drive

The perks of this are endless: first off, it's free AND an environmentally friendly choice! Even if you won't be venturing out of the city on this walk, you'll still be getting those all-important exercise benefits, and you may even discover some new things to love about your hometown that you'd never noticed before, such as a house with a beautiful garden, an adorable puppy going on his walk, or a new cafe you'd really like to pop in to!

things to do winter outside

Make your own scavenger hunt

This is a really fun activity to do with children, or even just a group of enthusiastic friends! Make it a competition amongst your outdoorsy group to find a selection of objects - they can be anything you choose. For example, an acorn, a stone, a feather, a clover leaf. You can even add a few silly things like a stick the exact length of your middle finger or the prettiest leaf you come across!

Take a winter picnic

Picnics are by no means a summer exclusive! Pack yourself a thermos full of soup, some good old fashioned sarnies, and a blanket to wrap yourself up in as well as one to sit on. It'd be rude not to treat yourself to a few sweet treats as well, you need the sugar to keep you warm, right?!

Visit a National Trust Property

History, scenery and the promise of some amazing scones in the ever-present cafe, what more could you ask for? I love visiting National Trust places (including those in Salisbury and York) because there's always something new to discover. I've been to art exhibitions, amazing garden installations, and even miniature train rides at National Trust venues and I'm not ashamed to admit how much I enjoy them!

things to do winter cold ideas

Go birdwatching 

This might seem like something your grandparents might do on a weekend, but you'll be surprised how enthralling bird watching can get when you start to get into it! I mentioned above my love of birdsong, and I find that there's nothing like seeing a little robin flitting around to bring a smile to your face. If you've brought your camera along, you can challenge yourself to take a few snaps of the birds you spot as well! 

Make bark rubbings from trees

We're going from activities suitable for the over eighty-fives to those appropriate for under fives in one swoop, but who cares?! Taking bark rubbings from trees using a piece of paper and a crayon was something I loved doing as a child. You can get creative with your rubbings once you're home too - they'd make a great scrapbook background to memorialise your day out, or you could turn them into cards, envelopes, anything you like!

Plan a pub / cafe walk

Before you slip your welly boots on and prepare to jump in all the muddy puddles you can find, plan yourself a walking route that passes by a couple of pubs or cafes. These will break up your journey, give you the chance to sit down and warm up over a steaming mug of coffee or something a little stronger, and make your afternoon stroll all the more enjoyable!

winter cold ideas things to do activities

And there we have it, my top nine ideas for outdoor activities perfectly suited to the colder months! If you have anything to add to my list, don't hesitate to comment below!

Are you an indoor or an outdoor person?

Until next time,

A x

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My Personal Philosophy for a Happy Life

personal life philosophy happiness

What is the guiding philosophy of your life? The core beliefs or central tenets that keep you going, day in day out? In the past, if you'd asked me about my personal philosophy, I'd probably have shrugged and said "eh - I don't really have one." But recently, all that has changed, and I've come up with a personal philosophy of my very own. It's not really a statement or a phrase that I live by, instead it takes the form of a question that I ask myself on a daily basis. Stopping to think about this question and the act of answering it helps me in so many aspects of my life, so today I'm going to reveal this mysterious question and encourage you to start asking yourself the same thing!

What is a "Lifestyle Blogger" Anyway?

definition lifestyle blogger blog

"So, what do you blog about?" Oh that infernal question. It pops up every time a family member asks about my blog, or when I meet new fellow bloggers at events. Whenever I'm presented with this inevitable inquiry, I never really know what to answer. I declared loud and proud in my blogging fuck budget post that I don't really have a niche. I enjoy being niche-less because it means that I can write about pretty much anything that takes my fancy, everything from crafting projects to sunny getaways, but this makes explaining to people exactly what I do is pretty tricky. Usually, if anyone asks, I simply say that "I'm a lifestyle blogger". But this term brings me a pang of discomfort every time I utter it. And today I'm going to talk about why.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

vegan chocolate mousse tofu marzia

We are officially into the second week of Veganuary, the 31 days of veganism challenge which, as I mentioned in my New Year post, I have taken on this year. Going vegan doesn't mean I'm missing out on any sweet treats, however! I've shared a vegan chocolate cake recipe on my blog before, and I am always scouring other blogs and YouTube channels for more vegan cooking inspiration! So, when one of my favourite YouTubers, Marzia, posted a no-bake vegan pudding recipe (see the video below), I just knew that I had to recreate it!

Blogger Book Nook #5: Judging a Book by its Cover

This month on the Blogger Book Nook, we're doing something a little bit daring. In fact, we're breaking one of the cardinal rules of reading and *gasp* ... judging a book by its cover. The old saying goes that you should never do this because you never know what will end up being hidden within the pages (literally or metaphorically), but in January, Tabitha and I have challenged our blogger book club to pick up a new book based just on the cover art and give it a go! Will we be pleasantly surprised? Or will we vow always to read the blurb in future? Let's find out!

This Time Next Year II

Hardcore fans of my blog who have been reading since the dark days of 2016 may remember that this time last year, I completed the This Time Next Year tag (try saying that three times in a row fast). I thought that it might be fun to revisit this post to check on how well I got on with the goals I set last year, as well as setting some new targets for 2018. I don't believe in New Year resolutions as such because they always tend to fall by the wayside before we reach the middle of January, but as I mentioned in my summer goals post, having targets gives me so much motivation to smash them. Goal-setting worked well for me in 2017 so I am determined to continue!