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“Do What You Love and You’ll Never Work a Day in Your Life.” Especially if you start now.

Did anybody else start re-thinking their life with the imminency of Brexit? And then with the enforced General Election? And now with Covid-19…

I had realised quite a few years ago I was working on my job at the time but had regret about not pursuing any of my other numerous passions when I was younger. What or who could I have been, if only..? I loved writing, I loved movies – but was told these wouldn’t amount to a ‘proper job’.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re with a terrific company (I am) and love what you do (I do), who wouldn’t feel blessed in today’s climate?

But what if I made a decision to pursue my passions on the side anyway? So what if I wasn’t very good (yet!) or couldn’t work out how to monetise them (yet!) or hadn’t figured out (yet!) how any of it could help others in a positive way?

Why wouldn’t I just find a way to do what I love for the sake of it, in its own right and for the pleasure derived in itself, to start with. Then see what happens from there?

There is so much doing the rounds on what the government should have done in the current crisis, what a different government would have done, etc. And that just makes me feel like nobody believes they have control in the outcome of our own destiny. It feels disempowering.

I choose to work hard in all I am doing, whatever the circumstances, recognising my weaknesses and developing myself and my numerous passions and skills. I commit to finding ways to improve and add value for others, while I have the time and opportunity.

I can’t control the challenges and set backs and government and systems.

I can control my responses to these, my actions now and my preparedness for times to come.

I’m doing what I love anyway, when and while I can! It doesn’t feel like work. There’s nothing to lose in getting the most out of every day right now, especially not knowing how long it will last. And besides what’s to lose if great things can come out later as a result?

 

 

 

 

 

EASY VEGAN CUPCAKES DURING COVID

Stuck in lockdown? Want to pass the time with some baking? Try this awesome vegan cupcake recipe!

I’ve done the research and the dry ingredients you most likely already have in your cupboards. Not only that but currently these vegan ingredients are easier to source than eggs and butter AND go further, ergo cheaper and require fewer shop visits per batch!

Being vegan these cupcakes avoid the use of animals as far as is practiseable and possible and, topically right now, that means avoiding the birth of zoonotic diseases at source, such as Mad Cow Disease, Avian Flu and Covid-19!

These cupcakes are FLUFFY, LIGHT, MOREISH and like your mum used to make!

Makes 24 cupcakes. You will need:

  • 200g/1 Cup vegan margarine (ideally Nurtali, which is also palm oil free, supporting our Oranguatan friends). Otherwise you cannot miss Flora – it is EVERYWHERE.
  • 300g/1 Cup caster sugar
  • 200g/3 qtrs cup vegan yoghurt (in the free from refrigerated section. Soya, coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, whatever)
  • 200ml/7 eighths cup soya milk (or any plant based milk – sweetened, unsweetened, long-life, fresh, whatever)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 400g/3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt

Icing:

I know lots of people like ‘tall’ icing on cupcakes, I am not one of them. If you are, double up on the following:

  • 250g/2 and a half cups icing sugar
  • 150g/2 thirds cup vegan margarine (as above)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Colouring/decorations as wanted (or not) I used Tesco food colouring as they are all vegan, (avoiding the use of beetles and bees!) as well as Dr Otker UNICORN CONFETTI, which is one of the few vegan sprinkles readily available at a supermarket.

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180c. Line two muffin trays with cupcake cases.

Cakes 12

2) Add the margarine to your mixing bowl.

Cakes 11

3) Add the caster sugar to your mixing bowl.

Cakes 14

4) Whisk with electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

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5) Add the yoghurt.

cakes 9

6) Whisk in part of the yoghurt, then the rest. Your mixture will become slughly lumpy and separated. This is fine!

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7) Add the milk. Whisk this in. Your mixture will become very lumpy and separated. This is fine!

Cakes 10cakes 15

8) Add the vanilla extract. Whisk this in. Your mixture will be very lumpy and separated. This is fine!

cakes 13

9) Add the flour, one cup at a time, folding in using the beaters off, then whisking with the beaters on. Your mixture will become smooth, light and the cake batter you recognise! 

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10) Use a table spoon to spoon the mixture into the cupcases, leaving room for rising.

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11) Bake as close the centre of the oven as possible for fifteen minutes or until springy to the touch. Remove and leave to cool in the tins for five minutes then take each individual one out and place onto a wire rack.

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While they are cooling, wash your beaters and mixing bowl, then mix your icing ingredients.

1) Add the sugar to the margarine and whisk unil loose, light and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence. Add the colouring if using it and whisk.

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2) Once cakes are cooled, decorate as wanted.

Cakes 16

3) SERVE

cakes 4Cakes 1

 

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Tofu Scramble! 8 reasons it ‘beats’ eggs! 😉

* ‘Happy Eggs’ UK confirms their hens are spent from intensive laying, so slaughtered, by 18 months old. The natural lifespan of a chicken is 12 years. This is standard practise in the egg industry.

* ‘Happy Eggs’ confirms that in breeding laying hens, male chicks are considered disposable bi-products so gassed at one day old. This is standard practise. Other methods to kill them include maceration and crushing/suffocation en masse in bin bags.

* By numbers, Chickens are the most abused species on the planet. 9 billion are killed a year, excluding the babies in the egg industry (260 million a year in the US and 40 million a year in the UK alone.)

* Eggs are the bird equivalent of the human ovum, which is passed through mentstruation.

* Yolk and the whites of eggs contain nutrients to nurture an un-hatched baby chick. Humans could not be more physiologically different from a baby bird and ergo do not benefit nutritionally from eggs.

* In the US and UK egg companies are banned by the ASA from advertising or marking egg packaging as ‘healthy’, or any variant or implication of this, because they are not.

* There are over 30 alternative ingredients to eggs for eating directly, cooking and baking, including tofu, aquafaba, flax/chia seeds, banana, apple sauce. Ask your nearest vegan what is best for which dish!

* According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, tofu has been shown to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in women.

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SMONDAY – that time on Sunday when Monday anxiety kicks in…

Many people live their life just for the weekend. It’s not only that we spend five days looking forward to just two. It’s also that most people only do what they enjoy most in just those two days…..

Wouldn’t it be better, if, instead of living for the weekends, we lived full time?

Here are ten habits to break and make to have something to look forward to besides ‘Fri-Yay’!

1) Stop counting down to the weekend – When counting down, you’re telling yourself that today, and everyday until Friday, is crap and not worth living. You’re literally wishing most of your life away! Catch yourself, ditch the thought and bring yourself back to the present! 

2) Stop thinking a whole day is a write off – especially before it’s even begun – A whole day is not crap just because of the day of the week it is! What’s more, if one bad thing happens in a day, this doesn’t determine the whole day a write off. The more you tell yourself ‘It’s Monday, it sucks!’ or ‘I am having a bad day’ the more you make it that way. Focus on responses to any one bad thing that has to be dealt with. Although bad things happen (and on any day) –  it’s you with your new habits that still makes the overall day great! 

3)  Watch the Sunrise or Sunset – Why leave that holiday feeling to just one or two weeks once or twice a year? I prioritise appreciating and posting sunrises and sunsets. There is something magical about being present at the golden hour, sipping on a drink and watching the sun slip below the horizon. Or being up and watching the wonder of a new day ahead of everyone else. Instead of spending this same magical hour in the morning or evening in bed or in front of a screen, capture the holiday feeling every day!

4) Count your Blessings – Taking some things for granted while highlighting when there’s a problem or something negative is a habit. Set up for a great day by counting your blessings, or giving gratitude. Write or name five things in your life you are grateful for and the reasons why you appreciate them. They can be anything really small to really big. Upon waking up if possible. But on the car drive or dog walk will do just fine. The more we count our blessings, the more of them we are likely to have!

5)  Go out Midweek – Yes, I know it’s a school night. Go to bed half an hour earlier the rest of the week if you must, but make big plans for a Wednesday night. Go to a gig, meet up with friends and stay up too late drinking wine. Catch a show, go to a movie – whatever YOU want! Break up your week by making unforgettable memories with the company you choose! So what if you are tired the next day? It’s not school. You are an adult – you know how to be responsible at work. This is your LIFE we’re talking about not wasting! 

6) Stop watching the News/reading Newspapers – It’s no secret that News is deliberately negative with a sensationalist twist to invoke fear and powerlessness. That doesn’t mean it’s not real, but bad news isn’t ALL that is real!  Be conscious about putting good stuff into your mind and the enhancing effects of this on your mood. Subscribe to YouTube channels on self confidence, self love and personal development. Or invest in some personal development books. It’s an easy way to get good vibes in and just fifteen minutes a day is enough to change your outlook for your day and your life!

7)  Create a special atmosphere at home – We are obsessed with having our own place – just so we can leave it empty all day every day to go to jobs! Really start living in, and enjoying, your home! I hate cleaning, but I LOVE the feeling of just ‘being’ in my home when my house has been cleaned! Just sitting on the couch? Turn the tv off, put on some music. Burn incense or your favourite candles. Get the lighting right and popcorn ready to really make the most of a good movie. Have fresh sheets and pyjamas ready to climb into after a hot bath!

8)  Travel more often – Ok so you’re limited to a few holiday days a year. Instead of spending six months or even a year living for that one or two week holiday, why not book more holidays more often? Book Monday and Friday off or Tuesday and Wednesday and tag them on to a weekend adventure! Have the next trip booked ahead of the one you’re going on to guarantee avoiding post-trip blues!

9)  Take steps to change your Life – If you really hate Monday and getting up to face the day (and the above aren’t helping), take time to identify if there is a more deep rooted problem. Don’t like your job? Want to change profession? Want to work on your own dreams, be your own boss?  Start taking steps towards your big change on a part time basis. We were not born to just go to work, pay bills and die. The sooner you get started on your new direction, the sooner you will get there! 

10) Give an hour to writing down your Goals for the week – Sixty minutes of thinking about the great things you will do for yourself, diarising the times and knowing the bigger outcome of these, can transform your week ahead. Write your Goals down and better still do this on Sunday to beat blue and anxious with excited and empowered. Practised weekly, this can transform your life!

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It’s time to make a Run

It’s interesting that this direction from my top mentor and coach has come out now. But then, on the path to self discovery and ergo self-mastery, I have discovered that nothing is a coincidence. Particularly timing.

In the last week I was reflecting, ruminating (and all that good stuff) on how to successfully impact more people. What could be learned? How could I do better? Long ago and long forgotten words from my father popped into my head:

“Rachel has never run for anything in her life.”

Although they had lain dormant for so many years, now they were popping up repeatedly. Day after day, sometimes several times a day!

Was it true? Had I never put the full extent of effort into anything I wanted, ever…? OMG and is this a belief I’ve had about myself thus dooming me to a life of eternal strolling the path of mediocrity…?

I started arguing back: ‘Well, I never found anything worth running for before!’ and “Why, Rachel, why? Why have you never run?!” and retorts “well those words hardly motivate me to run!”

And then I quickly came to the conclusion that it really doesn’t matter either way. That this wasn’t why this was coming up now. That this wasn’t the lesson here.

We take on the words and beliefs of others about ourselves as though they are true. Particularly when a) it’s something negative and b) from a parent. I am sure my father’s intention was to motivate me. I just now know myself well enough to know that that kind of ‘motivation’ – doesn’t!

I sought people who inspire and motivate me in a way that’s in alignment with my soul. That give me room to grow as me. People and words that resonate with my naturally optimistic nature. People and words that don’t ever close the door to hope, faith and the possibility for change!

Who you were in the past is irrelevant to your future. Other people’s words don’t define you.  You can choose at any time to take on somebody else’s negative belief about yourself and be bound by it, or choose to know better of, and for, yourself.

What matters is who you choose to listen to now. Who you choose to be now.

I choose the words of my coach now. His words resonate now. Motivate me now. I can now identify any words (and people) that don’t and actively reject them as untrue. All that matters is now and the fact that, right now, I am fucking running!