Hey everyone, Erica here with WILW ED #33. Hope you all have the best day ever!

What I’m Loving Wednesday – Edition 33

Reading: The Elephant Journal

I have to admit that reading Elephant Journal articles that I find on Facebook is probably my top form of procrastination, however I always seem to be reminded of something small, but important, by each article. They allow me remain engaged with spiritual and moral concepts and development through the medium of social media, which is generally not so good at promoting such wellbeing. I like the concept of ‘curating’ your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feed in such a way that when you do fall down that rabbit-hole you are exposed to largely positive influences and intellectually stimulating content (despite the entertaining qualities of cute dogs and funny cat videos). Elephant Journal is one of the pages on Facebook that I like to consider a source of intellectual and spiritual content in my feed.

Watching: The Wrong Girl

As a die-hard Offspring fan, I was naturally sad to see the season end and remain hopeful that it will return next year. However, Channel Ten has not failed to satisfy my mid-week Australian drama TV cravings with their newest show – The Wrong Girl. Based on a book by Australian author Zoe Foster Blake, The Wrong Girl follows the daily mishaps and awkward encounters of the protagonist, Lily, as she attempts to navigate delicate situations in her work, family, social and personal life. The parallels to Offspring are abundant – a strong, loveable female lead, crazy family and friends, interconnected home and work life and so on – but I am equally enjoying the fresh, quirky nature and never-ending plot twists of The Wrong Girl.

Listening to: Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers concert and band meeting ft. my Vegemite jumper!

Last Friday I had the immense pleasure of attending the Sticky Finger’s concert in Montreal, which was nothing short of electrifying. With the energy of the people in the mosh, the crowd-surfing and the stage presence of the band I couldn’t help but think that this is what I imagined concerts of the 60s and 70s would have been like. Perhaps it was my vintage Vegemite jumper that aided in this impression…

After the concert was over a series of random events resulted in me finding myself backstage in the dressing room, amongst a bunch of strangers and having a chat to the band members, who were seriously down-to-earth dudes. Of course, photos were taken as evidence of a night that I am sure I won’t forget in a hurry!

Quoting: The only real valuable thing is intuition – Albert Einstein

I have a poster on my wall that features a colourful drawing of Einstein (one of my constant inspirations in life) surrounded by a collection of his quotes. I saw this quote this morning and it struck a cord, so I’ve decided it will be the quote for this week. I don’t think a lengthy explanation is required, suffice to say you should always trust your intuition!

Eating: green smoothies

Much to Peta’s delight I have recently started having green smoothies every day for breakfast. I have always enjoyed green smoothies but they have never been a part of my daily routine in the same way that they are for Peta. However, after one week I have become pretty hooked on these blended green delights (I promise they taste good). My recipe varies slightly each day, however my basic is as follows: 1 kiwi fruit, half an inch ginger root, 1 baby cucumber, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 small lemon or lime, as much spinach as the blender can hold, cinnamon, chia seeds, Great Lakes collagen protein, maca powder and water to blend. I also sometimes choose to transform them into smoothie bowls, topped with all kinds of goodies, as shown below!

Green smoothie bowl topped with coconut, peanut butter and mixed nuts.

Pondering: escaping consumerism and the authenticity trap

This morning I had a lecture in Canadian studies from Andrew Potter, who co-authored a book called The Rebel Sell, upon which his lecture was based. Potter basically explained why most of the developed world now exists in a positional, status economy, in which wealth is not a matter of having access to goods that others can’t afford, but in which our purchases serve to distinguish us from others. In his proposed model consumerism and status-seeking is not something that we can opt out of, simply because living in societies like we do means that we are automatically placed in an arm’s race of consumption. He further explained that counterculture movements, in resisting the mass conformity of consumerist societies, actually act in the opposite way, as the actions, purchases and choices of the ‘rebel’ serve to distinguish them from others and in this way feed the competitive cycle. And as history has shown, the things that start off as edgy and alternative usually end up creating the mainstream “cool”. Effectively, no matter what you do or don’t do, you are in some way feeding the competitive consumerism cycle.

He went on to outline the evolution of consumerism, from conspicuous leisure (in aristocractic times), to conspicious consumerism (keeping up with the Jones post-WW2), to conspicious counterculture (hippies, punks, “cool” in the 60s and 70s) and lastly the current phenomenon of conspicious authenticity. In his point about authenticity he emphasised how consumers nowadays want to get away from the fake, alienating nature of modern society and return to the roots of community and environmental care. Under this model things that are “natural”, “organic”, “artisanal” and “authentic” have become the fuel for consumerism, as consumers purchase such products and adopt such ways of life in an attempt to distinguish themselves as “authentic” people, perhaps attempting to display a level of moral or ethical superiority. He highlighted the popularity of yoga as the prime example of this “conspicious authenticity” in today’s society. I was left quite offended and taken aback by some of his suggestions that no matter what I do, or how I live my life, I cannot escape this consumer culture, and that my attempts to find authenticity in my life may actually just be status-seeking actions. After all, I effectively epitomise the ‘conspicious authenticity’-type consumer.

Fortunately, in his final point he made an important note that relieved at least some of my existential anxieties about being a cookie-cutter product of consumerism, in stating that you only have to ask yourself one question… “What if everybody did this?”. If you would be okay with everybody doing it (yoga, buying organic, natural etc) then your motives for doing that particular thing lie elsewhere and not in a status-seeking attempt to make yourself distinct from others. Although this lecture has still left me with a lot to think about, there is a great deal of comfort in this question, because for at least the few things that I have considered I would not only be okay if everybody did it, but I would be happy if everybody did it. After all, I don’t do yoga, meditate, drink green smoothies, exercise and try to minimise my environmental impact in order to achieve some kind of status, I do it because I believe those activities to be worthwhile and in alignment with my authentic values. 

Detoxifying: BPA-free water bottle

In the last few years public awareness of the health consequences of chemical BPA (bisphenol A) in plastic products and tin cans has seriously increased, leading to a flooding of the market with BPA-free plastic products (I guess Potter would have something so say about these products as examples of the conspicuous authenticity consumerism). One of the best ways to avoid excessive exposure to this chemical, and others found in plastic products, is to invest in a good BPA-free drink bottle. After all, if you are drinking from the same bottle day-in day-out, it is important to make sure that bottle isn’t leaching harmful chemicals into your water. The worst thing you can do is re-use a disposable plastic drink bottle, so if you are doing that please go and throw it out right now!

Your water bottles need not be expensive or extravagant, most supermarkets will stock a range of drink bottles labelled BPA-free. However, I have personally fallen in love with the Frank Green range of bottles, which are pretty, solid and not only BPA-free but tick a range of other boxes with regard to ethics and sustainability. I have both the Frank Green water bottle and hot drink cup from Happy Place and can honestly say I love them. Not only are they good for your health, and the environment, but numerous people have agreed that the “flow” from the bottle opening is just right and they don’t leak, which is good news for the important documents and objects that share a bag with your drink bottle.

Moving: trail running

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On Sunday I took on the challenge of a 11.7km fun-run, despite having only recently gotten into somewhat regular running. It was a freezing cold day and what I didn’t realise was that a large portion of the run was actually trail-running – think wet, muddy, rocky and steep uphill trails! Although it was quite a challenge, especially those uphill parts, I managed to finish in 1:25:07 (average pace 7:17 min/km), which isn’t bad considering just how hilly and wet it was.

Grateful for: Peta

I have previously expressed my gratitude for my friends, family and generally supportive and amazing people in my life, but never explicitly for Peta. For those of you who don’t know us, Peta and I are metaphorically joined at the hip, due to the fact that we live in different cities (and for the moment different countries!). Since arriving in Canada there has been rarely a day that goes by during which I don’t speak to Peta at least once, if not twice. She has been that one person who listens to me talk about absolutely everything that I do, and all of the thoughts that I’ve had. I am so grateful for having Peta in my life, she is my daily inspiration and my best friend, and I cannot foresee a time when that might change. I am also grateful that despite the physical distance we are only getting closer and closer as time flies by. Lastly, I am grateful that I will be seeing her in only 44 days!!! 

Let me know what you’ve been loving lately? Stay positive, stay happy, stay healthy!

Love Erica x


Travel Diary: East Canada & US (Part 2)

Hey everyone, Erica here! It’s coming up to the two-month mark since I arrived in Montreal, and despite midterms doing their best to interrupt my fun I have managed to continue my explorations of Canada and east America. Here is part two of my travel diaries, with more to come in the not-to-distant future. I hope you enjoy this little instalment!

TORONTO (ON) – October 14th-16th 2016

  • CN Tower & 360 Restaurant

Views of Lake Ontario from the CN Tower restaurant

Once the tallest building in the world, the CN Tower in Toronto stands as a classic silhouette in the skyline of the city. A visit to the observation deck is a fantastic way to get an appreciation for the vastness of Lake Ontario (pictured) and the rest of the Toronto skyline. You can also stand on the glass floor section and allow the immense height of the tower to sink in. If you have a little more time, stomach space and cash to spare then you can enjoy a meal at the revolving restaurant one floor above the observation deck, as we did. Bookings are a good idea. It takes 72 minutes to complete one revolution, giving you plenty of time to take in the view whilst enjoying your fine food.

  • Niagara Falls
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The “American” falls part of Niagara Falls

One simply cannot visit Toronto without making the two-hour trip (via bus) to visit the world famous Niagara Falls. On the day that we visited we were spoilt with picture perfect weather (check it out!). Although the falls are not the tallest in the world, they are the largest by volume of water – 750,000 gallons every second. We chose to take the Hornblower boat ride under the falls, which was so much fun! There is no better way to appreciate the immense power of the falls than to be soaked by them whilst attempting to take an obligatory red poncho selfie. The rest of Niagara Falls is rather commercialised, with plenty of amusement type attractions and classic North American eateries on the Clifton Hill strip. For the most part I chose to avoid these, although we did take a pleasant ride in the sky wheel, which gave us the most incredible views over the falls and across into America.


  • St Lawrence Markets

Although the regular St Lawrence Markets (the world’s No. 1 food market) is closed on Sundays, we went to check out the area and stumbled across the Sunday antiques and craft market that was incredibly cool and eclectic. There was a huge range of antiques, books, crafts and knick-knacks along the street next to the market building and a whole separate marquee full of stalls. After wandering around for about 40 minutes, I was about to leave empty handed when I saw the GREATEST sweater I had ever laid eyes on. It was so ugly and oversized that I simply had to buy it. This is the result…

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  • Kensington 

The hostel we stayed at was in Kensington, just a few minutes walk from the Kensington market area. I personally LOVED the Kensington area as it was strongly reminiscent of my beloved Fitzroy/Carlton home in Melbourne, complete with hipster coffee shops and even a store that had kombucha on tap (sadly closed at the time of my visit). My friend and I started our Sunday by spending a solid hour hanging out in the truly eclectic Jimmy’s Coffee , whose interior decorations were enough to keep me entertained for a fair while. I also enjoyed a delish green smoothie and gluten-free carrot oatmeal breakfast cookie.

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All smiles courtesy of this green smoothie that I got at Jimmy’s Coffee on Baldwin St – highly recommend for chilled vibes and healthy options!

After returning a little late to Toronto from Niagara Falls we searched for some dinner and ended up at this place… and it blew my mind! For the Aussie readers amongst you, Bareburger is like Grill’d on steroids! It is a chain of burger places on the eastern seaboard that are dedicated to organic, free-range, grass-fed and sustainable burgers. They have every kind of option you could imagine, from veggie burgers to bison and elk for the more adventurous carnivores. I was most impressed with their ethics, options and food awareness, which included having a separate fryer for their sweet potato fries to avoid any cross-contamination with battered foods, and the option for a collard greens wrap – which I took. If you are ever in New York or Toronto and craving a healthy “dirty” feed, this is the place for you. The decor was also amazing. 10/10!

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Dinner = collard wrap “Quacker” (duck) burger + sweet potato fries! Dessert was Coconut, Lime and Avocado (vegan) thickshake

GIANT MOUNTAIN, ADIRONDACKS (NY) – 24th September 2016

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Tiny streams on Giant Mountain

A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of hiking up Giant Mountain, the 12th highest peak in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state. This hike was my first real experience of “hiking” as opposed to simply bush walking, and my goodness it was a challenge. After the first half mile of relatively simple trails it quickly increased to a very steep and rocky climb and after almost 3 hours of hiking ended with about 20 minutes of near-vertical rock scrambling to reach the summit. But it was WELL worth it, the view was incredible. We rested at the peak and enjoyed lunch before descending (via an even steeper route), totalling about 5.5 hours hiking for the day. Despite the soreness in my legs I absolutely loved the hike and would certainly be keen to return to the Adirondacks for more adventures before the winter truly takes hold.

If you don’t get a yoga photo on top of a mountain, did you even climb it?

LAKE GEORGE (NY) – October 7th-9th 2016

  • Fork Island

Teaching impromptu yoga on the dock at Fork Island

Lake George is one very large lake, at 60 miles long and up to 3 miles wide in certain parts, but as a part of an outdoors club trip a group of students from McGill joined others from across Canada and north-east America for a camping weekend on Fork Island in the lake. It was a pretty small island but was home to 70+ people for the weekend and was accessible by boat from the mainland. It also features very civilised camping spots including tent decks, outhouses and picnic tables, so one can’t complain about the amenities.

  • Tongue Mountain

Located on the mainland shoreline of Lake George, near Fork Island, is Tongue Mountain, which boasts amazing views of the lake and beyond. We spent about two hours hiking around the Tongue Mountain area before rain cut our adventures short, sadly before we reached the summit.

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Spectacular views of Lake George

QUEBEC CITY (QC) – September 16th-18th 2016

  • Citadel

Nestled in the corner of the Plains of Abraham is the citadel, which served as a military base and home to the Governor General of Canada. You can either walk around the walls of the citadel or opt to take a tour inside. Definitely a must-see for those history buffs amongst you.

  • Plains of Abraham

The Plains of Abraham are the grounds upon which the Battle of Quebec took place in 1775, which lasted a mere 15 minutes and resulted in the French losing Quebec to the British and the death of the military leaders on both sides. Again, if you are into history and battles, then walking across the Plains is a must whilst in Quebec. Even if you aren’t particularly fussed, the Plains make a great viewpoint from which to look over the rest of the city.

  • Chateau de Frontenac

This magnificent chateau is situated right on the waterfront of the St Lawrence river and towers over nearly every other building in the area. It is now home to a few stores, including a Starbucks, and the Fairmont Hotel in Quebec is also located within the chateau (which I imagine would make a pretty special accommodation option for those who can afford it!).

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Chateau de Frontenac

  • Old Quebec

Old Quebec is a little rabbit warren of tiny cobbled streets and quaint shops that certainly reveals Quebec’s French heritage and history. We spent the large part a day just wandering through the streets of Old Quebec and looking at what was around, which I think was a great way to explore the city.

  • Old Port Markets

As a market lover I naturally wanted to check out Quebec’s market scene, although at the time that we went it was pretty much the end of the day and everything was being packed up. This market is small compared to those in Montreal, but nonetheless I managed to score a punnet of wild blueberries and check out some other cool speciality stalls.

  • Montmorency Falls

These falls are about 40 minutes north of Quebec City and can be reached simply by catching the local metro bus to the end of the line. Once there you can appreciate the beauty of the falls from the restaurant overlooking them, or take a cable car ride or zip line over the falls, or walk across and down the side via the stairs. Obviously they are no where near as significant as Niagara Falls, but certainly a natural wonder to be admired nonetheless. And if you are feeling particularly fearless you can go far enough forwards to be drowned by the spray off the falls.

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Montmorency Falls panorama

MONTREAL (QC) – September/October 2016

  • Musee de Beaux Arts

I actually visited this museum as a part of my Canadian Studies class, but loved it so much that I plan on returning at least once before I leave. Despite my amateur-level of art appreciation and knowledge I was very content to wander through the public exhibition area, which is separated by floor according to the different time periods of the art.

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One of my favourite contemporary pieces from the gallery

  • Jean-Talon Markets

Similar to the Atwater markets, Jean-Talon is a mecca for fresh produce, speciality food stores and unique Quebecois products. On this particular visit I was amazed to discover that Brussels sprouts grow on large stalks, as pictured below (who knew?!). Of course I purchased an entire stalk for the low price of $4.

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I do love my Brussels sprouts

Since arriving in Canada my patriotism and Melbournian pride have grown exponentially. So when I found out that there was a Melbourne Cafe in Montreal I simply had to check it out. Even though their menu is sadly not suited to my dietary requirements (consisting of the infamous smashed avo and an extensive jaffle menu), I did enjoy a almond milk chai and the comforting decor of Australian paraphernalia. Even though I didn’t try the coffee, one would hope that it lives up to the exceptional coffee standards set by Melbourne.

Copper Branch is an Canadian vegetarian chain food outlet serving a wide variety of delicious, meat-free options, including superfood bowls, veggie burgers, wraps, smoothies and sweet treats. Definitely a great option if you are in need of some plant-based goodness for an affordable price.

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My bowl of goodness – sweet potato, blue corn chips, carrot, beetroot, sprouts, broccoli, hummus, avo and tempeh.

Although I generally avoid gluten free baked goods and bread, due to their high sugar and starch contents, I do make the occasional exception and Le Marquis was certainly a good exception! Not only is the bakery 100% gluten free, but they are also committed to sourcing local and organic ingredients wherever possible, giving them double ticks in my books. On my first (and so far only) visit I had a pain au chocolat, because since going gluten free I have never been able to find pastry that isn’t a dry, crumbly mess. It was nothing short of amazing, buttery and flaky and as light as real pastry is! This place is a must-visit for any fellow ‘glutards’ visiting or living in Montreal.

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My gluten-free pain au chocolat – tasted like heaven!

I found out about Eco Loco when they set up the stand, pictured below, at Enso Yoga studio one night. After taking a few (too many) taste testers and chatting to the owners I knew that it was the kind of store that I would love. Although small, this little health food haven has a good selection of organic food products, as well as a wide range of natural and environmentally friendly cosmetic products. Also, below the store is a super cute falafel cafe which I have been to but do not know the name.

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This little vegetarian eatery is right across from McGill University and boasts a drool-worthy, Mexican-inspired menu and incredibly generous portions (see below) for reasonable, student-friendly prices! As they are famed for their nachos, I couldn’t help but order a serve and whilst I left with a significant food baby I couldn’t fault the flavours and toppings on the nachos.

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Believe it or not, this was a half (demi) serve of the nachos

  • Les Vergers Lafrance apple farm

There is a whole area about 45 minutes from Montreal that pretty much comprises entirely of apple and pumpkin farms. As a part of a university-run trip we went to Les Vergers Lafrance apple orchard, where for $10 we were given a huge bag and let loose in the orchard to pick and eat apples to our heart’s content.

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One big smile and a belly full of apples!

That’s all for now folks!

Love Erica x

WILW #32

Hello all! Peta here,

Can you believe it is Wednesday already?! I really can’t! Have a great day because before you know it this week will be all but over. Here is what I am loving this week:

  • Watching

Recently I watched a documentary with my parents about sleep and dreaming. It was super interesting and is clearly a field of science that is ever evolving. It is kind of crazy to think about how much we do not know about what we spend 1/3 of our life doing! Despite this lack of knowledge it is very clear that sleep is absolutely crucial to daily functioning and something we just cannot live without. So appreciate those blissful hours you get each night and do not take them for granted because you really do not realise how important they are until you start giving them up. I am someone that truly believes you are way better off getting a good nights sleep before something important than spending hours up late at night going over notes, rehearsing or stressing about it!

  • Quoting


I love this quote because it forces me to think about what I consider to be a dream and begin to take actions and plan how it can become reality. I believe having the ability to dream is one of our greatest traits as humans but what is even greater is when we are able to make them reality! Do not ever think something is too big or hard, as they say, Rome was not built in a day…so break it down and make a plan to achieve small successes one bit at a time. I also like this quote because I am a big fan of plans! They bring consciousness to the aim and by writing it down and putting effort into planning we have already invested the energy into starting to make it happen. But this is also a double edged sword… do not get to fixated on the end goal and forget that the journey is really what dreams are about!

  • Eating


When I am not sure what to cook for dinner I always end up making curry! It is such an easy dish, can be frozen and if done right can be packed with veggies and antioxidant rich spices!
The curry I made a few nights ago was easily one of the best yet! I completely made it up but I will be putting up the recipe very soon! So stay posted :)

  • Pondering

Work and happiness

After a recent discussion with a good friend a few things have remained on my mind. We both agreed that we are positive people and find that we are genuinely happy every single day. We were also taken aback by reflecting on how many people in our lives did not appear to share this happiness most days. It is true, everyone has their ups and downs but I truly do not believe each day should be a struggle. There should be significantly more good days than bad. If you feel as though each day is drag or there is nothing to look forward it may be time to take the time to reflect on what you are doing every day. I believe that society has set up the expectation that ‘work’ should not be enjoyable and we should all work purely to earn a living. But truly, if that is where you spend majority of your day you really should be doing something you enjoy! What a waste to spend so much time in a negative state of mind because you do not like you work. It’s normal for us all to look forward to the weekend but if you find that it is the only thing getting you through the week, maybe you need to take some time and reconsider how you want to live! Obviously, I have little experience in this department but I do value the importance of doing things that make you happy and I honestly do not think work should be endured just so you can afford to pursue things that you actually enjoy. In our modern society there are so many ways to earn money that there really is no excuse not to follow your true desires, as you never know where they may lead you!

Also remember if you are finding you struggle on a day-to-day basis there are so many resources out there that are there to help. Do not doubt the positive influence reaching out to a friend or a helpline can have!

  • Moving

GRIT Strength

I gave this class a go last week and it was awesome! It is based on recent research about high intensity interval training, so the entire class is only 30 minutes long. It involves short reps of exercises followed by short breaks just long enough to almost get your breath back. This class in particular also involved weights along with body weight exercises. It is a fantastic class to get your heart rate up quickly and get an effective workout in a very short period of time! If you do not like the idea of group fitness classes there are heaps of HIIT style at home workouts that you can try! Or check out mine I posted a while back.

  • Aiming to

Wake up at a consistent time


Although I generally do this pretty well there are some days that my wake time will swap around depending on what I have on that day. However, I do know that the weeks I stick to waking the same time each morning it is a lot easier to get up as soon as the alarm goes off. By setting your body clock to a consistent time, despite what time you go to bed (although keeping this also consistent also helps!) your body is more alert and ready to go every morning. I also find I am so much more productive if I wake up earlier and do something (exercise, yoga, even clean) before beginning my day. This gives both your mind and body time to wake up by doing reasonably simple tasks that get your blood pumping.

  • Detoxifying

Green Tea


This is by far my favourite tea of all time, and I am certainly not the only one, as green tea is actually one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Even better, it is also fantastic for detoxifying! Green tea is filled with many powerful antioxidants that are important in scavenging free radicals around the body, an important process in detoxifying. But what I think the best part about green tea is (beside the taste of course) is that it has the ability to boost your body’s own ability to remove toxins and detoxify. So by drinking this tea you are able to support your livers natural detoxifying role by supporting important enzymes in this process and improving overall health. However, the benefits of green tea go well beyond just detoxifying… if you have any spare time do some research into studies done around the effects of green tea on whole body health, reducing blood pressure and also even reducing cancer risk. It is really interesting the amazing potential of such a simple tea.

  • Apping

Daily Horoscope

I have had this app for a few years and never have I found a horoscope that is more accurate! It gives you a daily horoscope and honestly most days are relevant to something in my life! Even if you do not believe in horoscopes and the like I would encourage you to download and give it an opportunity!

  • Grateful for


This may seem a little bit odd… but many of us fail to recognise the crucial role of bacteria in our every day life. In fact, you are made up of more bacterial cells than you are human… Our modern world has crowned bacteria as the arch nemesis and something we must avoid at all costs eg. Antibacterial soaps and antibiotics, which are all aimed at killing bacteria. However, there must be some recognition for the important role of commensal bacteria that call our bodies home, especially our gut. These little guys have such a major influence on not just our food digestion but also our immune system and mood. We recently had a lecture about the micro biome and although I was already highly aware of its importance I was really grateful to see its recognition in a formal way in the medical program. I would definitely say watch this space! I think there are going to be many revolutionary outcomes made as we begin to learn more and more about these bacteria that inhabit our guts and the way they influence so many diseases.

Stay healthy,

Peta xx


Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s Erica here with another edition of WILW (can you believe it, number 31?!). Prepare yourself, as I get a little deep and very vulnerable in this one, but I hope you like it anyway. Sending lots of love to you all, wherever you are as you read this.

This week I am…

Reading: An Instruction Manual for Putting Yourself Back Together (Elephant Journal)

This article was shared by one of my friend’s on Facebook and the title caught my attention. After reading the poem/prose I was left with the lingering impression of its beauty, rawness and powerful applicability, so much so that I knew immediately that I would share it in this WILW. This piece is easy to read and simply written (by author Chloe Bell), yet contains some powerful images and reminders for everyone. I doubt there is a single person out there who would not find some kind of revelation or comfort in these words. So go read it – it will take at most five minutes and I promise it will be worthwhile. And even if you don’t ever, take a moment to let this final paragraph steep in your consciousness:

You are whole.
You have always been whole.
You will always be whole.”

Listening to: James Blake

Last Wednesday I got the chance to see James Blake live in concert and it was quite a show! I’ve been a fan of Blake’s music for a few years now, although I’ve never really taken it beyond a few of his classic songs. Despite not knowing every single song, the music was moving, electrifying and utterly brilliant. Blake’s stage presence was one of humble genius, as he collaborated with his two accompanying musicians to create a completely live and enchanting plethora of sounds. If you have never been acquainted with his work, I would recommend listening to his absolute hit, Retrograde, as an introduction.

Watching: Miranda

Thanks to the welcomed influence of my British housemates I have become an absolute die-hard Miranda fan in the last two weeks! The show is written and performed by comedian Miranda Hart and captures her awkward and bumbling escapades as she attempts to run her small joke shop business, avoid her mother’s many attempts to find her a suitable husband and make a move on her best friend Gary. I can safely say it is one show that never fails to leave me in fits of laughter, due to her purely inappropriate and outrageous dialogues and the somewhat embarrassing level to which I can relate to her life. The short and sweet episodes guarantee light-hearted relief minus the guilt of spending hours upon hours in front of the TV. And if you are a fan of British humour then this is an absolute must-watch. Enough from me, just watch it!



The quote above, to me, really speaks of the importance of gratitude and positivity. All too often in our world I hear people (and I am also guilty of this) complaining about their lives or things that have happened to them, and finding connection with other people through mutual ‘hardships’. Whilst a little rant here and there can be a good way to let go of things instead of bottling them up, I think a large proportion of us have allowed this negative focus on our ‘problems’ to become the primary topic of conversation. This goes hand-in-hand with gossip, too.

Occasionally when I am brave enough to interrupt a negative conversation stream and interject with a positive question (such as “What are you grateful for right now?”), I am often met with blank stares, smirks, rolled eyes or laughter! As an absolute believer in the power of gratitude and positivity, I would love to see this trend shift away from talking about our problems (which in turn only serves to propagate them) and towards talking about our joys, with an emphasis on gratitude even for our problems. I’ve written more about how this form of gratitude functions in my life here.

Eating: Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner at our little residence in Montreal

Thanksgiving Dinner at our little residence in Montreal

Monday 10th October marked Canadian Thanksgiving, which naturally is not complete without a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. My housemates and I rallied together and created the somewhat unconventional spread pictured above, which whilst lacking a turkey and stuffing, included loads of roasted veggies, a broccoli and cauliflower white sauce casserole, cold chicken and ham and a bizarre mix of sweet potato mash and marshmallows (apparently it is a tradition, but I stuck with plain old mash!). It was a mish-mash of people, cultures and food, but so much fun nonetheless and certainly a highlight of my time in Canada thus far.

Aiming to: drop self-enforced expectations

Okay, real talk time… Last night I had a very open conversation with a friend in which I admitted that I had been dealing with some pretty heavy and persistent negative self-talk mostly around my appearance and how my body looks. This is not easy to admit as someone who openly touts the benefits of positivity and promotes a healthy, balanced outlook on life, but since arriving in Canada my mental patterns have rapidly deteriorated and left me spending most of my day critically analysing every single part of my body. In telling this to my friend I explained how I placed this pressure on myself to achieve in every area of my life, and so I felt incomplete in that I am not happy with my appearance. Moreover, I feel like a fraud because on this blog and on social media I so openly support self-love and embracing your appearance unconditionally, and yet I have fallen victim to the very cyclical thoughts and behaviours to which I am so averse.

This has nothing to do with Canada itself and rather my self-enforced expectations that I must epitomise health and wellness in every single moment, such that when I slip up or if I deem myself to not look the way a health blogger “should” look, I end up berating myself. My friend very wisely pointed out that it is these expectations that are keeping me down and that if I wasn’t so hard on myself that maybe the negative thoughts would ease off. Since that conversation I have made a vow to let go of some of these self-enforced expectations about how I should look and in doing so am aiming to be kinder and more loving towards myself. It’s time for me to take some of my own advice. I share this story openly in the hope that if you too are suffering with negative thinking patterns and ridiculous self-enforced expectations you might be able to relate. It all comes back to a message that I (along with MANY other amazing souls) have been preaching for a long time: be kind to yourself, be gentle, cut yourself some slack. And most of all, love yourself and allow your true beauty to shine through each and every day.

Enough said. Don't ever forget it!

Enough said. Don’t ever forget it!

Detoxifying: from sugar

Despite living a generally sugar-free lifestyle, the past few weeks of celebrations, free food, housemate bonding time and camping trips have allowed for sugar to sneak its way back into my diet in the form of chocolate, dried fruit and gluten-free baked goods. Whilst I am all for moderation and breaking your own rules now and again, after a few weeks of the sugary lifestyle I felt it was time to reign it in and detox from sugar (always a challenge). Having quit sugar a long time ago, I am pretty familiar with the detoxification process of eliminating sugar – thankfully it doesn’t usually last more than a few days for me.

The worst side-effect I get is simply sugar cravings, especially in the evenings. When coming off sugar it is important to eliminate all forms of sugar, as having even a little bit will keep the roller coaster of cravings going. I find the best way to aid sugar detoxification is to up your intake of good fats, non-starchy vegetables and protein to help keep yourself satiated and avoid pesky cravings. It also helps to drink plenty of water to aid the body in any detoxification that might result from cutting sugar. Then all you need to do is employ willpower for the first few days as the cravings come and go, but once you get through that staying off sugar is a breeze!

Grateful for: my love of study

Even though I spent most of our Thanksgiving holiday studying for my Canadian Studies test, I was not at all upset. On the contrary, I thoroughly enjoyed reading up on all of the historical events that were listed and even found myself voluntarily researching in far more depth than was needed for my test. The thing is, I actually love studying. Of course there are times where I would rather do other things, but generally speaking learning is something that I thoroughly enjoy and having figured out how to study most effectively for me, study is not something that I dread. Even in my downtime I continue my “studies” by watching documentaries and reading non-fiction books on topics that interest me, because I believe the pursuit of knowledge to be one of the most admirable endeavours.

I am so grateful for my love of studying because it makes being a university student so much easier, and also because I acknowledge that not everyone else shares this passion. Having said that I also find that enjoyment is not necessarily inherent, but can be found by altering your perspective. Try finding the joy in study, however small that piece of joy may be, rather than dismissing it entirely as a chore. And if you too are a student, be grateful for the amazing learning opportunities and challenges that are presented to you each and every day.

I would love to hear what you are loving this week, or your comments or questions on this edition of WILW.

Love Erica x

Super creamy… but dairy free (and vegan) pasta!

I am writing this recipe up while I am eating this pasta because it is just THAT delicious that I want you all to try it!!


This recipe is sure to impress all food lovers, even those with strict dietary conditions. It is gluten free, dairy free, vegan and could be made paleo by using spiralised vegetables as the pasta! However, the recipe could also be easily adapted to have chicken or nitrate free bacon for all those meat lovers out there.

I have made many attempts at making creamy pasta without using dairy, but have had little success until this recipe. I think the secret ingredient is the mushrooms! Do not fear if you are not a big fan on mushrooms though, they are not too obvious and you can use less if you like.

But, probably the greatest part of this recipe is it took all of maybe 15 minutes from start to eating it!

Serves: 1 big serve or 2 small serves


  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 8 mushrooms
  • 200mL coconut cream
  • Cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 150grams brown rice vermicelli noodles (can substitute for other pasta alternatives)
  • 1-2 cups spinach


  1. Finely chop and fry off the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft and fragrant
  2. Chop the mushrooms and add. Cook on a lower heat for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms have shrivelled and turned a darker colour.
  3. Add the coconut cream, cover the pot and simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the kettle, place the rice noodles into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Wait 5 minutes until they are tender. Drain the water and stir them into the creamy sauce.
  5. Add the chopped spinach, turn up the heat and cover for about 1 minute to wilt the spinach.
  6. Serve!

The photo really does not do justice to how creamy and delicious this pasta is, so please try it for yourself next time you are craving creaminess but do not want the dairy.


Stay healthy,

Peta xx