Wednesday, 24 February 2016

RECIPE: Raw Cacao Nib Blondies

I have four requirements for my favourite recipes; they have to be easy, contain minimal ingredients, have a healthy twist and not make tons of washing up... And thankfully this ripe meets all my criteria.

This raw and vegan version of a blondie was adapted from this recipe from the blog Stonesoup... which is a great resource for fellow recipe purists, as each dish shared requires just five ingredients: a washing-up-loather's paradise. The original version was a little too minimal for my taste buds, so I simply scattered on the cacao nibs and boom, a new favourite was born!

Prepare for a good chuckle at how simple these are...


100g pitted dates (I used Medjool dates but the original didn't specify)
150g ground almonds
40g melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
A scattering of cacao nibs

15 mins to prep, 30 mins to cool
Makes around 9 blondies


Put the dates into a bowl and pour over boiling water. Set aside and leave to soak for around 5-10 minutes.


Place all the other ingredients (besides the cacao nibs) into a food processor and once the dates have soaked, drain them and add them too. Blend until it all comes together in a big paste (I found I ended up with one big lump). Check that the ingredients have properly combined, then place in a small dish like the one above.


Pat the mixture until it is flat and about 0.75 cm thick, then sprinkle the cacao nibs on, pressing them gently too. Keep in the fridge, but allow 30 minutes for them to set.

I told you it was easy! If you do try these, I pretty much need to see them - tag me on Instagram or send me a Snapchat; both usernames are just byhermirror!

While we are here I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your lovely response to last week's post. I wrote it the night before and woke up in a panic, wanting to delete it, but I am so glad I didn't. You folks are the coolest kids on the internets.

Will you be giving these a go? And are there any other recipes you think I need to see? Let a girl know!


Sunday, 21 February 2016

My Morning Routine

I mentioned recently that I've become much more of a morning person; I went from being a kid who woke up at 6 just to write in my diary and read my books, to a teen who couldn't be dragged out of bed for love nor money... but finally my mornings feel balanced and still suitably chilled once more!

Here is the video for your viewing pleasure...

Do you have any habits you recommend? Will you be considering adopting any of the practices I mentioned? I am so super curious!!


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Learning To Appreciate Where I'm At

This post came about after a chat with my internet babe Sabrina. We were talking about how challenging it is to save money for the future and the stress she was feeling about moving home with her husband, and at one point she said, "You are so lucky. You only have to worry about yourself."

It struck a nerve because the past six months have seen me spending an unhealthy amount of time thinking that I was really unlucky. I saw myself as the 23-year-old girl who is always single, living at home with her parents, with no obvious next step career-wise. To have a happily married friend with a home of her own suggest that the grass might be greener on my side of the street was a genuine revelation to me.

I'm sure you have noticed it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the little voices in all our heads; the ones that say, "You should be doing X; you shouldn't be doing Y. Look at all these beautiful people who have it better than you." I am most certainly not the first to observe that social media facilitates self-comparison, and I have often caught myself wondering how much of our online worlds are driven by this desire to aspire; to focus on admiring the lives of others, rather than appreciating our own.

I've also heard it said that worrying is one of those things that feels seductively productive; paradoxically it is as if by mulling over our insecurities, we believe we are doing something about them. Stepping back and letting go of this urge to endlessly evaluate ourselves can seem to be an incredibly tall order.

I have found that it helps to remind myself that in fact, any one of us can become convinced that someone else's life is rich with blessings that we lack. At least she is pretty/skinny/smart, our brains are so well trained to blurt out. At least she has a wonderful home/career/family life.

It hasn't been easy to say to myself that hey, my circumstances mean I can travel this summer, just as I've always wanted to do. What's more, all in all I am actually very lucky indeed... and such a critical part of my minimalism journey has been learning to stop believing that I need something and training myself to see what I have.

This month I started a little gratitude jar. It's not been a daily thing, but when something unexpectedly nice has happened I've written it down so that I can come back to it and feel thankful. Slowly but surely I am learning that it doesn't matter what I have; in my book, what matters is what I do and how well I treat people in my life.

Do you feel the pressure of self-comparison? Is it something you struggle with, or have you been able to find ways to deal with it? You guys always have excellent insight so I would love to hear from you!


Monday, 15 February 2016

Habits I Would Love To Set

I seem to attract bad habits like honey draws bees, but I'm riding the wave of a few good habit successes of late... As I mentioned in a recent post, I've taken up early morning yoga and it has made my mornings so much nicer; who knew 2016 would be the year I became a yoga-loving vegetarian?! On a related note, I am debating making a chilled out morning routine video for you... Please let me know if this would appeal to you!

On to the habits... These are the things I'd like to be doing a little more of and I am hoping that sharing them will help them feel a bit more official. That whole accountability thing. We'll get going, shall we?


I loves my internets, I really do, but I need to learn that balance is everything. We're not expected to work 7 days a week, so spending each and every day online seems just as unhealthy to me. A couple of weeks ago I decided to say adios to posting on Instagram for a few days and found I was picking up my mobile far less as a result, but setting a definite day off has yet to happen for me. At present I am debating Mondays or Sundays... we shall see!


I love cooking and baking in particular has a lovely, meditative quality; if you have seen the Amélie scene where she bakes a heartbroken plum cake, you'll know exactly what I mean... I have been eyeing up a good number of vegan recipes and had a genuine dance for joy upon discovering my local supermarker now stocks cacao nibs, so I'm really up for a good chilled cookie making sesh. I also love the look of Siobhan's beautiful gingerbread men; it may not be Christmas, but they look just divine.


I love hearing my girlfriends' voices as much as I despise the act of texting; catching up with them on a more frequent basis is something I've been meaning to take more seriously. WhatsApp's voice message function is my godsend, but I still feel there is no replacement for a proper old fashioned phone call, sharing nothing in particular but loving it anyway.


I've got significantly better at this reading lark since I left uni; that said, I still feel I could be reading far more. I told myself I would read a book every week this year... it's not gone exactly to plan, as at present I've averaged around one every two weeks instead. At the moment I'm reading The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro and I'm thinking of reading Gormenghast next; but really, I'd love to finish 2016 having read more than the 21 books I read last year.


Last year I wrote this post about my beloved film camera, but I've since massively failed in my efforts to use it... a shame as it produces such lovely results! I plan on taking it on all my travels this year: fingers crossed you'll be seeing shots of New York, West Virginia and Paris from my trusty little analog. I'm also debating getting a Polaroid camera... basic I know, but I love the format so much!

Do you guys have any habits you are working towards at the moment? Feel free to share them in the comments, it would be great to hear about what matters to you!


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Five YouTube Recommendations

I thought I'd switch it up today and instead of sharing a post, I'd come to you in video form to talk about the five Youtubers I have been loving of late!

Did you know that I actually got into blogging purely because of my love for Youtube? In my year abroad I started making videos and started this space to run alongside them, but since then blogging has become my go-to... Funny how things change eh?

Here you go! Which channels do you love right now? Please feel free to share your recommendations!


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Getting Through Winter's Lows

No matter what happens, getting through a cold season with limited sunlight is bound to have a negative effect on even the cheeriest of dispositions. Add in all the crap things that have happened this winter, and it's no wonder that so many of us are struggling, whether we'd like to admit to this or not.

Whether it's just winter's icy grip that's holding you down or other issues that are exacerbated by this crappy weather, it feels like there's no better time to run you through what I do to get through a pretty dismal time of year. Let's do this...


Whether it's through a walk outside on your lunch break, from your diet or in supplement form, getting that extra bit o' vit is key at this time of year. Especially prone to vitamin D deficiencies are those that were raised in very sunny climates, so bear this in mind if you were too. Brisk winter walks are also such a nice thing to do of a weekend, so get outside!


I'm as exercise-averse as the next girl, but even I notice a difference when I make the effort to get moving. This week has seen me getting up at 6am to do some gentle yoga to start off my day; this is the routine I chose as I am a total noob with all things yoga and it is a breeze to follow. So often it is implied that we should be working out because we look good, but I think getting some exercise so that you feel good is infinitely more important. The key is to find something you enjoy: for me, that involves Monday nights doing pole fitness in my garage with my bestie (the hilariously eventful process of which ends up on my Snapchat occasionally - byhermirror is my username if you fancy a laugh!)



It takes a lot for us introverts to get our act together and ask someone to do something together, but it especially important at a tough time. So much of our happiness is linked to the strength of our bonds with others, which means that nourishing those bonds ultimately means we're looking after ourselves in the process. Even if it's just a phone call instead of a text, reaching out to those you care about and having a proper catch up can provide such a lift.


Life is tricky enough without setting overambitious expectations for ourselves... I really enjoyed this post from Hayley of 5 Year Memory Blog, which calls out the silly practices we try and push ourselves into with the start of each year. I'm a big advocate of recognising when we are pressurising ourselves negatively and taking a step back to get some clarity. We don't need perfect bodies, homes or diets to be happy. We need a level-headed appreciation for what matters and good people in our lives; the rest are just details.



If low moods are becoming the norm and you are struggling to cope, there is absolutely no shame in looking for professional help to get you back on track again. Whether it's a doctor, counsellor or therapist of some kind is your call, but do remember that no one deserves to feel sh*t on a regular basis. Doing something often is the first step to feeling better; I know from my own experiences that simply the act of asking for help makes me feel I have a little bit more control over things. Please do consider your options if this resonates with you.

What self care practices do you believe in come winter? If you have any tips or advice to share, I would love to hear it in the comment section!