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Nestled under dark wooden canopy and lush leafy plants, sits a hidden gem in Old town, Koh Lanta.
Shine Talay, with its unassuming coffee lounge area opening into the street, welcomes you to make your way just a few short steps to a smart, relaxing sea view deck.

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The Angchuan family, with its three generations, are originally from Pinang. With Chinese descent, they decided about a year ago to open a restaurant in Old town, as their mother has a passion for cooking and wanted to share this with others, which she does so elegantly with a clean, classy mixture of modern takes on traditional regional Thai dishes, with interpretations of European dishes too.

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What comes across at first, is a strong sense of calm, teamwork and an incredibly friendly welcome. In fact, although this is the case, it is not clear from the entrance, just how beautiful an area there is to eat and drink in behind.
Polished rosewood chairs and tables line the undercover section and just past those, lays a wide sun trap decking, with low tables and sprawling thai cushions.

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The family and their staff make such an exemplary effort to look after your needs. On visiting with Bear, my baby son, they always ensure he has access to shade, a fan and a banana!

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They are happy to talk through dishes with you and make suggestions of complementary dishes and new flavours. The presentation of bar drinks and coffees is beautifully complemented with a delicate flower.

The family were kind enough to invite me to come and take some photos and to chat about a few of their popular dishes. I jumped at the opportunity, because one of my goals in our time here was to investigate the flavours and ingredients used in Thai cooking. It’s certainly something I’d tried back in the UK in restaurants, however I think I was more accustomed to the Chinese style sweet, fried type of food. The food here is clean, fresh and any spiciness whether deft and subtle or raging and firey is gentle on the palate. The flavours are never numbed with burning, although others might disagree! Each dish is made from fresh, with a keen passion and sense of pride and love I do not see so often in the UK.

I was shown three beautiful dishes, each one unique from the other, each one beautifully presented. The fish is sourced locally, from the very sea you can sit beside whilst you eat. I choose not to eat meat, but they prepared a vegan dish especially for me and I have tried other dishes available there, like the curry soups, ‘ocean’ vegetables and various thai salads – all of them generous and delicious. My friend accompanied me to the visit and tried the fish dishes for me, so that I could share a description here.

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The first dish was tiger prawns wrapped in tempura noodles. ‘Rich and crunchy, with a sweet chilli dressing and dipping sauce.’ It’s a very popular dish, which showcases the artistic nature of thai cooking and demonstrates the kind of fish available to the local people.

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The second dish, Shine Talay’s most popular dish on the menu, white snapper, steamed with chopped garlic, chilli, ginger and lemon juice. ‘The fish was soft and moist. Melt in the mouth, the flavouring subtle and not overpowering at all.’

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The last dish, one they prepared specially for me, is Lab Tofu. It’s a mix of sweet and sour and spicy salad, with crispy tofu, with hints of lime and a sprinkling of firey chilli flakes. It’s fresh and light, with such a depth of flavour. The sauce is tangy and juicy and the crunch from the crispy tofu is moreish and deep.

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Above all, I feel that this restaurant is most certainly worth a visit. Families, friends and couples alike will find the service, surroundings and variety of dishes a treat to the senses. Nothing is too much trouble and you can relax in their care, knowing you are getting a premium selection of ingredients sourced locally for your ‘pleasure’.
Getting a close look at these dishes has given me real inspiration and over the next week or so, I am going to emulate them, but raw vegan versions. It is a challenge, being that they are all cooked and two of them are fish!
I think it isn’t that I want to reproduce or replace the meat aspect of the first two, but the essence of what I was shown.
Clean, fresh, spicy, subtle, light, tangy are the words I’m going to keep in mind when making my interpretation of Shine Talay’s food.

If you are ever on Koh Lanta and would like to delve into the taste of Thailand with an added friendly atmosphere, then this is the place to try.

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About 15 years ago, my friends and I used to attend music summer courses (yes band camp!) and I can honestly say those days were some of the best of my life. It was a way to have focus, in our rehearsing and performing music together, in a social circle of people that we had things in common with. I loved it. One day, on arriving in the clarinet practice room, I spied a boy across the room on his own and being my presumptuous, outgoing and overly friendly self at that age, I introduced myself.
Stephen started hanging out with us sometimes, in fact it was easy to make friends there and at the end of the course, like with so many other new friends, we said sad goodbyes and vowed to meet again the following year.
This friend was different though. A couple of weeks later, I received a letter, from Stephen. He’d managed to get my address and his letter was so endearing and honest, blatant and clear, that I couldn’t help but reply. We wrote for the whole of that year and for many years after that.
At the following years ‘camp’ we hung out all the time, and the next. We were great friends. Our letters gave us common ground and a connection, that I see now as more deeply rooted than I ever imagined.
We stopped writing eventually, occasionally caught up on the phone and years later reconnected on facebook. We both led different lives, made mistakes, had our fair share of heartbreak.

One day, after feeling particularly sorry for myself, I took a look at what was going on with me. I my stress levels were at a high, my confidence had been knocked, my life seemed monotonous and I was quite clearly going through the motions.
For a couple of years I had been vaguely monitoring my diet. I had a particular like for eggs and drank gallons of cow milk. One day whilst eating a quiche, I suddenly started feeling very dizzy and sick, with a pounding headache. I had to go home from work it was that bad. I realised it was egg, milk/cheese or the wheat in the flour. I’d suspected it for a while, but this was a minor turning point for me. I decided to eat less eggs at least.
I started to get the dizzy spells more often, especially after eating and by now, I was having problems with my stomach and menstrual issues too. My gums and teeth were sore and I wasn’t sleeping. I had heart palpitations after eating quite regularly and I was incredibly moody, lethargic and anxious.
Until this point, I hadn’t been to a doctor in years. I had childhood epilepsy from a bump on the head until I reached about the age of 22, but aside from that, I had no doctor worthy issue. I rarely took even painkillers except in an emergency. I hold very strong naturopathic views after taking the epilepsy medication for so long, but I eventually decided I had to go.
What made the visit to the doctor more difficult was that my regular doctor had retired and so I had to see a locum. I had blood tests done, they searched for anaemia, diabetes and other bits and pieces and tested for depression. They couldn’t find anything and so it was suggested that I had mild depression and stress and that a change in my lifestyle, diet, more exercise would help.
I was relieved that I didn’t have to think about medication. I started to change a little, but not nearly enough. I sat around a lot in the evenings, working, marking for school, watching crap TV. I ate food, plus food. I would feed others in order to provide myself with cakes and snacks. My other issue was drinking. I had been drinking alot since my teens. It had gotten better, I didn’t go out to do it as much, but I certainly managed to drink red wine most nights.
Basically, I was killing myself slowly. I was allowing myself to eat and drink things that were making my body react in a myriad of terrible ways. I was completely aware of it, but I was continuing and actually, I was miserable. My heart was pleading with me to work it out, but. Wasn’t listening. It would pass. I kept tell myself. Ignore the headaches, lethargy, difficult stomach, gum issues, anxiety, bloating, irregular, basically permanent incredibly painful periods, reclusiveness, hangovers, depression, irritability, insomnia…this had to stop.

I remembered years ago seeing an article on a morning show about detoxing by eating one fruit only for a weekend. This really interested me, so I started to research. I also found articles about eating less animal products and how they could affect menstrual patterns and how a raw vegan diet could alleviate the pain, give you more energy and help rejuvenate the body. Having been brought up believing that certain nutrients could only be found in animal products, I started to look at ways of finding these in plant food. It was not as difficult as I thought.

The realisation that this change in diet could be the way to escape all my physical problems, coincided with another appointment with the doctor, as he suspected that some of the symptoms could be signs of cervical cancer. It was a big fear. Also, in contrast to this, the light in my life appeared.

I saw a photo Stephen had posted online and commented on it, then, sent him a message. We chatted all night. He had also been trying to eat more raw food and had successfully done so. It was as if the one person on the planet to help me start this journey had been put back into my life at precisely the right time.
The next day, he came to pick me up and we drove to a raw food restaurant in London. It was wonderful. Seeing him again after all these years, catching up, sharing food that we were both very interested in welcoming into our lives. From then on, it was upwards. We ate so well. Smoothies, juices, super foods. I loved the challenge of meeting my nutrition needs this way. It gave me new passion for food and life seemed to lift out of the rut I had been so blindly comfortable in…I sold my television, stopped eating meat and dairy, cut all refined sugar out completely. I went swimming, went for walks. I stopped drinking so much, if at all, and I got the all clear from a gynaecologist.
I have no idea if that first burst of energy would still have happened if I hadn’t messaged Stephen that night, but I’d like to think that he has and still does play a huge part in my motivation to take control of my health.

I do slip up. During my pregnancy with Bear, I did eat more cooked food and dairy than I really wanted to. This also came with feelings of guilt, due to the information I had now discovered regarding farming and meat production, plus I was starting to get heart palpitations again and some of the lethargy and bloating. After Bear was born, I also lost a bit of my motivation to be in the kitchen. It was easier to cook a soup, get a takeaway, or bung processed vege food in the oven, but every time I did, a million thoughts crossed my mind.

I think now, that I truly know the real food culprits and the impact they have in my body.
Refined sugar is a no no. It makes me tired in all its forms and makes my teeth sensitive and my gums sore. It’s worse when with white flour, or in beans or other tinned or processed food. These combinations also give me stomach cramps and other stomach symptoms of old.
Another no for me is cow milk. It leaves an awful bitter taste in my mouth and my stomach feels nauseous and inflamed. It also smells awful to me and I feel sick just thinking about what awful things are in it and the cruel slavery its production entails.
Noodles (apart from rice noodles) result in all of the above, any processed food. The same goes for eggs. I do eat free range organic eggs when I fancy it, but it’s not so often anymore.

On the better side, I have so many other foods that invigorate me and give me the energy that those few above zap. The sheer volume of options left to me are why I really need not worry. I am at my best on a fully raw vegan diet, with occasional cooked vegan food, long walks in nature, sunshine, love and meditation.

I remember Stephen asking me on our date to the raw restaurant all that time ago. ‘What would you do if money were no object? Not the usual answer, like a nice house, pay off my debts etc…what would you do with your life?’
I remember my answer.

‘I would travel around, learning about cultures and food, so that I could teach people how to eat as well as possible, look after them, feed them, listen to them and show them different ways of life around the world.’

Well here I am, almost 2 years into this relationship, with a wonderful man who has made sure I am living my dream.
I feel that truly, honestly, you must ask yourself his question and strive to follow your dreams. In whichever way you can possible. I cannot imagine where I would be if I hadn’t chosen this path.
Take a look at your life often. Open your eyes to the possibilities and opportunities. See past the man made distractions that blot out the very nature of our human souls and let life carry you and teach you. Trust in that, because I believe it for everyone. It is never too late.

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I used to drink a lot of cows milk. My mum always made sure I had it available. It was the only drink that seemed to quench my thirst for so many years. There are a myriad of sweet, creamy desserts and accompaniments made of milk that I enjoyed.

I was brought with the best possible, I never went hungry and mum always cooked for us all or we could help ourselves. I was lucky. I still am. My mum really makes an effort to look after me, even with my changes.
In the last few years I have changed my diet, mainly because I had some underlying health issues, which I wanted to address and I felt that they might be linked to food, because a lot of the feelings and symptoms I seemed to get, happened when or after I ate. I’m not going to go into too much detail and I am not a health practitioner, I am just sharing with you my lifestyle choices, because they may be of interest to some. All I know, is that I cut eggs, dairy and meat from my diet and my issues stopped. I do suffer occasionally, because I give in to my habits and ‘cravings’ for comfort eating, but I always realise afterwards the damage caused. One day I will be able to eat the food exactly right for me.

I would rather show you alternatives to the cows milk, because there are plenty of sources regarding our consumption of it, from health professionals and experts to show that it might not be as good for us as all those adverts would have us believe. After I started investigating the health benefits of cutting down on these foods, I came across the ethical implications of this mass production of cows milk and other animal products.

I don’t really want to debate the mass production of animal produce and in my opinion, the unnecessary need for meat at every meal. I have just found ways to remain healthy and feel good. That is, predominantly plant based.

I was thinking about all this when I was drinking my coconut shake this morning. It’s coconut water, coconut flesh and a little ice. It turns out like a creamy milkshake like texture when blended. Similarly, another favourite of mine is banana shake, a few bananas, dates and enough water to make a good consistency.

Nut milks and seed milks are nutritious and have health benefits that in my opinion, outweigh hose that are traditionally associated with dairy.
It is difficult when surrounded by dairy products, especially when they have direct habit and comfort links to childhood comforts and when these ‘free from’ and whole products are given a higher price tag. It doesn’t seem right or fair to me that a family should have to choose what could potentially be the more unhealthy option, just because of budget. How clever and convenient for the dairy industry bosses.

We have also been told public facts in marketing about dairy, regarding its calcium content being high, yet nothing about the risks of osteoporosis, anaemia and iron deficiencies.

I’m not telling people what to eat, I’m just giving my opinion, and the suggestion that, with a little research, alternatives can be found, even if they are once or twice a week. With this much information now at our fingertips, there is no need to make uninformed choices anymore. We are free to decide, without blindly accepting every piece of information fed to us by profit hungry multi million pound industries.

The implications of us eating less animal products would of course affect them the most, so they will try whatever they can to convince us otherwise.

This isn’t just milk from a cow in our back garden, it isn’t like that anymore. A cow should not produce milk in the quantities they do it is not natural.

Here is how milk is mass produced
Here is what is in the mass produced dairymilk we drink
Here is what milk can do to our bones
Here is some nut and seed milk info
Here is a link to plant based calcium sources
Here is an opinion on eating less animal products

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IMG_0310-1.PNG When I lived in Wales, some 10 years ago now, I worked in a little busy cafe. I made really good friends there, learnt how to cook vegan and vege food, loved the social life that revolved around the place. What was it that I liked so much? It was, absolutely, 100% about feeding people good food and being there for them. Some wanted a coffee and to be left in peace with their newspaper in the corner, some needed a listening ear and a nice home cooked meal and some came to chat, to hang out, sometimes all day. It was a part of people’s daily life, in their routines. It became a habit for some to come in on a Monday to freshly baked croissants with a vanilla latte.

I could wander down that high street and see customers pass by. If I couldn’t remember their name, I could distinguish them by their ‘usual’. Perhaps I was taking away part of the choice by piping up with ‘are you having your usual?’ Maybe I was being overly smug when I placed the prawn mayo on whole grain, with lettuce no tomato into the regular’s hand. In my head I’m asking ‘why are you still so impressed that I can predict that you want this meal, that you order every day for lunch?’ Even though I was, on some level, aware of this groundhog behaviour and silently hoping something unusual would be ordered, the exchanges like this became automatic behaviour.

I mean that when a part of your day, a visit like this, becomes part of your routine, it becomes welcoming, it is comfortable and you know that the particular sense of calm familiarity will leave you feeling better. Take smoking, for instance. I used to smoke. I tried giving up at various points, cutting down, promising myself cigarettes as rewards. I never managed it, until I was working as a carer. I looked after a 45 year old woman who had suffered a stroke, which left her in a wheelchair permanently and unable to talk as clearly as she’d like. She seemed constantly frustrated and when I did some research on strokes, one of the main contributors to the risk of one at an early age, was smoking. I’m not sure why this particularly hit home, it just did. And so I examined my smoking. I’d been doing it for years, from school age. It was initially a peer acceptance thing, but then became a habit and eventually I saw it as a comfort.

I associated smoking with relaxing with a morning coffee, a drink with friends, a break at work, a satisfying meal, at the end of a long journey. I realised a little earlier than this that they tasted awful, made me smell and cost money I didn’t need to spend. It all started making sense. The habit I had created was to do with the association to the comfort. If I was stressed (which is another story altogether) I turned to cigarettes. If I was in my car and I was stuck in traffic, if I had become upset, if I was waiting for something. Ugh the list seems endless. A crutch I made. But the thing is, I really understood what I had to do when smoking started to be banned indoors.

As I made my way around in general, I spotted people smoking outside pubs in the rain, outside restaurants in their aprons, huddled in porches. I realised that I might be that person. I thought if you weren’t smoking, would you be doing those things? Most probably not. Then I thought, of all the things you do with a cigarette, are any of them possible without the cigarette? Of course they are! The only thing that would change is that there would be no cigarette. And it was that clear for me. I didn’t need to have a cigarette in any of the situations I used to. It was just a habit I had created (with some help from an addiction) Which really brings me to the point of my post today. Smoking was a habit I created from attachment and association to a feeling of comfort. It had nothing to do with any of the situations I was experiencing, it was just there, as a sort of extra. I felt the need to add it on and it was unnecessary, because everything else happened regardless of that cigarette. It was detrimental to my health and my mindset.

Now I got to thinking last night, that if it was that simple to accept that this habit could be excluded from a situation, perhaps I could transfer this theory to my negative thought processes. Or any kind of thought process that has become an automatic behaviour. In other words, a habit. Everything that happens to me, or that I experience, will happen irrespective of any thoughts I have. The habit I seem to have become caught in is that I constantly self narrate. I am constantly listening to my mind as things happen; creating, through habit, a routine self judgement, full of speculations, assumptions and devaluation. It’s exhausting. I am now aware that I need to detach my thoughts from what is happening. For my own health. Like smoking was a detriment to my health, so are my thought patterns. I don’t have to over analyse, over think or expect anything, I just need to let things happen and deal with them in the Present.

My thought habits are not making experiences better, they’re jading them and pulling a cloud across everything. If I can see a thought arising, it will have come from fear, or greed, or jealousy or some other emotion. I am aware of this now, that it has become automatic behaviour for me to let these thoughts rule me and to affect my moods. I’ve become addicted to the feelings of productivity maybe. Or is it control. Or am I used to society as a whole rewarding happy, jolly and smiling, rather than validating all emotions. ‘If I analyse my thoughts, at least I’m doing something to try and change things for the better, so that I don’t get hurt or upset, or affected by situations and people don’t think I’m being miserable’ Right? If they think you are miserable, then they are wrong. Being miserable is not you, it is how you feel. It just doesn’t make any difference to the situation at all. It will still happen however it is meant to, it’s just that I’m feeling fear, guilt or whatever and coming to the conclusion that I mustn’t feel this way. I’m punishing myself by letting my habit take the lead. But it makes no difference. It’s okay to feel these emotions and I don’t have to change them. Somewhere along the line I’ve created a belief that I can only have positive feelings and I think I project this onto others also. I’m constantly wondering what people think of me and how I can come across better or I’m spending my time trying to guess what they are feeling by the way they are behaving, because for some reason I think that my knowing this will change how I feel. But I cannot change how I feel. When I feel something, then I hear in my mind ‘if you don’t quickly cover up that sadness you feel after a disagreement, everyone will feel terrible and the whole atmosphere will change.’ It is just a thought. In my head. It only becomes real, or feels real if I focus on it and believe it to be true. I can let the thought surface, know what emotion it stems from, then let it go. The statement I should hear in my mind (which will take lots of practice I’m sure) is something like ‘there was a disagreement, which made you feel sad. It’s ok to feel sad, but don’t forget people disagree on things all the time. When you feel better, if you want to, you could think about why it made you sad, but at the moment, while you’re feeling the emotion, don’t let it affect your mood.’

I now have to investigate the possibility that a lot more of my behaviour is created habit and attachment to recapturing a more pleasant emotion. One of those habits is eating comfort foods. They are associated with the comfort of feeling better. So we might repeat the ritual of eating a pizza and ice cream to ‘cheer us up’, only to feel bloated and guilty afterwards. We can recognise that eating certain foods will result in these bad feelings, but at some point in time, we sat down to eat that pizza and the ice cream and had a really wonderful time. The cheese was melted to perfection, the dough was soft, the ice cream creamy and decadent, the company interesting. Or maybe that dish your mum used to make ‘your favourite’. Obviously I’m not discounting your mums cooking, I’m just highlighting that we are creatures of habit and that I’m always half and half between eating whole foods for their nutritional value as they are and creating a dish with many flavour elements, just to incite good feelings. Could it be that eating has become a habit ( breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) rather than an intrinsic necessity? Are we constantly chasing new tastes and flavour combinations because we feel we should or because it feels comfortable to arrange our days like this around structured meal times?

I don’t think that this habit or any other is going to be easy to eradicate from my life, or if I should try and do so. I do still want a cigarette from time to time, but I always try to remember that everything can be done with or without the cigarette, so what’s the point of smoking.

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Nature boy…

You know when I was growing up, even when I was little, I always remember The Beatles songs and relate to many of them, lyrically and emotionally. My mum was a huge fan in her teens and still is, my dad was a DJ (Charlie Farley) and they listened to music all the time, my dad played his guitar and still plays all the time, only now he has many more instrument to play!

Music is a big influence in my life. I guess lyrics really can hit home when you connect with a song and you can be transported to a place in time, or to an experience or a person’s presence by a song.

I was hanging out with Bear today and I thought of one particular favourite song. He is generally a happy baby, pretty quiet except for his epic evening repertoire of putting the world to rights in baby language.

But when he is upset and inconsolable, we take him outside and he settles. So much so that it makes me wonder why We are not just living out in nature. It makes me wonder if he’d ever have to be inconsolable if he was there all the time. Would any of us?

Mother Natures Son

Born a poor young country boy, Mother Nature’s son
All day long I’m sitting singing songs for everyone

Sit beside a mountain stream, see her waters rise
Listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies

Find me in my field of grass, Mother Nature’s son
Swaying daises sing a lazy song beneath the sun

Lennon/McCartney

Today we went to the sea. It was a warm day, humid. Bear loves playing in the sand and today he was covered from head to foot in it. Every inch! We played for a while there in the shade, popping into the water every so often to chase and be chased by the waves.

Suddenly, the heavens opened and rain poured, sudden and tropical. Everyone hurried to shelter, but Bear and I took our time, feeling the warm splatters on our sand peppered skin. We laughed as I stumbled and smiled as we watched the sea change. As we made our way along, Bear started waving at the Sea. Saying ‘ayohhhh…’ Which amongst other things, could mean ‘bye bye sea. See you soon’

I love being so close to nature like that and I was honoured today -experiencing the feeling with Bear and knowing we felt the same. Plus, we get a really good nights sleep!

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I have hugely supportive friends in my life, who never judge me, who see the real me and know everything I do in my life is with purpose. I can look back on decisions I’ve made in the past and choices I’ve made and have no regrets (perhaps I would never have started plucking my eyebrows!) I would do everything I’ve done so far again and again. I may have made mistakes, but I have become who I am despite them and I am not a bad person.

I have needed for a long time now, a way to open my eyes in the morning and feel good, with no worry or thought outside the present moment. It’s been a struggle though and I’ve been blessed with a partner who sleeps and wakes with the sun. At first, this irritated me, because I always enjoyed staying up all night and sleeping til late, but that was always so solitary. Which I’m also okay with. Now, with my beautiful son also waking at that time, I need to get up anyway, but I get a wonderful smile from him and instant connection to my little family. That sure enough eradicates my minds thoughts, that snag and grab at my attention.

This is another reason for coming somewhere different for a while. We deliberately chose extreme difference, not just for its beauty and warmth, but for a chance to let all the unnecessary routines, barriers and possessions fall away. To kick start our life into one of tuning in to our bodies needs and our spiritual balance. The way we had become accustomed to, was crushing. It had something at every turn to hamper growth and change – or so it seemed. Now I see how I had to go through the storm in order to realise what I truly wanted. Dry land. A place to be me. A place to become a strong family as naturally and with as simple means as possible. I want to show Bear everything there is to offer and share experiences with him. It can teach him and us about opportunity, abundance and health amongst many other things. I’m trying to make sure Bear experiences and sees as many life options as he can, before he settles or decides, if he ever decides or settles.

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To start the day with a buzz, wake up and watch the sunrise. Take away your TV, radio, newspaper…the most stunning way to welcome in a new day. A few minutes where you are standing there, just with the sun. If you say you don’t have time, there is no other time. Just sunrise and sunset. It doesn’t happen at any other time. Even if you have to work at that time, Sneak out for a ‘sun break’, get a few minutes. Try it, even once or twice a week. If I include this in my day, or the sunset, then I feel peace and this is a good mindset to ground myself and return to if anxiety or fear comes.

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Another good way to start the day, for me, is a smoothie or a juice, or some fruit. Here in Koh Lanta, they serve fruit crushes, which is basically fruit blended with ice. That’s what we’ve been doing. Stephen likes pineapple crush (with ginger or basil) and I like a coconut and banana. Bear has really taken to coconuts, he loves all fruit, but so far I really think his favourites are apple and mango. He has always liked smoothies though, which we found out at my mum and dads. My dad drinks a lot of smoothies these days too and Bear loves to share!

Four bananas, some dates and water with ice all blended together is a yummy, healthy way to start your day πŸ™‚

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Bear was getting a little restless and vocal for some stimulation on our way back from the market so I took him down to the pier to chill and listen to the waves lapping. Exactly what he needed and I think I might have needed it too. I’m going to try and start phasing out the need for too many bought toys with more time in nature and natural or useful, everyday tools and textures. He picked four stones to bring home and is exploring them now.

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