Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 to 2016 - looking back and looking ahead

It is the very end of the year...

... and it is the time of the year where we like to think back of what happend in the past year and we like to make plans for the new year. I have quite a few plans for 2016, more than usual when it comes to the end of the year, actually. I have some blog related plans and some personal plans. And I have a lot to look back to.

2015 - looking back on my life

In 2015 my life changed more than in any other year before - I became a mother. A huge step which felt so normal and natural to me. My daily life changed, my status in society changed, my role in the household changed and yet I embraced all of these changes and I was nothing but grateful for my little daughter during this entire year. 

The birth of my daughter was definetly the biggest happening in 2015 but loads of other small thoughts, moments, conversations and inspirations made this year so special to me. I learned a lot about me in 2015, I learned a lot about how I want to live my life. I actually think now, at the end of the year, that I understand and know myself better than ever before. This makes me feel good with myself because I can see now that I live in accordence with my beliefs, my ideologies and my personality. I feel good. I feel better than ever actually. I am happy at the end of the year, even very happy. Full of gratitude and without any regrets. Its been a while since I felt like this on New Years Eve!
 2015 - looking back on my blog

In 2015 loads of things changed  on my blog. I finally dared to change my blog in a way that made it more personal and brought it back closer to my values and ideologies - I decided to cooperate with sustainable companies only, not to make posts for cheap clothes anymore, to share more about my personal thoughts on life, to make my blog more personal in general and to be more critically with myself and my behaviour as a consumer, not only in real life, but also, and especially on the blog. 

I critically reviewd all the clothes I bought during the year in my My Purchases column, I wrote a few posts in my About Life column, I wrote about my Pregnancy, and I wrote more about brands I really love and which I love to support. I am happy with my blogger year of 2015 but still, there are a few things that I still want to change...

Lisbon January 2015

 2016 - looking ahead to my blog

I have a few plans for my blog for 2016. Of course I want to continue to cooperate only with sustainable brands and I want to show you even more "good" brands in the coming year. I also want to continue with the My Purchases posts because they are really helpful for me to critically analyse my shopping behaviour. Furthermore, I plan to post slightly more on healthy food. You will not see a single recipe containing refined sugar or white flour on my blog in 2016 and you will be able to read slightly more on why to eat in a certain way. Since I am a nutritionist now, I think its okay to share a little bit more of nutrion advices :) 

Also - I plan to go down to two posts a week! Since I am usually blogging at night or early in the morning I would have a night per week more to read books, watch movies, or write letters, and a morning more to go running. So there will be fewer posts on the blog but more quality time in my life :) 

 2016 - looking ahead to my life 

I have quite a few plans for 2016 when it comes to my life in general. 

Here is the first one:
I will not eat any refined sugars and no white flour for the entire year of 2016! Bam! This is mainly because I want to get my acid/base ratio into balance (its not bad since I am already eating a healthy vegan diet, but I am not yet where I want to be). I am totally looking forward to this small challenge. I will share with you how things go every few months or so and I will share even more healthy recipes with you :) 

But now to a more emotional level. I plan to accept myself the way I am every day, every minute, every second. I love myself and I want to be able to feel the love I have for myself every single day. I do no longer want to blame myself for things others feel disturbed about. I did this for a long time but I understand now that when someone feels disturbed by my way of living, it is mainly because the other is not happy with his/her way of living. So my goal for 2016 is to simply be ME every moment and not to be afraid what others think of me when I am being me :) 

I also want to want to take the responsibility for my relationships with others. When a relationship that is important to me does not go well, it is not the others fault but it may also be my fault. So I want to take responsibility for every relationship that is important to be and make it be a good one. On the other hand, I want to let go with relationships that are draining energy from me and are trying to "keep me small" if you know what I mean!? 

There are of course also loads of travel plans, work plans, what-to-do plans for 2016 but these are not as imortant to me as are those more spritual plans I have. I could write a lot more but I think that I managed to put down what is most important to me. The rest can wait and you will see it anyway on my blog as I will post about my travels, my business, my outfits, my food, any my life :) 

Iran October 2015

I am looking forward to 2016, to life in general and to everything that is going to happen here on the blog! 
Thanks for having been with me in 2015!  
I am looking forward to see you all in 2016 and to stay in touch, keep inspiring and getting inspired and exchanging news  :) 

Happy New Year to all of you! 
Sending loads of love for 2016!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Vegan Christmas Menu

Let me share our vegan Christmas menu with you...

... Christmas is over but before the holiday spirit is completely gone, I would love to share our vegan Christmas menu with you. Maybe it will inspire you for your New Years menu or even for next years Christmas - plus, I really want to show you that you can eat a delicious, filling and healthy menu for Christmas, where you do not feel like missing ANYTHING and all of that without eating ANY animal products, ANY sugar ANY oil! True story :) 

I am sorry for the terrible quality of the pictures - candle light is still a tough one for my camera.

So here we go with the starter; we had a soup with savoy cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and apples, seasoned with cinnamon and vegetable broth. We sprinkled some smoked tofu and some roasted red onions on top. I prepared the soup for lunch and we had some for lunch and then some as a starter for the Christmas dinner. Since I prepared it for lunch already, there was less work at night :)

The main dish was  a baked sweet potatoe, filled with roasted onions, smoked tofu, cranberries and walnuts (yum!!!), as side dishes we had kale in maple syrup (just a little bit of maple syrup of course), red cabbage with lemon, orange and pomegranate seeds, and mashed turnips with coconut milk and ginerbread spices. This was delicious!!!

I prepared the red cabbage and the mashed turnips the night before so that I only had to make the stuffing for the sweet poatoes and the kale on December 24. Like that we did not spend much time in the kitchen on Christmas eve and we had loads of quality time spent together as a family.

And now the desert... I am terrible sorry about the bad quality of the picture - its totally not worth such a bad quality, since it was a desert that should be presented in some fancy high quality food magazine; it was that good! We had almond pudding (almond milk, coconut sugar and agar agar) with vanilla pine seeds and maple syrup. Oh my! This. Was. Amazing. It was more or less the best desert I EVER had. And it is completly vegan and free of sugar!!! I ate like three portions and felt great, because I knew there was nothing bad in there - how cool is that? I think its pretty cool ;) 

So my husband and I fested on these tasty dishes the night of the 24. On December 25 we went to see my mother for a Christmas brunch and on December 26 we went to Berlin to celebrate Christmas my brothers and a few other family members. The holidays were filled with love, laughter, hours spend on the sofa, reading the books I got as gifts, quality time with my husband and my daughter, loads of long walks through the woods and parks of my city and a whole lot of very good vegan food. I did not feel like missing anything for even a second. 

Now, we are in between holidays and it is the time of the year where most people (including myself) think a lot about the past year, the coming year, and life in general. I will share some of my thoughts about the past year and the coming year with you on the blog soon. 

Until then, I am sending lots of love to all of you! How was your Christmas? How does this Christmas menu look to you :)? 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

It`s Christmas eve...

... and in Germany Christmas eve is the "real" Christmas. Today is when the magic happens, when we open our gifts, we sing our Christmas songs, we read the bible, we go to church (well, some people do...), we have a nice family dinner... all that is happening today. This is why I want to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas today! 

I will be busy having a cozy and nice time with my family for the coming days so I will be away from blogging for the rest of the week - and I highly recommend each and everyone of you to do the same ;) 

Christmas is not about big gifts, fat food, stress and family fights. Christmas is about being grateful, being modest and enjoying every moment with your loved ones. 
This year my husband, my little one, and I will be together for Christmas eve, we will go for a long walk during the day, maybe we go to church to listen to the beautiful songs played on the pipe organ, we will have a vegan dinner (three courses... will share more about it after the holidays) and we will be grateful for everything we have. I am tremendously grateful for so many things and I got the biggest gift ever already - in April my beautiful daughter was born. What more could I wish for? I do not need and I not want any expensive gifts from big brands. I want to have a good time with my loved ones, read Christmas cards full of love, and give what I think will make people happy and inspire people. And of course I am looking forward to the gifts I will receive; I love receiving gifts as much as I love giving them. But mainly those, that come with a thought, that are made or bought for ME and not because some advertisement said that its a good gift. Can you relate to that? I am sure you can :) 

Well, this is our cute little Christmas tree with some gifts ready to be unwrapped tonight :) 

So, once again - MERRY CHRISTMAS! Have a WONDERFUL time with your loved ones! Be grateful, be happy, ENJOY! 

I am sending you much love!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Last Minute DIY Christmas Gift - Superfood Topping for Muesli or Oatmeal

The day after tomorrow is Christmas!

And I am still making gifts and am far from done with wrapping the gifts I already have. What about you? Are you done with everything? 

In case you still need a DIY idea for a Christmas gift I have one for you - a superfood topping for muesli or oatmeal! It is very easy to make and a great gift for everyone who likes muesli or oatmeal, who eats healthy or who wants to eat healthy :)  

I came up with this idea because I still had some cocoa beans from Keimling left over after I made the filled dates (see post here) and I did not really know what to do with them... but then I thought about all the mueslis out there made with cocoa nibs and I came up with the idea of making a muesli - but I thought its even better to make a superfood mix that can be used in muesli, oatmeal, buckwheat, groats or whatsoever :)

What I put into the superfood mix:

Pumpkin seeds
Goji berries
Chia seeds
Cocoa beans
Popped amarant
Popped quinoa

In case you use coca beans make sure to remove the skin before shredding them! I removed the skin from my cocoa beans and put them into my food processor so that I get small pieces that are like the ready made cocoa nibs who can buy in stores. You can of course also just use cocoa nibs - will be less work for sure ;) 

Would you like to get this as a gift? I would - this is why I made some for my husband and me too ;) 

So, are you on holiday yet? Or still working? I hope you are free and ready for Christmas :) 
Its my birthday tomorrow so all my thoughts go to my birthday instead of Christmas right now. These days are soooo busy with preparations, gift-making, grocery shopping, card-writing and sending etc. etc. but I feel wonderful and I am soooo very happy!

Sending you all much love!

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Personal Christmas Gift Ideas

Let me share my very personal Christmas gifts with you...

... I know you all have seen loads of Christmas gift inspiration posts made with fancy collages and pretty products coming straight from whatever companie's website. I do not want to say anything against these posts, but I definetly want to show you my Christmas gift ideas in a more personal post :) 

So here are some ideas for those of you, who are still missing some gifts and/or ideas for gifts.

There are a few things I always like to give as gifts and they do basically fit three categories:

1. Natural cosmetic products

Everyone uses cosmetics so everyone can use gifts that are related to cosmetics. I like to give products from nice brands such as Weleda, Love me Green, Dr. Hauschka, Lavera or even Primavera. Especially Weleda has great products for both women and men in a nice packaging (they also have gift boxes). Also for babys it is a great idea to give a natural baby oil or cream - every mother can use that :) 

2. Books

I love to gift books as a gift. I usually give books that I read myself and that either inspired me or that I found very beautiful. I rarely give novels but rather nonfiction books or illustrated books. This year I will give my favorite vegan cook book, an intersting illustrated book about non-organic and organic food in comparision, and a few other nonfiction books that inspired me throughout the year.

3. Food

I always like to give some kind of "special" foods. The Christmas pasta and the tea in the picture are just an example. I usually like to give herbs and special kinds of salts or pestos. Those kind of things that everyone can use in their kitchen and that last long. 
Of course I also like to give my homemade sweets, like filled dates, cookies, dried apple rings or similar. 

There is one other things on my picture that does not fit into these three categories but that I also like to give - when it comes to babys, I like to give clothes. High quality, organic clothes of course. Like pyjamas from Hess Natur, a body made from silk and wool or even a cute woolen hat.  Somehow its only when its about babys that I like to give clothes. I am probabably afraid of giving clothes to an adult because of the chance that s/he will not like it... like the gifts from the other three categories, they are basically things everone can use somehow. So the risk of giving something completely "wrong" is very limited :)

By the way, I also give loads of pictures as gifts to my family members. I either frame my favorite pictures that I made during the year, or/and I make calenders with the pictures I took. I find it important to make personal gifts to close friends or family members and not just to buy whatever it is. 

There is one more DIY gift that I made this year but I will not yet tell you what it is because I plan to make a post about it next week, so stay tuned ;) 

Do you also have "categories" of things you always like to give as Christmas gifts? Or do you give very different things every year? I would love to know! 

Have a wonderful weekend and a great third Advent Sunday :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No. 2

Seems like I am no. 2 today...

... and thats okay, I do not need to be no. 1 every day ;) 

Sorry, just kidding, I just found this shooting location the other day and I am very happy about it. Such a cool place to take pictures. I am sure I will be back there again with a new outfit soon.

But now about todays look. Yeah, its my favorite colors again. Blue and white. But hey, its a different look anyway. I am going all boyfriend style today, with my boyfriend jeans and my husbands checkered shirt. I layered a thick white cardigan and an oversized scarf and decided to wear my high heel boots for once ;)  

How do you like this look?

Are you getting tired of my blue-white Winter uniform yet ;)? I basically just switch between white/blue and black/grey this season... I really do not feel that comfortable in other colors at the moment so I just go with how I feel and come up with loads and loads of new looks with these colors ;)


How is your week going so far? Mine is really nice! I spent the first half of the week in Northern Germany with my husbands family and enjoyed the baltic sea winds, the fresh air and some pre-christmas coziness. Now I am back in our place and it feels so good to come to this beautiful new place of ours. I really feel so much "at home" here. I mean, sure, that is what you are supposed to feel like when you are home, but you get the idea of what I mean, dont you? 

I hope you are all doing wonderful and I wish you a splendid rest of the week!
Sending much love!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I am continuing with my healthy alternatives to Christmas cookies...

... today with something special: raw vegan glutenfree sugarfree super healthy super yummy most delicious and awesome pumpkin pie! Pumpkin season is not over just because thanksgiving is over and the delicious taste of ginger and cinnamon is perfect for the Advent season. 

This pumpkin pie is super creamy, crunchy and tasty and you can totally feel good about eating it - because its super healthy. 

All you need for this pumpkin pie are these few ingredients:

A Pie Pumpkin 
A RIPE Khaki (make sure you use a ripe khaki, it should be really really soft!) 
Some Ginger
Some Cinnamon 

You will need approximately as many dates as walnuts and the amount depends on how much you wanna make. Maybe around 200 gram of walnuts and around the same quantity of dates (since dates are heavier than walnuts it will maybe be 300 or even 400 gram) for a regular sized pie pan. 

For the crust you put your walnuts and 80% of your dates (leave around 4-7) in a food processor and process until you get a nice crust. Put the crust into your pie pan. - You may notice that the crust gets very oily, like you can see on my picture here, its all natural walnut oil! 

For the filling you put around a small teapsoon of cinnamon, a fingernail size of ginger, pumpkin (cut into small pieces) and the khaki into your high speed blender and blend everything up until you get a very creamy golden filling. Add the rest of your dates, or less or more, depending on how sweet you like it - also add more ginger or cinnamon if you like :) 

Et voilá - your raw vegan pumpkin pie is ready! So easy, so fast, sooooooo good!!! 

We had this delicious pie on the weekend to celebrate the third Advent Sunday. My mother and her husband came to visit and even though they were a little sceptical in the first place, they both loved the raw vegan pie and both of them asked for second slice - which made me very happy of course :) 

Have you ever tried some raw cakes or candies? I love to try out new healthy recipes, especially when they do not contain any sugar. I need to practice to make sweets without sugar because I have a little bit of a challenge planned for next year... will tell you more about it soon. 

For now, have a great Monday!
Sending much love!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Around my place...

Today I will show a tiny little bit of our new place...

...those who follow my blog know that my little family and I just moved to a new apartment a few weeks ago. Now, finally, things are getting cleaned up and ready to really live in. There are still a lot of things that need to be fixed and done but we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we start to believe that we will be done with everything before Christmas - that would be great!

We are extremely happy with our new place and since it is the first place where we move in as a family, we somehow find it important to make everything really nice, cozy and pretty. So my husband spend the last few weeks building us a new kitchen, install several lamps in every room, drill loads of holes and tow loads and loads of wood and a few new things from Ikea to the third floor of our building. He really is the best! 

So now, let me show you around our new place... we have the kitchen first. I have got my little smoothie corner where I have my fresh greens hanging from the roof and a few superfoods ready to be thrown into my vitamix blender :)  

We have a small table in the kitchen and a bigger one in the living room (which is super crowded with Christmas gift preps right now, so it may be included in a second part of "around my place" but not today ;)) ...

... I love the small one in the kitchen and I usually sit there to write blog posts, eat breakfast or write diary. The kitchen is my favorite place and I think I spend 1/3 of my time there. Also, our balcony can be accessed from the kitchen so we have this big glass door there which makes the entire room so bright and friendly - love that!   

Our living room is not as big as our old one but we are actually happy with it because it makes the entire room somehow more cozy. We have our ancient sofa and armchair there, plus some old beer crates that we use as a bookshelf and table. 

On the other half of the living room we have another table which is bigger than the one in the kitchen and we usually sit there when we have guests, when the little one wants to sit with us or when we celebrate the Advent Sundays (because this is where the Advent wreath is :)).

by the way, the praying carpet on the wall is the one that we got when we visited the mosque in Kermanshah, Iran (see a post about it here). It reminds us everyday of this perfect vacation we had... plus I think it fits very well in there. 
Oh and another little story, so we have those big pillows because we like to sit on the ground when we sit together, drink tea or play with the little one. I bought the pretty fabric back in Ghana in 2011 or 2012 and my husband made these cushion covers from it. He really is a talented man!

I really like my small picture wall which will certainly grow in the coming months and years. So far there is a real papyrus painting from Egypt, a silk screen from Kentucky, a postcard from Ireland and a few other pictures from here and there. 

Okay, lets move on to the bedroom. Of course we still have our DIY clothes rail (I made a post on how we made it back in 2013 - you can find it here) and I think it looks even better now that it hangs against the blue wall and next to the window :)

Finally, I will also show a little detail from the bathroom, namely this little corner. The day we got the apartment, I brought those few things with me in my handbag and put them there because I wanted to have a pretty corner in the new home even though the rest of the place was empty and we yet had to renovate it. Since then I did not change the decoration and the mussels from Tanzania, Ghana, Tunesia and Portugal make me happy every day :) 

Now I am super curious - how do you like these details from our new home? 
Since I am excited about a few other details that are not ready yet, I will certainly take you back to my place one more time in the coming weeks :) 

And now - have a wooooooonderful weekend and a peaceful third Advent sunday and just an amazing time whatever you do and whereever you are! 
Sending much love!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Shades Of Grey

Today I have another Winter look for you...

... I am still trying to keep warm by layering long sleeves, sweaters and cardigans/poncho, instead of wearing my coats. Since this years December is incredibly warm, I do pretty good so far. 

Here is a grey and black look for you that I have been wearing today. I paired a dress that I got as a gift a couple of years ago, together with a second hand kimono style cardigan and a big black scarf. 

How do you like this look?

Its somehow really nice that this Winter is so warm up to now, but its also scary to see this change in climate. I hear my friends from all over the world telling me that the weather is getting so weird and somehow it is frightening me. How do you feel about the warm Winter weather? Or maybe its not warmer than usual where you live? 

Sending much love!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Baked Apples

Happy Monday!

Today I have another healthy alternative to the usual Christmas cookies for you - namely baked apples! 

I love baked apples and I make them several times every Christmas season. Now, we just got a new oven and since I need to try out all it different functions, I made baked apples like three times in the past seven days - yummy :) 

It is very easy to make baked apples and all you need are these few ingredients:

Apples (choose a big and sour kind, I usually like to use Boskop apples)
Almonds (buy chooped ones or chop them yourself)

You can also add marzipan if you like - it will be less healthy of course but its also very very very very delicious with marzipan :) 

You need to core your apples before baking them - I use a seeder to do this and I highly recommend using this nice little utensil since it makes it so much easier to core apples for both baked apples and for dried apple rings. 

When the core is gone you can put the raisins and almonds inside the apple. You can also put the marzipan if you choose to add it. I like to make a bottom out of marzipan so that the raisins and almonds do not fall through. 

Preheat your oven to 180°C and bake the apples for around 18 minutes (or until soft). 

I like to eat baked apples with a raw, vegan, and sugarfree vanilla sauce. The sauce is as easy as it can be: 

I just put some dates, almonds and some vanilla bean in my high speed blender, add a little bit of water and blend it until I have the sweetest, creamiest, most healthy vanilla sauce ever! 

Try it - you will not regret and you will not even notice that you are eating something super healthy :)

Have you tried baked apples? Do you like them as much as I do? What is your favorite recipe for baked apples? I would love to know!

Sending much love and wishing you a wonderful week ahead!

Friday, December 4, 2015

About Being a Mother

I am a mother since more than seven months now...

...can you believe that? I sometimes have a hard time... today I want so share some thoughts on this topic with you.

My little girl is sleeping right next to me at this moment, I try to type without noise so that I am not going to wake her up. She is sleeping really good since the first day, we never had a hard time with sleepless nights with her. Thats not the only thing I was surprised about. Before becoming a mother, I thought this is a really difficult, exhausting and enervating job. I found out that its not. Its rather the most normal thing ever, from the first day on. The moment I became a mother I simply WAS a mother and thats it. It was the most normal thing and life continued...

Did I change? Did my life change? Sure, I am a mother now, no longer only friend/sister/wife/cousin/etc. but also mother. But to be honest - I am not sure if I really changed that much. I feel like I am doing the same things as before, blogging, seeing friends, working (a little), cooking, travelling (to Iran with my little one) washing clothes (and cotton diapers now) and spending time with my husband. Plus I spend some time with my baby now, of course, but somehow its like a good friend who is there every day, making your day a little brighter but not asking for too much attention. Of course things changed but I do not really feel it too much since the current state is just the norm for me. I feel its normal not to go out at night and I do not really miss it. I feel its normal that I carry my little one with me to the supermarket when I go grocery shopping and I do not complain about it. I feel its normal to lay down every three- four hours with the little one to feed her and to make her sleep, and I enjoy those little breaks. 

I never asked people from the outside if they think that I changed. Maybe I should. Maybe they see things completly different and they think I changed a lot, being a mother now. But for me - I think I just AM. Thats it.

However, having changed or not, I definetly can say that I love being a mother. It makes me proud. I am proud of what I am able to do - making an entire new human being! I am proud of that its ME feeding this little angle, it is ME making her grow and getting bigger and heavier every day. It was ME who carried her for nine months and it is me now carrying her every day close to my heart. This makes me proud and this gives me more confidence for life in general. So in this context, yes I changed and I am perceiving a few things differently - myself between others. 

What about my relationship to my husband? 
I know many couples face loads of problems when they get children. And I feel very sorry for them. I think it is sad that something as beautiful, wonderful and perfect as a little baby is causing problems in some relationships, even destroying some. I am very very grateful that the relationship to my husband is as wonderful as it ever was - no actually, it is even more beautiful. Because every day we can see the result of our love. This little human being was made by the two of us. This is miraculous. This is simply amazing. And we are grateful for this every day.  
We do have time for the two of us, we go for walks together several times a week, we watch a movie together on the sofa once a week, we sit down together to drink tea and talk very frequently and we are always able to discuss everything that is currently bothering us. In a nutshell, our relationship really is as profound and wonderful as it ever was. Our baby did not change this but rather deepened our feelings.  

I know that I am not alone, feeling the way I feel about being a mother, but I also know that there are many women out there feeling very differently. Actually, most women I know, complain that they do not have enough time for themselves, because their husbands are busy earning money or doing other things. I can understand these women and I feel sorry for them because they are not able to enjoy the most precious time they can have with their babys, because they are focusing on the fact that they do not have enough time for themselves. I know that I am in a very very fortunate situation because my husband can help me a lot but even if he wasn't, I think that this time that I have with my little one is worth much more than ANYTHING else. Maybe I am conservative and boring but I am okay with that because I am happy. And in the end I think the most important is to be happy :)

Are you a mother? How do you feel about being a mother? How was the first year with your baby? I really would love to know!