Posts tagged birthday
Lanzarote... living another life (and acro-massage!)

Finally.... I have stopped still for long enough to write this post for you, all about my holiday in Lanzarote. I arrived home over a week ago now and have been wanting to write to you ever since but life just got crazy (hmmmm, that wasn't the plan!)  Though it's been good crazy so i'm not complaining at all really.

If you read this post, you'll see how much of a leap beyond my comfort zone going away on holiday on my own took. I still feel a little shy admitting that to you, as for many that would be no big deal. But for me it was. I overcame my fears and i'm incredibly proud I did so. It turned out to be an amazing experience.

villa 3.jpg

There were no indulgences, no crazy activities, not tourist trips, no treks on camel back, no nights out drinking or dancing. No 'classic' holiday experiences whatsoever...

Instead... there was a lot of reading, self reflection, deep conversation, spending time in nature, yoga, acro-massage (see below), listening to the wind in the palm trees and simply spending time in the company of interesting people who inspired me to question my life in so many new ways.

Early morning mist across a volcano crater on my birthday

Early morning mist across a volcano crater on my birthday

When I first made the decision to take a holiday on my own. AirBnb quickly became my obvious choice simply because I had heard so many good things about the site from friends. This is not in any way a sales pitch for AirBnb (though if you are interested to book your own trip there is a discount code below) but the service was amazing all the way through and I will be using it again for sure.

The key thing for me, above and beyond the location itself (so many choices... where to start!) was to find a host that I felt I a connection with through reading their description. In hindsight this is the best thing I could have done and it made my holiday so much richer for having taken the time to find 'me' people. This was especially true for me since I had planned to spend a lot of time at the villa instead of it being just a base to explore away from.

Daniel and his family made me feel part of their 'tribe' right from the outset, inviting me to join in family excursions and simply mucking in with them as they lived day to day. This 'living as' was actually what made my holiday so special as it offered me a deep shift in perspective to reflect on so many aspects of my own life that I wouldn't have had if I had simply been living a superficial 'holiday life'.

I have talked many times before about how my own personal weakness is the ability to slow down, to relax and meditate, all things which were so powerfully demonstrated for me whilst I was there and which I had the opportunity to step into and experience for myself. I had so many powerful conversations on these topics and there were so many mutual interests in nutritional (they ate a plant based diet), mindfulness, living beyond the 9-5 and so much more. The fact they don't have a TV was also heaven for me!

I ate all my meals with the family and I was reminded how important the ritual of sitting down and being present with the food, being open to discussions and connecting around the table really is. I, like most people rush around so much that sitting down as a family or as a group, or even simply sitting down quietly away from TV or other distraction is often overlooked and undervalued. I'll admit that I haven't been perfect since I've been back as I have been travelling a lot these last few days, but those rituals and mind-body connections around mealtimes is something I want to build on and infuse in my daily routine.

Morning rituals consisted of ashtanga yoga on the veranda, It was so hard!  I'm used to fairly generic yoga classes that cater for all levels and so can usually do it all. Yet with Daniel, so many of the moves I simply couldn't do- my back is very unbendy!!  That said I loved the challenge of trying.

I was also very fortunate that he is trained in acro-massage, a unique experience in mindfulness and massage using simple movements working with gravity to open and activate the body.  I'll admit I didn't have to do much, he did all the work. It's hardcore!

On my last day we filmed it so that I could remember the experience and share it back home since it was like nothing i'd ever experienced before. I'd love to know what you think! Please excuse the background noises of little Shakti as the door back into the house had shut, so she was stuck out on the veranda with us- much to her displeasure ;-)

It was also my birthday whilst I was away and for the first time ever there was no sense of obligation to 'do' anything. Nobody asking me 'what do you have planned for your birthday' and therefore no pressure or expectation....

Just embracing that open-minded feeling of BEing over DOing was hugely empowering and impactful for me and so my birthday was a profound time for reflection because of it.

I did make the wonderful chocolate brownie bread which was kind of my birthday treat (albeit a few days early) and I booked my self a full body massage as a treat on the final day of the trip to top off my experience! :-)

I also have another breakfast recipe to share with you in the next couple of days, an concept that Daniel inspired me with whilst I was there. If you love porridge this will be a game-changer! Here's where I sat and ate said breakfast on the veranda every morning...


I have since had a couple of questions from followers on Instagram and Facebook asking for veggie restaurant recommendations. As I didn't eat out, I put that question to my host Daniel and these were his top recommendations for a 'healthy Lanzarote experience' for eating and buying your own health foods. 

Mancha Blanca:  Domingo - Sunday  9.0 – 1.30   frutas, verduras y quesos de las islas, canarian fruits, vegetables and cheeses

“Hesperides restaurante vegetariano con un excelente herbolario – vegetarian
restaurant with well stocked healthfood shop in Casa León 928 594 012
abierto lunes a viernes 9.30 – 20.00 h, sábado 9.30 – 24.00, domingo 9.30 – 17.00 

Tias:  “Tienda Verde”  Herbolario Health-food shop. Fresh vegetables 928 834 239

Also mentioned above that I have an AirBnb discount code which if you decide to go ahead will give you £33 off your first trip. To give you an idea of what value that gives you- you could get a full 3 nights accommodation in many places around the world!  The code is: jhodson9

I'd love to hear from you...

Have you ever travelled on your own? Do you have any 'silly' fears you'd love to overcome? 

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Happy 3rd Birthday Including Cake!

It's been a crazy eventful week... more Wholeplus excitement on the horizon and some great new coaching opportunities too. In amongst the happy emotions it was also brought to my attention that: 

My blog was three years old on Tuesday!

It made me sit back and reflect a little on all that's changed in that time, and for someone who  is very quick to undervalue my achievements, even I can see that a lot has changed.

When I first began my blog it was purely on a whim, I spent so much time being inspired by  recipes on other peoples blogs and I figured "why don't I just start my own" not realising how much hard work goes into creating such a website presence. All I knew was that I liked designing things, I liked sharing food and liked taking photos so it seemed obvious to write my own blog...yes? What I didn't appreciate or understand at that time was how to put myself out there in the world and share what i had with others… That has been a huge area of growth for me over the last three years and something that continues to be a work in progress. It is still something that pushes the edges of my comfort zone on a daily basis.

When I first started I had absolutely no game plan; I was literally using it as a space to talk about things I'd experimented with, with some photography thrown in for good measure. It was a simple as that. I had a inkling of an idea at the back of my mind that I'd like it to be more than a hobby but I had no idea how that could happen in real life.

It was just a dream.

I was still working an office job as an architect. I had no intention of becoming a health coach and I certainly had no plans to launch a health food business... what kind of a crazy idea was that- I have no business savvy skills!! To be honest I didn't even know how long I would write this blog. It makes me smile now but I distinctly remember a couple of weeks in, sitting down at the dining room table and writing list of recipe ideas to make, I came to about 20 before I had a mental block. "Oh well, that will take me through to nearly Christmas" I thought to myself. 

In case you're curious here is my original post, it talks about my newly expanding mindset, it talks about the boy who, whilst no longer in my life in that same capacity, still impacts my thoughts on a daily basis and my drive to continually explore and not settle for societies expectation. It talks about my early steps and thought processes in transitioning to a plant-based whole foods lifestyle. I'm now fully plant-based which was a natural progression for me over the months that followed as I become more knowledgeable and passionate.

The words in that post that resonate most with me are:

"I am simply a girl in a world wanting to be the best she can".  

That still stands today... but more than that, in understanding more deeply who I am and the gifts that this knowledge has broughts to my life I, more than ever, want to help others seek ways to become the best they can too.

In reflecting back on these last 3 years... I wrote a list of events that marked new chapters and pivotal achievements in my life.. some big, some small but all with meaning. I share them with you here.

Now, why not take a moment to look back on your last 3 years, wherever you are in your life right now. Are you proud? Are you frustrated?

Either way, embrace your reactions with a curiosity. Celebrate your progress or learn from them and grow.

Strive to live the life you know you have within you.


 I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers  plus me FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can always find me in these places:

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Silent Sunday / Mantra for Monday Birthday Combo!

Last weekend was my (cough cough...31st) birthday!

I had meant to write this post at the time but it was a long day out and then the week got all crazy busy.... so I figured i'll tell you about it now. As it happens as you read this I will be sitting in the sun as I'm taking a last minute holiday with friends though I will be working for some of it... I have lots of plans for coaching programmes and I'm looking forward to lots of reading and writing up all my notes and ideas! Bring on the inspiration!

Anyway... let's get back to my birthday. May 11th.

I spent it with my family visiting London's Olympic Park. It was a beautiful way to spend the day after what had felt like a reflective couple of days. Birthday's seem have become a bit of a reflective time for me over the last couple of years and that's not always a positive thing since I have a tendency to dwell on things that I feel I'm missing on not having reached where I feel I should have in my life...not that I necessarily know where that place should be!! Frustrating! 

I'm trying hard to be mindful and grateful for all the positives in my life, of which there are so many but I also think that in breaking away from norms, forging your own path and opening your mind to holistic wellness brings these elements of life into acute focus, all these feelings come bubbling up to the surface instead of being brushed under the carpet, much more so than in previous years when I 'plodded' through life, pushing issues to the back of my mind and never truly seeking a higher purpose. 

My biggest moto for life these days is to 'question everything'. It has enriched my life and self development in so many ways but by it's nature is also a huge ladle...stirring the pot that is my world, leaving nothing unturned in it's wake.

As part of my birthday trip I was given a 'challenge' set by my dad...

These are my 5 photos that sum up the day (the 'Silent Sunday' part of this post if you will). The photos were taken on my phone as I wanted to embrace the freedom of not being surrounded by bags and camera kit and sometimes there is something simply so much more spontaneous about capturing a picture that way.

Last my not least the spirit of grow, self development, going against norms and expectation. Embodying the ethos that you will always be as young as you mindset dictates.  I though I would share a silly video with you too.... click on the picture to see my Instagram mini video :-)

How will you be silly today?

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up foemails in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can also find me in these places:

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Celebration cake.... where health and indulgence collide!

'Where health and indulgence collide' has always been a bit of a mantra for me as I've developed Including cake over the last few years.  

I simply don't believe the two are mutually exclusive. It was the challenge I most embraced as I ventured into the world of a plant based lifestyle around three years ago. If you have read my about page you'll see how this lifestyle first presented itself to me.

As time went on I began to research more and appreciate the incredible benefits of a plant based diet and then more importantly a 'whole food' plant based diet. It was at the time the refined sugars and 'white' products began to find there way out of my cupboards and into the bin. There was no turning back!

Did I ever deprive myself during this time? 


Did I ever feel as thought i was missing out?

Sometimes- but only in social situations  with limited options not in terms of what I could create myself

The challenge of creating indulgence in a way that did not compromise my health became my 'thing', and now in my coaching practice this is is something I am passionate to help others appreciate for themselves in their own lives.

Oh.... so you want to know about this cake...yes!

Ok, well I wont keep you waiting any longer. This cake is rich, moist, chocolatey, silky smooth, packed full of veg and other good stuff and topped with my Wholeplus product range (but you could use anything you like!)

It doesn't use loads of crazy specialist ingredients (just a few key ones like stevia) and doesn't take long to whip up. Its virtually foolproof. It's tried and tested with kids too.

Put simply... you have to make this cake!!

The base of the cake is actually my crazy courgette cake topped with a variation of my heathy chocolate frosting on top, (if you want a soy free frosting try this one) but since we're putting everything together i've rewritten it all out below. I then also topped it all off with my vanilla Wholeplus Squares.

I made this cake for a friends birthday a week or so ago (i made a big one plus some small ones- I doubled the recipe). I had advised her that it would keep well for a few days in the fridge...but I was quickly informed that within 24 hours the whole things had been eaten. To quote her she said "this cake is quite literally the nuts".


Recipe: Chocolate Celebration Cake

Makes 1 8” round or square cake

Base of the cake:


  • 2/3 cup packed dates (soak in hot water for a few minutes if they are very hard)

  • approx ½ tsp pure stevia

  • 1 heaped cup courgette puree (I approximated this by using 1 ½ cups smallsh chunks)

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup oil of choice (I use coconut oil)

  • ¼ cup flax seed

  • ¾ cup cocoa powder

  • 1 cup oat flour (I ground up some regular oats)

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I used these)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder

  • 1 heaped tsp baking soda


Blend the courgette with all the wet ingredients and the flax seed to form a smooth fairly runny paste. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and then add the wet. Mix lightly but well to form a thick soft batter. Add a little extra water if necessary.

Spoon the batter into a lined/greased muffin pan or round cake tin (you could also make cupcakes?) and smooth the top as best you can.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for approx 25 minutes, after 10-15 minutes it is advisable to lightly cover the top of the pan with foil to prevent the top browning before the centre is cooked through.

Allow to cook before topping with frosting.



Note: you can make this in advance and keep in the fridge for a day or so, you'll also want to chill it before to topping the cake anyway.


  • 1/2 carton firm silken tofu (I use Mori nu)

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil

  • 3 tbs agave nectar (plus a touch of stevia if needed)

  • 1/4 tsp stevia powder

  • 1 tsp orange extract (or another flavour if you prefer)


So simple!! Put all ingredients into food processor and blend up very thoroughly. Spoon into a bowl and store in the fridge to firm up a little ready for use.

For toppings, I used my vanilla Wholeplus Squares plus some cacoa nibs and ground up goji berries on the big cake for a pretty sprinkle of colours- gojis make the perfect healthy sprinkles right? 

This cake keeps best in the fridge in keeping for more than a day. (yeah right!)

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up for emails in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can also find me in these places:

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Chocolate raspberry cream cake - birthday cake for one!

Hello, I’m all excitable…today is my birthday!

I’m still allowed to get excited on my birthday…even if I am 29, that’s not grown up right?

Who wants to be grown up anyway? ‘Grown up’ often seems to imply being sensible, owning lots of credit cards, not being spontaneous, not giggling uncontrollably and not licking the plate clean when no-one’s watching…that kinda thing.

So I’m certainly not grown up. Well certainly not for a lot of the time.

So back to my birthday! It’s been a random kind of day. A fairly normal start (my Friday Pilates class), with a spot of helping a friend move house in the middle and lots of birthday relating baking goings on in between. So all is good! Tomorrow is where it’s at as I’ll be having a get together with family and going out for a meal to a tapas bar. Last weekend I also went out for a meal with friends to a thai restaurant…so it’s all about food really!  

This is how today shaped up on the food front:

Raspberry and almond breakfast cookie (with green smoothie just peeking in the corner) before my Pilates class, followed by a ridiculously indulgent- it ended up being quite a bit larger than I’d anticipated- chocolate cream cake for a brunchy snack (I was very full after that ooops!), followed by pesto cabbage and chickpea soup for a late lunch before meeting my friend, and then for dinner a carrot craving resulted in these carrot burgers with lemon tahini sauce….

Recipes to come…patience, patience.  But to start, I’ll share my chocolate cream cake as that’s the most birthdayish recipe after all and I like my little candle. Is it a bit silly to make your own birthday cake? Well I wanted a candle to blow out…you can’t be ‘grown up’ if you still blow out candles right?

This chocolate raspberry cream cake is super rich and indulgent. The sponge itself isn’t so much as I cut the oil since I was going for a cashew cream in the middle and so was more than happy to go for an oil-less textured sponge (I couldn’t tell the difference from my usual chocolate mug cake recipe anyway). The jam I used was sugar-free (fruit sugar only) and the cream is simply a thick plain cashew cream …but put all that together and you have a pretty crazy cake!

Perfect for a special occasion.

Recipe: Chocolate raspberry cream cake

Serves 1 (or two!)

Ingredients- sponge

  • 3 tbs wholewheat spelt flour (or GF combo)
  • 1 tbs agave and a few grains of stevia (or increase agave slightly)
  • Tiny pinch salt
  • 1 tbs cocoa powder (or cacao or carob)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2tbs soy yoghurt or apple puree
  • Approx. 3 tbs soy milk

Ingredients- filling

  • Cashew cream
  • (approx. 2 tbs)
  • Sugar-free fruit conserve
  • A few fresh berries- optional


To make the sponge, mix the dry ingredients together and then add the wet and mix to form a smooth thick batter. Spoon two equal sized dollops on a large greased/lined microwavable plate and microwave for 1 minute. Alternatively bake the sponge in the oven on a baking sheet for approx. 10 minutes (note I have not tested this method.)

Meanwhile make up the cashew cream (or use an alternative cream/yoghurt) and also get the fruit conserve/berries ready to go.

Once cooked, the sponge should form two small flat cakes. Place one, flat side up, on your serving plate and layer up with cream, jam, fruit before placing the top sponge layer on top. Add extra cream/fruit to the top as desired…add a candle if you like!

It all just splodged out the sides as soon as I sank my spoon into it! Yummy.

For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.

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