Favourites of 2018: Recipes, Reads, Yoga & Inspo
I know once we’ve entered into the New Year, we generally tend to not want to look back. For me however, I feel that 2018 was a year of excitement, travel and growth and I would love to reflect back and share all of my favourite moments with you (as well as give a little summary on December, as I do in all of my monthly favourites blogs). And I know this blog post is a little late in the making, however I hope you still enjoy it’s content and my monthly favourites (recipes, reads and yoga).
For me, 2018 began in Australia, at a holistic addiction center near Byron Bay, where I was volunteering as a newly graduated yoga teacher (teaching yoga to those recovering from alcohol addiction). You can read all about my experiences here. From there on, my boyfriend and I ended up our volunteering by travelling a little more of the East Coast, down to the Great Ocean Road, in our van (which I would easily say is some of the best times of my life-so far).
We travelled and lived in the van for about three weeks, then ended up staying at my Aunty’s in Melbourne for a couple of weeks (until we got the van sold, which didn’t take long as we manifested it over a full blood moon). Seeing as I had been living in Australia for over a year and 3 months (including living with my aunty for 6 months), let’s just say that I had acquired more than a few things! So we ended having a few ‘trash and treasure’ market stalls, where I sold pretty much all of my things (and a lot of clothes), which allowed me to afford to buy plane tickets to Vietnam, and have some travel spending money left over (luckily Asia is so cheap).
So that is exactly just what we did. We packed up our worn out hiker’s packs, said our goodbyes to my cousins and friends in Melbourne, and headed to the land of Asia. It was Henrik’s first ever time in Asia, so he had a bit of a culture shock when we stepped off the plane into the busy, dirty streets of Ho Chi Mihn. However as we began to travel further up North (into the richer area of Vietnam), Henrik found the experience a lot more enjoyable. We ended up backpacking for about three weeks, covering Mui Ne, Da Lat, Hoi An (my favourite), Da Nang, Hue, Phong Na (also really cool caves), Ha Long (amazing scenery) and Hanoi.
After enough time in Vietnam, we booked flights back to the UK (I always like to book one way, as you never know where your next adventure will lead you). At this point it had been almost 2 years since I’d been back to the UK, so it was definitely more than time to visit my family and friends. It was so nice to go back home and visit everyone. We visited my best friend, Lydia, in Cornwall for the long weekend and stayed with her family, which was soo nice! I even hosted a charity yoga class to help raise money for Lydia’s dad, as he was running two marathons at 60 year’s old for prostate cancer research.
Whilst we were in the UK, we also visited London as Henrik had never been to the UK before (which for some reason I find really crazy). It was a great time to experience London from a tourist perspective, doing all of the super touristy things (seeing the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye), as I guess it’s not something you usually do if you are not actually a tourist!
Henrik ended up staying in the UK with me for 2 weeks, before returning back to Germany (after a year away from home). I stayed a little longer, so I could have more time to properly catch up with friends and family, as I would be next making the move to Düsseldorf (where Henrik is from). I ended up moving there on the 29th, despite knowing zero German, and never having had any desire to study the language (even though I was given the option at school-kicking myself now).
Moving to Düsseldorf was great, new and exciting, and the weather seemed a whole lot better than it was in the UK (I guess because it’s closer to France). I didn’t end up being there for long, because then I had the opportunity to jet off to Mykonos for 6 weeks to teach yoga at a luxury retreat.
In May I headed off to Mykonos, Greece to teach yoga for 6 weeks at a luxury retreat. Teaching yoga at this retreat was such an incredible experience for me! It really helped me to flourish into a confident yoga teacher, with the help of Clemence (who was another yoga teacher there at the retreat). A very dear friend of mine, Katina, (who I met at a Reiki 2 course in Australia) also came to visit me at the retreat. She loved it there so much that we have decided to host our own yoga retreat together this year in June (more information coming soon). You can read all about my experience teaching yoga in Mykonos here.
I was back to Germany in time for my birthday on June 13th, where Henrik and I went away for the weekend, to Berlin to celebrate it. It was so great to explore the city (my third time there) and enjoy the abundance of vegan food that they have to offer. Once I was back in Düsseldorf, I started my MeetUp group ‘Düsseldorf Reiki, Yoga & Meditation’ (which was an idea that came to me in Mykonos after a card reading with Clemence and a Reiki healing session with Katina). We also took a little weekend trip back to Cardiff to see my family.
For the whole month of July I was running numerous MeetUp’s, teaching yoga in nature, hosting full moon ceremonies and Reiki shares at mine. It was such a wonderful time as the weather was soo beautiful, and this is the period, where I started to make really great friends (who all had such similar interests to me, and many were also living internationally and away from home).
By August I was running 4 yoga classes in the local park’s per week, and my friends and I were having regular dinner dates together and hosting community vegan picnics and clothes swaps. It was such a great time and I even organised a challenge ‘Feel Aweseome August’, which a few of my friends helped me out in running. Each day there was a positive task to complete, all with the intention of becoming the best version of yourself. My dad and step mum, Amanda, also came to visit us for the weekend. Towards the end of the month we got the news that Henrik got into University, to study Psychology…in Hamburg!
This month, we took a road trip to Hamburg to try and find a flat (as apparently it’s extremely difficult in such a huge city). Despite this, we managed to find a flat, and sign for it in less than 4 days (the universe was on our side). It was crazy though because for each flat we viewed, about 20-40 people would show up per viewing! So by the 16th of September, we were all moved into our new place, and it was my time to try and find some yoga teaching work. Luckily the weather was still surprisingly nice towards the end of September, so I set up a Hamburg Reiki, Yoga & Meditation Meet Up group, and managed to teach a few classes in the main city park (where I got to meet some lovely new friends).
I settled in nicely to Hamburg and managed to run quite a few different meetups at mine, including women’s full moon circles and vegan dinner date night’s, which were soo fun (and a great way to meet new people). I started sub teaching at my first proper yoga studio, ‘Yoga Connection’ and began the search for finding more places to teach (which wasn’t the easiest considering I’m not yet able to teach a class in German).
This month I started teaching at another yoga studio, ‘Urban Yoga’, which was a brand new studio in the city. It was great fun on the open day, and I invited my friends along to celebrate. I also began teaching at a children’s (bilingual) school, teaching (or attempting to teach) yoga to six year old’s. I also took another German course (as it was about time I upgraded my German vocabulary). I started running my Full Moon workshop in the yoga studio, as now I had access to such a beautiful space. This month I also hosted my first ever Women’s Wellness Workshop with one of my best friends, Kira. (You can read more about that here).
It’s pretty crazy because it was my first Christmas back in Europe (or on this side of the world) since four years! As I have been lucky enough to escape the past three winters jetting off to either Australia or the Caribbean (where my dad used to work and live), to escape the winter cold. However it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, because I forgot how welcoming the Christmas spirit is in a cold country. (Snow decorations in 40 degree heat never did quite feel like Christmas). Also a massive plus side of being in Germany at Christmas time, was of course enjoying the traditional Christmas markets with delicious sugary sweets and spiced hot wine (glühwein in German).
So this month was pretty much spent catching up with friends at the Christmas markets. We also managed to find a completely vegan Christmas market too which was pretty cool! (Which meant we could enjoy German Waffles-can I get a hell yeah!).
Despite the freezing temperatures, Olga and I managed to squeeze another out door photo shoot in. This time round we took some yoga shots, which turned out so, so well and was totally worth the frozen toes!
Henrik and I went back to his parents in Düsseldorf for Christmas, where I got to experience my first ever German Christmas. It was a bit weird for me as over here they celebrate on the 24th (whereas in the UK we celebrate on the 25th). Despite that, we still had a nice Christmas evening..although this did mean a two hour church ceremony which wasn't exactly my cup of tea..especially when I didn’t understand a word (the things you do for love). Anyway after Church was where the real fun began, as we prepared our Christmas dinner followed by some board games (which I could some how participate in despite limited German).
Luckily for me, Henrik’s mum is vegetarian, so we got to cook a delicious vegan Christmas meal together. Henrik’s mum, Ute, made an incredible pumpkin, sweet potato and coconut soup for starters (which had fresh lemon and orange juice in it-so YUM). We made an amazing parsnip, mushroom, hazelnut and lentil nut roast for the main course. We used the BBC Good Foods recipe here (however we just tweaked the pearl barley for lentils to make it gluten free). As a side dish we prepared carrots, roasted in rosemary and agave syrup (instead of honey). Henrik and Ute were freaked out about the idea of sweet carrots, but they loved it when they tried it.
For dessert, we made an out of this world raw gingerbread cheesecake! It was the perfect Christmas dessert as the gingerbread spices made it taste so festive. Everyone absolutely loved it (despite the fact it was vegan, gluten and refined sugar free). I used Laura Fruit Fairy’s recipe which I can HIGHLY recommend!
So on “real” Christmas day, I literally spent the whole day in my PJ’s reading such a good book (I will recommend it below). I quite literally read from morning till night time, so a little different from the usual Christmas Day, but it was nice to relax nevertheless. It was actually also (and unintentionally) my second dry Christmas in a row (no alcohol). This isn’t something that I planned, but I just generally don’t enjoy drinking and I hate the feeling of being hungover or less productive because I’ve had a drink. But on the 24th we drank alcohol free sparkling wine and that was just as good!
I headed back to Hamburg on the 26th as I had a yoga class to teach, and also an interview scheduled. A lady called Claudia, who runs her own blog and website ‘Inspiring Women’, asked to do an interview with me for her blog. Her intention is to spread the message of women she finds inspiring in creating the life they want to live. It was such a fun interview and we covered some really nice topics. She hasn’t posted it yet, but hopefully it’ll be out in time for the next blog.
I also had an Akashic Record reading around this period, with a lady called Chelsea from the USA. So the Akashic Records are basically a record of your soul and of everything you have ever thought, done or said, in this lifetime, past lifetimes and future lifetimes. It’s pretty crazy really, and I found Chelsea after my friend Tanya recommended her. It was a really intense reading, as it was 1.5 hours of information, all about my soul group, my purpose here on Earth, about my spirit guides and how I can best thrive. It honestly did shift my own paradigm on life and I’m finding the information incredibly useful. I’ve made a video of my experiences of the reading, including some actual reading footage.
For New Year’s Eve, I went to spend it with Kira at her mum’s home near the North Sea. It was in such a beautiful and peaceful location, surrounded by nothing but forests, fields and the ocean. It was such a healing experience to be away from the big city life, and I really felt like being surrounded by so much nature restored my being. Kira and I had a wonderful few days together, exploring the cute little town of Husum, and going for some vegan cake.
We made vision boards for what we would like to manifest in 2019, and spent quiet time reading and going for walks in the forest. I literally couldn’t have asked for a better way to end 2018. For New Year’s Eve, we followed my conscious NYE ritual (available here), including a variety of different journalling activities, letting go rituals and manifestation meditations. It really makes such a difference entering the New Year on a spiritual high, with clear intentions and a calm and peaceful mind (as opposed to blurred memories and a hangover).
So that pretty much sums up my December and 2018 as a whole. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experiences, and hopefully they also inspire you to follow your own passions in life. But now, onto the good stuff.. my favourites of December!
Favourite Recipe of December: Patatas Bravas
I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely LOVE Patatas Bravas! I remember I would always order it while going for Spanish tapas. Traditionally it doesn’t have the kidney beans in it, however it turns the dish into more of a meal, as the beans are packed with plant protein. It’s such an easy dish to make, requiring really simple ingredients and it tastes extremely delicious! I hope you enjoy!
Favourite Reads of December:
1) The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, by Bronnie Ware
I was recommended this book by a friend, Britta, who told me that this book had transformed her life. I thought that was a pretty bold statement to make (as she never says anything just for the sake of saying something), which naturally perked up my curiosity. I can confirm Britta’s statement, as after reading this book I felt transformed. The book is about a lady who works in palliative care, for people who are dying. The whole book is a collection of her personal experiences with different dying individuals, who each talk about their biggest regrets in life. Despite being mainly about death, it’s such an uplifting and inspiring read and will really encourage you to make the most of each precious day here on Earth.
2) A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
As I’ve mentioned before on my blogs, I’m not usually that into fiction as I can’t justify it as productive. However, after accidentally getting hooked on the new Sabrina Netflix series (I used to love Sabrina the Teenage Witch), I ended up with a craving for something witchy. I found this book as it was highly rated on amazon and they’ve even turned into a TV series (so I thought it must be good). Well..it wasn’t just good..it was AMAZING! I literally read the whole book (it’s pretty long) within the space of a few days, with some days I would literally read it for 5-6 hours straight-it was THAT good!
It was written by a lady who is a historian (has a doctorate in history), and the way she has written the book to include so many historical events is extremely interesting. The author is extremely knowledgeable in history, witch craft and is so creative with her narrative. In a nut shell, the book is about a world where witches, vampires and daemons live among humans, however they are unknown to humanity. The main character (a witch), falls in love with a vampire (which is forbidden) and they go on a wild journey throughout the book. It’s extremely thrilling, a little romantic and at a little raunchy on a few cheeky occasions. I wouldn’t even try and compare it to Twilight (which I’ve only watched and not read). It’s on a whole new level and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The book is a part of a trilogy, I whizzed my way through the second book already, but holding off on buying the third as it’s so addictive which makes me less productive (aka writing these blogs).
Favourite DIY beauty of December: Flax seed oil moisturiser
Okay so I know this isn’t exactly a DIY tip, as I’ve been quite busy over the holidays and haven’t put too much thought into new creations. However, it is something I used every day and is a great replacement for mositurising without drug store products (which are likely filled with chemicals and preservatives). So I don’t know about where you live, but flaxseed oil is really cheap to buy here (about 2/3 euros for 250ml of organic flaxseed oil). Therefore its pretty acceptable to use it as a whole body moisturiser.
It’s especially good to use during winter time, as the oil has very warming properties which is good for those who might be vata (dosha) types. What I also love about this oil is that it’s extremely moisturising as I feel like it soaks into every pore in my skin, allowing my skin to feel hydrated for hours. I really couldn’t recommend this enough if you suffer from dry skin. The best thing is that you are also able to cook with this oil, so then you know that if it can go in your mouth, then it definitely isn’t doing your body any harm when you apply it to your skin (everything we put into our skin soaks through to the blood stream).
Favourite Yoga Flow of December: Happy Hips
Here is a yoga flow I’ve created for Happy Hips! These days as humans, were living pretty sedentary lifestyles and most of us are sat down all day at a desk. Therefore we’re not bringing in the space we need into our hips, which is making us less mobile. Therefore this series is designed to help bring a deep stretch throughout the groin and hip flexors, to create the openness you need (therefore simultaneously creating openness in your mind and heart).
Favourite Quote of December:
“When you are doing work you love, it doesn’t feel like work. It is simply a natural extension of who you are”
-Top 5 regrets of the dying
I really love this quote because I resonate with it on such a deep level. Taking the steps to doing something you love for a filling is bold and courageous, yet at the same time feels like the most natural thing in the world. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love for a living as a yoga teacher teaching classes and workshops, and a reiki healer teaching courses and providing healing sessions. When you follow your true purpose in life, you will always be divinely guided.
Lately I’ve been really tapping into my poetic side, and have been writing many random poems here and there. A good friend suggested that I share them online, which is what I shall do here. I don’t want to make them a part of the monthly blogs, because I only channel them when I feel inspired. So if I knew I had to write a new one every month, I don’t think it would work so well (as creativity doesn’t like to be forced). So here we go, I hope you enjoy it:
The dreamer & the ocean-
Faded dreams whispering away into the wild, winds.
Silent night as I fall deeply in trance of the other realms
Outer worldly, as I swim through the vast, dark oceans.
Oceans of belonging, oceans of hope, oceans of fear and dreams.
Guarded by the gigantic creatures of the sea.
Not sure if I’m one of them or if they are me.
Representations of the workings of my soul conscious self.
Which planet are you from?
Which lifetime are you born?
Which body do you choose to take?
Make your choices wisely, this time on Earth is no mistake.
Maddie holds a strong place in her heart for holistic health and well-being. She is a psychology graduate, yoga instructor, reiki master, nutrition adviser and world traveller. Maddie loves cooking, reading, writing and exploring new places, meeting new and interesting people and enjoying the wonders of everyday life.
How do you fancy sailing the beautiful islands of Croatia with me next year, on my Yoga & Meditation Retreat? We will be cruising around on a private chartered boat, practicing yoga in the morning and exploring a new town by day. To find out more, check out the events section of my website. We are currently offering an early bird special (€50 off, plus a further €50 when you bring a friend).
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