At last a post about raw food…..

This blog started its life as a place for me to document my journey into raw foods. It has kind of broadened its horizon’s since then and become a general blog about my day-to-day life and just lately our road trip through Europe.

However, my raw food journey continues and I thought today might be a good opportunity to bring you up to speed with where I am at.

Living on the road means that most areas of our life have become simpler – out of necessity as well as desire. Raw food is as simple as it gets right – well yes for the most part that’s true, but some raw food uncooking does take a lot of time and effort to create. I no longer have the luxury of having a big prep area for my creating and so simple is very definitely the flavour of the day for me now.

I did bring my dehydrator with me but I haven’t used it yet as making foods that take 24 hours plus to dehydrate doesn’t seem to fall into the category of ‘simple’ anymore. I’m sure I will use it for special occasions but for me the onus is now on creating quick, simple and delicious raw meals. (Did I mention simple!)

So, today I spent some time doing just that. I experimented with making two versions of ‘protein power balls’ – sound intriguing don’t they?? I made both a sweet and a savoury version as follows:-

The sweet version was ‘Blueberry and Carob’ and for these I simply mixed the following ingredients in a food processor until I had a dough like mixture.

  • Pecan nuts
  • Dates
  • Carob Powder
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Pinch of Himalayan rock salt

Once mixed I made small balls which I then rolled in either shredded coconut or a finely milled mix of sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseed. Yummy.

The savoury version was ‘Garlic and Spirulina and the ingredients were:-

  • Walnuts
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Spirulina powder
  • Himalayan rock salt

Same process to make and I also rolled these in the fine seed mix.

The third and final thing I made today was ‘Coconut and Goji Berry Muesli’. The ingredients for this were:-

  • Pecans and hazelnuts
  • Shredded coconut
  • Oat Grouts
  • Goji Berries
  • Pinch of Himalayan rock salt.

I whizzed all the ingredients together in the food processor until broken down but not finely ground. Then I simply stored in an airtight mason jar. I will either have this for breakfast with fresh fruit and a nut milk or use as a crumble topping.

So, there you have three quick and easy recipes that meet my criteria for simplicity and more importantly taste. Pictures of the power balls below……

Blueberry and Carob Power Balls

Garlic and Spirulina Power Balls

Now I know that both versions look pretty much the same but there was a difference in colour. The garlic and Spirulina balls actually came out a sort of ‘Shrek’ green colour – emmmmm……nice!!! (actually they taste delicious)

Post note: Hubby seems very taken with the sweet version of the power balls and has already chomped his way through four of them. At this rate they won’t be lasting very long…….


Rain, birthdays and anniversary’s

Just to cheer up all you snow bound, chilled to the bone friend’s and family back home, we are having less that favourable weather here as well. Come and spend the winter in the sun they say, ideal temperatures to help you forget the weather back home they tell you. What they fail to mention is that when it rains here it goes on and on and on………. It started at lunchtime on Friday and continued constantly until the early hours of Sunday morning. Luckily for me it stopped for exactly 24 hours and the sun came out to let me enjoy my birthday but then it started again early this morning and it looks set for the next two days.  Granted it’s just rain and not snow but we are on a pitch that isn’t perfectly flat – all the flat pitches are in with the permanent tourers and we decided we didn’t want to be in the middle of the Spaniards when they come to enjoy their weekends. So, our pitch falls away to one end and consequently when it rains constantly for 48 hours things start to get a bit wet.

Hubby was dispatched out into the wet on Saturday afternoon to dig some trenches around the awning to channel the worst of the water away and fingers crossed so far it is working. We didn’t get the chance to re-waterproof the ceiling and walls but we only appear to have a few minor leaks around door areas so hopefully it will hold out.

The road down to the coast is beginning to see the results of all the rain with some little landslides throwing rocks and gravel down from the hills. Apparently last March there was a few days of heavy rain and some houses in the surrounding areas were literally washed away!! yikes…….Mind you, it has to be said that these are houses that are just thrown up and not pinned down with solid foundations in any way.

As I mentioned however, Sunday was a lovely day. Clear blue skies and about 18 degrees so I was lucky. I had already decided that I wanted to spend some time on the beach and so we went down to Torre del Mar and walked along the sand and promenade. It was warmer on the coast than up in the hills and although I had a fleecy on the sun was lovely and warm. We wandered around a little market and then sat and had a beer outside a cafe and indulged in a little ‘people watching’ whilst listening to a town band singing some rather jolly songs. I felt very blessed to be enjoying my birthday sat in the sun and breathing in fresh sea air.

After our beer we ambled back to the car and headed home to cook/uncook a meal. We had been planning to eat out but having managed to get an English-speaking copy of Sex and The City 2 I was keen to watch that instead and so made us a 3 course meal in Bessie, which we washed down with a bottle of cava.

Sunday was also our 13th Wedding Anniversary. Time is a funny thing as it certainly doesn’t feel as though we have been married for that long but then when I think about all the things that we have done since we have been married I wonder where we found the time to do them all!! But 13 years and still going strong so roll on the next 13 – I wonder where we will be by then??……

Yesterday also marked 17 years since our two older cats Oscar and Tinker came to live with us, something Oscar obviously wasn’t to thrilled about!! I guess when he came to join us all those years ago he didn’t bank on being as well-traveled as he has since become!! They say cats don’t like change and ours have certainly had their fair share of that over the years.


Thankfully Tinker was slightly more enthusiastic about the whole anniversary deal and happily posed for a little portrait!!

And, so that was our weekend. Lots of rain, lots of celebrating, a little bit of sun and  mercifully no snow!!!








Two week update……

Its been two weeks since we arrived in Iznate here in the southern coast of  Spain, which means that its been nearly a month since we left the UK. In some ways it feels as though we have always been living in Bessie and in other ways it still feels very much like an adventure.

We have fallen into an easy routine of work and play. The sun is out again today and so lunch was taken al fresco which is hard to believe seeing as it is almost the end of November. It is my birthday this weekend and I have only ever spent it in the sun once before and that was when I got married so this weekend I am going to make sure I have a picnic on the beach and enjoy being in the warmth.

We are still trying hard to get to grips with the language and need to buy another CD player as ours got broken in the ‘wind’ escapade on the way down here. Then we can play our language CD’s in the evening and start to make some progress. It seems a relatively easy language on the surface but there does seem to be a requirement to speak with a heavy lisp and a lot of phlegm and needless to say our efforts aren’t really there yet. We keep getting a lot of confused looks and then have to resort to showing them the dictionary……

The winds have died down this week and so I have been able to work out in the awning. My little ‘office’ space consists of a stool to put my laptop on and a cushion for me to sit cross legged on. It works really well as I am able to work on opening my hips for my yoga at the same time as I work. I stick some incense on out there too and I have my wind chimes up as well so it feels like my own little space. I leave the awning door open so I have a nice breeze blowing through and the cats wander in and out for drinks of water and cuddles. When I think of all the different offices I have worked in over the years compared to this one it makes me chuckle but I know which one I prefer.






The cats have settled down really well, which just goes to show how resilient they can be. They love their new surroundings and the warmth has definitely given them a new lease of life. If we were back in the UK now they would be spending all their days on the bed because the weather is so cold and wet, but here they are out and about mooching around and snoozing under a nice shady bush. It has taken them a little while to get used to us all sleeping in the same ‘room’ at night. We have never let them sleep on the bed overnight before (as there are so many of them) but of course now we have no choice. It has been quite a novelty for them to be able to cuddle up with us and some nights there has been a lot of disruption as they jump on and off the bed and traipse all over us in the process. We now seem to have come up with a solution that they are happy with. I set up the lower bunk of the bunk beds for them and put their blankets down and then they have their own area to sleep in. So far it seems to have been very effective and once we put them there before we go to sleep they tend to stay put. The exception being Oscar who tends to snuggle in next to me if he possibly can and if he is really lucky (because I am asleep) he manages to get his head on the pillow next to me!! It is quite a shock for me to wake up to fishy breath and a furry face but he thinks it is bliss and obviously doesn’t mind waking up next to me and my slept in look!!!

We have been out and about discovering lots about our new surroundings and most things on our travels seem to be cheaper than back home. Petrol/diesel is definitely cheaper – we are paying about £1.00 a litre here which is great and we are making big savings on food shopping. I brought 6kg of oranges yesterday for just over £4.00 so am juicing for the next few days.

Some things are taking a little getting used to though – their driving is not that impressive – fast and furious seems to be the order of the day and it can get a little intimidating at times. Their directions or rather lack of them don’t help the situation either as you will see something sign posted once and then that is it you won’t see it again. Unless it is on the autoroutes and then they advertise the junctions about 50 miles ahead and before the previous one as well……Phone cards have been another tricky one, initially we used a phone booth type set up in an internet cafe which worked really well but hubby wanted to try a phone card so after trying in about 5 different places we finally managed to get one but then discovered they only work in some phone boxes and then intermittently. Seems we will be going back to the phone booths……

All in all though life is good and we are really enjoying our adventure thus far………




Yesterday we walked the mile down the road into the village of Iznate to explore. It is a typical little village of this area, being built into the hillsides with white washed buildings. We were going to do a video but it is windy again today so the sound quality wouldn’t have been great so instead I took lots of photo’s that I hope you will enjoy…….

Iznate from a distance, perched precariously on the hillsides.








The soil here is very dry and made up with lots of scale. So, there is a problem with subsidence. There are lots of half derelict buildings dotted around that have literally had the ground fall away from under them. These boulders are one way of attempting to hold the hillside back….






These methods don’t always work though…..last winter after some particularly heavy rains two portions of the road literally fell away down the hill!!!! yikes, keeping fingers crossed for a dry winter this year.







They are obviously very proud of their little village…..








Orange groves in the surrounding hills……








Lots of very narrow, steep streets……








Well cared for houses……








Beautiful gardens……










And of course lots of stray cats…….








And dogs…….








One of the best things about Iznate (from a former Personal Trainers perspective of course) is that they have a little outside gym area with about half a dozen or so resistance machines that work on your own body weight. They seem to be a common thing here as we have seen them in other towns/villages as well. I don’t know how much they are used but we had a go and they are effective and a really good idea. So, I think we will be popping down to the ‘gym’ over the coming months.

This one is like a seated chin up. You sit on the chair and then pulling pulling down on the bars raises the chair up. Very effective I have to say…….







Standing on the circular plate that rotates you hold onto the bars and then twist from side to side – great for the obliques…..







Not sure what this one did but hubby thought it was amusing none the less…..








Iznate also boast two bars, two supermarkets, a bank and on the afternoon we were there some sort of live music for vodaphone was going on!! not bad for a little village in the hills…….







Avocados and cats

Those of you who know me and my raw food tendancies will know how much I love avocados. I think I have done a previous post about their creamy deliciousness.

Anyway, you can imagine my delight when we arrived in Iznate to discover that we were surrounded by avocado groves and even better than that we even had our own two personal trees on our pitch.

Although I know technically that they aren’t my own personal trees I can’t see the owners of the campsite worrying too much if a few of their avocados find their way into my lunch, not when they have hundreds of trees on their farm in the hillsides around us.

So, I am now happily munching on avocados morning, noon and night and have even managed to sneak some past hubby who is not usually overly interested in my raw food – unless its biscuits, cakes or some sort of raw bread that is. You could say I am in avocado heaven!!

Other news – earlier this morning whilst walking around the site looking for one of my cats (she did eventually reappear) I discovered two feral cats. One black and one white and tortoiseshell. They are very timid and not very old so don’t think they will be a problem to our three. Of course the animal lover in me kicked in and I couldn’t ignore them as every time I called for my cat they meowed at me and looked as though they really wanted a fuss but were just too nervous to attempt it. Later after finding my madam I went back with some biscuits which were devoured with much gusto. I am aware by feeding them that I may very well be creating a rod for my own back but they were just so sweet and they seemed so grateful to be getting some food, although I am also only too aware that cats will have you thinking exactly what they want you to think so I may very well have  just been played!!! oh well won’t be the first time and I’m sure I’ll be back tomorrow with some more biscuits. They aren’t having my avocados though……..

Size isn’t everything……

No, its not a post about that!!!! although it got your attention didn’t it??

12 years ago we built a house in the Lake District in the UK. It was a big detached house with 4 double bedrooms, a big ensuite bathroom with double shower, a big main bathroom with double ended bath and laundry shoot, study, lounge, dining room, utility room, big kitchen and double garage – lots of doubles and lots of space – you get the general idea. I tried to find a good picture of it but the one I wanted is amongst those photo’s that I haven’t scanned yet so the best I can do is show this one which is halfway through the build but hopefully it gives an idea of its size.

Like I said everything about this house was big and it was a fun place to live for sure especially when it was full of people. It was a real ‘party’ house. The kitchen I had in this house was big too (again no photo – sorry). It had a central island, lots of lovely shiny stainless steel appliances and lots of counter space. Cooking in it was a dream and because downstairs was all open plan I never felt left out of the party by being stuck in the kitchen.

Fast forward 12 years and we are now living in Bessie.

And this is my kitchen (taken in the middle of preparing lunch!!)

It was one of my concerns (at the back of my mind) when we decided to finally go for this ‘live simply and on the road’ kinda lifestyle, that I would mind the lack of space. Remarkably I don’t. It doesn’t actually feel any different having a big home to having a little teeny tiny home and whilst it was certainly lovely having a big house and lots of space it did take a lot of energy filling it up and then even more energy keeping it all clean and tidy. Now a quick 5 minute whizz around with the dustbuster and the housework is pretty much done!!

I am realising – with a certain measure of relief it must be said – that all I really need is my absolute soul mate and best friend (hubby in case you were wondering!!) and my three gorgeous and very loveable fur babies and I really am one content and happy girl.

So, there you have it – size doesn’t matter – at least not in this case!!

Oh, and for all of you back home in cold, wet and windy Blighty the weather today has been a paltry 13 degrees and it rained all morning. Still it made for some cool skies first thing and hubby took the following piccies on his morning walk just as the sun was coming up. Enjoy…….



I have a confession to make…..I haven’t been raw for the last……..actually I’m not sure of the exact time scale as so many things have happened lately that they have all blurred into one, but, if I had to hazard a guess then I would say about 6 weeks or so. Maybe more, maybe not but definitely somewhere along the way of sorting out and selling furniture and buying cars and caravans and boxing up our old life I stopped thinking about eating raw and started to think about eating for comfort.

Moving is stressful at the best of times but when you decide to move countries in 2 months in a caravan that you have never driven before and can only pick up 2 days before you leave then hell…….pass that chocolate……..NOW!!!!

I thought that once we were on the road I would get straight back into eating the raw way but by then I was in a mad eating frenzy and completely fell into the lure of pain au chocolat and french bread and cheese and boy oh boy…..

It has taken me until now to rise up out of the need to eat to reassure myself, to give comfort, to feel old patterns nurture me. Now I am back to eating what makes me feel good instead of what stops me from feeling. Now that we are relaxing and realising just what it is we have achieved, now that we are beginning to expand into the life we have wanted for so long; a life of simplicity. Now it is possible to eat in a simple way and eating raw is as simple as it gets.

I am still eating some cheese but it is raw, unpasteurized sheep’s cheese, which there is an absolute abundance of here. Whether that continues or not who knows but for now I am back to being content with what I am eating and thankfully beginning to lose the weight that 6 weeks of unbridled eating has piled on.

So breathing a big sigh of relief that the feeding frenzy is over……..and looking forward to lots of raw goodness in the days to come.

Establishing a routine…..

The thing about Brits and hot weather is that we don’t get it very often and so when we are in the sun it feels like we are on holiday!!

Trouble is we are not and so we are trying very hard today to establish a normal work routine.

Living and working in such a small environment is taking some getting used to as every piece of space has a dual or even triple purpose. The ‘dinette area’ of the caravan is hubbies work station during the day but has to be cleared away every evening in order to turn back into our ‘dining room’.

Under normal weather conditions I would be able to work on my laptop out in the awning but it is very windy today and so the bed is doubling up as my ‘office’ as well as a general lounging area for the cats who have decided the weather is not optimal enough for them to venture out into today.

It all takes a bit of organisation as spreading out too much means encroaching on the others’ space and when it is at such a high premium it becomes almost sacred.

Hubby and I are lucky in that we are used to spending a lot of time in each others company. Neither of us has had a regular 9 to 5 job for years and so we spend more time together than most married couples of our age I would say. That said we are now having to get used to not only spending all of our time together but also to doing so in one small space.

So far so good though and there have been no major fall outs as yet……some minor grumbles yes but nothing that requires a good door slamming and stomping off into another room, which is just as well as the only other room we have is the toilet and that would be like retreating into a broom cupboard – not good and wouldn’t sooth the temper any!!

The picture above was taken on Saturday when we were out exploring. It is down on the beach front in a place called Torre del Mar about 20 minutes or so away from us. We had a great time exploring and getting orientated with little things like where to get stamps, and where to make cheap phone calls back to the UK. We also found a little health food shop which I was happy about and there were an abundance of bars with a lot of Brits in them taking leisurely lunches. You can spot us a mile off as we are all in summer attire and flip flops whilst the Spanish are dressed up in tights, boots and scarves. Both are looking at the other as if to say – are you mad?? They have obviously never experienced an English winter – or summer for that matter. I don’t think they would survive but happily they don’t have too and nor do we this winter……….

13 days and 1919 miles………

We arrived in Calais at 7.30 in the morning after a very quick trip via the tunnel – too quick really as before I knew it I was driving out and negotiating the French roads. We only travelled 8 miles down the coast to a place called Wissant and a campsite my Dad uses with friends regularly. We spent the next two days here catching up on our sleep before heading off again with the aim of travelling 200 or so miles. The trouble with plans though is that they have a tendancy to go wrong and later in the afternoon we realised that the electrics (and therefore the lights) on the caravan weren’t working again!! Luckily quite soon after this we saw a sign for a campsite and pulled off to see if it was open. I ran up to the top of a rather steep access road and found a lady who said there were open for just one more night. She was a bit odd as not only did she not look at me when she spoke but she actually looked in the complete opposite direction!!  Hubby managed to get the caravan up to the pitch but just 10 yards or so short of it we rang out of petrol……..The warning light had failed to come on and so there we were stuck in front of someone else’s pitch (they happened to be English too) dumbstruck at our luck.

The next day after about 2 hours and a lot of upheaval we finally managed to sort the electrics, fill the car with petrol and get back on the road. We aimed for the original campsite that we were heading to the night before and arrived relieved that nothing else had gone wrong on route.

The rest of the journey down through France was event free and we passed through some lovely countryside – particuarly the Limousin region where the chateaus were breathtaking in amongst all the autumn foliage. However we then decided to hit the toll roads as the cats seemed to fair better with the travelling on roads where we could stick to a steady 50mph with no stop starting for roundabouts and traffic lights. It cost us a small fortune but was worth it for their health and our sanity.

Once in southern France the weather started to improve significantly and the sun hasn’t stopped shining yet – woo hoo…….

We made it from Narbonne down to Barcelona in one day but once there had immense trouble finding a campsite. At one point we ended up in a suburb of Barcelona trying to navigate our 37ft rig around little roads. Not a good move and the clutch struggled greatly as the roads were also up and down. So we abandoned out plans to do some sight seeing in Barcelona and headed further down the coast to a place called Sitges where we knew of a campsite. We stayed here 2 nights and had a day in the town of Sitges instead which was lovely. We had lunch on the sea front in glorious weather and finally began to relax for the first time in months it seemed.

From here on our journey seemed to gain in momentum and we quickly passed Valencia – lots of lovely orange groves – and then began the stint down to Alicante. We stayed just south of Alicante and the last part of that day’s journey began to get a little lairy as the wind started to pick up. Driving a caravan with a windsurfer on top of the car is not much fun in strong winds and we decided that if the weather was still the same the following morning we would have a rest day. The weather was fine the following day however and we decided to go for what we though was going to be the last leg of our journey. Again….all good plans and that……..about an hour and a half into the day the winds were getting very strong – worse than the previous day and the windsurfer was moving around a fair bit. We slowed down to 30mph, hazzard lights on when we realised that we were about to go over a viaduct about 300m up!! we had no choice but to go for it but believe me there were some prayers being offered up to the universe at that point. The windsurfer was literally jumping across the roof and the caravan was taking a battering. I think if we hadn’t been a twin axle (i.e 4 wheels in the middle instead of 2) then the outcome may have been different. Hubby said afterwards that he thought we were going over the edge.

Thankfully we made it across and there was an exit straight away which we obviously took. We pulled over on a hard shoulder both shaking and when we got out to try and sort the windsurfer out neither of us could stand up straight. Luckily two Spanish policeman pulled up and advised us on the best way down to the port before they were called away to another incident. We crawled down and holed up in a car park for the next few hours whilst the worst of the storm passed. When we checked out the interior of the caravan we found lots of broken plates and glasses as cupboard doors had been flung open.

Battered but thankful to be in one piece we abandoned plans to get to Iznate that night and found another campsite to stop at instead.

Up and away before 10am the following morning we finally arrived at our destination just after lunch. We had a windy climb up to the village of Iznate – the views are stunning – and found the site with no problems. It is very rural and quiet with us being the only tourers here at the moment. They are a handful of semi permanent bungalows/mobile homes where we are pitched and most are English so we have been getting a lot of useful advice on the surrounding area.

We have spent the last two days sorting out the awning and unpacking the car – we brought way too much – so part of the next three months we are here will be spent really working out exactly what we need so that hopefully when we hit the road again we will be a lot lighter.

So, 13 days and 1919 miles after we left Diss on a cold and miserable evening we are sat here in Spain in the sunshine and letting it all sink in. Oscar and Molly are happily exploring their new surroundings and sunbathing at every opportunity. Tinker has only got off the bed to eat and poo for the last two days but she is happy.

It has been quite the journey for us all and we are looking forward to calming down and just enjoying the experience.

We did take some video’s whilst we were travelling but the quality wasn’t the best so for now you will have to make do with a photo diary of our adventure so far……

Wissant – our first stop

Igoville – failed electrics and no petrol!!!

Early morning in Narbonne


Camping on the beach

Stormy skies…..

My view for the next 3 months

Home sweet home!!

Oscar sunbathing

Molly exploring




The journey begins……

Well, we are now in Spain and hopefully only a day away from our final destination if the wind dies down that is. This afternoon got a little lairy on the autopista with Bessie being buffeted around and the windsurfer on top of the car doing a fair impression of the Irish jig, so if it continues into tomorrow we will be having a day off……

But, let me take you back a week and a half to when we left England. The last few days were just crazy busy with so many trips to the local tip that we were all on first name terms by the end of it. We drove up to Glossop on the Tuesday to pick up Bessie and after about an hour and a half of ‘orientation’ and copious note taking we were off. By now it was about 6pm, dark and rush hour around the ring roads in Manchester so we had a baptism of fire in terms of getting used to driving a 37ft rig.

9 hours later at 3am in the morning we arrived home and fell into bed only to get up again a handful of hours later to begin loading the caravan and cleaning the house in preparation for the handover the following day. Needless to say another late night followed and we awoke on our final morning in Diss with a list as long as our arm and a panicked look on both our faces.

The handover took place at about 2 in the afternoon and then we were left locked out of our now old home racing against the clock to finish clearing the garage – another load down the tip – and get down to my parents for the evening before our tunnel crossing early on the friday morning.

The cats were in the caravan by this stage and took it in turns to press their worried faces up against the windows and paw to get out – not a great start to their life on the road it seemed…….

Finally at about 6pm we were loaded and ready to go but then disaster – we turned the lights on the car on and nothing happened at the caravan end……..There was nothing for it but to take the bikes back off the car and unload some of the boot to get at the electric connections – all by torch light as we had no access to the house and outside lights. Two hours later we were finally sorted and ready and we began the journey down to my parents with fingers crossed that all would be ok.

What we had intended to be a pleasant evening with my ma and pa with a evening meal and leisurely chat turned into about 3 hours of quick showers and lots of coffee and not so leisurely chat. We were both running on adrenaline by this stage although hubby did manage to get his head down for an hour.

Before we know it we were back on the road for the channel tunnel and arrived with about half an hour to spare for our crossing. The cats were meowing for all their worth, we were tired and surviving on lots of hot, black coffee but we were finally there. We had been working like mad for the last two months and at times it seemed we wouldn’t get to this point but now here we were navigating ourselves onto the train and heading for our new life in the sun……………

To be continued……..