dear soda

2014, Food, Healthy Living, September

i’m calling it soda because i still have a few americanisms left in me.

also i keep thinking i’m going to get mocked for calling it a fizzy/soft drink.

and i still get confused about which country i’m in and what word i’m supposed to be using. and when i say sometimes i mean like all the time. i’ve been back on british soil for 6 months. 6 WHOLE MONTHS.

i feel like this blog post is going to be one those … rabbit!

aka. all over the place.

as of the 9th september i quit soda.

for good.

i was inspired by my favourite blogger megfee who gave up sugar last may. yes, i know. may 2013 was sometime ago. but i’ve been slowly cutting down since then. and i mean really slowly. last month i just decided that enough was enough. i need to just cut. it. out.

No more Soda!

we all know that soft drinks are bad for us. but after browsing the wonderful world wide web i found even more reasons lose soft drinks for good. thank you

here are my favourite four. check out the rest here.

1. First of all, there are no nutritionally beneficial components in soft drinks. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars. Yet the average American drinks about 57 gallons of soft drinks each year.

2. Many people either forget or don’t realize how many extra calories they consume in what they drink. Drinking a single 330 ml can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than 1lb of weight gain every month.

Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.

According to the results of high quality study reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages helped reduce body mass index in the heaviest teenagers.

3. Soda eats up and dissolves the tooth enamel. Researches say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay.

The acidity can dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and more susceptible to decay. Soda’s acidity makes it even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.

Dental experts continue to urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay and dental erosion.

4. Another problem with sodas is that they act as dehydrating diuretics. Both caffeine and sugar cause dehydration.

Caffeine is a diuretic and causes an increase in urine volume. High concentration of sugar is drawing off water because your kidneys try to expel the excess sugar out of the blood. When you drink a caffeinated soda to quench your thirst, you will actually become thirstier.

it’s actually been a couple of weeks already but i’ll update you in a month!

goodbye soda.

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 ps what do you think of my new signature?


quote of the week

2014, Inspiration, September

i saw this posted both on facebook and linkedin yesterday and i just had to share. i’m not even entirely sure who it is by {as it goes with the internet these days}, but i’m waving it in the air like a flag yelling “we should all do this!”

“become friends with people who aren’t your age. hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. this is how you see the world. this is how you grow.”


only two things keep me on facebook | part II

2014, Inspiration, Love, September

i recently shared with you my love for HONY aka humans of new york and the fact that it keeps me on facebook.

#2 on my list is kid president.

actually it’s the social awesomeness that is soul pancake.

on Our brain batter of art, culture, science, philosophy, spirituality and humor is designed to open your mind, challenge your friends, and feel damn good.

yes. it. does.

kid president is just one of my favourite things from soul pancake…

“the world needs you to stop being boring. yah YOU. boring is easy. everybody can be boring. but you’re gooder than that.”

“…what will you create to make the world awesome?” and

“we were made to be awesome.”

thank you kid president.


and little kids. big questions – absolutely brilliant.


only two things keep me on facebook | part I

2014, Culture, Inspiration, September, Travel

well actually, three things. but as i’ve mentioned before, facebook often gets my goat. then one of these things pops up on my newsfeed or i get an email and i remember that i don’t want to leave.

today i share with you the first.

1. humans of new york aka HONY

brandon. that’s all i know him by. but he left his high flying chicago job to focus on something he loved. photography. it started off as just portraits of new yorkers, then he moved onto doing short interviews with questions like “what is your greatest fear?”, “what is your happiest memory?” and “what’s your greatest struggle right now?”. read more of his story here.

the interviews and portraits of the new yorkers made me realise a couple of things; we are all going through something, we are all not that different and humans, humanity, it’s a beautiful thing.

recently brandon embarked on a HONY UN world tour. so far he’s been to iraq, jordan, kenya, democratic republic of congo, uganda and he is now in south sudan. HONY was already a place of enlightenment, laughter, perspective and so much more for me.

and now. now, i don’t even know how to describe it.

it’s a kind of beauty that seems so impossible that i just sit and marvel at it’s existence.

i really wanted to share some of his work. along with the interviews. so here are a handful, i can’t even say “of my favourites” because they all are.

{the following images and interviews are from and it’s facebook page, i do not own them}.

“We live in a very conservative culture, but I want my children to be open minded. I try to bring them to as many places as possible: big malls, art galleries, concerts. We want them to see as many types of people as possible, and as many types of ideas as possible.” (Erbil, Iraq) 

“She raised us on her own. So when I graduated, I viewed it more as her accomplishment than mine.” (Amman, Jordan)

“My grandmother remembers the Arab world much differently than people view it today. She remembers a place known for its music, innovation, and intellectual abilities. I may be naive, but I want to help work toward unity in the Arab world– both between our countries and within our countries– so that we can get back to that place again.” (Amman, Jordan)

from this picture my favourite comments are:
“Pulitzer, Oscar, Nobel, just give this man a prize already. This page deserves everything.”
“In just a few days these photographs have done more to humanize the Middle East than forty years of US media coverage. Thank you HONY.”

“What is your biggest dream?”
“To have my own house. With two stories.”
(Kasangulu, Democratic Republic of Congo)

“What’s your favorite thing about your brother?”
“He does all the work.”
(Limuru, Kenya)

“When they don’t think I’m watching, they do the funniest things. They are always dancing together. I found them in the kitchen yesterday, pretending to cook.”
“What’s your greatest worry as a parent?”
“Their health. They’re always getting sick from the cold and the dust. Sometimes the dust gets so bad, they lose their voices.”
(Nairobi, Kenya)

“Do you remember the happiest moment of your life?”
“One day, I was sent home from my final exams because my mother had not been able to pay the registration fees. On the way home, a man came up to me and asked what was wrong. ‘Nothing,’ I told him. He asked me again. So I told him that I’d been sent home from school. He then gave me the money I needed to take my exams. I’d never seen him before, and I’ve never seen him again.”
(Entebbe, Uganda)

“The thing we need most is security. Without security, nothing works. We are only out here playing chess because right now, in this place, we have a little bit of security. But that’s just for right now– just this moment. In this country things have never been secure for long. In America, there is always security. And that’s why America works.”
(Juba, South Sudan)

there are calls to turn HONY into HOPE, humans of planet earth. i agree.

and a pultzer prize, a nobel peace prize or something of that nature to brandon.

go to the HONY website or the facebook page. click ‘like’ or follow along. you won’t regret it. promise.


london | like a tourist


yesterday i shared pictures and tid bits from our trip to paris. for the few days before our parisian experience, i took sara and sarah around london.

it really is a blast being a tourist in your own country / city. you get to see the city from a different view. 



london is a city that never sleeps.

and i don’t just love it. i feel like a child on christmas morning in london.

and when i’m there i feel like i can accomplish anything. as if nothing is impossible. it is that kind of city. 

from buckingham palace to leicester sqaure, from kings cross to covent garden. london is still one of my favourite cities in the world {i might be biased}.









^^ this dress was on display at the v&a museum. i. want. it. without the bloody front section.



^^ of course an english breakfast is a must!


^^ just the best looking tea room. wonkiness and all. 


^^ ok technically this is windsor castle {as is the previous picture} – but hey ho still part of the british experience!




^^ and this is technically in surrey but this is the gorgeous london lds temple and grounds.


^^ hot chocolate at covent garden on a summer’s eve = flawless

london you were fabulous as always. until next time, 




je t’aime paris

Culture, September, Travel

it’s september – SEPTEMBER. when did that happen?


it’s taken me over a month to get this up, but better late than never right? i’d also like to add that i coudn’t find my camera’s usb cord to upload my photos so that added to the delay.

as usual, i digress.

you will remember i used to live in utah, usa (if you’re new then hey i used to live in utah!) and having been back in the uk since march, time has flown by incredibly. two of my friends promised that they would come visit and they sure did. at the end of july my friends sara and sarah (!) flew over the pond for their first european trip.

Sara and Sarah
sarah (l) and sara (r) enjoying their first kebab experience. when one travels to the uk one must devour a kebab. 

we did start off with a few days in london and windsor but i’m going to start with our trip to paris.

we took the eurostar from london (kings cross station), which took a marvellous 2 hours and 20 mins. we arrived pretty late at night and our host’s sister met us to give us the key to our flat (rented via – highly recommended). we stayed in montmartre, just north of paris.

our trip was short, just tuesday night to thursday afternoon but we wanted to make sure we got the most out of our trip during our short stay.


wednesday morning we booked ourselves onto a 3 1/2 hour walking tour. honestly, at first i thought it was going to be a drag. but goodness. i was so glad i was so wrong. we booked we go walking tours, a FREE walking tour of paris covering notre dame, la sainte chappelle, the louvre, lovers locks, napoleons tomb and of course the eiffel tower {and much more}. did i mention it was free? FREE. you have the option of tipping your guide how much you think the tour is worth. believe me when i say it is an excellent way to be introduced to the city of lights.

you meet the tour guide at notre dame cathedral and finish at the eiffel tower, and it honestly felt like 30mins than 3 1/2 hours.

^^it is good luck to stand on and turn around this little golden gem outside notre dame. this is i believe the very centre of paris!


^^the love locks bridge


^^outside the louvre


^^of course when you go to paris you need to try a street crepe!

^^and this happened on our tour! the city of love indeed 🙂

after the tour we headed to a gorgeous little cobbled street and found a cute quintessentially french restaurant for lunch.

^^ these fun little men on the stop signs were everywhere!

after lunch we headed back to the eiffel tower. now here’s a tip for you. the queues were incredibly long, with it being summer and everyone and their mother was in paris (or so it felt) the queues were 4+ hours long, and in that parisian heat it sounded slightly torturous {when you’re in paris though it’s not too bad 🙂 }. a friend of mine had told me that we could save a lot of time by walking up to first level then getting the lift from there. well we decided to be a bit more adventurous and we walked up the 669 steps to the second level. it was a definite work out. but. oh. so. worth. it.




we were exhausted but so glad we did it. it took us about 1 hour 30mins instead of over 4 hours. that my dear readers i call an achievement.

after a long day of walking we wanted to rest a little. you see this stretch of gorgeous green up ^^there? we picked a spot right at the back, grabbed some freshly baked baguettes, meat and cheese from the local supermarket and slumped out tired selves as we watched the sun go down. there were several parisians and tourists out, it had been a beautiful summer day and the evening sun was glorious.

sunset picnic at the eiffel tower? perfection.

at 10pm {and every hour on the hour from then until about 2am} the eiffel tower sparkles. i can’t even describe what that looks like, but magical is the only word that comes to mind right now.


absolutely magical.

we headed back to the flat soon after for a well needed rest.

thursday morning and afternoon was spent catching up on some of the sights we hadn’t yet seen and of course just soaking up our last few hours of paris.



and i could not leave paris without trying escargot. aka snails.


that green deliciousness you see there^^ is garlic sauce, they were divine. if you like mussels, you won’t mind snails at all.

we headed back to our flat to gather our things and leave the key with our host’s sister.

i also decided that i need some of these stickers in my life…



the flat was perfect for the 3 of us and if you’ve never used airbnb i highly recommend it.



i want to leave you with a couple of tips for paris:

  • if you don’t speak french that’s ok, make sure to apologise before you ask for what you need at a restaurant, tourist shop, everywhere really.
  • be prepared to walk. a lot. but it’s the best way to see the city. (buy a map and have great walking shoes!)
  • definitely walk up to the 2nd level of the eiffel tower and catch the lift up from there.
  • for booking a whole flat or room, i think this is so much better than a hotel, and adds to getting a real parisian experience.
  • for cheaper travel from london try, or if you’re ok with a 4+ hour coach ride use

i hope to get you the london post tomorrow.

travel is my live, c’est la vie.