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Wellknown foods you didn’t realise are vegan

Some of the every day foods you may be surprised but are vegan.

(P.S yes, the featured image is my Paint art :D)

You’re vegan? What are you eating? Just a salad?

Yeah I used to think like that as well: If you’re vegetarian, you cannot eat any of the good stuff and if you’re vegan you cannot eat anything.

I thought after attacking the vegan community in one of my posts I need a post for their defence as well. It’s only fair. This post is for all my non-vegan friends who are still on the mindset that vegans cannot eat anything. Well guess what, even you are eating vegan foods without realising.

1.Bread/pastry

Any kind of white or dark bread is vegan unless they have added some cheese/beacon/eggs anything like that. A simple (without any special flavour or additions) bread is vegan.

2. Fries/chips

Unless the fries are fried in animal fat (unlikely) they are vegan. Unhealthy much? Yes, but still vegan.

3. Oreos

Yes, it was a shock for me as well. The cream between the bisquits are made of soya, so completely suitable for vegans. It has a notification for allergic people that it may contain milk.

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4. Dark chocolate

Most of dark chocolates are vegan. They may have added a note for people who are allergic that it may contain nuts and milk for some reason. Probably cause they produce products with milk and nuts in it in the same factory. After realising that I also discovered that all my favourite Kalev stuff are vegan (berries in dark chocolate)!

5. Hummus/humous

Humous is a chickpea paste and is vegan (unless added some weird ingredients like usually in shop products). I’m still in progress to improve my own recipe. Last batch I made was already quite close to what I after.

6. Quacamole

One of my favourite things EVER. Quacamole is an avocado paste and also usually vegan. Some shop products may include some milk or cheese powders but the original homemade/restaurant one is vegan.

7. Falafels

Yes, those yummy kotlets are vegan. Made of chickpeas or broad beans. And they are DELICIOUS!

8. Crisps

All natural flavoured or salt, vinegar, pepper flavoured crisps are vegan as well!

9. Peanut butter

Well, daaaaaah?! But you would be surprised if you knew where they add milk, egg powders and butter to so it’s not that daaah.

10. Skittles

Yep. The rainbow candies are vegan!

11. Belvita breakfast bisquits

Unfortunately not all of their products are but quite a big range is.

12. Alpro yoghurts, puddings and desserts

Yep. I loved them already before I knew they were vegan.

13. McVitie’s digestive bisquits

Not all digestive bisquits are but those in reduced fat are!

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And of course nowadays they have vegan substitutes also for gummy bears, cheese, spread, yogurt, cream, milk, mayo, milk chocolate, ice cream. Your local shops probably already provide all of them. Bigger chains like Tesco, Sainsburys may even have their own vegan products. There is bunch of other junk food that are vegan according to some sites but as I don’t really eat this kind of stuff and therefore not know the brands I’m not going to get in details in here. If you’re interested, can check them out yourself here.

As you can see there are so many products that already are vegan and so many that have substitutes. In this world you almost have to give up nothing to be vegan. Maybe a little money and some of your time to cook things properly.

 

 

When in England- funny moments vol 3

Continuing the series of “I was lucky I had a camera with”. More funny pictures from England.

I have put together another post with funny or weird moments from my life abroad. These are all taken in England.

So I guess no need for further introduction. Let’s just start.

 

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  1. This was taken from the White Cliffs in the South of England. You can see a tourist posing for the picture in a nice yellow padded jacket while at the background locals are taking a bath in the ocean. Temperature is contingent.

 

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2. This was from the same weekend. “When the importance of your job is just deceptive”.

 

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3. This one shows how inventive English people are. They manage the “unexpected kid” situation like pros.

 

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4. From the same trip and I guess no other words needed.

 

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5. I was tempted but that was not even in London but Windsor. Brothers, what you reckon?

 

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6. This may seem like an average holiday picture. Well it’s not. It’s taken in the center of Manchester in October before my birthday…. Did they change the date of Christmas Eve?

 

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6. This one I forgot to explain few posts ago. This was taken in Reading when we were trying out the canoe. 3 guys working across the river thought I am working for Vogue so they gave their best poses.

 

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7. Quiet workers in Arundel. Too lifelike? I think so.

 

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8. December in Hazel Grove. Okay maybe I failed with this picture because that’s not even funny. Remember, I am from Estonia. This is literally the most snow I saw all year (2017). Something to think about before moving to another country.

*This year has been a little better already! It’s March and it’s still snowing!

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9. Confused much? This is at my university campus. I have been living in a lie!

 

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10. Pictures are taken 9min apart. Within a half an hour it made the whole circle of 4 seasons at least 3 times. And not just that the snow stopped and sun came out, but the sky was completely clear like nothing ever happened (until 5min later it was a snowstorm again).

Thanks guys for spending time in here! Hope I either got you smiling or thinking hard before moving abroad. Enjoy sun, snow, rain or whatever else is coming down right now!

 

Vegans, Vegetarians and Omnivores

Are you vegan? Are you vegetarian? What are you? I have been asked these questions lately very very often so I decided to make a little post about this subject. Maybe this could possibly explain or make you understand why people (and I) have chosen one way or the other.

So first of all, no, I am not vegan. We eat mostly vegan when living in England just because of the quality of the food you can find from supermarkets. Of course there is an ethical reason behind it as well. I do not want to support any big chains that grow animals in poor conditions. If it’s possible to do it in the right way then why shouldn’t they all do that?! In my opinion, it is not about not eating animal products but giving the animals a chance to live a better life. Therefore, we still enjoy our steaks but we buy the meat only from small farm shops. One day I will grow my own animals and make sure they have lived a good life (not gonna eat them, though, but eggs and milk would be handy). However, when I go to visit someone or I fly back home, I do not expect all my friends and family to live like I do. I love food and I want my food to be high quality and tasty but I don’t expect everyone else around me have the same priorities. I still prefer not to buy meat from supermarkets but I feel in Estonia the dairy products are with better quality than here. And what is most important, in order to make a change (either environmental or eating habits related) you don’t have to give up everything. Not eating meat daily or preferring local suppliers is already a start.

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This is a rooster randomly walking on the street (from our Canary Islands trip).

2 years ago I would have laughed into your face if you would have told me I’m gonna start this kind of lifestyle. I have always been into healthy food but vegetarianism and veganism have never crossed my mind. Mostly because I had no idea how much food is out there. I had never tried quinoa, lentils, all different types of beans, vegetables etc. It seemed like if you are vegan, all you can eat is a salad. I have learned so much about cooking vegetables and keeping a balanced menu without any one or the other way processed meat.¬† I didn’t even have a favourite dish (how sad was that). Now I can tell you my favourite dish is vegan tomato soup. Not because it’s vegan but because it’s healthy and DELICIOUS. You don’t need to add meat to your menu just because you need protein or you need to fill your stomach. You can have protein and filling food from vegetables as well. However, because I simply love bbq and to get my B12 and all the other vitamins in proper amounts I keep eating meat now and then.

Before I explain more bout my opinion about total veganism, one thing people need to realise is that vegetarian or vegan food is not always healthy. Animal products do not make the dish unhealthy, the way of cooking and using products that are not fresh and are already processed make them unhealthy. Also using lots of salt and sugar. I gave up white sugar years ago and haven’t had any other type of sugar in the household for a while either. We use mostly honey to sweeten everything. Next to bbq the second thing I could never give up. So when going out, do not expect that vegetarian or vegan choices are healthier ones. You need to know how and what the dish is cooked from. Especially nowadays that there are so many vegan substitutes for non-vegan products you need to be very careful if you are trying to eat healthy.

That said, there are many different reasons why I still do not want to be considered as vegan. The main one is that I love meat way too much to properly give it up. I believe in listening your body and eating based on that (craving for chocolate or wine is not a need though). It is extremely important to consult with your GP or a specialist if you have any specific conditions before changing your diet (or whenever changing your diet drastically). However, I think that listening your body is almost as important. Acne, tiredness, weight changes, all these things might alarm you about your diet not being right. I grew up on pork and was used to eating meat every single day. I couldn’t even imagine not eating meat. Here I am, all grown up, and eating meat maybe few times a month. Surprisingly when it comes to dairy products then it has been easier than expected. I most probably would struggle more when living in Estonia but here they don’t have anything I crave for anyway.

Another reason why I do not consider myself as a vegan is that I don’t want to be part of this community. There are many parodies out there which all unfortunately reflect the truth. When moving to UK with a decision not to eat any animal products from supermarkets we joined few vegan groups in facebook to see where do they buy the food. Shockingly the attitude towards omnivores, even vegetarians (and sometimes other vegans who in their opinion are not doing “it” right) was extremely negative. For instance one of the group members posted a picture of a girl eating an ice cream next to a cow with very rude and abusive comment. Then all the other people started directing their anger under the picture calling people names based on the fact that a girl was eating an ice cream. No one really knew if it was actually a vegan or diary ice cream but an assumption was enough to heat everyone up. I want nothing to do with this kind of people who use “saving animals” ideology as a weapon towards other people. So just because of the negative and very aggressive atmosphere I do not want to belong there.

Now a little more serious problem appears when it comes to vegan parents raising their kids. Some parents realise that their decision to be vegan should not affect their kids’ choices. I work in health care and reading how parents either lie to their kids to force them into veganism or simply refuse to cook any animal products when their kids ask is shocking. Growing body needs balanced menu and raising kids omnivore doesn’t mean cooking meat daily or buying fish fingers (or other processed cr*p). In my opinion (and only mine), kids should be raised omnivores until they are able to decide themselves how they want to eat. That means for sure not before the end of teenage. A 4 or 5-year-old does not know what is good for him or what he should eat. If they could choose, they would feed on sugar.

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A little illustrative picture how we should all friendly co-exist. ūüėÄ

Now if you are vegan and reading this then do not feel like you are attacked. Being vegan is okay. You just need to realise that noone is born vegan or vegetarian. If you meet someone that strongly disapproves your believes then think of them as yourself way back before you started changing your eating habits. They may realise it and agree with you later in life. Or they may never agree with you. Either way it’s okay. We all have one life to live. Instead of jumping on each other because of the ways we have decided to spend it let’s just acknowledge each other and live loved in peace.

 

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My Estonian moments while travelling.

On Eesti S√úNNIP√ĄEV! Otsustasin selle postituse p√ľhendada oma armsale kodule.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It is the BIRTHDAY week of ESTONIA! I decided to dedicate this post for my sweet home.

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See on minu Eesti!                                                                                                                            This is my Estonia!

 

T√§histamaks uhket juubelit, olen ma √ľles otsinud k√Ķik pildid oma reisidelt, mis tuletavad mulle meelde, kui kaugel ma ka ei oleks, Eesti on alati minuga.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† So, in order to have a fun birthday celebration I have put together a post of few moments from my trips. These pictures remind me wherever I am, Estonia is always with me.

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Laev Tenerifel sadamast v√§lja triivimas. Armas, kas pole? ¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† A boat sailing out from a harbour in Tenerife. Just so you know “armas” in Estonian means cute.

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Kohvik Lanzarotel. Tere-tere, vana kere! ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A caffe in Lanzarote. “Tere” in Estonian means hi.

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See v√Ķtmehoidja! Muide, pilt on tehtud k√Ķigest paar aastat tagasi. M√§rkasin tuttavat m√ľnti kohe, kui autosse istusin. Saksa-Koera p√§ritoluga autojuht isegi ei teadnud, et see on Eesti m√ľnt. Olevat selle saanud oma vanematelt, kes on Tallinas k√§inud. Kuidas ma ise selle peale tulnud ei ole?¬† 5-kroonisega vist ei m√§ngi v√§lja. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† This key holder is made out of Estonian 1 crown coin (picture is taken few years ago, so we already had euros then). As soon as I sat in the car I noticed the familiar coin. Apparently the owner of it, a guy with German-Korean background, didn’t even know it’s Estonian. After I told him, he remembered he got it from his Parents after they came back from a trip to Estonia.

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Toidukaupluste kett Iirimaal. Pole just palju neid √§risid, kes valu reklaamiks kasutavad. ¬†¬† A food store chain in Ireland. “Valu” in Estonian means pain. So if you’re into super pain, you have come to the right place.

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Ma pole eriline (okei, √ľldse pole) lilles√Ķber, aga neid p√Ķllulilli vaadates tuleb alati koduigatsus. Pildil olevad on p√§rit L√Ķuna-Inglismaalt, Arundeli aiast. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† Estonian national flower is cornflower. Whenever I see cornflowers or poppies I think automatically of home. This selection in the picture is from South of England, Arundel.

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Ja kui sa oled juba väga kaua kodust eemal olnud, siis näed sini-must-valget igal pool. Isegi seal, kus on vaja pilti töödelda, et teised ka näeksid.                                                       And if you have been away from home for way too long you start seeing the colour pattern of your flag everywhere. Even there where you need editing for others to see as well.

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Eelmise aasta s√ľnnip√§eva t√§histamine. Kui Kalevi tooted on k√Ķik s√∂√∂dud ja midagi Eestimaist enam pidup√§evaks j√§rel ei ole. Eks peab j√§lle pidusokid v√§lja otsima, sest Kalev on otsas!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† Last year celebrating the Independence day. When you have no Estonian sweets left but you are trying to make it feel like home. I guess I have to take out my party socks again because I have done it again.

PALJU √ēNNE, ARMAS EESTI! M√Ķtlen ikka Sulle ja loodan, et valitsus……. sind t√§ielikult untsu ei keera. Armastan sind ja n√§eme varsti!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Oo, paneme √ľhe mu lemmikutest Eesti lauludest ka k√§ima, mis toob alati pisara silma. Imeline.

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY DEAR ESTONIA! I am thinking of you and hope the government is not……. screwing you completely up. Love you and see you soon!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Oh, let’s play one of my favourite Estonian songs¬† as well that always make me tearful. So powerful, so beautiful!

How we choose our holiday destinations

One of my friends asked me how do we choose where to go next. To be hones,t it is a mix of faith, time and mood.

As you probably all know I am a sun lover and Tom is a mountain lover. I would like to think that after 2 years being together we have now both of the 2 interests which makes the decision making a little easier. However, both of us have “the lists” where we want to go and these do not match 100%. In order to cover at least half of our lists we need to take time off and spend a year or more just on travelling. Therefore, we are saving longer distances for later. For now, we just need to find one location that pleases both lists and is rather close. I used to ask just sun from our holidays and nothing more but living in England has made me miss snow and proper cold as well. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a week in Iceland right now.

As I am currently working AND studying, I do not have that much time and freedom to go travelling often. Yet, all the bank holidays and my annual leave we have spent discovering new places. The next “holiday” we will have is probably in March or during Easter. I am not sure exactly weather to go to Scotland or Wales but for sure we cannot go too far due the time limit. This is the number one factor in the process of choosing a destination- how much time do we need vs how much we have in reality. Limited flexibility in your vacation timing can also mean that you need to spend a little more on the tickets. If you are one of us and you have just a week or less off, choose a destination country in Europe. This way you save a lot of time on travelling to the location (if you are from somewhere else then preferably something closer to your location) and can spend it in the destination instead. Europe seems like a small part of the world but you can book anything from skiing holidays to hot beach vacations.

The second thing we always think about is the season. If you are anything like us and want to see lots of places and most likely go there just once, you need to choose wisely the season you are travelling. Going out of the season can be a brilliant idea to avoid tourist crowds (especially when city-travelling) but also the reason why the holiday may not meet your expectations. Always, and I mean ALWAYS, check the weather forecast and get to know the season in the location you are thinking of travelling to. It doesn’t mean you are not going to have bad weather 100% but at least you know roughly what to expect. As me and Tom are both from quite cold countries (let’s say) then we never go to the Southern holidays during summer seasons. It may feel like a good idea but if you are planning to have an active vacation you need to have conditions that you are able to handle. Many people seek for 35+ degree weather without realising that you cannot spend much time outside with this kind of heat. Therefore, your expensive holiday could be ruined simply because you have travelled at the wrong time of the year. The same applies to rainy seasons. Don’t just buy cheap tickets but do a little research beforehand.

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Venice in October- out of season, but so worth it. It was cold but at least it wasn’t over crowded and smelly.

Now the third criteria is probably not in everyone’s list. As I mentioned Tom enjoys hiking. And I mean several days hiking not 3h walks. Therefore, all our trips are taking place in areas where are mountains. I love hiking but for sure not all the long ones he usually plans. I can manage a day or 2 but after that I want to come down, have a proper meal and drink and enjoy the sun. He still tries to convert me, though.

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Now last but not least, tickets. So far we have managed to have all our trips in budget. Not just because we wait try to find cheap tickets but we sleep mostly in a tent. If you are not into that  you need to keep an eye on sales and offers. I do it in holidaypirates.com and Tom has his own sites (azair.eu).  If you have flexible job you can find amazing last minute deals. If not, you need to plan your vacations longer ahead and probably book them before the season. Getting better offers is another reason to go off the season. If you are on the budget but want to have a proper holiday, choose for the destination a country where staying (accomodation, food, drink, etc) is cheaper- if in Europe, then I would recommend Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland etc. It is also wise to stay out of touristic areas (near popular sightseeings or city centers) when choosing your accomodation. This way you can save money yet have a great vacation.

So as you can see, there is no real science behind our vacation planning. It is a combination of me chasing the sun and Tom chasing the mountains. So far we have managed to merge them.

Way of living- how not to f*** up the Earth

5 simple ways how to reduce your everyday waste.

Oeh. I didn’t even want to write a post about this but….. it just makes me so sad thinking of this issue and seeing people not caring and thinking it doesn’t affect them. As a passionate traveller and nature lover I feel that I need to say something. If you want to keep enjoying the views then listen! Here are 5 ways how to reduce your waste.

Living in UK and travelling around Europe has made me completely change the way I am living now. And the situation out of Europe is even worse! I was into healthy eating already back in Estonia but for sure I have made a lot more effort in being environmentally friendly since moving here. I guess when living in an environment where you don’t notice rubbish around you, you don’t even realise how big problem it is globally. They talk about it at school¬† but it doesn’t hit you until you come out of your little box and see it right in front of you- literal rivers of waste.

I am not even going to stop on recycling as this should be elementary. Drinking coffee every day from disposable cups, packing each of your items in separate bags or throwing a candy wrap on the ground. All this seems like a “little thing” but in reality it has a major impact. So…

Since I remember I have always tried to use as little plastic bags as possible. Seeing all the dirt on the streets and the amount of plastic packaging in supermarkets made me want to make even bigger effort. If you have an option to choose a product without any packaging/plastic then why shouldn’t you. People’s denial thinking that their ways don’t affect the environment is the reason why the ocean is getting polluted, streets are full of dirt and we are running out of clean water to drink. Change nr 1. A simple act as leaving the plastic bags to the store or preferring unpacked products will have a major impact on mentioned problems. I am not trying to play the savior of the Earth here but as we all are living here, shouldn’t we all be responsible as well? The whole year I have been buying fruits and vegetables without plastic packaging. If the shop doesn’t have the product opened I simply don’t buy any. I can survive another day without the carrots or tomatoes and can pick them up from somewhere else later.

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Some organic goodies I bought today.

The 2. change is mostly because of my boyfriend who thinks not only about the environment but also economy. Seeing people buy the tiniest boxes of fruit you can imagine makes me want to scream. How can someone be so arrogant and denial that you think it is a good idea? I have wrote this habit in my previous posts and still cannot believe. We, on the other hand, we have been buying food and products that we use every day in as large packs as possible. Everything like coconut, raisins, oats, nuts, lentils, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc, in stead of buying small packs weekly we buy one big one that lasts for months. Not only is it better for the environment but you don’t have to worry about shopping for weeks. Saving your precious time as well!

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The very first order of food in Manchester. The biggest one is coconut shreds. That batch from October has lasted us until now.

I must say I have given England a hard time about the pollution, even though, it is not all just negative. There are facebook and other social groups where people share, change, give away products they do not use or want. You can find food, drinks, furniture, clothes and footwear, beauty products, almost anything from there. People give away make up and beauty products that do not suit them but are not able to return either, food that they have cooked but are not able to finish by themselves before the due date, clothes and footwear that has been waiting to be worn for way too long.  Another simple way to limit wasting. We have tried it and given a new home to several packs of teas, chocolate drinks, bags of pears, and even 2kg of home made fruit cake. We drink a lot of tea and why not to try something else for a change while helping other people to avoid throwing away fine food. For a 3. change start a new habit in your area!

I remember when living in Estonia by myself, from time to time I had to throw food out. I had forgotten that I had something waiting in the fridge and by the time I remembered it had gone bad. The biggest reason behind it is that people tend to buy the whole fridge full of food. I am still lazy in that sense that I don’t want to cook every day so I prepare food for more than just one day. Yet, I have not had to throw away food at once. How? Change nr 4. One thing is just buying less food at once and planning your meals but another good trick is improvising when cooking. I know some people can cook only based on recipes but try changing the dishes up based on what you already have at home. You have some leftover veges? Cook soup! There is never too many things in vege soup. I bet all you chefs out there are cringing right now but I still do it.

The last thing has made me thinking just lately as I have never been a big online shopper. Of course it is so comfortable and easy to make a click and let someone bring the stuff behind your door but… I don’t even mind it as an act but the way it is organised. No one wants to take responsibility for broken items so everything you order is packed in big boxes full of paper or plastic. Your item in it takes maybe 25% of all the space. I would expect this from ignorant companies but would for sure hope that eco-friendly shops would make an effort in this as well. Last week I found an amazing online shop called¬†https://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/ They have plenty of good organic healthy products. Not just food but household and beauty stuff as well. Within the first few minutes I already found bunch of stuff I wanted to try out as I am on a hunt for replacing or my non-organic and non-cruelty-free household and beauty products. As always before ordering from a new site I read the ordering reviews first. The feedback was shocking! People were crazy about the products but on the first page already at least 2-3 people mentioned excessive plastic packaging that came with ordered product. People who go to those sites are looking for an alternative for what consuming society offers. Do they really think that sending a box of plastic will not bother them? It should bother EVERYONE! So, I didn’t buy anything and here is an idea, a change nr 5. Can companies please start thinking about this?! Until then, please go and shop from stores (as much as possible) because saving your time will cost you a box full of unnecessary plastic.

Does it make sense? I think it does. If I didn’t manage to convince you then check just few clips from here or there. Well, I’m good we had that chat. If you are already on my “boat”, then thank you!

UK- To be or not to be?!

An anniversary post about living in UK. Should you or should you not?

HAPPY 1 YEAR TO ME!

Yes it’s already over a year that I have been living in the Kingdom. A YEAR! Time flies so fast that it is ridiculous. I have been super busy lately and, to be honest, have not felt like writing. Not that I don’t enjoy it any more but I simply have not had time to do much fun stuff to write about. Now I am BACK, though. I decided to dedicate this post to THE UNITED KINGDOM and give you my honest opinion about the stay so far.

I have written bits and bobs here and there in the past but I figured I am missing an overview for people who might really consider living, studying, working here. I actually got this idea already back in October at my school reunion when people asked me about UK and few of them were seriously considering coming here.

First of all, the most important thing- food. In one of my previous posts I wrote about the packaging craziness and processed food obsession they have. By a coincidence I now live near an organic shop and my opinion of local eating habits has slightly changed. Not all the people eat that processed thing they call food. A small grocery shop, UNICORN, is the cutest shop I have ever seen. Yes, you have to pay a penny or 2 extra to eat organic and clean food but let me tell you, the taste is worth it. I have even noticed that it is cheaper to buy diary free things from there than from supermarkets and the shop is constantly¬† fairly busy, to be honest. Not just it is super simple for vegans and vegetarians to find veg substitutes but you get the best possible quality. I do not consider myself as a vegan but I do eat mostly vegan at home (in UK). Oh you didn’t know? Well this is a long story and I need a separate post for just my eating habits and lifestyle now. All you need to know right now is that there are very good options in big cities like Manchester to eat well. What is more, the amazing shop Unicorn Grocery, has always a box of veges for free. That means people who maybe cannot afford even basic food can take salad material just for free. How amazing is that?! In my opinion all supermarkets should have that option. Not just that there would be less starving and hunger but big chains would throw away less food.

What is next… Oh, transportation. Unlike the opinion about food, this has not changed. If anything, it has gone even worse. I do not drive or use public transportation in Manchester because it is simply too slow and expensive. I have an old bike here and I cycle to work, gym, school, shop, where ever I need to go. Unfortunately, I must admit I have had quite a few accidents here already. The first ones were back in Reading. I already sensed then that drivers don’t really care about cyclists. Right now when working with patients who have experienced traffic accidents it seems like drivers don’t care about other drivers either. There have been few times that I almost got hit and one time that another cyclist did hit me. Touch the wood (ptuiptuiptui), so far all the “accidents” I have been in were without any injuries or damages. But I am super careful now. I have reflectors everywhere on the bike, on me. I have lights on the bike and a high visibility vest on. I do look like I just got off from the kindergarten but at least I am doing everything I can to be safe. Some cyclists prefer those blinding headlights that in my opinion make the accident risk even higher as it is seriously disturbing for the vision and therefore, you cannot pay proper attention on the surroundings. So, traffic is something that I am not very pleased with. Until you are very careful yourself you should be fine, though. If you are thinking of bringing your own vehicle here then DON’T. We learned it the hard way. Basically if you do not re-register it to UK number plate, the car will be taken and you will be given a certain amount of time to do it. Unfortunately, in real life that cannot be done and as you do not have the registration by the due date they will simply scrap it. So, just don’t bring your own. If you need a car and you don’t have any money problems, buy one here. If you need one for short period of time only and you have money problems, rent it. As simple as that.

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Now, the part that probably everyone is wondering about the most. Is the salary and living really better? 2 months ago I started a job in a private practice. As I already had a local experience as a physiotherapist, the interview went smoother- I was confident and less nervous to start a new job. I already knew what they expected and how to manage my time at work. Although, the client base is completely different (from Reading and the Estonian working experience), and I see twice as many patients as for example in Estonia, I feel a lot more appreciated as the salary reflects my hard work.¬† I am not working full time because of the university, I live in a quite expensive house, buy organic food, travel, and am still able to save enough to pay for my Estonian student loan and current university tuition fee. So, in my field I must say I do get more than in my home country (something for Estonian employers to think about). For other fields, as much as I have heard, it seems similar. It might be a little difficult in the beginning but as soon as you have already a local experience to show on your CV (even if it’s short period) you are going to find a job and good salary faster. Of course, it ain’t La-La Land. You need to plan your time, work hard, and have motivation to manage everything. But it is doable. I must admit I have to give half of the credit to my amazing other half who helps out and supports me on the way. I am not sure if I could manage it all alone.

If you are planning to come for just studying then I do highly recommend that. I just finished the first semester of my studies and couldn’t be prouder of myself. If you are Estonian you might be used to good grades but here they expect as much from you as from locals. That means you need to push yourself twice as hard. Your English on paper and on examinations need to be as good as native speaker’s. But don’t worry about English too much, it will improve tremendously while living here. Based on my own experience and my coursemates’ English level, with the level of B2 there should be no language barriers. The only thing is that some universities ask for C1 at least. As a credit for the University of Salford I must admit they give a lot of support and feedback for foreign (and local) students. You have a personal supervisor and one for each module (at least in physio). Whenever you are in trouble, don’t know what to do, you have plenty of people who care and will help you. Here you go, come and have a degree in foreign language! Not only does it sound great when saying it out loud but it is highly rated by locals (hopefully at home as well) as many of them know just English. Now the money part. I decided to pay my tuition fee by myself because I already have one loan. However, there are student loans available with very reasonable criteria. If I am not wrong there should be even one (around 20 grand) that you don’t have to pay back until you start earning yearly more than around 18 grand (in pounds). Knowing the average salary in Estonia then it might be that you don’t even have to pay it back at all.

The health system here is similar to Estonian. They have an association called NHS that provides the basic help. All students and people that are working have the basic healthcare and do not have to worry about it. When arriving you just need to register yourself in one of the surgeries in your area. Some employers do offer private healthcare as well and in that case you probably can go to dentists and private doctors for free (or for less money) as well.

What else? Weather. In the South I think it was a lot better than I expected. Summer was hot like summer is supposed to be and I even got a tan. Up here it is raining every other day. Seriously. As the temperature doesn’t really drop below 0 right now I don’t think there is a winter in here at all. It is more like a constant autumn. So who is into that you are welcome to come and enjoy. I for sure am not. I miss snow, cold wind to freeze the tip of your nose, and wearing winter boots. I am not sure how bad is it going to be in the summer but what I’ve heard of, it ain’t a dream either. So if you are thinking of travelling for the weather, don’t! Or stay in the South.

Last but not least, people! Locals themselves say that people up in the North (midlands) are more opened and friendly than in the South. As I don’t really remember meeting too many angry or rude people in the South I am not sure what kind of position to take. There are always people that either have a bad day or simply don’t care about the others around. Based on my experience I wouldn’t say it is worse in the South or better in the North. All my colleagues, patients, coursemates, etc have been reasonable and lovely people. Colleague-wise I would probably even say that there is less “competition” and tension in the clinic than back at home. Or at least I don’t sense it as much as when working in Estonia. Everyone is willing to help and teach you. After all, the clinic/business is as good/strong as it’s weakest worker. So in order to keep the good quality you need to invest time and knowledge in new workers and English do understand that. Generally I reckon we all have bad days and I wouldn’t generalise the population based on those few rude ones. I think local people do care (even when you are foreigner) and they take time to explain themselves when you cannot understand the accent (especially the one in Manchester). Even though, the political situation may leave another expression.

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In conclusion, if you don’t mind constant autumn, would like to learn authentic English from natives, and are willing to make an effort to build your success up, I believe England could be the place. But I reckon you should do it before Brexit because you know, no one really knows what happens after!

Before I end this one I wanted to discuss another idea I have. So, far I have been writing about 3 things- travelling, hiking and living in UK. At some point probably I am finishing the UK series as I am running out of things to write about. So, instead of that I was thinking of starting a new part/series that will be about healthy and active lifestyle and my opinion/stories/experience related to that- beauty, exercising, food, shops, products, money etc. I will continue with the hiking and travelling posts of course as well. Let me know what you think!

That is it for now. I have few blog suggestions and ideas waiting already. I appreciate you letting me know what you like to read about and giving me feedback. That is  PERFECT. Keeps me motivated! I hope I will manage to write more often from now on.  But now, crab your Earl Grey, a bisquit, sit back and enjoy Ed!