Give way, it’s Christmas!

Restoring faith in humanity, starting from the traffic.

It is first of advent! ūüéĄ ūüéČ

That means it’s only 4 weeks ’til Christmas and it is officially time to start celebrating with no guilt or shame! Whoop-whoop!

Before we get to the celebrating part I have something on my mind, haunting me already quite a while now. Something that really bothers me. So, when else to talk about those things but Christmas time when people are (at least seem to be) in a good mood and willing to cooperate.

The other day I was cycling home from work and for the 4th or 5th time almost got hit by a car. Why? How? What? I was cycling on a cyclist lane and wanted to turn right. Before a turn i always check behind me to make sure the way is free. I lifted up my right hand as a sign as well to really make sure everyone behind me can see my turn. 2 years of living in UK has taught me to always check twice. So now with my right hand up I decided to check again behind me if I am free to take the turn right. As I was turning my head and ready to start taking the right turn a car overtook me from the RIGHT side. Yes! People really do that. Although I had my hand up, I was already in the middle of the road ready to turn, a car behind me could not wait 5 seconds and overtook me from the right side, exactly where I was about to turn. If I would have not checked twice he would have deffinitely hit me. Fortunately, this time I was lucky and patient enough to save my ass.

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Then another evening I was cycling on the cycle lane while a bus was trying to overtake me. Which I don’t mind, obviously. What I do mind is cars, buses taking over cyclist right before a crossroad, bus stop or a turn. Why? Because right after overtaking me, they need to push the brakes and stop. I have to now stop right behind them as they ¬†occupy the cyclist lane and most of the road. Even though I can see them stoping I never know if the cars behind me can see that and do not try to suddenly drive into me or overtake us both. So here I am squeezed behind 2 vehicles, I cannot see anything behind the bus to prevent a hit and therefore need to wait behind it. Anyone who spends more than 10-15 minutes in traffic daily knows that no one, and I mean NO ONE, will take that time to wait behind you.

It rains a lot in Manchester. And by a lot I mean ¬†A LOT. Despite the rain I still prefer to cycle to work as it is literally 2x faster than taking a bus. And as you can probably sense from the previous 2 paragraphs I am not really into driving in here either. One night when coming back from work, cycling my ass off in the rain I had to face the humanity failing again. I always rather cycle on the footpath or cycle lane instead of the main road. The drivers here do not care about the cyclist, passengers or other drivers and therefore it is always safer this way. Some claim you can get a fine for cycling on the footpath but I would rather pay the fine that get into an accident. So, there I was cycling in the rain, hoping to get home soon AND safe. On Talbot road there is always huge mud puddles when it’s raining. You would expect a city like Manchester to have a decent drainage system but no. So in order not to get covered by mud COMPLETELY I had to either hop on the footpath or turn on the road. As there are edging everywhere I cannot really hop over it, especially when it’s wet and slippery. So, as always I checked the road before even deciding what to do. There was no one coming for another 300m. So I decided to turn on the main road until the mud puddle ends. As it was a BIG ONE it took a little while to overtake. Now guess what the cars did when reaching behind me. Yeah, they started horning at me. Are you kidding? Are you blind? I am in the damn rain. Do you want me to go swimming with the bike or what? They do not have an extra 10sec to wait until I can turn back on the cycle lane, they need to let you know you are slowing them down for 10sec. Disappointing. Is that really how we see each other? An obstacle? An unconvenience? Even when you sit in your warm, dry car you cannot take that time to be a HUMAN.

I see patients after car accidents every single day. And 9/10 times it is because someone did not pay attention in the traffic. Either talking, texting, calling, changing songs. How many people need to suffer in pain, even get killed for us to take that extra time for each other, give way even if you don’t have to, let someone take a safe turn and not rush them. Those people I described are not just English, just foreigners, someone you don’t know. It is me, it’s you, your neighbour, your uncle and his best friend. It is US. Instead of pointing fingers, let’s just make a change starting with ourselves. Yes, we have rules in the traffic and sometimes slowing someone down can be dangerous as well. But I am not talking about motorways or highways here. I am talking about city traffic. All this ¬†is preventable if everyone pays attention. It is a lot easier and safer to be prepared, be patient, be ready than just follow the rules, your eyes closed, braking at the very last minute, hit someone or make someone loose the control over the vehicle when trying to avoid the impact and situation YOU caused.

I am not trying to put the blame on just drivers. I can see passengers walking around their eyes in the phone, earphones on, rolling around in their own bubble all the time. Crossing the streets without even checking what’s going on, stepping on the road or cycle lanes without paying attention, stoping in the middle of the street without realising they block the whole way. Can we just please either leave those damn earphones home or put the volume on a level that if someone behind you addresses you or tries to get your attention it is POSSIBLE. I cannot even count all those times when as a cyclist I have almost hit a passenger when they think they are the kings and they can just either run across the street with red light, stop in the middle of the road, let their dog on a lead occupy the whole road, keep their nose in the phone while crossing streets or simply do not respond to the bell, your voice or anything. To be honest I don’t understand this earphone trend. Why people need to have them on max volume 24/7. Can we at least be a little bit ¬†interactive when in traffic. Again, it’s only for everyone’s safety.

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And last but not least cyclists. They are not the angels either. Especially on roads with no cycle lanes I can see a lot how they are driving between cars, overtake them from the wrong side, think that traffic lights do not apply to them. Again if the driver cannot see you, the accidents are easy to happen. As a cyclist I always try to keep as close to the left side of the road as possible so all anxious and impatient drivers can pass. But I have seen impatient and anxious cyclists as well. They tend to cycle on the right side of the road so when a car wants to make a right turn and they do not look in the side mirror they cut the way of the cyclist. The only accident I have been here was with another cyclist. I was standing in the middle of the road trying to make a right turn. I held my hand up, as always. I saw a truck taking off 100m from me so I decided to take the turn before him. As I was pushing off and getting ready to turn another cyclist came from nowhere and cut my way. As I didn’t have a high speed I managed to brake but he didn’t. He drove right into me. Fortunately with a low speed as he managed to brake. He flew over his bike right in front of me. Apparently he did not see me standing in the middle of the road and didn’t pay attention when suddenly rushing behind the truck. In that case I took the full blame as by the rules he was in right. Could it have been avoided? 100%. Instead of going full speed between cars with limited view, slow down and be prepared that there might be a passenger, cyclist or another car behind the truck in the blind corner.

I admit I have made mistakes in traffic as well. But as I have been a cyclist, a passenger and a driver, I believe I can understand all 3 parties. I’m calling everyone up, cyclists, passengers and drivers to pay more attention to each other, take time to really see and listen to each other, be humans. We want to get home as soon as possible but most importantly we want to GET HOME SAFE. Let’s give everyone a chance to celebrate Christmas!

Happy first advent!

All about Manchester Christmas Markets- naughty and nice!

Reviews of 3 Christmas Markets in Manchester.

I have managed to visit 3 different Christmas markets this year in Manchester- Northern Greater Makers Market, Manchester Christmas Market and the Vegan Market.

The first of them all was the Northern Greater Makers Market. A small cosy market right by the main road in Deansgate. Main things they sell are crafts (which is amazing). I cannot say how much I enjoy walking around in crafts markets and shops getting inspired by creative people. This market I loved especially because I noticed so many things that were related to recycling, sustainability and nature. All the things I love and care about. You can find incredible gifts, ideas and ways to recycle.

From food side they had homemade cakes with 3 vegan options. I didn’t see anything else vegan, though, besides a street food truck. They also had different local cheeses, sausages and sweets. Unfortunately, from drinks alley they had only hard liquer, mainly gins and vodkas. And I am not fan of either of them. The bottles looked amazing, though! Great as a gift.

All the people in the market where so nice and didn’t mind me gadding about with a camera. They also didn’t mind giving me a little background about the products when asking. Made me feel like a part of a community.

The second market was the big Christmas Market on Albert Square. It has obviously bigger variety of shops and products which is not necessarily a good thing. As soon as you walked in, the smell of sausages was overwhelming. Made me super hungry but might be off-putting for vegetarians, for sure.

It was also busier so walking one way or the other took time as people tend to just stop in the middle of the road and…. I don’t know, enjoy their coffee? So it didn’t feel half as nice as the other one.

Another thing I noticed was that the shops where unorganised and you jumped from cheese to plates and from jewellery to sweets. Was a bit disturbing as I wasn’t really interested in any of the animal products. But it’s not the main issue for sure. But when really looking for something specific, can be confusing.

A super awesome surprise was to see that in every hot drink shop they were giving out mugs instead of plastic cups. How cool is that. You had to pay like 1-3 quid as a deposit, got it back before leaving the market and without all this unnecessary trash! Well done!

So when in the previous market everything was handmade and crafts then in this one I noticed at least 3-4 shops with some stupid Made-in-China crap (no offence). Why? Just why? There are so many awesome local companies and they let people to buy the space in the market to sell crap. Just why? Usually it has nothing even to do with Christmas. Just some cheap crap. That got me mad! Can people just try to not think only about money during this time of the year?!

Another odd thing I noticed was how many French, Dutch, German products were available compared to local, English stuff. Again… why? If I go abroad for Christmas and visit a market there I would expect and hope to buy something local. If I want to buy a German sausage, I will go to Germany. Okay?! Give me some British products, for god’s sake! Fortunately among all this… not so interesting stuff they also had some really nice local stuff- leather and wooden bowls/trays, wooden ties, clay mugs (which where very similar to the ones I got for my birthday!!!!), handmade jewellery, Manchester t-shirts, coasters and signs.

And last but not least Vegan Christmas Market. Unfortunately, that was only 1 weekend in Manchester but I believe there are similar ones on different weekends in other cities. Unlike the pervious 2, this one has an entrance fee of 3 pounds. Now, as I had to pay 3 quid, I went there to come back with some vegan cake. Now, guess what was the one thing I didn’t find. ¬†Yep! Vegan damn cake!

It was in a hotel which means it was soooooooo crowded inside. It was almost impossible to move around free. As soon as you walked in, the crowds led you the way. You could find anything from homemade juice to vegan leather bags but no vegan chocolate cake. There were doughnuts and chcocolate, burgers and candies but no cake. Yeah, I was disappointed. I couldn’t really understand the idea of paying 3 quid to go to a market and buy a burger for another 7 quid that you had to eat there. Does that make sense to you?

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Well as I had already paid the 3 quid I decided to find at least couple of things that were worth the money. And something as close to the cake as possible. I found a body scrub with a smell of a dream, an organic cotton bag for washing the small items in the washing machine, 1 bottle of Jamaican juice and 2 doughnuts. Although everything was quite over priced I still think all the things I decided to buy were worth the price.

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As a regular customer in a health shop I know what vegan cheese costs and therefore also notice when it’s over priced. And man, how pricy everything was! Which again was disappointing as naive Hanna thought she’s going to find some good deals. However… there were some really nice things. Especially if you have the coin to spend! I was trying all the flavours of vegan cheese there was. It was just sooooo amazing. Unfortunately, my company already noticed that Christmas bonus will be 15 quid so I cannot really afford buying 8 quid cheese for 2 sandwiches. They also had some really nice homemade liquer. I am not really the fan of liquer, I am more like a cocktail kinda-girl.

I don’t have many pictures of it as people, for some reason, where not letting me take any. What? Why? I don’t know. Sometimes I simply just don’t get people. But who am I to judge.

There are many other Christmas markets around the town so you can check them out as well. I guess the message to take with is that be aware of the prices and make aware decisions. Know where your products are from and who they are produced. Spending a little more for a good cause is worth it. Especially during Christmas time. Merry Ch…Ch… Chr… yeah, I can’t, it’s still too soon. Merry Sunday! ūüėČ

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.

 

 

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!