Morning Hacks To Get You Out Of Bed (Quickly and Happily)

Slices of peaches in a bowl of oats

The terms quick, happy and easy going would not normally be associated with me and mornings. I need time. Lots of it. I need space. Lots of it. And I need quiet. Lots of it.

It takes a great effort for me to get out of bed. Sometimes like a 30 minute effort. I am the slowest waker upper ever.

So when I tell you I have a whole morning routine (exercise, meditating, gratitude journaling, affirmations, and reading) that I get through before I even start work you best believe that I need the most help with getting myself out of bed and my day started.

If you are like me and in struggle sheets in the morning, here are a few hacks that will get you going quickly and happily.

Morning hacks

* pull down on your earlobes with your fingers and take a deep breath (it will help you wake up)

* drink water (lets the body know you’re awake, hydrates you and helps you along with your morning toilet session)

* march on the spot with high knees (left arm with right leg and right arm with left leg. This gets your energy going.)

* make your bed (gives you a sense that you’ve already accomplished a task for the day. Remember the happiness chemical dopamine?)

* stretch your body

* have a cold shower (or at least alternate between hot and cold)

* eat a healthy breakfast (sets the tone for the day)

Here’s a tip for a healthy breakfast you can prepare the night before.

Selection of nuts on a white background
Selection of nuts

Ingredients for the basic overnight oats

* Oats
* Chia seeds (or any other seeds you have on hand)
* Nut or seed butter (peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter)
* Milk (whichever best suits you – coconut milk, almond milk)
* Fruit
* Sweetener (honey, dates, maple syrup – this is optional. I personally don’t add in any sweetener)
* For non-vegan you can use yoghurt ( use a combo of milk and yoghurt to make it creamy)

Method

These are the ratios to play with.
* 1/2 cup oats
* 3/4 cup liquid

Add oats to a bowl or sealable jar. Pour in your milk or yoghurt (or mixture of both). Add the nut or seed butter ( amount is as per your taste). Add fruit of your choice, sweetener of your choice and seeds on top. Put it in the fridge overnight and the next morning you’ll have a soft, creamy, yummy AND healthy breakfast to eat.

I love it because it’s so versatile and it will keep you full until lunch time. And there are a number of combinations you can prepare to keep your taste buds happy.

Chopped nuts on a brown board
Eating healthy

For the combinations below, use the basic recipe above and add the ingredients for the different versions.

Chocolate
Leave out the fruit and nut butter and add:
* cocoa powder
* shredded coconut
* almonds

Banana nut
Add in:
* mashed/sliced banana
* cinnamon ( and nutmeg optional)
* walnuts

Carrot cake
Leave out the nut butter and add in:
* grated carrot
* shredded coconut
* pecans
* raisins (optional)

I tried the carrot cake option the other day and it was divine.

Pumpkin
Add in:
* mashed pumpkin (preferably roasted pumpkin)
* cinnamon and nutmeg
* pumpkin seeds
* dried cranberries

Apple cinnamon
Add in:
* chopped apples
* cinnamon

Whatever you can prepare the night before – clothes, bag, breakfast, gym outfit – do it. If you are looking to have a calm morning start, it is better to be over prepared than under.

And if you are curious as to my daily eating plan and how I keep the weight off, I eat oats every single day except maybe on a Saturday where I’ll replace it with an egg breakfast.

If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to reach out to me at anytime.

I’m here as always looking out for you and your health.

With love,
LML

How To Be Happy Daily

Women jumping in happiness

Did you know that there are happy brain chemicals that make you feel good? So when you hear people saying, “You are responsible for your own happiness” or “Happiness is a choice”, that dare I say it, is so true.

Did you also know that 37% of people around the world are unhappy? Throw Covid-19 in to the mix and the statistics are probably rising.

What that means is that 1 in 3 people that you know are unhappy with their lives.

That’s quite a number I’d say. Are you one of those people?

If so, there are simple ways to improve your happiness on a daily basis.

Perhaps you’ve already heard of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins but don’t really know what they are. Well, those are the happy chemicals or happy hormones that the brain releases that make us feel happy.

Each chemical has a job to do and when the brain releases one of these chemicals, you feel good.

By understanding how these chemicals work, we can better improve our overall happiness daily by tapping into each of the four happiness chemicals.

Dopamine

Dopamine enables motivation, learning and pleasure. It gives you the determination to achieve goals, desires, and needs. It’s similar to the “I got it” feeling when you accomplish something.

Do you often procrastinate, have low self-esteem, low energy or fatigue, lack of motivation or enthusiasm, feel anxious or hopeless? Then you are more than likely experiencing a dopamine deficiency.

How To Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally

* meditate regularly (increases dopamine by 65%)
* make a daily to-do list and long term goals
* eat avocado, fish, eggs, cheese, banana and pumpkin seeds
* exercise regularly
* create and play (writing, music, arts and crafts)

Oxytocin

Oxytocin is often called the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone” because it plays a role in bonding. It gives you a feeling of trust and it motivates you to build intimate relationships and sustain them.

This hormone gives you the desire to stick together with those you trust, which creates a feeling of safety or comfort. It helps your body adapt to different emotional and social situations.

If you feel lonely, stressed, disconnected, anxious or have insomnia it could relate to an oxytocin deficiency.

How To increase Oxytocin Levels Naturally

* eye contact, cuddling, hugging, physical touch
* socializing, connecting with friends and family
* touching your pet
* getting a massage
* acupuncture
* listening to music
* cold showers

Serotonin

When you feel significant or important and get that good feeling, that is serotonin. It is a calm form of confidence and accepting yourself within the people around you.

You could be experiencing a serotonin deficiency if you have low self-esteem, mood swings, are emotionally sensitive, have anxiety and panic attacks, depression, social phobias, insomnia and obsessive compulsive disorder.

How To Increase Serotonin Levels Naturally

* exercise
* sunshine (10 -15 minutes a day/ Vitamin D supplement)
* eat bananas, eggs, omega-3 fish, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and probiotics
* getting a massage
* cold showers

Endorphin

Endorphins release a brief euphoria that masks physical pain. It is a response to pain and stress which also helps alleviate anxiety and depression. Any kind of physical distress can trigger endorphins.

The release of endorphins acts as a natural pain killer and diminishes your perception of pain.

If you feel anxiety, depression, mood swings, aches and pains, insomnia or impulsive behaviour then it could indicate a deficiency in endorphins.

How To increase Endorphin Levels Naturally

* laughter and crying
* creating music or art
* exercise or stretching
* high-intensity interval training
* getting a massage
* meditation

There are plenty of activities that increase happiness hormones naturally. Choose a few that you enjoy doing otherwise it won’t stick.

Consistency is key.

Remember, we are trying to achieve long term happiness so doing an activity once or twice won’t make an impact on your lifestyle.

Benefits of Happiness

Happiness not only plays a part in you feeling good but contributes to improved overall health, improved creativity and problem-solving skills, having more positive relationships with those around you, being able to enjoy life more and get through life challenges easier and being happy with what you have.

Who doesn’t want to be happy daily?

I know I sure do.

So, go on then, pick a few activities, stick to them and you will be on your way to a happier you.

Sending some happiness rays your way.

With love
LML

Hello 2021

Woman holding green vegetables

Hello 2021. Hello friends. Hello new year. Hello fresh starts.

I missed you all. How you doing? (in the Joey from Friends voice)

So we survived 2020. What a year! You know if you we can survive a year like that with all its ups and downs, I think we can pretty much conquer 2021. It’s not going to be easy, we still have challenges to face but we can absolutely do it.

Opportunities are everywhere.

Now I hate to be a party pooper so early in the year but if you were looking for some new years resolutions and stuff, I ain’t got any here. A healthy lifestyle remains the only goal.

What I do have for you are a few tips to ease in to the year.

11 Tips for Better Living

0 processed food / empty calories
1 hour of exercise/ reading
2 litres of a water a day
3 cups of green tea/ green juice
4 stretch breaks
5 things you’re grateful for
6 am meditation
7 minutes of laughter
8 hours of sleep
9 thousand steps a day
10 pm bed time

Easy enough?

Yes I thought so too.

Let’s go get it in 2021. There has never been a better time to BE healthy.

With much love as always
LML

Is That So?

Sign saying happy holidays with gift wrap and presents laying next to it

Surprise, surprise, here’s a story for you.

The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a village in Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. One day the teenage daughter of his neighbour became pregnant.

When she was questioned by her angry parents, she said that Hakuin, the Zen Master was the father.

Cue the screaming, shouting, accusations, bottle throwing etc. No that didn’t really happen but you get the idea? There was lots of drama.

When the parents said he must confess that he is the father, all he replied was, “Is that so?”

Of course news of the scandal spread throughout the village and beyond. The Zen Master lost his reputation and his clients. This did not trouble him, he remained unmoved.

When the child was born the parents of the girl brought the child to him and said, “You are the father, you must look after him.”

The Zen Master took loving care of the child.

A year later, the young girl remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the boy that worked at the butcher shop.

Embarrassed and in great distress they went to Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. “We are really sorry, we have to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father.”

“Is that so?” is all he would say as he handed the baby back to them.

What is the moral of this story?

The Zen Master did not become a participant in the drama. It did not affect him.

How did he do this?

To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. Events are not personalized and he is nobody’s victim. He did not resist what happened because if you do, you are at the mercy of what happens and the world will determine your happiness or unhappiness.

By only responding to what the present moment requires, the baby is well looked after and bad turns in to good. He lets go of the baby when it is time to do so.

So why on earth am I telling you this story?

Because friends, for some, the festive season is stressful and full of drama. It causes great anxiety. Perhaps it’s because extended family is together and there are triggers and old hurts that come to the fore, perhaps it’s because there’s too much alcohol and loose lips start lashing or perhaps it’s because someone got irritated in the moment and exploded.

Whatever it is, let us proceed in peace and harmony. Let us be at ease. Let us relax and let us have fun.

Let us reply with, “Is that so?”

On that note let me say that I’m unplugging for the month of December and “Is that so?” will be my mantra.

I will be celebrating my birthday, celebrating Christmas and also celebrating the New Year.

I will be slowing down and resting and rejuvenating.

I will also be playing and creating and writing.

There will be plenty of stuff cooking in the kitchen.

Don’t worry, come January I’ll be back with so much more.

As always, I wish you and your families plenty of relaxation, laughter and fun. May you all be at peace and experience much joy.

May love and blessings hug you

Your friend and wellbeing bestie,

LML

5 DIY Detox Drinks + 1 For Weight Loss

Large bottle fliled with lemon slices and water with a whole lemon and mason jug next to it

Yes I’m back again with the detox stuff because I know you. When I ask you how’s it going you’re going to say but you never gave me any recipes, how could I do it?

Well, here you go, no more excuses, I’m on to you.

And when I say easy, I mean easy. It’s basically water infused with some fruit and herbs from your kitchen. I’m going to give you the combo’s and you make it happen.

I’m not that big on measurements when it comes to this. It’s a bunch of this and a squeeze of that.

Follow your gut. Get it?

Selection of many different types of fruit
Fruitilicious

Pineapple Happy
Water + pineapple + turmeric + black pepper

Cucumber Cool
Water + cucumber + watermelon + mint

Strawberry Summer
Water + strawberries + basil

Lemon and Ginger Zinger
Water + cucumber + lemon + ginger + mint

Grapefruit Gift
Water + grapefruit + rosemary

Mason jar of strawberry flavoured water on a table
Strawberry Water

Tips:
Make a large jug of the detox water so you can sip on it all day.
If you crush the fruit before adding it to the water it will give it more flavour.
If you need a little sweetness, pitted dates are your best friend. Add some in for that little sweet note.

Below is a bonus recipe if you are looking for something to aid in weight loss and a flatter belly.

Cranberry delight (helps you lose weight)
This is a Jillian Michaels special

Ingredients
2L of purified water
1 Tbsp 100% cranberry juice (not sweetened, no cranberry cocktail juice)
2 Tbsp squeezed lemon juice
1 organic dandelion root tea bag

Instructions:
Brew the tea bag in 1 cup of hot water and let it cool to room temperature
Fill a large jug with the cooled tea, cranberry juice and lemon juice. Fill the remainder of the jug with water and refrigerate.

Drink the entire jug throughout the day. Do this for a week and you’ll start feeling the results.

Here’s why it’s good for you:
Cranberry is loaded with antioxidants and helps flush out toxins. Lemons support normal digestion and are high in Vitamin C. Dandelion root tea improves digestion, aids in weight loss and eases bloating.

I’m a big fan of herbal teas and detox water. You need to get that water in anyway so why not add some pizzazz to it? It’s simple, easy and most importantly it doesn’t break the bank.

Drop me a line because I like hearing from you and I would love to know if you are going to try it. Also feel free to share with a friend who might need it.

As always I’m here drinking my detox water and wishing you well.

With love and gratitude
LML

A Pre-Holiday Detox? Yes and Here’s Why

Champagne glasses clinking in toast

Oh yes you need to detox before the holidays and I see you rolling your eyes at me. That’s why I’m getting this out early, so you have time to think about it and prepare.

I’m well aware that when the 1st December rolls around all you’ll be thinking about is decorations, parties, gifts, food and of course the holiday drinks.

So before all the excuses start rolling off your tongue let me give you a healthy heads up as to why you should detox before the holidays.

At any other time of the year, when we have our little binges it is normally just a day or two, maybe a few days only. The December holidays signify a much longer period of over-eating, over-indulging and let’s be totally honest, over-drinking. We all tend to go overboard even with the best of intentions in mind.

This gives the body little time to recover let alone digest all that’s been thrown at it.

A pre-holiday detox will boost your immune system and help you stay healthy during the hectic holiday season. It will also help you get out the gates strong for the new year.

And you know me, this is not some insane juice detox nor am I suggesting you starve for 2 weeks before the holiday season starts, these are just gentle tips to introduce one or two weeks before the tsunami hits.

Jug with water and lemon slices
Morning drink

Morning Drink

Start the day with 2 glasses of water with a pinch of salt and lots of lemon. Like a whole lemon kind of lots.

If you must have coffee, limit it to one cup a day. Switch to herbal tea for the rest of the day. Ginger and peppermint are good for digestion. And stay hydrated throughout the day. Remember your 8 glasses of water..

Shower time

Before you shower use a dry brush on your entire body. Start at your feet and use long, circular movements to brush your skin. This will stimulate your lymphatic system to get rid of waste and will exfoliate your skin.

While showering, switch between hot and cold water. Hot for 30 seconds and cold for 30 seconds. Do this for 5 minutes. Better yet, if you can, go for a cold shower. It does wonders for your nervous system and will boost the lymphatic system.

Orange and blueberries
Healthy fruit

Food

Now it gets interesting. Remember this is only for 1 or 2 weeks, you can do this.

Eliminate sugar, dairy, gluten, soy and corn during the detox. These foods can be inflammatory and mucus forming. The next time you think about that sugar, bear in mind that it weakens your immune system for several hours.

Eat lots of fibre (flax, chia seeds and psyllium husk) and go big on salads. Stock up on herbs, especially parsley which helps carry waste out of the blood stream.

Help your gut

Get your gut ready for the heavy holiday meals with a daily dose of probiotics. Bolstering your microbiome in advance can protect against indigestion, heartburn and constipation.

Foods that are high in probiotics are kimchi, tempeh and yoghurt. If you can’t get your hands on that, opt for a high quality supplement.

Move your body

Oh here she goes again. Yes, I can hear you. All you need is a brisk 20 minute walk a day.

That’s it, simple enough, yes? If you really can’t get that in, try a steam room or sauna. Sweating escorts toxins out of the body through the skin.

Sleep

Did you know that your body fixes itself while you sleep? Try to get to bed earlier than normal.

Many studies have shown that the sleep you get before midnight is twice as powerful as sleep after midnight.

Going to bed between 10pm-12am is the best window for sleep and aim for a solid 8 hours. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try a lavender essential oil to aid in that.

And before you even say anything, I KNOW you can do this. It’s just little tweaks here and there that will give you maximum benefits.

Like you I want to be rolling with laughter during the festive and not with indigestion.

Let’s give it a go.

Shall we?

As always I’m here rooting for you.

With love,
LML

How To Get A Grip When You’ve Let Yourself Go

Lady in a blue dress standing near a pool looking very happy

And I’m not even a fan of this term, ‘letting yourself go’ because to be honest I’ve been an expert at it.

It’s bad enough that I know it, but how rude and offensive that anybody else should notice it too.

I know all too well the struggles of working on myself to get to a point of being a better version of me; happy and hopeful and helluva hot only to ‘let myself go’.

Why did I do it?

Because I gave up too easily and convinced myself that you only live once and who would it hurt anyway to have another slice of cake or another helping of fries.

That’s what I used to tell myself.

And you know what happened?

Another slice of cake and more fries would become crispy wings and waffles with syrup and what about a juicy burger and a pizza or two.

Who would it hurt?

Yes indeed. Not me. No of course not.

Then I would look at myself in the mirror a few months or even a year down the line and be shocked because I had no idea I was letting myself go (please read getting fat)

I would shout at my family because they never told me and I couldn’t see it. (Side note: they did tell me. Apparently letting yourself go is akin to being deaf and blind as well)

Cue the guilt, shame, crashing self esteem, crying, cursing, embarrassment and tantrums. I would want to flush the idea of being healthy down the bloody drain.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Yes I thought so.

And believe me I know it feels like too much of a mountain to climb to snatch it all back because you are well aware that it’s going to take work, and worse yet, some self discipline.

I even toyed with the idea of staying fat and fabulous but tragically for me, my body wouldn’t allow it. It kept breaking down and it kept getting sick. It was screaming, “Get off your fat ass and do something about this”. (My father would say that too)

And so alas, I did just that but with a promise that I would never let myself go again. I was done with that feeling of hopelessness.

And you can be too.

Wanna know how?

Well stay with me now.

First you have to acknowledge it.

This was the toughest part for me. I didn’t want to look at myself and feel like a failure, again. I didn’t want to see that I was in a cycle of letting myself go, again. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I forgot to love myself, again.

And let me tell you, those 3 rolls of fat on my back were staring back at me and tormenting me. So defiant and so bitchy, like I dare you to get rid of us. Just you try it.

To quote Tony Robbins, “Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions”.

I had to acknowledge that the fat was a physical manifestation of all the emotional baggage that I was carrying with me. In essence, by refusing to deal with my emotional issues, I was in fact letting myself go physically.

The emotional issues were growing bigger and bigger in a physical form.

Once I understood where I was, I knew where I wanted to go.

A lady in a pink dress looking out over the ocean
In Thailand 2018

Next, you have to offer up forgiveness and love.

You HAVE to be KIND to YOURSELF. I can’t stress this enough.

If a friend came to you in despair and said “I feel like a failure. I’m so lost and feel so helpless, what would you say to them?”

Would you say, “You’re so worthless, nobody cares about you”

Of course not.

So why say that to yourself then?

Treat yourself with care, compassion and forgiveness like you would your best friend.

Kick all the judgement out the front door.

Make a plan and get real about it

I knew that in the beginning, trying to exercise and eat healthy was going to be too much for me. I can only focus on one thing at a time. I made my focus food. That was me being real.

You know yourself and what makes YOU feel overwhelmed. Choose one thing to focus on in the beginning and just stick to that.

I know you didn’t ask for my opinion but I would suggest it be food. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule, 80% diet and 20% exercise.

Have fun and laugh along the way

If you can do this everything else just seems to click into place.

Don’t try to force anything otherwise you’ll find yourself back in the cycle after a while. Find a form of exercise that gives you joy or will make you laugh. I can’t dance but I do Zumba every now and then just for fun.

Be light in spirit when it comes to your health. It’s not a chore or something to dread.

So you let yourself go but haven’t we all at some point.

It’s time to get a grip. It’s time to be honest. It’s time to have some fun.

Don’t let the rolls, the emotional baggage or the supposed mountain to climb intimidate you.

You are in control and you got this.

I’m here for you, as always.

Happy and hopeful.

P.S. I’m very good at dishing out instructions. If you need me to tell you to get off your fat ass and do something about this, just holla.

With love
LML

A Healthy Way To Start Your Day

Tumeric tea in a cup on a table

Why this golden latte is good for you

AND it’s quick and easy to make.

Like all golden lattes, there’s one key ingredient to give this drink it’s sunny colour: turmeric.

Now I don’t know about you but when I was growing up all I knew about turmeric was that it made rice yellow and all the aunties were using it to make a good curry. I kind of looked down on it.

When I heard that it had health benefits I was floored. So those aunties were on to something afterall.

Turmeric is an immune-supporting spice (see here for a full rundown), and its active component, curcumin, can manage inflammation at the cellular level. In plain English, it’s very very good for you.

If you add that in with spices like cinnamon and cardamom (great for antioxidants), you’ve got a magical morning potion. And don’t we all love magic potions in the morning?

Salt, black pepper, tumeric, cinnamon on a spoon
Variety of spices

Ingredients:
1 can Coconut milk
1 Tbsp turmeric
Pinch of black pepper (to enhance absorption)
Drizzle of honey
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of cinnamon

Method:
Bring the coconut milk to a simmer on the stove.
Mix in the turmeric and black pepper once it gets warm (be careful not to burn the mixture).
Take it off the heat and add in your honey, cardamom and cinnamon.
Sprinkle in as much (or as little) flavour as you please.

Now I can hear one of my sisters screaming in the background that she doesn’t like coconut milk. That’s ok, use whatever milk you like: almond, oat, normal, it’s totally up to you.

If you are looking to boost your immune system first thing in the morning, give it a go.

I’m just here looking out for you, as always.

Let me know how it goes.

Happy sipping.

With love
LML

What Foods To Eat To Reduce Bloating

Picture of an array of vegetables

That damn B-word…..bloating. It’s not comfortable, fun or cute. Trust me I know.

I was suffering with it, yes suffering (I’m very dramatic in case you didn’t know) 2 weeks ago. In my case I ate a very creamy pasta which did not go down a treat, let’s just say that.

I was up at exactly 2am for a few nights with cramps and trapped wind. I felt so tormented I got out of bed and lay on the carpet in the early hours of the morning trying to do yoga.

Crazy much?

Absolutely, yes but I know you know what I mean.

What causes bloating?

Anything from undigested food, to how you are sitting or how much you are talking while eating. Let me state the obvious, it is clear that you need to pay attention when you eat.

Here are foods to eat to reduce bloating.

Drop Beans and Legumes for Soaked Quinoa
Beans take a long time to digest because they contain a protein that resists digestion until it reaches the big intestine. And friends, that’s a long way to travel and plenty of time to cause bloating and wind along the way.

Instead try eating quinoa that has been soaked for at least 2 hours. Soaking quinoa helps remove some of the phytic acid in the grain which helps improve digestibility.

Reduce the raw greens and up the ante on the steamed or sauteéd greens
Now don’t get me wrong greens are good for you but too many raw greens like kale can be hard for your body to digest.

Steaming or sauteing greens softens the fibres while retaining the nutrients making it easier to digest.

Dairy – avoid the cow and bring on the goats and sheep – especially with yoghurt
Many people can’t digest dairy because they are lactose intolerant. If you feel like you feel extra full after eating a bowl of yoghurt or some cheese try swapping cow milk products for goats or sheep milk ones.

These alternatives are less processed and have different proteins, making them easier to digest.

Cut back on the carbonated drinks and sip on plain water or hot tea
The CO2 used to make the bubbles in carbonated drinks can go straight to your digestive tract and cause bloating.

Instead sip on room temperature water, warm lemon water or tea.
Tip: avoid any liquids for at least an hour after eating. This will give your digestive system time to do it’s thing.

Hack for warm lemon water: make lemon/ginger ice cubes.
Cut up some lemons and I would also add lots of ginger into a small pot. Full the pot with water and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. Taste and if you are happy with the flavour, drain and set aside to cool. Once cool, pour it into ice trays and freeze.

Every morning, drop a lemon/ginger ice cube into your hot water and drink. Saves you time every morning.

Chew Chew and Chew some more
Slowly chew your food. When you think you’ve chewed enough keep going. Remember your stomach doesn’t have teeth. Give it less work to do in breaking down food by chewing the food properly. This is probably the biggest reason most people feel bloated.

With these swaps and lots of chewing, you’ll be able to leave behind the bloat, feel comfortable and look cute.

Let me know how it goes.

With love as always
LML

The must-have travel checklist post Covid-19

Woman in a hat lying on a sun bed near a pool

This must-have travel checklist is related to a little secret which I’m going to let you in on. I’m on a 90 day fiancé relationship journey. Kinda. Sorta.

Have you ever watched the show? If not, in a short summary, it’s where a bunch of love struck lunatics start online relationships across borders. After some time (usually very short) they decide that they want to be together forever and start a visa process whereby they have 90 days to get married in order for their partner to stay in America. Cue all the DRAMA and entertainment.

The good news is that my lover, well not really since we haven’t actually met in person, is not American but he is across the seas and we do WANT to meet. If you’ve been in a long distance relationship like this then you’ll understand there is a dire need for this to happen.

We are in the throws of a very challenging situation be it that we live in the time of Covid-19 and travel is so restricted.

BUT we are furiously searching for a place that will take us both in with as few hassles as possible.

Almost impossible?

Yes.

Totally impossible?

No.

Hence the travel checklist.

I’m sure we are not the only ones getting itchy feet. You know those end of year travel itchy feet? The festive season itchy feet?

The summer, silly season, sip and siesta time itchy feet?

Whether you’re traveling now, later, locally, soonish or even maybe, keep this for ease of reference.

I’ve created this must-have post Covid-19 travel checklist for us because, well, you know, we’re important and I want us to stay well especially while on holiday or meeting long distance lovers.

Air Travel checklist:

* Mask
* Anti – bacterial hand wipes
* Dis-infectant spray
* Serum or moisturiser to keep your skin moist.
* Knee high compression socks – help improve blood flow
* Gloves – especially if you icky about public toilets
* First aid kit
* CBD drops 100mg for sleep
* Bee Propolis throat spray – natural anti-viral immune system support
* Sleep mask
* Noise cancelling headphones
* Travel pillow
* Blue light blocking glasses – reduces eye strain
* Oregano oil – to boost immunity and keep the bowels regular
* Macadamia nuts – low carb snack

What to include in your first aid kit:
* Analgesic (pain relief) medicine/Aspirin
* Antihistamine tablets for bites, stings or allergies
* Cold and flu tablets
* Cough medicine
* Motion sickness tablets
* Throat lozenges or drops
* Antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds
* Antiseptic ointment to apply to a wound
* Plasters
* Insect repellent
* Diarrhoea medicine
* Antacid
* Antifungal or antibacterial cream
* Rehydrate sachets
* Regular prescription medicines

And if you are thinking, wait a minute, this is too much, trust me, it’s not. Things happen, mostly when you least expect it and it’s better to be prepared than not. I have traveled a lot and been in many a situation where I’ve needed all of these things.

Checklist that says yes and no
Travel checklist

Check, check and double check:

These are the items most people forget to pack:
* Laundry bag
* Reusable shopping bag
* Emergency snacks
* Extra memory card
* Lip balm
* Copies of travel documents
* Flip flops
* Stain remover
* Phone chargers
* Toothpaste
* Swimsuit
* Sunscreen
* Umbrella
* Sunglasses

If you are traveling, planning to travel or staying put, be safe and be well.

And happy travels for now or for the future.

If you have any ideas on where an African and a European could meet safely during this time, drop a comment below. I’d love to hear your comments.

Please share this checklist with your friends, especially that one you are always waiting for because they have forgotten something, missed something or lost something.

With love and itchy feet
LML

Why is social connection so important to our wellbeing?

Silouette of 4 people with their hands in the air

Social connection is important because it improves our physical health and our psychological wellbeing. Urgh…. that’s my comment as an introvert. Really? Like really?

Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship – Brene Brown

Did you know that the happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships?

Yes, that’s right.

Social connection adds to our happiness and wellbeing.

Now I want to tell you that I was happy to hear this but it’s not really the kind of news an introvert likes. I have always preferred keeping my distance from people and now I realize that that isn’t healthy either.

Studies have shown that isolation and lack of connection are a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Surprised?

Me too.

In fact, new born babies need to be embraced in order to promote healthy psychological development. The lack of the loving assurance that comes from physical touch can inhibit normal development.

Side note: I believe this to be the same for some adults as well. Some people, you know the ones I’m talking about, just need more hugs in life in general for their overall development.

Now back to the good stuff.

The benefits of strong social connection are:

* 50 % increased chance of longevity

Now I don’t know about you but this appeals to me. I want to live long enough to wipe my partners ass. Some real talk right there.

* Lowers rates of anxiety and depression

(Personal note on anxiety: I used to have it quite badly many, many years ago. At certain times my heart rate would go off the charts and I’d sweat profusely. My doctor prescribed medication for me but I didn’t want to live on medication for the rest of my life nor did I like the way it made me feel. I work at a fast pace and on the medication I felt 100% slower. Sometimes I felt like I was moving backwards instead of forwards. It was very strange and I took the executive decision to ditch the medication altogether.)

* Healthy relationships help strengthen the immune system

Very important during this time

* Helps lower the risk of dementia and mental decline

* Increases self esteem, creates greater empathy and more trusting relationships

Hands linked
Holding hands at sunset

Being that we are in a pandemic
I understand that physical connection may be hard but there are some solutions. As long as we remember that connection comes from the heart, some of these ideas will hopefully help us all stay connected as friends.

Video call as much as possible
It has been shown that video and audio calling produces similar amounts of happy hormone as it does when you see a person face-to-face.

Looking for a good games night? Try the Houseparty app.
You can play a round of trivia, test your skills at charades or even try pictionary.

Host a virtual movie night with Netflix Party.
It’s a free google chrome extension that allows you to watch a movie at the same time as family or friends. It also has a group chat function where you can share commentary and emojis.

Start a virtual book club.
Keep your mind active while remaining connected at the same time.

Start a virtual knitting club.
Since we have been limited in using our sense of touch during Covid-19, this is a great way to incorporate physical touch in our lives. Knitting also helps you stay relaxed and calm. Gather your friends on Zoom and have a little “tit and knit” session. (oh and tit as in tit bit, just in case you were wondering)

And if none of these appeal to you choose one person in your contact list every week and check in with them, get on social media and start engaging ( I have made a few new friends this way, yes very shocking) or call your family and say hi.

Sending virtual hugs and high fives friends. Stay healthy, safe and connected.

With much love
LML

P.S. If you have any other suggestions or if you want to invite me to a games night (at your own peril), drop me a comment below.

How a random act of kindness saved me on a drunken night in a new city

Lights in Seoul at night

I was saved by a random act of kindness on a drunken night in a new city. 

It was my first night and I couldn’t speak the language, which meant I had no idea how to tell the rather patient taxi driver where I lived.

Luckily I had remembered that my Korean care-taker (another lovely, kind human being who was assigned to make sure nothing happened to me) had written my address on a piece of paper which was stuffed inside my purse.

After a few minutes of confusion the taxi driver grabbed the paper out of my hand and gave me a thumbs up and off we roared. 

At some point when we got to the smaller narrow roads I recognized the shop that was near my apartment. It was my lighthouse and I had memorised exactly how to get from there to my apartment.

For reasons unknown to me and the taxi driver, we started having an argument.

I was insisting that he stop

because this is where I lived and he was frantically pointing to my address on the piece of paper and pointing up ahead. He was trying to stop me from getting out the car and I was insisting I was home. 

It was probably in sheer fear of being stuck in a car with a crazy, drunk foreign woman that he eventually gave up and let me out. But he was not happy about it.

I made my way up two flights of stairs, put the key in the lock, turned and pushed. Nothing happened. What? A little panic started to set in. I tried again, still nothing. I tried again. Nothing.

And that’s when I realised.

This was not my apartment

I wobbled down the stairs, walked into the deserted street and took a few minutes to get my eyes to focus. I looked at the building and it dawned on me that not only was this not where I lived but that every apartment block in the area looked exactly the same. 

There was no differentiating feature. 

How was I going to find my apartment?

I was alone, in the early hours of the morning, in a foreign country, on a deserted street, in high heels, with no idea where my apartment was.

I reached into my bag to pull out my purse because I thought if I got to the main street and flagged down another taxi I would show him the piece of paper and he would be able to get me to my apartment.

And this is when real panic set in.

There was no purse. 

I had left it in the other taxi.

I don’t normally swear but this was a good time to say, “ what the f@£$?”

I got sober very quickly

I was in this country as a professional and I definitely did not want to phone my care-taker on the first night to say, “I’m drunk and lost, please help me”.

The only thing I could think to do was get back to my lighthouse (the shop that had caused all the trouble in the first place) and trace my steps from there. 

And I swear to this day the sound of heels, clip clopping, clip clopping, gives me nightmares because that’s all I could hear in the still of the morning and it was giving me chills.

By some miracle I found my apartment

But still, I had no purse. No identity. No cards. No cash. 

I spent the next morning stressing and avoiding making the dreaded phone call to my care-taker. 

I was hungry and I was hungover and I was also having deep regrets about meeting up with my friends downtown. Just one more drink turned into too many.

In the afternoon I heard a knock at the door and all kinds of wild thoughts went through my mind.

Did we do something stupid?

I did a quick scan in my brain from the night before. 

Did I remember everything? 

I gingerly opened the door and a little Korean man I did not recognize was trying to push something into my hand. 

I looked down.

It was my purse.

Before I could open my mouth to say thank you he had run down the stairs and was gone. 

I had no idea what his name was or where he was from but he just handed me back my life. 

I had my identity document, my cards and the cash was still all there.

Mother Theresa once said, “We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love.”

I have never forgotten this random act of kindness, this drunken night nor this taxi driver.

Kindness is a habit of giving—of wanting to lift burdens from others or to merely provide a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. It humanizes us; it lifts us spiritually. 

And it is good for us and for our wellbeing.

One act of random kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. The miracle of kindness is that it is contagious and something we should all want to pass on and spread to many others.

On some level I will always be connected to that taxi driver. This is what kindness does, it connects us, in ways that are more powerful than we can imagine.

My mother went to the grocery store the other day and she decided to give the only cash she had, which was R100, to the car guard. She said she just felt compelled to do it. He cried and told her that he had 6 kids at home that were starving. 

Sometimes when we give what we think is a little, is actually a lot for the next person.

Let’s do small things with great love. Let’s be kind. And let’s stay connected.

With much love for you always

LML

#1 secret to losing weight AND keeping it off

losing weight

The secret to losing weight and keeping it off, according to me, the former Jananda (family nickname for being overweight) and professional emotional eater, is to let go of your baggage.

What baggage you ask?

Maybe it’s the baggage you carry in your home. The things you have but don’t need.

Maybe it’s in the back of your cupboard – clothes you’re waiting to wear, clutter you couldn’t bear to throw out, outdated bags, old shoes  – all needing to go, yet hidden from sight.

Maybe your baggage is stuck in your body – old wounds, devastating grief and hurt words. 

Maybe it’s still in your head and heart – critical eyes and fingers pointing at you, picking on the scab of your scars and pressing on the bruise of your insecurities.

Maybe your baggage is woven through your social media feeds – old lovers you don’t need to keep up with but haven’t had the guts to let go, friends who bully you or jokes that make you feel less instead of making you laugh.

No matter where it exists, you probably know if you have emotional baggage.

You know because you are easily triggered. You know because the same series of behaviours crop up all the time. You know because you can sense it.

Something from your past is holding you back.

My baggage was stuck in my body and in my head and heart. 

My body was carrying grief that I hadn’t yet acknowledged – an ectopic pregnancy many years ago that caused a mountain of physical pain and at the time no emotional pain. The pregnancy was discovered and in 24 hours it was surgically eradicated.

And I use that word because it was like it was there and then it wasn’t. It felt like in a second, it was gone. My boyfriend and I had no idea what we were supposed to do – cry, communicate it to others, grieve, be sad or angry?

We chose silence

We never spoke of it and therefore it didn’t exist.

The only thing was it did. 

And only once I acknowledged that I had lost a life, a life that could have been a son or a daughter and only once I allowed myself to accept it and grieve it, was I able to let it go.

In letting that, and echoes of critical words, statements of unworthiness and projections of not-good-enoughness, all go, was I able to drop the physical weight.

And, keep it off.

In life we are taught to hold on

We are taught that perseverance is the ultimate feat of character and will. We are taught to never let go of our dreams, our ambitions and our hopes for our lives.

We are taught to stay in failing relationships in the hope that something will change. We are taught to stick to dead-end careers because it pays the bills. We are taught to sacrifice ourselves because it will benefit others.

The sentiment of holding on is often helpful but it is not always the entire picture.

Sometimes, letting go is the bravest, and most important thing you can do.

You will be summoned to regularly let go throughout the course of your life.

You will have to let go of past experiences and past identities – the ones that have molded your surroundings and your environment, all the pieces of who you became, that are not pieces of who you really are.

You will have to let go of old belongings, the ones that were owned by those old identities, that defined them, expressed them and created them.

You will have to let go of old relationships, people who understood and connected with the person you used to be.

You will have to let go of old emotions and traumas, those things that have kept you stuck and have held you back.

The releasing and re-growth process is inevitable.

We can try to continue to hold on but eventually we will have to let go.

Emotional baggage is stored in our bodies but it is also scattered throughout our lives. 

It is in the things that hold memories in our homes. It is in the old clothes we have stuffed at the back of our cupboards and it is in the expired friendships that we keep.

We can acknowledge and accept our pain. We can also let it go. 

We can thank our old clothes, old memories and old belongings and we can also let them go. 

We can start to build a new life

We can start to build a new life around the person we want to be by slowly letting go of the person we were. 

One day we’ll find that the emotions that were keeping us stuck and holding us back have started to neutralize. Not because we forced them away but because we acknowledged them, thanked them and let them go.

We start making choices that support our new lives. 

We eat and exercise to nourish our bodies. We create spaces that make us feel calm and cocooned. We dress in a way that elevates our style and speak in a way that supports our wellbeing.


Each time we choose a better future, we let go of the past.

We don’t let go of love when someone leaves, we let go when we learn to love again. 

We don’t let go of our past identities when we start disliking them, we let go when we wake up and find ourselves surrounded by a new environment, one that matches the person we are becoming.

We don’t let go of our fears once we know we have them, we let go once we show up – nervous, sweating, shaking and unsure but willing to move through them anyway.

Letting go is an important part of our wellbeing

We know what to do and we need to find the courage to do it.

I’d love to know your thoughts? Drop me a line below.

Please hit the share button and send to a friend who might need to hear this.

As always, I’m here for you and rooting for you x

My story

Comparison of the same person, one pic of 2018 and one of 2020

The beginning

My story begins in Durban, South Africa where I was born. Followed by a few years in Malawi and eventually being raised in a small village called Big Bend in Eswatini.

Living in a different country sparked my love of travel and it is one of my passions. In the last few years the most important journey I’ve been on is to a world within.

The only coping mechanism I had for anything in life whether it be a chaotic upbringing, a devastating death or a simple break up, was food.

My entire life my weight yo-yoed and I used it like a protective blanket. One that I both loved and I hated.

It has always been the one thing I desperately wanted to control but couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried.


In 2017, my boyfriend broke up with me, my father died, I got retrenched from my job and I moved cities. I was stressed, grieving and a bit lost. 

What happened to me?

I wasn’t aware that I was eating my pain away until the end of 2018, a year that I mostly spent sick.

My “big”clothes would no longer fit and by chance I jumped on a scale and got the fright of my life. It was like the veil had been lifted.

I felt so heavy physically and emotionally and I was desperate for help.

This was my life story and I wanted to overcome it because I was tired of battling with myself and my body.

What started off as an education of food and of the body, simultaneously became an education of myself.

For the first time I was honest with myself, I was gentle with myself and I started to heal myself.

What changed for me?

I became mindful of everything.

I trusted myself and my body and I used everything I had researched to eat in a way that gave me joy, to exercise in a way that brought me happiness and to live in a way that brought me pleasure.

I lost 17 kgs in a year and I’ve kept it off.

More than being healthy in body, I am healthy in mind and spirit. I changed my mindset. I changed my thoughts. I changed my life.

And in turn I want to help others change theirs too.