Why I Ditched my Love Affair with Meat

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I was raised on a diet that included fresh vegetables from the garden with a serving of meat on the side for every meal. Somewhere along the way I lost my love for the vegetables and meat started taking over my plate. It was a couple of years ago that a suddenly realised what was going on and decided things had to change. Unfortunately, it’s a worldwide epidemic and one that’s not doing our health or the planet any good.

The primary reason for my decision to ditch meat was concern about my own future health. The fact that I’d be helping to save the planet is an added bonus. One other reason for my change in eating habits is all to do with animal cruelty. As humans, we really aren’t all that good at rearing animals in a smart and caring way. Some of the programmes I’ve watched on TV and YouTube would put most people off their roast chicken dinner, bacon butty and grilled steak.

Thoughts about becoming a vegan entered my head. It appears to be really trendy right now, however, I just can’t see myself giving up eggs and cheese. To counter the environmental effect of this decision, we have a small flock of backyard chickens, and I have to say the eggs they produce are far superior to anything ever bought in a supermarket. I also try to buy cheese produced locally, preferably made using sheep or goats milk, rather than cows.

I seriously recommend giving vegetarianism a try, or if you can’t take such a bold step think about becoming a reducetarian. In other words, reduce the amount of meat in your diet. Instead of eating it as part of every meal cut it down to three times a week to start with and then once or twice a week. I’ve got the internet to thank for all the imaginative and I have to say really tasty meals I’ve been able to serve up over the last couple of years. If you want to know more I’ll be including some of my favourite recipes in another category.

If you’re still sitting on the fence, here are some facts that might make you change your mind:

Animals in factory farms are confined to spaces that are so small they can’t turn around, lie down or even stretch their limbs

Processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs are put in the same category of cancer risk as asbestos and cigarettes, according to the World Health Organisation

More greenhouse gases are emitted by the meat industry than all forms of transportation combined

Research has found that long-term vegetarians live on average 3.6 years longer than a meat eater

It takes 2,400 gallons of water (50 full bathtubs) to produce 1 pound of meat

Around seven football fields of land are bulldozed worldwide every minute to create room for farmed animals

These scary facts might make you think about what you’re putting in your mouth. Here are 5 more reasons why you should ditch meat, starting today.

You’ll have more energy – your body has to work much harder to digest meat than it does plant-based foods. How often do you feel like taking a nap after eating a hearty Sunday roast? Swap for wholefoods such as leafy greens and legumes and you’ll have much more energy. I have to concur that I’ve felt much lighter and more energetic since giving up meat.

It’ll help you stay slim – replace the processed meats in your diet with wholefoods and you’ll find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight.

To avoid disease – meat eating to excess is linked to a variety of cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. Red meat can also increase the risk of a stroke.

To save money – embrace a wholefood diet and you’ll actually save money. It’s a refreshingly cheap way to eat. If you have the opportunity to buy local produce it’s even better, or why not grow your own?

I hope I’ve managed to convince you to change your eating habits. But even if I haven’t, there’s no going back for me of that I’m certain.

Are You Doing Everything You Can to Reduce Your Use of Plastic?

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Well, I thought I’d start with the hot topic of plastic waste. Yes, it happens to be a personal beef of mine, but I have to hold my hands up and admit it’s only been the last few years it’s become an issue I’m passionate about. For years I was blissfully unaware of the problem. I chose to keep my head firmly buried in the sand when it came to such issues, but it’s now a problem that can’t be ignored.

I think my journey of discovery began a few years ago, when I found myself working for my local council in the UK. I was given the responsibility of collecting garden waste from small villages in the area. I found myself visiting the local landfill and was astonished by what I saw. I’ve also got my husband to thank for opening my eyes to the damage we’ve been inflicting on our planet for years.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who’s awareness has been raised. Plastic pollution is an issue that’s now openly discussed, whether you’re watching TV, listening to the radio, reading a magazine or surfing the web. Even Glastonbury Festival goers were treated to a surprise appearance from Sir David Attenborough on the final day. If you don’t know who Sir David is and the cause he’s been supporting for many years, you must have been living in a cave for the last few decades.

Some of the plastic pollution facts that have led me to rethink the way I live my life include:

·         Since the 1950s, around 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced worldwide. If you can’t picture how much that is it’s the equivalent to the weight of more than 800,000 Eiffel Towers. How much of that has been recycled? A paltry 9%.

·         According to figures from the National Geographic, 73% of the litter that’s found on beaches is plastic. It comes in the form of bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, polystyrene and cigarette butts.

·         1 million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.

·         2 million plastic bags are used worldwide, every minute.

·         More than 1.1 million seabirds and animals are killed every year by ingesting plastic.

So what can you do about the crisis that is unfolding?

5 Lifestyle Changes I’ve Made That You Can Make Too

For many years, recycling was touted as the solution for the plastic waste problem. It’s not the answer at all. Reducing the amount of plastic you use is the only way forward. Here are some of the changes I’ve made in an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic in my life.

1.     Reusable grocery bags – in many countries, certainly here in Bulgaria, plastic bags are given away free with every purchase. Even charging a small amount for them doesn’t seem to put many people off. One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of plastic in your life is to take your own bags when you go shopping.

2.     No more bottled water – when you go anywhere take a refillable bottle with you. I’ve been very lucky in that I came across a company based here in Bulgaria, NaturalLeaf, that makes water containers from the processing of wheat. They currently only sell to customers in Bulgaria but will shortly be making their products available worldwide. Not only have we got a water bottle each. We’ve also got picnic containers for carrying food when we’re out and about or sat by the pool.

3.     Use shampoo bars – I tried not washing my hair but just couldn’t stick with it. I overcame the problem of plastic shampoo bottles by finding a local producer of shampoo bars.

4.     Buy boxes instead of bottles – wherever possible buy products that are packaged in boxes rather than plastic bottles. Washing detergent, fruit juice and milk are just a few examples.

5.     Buy local fruit and veg – we’re very lucky here in Bulgaria because there are local fruit and veg markets in most towns. You can even buy produce on the roadside if you want to.


Reducing the amount of plastic in your life is something you have to do, for the future of the planet, its wildlife and for generations to come.  

I’m Thinking of Starting a Bullet Journal


Some of you reading this blog will know how disorganised I can be from time to time. For those who don’t know me, let’s say I’m a master at sticking my head in the sand and allowing the worries of the world to pass swiftly over my head. I’m also adept at leaving things until the last minute, at least in my personal life, and scraping through by the skin of my teeth. I don’t think I lead a charmed life but things have a tendency to work out OK, on the whole, without too much trouble.

It is said personality traits can be viewed in both a positive and negative way, but I think it’s about time I took my head out of the sand and tried to change the way I do things, a little anyway. I know there are people close to my heart who will jump up in the air and will me to be successful at making such a change. I’m confident I can do it. When I put my mind to it, I can be very organised.

I’ve decided to give bullet journaling a go. It’s an idea I stumbled across when doing research for an article I was writing. It captured my attention, so much so I put the article on hold for a few hours and continued with my research.

What is Bullet Journaling?

A bullet journal is a planner system devised by Ryder Carrol. He has a brilliant video on YouTube that explains exactly what it is. The basic idea is to have a journal that uses certain elements such as an index, monthlies, dailies, collections, and a future log. Using the system it’s possible to plan for the future, track the past and be better organised.

It requires very little and you don’t need to worry about spending heaps of cash. All that’s required is a blank notebook (A5) and a pen. I’m hoping that once I get my head around the basic principles, I’ll be able to jazz my journal up with colours, doodles and lots of other interesting things. As well as being an aid to better organisation, I’m also planning to keep it as a reminder of what I’ve been doing with my life. The months fly past so quickly and when I look back I kind of wonder what I’ve been doing with my time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way unfulfilled or a glass half empty kind of person. I love my life in Bulgaria, with my husband, three gorgeous dogs we’ve made part of our family, rabbits, chickens and a cat. Not forgetting, the beautiful Bulgarian countryside we’re able to enjoy every day.

I’ll try to give you some updates on how I’m progressing.

Hot Spring Spa – A Pleasure We Can Afford Here in Bulgaria Every Week

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Before I get into the virtues of enjoying a Bulgarian hot spring spa I first need to apologise for taking so long writing another blog. I’ve had my website now for almost a year and only penned 2 blogs of my own. As a writer, I’ve written plenty for other people. This year, however, things are going to be different and I plan to spend more time writing my own. My goal is to write at least one every week and failing any unforeseen hiccups I hope to meet that target.

Anyway, onward and upward and a blog about the virtues of relaxing in a tub of hot spring water, something we’ve come to enjoy quite regularly. And it costs less than you’d pay in the UK for a cup of coffee in Starbucks!

We’re very fortunate here in Bulgaria, there are hot mineral springs in almost every area you visit. We live in a small village between the towns of Dimitrovgrad and Haskovo. The next town but one is Mineralni Bani (община Минерални бани), a popular tourist spot, thanks to its healing waters.

We’ve been partaking of this health giving water for many years, ever since we bought our house here more than a decade ago. We’re both getting on a bit now (aah shame) and it does wonders for our aches and pains. It’s also nice to lie in the bath together. We’ve only got a shower at home.

So what is it about this hot spring water that’s so special?

In Japan they’ve been soaking in natural hot springs for thousands of years and I have to confess to feeling pretty good after relaxing for half an hour in a bath filled with hot mineral water. As a medical treatment, there’s still a lot of research to be done, however, it is reputed to have several therapeutic benefits.

Balneotherapy is the name it’s been given, referring to the therapeutic use of water. The water found in natural hot springs, such as those in Mineralni Bani, contain a variety of different minerals. These minerals include calcium, sodium bicarbonate, fluorine, chlorine, sodium and potassium, among others. Drinking or lying in water that contains these minerals is beneficial because it is said to:

  • Boost blood circulation
  • Reduce stress and promote sleep
  • Relieve pain
  • Heal skin problems

We’ve decided to enjoy a hot spring mineral bath at least once a week, and so far we’re feeling much better for it.


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First,please allow me to apologise for taking so long writing another post. I don’t know what it is but here in Bulgaria, time just seems to run away with you. Before you know it, another week has flown by. What with gardening, baking, cooking, animal husbandry (there will be posts about our chickens and rabbits some time in the future), earning a crust, walking the dogs and relaxing in the sunshine, there aren’t enough hours in the day. Oh, and let’s not forget all those hours spent trying to deal with Bulgarian bureaucracy. If you get one official thing done in a day it’s considered a triumph.


Anyway, back to the trail. It’s part of a much larger one that we discovered while walking around the hills above Mineralni Bani. Lucky for us it’s just a few miles down the road from home. If we were still in the UK we’d have to travel hundreds to enjoy such beauty. We’d also have to share it with countless holiday-makers. Whereas here in Bulgaria, there are miles of unspoilt countryside. Much of it you get to enjoy without meeting a single soul. Perfect, in our opinion. We do have to look the other way on occasions, when stumbling across piles of rubbish. Why do people feel the need to take their rubbish out into the countryside and just dump it? How many bins did they pass on the way? There’s a regular collection once, sometimes even twice a week and they’ll take anything. It’s not as if there are restrictions like in the UK. But maybe that’s a gripe for another day.


Sarnitsa is where the trail begins, just a short walk outside of the village. We first have to negotiate our way past a stray puppy or two and find somewhere to park the Jag that won’t leave it in danger of being trampled by wandering cattle. It’s early in the morning, to avoid the flies, mozzies and heat of the rising sun. With my camera on my back (I find myself taking it everywhere with me nowadays), my soul-mate by my side (my husband, not my dog) and two dogs in tow, we set off up the hill. Before we’ve walked a few hundred yards the view behind us is spectacular. The route is set out with rustic signposts and there are maps along the way. Together with handy picnic and BBQ spots for the weary traveller. If you’ve got a 4X4 you can travel most of the trail in your car. But where’s the fun in that.


Spring Flowers Around my Home Part 1

My First Attempt at a Proper Blog

Well here goes nothing, and if any of you reading this knew how long it has taken me to get this far you’d be well impressed. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m no tech whizz kid and it feels like any results have been a bit hit and miss. So let’s see how far I get with this first proper post and take it from there. Yes, there are other blog posts on my site. But the purpose of those was to show how great I am at writing (she says as she struggles to get through the door). So that any prospective clients who might be interested in taking advantage of my services could get a feel for my style. 

The purpose of this blog and many more that follow (hopefully), will be to record my life experiences in Bulgaria and share some of them with the people I love. Anybody else who ends up reading them will be more than welcome of course.

The theme for this post is the spring flowers I’ve been snapping merrily with my camera. You can see some of them above and there will be more to follow I’m certain. My other half is much better at naming them than I am. I do listen to what he tells me but it’s a bit of a case of in one ear and out the other, which is a trait I’m not particularly proud of. Maybe there’s not enough space in my 54 year old brain for storing new information. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t really need to know what they are, just that they are so beautiful. 

The pictures have been taken just 10 minutes walk from our home. We are very fortunate in our location as it’s a short walk and we’re out in the woods. Most days within five minutes we could easily be in the middle of nowhere, with not a sound of human occupation to be heard.

When we first came to look at our house, the peace and quiet was the one feature that sold it. Had we looked a little closer at all the bad building, electrical and plumbing work done as part of the refurbishment we would have walked away. Sadly, or fortunately, you can look at it from both angles, we bought it with our hearts and I for one was smitten.

Not all of the pictures were taken close to home. Others I snapped a few miles down the road in Mineralni Bani, our local spa town. Bulgaria is well known for its healing mineral water and we regularly take advantage. Half an hour soaking in the hot water is amazingly invigorating and we’re both amazed at how it eases the aches and pains. We’re pretty much f”&*%d afterwards, but at 8 lev for a double bath it’s a no brainer. The walk we enjoy is a well laid out trail and we’re amazed at how few people use it. 

I’ll leave my blog here for now, as I don’t want it to go on and on and people get fed up with reading it. Signing off for the time being and catch up again another day.   

All About Me

Hi there everyone

Well here goes…..Who am I? A 50 something, proud mother of 4 who has up sticks and moved from her native homeland of England to the relatively unspoilt country of Bulgaria. Did I know what I was doing when I gave one weeks notice at my job 5 years ago? Prepared for and travelled 2000 miles to start a new job I had applied for using Skype? You can bet I didn’t but hey ho. My kids were all grown up and didn’t need me breathing down their neck every minute of the day, so it was time to do something for myself. And my husband, which goes without saying. Fast forward two years and I found I didn’t want to work for ‘the man’ anymore and branched out into writing freelance. Three years further on and I’ve learnt enough and honed my craft to be in a position to offer my services to a much wider audience.

I love what I do and am more than happy that it fits in with the simple life we enjoy here in Bulgaria. In between writing articles, blog posts, web content and other pieces of literary genius I get to spend time with my rabbits and chickens. Of which you’ll hear a bit more every now and again, together with the odd photo or two. I also get to explore the beautiful Bulgarian countryside with my husband and our two dogs, learn more about Bulgarian customs, of which there are plenty, and bake to my hearts content.

So what have I got to offer? A writing service that can come to your aid, whenever you need it and it won’t cost an arm and a leg. Not that it’ll be dirt cheap either, let’s get that straight. I can write on virtually any topic, with a spot of research, provided it’s not a subject that’s too technical. Blog posts, web content, articles, how to guides, you name it I’m prepared to give it a go.

I’d also like to think I’ve created a site that people want to visit. It’ll be filled with useful information, especially rabbit, chicken and baking related. I spend hours looking at information online, and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there with the same interests as me. It’s good to see what other people are doing and share their experiences, while also explaining how I may have made some changes.

So buckle up, join me on a journey I’m still enjoying myself, and we’ll see what we can learn together. If any of you find yourself in need of a writer, get in touch, and I’ll put the ideas and words that are rolling around in your head into readable and engaging words.