Moscow, 26 Years Later

I was six years old when I got on the sleeper train and then ferry that would take me away from the city where I was born. The memories are a blurry haze in my mind now, but as a contrast to my giddy excitement, I remember my mother crying. I didn't realise back then that her tears were farewell tears - what I didn't know was that we were never coming back.
The memory of Moscow faded from my mind, erased by the impressions of my new life: a new language, new friends, a new street to live on, then yet another, and another. I grew up hungry for new destinations, never looking back. When questioned over never having returned to my birthplace, I replied that when it was time, the opportunity to go back would present itself. And this month, it did.


Why it's Time to Stop Making Body Image a Female Issue

Let me tell you one thing: I love fitness bloggers. I'm a bit addicted to their yoga selfies, their fresh-faced post-workout Instagram updates and their ability to spur me on when I'm too lazy to peel my butt of the sofa, put on some yoga pants and get to work. I appreciate fitness bloggers for reminding me that strong is the new skinny, that working out will make me feel stronger and more energetic, and how radiant and healthy I'll be if I get over my laziness and get moving.
Some days, depending on how I'm feeling, I'll look at my stomach after a workout and think, 'damn, that's some killer abs!'. Other days, I'll glance at my thighs while changing out of my yoga pants and go, 'wow, those things are gigantic'.
But once I am done working out and done looking at Instagram, I am fully and completely capable of putting my phone away, changing back into my pyjamas and going about my day without a second thought to whether I can hold plank position for longer than a minute, and how my butt looks while I'm doing it.
And apparently, mainstream media deems me incapable of doing so.


Deep Blue Sea: Six Days in Malta

So, despite my not-too-deep-pockets, I managed to go on holiday this year too. And, as we try to do as often as we can, we visited a place we've never been before: Malta.
You don't hear people talk about Malta that often. Think about it: your friends have possibly been to Spain, Greece, even Thailand, but have they been to Malta? For a sunny, warm, beach-rich island, Malta certainly has some bad PR. After six days on this Mediterranean island, I've come to the conclusion that this state of obscurity that Malta finds itself in is, frankly, undeserved.


Brief Moments of Swedish Summer

I have a million reasons to go home to Sweden: family, friends, food...wait, those are just about it. However, weather is pretty much never a reason. Every time I jump on a plane to my home town, I brace myself for chilly times, especially when the weather at home in London is anything but dreamy.

Imagine my surprise this weekend, when I stepped off the plane into a breezy, balmy evening that, come next morning, turned into the most perfect summer's day - or make that three days.


On Style Icons

I can think of few terms as abused as 'style icon'. Coined to describe a timeless representation of elegance and personality so effortlessly rolled into one, the phrase has come to be thrown haphazardly at any fashion blogger, teen model or half-naked vampire-film franchise star. Being famous, beautiful, successful is not enough anymore - with teams of stylists and publicists vying to make their protegées the 'next big thing', icon status is bestowed upon everyone from Emma Watson to Kim Kardashian. Often, this label is given to those who manage to dress in a much-emulated way: if at any given season (and 'season' is another of those words. These days a season lasts but a couple of months) 'everyone' is wearing the same jeans as Gigi Hadid, she will without a doubt be dubbed a fashion icon in the next glossy magazine feature.


Things I Look Forward to Right Now

Going back to Sweden to meet my newborn niece, Olivia, and seeing my sisters again. And, of course, the rest of my family. And my friends. And the cats (got everyone now, I hope).

Reading the rest of my copy of Vegan Good Life magazine.

Jetting off to Malta at the end of August.

Going to the Brixton Splash next weekend.

Listening to the new Muse album from beginning to end.

Visiting VegFest in October!

Sitting in a nice pub with my nice friend and having a nice drink on Wednesday evening.

Visiting this cool yoga studio in my area.

Trying this amazingly easy-to-veganise pain au chocolat recipe.

Watching Humans this evening - it's my new TV series addiction.

For this crap weather to stop - we've got one month of summer left and I might be a fool, but I'm hoping it will be a sunny, indulgent one to prepare us for the merciless chill of British autumn and winter. Happy new week everyone!


Seven Reasons to Love Skinny Bitch

I recently borrowed Skinny Bitch at work after having wanted to read it for ages. This book, a diet lifestyle guide by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, is the wake-up call many vegans needed to finally make the switch. These two ladies tell it like is, and that's what I love about them - no swear words are spared, political correctness is thrown out of the window and misconceptions that most of us grew up with get a good butt-kicking. I am 100% a fan - here's why:

1. This book portrays the meat and dairy industries exactly as they are.
Oh, if only all bitches were like the Skinny Bitches! The writers are anything but bitchy. They are compassionate, savvy and conscious. The chapter that refers to meat as 'rotting, decomposing flesh' is what drew me to the book in the first place - finally, a diet book that tells the truth! It opens your eyes, even if, like me, you've been a vegan for years. The You Are What You Eat chapter lifts the lid on the cruelty of these industries, pointing out that nothing that came from cruelty, fear, anger, torture, pain and anxiety can ever be healthy.

2. This book KILLS all the excuses.
I love how Rory and Kim shoot down all the excuses not to be healthy by calling them pathetic and reminding you that YOU should be your top priority. Have no time? Make time. It's that simple. Penniless as I am and have always been, I'm usually quick to jump at the 'but I can't afford to eat well' excuse. But guess what. Since I stopped hitting Starbucks every two days and re-discovered the office coffee machine, I all of a sudden found myself in the possession of the £3 I needed to buy fruit, the healthiest snack ever. So there. There is no excuse for making excuses.