Putting Alternative Milks To The Test. And The Winner Is…

I’m a simple girl with simple pleasures. As you all know, I love a good cup of coffee. I’m happy with an Instant (no snobbery here), I’m happy in a coffee shop, but I’m happiest when I’m in the comfort of my own home, cradling a nice hot cup of my own creation.

Milk has always been a foe of mine. I hated it as a child and I still hate it now, except I can make some allowances (like when it’s being made into a mac n’ cheese sauce. So in a vow to be more animal friendly and to find a solution to my life-long hatred of dairy milk, I pulled out all the stops. I tried a different, easy to buy find dairy alternative once a week for five years.

Here are the results:

Almond Milk

First up was almond milk. I’ve bought this on and off for the last few years, but ehh I just can’t get on board with it. It’s a great gateway non-dairy milk if you’re a milk diehard and apparently it is #GoodForYou but it’s just not the milk for me. The taste is okay if you want a sub-par coffee but if you want a tasty drink then move on. I’m not the best with steaming any kind of milk for coffee but almond milk loves to curdle, making it a pretty impossible task.

Coconut Milk

If you want every drink you make to taste like coconut then coconut milk is your pal. I love coconut milk but sometimes you want your coffee to taste like err, coffee and the overpowering coconut flavour is just a little bit too much. Coconut milk is your boy if you’re looking for foam that literally plonks itself on top of your coffee, which I’m going to guess, that’s not what you’re looking for.

Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnut milk has a lovely nutty taste but the sad fact is, it’s a curdler. If you don’t mind your coffee looking a little bit weird then by all means, try out Hazelnut milk. It’s not my favourite but coupled with a shot of a vanilla syrup it makes a gorgeous Sunday morning treat drink.

Oat Milk

I love oat milk more than anything else in life. That might sound over the top but right now we have one opened oat milk in the fridge and three in the cupboard just in case there’s some kind of oat milk apocalypse. I am obsessed. It’s been said that oat milk is the closest to dairy milk in taste and in that it’s actually possible to get some kind of latte art out of it.

Soy Milk

It’s the cool kid of alternative milks. If you’re in an independent coffee shop and they only have one kind of alternative milk, you can bet that it’s soy. Soy milk is frothy as hell but I’ve found it super hard to make a nice looking coffee out of it. It has a nice sweet taste but it’s just not the most exciting to make coffee with.

Overall, it’s pretty clear that oat milk is the king of non-dairy milks but there are so many alternatives out there that you’re sure to find one that you like.

Have you switched to non-dairy milk? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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4 Ways To Quit Social Media Falseness

Social media is a tricky trickster isn’t it? You don’t even log in to anything anymore, you just type the first couple of letters into your URL bar and up it comes. That’s when you’re faced with utter information overload. Opinions stated as though they are fact, edited photos on edited backgrounds, it’s impossible to tell whether you’re looking at something real or entirely curated?

At the end of 2018, I realised I was becoming more and more irritated with a certain aspect of blogging: the falseness of it all. I probably shouldn’t let it affect me so much but when I see bloggers admitting that they’ve only bought something for a post or I see heavily photoshopped pictures, it really grates on me. I gave it some thought over the last few weeks and that’s when it hit me. I don’t have to engage with it. What a simple concept that just hadn’t occurred to me because I spend so much time online.

In the past year, if not longer, I’ve found myself totally perplexed by the constant stream of successful bloggers preaching that the way to ‘get ahead’ is to ‘be yourself,’ yet when you take a step back and look at what these bloggers are writing about and how they look, it’s hard to tell one from the other.

I’ve seen a lot of posts and videos already this year about curating what you see online and I’m so here for it but as well as cutting down on the accounts that I follow on social media, I also want to set myself some social media rules.

  1. If you like something, tell someone

    I’m so bad for thinking a post or a photograph is so wonderful and being too shy/awkward to say anything to the poster. There are so many bloggers out there who I really admire but have never told for fear of them thinking I’m weird, when in reality, I know that if someone said that to me I’d love it.

  2. No fake commenting

    I’m pretty good with this anyway, but I have to admit that I’ve typed ‘gorgeous photo,’ one too many times into Instagram when I don’t actually mean it. This year I’m only commenting when I mean it and saving my praise for the people who deserve it most.

  3. Unfollow everything that makes you feel bad

    Over-edited photographs, fitness accounts and beauty bloggers are things that I just don’t like. I would say that I’m reasonably confident in myself but some of these accounts still make me feel like I need to change things about myself. Last night I cut down both my Twitter and Instagram accounts that I’m following by half and I know this will make a huge difference this year.

  4. Go against the grain

    When I first started blogging I knew what I was writing about and I didn’t care if it wasn’t always a popular topic. Now I find myself with draft posts that I’m too scared to hit publish on. 2019 is a year for risk-taking and I’m ready to find my place in the blogging world again.

These are some small ways that I’m getting over the falseness of the blogging community and I hope that they pay off this year. Have you set yourself any social media resolutions for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Dear 2018,

As Kylie Jenner put so eloquently two years that 2016 was going to be the year of realising stuff, 2018 has been my realising things year. At the beginning of 2018 I wrote myself six goals in the front of my Fearne Cotton Happy Journal.

  1. I will become a registered mental health nurse.
  2. I will get married.
  3. I will get a great job.
  4. I will run 10K.
  5. I will move to a new area.
  6. I will go abroad.

I remember almost scoffing at some of the goals, because none of them seemed difficult. In fact, I thought I’d gone pretty easy on myself for the year but 2018 had different plans for me.

  1. I will become a registered mental health nurse.
    Tick. Although this certainly wasn’t easy, I was pretty confident that I would manage this one and I did, finishing university in September and graduating in December. I am a nurse and that still feels incredibly bizarre to say.

  2. I will get married.
    Oh naive January Rachel, this one also seemed pretty easy. There was a date, a venue and a dress but what I learned this year was that it doesn’t really matter how concrete plans are, life throws curveballs and it’s totally possible to come out of a shitty situation unscathed and stronger. I also learnt that maybe I don’t want the married, house, kids dream that most people are aiming for at my age and that’s okay!
  3. I will get a great job.
    Tick. I never thought I’d be one of those people who said that they truly love their job but it turns out that I got a really incredible job this year. I took a job that I wasn’t sure about. I’m one of the most risk averse people usually, but this one has paid off!
  4. I will run a 10k.
    This one was a firm no. In fact, I’m not sure I ran more than 10 times this year. Why? Because I decided that I actually hate running. This year I took up pilates and yoga and found that it’s much easier to do an activity you enjoy. Goodbye 10k, you are not a goal that I’ll ever regret not managing to do.

  5. I will move to a new area.
    Tick. After finishing uni, I had pretty solid plans to move to the South of the country and by South, I meant Brighton. Once again, life had other ideas and I ended up South, but South West, starting a new life in Somerset. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind and I can’t say that I was particularly receptive to moving to a 100,000 population sized town in the middle of kind of nowhere, but here I am and I haven’t complained about it in at least a month. Life is full of (good) surprises.
  6. I will go abroad.
    Tick. California, Köln and Berlin were totally unexpected holidays this year that just kind of happened and made up some of my best memories this year. Hopefully I can add a few more to my travel list in 2019.

    2018 has been the biggest year of twists and turns and laughs and cries and though I don’t think I’ll be sad to see it go, I can truly say it’s been the year of realising things.

Rachel x-x-x

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Small Victories: Why We Should Be Celebrating Them

According to my drafts I actually started writing this post almost a year ago. So that must make this the longest I’ve ever worked on a post. If by longest I mean I wrote an intro, left it a year and came back to it…

Anyway…

Don’t you find that life is all about the ‘big?’ I’m 25 and at this age, it feels like if you’re not getting engaged, getting a mortgage or getting pregnant then you don’t really have much to celebrate. There’s so much focus and energy put into the ‘big’ celebrations that I wonder if we ever remember to celebrate the small victories.

I’m bad at being proud of myself most of the time, especially a few months down the line from something exciting happening. So I got a job. It’s all woohoo at the time but then I just start to wonder why I’m celebrating something that everyone does. Sorry if it’s all getting a bit Camus in here, but hopefully you understand where I’m coming from.

Think about how we commend children. Woo you went to the toilet without wetting yourself or yaaay you ate all your dinner. We don’t do it as adults and honestly, it makes me a bit sad. So I think we should start celebrating all our victories, but especially the small ones. Yesss I read a whole chapter today without being distracted by my phone a million times in between. Congratulations me for going to the supermarket when really I just wanted to stay in and watch another episode of Brooklyn 99.

Basically, I don’t want to get so caught up in reaching big milestones that I forget to celebrate the small stuff, or worse, belittle my successes once the initial excitement has died down.

I didn’t really manage a lot on my to-do list or make any incredible headway on life plans today, but I did make a great coffee, braided my hair reasonably well and wrote this blog post. I should be proud of that.

What small victories have you had lately? Let me know!

Rachel x-x-x

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Slowing The Pace

Recently I read a quote which said “Strange, what being forced to slow down could do to a person.” It’s from a Nicholas Sparks novel and I instantly agreed with the sentiment. I’ve just moved to a countryside town in Somerset, from Leeds and before that Sheffield. Although Sheffield is a city, a lot of people agree that it doesn’t really feel like one. It’s more like a friendly town with the juxtaposition of the gorgeous Peak District on the outskirts and a cute city centre. Leeds on the other hand feels like a ‘real’ city (Sorry, Sheffield) and I loved living their for the past three years.

I loved how it busy it was at any time of day, I loved being able to go shopping in an evening or going for a coffee date with friends after university, and I really loved that there were gig venues and exciting events at my fingertips. So you could say that moving to Somerset has been a bit of a shock.

The town I live in now is very similar to where I grew up, in Grimsby. It’s small, quiet, and other than some shops and a few nice parks, there’s very little to do. Although I’ve only been here almost two months I’ve started to feel a little stifled by it. For me, countryside towns have an ‘older’ feel. I want to be in the city, doing everything all the time. Everyone has told me that living in the countryside sounds idyllic, that it must be lovely living somewhere that doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of Leeds but I’m definitely a city girl at heart.

However in the last few weeks I’ve been trying to change my mindset. It’s not that I don’t like Somerset, I really do. I love that Bristol is so close and I can get to the beach so quickly, something that I really missed living in Sheffield and Leeds, and coming from a seaside town. I’m trying to stop thinking about living in the countryside as a missed opportunity and think of it as a new opportunity in itself, by focusing on slowing my pace down.

One thing I’m really enjoying about Somerset is the number of cycle paths and parks and running trails. It’s good to be in a place where the air is fresh and where I don’t feel like I’m inhaling bad fumes whenever I go outside to exercise. There’s also a lot to be said for living in a quiet place, I’m certainly saving money because I’m not at food festivals and gigs all the time, but I still have the possibility of doing that if I visit Bristol.

There’s also a real community feel here. There are family friendly events all the time which I can’t say I ever really noticed living in a city and it’s nice to do something that I wouldn’t normally do. All in all, Somerset is allowing me the ability to notice life a little differently and to find new opportunities. And I’m learning that a slower pace of life is something to be cherished at any age.

Do you prefer living in the city or the countryside? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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