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Today I've got the perfect recipe for getting cosy now that the days are getting shorter- and it's packed full of seasonal produce and goodness! Buying seasonal is great because you'll have fresher food, it will have used less energy to grow and transport, and you're also supporting local businesses. For this curry I used kale, onion, tomatoes and courgette, then added red lentils for extra tastiness, vitamins and protein. It's a great one-pot meal where everything just goes in together to simmer. 
Plus, if you're a student, it uses really simple and cheap ingredients and I've written the recipe as I made it so that you don't need scales either. Pretty much any veggies will work in this... boiled sweet potato, roasted butternut squash, broccoli, carrots, peas or fried aubergine would all be great to use too. Yay!

Ingredients

  • Half an onion, chopped
  • 1 medium courgette, cut into 1cm size pieces
  • 1 generous handful of kale
  • Half a tin of chopped tomatoes, or three chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Half a mug of dried red lentils
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 generous dessert spoon tomato paste
  • A generous pinch of each- garlic powder, cumin, turmeric, paprika and curry powder

Method

Heat a little oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Fry for a few minutes to soften.
Stir in the garlic powder (or a clove fresh garlic) and fry for another minute
Add the courgette, lentils, vegetable stock, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and spices, as well as a mug of water. 
Bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils and courgette pieces are almost soft. 
Add the kale and cook for a further 5 minutes, until everything is cooked.

Serve with naan bread or rice. I love to add a spoonful of Alpro's coconut yogurt onto the side too! Enjoy :)


Have a great day!
Just enough time to squeeze one more travel post in before I head off to Cyprus for a couple of months! In the middle of June, seven of us set off to Normandy for week- and despite our fair share of bad luck we had a great time and came back with plenty of funny stories to tell...

Let me explain. It all started on a regular Friday morning. Five of us drove from Gloucestershire to Portsmouth, with the aim to meet Alex and Bec at the ferry port. We got held up in traffic, whilst Bec and Alex waited ages for a bus (it did not turn up, so they had to get a taxi). Even though we got to the port on time, we still managed to miss the ferry.
How? The car keys accidentally got locked in the boot of Adam's car, which then decided to lock itself! After much debating, we decided against smashing one of the windows, and instead waited an hour for the RAC man (hooray!). After 7 more hours of board games, giggles, booze, naps and disturbing locals in the pub, we made it onto the ferry to Caen still smiling.

Saturday was for settling in and catching up on sleep, as well as stocking up on all the essentials- mainly pizza, croissants and beer. In the evening we had a feast of salads and pizzas on the decking, washed down with a game of Piccolo. Various combinations of beer, prosecco and cocktails were drunk. Unfortunately I fell asleep after about an hour (I promise I was just catching up on sleep!) but it was all good fun.
On Sunday, the heatwave arrived and we thought our luck had changed around after a wobbly start. Maybe we set our hopes a bit high, or maybe we just had bad luck, but the bad luck did in fact come back! This time, Sam's car decided it was time to play up. I wound the window down, only to find it would not wind back up. This wasn't too much of a problem in 30 degree heat, however when we arrived back on grey English motorways it was slightly less enjoyable! Oh, and we also looked super edgy by covering the broken window with a blanket. We are Falmouth students after all.
Nevertheless, we had a great day at the beach in Carolles swimming in the sea, playing football and having a look in the rock pools after the tide went out. On the way back home, we stopped off at Bec d'Andaine to have a look over towards Mont St Michel and admire the views. As the sun began to set into a golden pink horizon, we popped on the party playlist and had a good old dance in the car heading back to the house. We played our own drinking game called Game Master, which turned out to be more evil than we had intended, but it was great fun all the same!

Which leads us to Monday and Tuesday.  I think these two days were for nursing hangovers (I won't name any names) and just generally being a bit lazy because it was so hot! We can't complain too much though, because reading and writing under a horse chestnut tree and playing basketball are pretty good ways to spend the day. There also turned out to be a blow up pool in the garage, which took the afternoon to fill up but was very worth the wait. We also had a feast cooked on the breeze block BBQ that the guys made. Oh, and of course a bit more beer for the less fragile souls among us.


Thursday was dedicated to packing and tidying whilst dancing to Michael Jackson, leaving us Wednesday to enjoy fully. We spent the day adventuring around to local water park before heading to a beautiful cafe in the evening. Aside from being told to get off a few rides because we were too big, the day was filled with plenty of giggles with a good dash of competition. Any onlookers would have thought that we were treating mini golf like the Olympics!

L'Autre Cafe was a set next to a stunning lake, and was a combination of a cafe, vintage shop and art gallery. We spent our time browsing quirky items and relaxing in the hammocks until it got dark. After finishing our delicious meals, 7 brave souls started partying into the night. Once again, I have been told it was really good fun, however after one game of beer pong I fell asleep. So I'm afraid you'll have to ask them yourselves how fun it was (and if any of you party animals are reading this, leave a comment below on what I missed!).


You'll be pleased to know that we had a bit better luck heading home to England. Taking care to never let go of car keys, we made it on the correct ferry! After a pretty intense game of Dominion, we all fell asleep on various chairs and sofas as lack of sleep caught up with us. We all arrived back home smiling, full of good memories, and luckily not too hungover. 

I also made a short film on our week in France, so I hope you enjoy it!



Thank you to Bec, Tobie, Joe, Sam, Adam and Alex for the best week- can't wait to see you all again in September! 

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Since starting my zoology degree last year, I've become a lot more conscious of what products I buy and the impact they have on the planet. After learning about the effects of waste, and living near the coast, I've seen plenty of litter on the beaches. There is one main culprit: plastic. It goes to landfill and inevitably ends up in our water systems, which causes big problems for marine life. So, I've started making changes to the way I shop- saying no to straws, buying loose fruit and vegetables, bringing my own bags to supermarkets and using less single use plastic as much as possible.

So, I've headed to the main high-street retailer known for natural, animal testing free, handmade beauty products... LUSH. I've found that although LUSH is a little more expensive, it does tend to be more cost effective (and planet friendly) in the long run. A bar of soap will last me up to a year, instead of buying a new bottle of shower gel every month or two. My personal favourites at the moment are Outback Mate and Serendipity, but I loved a Christmas special a few years ago called Old Father Time.
Having enjoyed their soaps, I popped into my local shop the other day to try out some hair products. This time next week I'll be in Cyprus for two months on a volunteer project, so I need to save as much space in my bag as possible. That's were these bars come in...
 For the first time ever I actually approached on of the staff to ask for recommendations, and it was really interesting to find out more about the products. I was recommended the Montalbano shampoo bar for my blonde hair, and also good for oily roots which will be inevitable after 8 hour shifts in the heat! I then picked up the Jungle conditioner bar to keep my hair hydrated in the heat and sea.

 Montalbano is packed with lemons and olives, and Jungle has bananas, coca butter, avocado, figs and kumquats, so both smell amazing! After trying them, my hair is in really good condition, and the fresh smell hangs around for a while too (I washed my hair with these yesterday and my hair still smells amazing!).  A few friends have noticed my hair is looking blonder too, so there's a visible difference to my usual bottled shampoo.
I'd say that whilst my hair is soft, it's not the exact same silkiness you'd get from traditional brands, but you  an definitely see that my hair is bright and clean! However, I do like being able to pronounce the ingredients list of these due to them having so many natural ingredients :)

 The lady in the shop also said they have less of an impact on the local water systems, because many mainstream brands have micro plastics in the formula, which I wasn't aware of before. Obviously that's a winner for me as I'm going over to Cyprus to help marine life! The bars should last up to 80 washes, so will take up much less space than bottles and have less packaging too. The only one downside is that the conditioner bar will need to be kept in the fridge due to it's high cocoa butter content, otherwise it may melt! 

Overall I'd definitely recommend trying these out, or having a look at the different bars in store. They have lots of different bars to choose from for various hair types, so I'm sure you'll find something to suit you!

Have you tried any of LUSH's hair products before? Which ones would you like to try?
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Here we are! It may be a few months late, but I think it's about time to share my adventures in South Africa back in April. It was a huge deal for me because it was my first time travelling alone, my first long-haul flight, and I also had a fear of flying. Before the flight I did the 'fear of flying' introduction on my Headspace app, as well as being mindful, meditating and writing in my journal which all helped ease the fear! 
I journeyed from Heathrow to Cape Town, where I was met by my godfather to go on an adventure of a lifetime. I stayed with Rob and Kathleen for nearly two weeks, and we definitely made the most of our time. Here's what I got up to:

Boulder's Beach


 During the first few days of settling in, we visited the penguins at Boulder's beach and explored Simon's Town which was beautiful. The sea and sky were brilliant shades of blue in the heat, with my senses bombarded with local music, tastes and smells. Local men danced in their bright outfits whilst we sipped lychee juice and admired the views.

Simon's Town

 Cederberg Mountains

The next four days were taken up by a 1250km motorbike trip! We explored the Cederberg Mountains followed by desert and coast and villages in between. On the first night, we stopped off at the Cederberg Oasis overnight which was stunning. It featured a backdrop of the mountains, and we were so far from anywhere that there was no light pollution. The owner of the showed me different constellations and also the big splash of the Milky Way that covered a huge stretch of sky. If ever I've felt small, that was the moment!



Porcupine Rest Camp

The second night was even more rustic, yet even more fun! We stayed at a place nestled in the middle of nowhere (surprise) called Porcupine Rest Camp. The night was full of cocktails, pool, fire pits and the best pizza I've ever had cooked in an outdoor oven.

We even gave The Wurzels a listen because we bumped into a fellow man from Somerset called James. I thought the trip was long enough on a motorbike, but James was actually cycling around South Africa for three months! That kept me inspired for my trip for sure.
Some other inspiring/mad people we met were a group walking in the 30 degree heat, down one of the longest stretches of road in South Africa with no town in between. Maybe the sun had made them go a little crazy, but it was pretty amazing what they were doing all the same!

Below: my shower whilst at Porcupine Rest Camp! The water was heated by a log fire and there was no roof. Maybe a bit basic for some people, but quite possibly my favourite shower I've had- who needs luxurious tiles when you have birds flying overhead and morning sunlight on your face?

Seven Weeks Port, Route 62 and the coast

The next couple of days all seemed to roll into one! We headed south through the Seven Weeks Port towards Route 62 where we stopped off at Barrydale and Ronnie's Sex Shop. It's basically a bar in the middle of nowhere, that has only become a tourist spot since someone added 'sex' tot the title and people started hanging up their underwear inside! 


 We also headed to Cape Agulhas, the Southernmost Tip of Africa to admire the view and also to dip my hands in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans at the same time. I can confirm both were very cold! This final day was a 400km loop back towards Cape Town, where an indoor shower and sofa were much appreciated after 4 days sat on the back of a motorbike!

The second week of my trip included learning to bead in MonkeyBiz, which supports local artists to earn money creating beautiful beaded animals whilst they still have time to look after their children. I came home with five animals because they were all so unique and colourful! We also explored a few vineyards, the Two Oceans Aquarium and also Table Mountain.

Table Mountain

We took the cable car up Table Mountain to get these spectacular views of Cape Town! There was plenty of wildlife up there, from lizards to birds and dassies. Again, another moment making me feel small looking down on all the buildings! 

On the final morning Kathleen and me went kayaking from Simon's Town around to Boulder's Beach, which was awesome to see the beach from water rather than land. As we paddled around the coast through kelp forests, seals and penguins popped up next to us! Definitely a great way to finish my time in South Africa. A special thank you to Rob and Kathleen for letting me stay with them and showing me around the local area! 

Have you been to South Africa? Where would you most like to visit?

Emma xo

Hello and welcome! 


This little space on the internet has been here since 2010, when I was just an 11 year old with a compact camera. I didn't expect anyone to even read my blog, it was purely just to put my own photos and creations somewhere, like an online diary. Since then, both my blog and me have grown so much, and it's good to look back and have a giggle at old posts! Also, regardless of how long you've been reading my blog, thank you- I will always be amazed that real people are looking at it (56,000 views since day one to be exact!). 


So here's the story...

This blog became 'The Little Duckling' and then 'Wallflower Wardrobe' and finally 'Life is Simple'.
I've decided to change the name because I'm certainly not the same person I was when this blog started, or even just a few months ago. 
I'm not so much interested in the fashion and beauty that I was at the start, but I can say that there will be lots of new and exciting content on the way!

Life is Simple is about embracing life and it's beauty. It'll feature snippets of my life, travels and adventures, as well as wholesome recipes and tips on how to live sustainably. 

It's about appreciating the little things that make life exciting. 
There'll be more of a focus on being kind to our planet and ourselves, so I'll be talking everything from ethical brands to plastic to meditation and yoga. It's going back to basics and living slowly and mindfully when everything around us makes us mindless. 

Of an endless stream of websites telling us how to get the perfect body, how to diet or get the latest phone, my hope this that Life is Simple will be a calm welcoming space full of positivity. 

I'm super excited to share all of the things I'm passionate about with you, and hope that you'll enjoy the new content too!
See you soon!
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Probably the quickest and simplest recipe I've ever shared! 
Mug cakes are definitely something me and my university flatmates have mastered well- just mix everything in a mug and microwave. It's the perfect sugar fix for students and busy people! Best of all, this one uses simple store cupboard ingredients so won't break the bank, and is suitable for vegans too. It's a winner all-round! 

Ingredients

2 tbsp self raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp soya milk

Method

1) Beat everything together in a mug with a fork until smooth
2) Microwave for 1-2 minutes until risen and just cooked (I like to under-cook mine slightly to get a gooey edge like a brownie!)
3) Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you're feeling luxurious!
Simple! Enjoy :)

Emma xo
Dear Readers,
It's been a while, and I hope you've had a wonderful Easter. Some of you may have seen on social media that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week, so I thought I'd write a few words myself. A recent study found that two-thirds of people have said they have experienced a mental health problem. 4-10% of people experience depression in their lifetime, and 7.8% of people in Britain meet the diagnosis criteria for mixed anxiety and depression, the most common mental disorder.  
However, people are still afraid to speak out and ask for help, because there's still a stigma. It's not like a fractured leg which you can get an x-ray for. Each condition affects each person differently.
I have been in that 7.8%. When I went to my GP last April, she told me to stop worrying and come back if it doesn't get better. 
If our doctors can't take us seriously, how can we expect others to listen? 
Time to talk and break the taboo.
Last year vs this year: I am happy, my life is good and I show the best bits on social media. However, sometimes I still struggle with depression (mainly seasonal) and general anxiety. This time last year I would nearly have a panic attack going to get coffee by myself, but last month I travelled to South Africa alone- 12 hours on a plane packed with complete strangers! I would never have thought that was possible, but I did it!
 Keep looking for the sunshine even if you can't see it yet.
I've already tried writing about my experiences in more detail, but it turned out that was quite difficult for me to write. In short, 10 years ago when I was 8, I developed an eating disorder. It was my way of dealing with the changes of moving to secondary school, but mainly it was a mechanism for me to deal with grief after my granny passed away from Alzheimer's disease. Imagine your worst fear. It could be flying, death, heights, public speaking. Mine became food. It became an obsession, I'd always eat less than the recommended portion sizes and avoid sugar, thinking it would make me sick. 
What I didn't realise was that I was making myself sick. 

 I remember around the age of 13 I was in some changing rooms with my mum and we both started crying. I could see my ribs and hips, and I can't tell you how awful it was that I couldn't control my behaviour, as much as my parents tried to help. I fainted on the sofa and had poor circulation because I wasn't eating enough. 

Then, many tears and arguments later I began to trust. I trusted my body that a single cube of chocolate wouldn't make me ill. Then it became two. I had to trust my parents that they knew what was best for me. It took hundreds of baby steps in the right direction until I became healthy weight. 
To climb a mountain you need to put one foot in front of the other until you reach the top, and fight your mind telling you that you can't.
It took a hell of a lot of time to get to were I am now: I can go out for meals and do my own food shopping and enjoy food. I can go travelling alone and get coffee by myself. I can enjoy myself in busy crowds instead of panicking. I was terrified to get help because I thought it meant I was crazy. 
This is why we need awareness. Mental illnesses are often hidden from the outside, but that doesn't make them any less important. Humans are amazing for what we can do with out brains, but some struggles along the way doesn't mean we're broken. It means we're overwhelmed. 
Since I posted on Instagram about my eating disorder I've had strangers and friends all reach out to me to tell me that they have also had struggles with mental health. If you're going through any struggles, you are not alone or a failure. Depression tells you many lies like that. Anxiety can distance you from friends, tricking you into thinking everyone is going to leave. 
Here's what I'd recommend:
If you or someone you know is struggling, be patient. 
>Find a GP who will listen to you (the one I met at university was much more understanding than my GP at home). 
>Antidepressants are definitely NOT a sign of weakness. I have known friends, family, teachers and celebrities that have used them. 
>If counselling works for you then give it a try (or just speak to someone you trust!)
>As much as depression tells you that you're not worthy, you are. I promise you. Try little bits of self care like making a tea or doing some stretches. 
>Self help books I'd recommend are 'Reasons to Stay Alive' by Matt Haig, 'How Not To Worry' by Paul McGee and 'A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled' by Ruby Wax.
>Try out mindfulness mediation such as Headspace or joining a local meditation group. It's been shown that meditation is as effective as antidepressants, with no negative side effects. (Personally I found mindfulness techniques and the books above most useful to me, as focusing on my breathing reduces my anxiety considerably. It's been particularly useful in crowds, new places, and flights, which I used to hate)
>Find someone you trust and talk about it (as best you can). 
>Writing a journal can also help get things off your chest!
Also if you ever need someone to talk to, you're always welcome to message me. My Instagram username is @Emma__Wallflower with two underscores, or you can email me at peppercornjewellery@hotmail.co.uk. 
Lots of love, 
Emma