A Visit to Lanzarote Easter 2014

During the Easter school holidays, we were fortunate enough to be able to escape wet England and spend a couple of weeks on the volcanic island of Lanzarote. This is is our fourth visit to the Canary island. There’s clearly something special about this place that keeps drawing us back 

Lanzarote Hols 2014

Regardless of how busy the main resorts are, within a few minutes you can get away from it all and find complete peace and solitude.

Lanzo 5

All three of us ‘unplugged’ for the trip (no phones, iPads, computers, video games) and it was utter bliss! Lil’ L never run out of things to keep him occupied. In his ‘down time’ he sketched and read (the NERDS series by Michael Buckley was popular this holiday) …

Lanzarote Hols 2014 2

… while the rest of the time he was swimming, playing tennis, exploring, rock climbing, or playing on the beach.

Lil' L Lanarote 2014 Collage 1

When I asked him to name his ‘top three’ holiday highlights he said ‘swimming in the sea with the beautifully coloured fish’; ‘the Aqua Park’; and ‘spending time as a family’

Lanzarote Hols 2014 3

It’s funny how the littlest of things can totally captivate me….

Lanzo 3

… like finding this tiny yellow flower happily growing on the beach in a volcanic rock shelter

Lanzo 2

During our time away, I was studying for a Buddhist exam but luckily I could do this anywhere – at the cafes, on the beach, sitting on a rock, in a lava tunnel.

Cueve de los Verdes Collage

Most days I went for a morning run along the sea front which was totally exhilarating (the winds were seriously strong!) M also hired a mountain bike and went exploring in the volcanic national park.

Lanzarote Hols 2014 6

Once he’d pedaled to the top, he paused for a moment to take in the views…

Lanzarote Hols 2014 7

Lanzarote Hols 2014 8

… then munch his box of home-made trail mix (see even he’s started taking food photos now!)

Trail Mix in Lanzo

Talking of food, we ate really well this holiday. Most days, we prepared our own lunches. We ate lots of fresh salads, accompanied by six-seeded multigrain bread that was so fresh from the bakery that it was still warm

All the restaurants we visited had veggie options on their menu or were happy to accommodate us. I’m so grateful for this as I don’t think demand for veggie food is very high in Lanzarote! Pretty much everyone I saw was tucking into meats – steaks and racks of ribs the size of plates (literally!) – and chips. Not a veggie in sight!

Lanzo Lunch

In the Italian restaurants we asked for vegetarian pizzas without cheese, and they were utterly delicious! When you ask for a cheeseless pizza, they tend to substitute the cheese with lots of extra yummy grilled veggies 🙂

Another favourite was the veggie fajitas at the Mexican restaurant. A huge plate of sizzling veggies came accompanied with a bowl of chilli beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, sour cream (which I left) and tortillas. While M and Lil’ L ate a small amount of eggs and dairy this holiday (mainly ice creams), I chose to stay 100% plant based. It just suits me better.

Lanzarote Hols 2014 4

All three of us agreed that this trip was easily as good as our previous trips to Lanzarote, if not better! I think we all cherished every moment of it

Back home, life’s returned to its usual level of ‘busyness’, but I’m still determined to strip back and ‘declutter’ my life in pursuit of the ‘simple life’ that I yearn for. I’m still very far from that place but if I keep steering myself back on track, hopefully I’ll get there one day.

Lanzo 7

SaveSave

Lanzarote 2013 & Three Ingredient Pineapple Cake

Hi everyone!

I’m back at long last!  Sorry I’ve been away so much longer than expected.  I hope you all had a wonderful Spring break.  While I’ve really valued my ‘unplugged’ time, I’ve been looking forward to my return to blogging world.  I’ve missed you guys!

So what have I been up to?  Well, over Easter, M, Lil’ L and I were very fortunate to escape the freezing cold weather in the UK and head to the Canary Island of Lanzarote.  It was wonderful to spend some quality time with my boys, without all the distractions and ‘busyness’ of life back home.

We enjoyed chilling out on the beach and at cafes, chatting, reading, playing card games and sketching (cartoon drawing was particularly popular this holiday!)

We’re huge fans of Cesar Manrique, and we loved spending time at the sites he designed, including Los Jameos del Agua, Jardin de Cactus and his own house (now a charitable foundation) which is situated in a lava field!

Lanzarote - Jardin de Cactus
Jardin de Cactus, Lanzarote

During the holiday, we also got to spend some quality time by ourselves.  M really enjoyed biking in the volcanic national park…

Biking in Lanzarote - 500

while I loved my daily runs along the coast path and meditation by the sea.

Meditating in Lanzarote 1 - 500

Lil’ L loved playing on the beach, rock climbing…

Playing on the Rocks in Lanzarote - 500

Lil' L at Los Jameos del Agua Lanzarote 2 - 500

and leaping!

Lil L at Los Jameos del Agua 2 Lanzarote - 500

However, in contrast to all this boisterous activity, sometimes you’d walk round the corner and find him meditating!

Lil' L Meditating in Lanzarote - 500

He also spent a lot of time reading.  He got through about seven books! (‘Big Nate’ was a popular read this holiday).

Beach Reading in Lanzarote - 500

We did some great walks along the coast and in the volcanic national park.  Away from the resorts and towns, you could easily start to feel like you were on another planet!

Lanzarote Volcanic National Park 2 - 500

To be honest, when I saw the newspaper headlines about the freezing temperatures and chilling winds in the UK, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to our return.  However, we seem to have brought the good weather back with us.  Perhaps Spring has finally arrived for sure (fingers crossed!)  I’m loving the lighter mornings and evenings too

Inspired by the sunshine and warm weather, I chose to make a pineapple cake for my study class this week.  It was no ordinary cake though… it was fat free, dairy free and egg free!  A friend gave me the recipe a few years ago.  She’d spotted it in a newspaper, but I believe it was originally published by Kim and Rachael of the 4 Ingredients phenomenon.

Fat Free Pineapple Cake - 500 copy

Since it has no fat, its texture is different to other cakes, but it’s delicious none the less.  It’s one of my all-time favourite cakes and I’m happy to report that it got the thumbs up from my study group friends too 😀

Here’s how to make it…

Fat Free Pineapple Cake 2 - 500 copy

I wonder if this cake will work with crushed mangoes too? I’m definitely going to have to give it a try 😉

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  I hope the sun is shining wherever you are xx

Link of the day: Orange and Almond Cake

Orange & Almond Cake 2

SaveSave

A Trip to Lanzarote & a Buddhist Exam

Hi everyone!  I’m back at long last!  I hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break. 🙂

And thank you so much for all the lovely comments you left while I was away. I really appreciate them, and can’t wait to catch up with you guys!

I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog for so long, but we ended up going away for a couple of weeks.  Then, four days after my return, I had a 3-hour written Buddhist exam.

I’ve treated the last 3 weeks as a bit of a ‘retreat’, spending lots of quality time with the family and studying hard.  I’ve really valued this ‘down time’. It’s been wonderful to escape (briefly) from the busyness of daily life, switch off the phones, computers, TV, and just ‘be’. It’s been bliss!

Here are a few of the highlights of our Spring Break…

For 14 nights we stayed in an apartment on the outskirts of Costa Teguise, on the volcanic island of Lanzarote.

To reach the main resort, we walked along a beautiful coastal promenade, which had some handy exercise equipment which we had fun using every day. I’m in serious need of some upper body strength!

We first visited Lanzarote a couple of years ago and loved it so much that we wanted to return.  The volcanic landscape is magnificient.

For six years, commencing in 1730, there were continuous explosions, tremors and lava flows in west-central Lanzarote, and at least 23 hamlets were buried.  The centre of the volcanic activity was in Timanfaya.  Since 1974, a surface area of 542 square kilometres has been designated as a National Park, and you can explore it by coach or camel.

 

It’s an incredible experience!  You really do feel like you’re on another planet!

Another of our favourite sites on Lanzarote is the Cueva de los Verdes.  This is a section of the largest known lava tube in the world, created during the eruption of Monte Corona.  After walking along a twisty-turny labyrinths you come to a truly spectacular site.  Our photo doesn’t really do it justice.

Another section of this great lava tube can be visited at Los Jameos del Agua.  In 1968, the artist Cesar Manrique worked on this site, turning it into a beautiful architectural attraction.  There’s a lava cave with a lake, in which live a rare species of small, blind, albino crab.

The site also has beautifully designed cafe areas, an outdoor pool, exotic garden and volcanic education centre.

Sitting in cafes studying for my exam was a common sight of me this holiday 😉  I really appreciate how supportive M and Lil’ L were. They gave me all the time, space and encouragement I needed to revise for my big exam.  One day, Lil’ L returned from the shops with a little Buddha statue that he’d bought me with his own money!

A section of cave at Jameos del Agua has been turned into an auditorium with seating for 600 people.  It’s such an atmospheric place.  I’d love to see a concert there one day.  I bet the acoustics are out of this world!  When M and I entered the auditorium cave, we found Lil’ L sat on one of the seats meditating!

After his meditation, he went back outside and resumed his climbing adventures….

… and seeing how close he can stand to the edge of water without falling in. (He didn’t actually fall in this time, which makes a nice change!)

We also loved spending time at the Jardin de Cactus, another attraction designed by Manrique.  My Dad was a huge cactus fan and I wish he’d got to see this garden.  He would have loved it!  I’ve never seen so many cacti… and some of them were seriously huge!  It was a great place to spend the afternoon and there was another stylish cafe for me to install myself in 😉  The view below is actually from the cafe.  Isn’t it amazing?

As well as the volcanic landscape, another reason why M and I love visiting Lanzarote is to see the legacy of artist/architect Cesar Manrique.  His style is so distinct, and clearly influenced by his love of the natural landscape.  He was involved in the design of all the major attractions on Lanzarote.  Since his death, his home has been converted into a museum.  It’s one of the most incredible houses that I’ve ever visited.  It’s built in a lava field, and some of the rooms are actually lava bubbles!

How cool is that?

Lil’ L found himself some nice little spots to sit and read.

This is the first holiday that he’s really been into reading.  It was so nice to see him enjoying books (even if it is the Wimpy Kid!)  He must have got through at least 5 ‘fat’ books (as he calls them) during the 2 weeks.

Wimpy Kid is not my thing at all, but I did love Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which he read to us every night 🙂

And finally, no blog post of mine would be complete without the mention of FOOD!  We ate really well this holiday, except for a minor blip on our first day when we went to the nearest cafe we could find and ended up eating a ‘junk lunch’ of veggie burger and chips.  M and I felt so rubbish after this lunch that, from then on, we avoided the junk food.

Most lunch times, we returned to our apartment, and prepared simple lunches of salad, Spanish tortilla and freshly made baguettes that we bought from the local supermarket, followed by a dessert of fresh fruit, nuts and yoghurt.  We even found soya milk and soya yoghurts in the local supermarket, as well as British rolled oats for our morning porridge!

We really enjoyed these lunches and felt a million times better after eating them, compared to our first day ‘junk lunch’.  They left us feeling feeling full of energy and ready to head straight out for an afternoon of site seeing 🙂

There were lots of great restaurants in Costa Teguise which had veggie options on their menus, and we ate out most evenings.  We also came across this lovely little veggie cafe, tucked away in a corner of Costa Teguise on the strip of beach known as ‘Las Cucharas’.

It was run by a friendly German guy, who would cook stir fries and other delicious dishes using fresh produce from the local market.

This week, Lil’ L has kept telling us that he wishes he could go back to the Surfer’s Veggie Cafe and have one of their Mexican wraps.  He really loved them… even though they were filled with lettuce which he normally doesn’t touch with a barge pole!  I must have a try at re-creating them at home.

My favourite dish was the wok stir fried veggies, accompanied by rice and toasted sunflower seeds.  So simple, yet so tasty!

I can’t wait to have a try at re-creating this dish too.  The flavours were amazing!

So that’s what I’ve been up to these last 3 weeks.  My time in Lanzarote gave me the chance to take a ‘breather’, check where I am in my life and ‘realign’ myself back onto the path where I want to be.  I’ve made some big decisions about my future, which I’ll tell you about in another post.  It’s all very exciting (and a little bit scary!)

My weeks away have also renewed my enthusiasm for cooking plant-based meals and this week I’ve made a couple of simple, new dishes that Lil’ L has described as ‘winners’.  I’ll be posting the recipes shortly.

I’m also really looking forward to catching up with my wonderful friends, and that includes you guys out there in blogging world.  I can’t wait to see what you guys have been up to!

I look forward to catching up with you all very soon xx

 

SaveSave