It really has been such a pleasure having Namaste from Ananya linked here on Cider with Rosie throughout the past month. There’s something special about Ana’s blog that always leaves me feeling a little calmer, a little more reflective, and always, always inspired. Ana blogs about her culture, her passion for travel, and the moments of joy in her life, all with such passion and with such beautiful writing that I know you’ll fall in love the minute you click through to her site!

So, enough from me. Over to Ana!

1. Will you tell us a little about how you got started writing Namaste from Ananya?

When I first started blogging, I just wanted a platform to express myself, particularly my Indian heritage and so back in late 2012, The Asian Destination was born! I loved sharing travel advice, sharing the meaning behind much of the Indian traditions and festivals I’d be celebrating whilst adding in a few messages of inspiration my friends have dubbed the ‘Ana Cheesy quotes’!

With experience though comes wisdom and insight. Back in 2014, I was going through a transition period in my life; I realised I was missing out on opportunities simply because I was too scared to try something different. I wanted my blog to be an authentic reflection of who I was and be able to encompass all that I loved about life…and thus, renaming it Namaste from Ananya, seemed fitting.

2. What three words would you use to describe your blog?

Personal, life reflections.


3. Would you tell us a little about your blogging process? What comes easiest to you- the words, or the pictures?

Though I’m rarely without a camera in my hands, I’ve always found I can express myself much more coherently through writing. That said though, in terms of blogging every post is quite different for me!

Sometimes if there’s been an event, an organisation or book that’s really resonated with me then the words usually haunt me until I’ve written them down! Then it’s a case of finding or taking an appropriate photo. Other times though it’s the other way around.

4. Do you have a favourite type of post to put together? I love your writing *so* much, it’s just beautiful!

Bless you, that’s so lovely to hear! I usually love to share what’s on my mind or what’s affected me recently. At the moment for me, time just feels to slip past these days so I have made more of an effort to try and document the little day-to-day treasures which are often overlooked or forgotten in months to come. I have your blog to thank for inspiring me to start a little Happiness Jar of my own!


5. You write often about your love for travel. Is there a country or destination you’ve travelled to that captured your heart more than any other?

Maybe I’m heavily biased but India! I feel lucky to be able to experience India through the eyes of both an Indian and as a tourist. There is life in every corner and that’s what I love about it. Like every country, there are darker areas but the vibrancy and colour is like no other place I’ve experienced….yet! Though I go to India every year to see family, I’d love to take a couple of months to explore every inch of the place since each region is so diverse and different.


6. What might Cider with Rosie readers be surprised to learn about you? Any secret skills or party tricks?

Sadly I don’t have any impressive party tricks to boast about unless you mean demolishing a jar of cashew butter in record speed? ;) (I recommend Meridian Cashew butter for anyone interested!) Aside from that though, most people are surprised to hear that my PhD research involves seeing a lot of placentas. My PhD is in reproductive biology and focusing on trying to prevent babies being born too early. This basically means that aside from being an eternal student, I use the placentas donated by women after their deliveries to experiment on. So if in the future any ladies reading this are approached after their delivery to donate their placenta just know the research student most probably receiving it, is very grateful!


7. Since the year’s drawing to a close, would you share with us what your highlights from 2015 have been?

I can’t believe how fast 2015 has gone!

My 2015 highlights include:

- Some very special birthday presents – this year I asked my loved ones to write down the answer to a few questions, including: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt to date? What advice would you give for the future? Over the course of the year, I’ve found myself reading through them all and just feeling so warmed by such priceless words of wisdom.

- Being part of my friend’s wedding; being part of the preparation and going through the motions, her fears and hesitations made it all the more emotional to see her whole family come together from Canada to be a part of it here in the UK.

- Visiting India is always lovely but this year, one highlight was to see my cousin, after 18 months. She continues to be the ‘miracle baby’ of our family and is such a touching reminder of why I went into reproductive research!

Above all though a personal ‘acceptance’. I look back at this year and feel content, something which is pleasantly surprising for me since usually I’m quite hard on myself. I really wanted to ensure I used every opportunity to face more fears this year. Although I may not have gone travelling around the world solo or jumped out a plane (on my list after the PhD, don’t worry) what I’ve learnt in the process is that fear is relative and doesn’t necessarily mean tackling the huge fears. It might also mean just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ more often.


8. And finally, it’s our old favourite Desert Island Discs! If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring along for the ride? You can bring two albums/CDs, two books, two films, ingredients to make a meal, and one luxury item!

It’s hard to choose only 2 books but I think I’d have to narrow it down to:

The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo

The Nanny by Melissa Nathan is also a great favourite.

For films, I’d have to take The Pursuit of Happyness – I’ve rewatched this film so many times but I love it.

Music: Ludovico Einaudi  & Beyonce – Bit of a random mix but I love both (maybe not together though!)

Above all other ingredients, a supply of mangoes and I’d be happy!

My luxury item would be a film camera – I’d want to document at least some of time there and I like the idea of leaving the film undeveloped, just waiting to be discovered!

~ ~ ~

Thanks so much Ana for such a lovely set of answers! You can find Namaste from Ananya here, and don’t forget to follow along via Bloglovin too!

p.s. If you’d like to see your own blog featured here on Cider with Rosie, click through to the Sponsor page and book up an advert!

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A   L I T T L E   A V O C A D O   N E V E R   H U R T   A N Y B O D Y

There’s no doubting the fact that brunch is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures.

By its very nature, it’s all about slowing down. It’s the meal that comes to the rescue when you couldn’t quite make it out of the door early enough to make breakfast, but are far too peckish to wait for lunch.

It’s for lingering over, and savouring, and ordering more dishes than is strictly necessary because hey! It’s two meals in one so why on earth not!

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I stayed up in London with Tania a few nights ago, and together made plans to head out to brunch at Hally’s early the following morning.

But as is the way with these things, we stayed up so late into the night doing yoga in our pyjamas (I can’t quite remember how that came about, but it was fun!), drinking endless cups of tea, and talking about everything and nothing (97% of it in English, 2% in French, and 1% in my own made-up version of French that Tania kept having to remind me wasn’t quite correct…), and so neither of us was feeling especially bright eyed or bushy tailed when alarms went off at 8am…

It seemed that the Gods of Brunch were on our side though, because we hopped in a cab at quarter past eleven, sped over to the New King’s Road, and made it to Hally’s with five minutes to spare before sittings for brunch ended!
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First came a round of juices and coffees- the former made from fresh blends of carrot, apple, cucumber, celery, and ginger juices, and the latter from Monmouth coffee beans.


Next, to the good stuff.

Was is to be a ‘full English’ or pancakes? Eggs benedict, or florentine?

We decided to share a couple of the menu’s greenest dishes between us- a wedge of avocado toast, and a plate of buttery eggs florentine. We both were toying between the same two dishes, you see, and sharing is caring don’t you know!


The toast came spread with a layer of tangy tomato chutney, and piled high with chunks of ripe avocado and rocket dressed with chilli and lemon juice.

The chutney was a new twist on avo toast to me, and such a great one! Definitely something I’ll be recreating at home…

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The eggs florentine were pretty fantastic, too!

Buttery hollandaise, perfectly cooked eggs, and lovely irony spinach. In short- heaven on a slice of toast!

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Tania and I lingered over our brunch, chit chatting and Instagramming to our hearts content.

We’d just begun to start eyeing up the baked goods on the counter at the front of the shop (our bellies were rumbling again, you see) when the manager suggested we might like to pop over to Little H, Hally’s little sister cafe across the road!

And seeing as I’m never one to turn down something sweet, and we were promised that Little H serve an array of baked treats, off we went!


Little H turned out to be just as cute as its older sister, and is well worth a visit.

We came away with a couple of ‘cookies and cream’ smoothies (delicious, and made from all natural ingredients!, and a raspberry and white chocolate brownie that, I promise hand on heart, turned out to be the very best brownie I’ve ever eaten.


All that, and we were done by half past one.

Three cheers for brunch! And now that it’s Sunday, is it time to do it all over again?


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Good morning! I hope your week’s turning out to be a lovely one.

I’ve got a real treat for you today, in the form of a whole host of new reading material! There’s such a lovely selection of blogs linked below- so varied in genre and style and content that you’d be hard pressed to not find at least one that captures your heart!

So, have a little browse through these wonderful sites, add your favourites to your Bloglovin’ feed, leave a little comment for the creative folks below on their most recent posts, and have a happy Thursday!

Namaste from Ananya
I’ve followed along with Ana’s blog for a good few months now, and just love dropping by to read her latest posts. There’s something peaceful about Ana’s blog, that I think comes from her beautiful writing itself. It’s poetic and emotive and so very beautiful, and I just love it! This month, Ana’s shared postcards from a trip to India, written about how ordinary people can affect change, and shared a few of the little things that have made her happiest too. I just love how Ana’s personality comes shining through all the she shares on her site, and how that makes it so wonderfully unique. I can’t recommend it highly enough, truly!
Favourite post of the past month? ‘Our lamps may be different but our light is the same’

Jasmin Charlotte
Jasmin is originally from New Zealand and lives in London, and on her lovely blog she shares stories, updates, and photos of her life in the city! She describes her blog as being about ‘adventure, tech, and tea’- an awesome combination, don’t you think? This month, Jasmin’s shared a review of Dinerama (a must read for anyone fond of delicious, finger-licking street food!), put together a round up of her world adventures to date, and shared posts from the city that stole my heart last year- Edinburgh! I’ve especially loved seeing Jasmin’s photos of Edinburgh, in all its charcoal grey glory! Jasmin Charlotte is just such a wonderful all round read, and I’m certain you’ll love it!
Favourite post of the past month? JC Travels: Exploring Edinburgh!

Silverspoon London
It’s been another fabulous month following along with Silverspoon London, and living vicariously through her adventures! Angie and her husband have been in Saint Lucia this month, exploring all that the island has to offer. And having seen Angie’s photos of the Jade Mountain hotel, I feel pretty certain that Saint Lucia has a *lot* to offer! You must go over and read Angie’s review of the hotel- it’s set on the mountain side and the rooms are open to the view, with no fourth wall. Magical! Silverspoon London is a one-stop shop for luxury hotel, travel and dining reviews- the best for anyone planning a special treat, holiday, or perhaps even a honeymoon!
Favourite post of the past month? A Celestial Stay at Jade Mountain, St Lucia.

Katie Snyder
Katie is a mega-dedicated blogger and YouTuber, who somehow manages to produce videos for her YouTube channel and posts for her blog on an all but daily basis! Anyone else wondering if she’s some kind of magician, because I for one am! Katie’s blog is lifestyle focused, and on it she shares everything from outfit posts and tutorials, to products reviews and updates on her fitness and wellbeing journey! I love seeing the snippets Katie shares of her life in beautiful Hawaii, and love following along with her charming update posts and videos. For anyone looking to get stuck in to a lovely lifestyle blog, Katie’s is for you!
Favourite post of the past month? Style Sunday: Michael Kors OOTD.

Quintessentially Me
It’s so great to have the lovely Quintessentially Me back here on my blog this month. It’s always such a lovely read! Ashleigh grew up in South Africa but now lives in London, and documents her goings on via her blog. Quintessentially Me has an effortless ‘diary’ feel to it, and features a lovely variety of posts. This month, Ashleigh’s shared a recipe for healthy nutty banana brownies, talked a little about her hair care routine, and shared a story about her lifelong love for red wellies that was completely adorable. It’s exactly the sort of lifestyle blog that makes charming daily reading, and would make a wonderful addition to your reading list.
Favourite post of the past month? Guilt-free nutty chocolate & banana brownies.

The Sussex Girl
It’s been so lovely getting to know Beckie’s blog this month! The Sussex Girl was new to me in November, and is all about Beckie’s life living in Southsea! Beckie works for a charity by day and is a Navy reservist by night (pretty awesome, hey?!), and describes herself as being a lover of stationery, homewares, gin, and sparkly shoes! On The Sussex Girl, you’ll find posts covering everything from simple recipes and film reviews, to weekly roundups and days spent in the countryside! All of Beckie’s posts are so uplifting and well written, and it’s exactly the sort of blog I find myself drawn to time and again.
Favourite post of the past month? Quick Weekday Supper- One Pot Tomato, Chilli and Basil Pasta

Wander to Wonder
I’ve been so happy to have Miho’s beautiful blog back in my sidebar this month, and to catch up on all her latest posts. They really are so lovely! Wander to Winder is a lifestyle blog, and on it Miho shares posts about her life in London, her travels, the places she eats, and so much more besides! This month, Miho’s posted about her adventures in New York (SO jealous!), put together a ’30 before 30′ list, and shared photos from the birthday lunch of dreams at The Ledbury! All of Miho photos are beautiful, her writing is just as lovely, and I’m certain you’ll just love her blog through and through!
Favourite post of the past month? NYC Sights :: the streets of Manhattan.

Katie Cakes
I’ve fallen in love with Katie Cakes this month, and am *so* excited to be introducing you all to it here today! Katie Cakes is, you guessed it, a baking blog. And I’ll tell you, every single one of Katie’s recipes looks so delicious, I’ve been bookmarking them left right and centre! This month, Katie’s shared recipes for mini Christmas cakes (at the top of my ‘to bake’ list!), apple and blackberry crumble (always a winner, right?), and some divine looking pumpkin cookies made with coconut oil! Katie’s photos and food styling are so beautiful and so very tempting, you’ll be hard pressed deciding what to cook first!
Favourite post of the past month? Fig & Pistachio Bean Tin Christmas Cakes.

Stamp Please
And last but by no means least, we have the beautiful Camille’s blog, Stamp Please! It’s been such a pleasure to get to know Stamp Please over the past month, and to read back through Camille’s archive of posts. She’s got this wonderful way of putting together posts that’s so simple and effortless, and makes it all too easy to dip into her blog on a regular basis! This month, Camille’s been sharing photos of her travels in Canada and has been giving me a serious urge to book flights over there right away! Oh, and you must go and check our Camille’s snaps of fall in the States- it looks so very beautiful, it kind of makes me think the UK needs to step its game up! :)
Favourite post of the past month? Whistler Photo Diary.

A few more blogs to add to your reading list ::
Get the Skinny || Favourite post? Training Motivation.
Supernaturally Healthy || Favourite post? Maple & Pumpkin Granola.

If you’d like to see your own blog featured here on Cider with Rosie, and to gain a host of lovely new readers and some valuable exposure, click through to the Sponsor page!


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W I N T E R   S U S T E N A N C E

I’m not sure how many of you will remember, because it was a pretty long time ago in the ever-changing world of blogging, but I actually shared a riff on this recipe back in July of 2012.

In fact, it was only the second recipe I ever shared on Cider with Rosie!

And goodness me, I’m glad my photography skills have come on a little way since then! Remember when I used to think > this < was a good, bloggable photo? ;)

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Whilst so many things have changed and progressed and evolved since 2012, and those early days of this blog of mine, what’s not changed a bit is how much I love this soup.

I’ve tinkered with the recipe a little over the years, adding a few bits here and there to deepen its flavour, but it’s still just as wonderfully warming and hearty as it ever was.

Butternut squash and red onion are dredged in a fine layer of harissa and roasted until sweet and lightly golden, then pureed with half a litre or so of rich mushroom stock.

It makes the most perfect winter lunch, and is surprisingly filling as an evening meal too. I guess really it’s just one of those magical recipes that never seems to grow old.

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Ingredients ::
1 large butternut squash
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried Harissa
500ml-1litre mushroom stock

- Deseed and chop the butternut squash into 1 inch cubes, and put into a large roasting dish.

- Peel and slice the red onion in half (leaving the root intact, so that the onion holds together), and then add to the roasting dish along with the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves.

- Drizzle the squash and onion with just enough olive oil to coat the vegetables, and then add in the harissa and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the squash and onion in the spices.

- Place the roasting dish into an oven preheated to 200 degrees celsius and cook for 35-45 minutes, until the squash is tender and a little brown at the edges.

- Blend the squash and onion in batches (squeezing the garlic cloves out of their skins and blending along with the squash and onions), with enough stock to help them puree, and transfer to a large saucepan.

- When the vegetables have been completely pureed, stir in enough stock to bring the soup to the consistancy of your choosing. I only needed half a litre for the squash shown here. Season to taste, and serve piping hot.

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A true winter warmer, if ever there was one!

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Read from the beginning >