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    Long haul with a baby

    Long haul with a baby

    Lake Maher_ Tanya's Cafe_ Kale chips Trying cashew kale chips for the first time  

    Funny flight story (‘funny’ because it’s behind us ;-))…

    It took 4 flights, 4 taxis and 43 hours to arrive at my parents’ Sungate 11:11 in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

    The connecting flight to Madrid was a total dream with a 10 months old. I inquired both at Heathrow and at Madrid airport desks about a good seat for Lake and I for our remaining 12 hour flight to Guayaquil and was assured with great certainty that the flight is looking empty, that there will be no one next to us and that after take-off we will even be able to change to a four-seater row!

    Lake Maher long haul with baby

    Soooo we board the flight with confidence, find our seat and spread all the toys, snacks and bags across our isle seat and the empty window seat next to us. Then 5 minutes before take-off, people start piling in! PILING IN!

    And so many of them, some with 5 bags each, some with caged cats, some with caged dogs. It was like watching a movie, because that’s how surreal it all looked.

    At this stage, I’m still pretty optimistic about the extra space on this flight, I almost don’t notice the man telling a cat woman behind us that she’s seated in the wrong seat and needs to move herself, her cat and all four of her bags next to me and Lake.

    I start to panic trying to work out how to keep the baby happy while I gather aaaall of our belongings to fit in a tiny space underneath my feet (anyone with kids knows just how much you need for a 1 hour walk, let alone a 43 hour journey!).

    Lake senses my panic and starts to get squeamish, meanwhile the cat woman keeps saying something to me in Spanish. If you were to mute this whole scene, it probably looked a little like an over exaggerated version of charades, where she is gesturing for us to transfer to a window seat so that she and all of her stuff wouldn’t have to.

    Then as everyone is loudly fussing and climbing over each other to get to their seat and competing to fit what ever they could into tiny overhead lockers, the cat woman starts climbing too and in the midst of throwing her bags onto the seat next to us (I’m still collecting our toys), she manages to bang Lake on the head with her cat’s cage.

    Then the crying begins! By this stage it’s not only Lake crying either…

    I grab my upset baby and me, shoot over to see a flight attendant, she helps us find a better seat, helps us make the dreadful transfer and just as I start to settle, she tells us there’s an even better seat. I’m a mixed bag of skeptical, pleased, annoyed and hopeful, but I go alone with it. She is right, the seat is much better and there is now a whole empty one next to us!

    We are good to go at last.

    Long haul with kids

    We are buckled in, Lake on my lap strapped to my seatbelt, I catch a breather (and a few smiling faces that have just witnessed our musical chairs episode), everyone is in their seats, cabin crew have completed the prep for take off and are now nowhere to be seen as they disappear behind the curtains to take their seats. Relaxed in my seat, I’m about to begin my ‘take off meditation’ but before I close my eyes, I gaze over the tv screen:

    “Enjoy your flight to Quito”…  Quito?? OMG!

    I turn to an Ecuadorean man across the isle: “Quito?”, “Si, Quito” he smiles. “Noooooo!”

    I practically tear the seatbelt off of me and Lake, swing her over my shoulder and jump out from our seat like a ninja turtle!

    The “surreal movie” continues, except I’m no longer the one watching it, everyone is watching ME! In this movie, I’m the crazy woman with a baby over my shoulder, running towards the front of the plane yelling “excuse me, excuse me, I need to be on a flight to Guayaquil, my dad is there to meet his granddaughter for the first time!!!”

    A flight attendant pops out from behind the curtain, explains that two flights were combined at the last minute and that the first stop is Quito but I get to transfer there onto Guayaquil and still arrive on schedule. I walk the walk of shame all the way back to our seat with everyone cheering and smiling my way, but I tell myself it’s because I have such a cute baby and nothing to do with the entertainment that her crazy mother just provided for a plane jam-packed full of spectators.

    Moral of the Story?… Do not make fun of crazy people, one day they might be you. (And don’t call cat lovers ‘cat woman’, that’s not very nice.)

    On Sri Lanka, feeling like a failure and the best remedy for a cold

    On Sri Lanka, feeling like a failure and the best remedy for a cold

    sri lanka better raw travels

    Today marks one week since we returned from our Sri Lankan adventures.

    This destination has been on our list of places to visit for a long time (anything with tropical fruit for me and surfing for Elliot is on that list), but there was always something- either wedding planning, opening of Tanya’s, retreat in Ecuador or The Uncook Book deadline- which made it impossible for us to get away for more than 3 consecutive days.

    The baby wasn’t going to be a reason though.

    We decided early on that we’d have a travelling family and that our children would grow up learning about different cultures, foods and adventure. Why not start when they are still inside you, right?

    So at six months of pregnancy, a big growing bump and really the final month I’d be covered by insurance while flying, we finally took off for the honeymoon that was 18 months overdue. I learned a new word: babymoon!

    tanya maher pregnancy

    [Sri Lanka was magical and there is soooo much I can write about it, but I’ve already posted a daily highlight on Better Raw social channels and if you are on Instagram, I even tagged all the locations we stopped at. Just look up the hashtag #BetterRawTravels to follow along].

    Then after 10 blissful days of swimming, tanning, eating and relaxing like champions, I wake up aching all over, throat too sore to speak, nose too blocked up to breathe and eyes so watery, we had to head for the airport with my sarong instead of a hanky.

    In complete denial that I may have my first cold after 7 whole years of doing the proud raw food walk and intuitive eating, we landed back in London and I headed straight for my speaking appearance at a NZ Business Women’s Network event held at Tanya’s.

    That was last Monday and then on Tuesday I attended a bunch of meetings regarding the cafe and our recent pop-up in Selfridges, a preggie hospital check-up and even a magazine interview.

    By the time Wednesday rolled around, I was well and truly lacking all sense of desire, getting out of bed was suddenly the most tedious chore and worst of all, I was feeling so deeply sad and down, I couldn’t recognise the person experiencing any of this.

    Could this be post-holiday blues?

    Surely not, I felt so satisfied with this much-needed break and I truly looked forward to getting back to work and applying all the awesome ideas to my business which came up in Sri Lanka. And I’m also one of those super lucky/weird people that doesn’t experience jet lag.

    Could this be pregnancy blues?

    I doubt that, I’m loving every single day of being pregnant, the tiny ninja-turtle-alien dancing and bouncing inside me, observing how she reacts to various voices, the light and the positions I’m sitting or laying in, I’m loving how good my skin feels, how rarely my hair gets oily these days, how fast I tan, how full my breasts feel, how much energy I have, how peaceful I am and how natural it feels to be feeding and growing a happy little miracle.

    Then what could be making me so deeply sad?

    I couldn’t make sense of my own feelings and after various attempts to cheer myself up either with an uplifting film, feel-good-quotes, a cup of hot melted raw chocolate, switching off all wifi devices, bonding with the cutest little reptile, going for a walk to breathe in my favourite time of the year or taking a bath full of healing oils and herbs, it wasn’t until I sat down to meditate, when the answer landed on my head like a brick!

    I didn’t like the answer, but at the end of the day ‘the truth will set you free’ and my truth was simple: I am sick. I used to proudly stand up in my classes, demos or talks and tell everyone that if they ate like me, they too will stay immunised. And now I am sick. I failed.

    Ouch. That brick is going to leave a bruise.

    It’s a pretty shitty realisation to be feeling like a complete failure at what you supposedly do best.

    But I know better. I know that the toughest job of getting out of your slump is to work out what the cause is, because a problem well defined is a problem half solved. Then once you work it out, the next step is not to turn your back on it but to acknowledge your feelings and to properly ‘feel’ them out, to let yourself get as low as those feelings will take you and to stay in that space until you have no more tears to cry and nothing else left to feel.

    That’s the power of release.

    No bottling anything in, because it’s when you hold on to negativity that it might eat at you like slow-releasing poison, breaking you down like acid.

    It’s the most liberating experience that will stretch beyond your own imagination. It’s also the moment, you will know what to do next. It’s not the step to be missed because the process itself is a divine intervention and only when you surrender to the truth, that you are able to hear guidance so clearly, your whole world becomes an effortless playground.

    In my case, when the time was right, I got up, walked into the kitchen, opened up the cupboards and after going through stashes of herbs and remedies which I’ve been saving up for a ‘rainy day’ like this, I was guided to the only thing that my body must’ve been needing at the time: Cinnamon oil.

    The very next day I was well again.

    cinnamon tree and bark

    So I wanted to share with you my top 3 remedies and how to apply them next time you have a nasty cold or a flu, but hopefully before they even get a chance to develop, because…



    What helped me rid of my full blown cold also happens to be something I bought in Sri Lanka, as if the angels told me I’m going to need it in a few days. There are many places you can buy it online, just make sure it’s top quality, for example Young Living brand. Cinnamon oil promotes healthy cardiovascular and immune function, relieves symptoms of sore throats, colds and congestion and is an excellent antibacterial and anti fungal agent, great for treating infections or supporting you during detox. It’s very very strong to taste and may cause irritation for some, so I’d urge you to use it with caution, however what worked for me was putting a drop into my hot herbal tea, adding slices of ginger and dried cinnamon bark to this infusion, then deeply breathing in the aromatic steam before taking each sip.


    This remedy has been a favourite of my entire family’s and something I would’ve definitely gone for this time to help with my cold if I only had it at home. As you’ve heard, I haven’t been ill for many years so I stopped buying it a while back. What it is is a pure extraction from olive leaves and you just swallow it by the dessert spoonful straight up or diluted in cooled down herbal tea or freshly made juice. It’s a potent liquid tonic, absolutely packed with antioxidants and contains 5 times the antioxidant activity of Vitamin C and 30 times the polyphonic content of extra virgin olive oil, which fight free radicals and help destroy bad bacteria. My trusted brand is a New Zealand company called Comvita, but you can find Olive Leaf Extract is produced by many others.


    These two key superfoods, particularly when taken together, are truly a God-send. We always tend to have them at home, because whenever I feel that my body is working hard to fight something or Elliot feels a bit under the weather, we mix a heaping tablespoon of Bee Pollen with a tablespoon of Camu Camu and chew this powdery mix with a cup of herbal tea. Usually once or twice is enough to wake up the next day feeling back to normal. Bee Pollen is a complete superfood, packed with amino acids and trace minerals, while Camu Camu is a sour berry containing the highest amount of vitamin C in comparison to any natural plant food. You can find both on DetoxYourWorld.com or many other online superfood stores and physical health shops.


    Have the best healthiest week!