Monday, 27 February 2012

My weekend - how does one relax?

I made a real effort to try and get some time to relax, kick back and stop chasing my tail this weekend. I kept my job list to a minimum and put relax at the end of it. So a little walk in the country, a spot of grocery shopping, codecademy lessons and paying a couple of bills - how long could that lot take? I'm inclined to think that work does expand to fill the available time!

Perhaps getting out of the house is a better idea. A day in London ensures that I can't do any cupboard clear outs, offers a train journey to read on on, plenty of people to observe and a nice dose of art and culture.

Other weekend antics - *reading Into the Wild (make that devouring) *phone chats with parents *resisting the urge to start refashioning my recent vintage purposes (but definitely making plans and trying on) *enchinacea tea to ward off a sore throat.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Things I Love Thursday - awesome food, bad science and little and often


Amazing food - yesterday I had a meeting in London and took the opportunity to visit Planet Organic, Whole Foods and Chinatown. Then filled with inspiration I had dinner at Moaz. Result? I just want to buy stacks of fresh fruit and vegetables and cook up amazing things.

Little and often - despite various hectic, unavoidable activities going on in my life I'm applying the little and often principle where I can.

Bad Science - Ben Goldacre's book has really made me look at things in a different way. Previously I'd read various websites with health and nutrition advice and then been slightly surprised when they would suddenly come out with some wacky suggestion. On reflection I can see that I should have seen the warming signs and checked the reliability of the information.

Other stuff - *what I earn, I deserve *the smell of spring in the air *50% sales in vintage stores *cups of tea *Plans for relaxation


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? The good for me edition

I seem to have been eating a lot of junk over the last few weeks so I made a real effort to make this week's lunchbox full of good things.

Clockwise from top right:

  • Buck wheat or Pearl Barley? I can't recall which one I bought or even if there is a difference.
  • Slightly over steamed Brocolli - I need to eat this stuff more (and cook it ever so slightly less).
  • My take on VWAV's Tofu and potatoes in miso gravy. Replace tofu with TVP. Be too lazy to add potatoes but pop in chopped up Brocolli stalk for want of anything better to do with it. It's rather good actually. I guess Miso gravy makes up for everything.
  • A pear.

Monday, 20 February 2012

My Weekend - brunch and learning to take it easy

Plate of vegan food

Like a lot of people my first thought when faced with a three day weekend is how much stuff I want to cram in because I need to catch up! So my entire weekend followed the pattern of me doing lots of things and then feeling horribly tired. You see I've been so excited about excited about life and all the things I can fill it with that I've gotten carried away and I'm doing too many things.

Hence I've come to the conclusion I need slow down. So I'm going to back to doing one bit of each task every day. Instead of trying to complete several sewing projects on a weekend I'm going to work on one and consider any progress good. 40 minutes of bass a day is better than fretting I haven't managed an hour. A few minutes of yoga a day is adding up nicely.

We've started doing Sunday brunch at home this year and it's very good so far. It creates a centre point to Sunday, means a decent meal is consumed and provides an opportunity to read the weekend papers (or part of them). Plus I've rediscovered potato waffles. And discovered that Whole Earth baked beans are perfect with an extra spoonful of tomato purée.

Other weekend stuff *brisk and bright allotment mornings *vegeburgers with peanut butter and pickles *lots of naps *collecting a stash of books from the library *dancing along to Burlesque the film while complaining about the plot line (it could have been so much better) *face pack Friday

Friday, 17 February 2012

Things I Love Thursday - LVD and the grace of nature

Plate of vegan food

Once again the awesome London Vegan Drinks has pushed back Things I Love Thursday to become Things I Love Friday. And once again I'm feeling totally inspired by the food at Tibits pictured above. I've got to scour the veg stalls for kale and find out how they make their roasted veg taste so amazing.


Ice crystals

And isn't nature just amazing and, quoting Ben Goldacre, graceful. I took this photo of ice crystals while I was out walking last weekend. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this. A flat surface of snow with crystals on top. It was almost like moss.

Other stuff - *afternoon naps *cat stroking while blogging *codecademy *looking at hotels in Rome *thermal underwear *green lace gloves

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? Small but perfectly formed

I've a couple of evenings this week when I'm heading out to something straight after work. Although I'll likely turn up with bags galore anyway I am trying to reduce the amount of junk I carry round with. So this week's lunch needed to be packed up so that remains and bulky empty containers were at a minimum.

 So above you'll see a small container of steamed Brussels Sprouts, an apple, a purple silicon cake case filled with homemade vegan chocolate fudge and some vol-au-vent cases filled with carrot and sunflower seed dip (that stuff goes a long way...). 

It's a nice combination of tastes and textures but I think some heartier fare might be coming on in he weeks ahead. Plus I might need to accept that there are vegetables beyond Brussels Sprouts!

Monday, 13 February 2012

My weekend - snowy walks and busy doing what?

Snowy field

 Most weekends I go out at walk five miles. It's a habit I developed while doing marathon training a few years back. I really enjoy the exercise, the time to think and the opportunity to observe the changing seasons. This week's walk was particularly note able for the snow covered fields and the low temperature (-15!).

I kept busy all weekend it seems although I had to laugh when my parent's called and asked what I'd been up to. My mind went totally blank and I couldn't think of anything I'd be doing.

Other weekend antics and delights *scrambled tofu with the last spoonful of pasta sauce - it was good *cutting out fabric for sewing next weekend *fried carrot/sunflower seed spread, fake turkey and avocado sandwiches *fresh bed linen *hot showers with Karma soap *vegan pizza with banana *finding the vegan stuff on the Naked wines site *finishing The faith instinct and moving onto Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. I'm finding interesting links as regards the placebo effect already *it wouldn't be a weekend with out clearing out a cupboard or box - this week I tackled the gift wrapping supplies and sorted my button jar into colours.

Friday, 10 February 2012

The random thoughts in my head

 Isn't it just amazing the avenues your mind can wander off down?

I've been having a really busy but great time at work recently but it's very intense. So you might think that if i'm thinking about anything on my daily commute at present it would be the tasks that lie ahead each day.

It would appear my mind has other ideas. This morning I contemplated whether in Gone with the Wind There was any evidence that Rhett actually loved Scarlett. There is a tendency for the reader to think he must because Miss Melly says he does. So I found myself wondering if there was any other evidence in the text and if not why Miss Melly has such influence. Although she's considered a good person her behaviour clearly shows favouritism. I had to remind myself that it was a book and that they weren't real people.

Then my journey home was consumed with the sliding signifiers in the lyrics of Bon Jovi. What exactly is the behaviour that the girl referred to in the You give love a bad name? What is the game she is playing? The lyrics are so vague it's impossible to determine whether the offence is caused by her being a picture of virtue or by being some kind of sexual predator. 

Who knows what my mind will throw at me on Monday!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Things I Love Thursday - tea, snow and optimism

  •  I've always liked a cup of tea. Best served very hot with no milk or sugar and in a decent sized mug. However it did take me by surprise on Friday night when I opted for tea instead of wine! Maybe I'm turning into a proper adult...
  • Snow - ok I don't like the uncertainty with snow (will it still be heavy in the morning? Will I be able to get to work?) but a snowfall on Saturday night was just perfect to have an excuse for a Sunday pottering around the house and getting the most out of my thermal underwear.
  • More layers - I've spent years building up a great winter wardrobe with plenty of garments suitable for layering. The mild winter thus far had mean so many garments were lingering in wardrobe because it just wasn't cold enough for them. Happily the drop in temperature of late means that I can make use of some items I really love wearing. How's that for finding the glass half full?

Other stuff - *buying vegetables from markets *sewing *vegan pizza *routine *face pack Friday *codecademy *Making plans *staying on top


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? Beans and non setting icing

 I've been looking at the last bit of Quinoa in the jar for several weeks and thinking it needs using up. So naturally I then had to buy a load of other stuff to go with it!


Clockwise from top right:

  • Brussels Sprouts - more steamed deliciousness from my favourite vegetable
  • A vegan chocolate chilli cupcake topped with my icing that refused to set
  • Inspired by Veganomicon a mix of black beans, quinoa, apple, seasoning and a dressing of raspberry balsamic and olive oil. This is really good. It's a great combination of flavours and textures.
  • Pear - not too ripe just the way I like 'em

Monday, 6 February 2012

My weekend - the end of sobriety?

Desk with various green items on it

 The quality of this photo isn't great but I like that it has lots of green in it. Additionally my home desk is a place I spent a chunk of the weekend partly because the weather reduced outdoor activities but also because I really wanted to get up to date with the codecademy courses and projects.


This weekend was also my first after sobriety January. I really enjoyed a month of sobriety. My energy levels were consistently good and I felt cheerful. In fact I think it might have been my least blue January ever! And how was my return to the demon drink? Well Friday night I had no urge to have a drink. So I didn't. Saturday I had a glass of wine and felt sleepy so I switched to water. Who knows where things will go from here?


Other weekend fun: walking in the frozen world *buttercream icing that just keep consuming icing sugar and wouldn't set *reading The faith instinct by Nicholas Wade - the concept of religion is fascinating as is this book *facepack Friday *homemade vegan pizza with mushrooms, sweetcorn, cheese, chillies, pineapple and basil leaves *completion of 3 items on my sewing pile *that cool programme about vegetable based food on Radio 4 (plus the heads up from a friend and iPad app that allowed me to listen to it) *mushrooms, tofu and potatoes in miso gravy -mmmm! *bass practice 6 minutes a a time *the joys of long thermals as loungewear *more cupboard clear outs - anyone for some decaying swim hats?

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Things I Love Thursday - losing track of time, hand made and hand massage

Losing track of time - the battery needs replacing in the clock in the kitchen and dining area. I was about to rush to add it as a task (under 'Household') in Wunderlist when I realised it was actually having a positive effect. Rather than making me rush through things I just took as much time as they required which actually turned out to be much the same as without the clock watching. So I'm thinking I should worry less about the time I have to do things and just do them.

Hand and arm massages - I had on in my local Lush at lunchtime today and it  was awesome. I would never have believed that it could be so relaxing. I'm now planning/plotting to go to the Lush spa forth see if their massages are as awesome as the staff reckon (and I've no reason to disbelieve them!).

Hand knitted stuff - my mum knitted me a fabulous sweater dress from a 60s pattern. It's a loose knit, done on huge needles in vaguely punk green and black stripes. It's really warm, really cool and I love knowing that it was knitted just for me.

Other stuff - still loving codecademy * plans to take burlesque a step further *Ginger perfume *leftovers for dinner *getting my car washed *bus journeys *doing stuff a bit at a time