Monday, 30 April 2012

My weekend -the promise

A promise is a promise. So when my sister asked me years ago if I'd go to see NKOTB with her if hey ever reformed I gave my word right way. After all it was a kind of calculated risk. The chances of NKOTB reforming seemed highly unlikely. How was I to know it wouldn't happen just once but twice.


Which was how I found myself at the O2 watching NKOTB and the Back Street Boys (who I'd always thought were from the UK). To be honest I had a much better time than expected. My Mum came along too. So I got to enjoy family time and see how retirement was suiting my Dad (clearly good - he looked chilled and arty). I enjoyed Thai food, some red wine and tried to look on the show as some kind of musical. Plus I had the amusement of popping to the toilets midway through the show to find them deserted apart from two blokes trying to get a plunger to work.

Happy girl
My sister was clearly really happy (particularly when Danny came into the audience near us).

Sunday morning was an opportunity for more family time with my niece. She was sleepy and grumpy to start with (must run in the family) but a little nap later and she was her usual cheeky, chirpy self.

A drive home in torrential rain later an it was the perfect day to spend in pyjamas with my sewing machine.

Weekend antics *cauliflower and lentil soup *lots of burlesque practice * showing off my Rome photos *an early night *tofu scramble and potato waffles *plotting trips to Somerset

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Things I love Thursday - shoes, robes and being alive


It's been another busy and tiring week where I will insist in trying to do far too many things at once. But it's good to be alive so what's making my life worth living this week.

High heels *spinach *rice and vegetable combinations *sleeping deeply *driving *dancing on a daily basis * wondering if I might be 'worth it' *kitchen blackboards and menu planning

*ticking stuff off my job list *Band of Skulls *tackling multistorey car parks *dressing robes with burlesque names *taking the kitchen scissors to my hair when the hairdresser failed to please *homemade pasta *time with friends

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? Awesome and easy

I love the week's when I've lots of different food in the fridge and cupboard. It means I can easily take a great selection of food to work each day. When I'm having an exciting, busy, productive week I eat loads. Don't forget the brain consumes calories like any other part of the body.


Pile of food
Here's loads of food, including the best oranges I've ever eaten, all packed up to take to work. Hope I've got room in my bag...

My main lunch dish this week was inspired by a tweet I saw linking to Steve Pavlina's ultimate rice bowl. This has got to be one of the easiest lunches ever plus I got to include spinach which seems to featuring in my meals on a daily basis thanks to an abundance on my allotment.

Ingredients for a meal
Heat up some leftover rice in the microwave then add a mix of sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce and spinach. Microwave for another 10 seconds longer (spinach can be a tad on the bulky side - zap into submission).

Rice dish in bowl
Stir in chopped avocado, sun dried tomatoes and spring onion. Shovel down throat in bliss.

A good lunch makes me happy. It's something to look forward to and hopefully will result in a happy belly all afternoon.

Monday, 23 April 2012

My weekend - higher heels, slower life

So as ever it was not the quietest of weekends for me. In fact I was on the go from Wednesday morning until Sunday afternoon with work, burlesque classes, London Vegan Drinks and a friend visiting.

Saturday afternoon I spent trawling charity shop. I offered to help a friend sort out a costume for an event later in the year and refashioning is easier than from scratch - especially when one is pressed for time! I did pick up a couple of pairs of high heels for me. Mainly for a burlesque but wondering if my life might slow down if my heels were higher.

Weekend antics *giving a 'how to make vegan pasta from scratch' demo * harvesting fresh spinach and rocket *walks in the fresh air *making caramel apple flapjacks *footsoaks *crazy patchwork progress

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? The ancient Mexican one


Lunchbox with food

I'm trying really hard to make use of what's on my allotment, in the freezer or in the pantry. Hence this week's combo of stuff.

Clockwise from top right:

  • Kiwi fruit - according to Eat the seasons no fruit is in season in the UK until mid-May so I'm really enjoying this very ripe Kiwi fruits.
  • Flatbreads - I'm getting so much better at making these
  • Spinach and rocket - from the allotment and doing really well. Guess they don't call it perpetual spinach for nothing.
  • Refried beans and sunflower seed 'cheese' - the cheese is my take on cashew cheese since I have an abundance of those. Spinach stalks taste great dipped in this. The Refried beans are a combination of black beans from the freezer and the most ancient Mexican Oxo cube!

Monday, 16 April 2012

My weekend - stuffed to the seams

My weekend was a splendid thing. I stuffed it to the straining seams with activities.

Aero tray bake

Inspired by Zoe at Conversation Pieces I had a crack at a vegan version of her Aero tray bake. Basically I replaced the butter with maragarine, swapped white chocolate for dark and left out the aero bar. It turned our delicious and sugar passed enough to remind me that I do best with it in small quantities. I still need to work on this as the base is a little too firm and the toppings rather sticky. That said from the fridge to a plate it looks good and tastes great.

Girl in green dress

I finally got round to downloading a timer app to iPad which means with some pillows for propping and a bit of practice I can do outfit photos without having to involve either another person or a mirror. The rather unflattering photo above is intended to show of a dress I'd been hard at work on rather than showcase my huge calves!

The history of this dress is that it started life as a curtain in my Grandmother's house. When we cleared it out I snaffled it. At the time I was a bit obsessed with wrap dresses and tops and clothing made without patterns. So I cobbled together a long sleeveless wrap top and wore it the pub an hour later. That was about 5 years ago and in the intervening period I've worn the top, unfinished seams and all to a whole number of places including a retirement party and a Japanese embassy reception. This Saturday I got the urge to finally sort all the things that had been bugging me about it (wrong length, one tie scratchy hat ribbon, hems unfinished). So I practiced doing French hems on a couple of inserts to add length, hemmed every raw edge in sight and swapped the scratchy ribbon. I thinks it's glinting to look great with green sequin shoes this summer.

Other weekend antics *starting a new dance class and being so inspired and excited I had to practice when I got home *spotting the first signs of new crops on my allotment *reading a combination of The Music Instinct (heavy going), H.P. Lovecraft (very odd dreams) and My Last Duchess (surprisingly compelling) *early starts to get the most out of the day

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Things I Love Thursday - work, blog, declutter

My job - I am blessed to do work I enjoy with fab colleagues that I hope makes a difference to the world. I enjoyed Easter at home but felt perfectly happy to go back to work on Tuesday.

Finding new blogs - I love finding new blogs to read. They satisfy my craving for information, inspire me and sometimes make me glad to be alive! My new favourite is Conversation Pieces which I stumbled upon following a link from A Domino Effect about an Aero tray bake (more on that and my vegan version next week hopefully).

Decluttering - the DVD and video cupboard in the corner of the front room got tackled on Easter Sunday and once again I am amazed at how much better a space looks when there is nothing excessive in it.

Other stuff - potato planting on Easter Sunday, vegan Easter eggs, choosing a burlesque name, early Christmas gift inspiration, Sudoku, Working through my sewing pile, The Walking Dead, green nail varnish

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

What's in my lunchbox this week? No sweet stuff

I seem to have had a dessert fail this week but I've made up for it with a selection of savoury dishes.

Clockwise from top right:

  • Whole meal pasta spirals - leftovers from the weekend that need eating up
  • Stuffed mushrooms - so into these at present. The stuffing is mushroom stalk, broccoli stalk, onion and the last smear of sunflower seed 'cheese'.
  • TVP in a satay style marinade. These would be amazing with rice but they work ok with pasta, mushrooms and broccoli.
  • Steamed broccoli - there's something about peanuts and broccoli

Monday, 2 April 2012

From weekend to weekend

So it always seems like I barely have time to catch my breath before I'm doing something else. Happily while the last ten days have been busy they've also been filled with enjoyable, novel activities, terrific people and good food.

So rewind to a Friday evening where i enjoyed a takeaway curry with neighbours. They always order loads of food and guess who got to take home (and pretty much live on) the leftovers for several days?

Saturday I got to pick my niece up from a wedding and take her home to sleep (and eat pizza and fridge cake) while her parents got a rate chance to party. Driving while singing 'the Grand Old Duke of York' is an experience that will stay with me.

Last week I got to fulfil a childhood wish and went to Rome. Hopefully I'll manage an entire post about it. The weather was great. The food was good. There were water fountains and ancient things everywhere. I got sore feet from walking. I found soy ice cream.

Anyway it was then onto another weekend involving more curry but with different people, a corset party with vegan Brownies, seed planting and home made pasta.

Life is wonderful.