Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Welcome to Club20


Think back to late November. What were you doing? What did you have planned? You might have been thinking about everything you wanted to get done before Christmas. Or have been aiming to catch up with stuff by the start of 2013.
Now think forward to the start of September. What do you want to have achieved by then? Where do you want to be? What changes do you want to make?

Along with a number of others I’m taking part in Club20. Club20 is about deciding what you’d like to change in the next 20 weeks and then making it happen. Some of us are blogging about our progress over at changeyourlifein20weeks and it’s rather inspiring to see what other people are achieving bit by bit.

Why not join in? Simply pick three goals and work at them over the next 20 weeks. Look at your progress on a weekly basis and set actions to carry out in the coming week.

I’m going to be working on:

1. Decluttering, preferably for cash

2. Knitting a pair of socks

3. Making tofu

I’ll be reporting on my progress and explaining a little more about why I’ve chosen those goals here and on the Club20 blog. I’m hoping to be able to post a photo of an empty space with a block of tofu, some socks and a cash bag in the middle.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Seven for 7

Hanging out at London Vegan drinks at The Big Chill House. The roof terrace is fabulous and will be even better when the weather really warms up. Check out the herb garden.
Getting enthused about Club 20.

Taking advantage of the good weather to get on with allotment related stuff.

A shady deal!

Buying Beican from the Vegan Ronin and it is indeed awesomely delicious.

Plotting at the Stationery Show for Ink Drop Boxes.

Performing with the Burlesque Jems at the Pamper Me Vintage event at The Loop (and hanging out with Carla from Ducking Fabulous). The audience were delightfully appreciative.

Making paper pasties - single wear pasties perfect for avoiding wardrobe malfunctions - I'm popping some in my Etsy shop if you fancy a pair.


Monday, 22 April 2013

A lunchtime stroll

I try to make an effort to get out at lunchtime at least three times a week. It's obviously more appealing in better weather or if I have a mission like purchasing leeks or tracking down emerald green tights or buying a magic wand.

One of my incentives for getting out on lazy days is to re-visit points of interest in the surrounding area. So I admire houses with quirky features. Check the progress of building work and refurbishments. Admire colourful plants.


One house has a garden walk I am always keen to linger by. However when I passed I saw a gap and a scattering of broken bricks!

Broken wall
Despite my initial fears I soon discovered that most of what I was looking for was still in place.


And a few had even been spruced up.


Aren't they amazing! I'll certainly be eager to walk this way again and check out the progress on refurbishment.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

What's in my lunchbox this week ? Supermarket sweep

Lunch and a book
This lunch reminded me of the kind of thing you'd see in a supermarket magazine in a feature on lunchbox ideas.
  • Banana
  • Ready salted hula hoops
  • Ryvita with a 'fishy' bean topping - mix canelli beans, spring onions, salt, kelp powder, splash of oil, and chopped toasted almonds
  • To read - The possessions of Doctor Forrest by Richard T. Kelly
Lunch was delicious. The jury is stil out on the book. It's not what I expected but not in an altogether bad way...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

What's in my lunchbox this week? The future's bright


Soup and an orange

Lunch this week has turned out great. Really easy to prepare, quick to pack, and good to eat.

In the bowl - cauliflower and lentil soup roughly based on the recipe in La Dolce vegan so onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cauliflower, tomato purée, red lentils, and cumin seeds. Divinely warming for the uncertain April weather.

A mandarin orange - a friend claims my mother used to feed me these out of a tin with ice cream for breakfast. Personally I have no recollection but these were reduced and reminded me of the citrus fruits growing on trees in Barcelona. They are suitably juicy.


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Seven for 7

Cooking - home made soy milk. Obviously it was a brilliant idea to start with a recipe that makes bucket loads, although I have now consumed it all (its been a week of hot chocolate, porridge and pancakes).

Soy milk


Reading - Free Range Humans by Marianne Cantwell, How to be a woman by Cailtin Moran, The affair by Lee Child, The good soldier by Ford Maddox Ford, Lace by Shirley Conran. The best weeks are the ones full of books.

Working on - something top secret!

Planning - what to plant on my allotment and where - let's hope this growing season is better than the last

Enjoying - live music in the form of The Downside in a local pub - nothing like a dancing to amazing music on a Sunday night (especially when you don't have to go to work the next day).

Buying - a green skirt with polka dots

Enjoying - the company of friends, especially Naomi, Carla, and the other burlesque girls


Thursday, 4 April 2013

What's in my lunch box this week? Mushroom, cabbage, almond


Lunch box

The pantry in my house was refurbished a few weeks ago and right now I can see everything in it. So hopefully this will be an end to foods lurking around waiting to used up and instead I'll prepare and eat the stuff right away.

Clockwise from top right

  • Shredded sweetheart cabbage
  • Toasted Almonds - cant get enough of these since my Barcelona trip
  • Cream crackers - an excellent store cupboard standby
  • Mushroom spread - fried mushrooms mixe with dried onions, garlic power, chillies, salt, and pepper


Monday, 1 April 2013

9 things about Barcelona

Every Spring I celebrate the end of a busy time at work by taking a trip for a couple of days. This year I decided to visit Barcelona. Many years back, when I was in the sixth form there was the possibility of the college arranging a trip there. It never happened so I decided to fill this Barcelona sized gap in my experiences myself. Plus I probably enjoyed it more than teenaged self would have!

When I left the UK it was snowing. I arrived in Barcelona to warmth, sunshine and the super easy Aerobus from the airport to the city centre. That set the pattern for the next couple of days - the perfect easy going winter break.

So here are 9 things about Barcelona as observed by me.

Hidden courtyard garden
  1. Barcelona is a shy city. She wasn't as quick to give up her secrets as Rome, Paris or London. However the people are friendly and helpful and with a little wandering there are treasures to be uncovered, like the courtyard garden above.
  2. Park Guell is amazing. True you do have to walk up a hill or two to get at it but the definitely with the exercise.
Park Guell
3. Juicy Jones is an amazing eating experience. I'd looked at photos before going, tried to figure out the menu from pictures but it couldn't complete with the colourful reality. Whether you are vegan or not this is a must visit. I definitely recommend the homemade lemonade. However the jury is still out on the sun dried tomatoes. They had a fizzy thing going on quite unlike anything I've come across - I'm assuming they were trying a sparking wine marinade!
Juicy Jones

4. Barcelona is very visually busy. The pavements are textured. The street furniture isn't dull.

Barcelona street

The buildings have all kinds of flourishes.

Building in Barcelona

Then there are the buildings intended to stand out.

And sculptures all over the place

5. You can get vegan ice cream! Fat Gay Vegan recommended Gelaaati and he wasn't wrong. I went back twice and was thrilled with the clean, spacious shop, helpful staff and range of flavours. Probably a blessing here isn't a branch in Essex....

Ice cream

6. I thought there was a real contrast between the city part of Barcelona and the beach part. When I got off the Metro at the Barceloneta It was like arriving in Bournemouth only with better beaches! And so close to the city.

7. Gopal does a great vegan burger. I probably should have taken my time but the food was so awesome I just gulped it down. Plus the staff member who served me was great despite our language issues.

8. Days start slowly in Barcelona (and possibly across Spain?). Don't expect anything to really get going before 10am. Instead relax with a cup of coffee in the sunshine.

Cup of coffee

9. Tapas is everywhere. Vegan dishes can be a tad limited but you'll still find plenty. My personal favourite had to be the big dishes of Almonds.


I'd certainly recommend visiting Barcelona, meanwhile I'm daydreaming about where to visit next year.