Friday, 31 May 2013

Forty for 40

My 40th birthday is well over a year away. But it's close enough. I only realised just how close it was talking about potential birthday celebrations for a friend who I suddenly realised was the same age as me.

I know that reaching this age is considered to be the end of youth. As a child 40 seemed very old. I thought that by I'd have my life all sorted out and that I'd have somehow overcome my lack of interest in marriage and children. That I'd wake up at 40 to find I was a mother, a wife and all settled.
However my interests over the years seem to have gone off in all kinds of other directions. Rather pleasing I seem to have turned into an eccentric aunt with lots of exciting things going on in her life.
Setting goals for Club 20 (see has made me think about what I could do between now and then. Small things I never seem to find a couple of hours to try. Larger things that would require planning but be fun to do. So I'm drawing up a forty for 40 list. Lots of the things on it I would have done anyway. However I like the thought of being able to look back from the heady heights of 40 and admiring the richness of my life.
And then start on fifty for 50. After all wonderful things can happen in a year or so. Imagine what one could do with a decade!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Things I Love Thursday

It's tofu - in case you were wondering
  • Pulling the right thread for a jumper to unravel – because it’s more fun than endless unpicking
  • Progress on goals with Club 20 – tofu making, knitting socks, decluttering for cash – find out more at
  • Amazing vegan food - because between Krazy Korean lunch club, Vegfest, my own cooking, and supplies from Vx I have one happy belly
  • Time with friends - self explanatory but no less wonderful
  • Sunshine – it’s a novelty
  • Decluttering – less stuff, more space
  • Playing with my band - we're sounding really tight and it's fun
  • Using a Pomodoro timer online – great for getting me to stop procrastinating and get started on stuff
  • Green glittery shoes - I’ve yet to find an outfit they don’t go with
  • Asparagus and potato soup the recipe for this in VWAV is amazing nad extra yummy made with Jersey Royals
  • Green mascara - because I never realised it could look so good

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What's in my lunch box? Inspiration strikes

This was a truly delightful lunch and so fast to pull together. It was a bank holiday Monday evening and my challenge was to prepare some lunches for the week ahead. Flushed with inspiration from my various recent activities (Divine home-made food at Secret vegan lunch club, the vegetable glories that are Borough market, sunshine, music and yet more food at Vegfest) I whipped up the following in no time at all.
Clockwise from top right:
Tandoori tofu – This was based on a recipe by Rose Eliot for tandoori paneer. She suggested trying it with tofu. What makes it really excellent is that it doesn't need to marinade for hours. I messed around the recipe a bit because I had lots of fresh ginger to hand and baked instead of grilling but a speedy and tasty triumph. It warmed nicely in the microwave too.
Flatbreads – I've been experimenting with making these a bit thicker. They take a tiny bit longer to cook but are still massively handing as they are fast, tasty and the ingredients are always to hand.
Radishes – These worked well against the warm tofu and thick flatbreads
Baked rhubarb and raspberry oatmeal – This is based on a recipe from Scandi – Home, a most delightful blog. Only I missed out the almonds and cinnamon. And chucked in raspberries and coconut. They are somewhere between a flapjack and a crumble. I bet they would be even better with warm coconut milk poured over (rather in the style of Weetabix and hot milk).

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

What's in my lunchbox this week? Bobby's Girl Vintage

I tend to take food with me when I’m out and about. Unless my outing involves a planned visit to a vegan event, restaurant or shop I can never be certain what I’ll be able to eat. I can get by on jacket potatoes and baked beans if necessary but it’s so much nicer to take my own food. A girl can only eat so many baked beans!
Saturday I was manning a stall for Ink Drops Boxes at Bobby’s Girl Vintage fayre in Chelmsford. We were offering stationery pick ‘n’ mix and hoping for a chance to chat with customers and share the joy of hand written letters. Naturally I packed lunch. You don’t get much more vintage than a eating a packed lunch while wearing a 1950s dress and enthusing about letters appearing on your doormat. It just needed a flask of tea to make it really vintage. And maybe a slightly more traditional contents to my lunch box….

Clockwise from top right:
Habas fritas – deep fried broad beans – these tasted rather sweeter than usual
Rice paper wraps – filled with brown rice noodles, spring onions and alfalfa

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The good hour that lasts all week


Regular readers might have noted that I talk a lot about needing to slow down and relax. However I then rush off to ten more things instead of stopping and staring out of the window, or having a nap, or meditating.

Last Friday I took action! Back in January I'd revieved a voucher for a massage at the Lush Spa. I duly booked in with the King's Road branch and prepared myself for The good hour.

In order to enjoy to the maximum the spent Friday morning 'clearing the decks', and then got some lunch. I visited the Veggie Table at Borough Market and had their fantastic vegan burger and a salad box.

Not only was it delicious, it was really filling. I did buy some cupcakes (Lemon cheesecake and English rose for the record) from Ms Cupcake was too full to even take a bite (they were consumed over the weekend just in case anyone is worried they went to waste).

The Veggie Table doesn't have any tables to eat at but is right next to Southwark Catherdal. So I joined the crowds and ate there.

My lunch spot

I've rarely seem a church so full of life and wondered if this was how things would have been in medieval England - different spheres of life mixing.

I had ever intention of taking loads of photos at the Lush spa but it just didn't happen. So I'll have to describe it instead. That said I think it's difficult to do. How can I convey the attention to detail in the decor? Or the way I felt like I was in sitting the kitchen of the wise woman of the village? Or how the sea shanties added to the experience? Or the moment when it seemed that the floor of the room was flooded? Or how I had sea legs after?

What I can say with certainty is that I was totally relaxed after. I slept beautifully on Friday night and felt much less frantic than usual on Saturday. A week on my shoulders are still loose and there is a calmness in my mind.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Spring Fling 2013

So what can I tell you about Spring Fling?

Where did the jukebox go?

It takes places in Wincanton, Somerset - the twin town of Anhk Morpork. It's the partner to Hogswatch.

There's plenty to do. Activities take place in The Bear or The Dolphin, and are organised by the fans for the fans. Some people dress up, some don't. The theme for 2013 was The Truth and goings on included karaoke, photography workshops, interestingly shaped vegetable competitions, a charity auction, poetry writing, a busk tucker trial (sponsored by the Assassin's Guild) and a mini cabaret (organised by Davina and I).

Igor's box of tricks

If you feel like getting away The Nog has among other things a nice garden and cherry beer. The former Uncle Tom's Cabin has a fine selection of ciders hay bales!

Spring Fling 2013 was my first opportunity to perform my own burlesque choreography. A nice slow glove strip to Bill Wither's Ain't no sunshine with plenty of scope for pulling faces at the audience. Smudge did me some delightfully sleazy red lights, Mr Boggis sorted the music and we put poetry, other dances, a recital by the wonderful Pam and some ritual audience humiliation on either side.

Where did my glove go?

Much fun was had by all and I shall be back for Hogswatch with a new routine or two, a couple of Paper Dolls in tow and some knitted sausages. On note of which if you are a vegan The Bear is very accomodating and is working on being more vegan friendly.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

What's in my lunch box this week? Food for the weather

Last week I didn't expect a rise in temperature. So I prepared and packed lunches of cooked rice, Asian marinated soy chunks and cabbage to be heated and mixed in the microwave. It tasted delicious was wasn't easily portable to the park, a ten minute walk away.

This week I have an entirely portable lunch although the temperature was lacking a certain something (warmth?) at lunch time today. Maybe it'll be more suitable tomorrow?

From clockwise top middle:

  • Satsuma - still can't get enough of orange things since my Barcelona trip.
  • Salad of home grown spinach, rocket, oregano and alfalfa.
  • Radishes - not home grown but I do have some in the works (or should that be in the ground?).
  • Roasted chick pea with Maldon salt, nutritional yeast flakes, chilli flakes and oil.
  • Tarts made with sesame pastry from a Linda McCartney cookbook, filled with puréed Broccoli.
  • Woman on the edge of time by Marge Piercy - first came across this in Popco by Scarlett Thomas and have finally gotten round to immersing myself in it.