Thursday, 29 December 2011
I spent the day at a spa with 3 friends. The day started early as I went to pick one of them up so we could all go in one car. However after a few days break from driving it was really nice to get in my car and have the roads pretty much to myself. The day involved a facial, swimming pools, an aromatherapy room, and snoozing on poolside. I was so relaxed I fell asleep in the car on the way (no need to panc folks - I wasn't driving).
Mimi and I then shared a pot of tea and toast in my kitchen before she got the bus home and I got back online.
Other stuff I'm delighted with:
Good reads, cups of tea, hummus, sleeping late, making plans for 2012, long socks.
Monday, 26 December 2011
They say there are always three books in your life; the one you've just read, throne you're reading, and the one you will read next.
So here are my three for Boxing Day 2012. The Murder Room was a fascinating read bringing together science, art and psychology. I did find the timescale used difficult and was surprised when the three men the book focused on we're suddenly identified as being in their 70s. Maybe it just represented how life goes by without us realising.
A friend recommended Ten minutes in the morning to me. I'm not bothered about the diet but I like the idea of having suggested Yoga exercises for each day. I do have a tendency to do the poses I like best or find easiest. I'm hoping it will be really good for my achy muscles.
And finally I am about to start World without end. I first read The Pillars of the Earth as a teen and look forward to seeing how things have changed in Kingsbridge. Plus a doorstep of a book like this is just the thing for Christmas break.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
As good a reason as any for not apologising for my choices.
Sent from my iPhone
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Monday, 24 October 2011
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Radio 4 - The radio in my car recently got tuned to Radio 4 and I'm now wondering why I've never taken this action before. I listen to Today before leaving the house in the morning and now I can continue to listen all the way to work. What I love is the intelligent presentation and the variety in programming. So last night coming home late from a Burlesque class I was able to enjoy a talk on how cultural perceptions of alcohol affect our response to it while earlier in the week I discovered the fascinating topic of LA street food and this afternoon it was nursing as a graduate profession.
Family - Between living at far flung corners of the planet and leading really full lives I often don't seem to see my family for ages. This weekend was a real treat as I had a highly enjoyable phone conversation with my mum and then got to spend the evening in the company of my niece and her parents (my sister and almost brother-in-law). I won't bore on with the proud auntie stuff but ... Now I just need a good chat with my Dad to round things off.
Stretching - I can see why cats stretch with such pleasure. When your muscles ache there is nothing like stretching them out. Now if someone can just invent a desk I can work at lying down...
Other stuff - Travallier mins, produire plus, lots of water, cashew cheese, time out just to breathe, Pinterest, cups of tea, being thrifty, having a plan, early nights, empty moonlit roads.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
It seems like I've always had achy shoulders and back. How much might have varied on how tense and tired I was but I tended to figure it was just my 'default' setting. That and sore throats to go with everything. I thoguht myself lucky that at elst I wasn't the kind of person who vomited at everything.
Then back in 2002 I took up yoga. It was awesome. I loved the class, thoguht the teacher was amazing and my shoulders stopped aching all the time. In fact once I'd got into the swing of yoga if I felt my shoulders tensing up I'd make a concious effort to relax them.
But then things began to change. The classs stopped running. I switched to another near work and took up Pilates. Then the yoga class closed and I was working on the other side of town. I tried to get to classes but things kept cropping up.
Not a problem, I told myself. I will still have regular accupressure or masaage. I can just do yoga at home. Yep, I said, 10 minutes before bed will be perfect. I can stretch during the day too, I thought and set an hour alarm on my PC.
Alas I have been tumbling down a slippery slope. I'm inconsistent. I stretch some days and not others. I tend to do exercises that I like rather than a good all round selection. I've put off joining a new class on the grounds that I'm busy at work and don't want any more evening taken up.
All of which has put where I am now. The therapist delivering my accupressure on Monday commented on how sore and tense my muscles were. So I need to look for a way of ensuring that I get the relaxation I need. Although there is lots to be said for doing yoga or pilates at home I think I really need a class. An hour or so of focusing on stretching my muscles will be a physical and mental break from everything else in my life. Plus if I commit to doing it at lunchtime it will force me to take a lunch break, get away from my desk and out of the building. I manged to do a driving elsson in lunch hour every week for a yearso there is no reason I can't do it for something else.
So I've added to my Wunderlist to find a lunchtime class within the next 2 weeks. Life's hard enough without taking the small steps I can to make it easier.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Thursday, 6 October 2011
I love my job - When so many people are thankful just to have a job job I'm totally blessed to have a job I love, working with amazing colleagues and without a long commute into London each day. Yes I do long days. Yes sometimes I get frustrated or frightened or disheartened by my work. Yes I'm often tired. But I believe in what I'm doing. I'm challenged by what I'm doing. And to think that when I that I didn't even plan to end up doing this!
Dancing - I went to a Burlesque class last night and it was fun and it stretched some muscles that clearly haven't been stretched for a while. Plus I have a good friend doing the same class and got to wear one of my vintage petticoats. What's not to like?
Meeting other vegans - Last week after complaining that I didn't know any other vegan I discovered that a girl who worked in an office down the corridor was vegan. Alas I only found this out while signing her 'sorry you're leaving card'. Happily I got another change to meet a load more vegans at London Vegan Drinks. I had such a good time. I didn't actually talk to masses of people because I was having such a great time with the first people I started talking to. I only managed one drink and totally failed to eat because there was so much to discuss - language, open university curse, travel, pesto, posh places in Essex. I'll just have to make sure I attend the next one. I seriously don't think I've been to something that made me feel quite so excited about life and all its possibilities in quite some time.
Other stuff - doughnuts, reading outside on hot days, fresh bed linen, planning 90% of my Christmas shopping, time at my sewing machine, relaxation, cold vegan pizza for lunch.
Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Thursday, 22 September 2011
First up has to be my health. After last week's cold I'm so happy to be feeling myself again. It's so true that you don't miss what you had until it's gone so I'm making an extra effort not to put to much strain on my body and to be good it. I've clearly been doing soemthing right as during a check up the other day I discovered that not only is my blood pressure about the best it's ever been but apparently I've lost a stone since last December. I did my clothes were getting a bit loose, however I think this is the result of swapping cups of tea for glasses of wine on a regular basis giving me a clearer head, more energy and less drunken junk food nibbling. Let's here it for tea and health.
I usually like to set aside Saturday afternoon's to indulge in a spot of sewing but mine have all been so busy of late. However the urge to get some stuff moving through my sewing pile just wouldn't shift. Happily I've discovered that if I do a tiny bit of preparation in advance and leave the sewing machine out and threaded that I can easily manage 20 minutes when I get home from work. I've just got squeeze all the clothes I've altered or repaired back in my wardrobe now.
Thirdly I've very excited at the London Vegan Drinks meet up taking place next Thursday. I don't think anyone else I know is a vegan and I've been thinking it would be cool to meet some people who share my lifestyle choices. Plus Tibits is on my list of places I want to visit (but am unlikely to).
Other stuff - tea made in a proper tea pot, the heating going on at work, weekend plans, unbroken nights, making music, @markdavidson, 93 days to Christmas, wonderful friends.
Wednesday, 21 September 2011
The only bright spots were that (a) I didn't have a blocked or runny nose - such are the perks of a vegan diet and that (b) I couldn't do anything but the basics.
In a strange kind of way not being able to do more than the bare minimum necessary was very liberating. Usually I've got dozens of things I'm trying to keep track of, keep on top of and stay ahead of in all spheres of my life. Plus it's not enough for me to simply pay these things lip service I've got to make a really super special amazing job of everything to meet my own high standards.
Last week I was forced to reconsider my standards. I had to accept that dinner might be on the uninspired side. That my outfits wouldn't be perfectly planned. That I wasn't going to manage to do any of the stuff I had scheduled on Wunderlist. That I wouldn't be playing bass for an hour each day. That clothes weren't going to get put away. That emails and phone calls likely wouldn't be returned. That I wasn't going to start planning Christmas or make decisions about my pension.
And the world didn't end as a result of me not doing stuff. Our weekend house might not of had their visit planned down to the pre dinner snacks but they had somewhere to sleep and didn't starve. So while I clearly don't want to spend every night lounging on the sofa after a dinner of ready salted crisps I need to remember that sometimes it doesn't hurt to take a break. Everything that I'm picking up again this week feels fresher for the time away. I suppose this is why people take holidays. It's not the break from routine, it's the break from the person that the routine makes you.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Currently on my 'isn't life great' list are:
Burlesque - I enjoyed the class so much at the weekend that I've just signed up for a 5 week course
Delicious stuff to eat - cakes that aren't made with bread flour, chilled plums, loads of fresh (and sometimes home grown vegetables), soya milk porridge for breakfast and the occasional bag of McCoys ready salted crisps (it's the crinkle cut that does it).
Crazy websites - currently floating my boat are betterbooktitles.com -a site that suggests alternative and often more accurate titles for well known books - and bonkerworld.net - picked this one up from Seth Godin's email it features some very funny, accurate and thought provoking cartoons (although that just doesn't do it's scope justice).
Other stuff - cups of tea, bass playing, online stuff, real life stuff, meeting up with friends, being busy, sleeping well, funny autobiographies (who would have Richard Branson's would be so amusing?), keeping warm on cold nights.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
On Sunday I went to a burlesque class with the fabulous Bettsie Bon Bon who informed us that she had done just that. I'm not about to do the same. For starters I already do my dream job.
But Bettsie was inspiring and a reminder that to get to what you want you have to put in the effort.That hard work, patience and determination will get you there. Plus that your dream probably won't be as glamorous as you imagine it to be.
So, is there a vegan alternative to the feather boa?
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
- Potatoes, aubergines and chickpeas roasted with Harrisa paste and a nice helping of Runner beans gently steamed (got to work through that glut)
- Plums - I adore these. They are a great combination of sweet and sour.
- Salad of lettuce, spinach and basil (all home grown)
- Leftovers cake - an interesting mix of some kind of sweet powdered tea drink and past their best dried fruits soaked overnight. Plus I did not use strong flour for this so for one I have cake that is light rather then chewy!
Thursday, 25 August 2011
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Here it is - the post V festival lunch box. This lunch box is also a reminder of why you should never food shop when you are hungry (I just popped into the Coop for some odds and ends on my way home from the hairdressers and ended up going home loaded down with food).
Clockwise from top right:
Mango chutney - Yes, it's an Indian takeaway leftover. Yes, I am on a clear out the fridge kick.
Pakoras, samosas and bhajis from an Indian snack pack
Home grown runner beans lightly steamed and served with a dab of vegan margarine
Monday, 15 August 2011
This week's lunch box is the green and gold edition!
Clockwise from top right:
Corn on the cob
home grown runner beans lightly steamed
Mini refried bean tacos (from M&S and much reduced - I find it hard to resist food in the reduced section) on a bed of home grown lettuce
Plum and peach cake
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
I'm thinking seriously (once again) about how I eat, what I eat and when I eat. Currently I eat breakfast about 6.30 am. This means that if I wait until 12.30pm to eat my lunch I am very hungry and likely to snack if the opportunity presents itself. Then I get hungry mid afternoon. So I'm trying to spread my food out over the course of my working day and to pack more of it. This could do with a few more veggies but I'm sure I'll get the balance right in time.
Clockwise from bottom left in black/red containers:
Rye crackers and a plum
Apple and blackberry cake loosely based on a recipe from Vegan with a Vengance. Blackberries and apples foraged locally.
Cucumber and home grown salad leaves - I'm always thrilled when I find a cucumber that hasn't be suffocated in plastic wrap. This one was from my local Co-op.
Cashew cheese - this stuff is awesome. The recipe and variations can be found over at the always inspiring Lunch Box Bunch.
The tub on the side contains a mix of spaghetti, quinoa, peas, runner beans, home made vegan mayo and chillies.
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Fruit – I’m mad about fresh fruits of all kinds at present. I guess it does help that it’s the middle of August and not January or I’d be overdosing on apples and pears.
Getting on with it – I made three phone calls today that I’ve been putting off for months and just like that I could cross them off my job list. I need to remember this feeling and stop putting things off.
Other stuff – driving to new locations, working by an open window in the twilight, lunches in the park, huge courgettes, lego pirate ships, late night post band practice curries, plans for lots of burlesque related activities in the autumn, Percy Pig going vegetarian (if not vegan…)
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
clockwise from top right:
Fresh pineapple - I got two massively reduced ones so one got chopped for consumption, the other chopped for the freezer
Kiwi fruit and blueberries - I know it's the middle of the British soft fruit season but I've been craving Kiwi fruit for days and finally I give in. They are delicious!
Rice and chickpeas - Iwas cooking up a load of chickpeas for the freezer so I kept a cup back to throw in with some rice.
Courgettes in herbed breadcrumbs - I'm ace at growing courgettes and have enjoyed them in a variety of ways - stuffed, raw and grated, fried in tomato sauce. This is an adaptation from Vegan with a Vengance and it's very good. It reheats well in the microwave and goes well on toast too!
Monday, 1 August 2011
I picked this up because I wanted something lightweight. Plus I thought it would be fun to cringe at all the references to 80s style. What I had failed to take into account is that this is a book where the plot hinges on time travel. Therefore it’s science fiction. So just a few pages in I found that I was enjoying this far more than I expected and for different reasons. Ok the plot line isn’t great but there is an element of whodunit that had me trying to work out who, when, where and why. Surprisingly gripping while being a cross between Back-to-the-future and Sweet Valley High.
Worth Dying For – Lee Child
I like Lee child books. I find Jack Reacher fascinating. However I find there are two sorts of stories in the series. The first type is those with a strong human element. Reacher will often be solving some kind of puzzle in these and we’ll learn more about him and his life. They tend to finish up with 20 pages of serious violence but the journey there makes up for it. Then there’s the second type which seem to be essentially action thrillers recounting in detail weapons, battle and attack plans. I find that I scan read passages describing this kind thing in same way that I do Hardy’s descriptions of the countryside. Still it filled an hour or two and there was a tiny glimpse of that human part of Reacher at the end that was worth waiting for.
Wrong About Japan – Peter Carey
I’m interested in Japan and read a review of this slim volume some years back. However whatever the review said it clearly didn’t inspire me enough to want to go and find a copy. I grabbed this off a shelf in the library as I was passing (the bright cover helped it to stand out). It’s an interesting piece. Peter thinks he can encourage his shy son by encouraging his love of Japanese comics. The ultimate encouragement being a trip to Japan. It seems thought that Peter has his own reasons fro returning to Japan in that eh wants to find the ‘real Japan’. Of course, the book isn’t anywhere near big enough to even scratch the surface of Japanese culture and that I think is the point the Carey is trying to make. It doesn’t just apply to Japan either. We can’t expect to understand a culture that we are not part of. What we do instead is take aspects and use for our own purposes and to reflect our own culture.
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Decluttering - One of the tasks I will be undertaking during my time off is a clear out of our utility room. We finished puttung cupboards in it 2 years ago but it's never been properly organised. I'm slo looking at other bits around the house and embarking on another round of general clearing out.
My cooking mojo - This is really another take on decluttering but much inspired to cook stuff at present and use up things in the pantry and freezer. So chick peas are soaking, popcorn will be made, and another chunk has been hacked off the monster block of spinach pesto in the freezer. Plus I made vegan croissants at the weekend from scratch.
Other stuff - making adavance plans for gift free christmas (let's focus on the company and the food), wunderlist, stripy socks, cool stuff on the South Bank, toenails painted different shades of green.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Except on Monday’s I’m not done. I’ve got to dash inside, have a speedy cup of tea and a snack, get changed, get back in the car and go to my belly dance class.
And I haven’t wanted to for the past two Mondays. All I’ve felt like doing is slumping on the sofa with a book and a cup of tea with a view that at some far distant point I will go prepare some food.
I do think that part of the issue might be that my band practices every Tuesday evening. What was once a possible night for practice has now become fixed. So That means that between rolling out of bed on Monday morning and diving under the duvet on Tuesday night I seem to be on the go. Which isn’t a bad thing and does mean it’s half way through the week before I know it.
But maybe this is my mind telling me that I need to take things a bit easier. That I shouldn’t rush around all weekend trying to get ahead of myself. That I should consider leaving work a little bit earlier on a Monday night so I’ve got time to relax a bit before my class.
Or I could look for some other class to take on a different night. I enjoy belly dancing. I’ve got some vegan dance shoes that still have lots of wear in them. However I’m wonder in if an hour of throwing myself around to music in a different style on another night of the week would work better for me.
How do you know when it’s time to move on? How do you know when you need to make a change?
Friday, 22 July 2011
It's been raining a lot this week and I thought that I was getting a good idea of what driving in wet conditions was like. Until Tuesday evening, when just a few miles from home a sudden torrential rain storm turned what had been a dry road with traffic moving at around 70 mph to something much scarier. Suddenly it was like trying to drive through a swimming pool. Visability dropped. The window screen wipers struggled to make a difference. Speeds massively reduced. The road was inches deeep in water. All you could do was look at the tail lights of the car in front, keep moving slowly and hope it stopped soon.
You can't get past nature. You either have to live with or suffer through it.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Home cooked food made from fresh ingredients - I seem to have slipped into rather bad habits when eating recently. Fruit and vegetables have been rather lower on the list than they should be and I've been indulging in lots of vegan cheese and processed stuff. Monday night I did pasta, quinoa and peas and topped it with slices of aubergine coated in herby breadcrumbs and shallow fried (inspiration from Vegan with a Vengeance). It tasted awesome. Leftovers have worked well for lunch and I feel so much better.
Melissa shoes - I love my 4 pairs of Melissa shoes and they are proving to be a mainstay of my summer wardrobe. they are comfortable, look great and are ideal for both hot days and rain storms! Anyone else find that if they wear them with socks (I know plastic shoes and socks sound wrong) the socks won't stay up?
Other stuff - feeling the fear and doing it anyway, learning to love fifth gear, Wunderlist, cups of tea, being inspired, wandering around charity shops.
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Uttered frequently as I realise that I've been in a new job for over a year, an auntie for over year and playing the bass for two and half. When you are in the middle of things you believe that they will go on forever in a completely unchanged manner but tend to forget how utterly things have changed from how they were before. Your band breaks up. You start a new one. Your job changes. You discover new annoyances and pleasures from the role. Your routine changes but you still complain about having to get out of bed so early.
In some ways that nothing is forever means that you need to worry about it less because you don't know what it will become or how it will turn out but know that it will be different to now.
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Lunchtimes in the park - It's good to be outside with my lunch and a book. I like looking at the people in the park and the occasional duck on the river. Whether it's hot or cooler the weather makes a change from my icebox office.
Other stuff - playing bass, feeling strangely calm, List making, home made pizza vegan cheese.
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Such is my obsession with Wunderlist and the way it links up between my phone and various computers I use (although it doesn't like IE6 very much) that I utter this abut every ten seconds.
Plus inspired by Raptitude I've been reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. I must confess that I've been working through it in small easily digested chunks. there are loads of thing int his book that have really made me thing but the main one is that if I've added it to my list then I don't have to worry about it (as long as I empty my collection buckets regularly).
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Chill out time - I have a busy life but between work, commuting, belly dance shows, band practice, allotmenting and other bits and pieces I seemed to be running around with the time to actually enjoy what I was doing. Things seem to be slowing down a bit or I’m getting really well organised.
Discovering new parks - I realised this weekthat I had never visited the park by the museum and it was within lunchtime walking distance. It was quite busy and put me in the mind of Topsy and Tim go to the park but throughly enjoyed the winding paths. It was nice to just wander around and think good thoughts.
Other stuff – resolving the tights issue (just in time for the heat wave), getting to grips with third gear again, reasons to by a P bass, breakfast with a friend, hash browns,