life

looking-towards-the-sun-mycreative

I’ve seen it around a bit and maybe the idea that February is the worst month of the year moved to March (at least for this year). I kind of feel like everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere has had a lingering sense of winter rather than the hopefulness of Spring and after reading Decor 8’s post questioning whether the weather doesn’t impact on happy people I have to say I feel it does because yes I am still mostly happy but dai (Italian for ‘come on’) I could do with some full-on spring already! It definitely takes the spring out your step sometimes when the sky is grey and you thought you could stop wearing your winter coat and then you can’t.

This month hasn’t been helped by a lingering cold/flu thing (the last week of which included waking up in coughing spasms about every two hours – though yay for first full night’s sleep last night). Plus a full schedule at work and ignoring working on my dissertation, which inevitably leads to guilt and anxiety that I’m not going to finish it. Plus not working out because I just don’t have the energy after a bad nights sleep. And not even reading because it requires a functioning brain and scrolling through pinterest is easier.

Another feeling that struck me this month is a sort of jealousy. Not a feeling that I am used to really. And not a sort of outright “I want that” or “I want their lives”. I am increasingly seeing my ‘blog buddies’ (mostly people I have actually met and truly like) working towards their dreams. And it is that that I am jealous of. Yes they have real lives and normal people problems but they have an idea of what it is they want and they are making it happen! Perhaps it is my looming birthday (and related thoughts of passing time and the reflection on how I am doing so far)? I kind of wonder what I am really doing and the question that I am having problems answering is ‘What is my big dream? What do I want to do with my life (in terms of how I make money and find creative fulfilment)?’. I mean I love like 80% of my life (and some days even 100%) but I know I am not doing the sort of work that I imagined myself doing a few years ago. But is that imagined life still what I want and perhaps more importantly realistic? Because a bit of realism is needed when you need to pay bills and you want to travel. Anyway a lot of questions.

So that is where I am at the moment, but always hopeful and optimistic.

That said I have been procrastinating on something at least semi-productive. It involves photography but not in a way I would have thought but we will see where it goes. It also involves learning a bunch of new skills not related to photography (ooh cryptic). It is always exciting to learn something new (at least for me) so that will be interesting. I just need to finish my rather unloved dissertation.

So what does April hold? Hopefully more productivity than procrastination. Getting a bulk of my dissertation out of the way. Turning 31 in less than a week! Hopefully more woohoo than meh (Siobhan and I decided they were the opposites of each other).

How are you doing?

read ‘em and eat

read-em-and-eat-med-inspired-toppings

Just a short one today as my  lurgy seems to have caught up with me.

READ ‘EM

I fell into the TEDx bucket. This one on how to stop screwing yourself over was interesting. I’ve mentioned before my interest with words and the power they have. Stop saying fine is something that I am adding to my list (along with I’m busy as a response to how I am).

Beth Kirby’s Instagram photos from Japan are getting me excited about our trip later this year. Just need to book some places!

I need to give up eating rubbish snack (chocolate addicts raise their hands). After reading In Defence of Food I thought a more lifestyle friendly solution is to just eat ‘sweet snacks’ I make myself (and eating good quality gelato because honestly that isn’t going to stop happening). This healthy chocolate fudge is definitely going to the top of my list.

EAT

This is the first non-liquid breakfast I have had in about a month. I am loving those smoothies man! Anyway, some days pancakes are required (especially when your lingering cold has you up from three in the morning). The toppings on this one are kind of Greek/med inspired (a combo of Crete holiday dreaming and  paging through the Toast catalogue that I had my mom send me (priorities right!?)). Banana (because always), dried fig, almonds (not chopped because I was too lazy) and a sprinkling of halva. I also added a drizzle of tahini after the pic because I just can’t . Also great on a porridge or muesli and I am pondering a smoothie combination with this too.

read ‘em and eat

smoothie-in-bed-mycreative

This week I got attacked by a throat and ear lurgy. And I had some deadlines at work. So it has been pretty full on. But I realised that a ‘bad’ week in my life at the moment is really pretty darn good still. Yes, I still have a terrible relationship with chocolate (meaning I eat it everyday and still haven’t shifted any weight off this year). Yes, I have no idea what I am doing with my life in the big picture sense. But man is my day to day life awesome. And just appreciating the ‘nows’ makes you super happy. I mean I seriously feel like I am on some natural prozac all the time. I am wondering how I can bottle this feeling for future ‘down periods’. I’ll let you know if I am successful.

READ ‘EM AND EAT

I am always in love with Siobhan’s Friday link-ups. (Do you have any good ones?)

I want Tiffany’s office space, or for her to come over and magic my rental into something so beautiful.

I am starting to eye up birthday cakes and this hazelnut and mascarpone one is currently leading the race.

These scarves are beautiful.

I might be going hysterical but I found this incredibly amusing (warning it is only cats on the internet).

This project is a great way to get you off your phone and help give water to children in need.

EAT

Um, another smoothie … sorry they are all I am eating for breakfast at the moment! So many combinations. I might try a beet smoothie soon though …

Check out the recipe for this one on Instagram. The one above (had in bed this morning) is the same but looks more chocolatey because I used a different leaf with a pink stem so the colour changed. There was no chocolate in it. But it was still green in spirit.

read ‘em and eat

greens-mango-smoothie

READ ‘EM

Just a light list this week. I want to go our and play with the sun!

We are never ready. If only I knew what I wasn’t ready for …

I love these paintings found via The Jealous Curator. I think it must be because they are so photographic.

These cookies look delicious and no making required.

Wisdom from Instagram.

EAT

I made another winner of a smoothie this week. Actually two but I shared the other one (apples and hazelnut) on Instagram.

This one used just a few leaves of chard (it is chard right?) that I picked up because it had a pretty colour. I learnt a lesson last week that a smoothie can have too much green in it so I added just a wee bit to my smoothie. Light green is better than no green right?

Anyway the ingredients for 2 servings are:

  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 milled flaxseed
  • 2 frozen mango slices (I assume it is about 1/3 of a fresh mango)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 blood orange
  • 3 or more leaves of chard
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (heaped)
  • 2 cups water

on-the-kindle-defence-of-food-mycreative

Inspired by Circle of Pine’s #theyearinbooks and my new kindle …

I’m not one to give critical book reviews, I just don’t think I am that discerning. So I think I might stick to sharing what I learn from some of the non-fiction books that I read. I am kind of hoping to read at least two books a month. One fiction and one non-fiction. Increasing my literary intake is also necessary as the quality of my English seems to be deteriorating, although my Italian is only improving at an incredibly slow rate. Anyway!


This month I read a book-book, In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan. Mr Pollan and his book and ideas have been doing the circuit for a while but I spotted it on the library shelf at work so thought I would loan a book from a library!

Without giving the book away the principle behind the book is “Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants.” It is the first line of the book so really not giving it away.

It is very American focussed, but considering the American diet is pretty much going everywhere and I don’t think the British diet is that much better it is still relevant to other nations. Pollan basically scrutinises what he calls ‘nutritionism’. Food just isn’t food anymore because scientists tried, and still try, to reduce food down to its component parts and gave advise without really knowing what they were talking about leading to ‘component’ advice like the low-fat 80s and 90s and diets we get now which are low carb, high fat, high protein etc. Food exists within a context. You don’t just eat protein, carbs or fat. You eat a carrot (within the object of the carrot), within a meal, within a lifestyle and a culture.

One point I found particularly interesting and hadn’t really thought about is that as humans we can survive and be healthy on very varied diets. But not the ‘Western Diet’. Think for example the differences between the Masai who basically eat blood and meat, some cultures which are vegetarian, some like the Inuit who eat incredibly fatty diets. And they are healthy. But when we get to the Western diet which is full of food which is no longer really food we are becoming really really unhealthy.

His advice is to get back to a starting point of eating actual real food. Ones that don’t have hundreds of ingredients. Ones that your great grandmother would recognise.

Well worth the read if you are getting tired of all the fad diets.


On the fiction front I read Gone Girl. The first half of the book I was a bit bored and wondering what all the fuss was about but then it got interesting. Still not the most amazing book ever but worth the read. I’ll be interested to see how the movie worked out now.

I also picked up The Miniaturist because I had seen the cover and decided I wanted to read it and when Laura mentioned it was her book for this past month I thought I would check it out again and the price was reduced. I really enjoyed this book, just a story with a bit of magic running through it as well as intrigue and a bit of girl power in a sort of medieval laid back kind of way. I also now want to go back to Amsterdam for a visit.


Next on my non-Fiction list is This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. Not a light hearted read for sure. For the fiction side I might see if I can find something that is set in Japan.

read ‘em and eat

pear and pineapple green smoothie

Kind of what my week has looked like but at least by having some vegetables for breakfast everyday I don’t feel so bad.

READ ‘EM

I find this hypnotising.

If you missed my post earlier this week I just wanted to highlight this 30 day yoga challenge I started and re-started. It really has a beautiful knock on effect for my whole day.

Some additional tips for travelling after another of my posts earlier this week.

Not the sort of thing I normally share but this wedding is breathtaking.

EAT

WARNING: I am on the green smoothie bandwagon and future food posts might steer dangerously close to annoying if you never ever want to eat a green smoothie!

So I was going to share this post with you a while back but never got around to taking a picture but I finally got around to getting on this week and now my weeks favourite green smoothie recipe is a little different and even better. Lucky you! This green wonder is mostly seasonal with a drop of tropical.

  • 1/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 – 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • as much spinach as you can handle
  • 1 banana
  • 2 pears
  • a couple chunks of frozen pineapple
  • 2 cups water

Blend and dah dah! Makes 2 very generous portions. I take mine to work in a travel cup and sip it for a while.

I am amazed that the spinach flavour doesn’t even impact on the taste of smoothie but it does make things green which kind of makes me feel like Pop-eye. Also if you make a smoothie with kale you don’t put as much kale in as you would spinach. It has flavour!