Sunday, 22 February 2015

Getting my cook on...

My relationship with food has been rocky (at best) since I was about 10 or 11 years old. A couple of years ago I finally recognised that, although I wasn't overweight, I needed to sort out my diet for a whole host of reasons! I started trying to eat more fruit and veg and wholegrains and less sugar and all that stuff that's popular online right now. But do you know what my downfall is? I. HATE. COOKING.

At school, I had the reputation of 'The Burner'. I've just never found any passion or enjoyment in cooking. And the cleaning up afterwards! So hard when you don't have a dishwasher. And when you're one person on your own, you just get so sick of the same thing over and over again when recipes are designed for four people or whatever.

But, in my recent efforts to pull myself out of my black hole, I've started to take my health a little more seriously. I'm pleased to announce that in 2015 I have yet to eat a single microwave meal, and I haven't even had beans on toast (once a staple in my diet). AND, I've even baked  things from scratch. Here are a few things I've been eating recently:

Honey and lemon chicken, butternut squash and peas (this one was really good!)

Broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, quinoa and cheese

Egg muffins with spinach and broccoli

Spinach, broccoli and cauliflower quiche with sweet potato crust (Pinterest for the win!)

Unfortunately, it hasn't all been great. Like the unfortunate time I underestimated how many mange tout were in the pack and tipped them all into the pan. Not gonna lie, that was a hard dish to get through. And I still don't enjoy the process of cooking (although I like the process of eating) and I still hate doing the washing up.

But, it hasn't all been healthy. I'm going to come back with cakes in another post, but for now I'll leave you with a picture of one of the four pancakes I had on Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday to you religious folk). I like mine thin and crispy with lemon and sugar. If you celebrate Pancake Day, I hope you had a good one!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Reading Challenges

If you had met me as a child, the thing I would've told you before anything else is that I loved reading. I had an overflowing bookcase, I'd read everything in my local library and my school library, and I was secretly stealing books that were way too old for me from my parents' room. As I grew older I still loved reading but tended to read the same books over and over and really stayed within my comfort zones (fantasy and crime).

Now, as an adult, I find it more challenging to schedule in reading time (don't we all). Sometimes I hate having a job that requires me to bring paperwork home! And I still find great comfort in reading my favourite books (Harry Potter, I'm looking at you! Seriously, I always just skip to my favourite bits when I need a pick me up or just before I fall asleep). Last year I made it a goal to read at least twelve books that were new to me. And I made it. I read:

1. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
3. The Brave by Nicholas Evans
4. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
5. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
6. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
7. Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
8. Enigma by Robert Harris
9. Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson
10. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
11. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
12. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
13. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
14. Unnaturally Green by Felicia Ricci
15. Sail by James Patterson

I think the ones I enjoyed the most were The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm (could this be why?). I really struggled with Enigma as I found it really slow. Although The Shock of the Fall was interesting and an eye opener, I could not wait to get to the end of it. I am proud of myself for reading some books out of my comfort zone and things I would normally have stayed away from!

Books I started and abandoned:
1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (just horrific)
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (although I have since completed it this year)
4. The Take by Martina Cole (I read the beginning, skipped the middle and read the end)

I've got plenty lined up for this year! I'd like to continue to broaden my horizons and read things I wouldn't normally, as well as reading more of the classics. As mentioned above I already finished Gone Girl. Loaded and ready to go on either my Kindle or my bookshelf are:

1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (almost finished!)
2. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed
3. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
4. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
5. The Last Testament by Sam Bourne
6. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
8. Several Peter James books, courtesy of my father

I think that's plenty to be getting on with! Now to find the time...

What are you currently reading? How do you prioritise reading time?

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Emerging from the darkness

I am still here. I am still going.

I'll be honest though, I have not been in a good place for a few months. I feel better now.

There was plenty of stuff going on, lots of it happy and good, but I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy it.

People's lives continue to move forward. Weddings, engagements, babies, houses, pets, relocations. I know, I know, it's totally unrealistic and unfair, but I only saw myself moving backwards. But I didn't want to talk about it. I knew people with a much stronger pain, and I would feel like a wimp if I complained about my considerably more minor pain.

I felt I didn't have anything worth saying, so I said nothing.

I do feel better. Perhaps I'm not moving forwards, but I'm not moving backwards either. I shouldn't compare myself to others. But you can tell yourself that all you like... believing it is another thing altogether.


We're 35 days in, but I'm ready to say HELLO 2015!