2014-09-04 16.10.05

Recipes Lately

just a roundup of some recipes I’ve tried lately- mostly of the vegan etc variety. as you can probably tell, boyfriend has been out a lot!

// sweet potato brownies (deliciously ella) these were delicious, but not everyone who tried them was a fan!

// quinoa avocado sushi (plant-based pixie) so yummy, but mine was very messy!

// morning courgette muffins (what would gwyneth do) these have been a favourite for a while- made them 3 times already.

// zoats (mix up of two recipes but it’s just grated courgette, oats, egg white and maple syrup cooked together in a saucepan) – surprisingly delicious- had them twice so far. strange to get your head around but really recommend for getting your greens in.

// // banana puff pancakes; my own recipe; (two heaped 0.25 cups; one of white flour and one of wholewheat brown flour. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder. Mash in a whole banana, and 0.5 cup of almond milk. Squirt in some maple syrup. These burn easily. Heat coconut oil in a pan, pour in and watch carefully. They puff up great on the second side!) These are really great- making them today. Makes 3 small ones.

p.s. really need to get better at iPhone food photography.
IMG_2246.JPG

stir fry!

Raise Them Up Right

Just a quick note to say how amazed I’ve been by Rebecca Woolf’s (Girl’s Gone Child) words lately. I’m in a stage of really reading, listening and hearing what people are saying.

// This hit me deep. I’ve been there, (a boy with his younger sisters) and I didn’t handle it with the confidence she has. Maybe next time, I will.

“But she’s so cute I wanted to carry her!”

“It isn’t up to you. She wants to walk. Listen to HER words, not YOUR wants.”

go read.. Raising Respectful Sons

// Also, this one; about how our children don’t have to be liked all the time.

Because my fear of being disliked had turned me into someone who had given absolutely everything away… You want my sandwich? Here. You want my bracelet? Here.  You want my body? Okay… 

go read… The Unbearable Likeness of Being

//

Have Less

 ‘look at all those fancy clothes, but these will keep us warm just like those.’

Jack Johnson

so, minimalism.

I recently came across (a late comer to the party, no doubt) The Minimalists and found this list. I thought I’d go through it step by step. For context, we’ll be moving in about 2.5 months but nothing confirmed. It’s our furthest move yet, and we’re considering actually hiring some outside help this time!

Go read the original, then come back; 7 Ways to Sample Living With Less

// clothes.

I’m not great on this one. I don’t have tonnes of clothes, or it feels that way as we have a lot of storage in this house and I could definitely have fewer. The trouble is, I really do go back and realise that something I love just slipped off the hangar. It’s cyclical. You know? Pretty much everything fits me, and I like it. So that’s ok for now. When we finalise our housemove I’ll go through it all again, as I’ve done each time, and donate a chunk. I don’t find choosing to be stressful and have a nice at the moment of jeans, shorts of leggings with an array of pretty tops, cardigans and jumpers. That’s just called getting dressed isn’t it.. But! I have way too many coats. So many coats.

// decorations.

we don’t have that many random decorations, as I try to only bring in things that are beautiful or useful. That old chesnut. Anyway, I did discover the other day that Boyfriend thought a drawing I have was done my sister as opposed to a famous illustrator! All the rest are related to us and our lives together. A set of mini bunting from each anniversary, a canvas photo print from the mini adventure, a vintage tin plate advert of the London-Edinburgh line which we took a thousand times at the beginning of our relationship (we covered 10,000 miles in 6 months visiting each other). You get the idea.

// toys.

.. not a problem we currently suffer from. I plan to be pretty strict on this though- I know that the best toys are not toys at all.

// cooking utensils.

good idea. I might stow away a few. We definitely don’t need a potato masher as I’ve only used it once and found it inconvinient. Guess we could use some improvement here. We have a lot of spare stuff in the copious storage in our bedroom.

// televisions.

we haven’t even plugged it in since we moved here, and cancelled our tv license over a year ago. We still have the screen however, which I’m planning on selling shortly. However- I think the point of this was fewer screens, which we could definitely benefit from. I have a laptop, a tablet/convertible, and a iPhone. He has a laptop, an old laptop, a broken iPhone, and a PC that he never uses but it’s special to him. We also have two spare phones in our tech box. This needs to change.

// counter-tops.

I try to keep our surfaces fairly clear. However I do find that my eating habits benefit from being able to see my healthy options, and I have a glass jar collection to match. It’s arrange by height though, and is very pleasing.

// furniture.

we could probably get rid of some stuff but our place is big- so it works for now. Next place, probably some stuff needs to go.

so on the whole, this has highlighted a few areas to address. Kitchen utensils and making a list of things to sell..

their whole site, by the way, is excellent; go have a look at their inspiring pieces.

Be Sex Positive

Sex education and discussion is something very close to my heart, and without going into my personal story- I’ll leave it there.

I recently became a member of an organisation called Brook that I’ve been following for a while now, on twitter etc. (Unfortunately, they don’t have many opportunities to interact with them this far north, but I’m always hopeful). They spread a message of positive sex education- something that I think is so important. They believe in the greatness of young people, and respecting them. That they can make their own choices, and navigate a path for themselves- but that they do need access and support and honest discussion. This goes beyond ‘always use a condom kids’ (which is all I got at school it seems), to discussion of relationships, enjoyment, consent, abortion, emotions & feelings.

Just look at this latest blog post from their CEO Simon Blake ; Harder no, Different yes.

Proud to be one small part of their great work.

Sex is so often a secret thing, and in a young persons brain things can get so confused with no trusted adult to discuss it with. Sometimes very important personal things get only discussed with other equally confused young people, and or not discussed at all but instead secret-ed away- increasing their feelings of isolation.

Some myths I remember;

‘it’s just body parts connecting, it’s not a big deal’

‘if you’re drunk it’s your own fault what happens next’

‘if you have anal sex you’re still a virgin’ (the whole concept of virgin is one for another day..)

‘if you’ve tried bases 1, 2, and 3 you gotta have sex next’

‘If it hurts that’s just what happens’

‘You can’t stop doing it if you’ve done it with them before’

There was never any discussion of it being fun or pleasant.

When I began university, two years older than most of my class mates, it terrified me to hear stories of near-rape situations- which they laughed off (though of course I don’t these were their real feelings). Some of them didn’t believe that there was anyone kind enough to consider their feelings, that ultimately all men just want sex and you have to go ahead with it for cuddles and affection. They didn’t value themselves, because they had never met anyone who treated them right. Makes my heart twist just to think about it.

I like to think I played a part in empowering those around me, to demand respect and to keep themselves safe- regardless of other people’s opinions.

 

5 Things I Really Dislike; Kid Edition

Some thoughts from the past fortnight, whilst out and about. 

  1. Milk bottles of juice propped up on blankets straight into baby’s mouth 
  2. Condescension; ‘ooooh because you’re soooo sweeet you can choose your own’ 
  3. Denying feelings; ‘you’re ok’ ‘it’s not hot’ ‘it’s not scary’ ‘it doesn’t hurt’ ‘it’s only a scratch’ 
  4. Little girls in high heels; as their actual shoes, not dressing up. 
  5. Smacking. 

discipline without shame

juice bottle teeth

the happiest kids don’t have to smile 

p.s. couldn’t bring myself to say hate :) 

My Personal Diet

… is not a diet. 

It’s this; 

poster healthy eating

Or at least, I try. 

It was gradual process-

// turning away from bread/products – viewing them as a special treat, almost always wholegrain (which I think taste a hell of a lot better), picking the small size loaf. 

// portion sizes- downsizing wherever possible, forget what a meal conventionally looks like – convention is wrong- serve yourself when eating at other peoples houses. 

// don’t eat just because it’s dinner/lunch time – listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry- but don’t let it get to food-frenzy-levels. 

// eat slower. eat mindfully. I need to remind myself of this every time. 

// food diary- just being accountable, the only person I was tricking is myself. This goes back to my childhood. I remember sneaking 4 pieces of toast wrapped in a napkin and sprinting to my room- if no one sees you then it’s didn’t happen right? wrong. 

// watching the balance- up the veg, down the dairy/sugar/meat/carbs. Try going grain free for a day – it makes you think (and it makes you hungry!). 

// black choc not milk. One square not a bar. Once a week not daily. I was never a big chocolate eater though I suppose. 

// don’t set yourself up for a crave-y day. limit sugars, especially in the morning. 

It’s nothing new. 

Oh, and exercise. I’ run twice a week – and starting each (but not every) day with press ups and leg raises (and stretching/yoga, and failing at pull ups). I walk when I don’t run- through our gorgeous local forest next to the river. Healthy eating alone won’t do anything if you never raise your heart rate. 

Just being kind to myself, and appreciating my healthy body. I want to feel a little stronger, and make changes that will stick, no gimmicks. 

 

P.S. This is not the blog post I intended to write but oh well- that one will be up soon. 

Keep on Keeping On

I told my parents about my decision to leave my course almost 2 weeks after my meeting with my personal tutor, and after I’d already signed to say I was leaving. This was because my dad had an operation coming up, and I thought it best to wait. I found that really nerve wracking (see prior post!) but it was definitely the right move. Telling them went fine, I chose to do so by email and invited them to then call me to talk about it. They said a few strange things but all ok.

Fast forward to now- two weeks later almost and I’ve come to London to see them while they’re back in the country for a bit. We went out for dinner (dim sum, nom) and things were fine but I knew they wanted to talk further about my plans. This conversation began just before we got the bill.

It’s important to me that they feel heard and that they can express their opinions. Unfortunately they come at things with a very different world view, although there are many things we agree on. As a lawyer and a doctor, they find it hard that I won’t have a job title, or be very well paid for my efforts. They don’t want me to do foster caring mainly as they don’t value looking after children as a worthwhile use of time or talents (hence us being kinda raised by nannies), and I won’t get any recognition for it.
Some phrases used ‘you seem to be narrowing down your life’ ‘what are we supposed to tell our friends’ ‘this won’t use all your talents and skills’ ‘you didn’t give nursing a fair chance’ ‘you keep giving up on things’ ‘you would have been an excellent doctor’ ‘you’re setting your sights lower and lower’ ‘if you’re up against someone with a degree you’ll always lose out’ ‘to do fostering you really need a child psychology degree’.
They have some things that I’m interested in a box marked ‘acceptable’ and others in a ‘disregard’ pile, it seems. Roots of Empathy instructor – tick, fostering – bin, Place2Be training – tick, nannying – bin.
They said they wanted me to be able to support myself (‘I believe in feminism – that you should be independent’. Interesting interpretation, because I thought feminism was about my right to choose what I do). My sister is a box called Artist, so is ‘allowed’ to work at things she hates (restaurant, cabinet painter) to make money to fund her art time. For some reason I’m not allowed to do something I love (nannying/childcare) to fund the things I really love (RIE training, Roots of Empathy, mentoring). Oh but tutoring is ok for some reason- which I’m also planning on doing, of course (why would I not want £20/hour!). They’ve spoken about how my other eldest sister is considering doing some Montessori or Steiner teacher training so that she can have an independent income just in case (tick- sounds legit) but the fact that nannying will pay the same, as my just-in-case option, isn’t ok.
They need to give me a chance to build up experience (some of it unpaid), so I can go forward with my plans (getting training along the way), in order to perhaps in 10 years time be someone who people value the opinion of and who can speak up about things.

I feel like this is it, that I’ve lost their support – though of course not their love. This will rear it’s head many times until I reach a level they’re happy with, and we will rehash the same conversation over and over.

But I remain confident that pursuing my passions and interests is the right thing to do.