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February 2016

January 2016

Weekly Happiness: #4

The temperature here in London seems to have risen, and, thank goodness, it is now comparatively comfortable to walk to work.  I suspect it will get cooler again soon, but I'm hoping we won't see any snow this year. If we ever get any here in the UK, it usually arrives in February so I guess there's still plenty of time. Nonetheless, I've still been focusing on keeping healthy, and it's a lot easier when the weather doesn't encourage you to take the bus everywhere rather than to walk. Equally, I find it easier to eat better food when the temperature isn't below freezing...

image from farm2.staticflickr.com 1. Sometimes, when you get in from work, nothing beats a steaming mug of Whittards Luxury Hot Chocolate in my personalised Emma Bridgewater mug. | 2. Work this week has been tough, as I've been dealing with a bad back and an extra large workload. Knowing this, my Mum has been texting me pictures of my cats. Here's a morning portrait of Eddie. | 3. I've really been trying to improve my desk lunches and this salad with Slow Roasted Tomato, Cabbage, Kale and Brown rice was particularly tasty. | 4. I don't have Chocolate cravings very often but when one hit me this week, these Chocolate Ganache Brownies (made with store cupboard ingredients) were the perfect solution. | 5. When a stray aubergine made its way into my fridge, I tried out Caponata - a Sicilian Aubergine stew. It was particularly good with cous cous for lunch the next day. | 6.  My usual pay day treat: a Lush bubble bar. This one was called Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds

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WIP Wednesday: Neon Beach Socks

As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I've plunged right back into another sock project and they're quite the contrast to my Holiday Socks!

There's also a bit of a difference this time, in that I've come up with the slipped stitch pattern myself. It's super easy to remember (great car/movie knitting) I look forward to writing it up and sharing that with you at a later date.

image from farm2.staticflickr.com

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Weekly Happiness: #3

In this Weekly Happiness post, things are largely still all about staying cosy and comfortable at home. Over the weekend, quite a few areas of UK saw snowfall and there has been a drastic drop in temperature that everyone seems to be feeling.Where I live, in SW London, we escaped anything settling. There were a few flakes on the roofs but nothing on the ground. I'm both grateful - because I have to walk to work each day - and annoyed because, at heart, the sight of snow still excites me as if I were a young child still.  

There is one distinct change that will start to show in my future posts though; I've been tweaking my eating since the New Year came in. More veggies are now being included in my diet, fewer starchy carbs, less sugar and I've excluded processed foods. So far, I'm finding that this approach is working. Since 1st January I've lost 5lbs. I've included a few shots of the kinds of meals I've been eating recently in this week's collages. Never fear, though; I intend to keep posting a regular food doses of the less healthy variety (everything in balance). My new eating philosophy is geared more towards knowing what I'm eating and not eating anything that contains artificial ingredients I can't pronounce the names of. So, cake? Yeah, I'll still eat the odd bit cake providing I know what has gone into it.  

image from farm2.staticflickr.com

  1. To help inspire my dietary changes, I've been flicking through the cookbooks I acquired for Christmas: Simply Nigella, Mr Todiwala's Bombay, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights (technically not new), Hemsley & Hemsley, Comfort Food and Everyday Superfood by Jamie Oliver. | 2. Apple & Cinnamon porridge is one of my favourite everyday breakfasts this winter. Yum! | 3. The winter sky over SW London as I prepared to leave for work earlier this week. | 4. Because I'm weird about eating cheese, I'd never really tried Halloumi until a friend cooked some and insisted I taste it. It's awesome - probably my favourite cheese! | 5. I gave into the purchase of discount sock yarn. Sigh. | 6. Doing Saturday brunch properly: with fresh blueberry pancakes & lashings of maple syrup. Nom.

 

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Ta Dah! Crackle Socks

I was hoping to post this last night, but unfortunately I had a bit of an accident in the Kitchen where I managed to take a slice out of the ring finger of my right hand. Due to the number tiny blood vessels we have in our fingers, I then had to spend most of the night trying to get it stop bleeding by applying pressure to it. It stopped eventually, although it does start to bleed again when I change the dressing, but I wasn't able to take photos or type last night. Probably a good thing to be honest, as I much prefer to take pictures of my knitting using natural light...

So guess what? The Crackle Socks are finished. They've been washed, blocked and are ready to be sent to their recipient...

image from farm2.staticflickr.com

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WIP Wednesday: Routine

Happy hump day. Or not, as the case may be. 

It seems to be getting colder each day here in London, so I am still firmly in hibernation mode. Things at work are still manic, and I'm still suffering from severe fatigue due to anaemia, so it really doesn't bother me at all that my nights are being spent with Netflix and my knitting or a duvet and a book. I do really miss my Diet Coke though, and I may have caved into some cans that I had leftover last weekend. That could explain why I feel so bad now. Oops...

image from farm2.staticflickr.com

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Recipe: French Onion Soup

Now we're through the first working week of the New Year, it looks like things have finally started to turn colder. As I've mentioned before, my office is very cold most of the time and I really started to notice how so at the end of last week. Soup has become my choice of lunch for the moment, and as with most things, I typically prefer it to be homemade. Not only can you make a huge vat and freeze individual portions for later, but it's generally very cheap and you know what it contains in terms of ingredients. Although the soup you can buy from Waitrose etc, is usually very good, I've yet to find a shop that can properly replicate the delicious simplicity and richness of a proper hearty French Onion soup.

image from farm2.staticflickr.com

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WIP Wednesday: Back to Normality

Wow, the first full week back at work has been a bit of a shock to the system! Not just because I've been laid around at my leisure throughout the holidays, but because I've also decided to stop drinking Diet Coke. I've gone from drinking at least a litre a day, which was to help cope with the fatigue brought on by chronic anaemia, to absolutely zilch. Let me tell you, the withdrawal symptoms have been horrendous - a bit like being hungover, but for days instead of hours. Yuck! 

It's unsurprising that my crafting productivity has taken a bit of a hit this week. Instead, I've found myself curled up in bed with my Kindle most nights...

image from farm2.staticflickr.com

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Weekly Happiness: #2

Oooh, welcome to my first post of 2016! 

While I'd love to say that it is filled with loads of exciting things I've been up to over the last three days, my life sadly isn't that exciting. For me, the first three days of 2016 have been dedicated to a lovely slow wind down in anticipation of my return to work on Monday. Keeping with that theme, in this post I've included some of the favourite moments from my Christmas holiday along with the blog posts and articles that have caught my attention whilst I've been spreadeagled on the sofa in a festive food coma.... 

image from farm6.staticflickr.com

  1. My friend Alex took me on 'behind the scenes' tour of Lincoln Cathedral | 2. One of our Christmas Day dishes was a Roast Cockerel, which played second fiddle to a Beef Wellington. | 3. I made Nigella's Coca Cola Ham for the first time - and I was lucky enough to receive a like & comment from her over on Instagram! | 4. My mother's poinsettia, in full bloom, was a glorious addition to the Christmas decorations. | 5. I managed to get Eddie, my fat ginger Maine Coon, to pose in a Santa hat. It didn't last long, as you may be able to tell from his expression! | 6. Playing around with my prime lens, I really loved this bokeh shot I took of the Christmas tree lights. 

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