Day 18 – If I won the lottery….

Someone from the office actually asked this yesterday, and whilst the first answer from my boss was (shockingly) bus related it did get me thinking.

I’ve written a little list below of things which I think I’d like to do, in an ideal world, I’d have to be winning a massive amount, a life changing amount so the chances of this happening are slim – especially as I very rarely even buy lottery tickets!!

  • Help out family and friends – I think this is a no brainer really. Of course you would if you could wouldn’t you? I’d love to provide security for my closest friends and family. My loved ones deserve the world and if I could make their lives a bit easier, then I’d happily do so.
  • Set up a shelter type place in Poole, there are so many homeless who need help and not enough charities to do it – I’d always thought setting up a shelter that housed, cared for, fed those on the streets would really help or i’d like to support the current charity more – I already do food deliveries for a local homeless shelter in Poole and I’d love to help them more, or in an ideal world, set up a huge house for those who are currently on the streets. I sadly lost one of my homeless in last winter – he froze to death on the streets after the local council threw his sleeping things away and that genuinely affected me. He was sweet, kind, considerate and just kept himself to himself and despite that, the local council deemed him a menace and therefore thought binning things would improve matters, not offering help, or support and that really irks me. People become homeless for many reasons and I’d like to help, simply cos no – one would want to be in that way (in my opinion) and if I could make life a little easier (I see a common theme here) then I’d happily do so.
  • World travel – There’s so many places that I’ve wanted to see and travel to and even if I have already done them, it would be nice to take it to the next level – not strictly private jets and that but things like a hotel as opposed to a hostel for example would be a nice improvement. There’s so much of this planet I want to see and experience and time is running out so I’m sure money would make things easier. I think i’d get on a plane and go to Borneo, see some Orangutans in action – and help out the same charity to improve and then start ticking things off my bucket list. So many places, so little time!
  • Get the entire Discworld collection in the Unseen Library – ok, so this is a given, I’d like the full collection with 1 set of art, be it Josh Kirby’s or Paul Kidby. Just a special set of uniform looks would please my soul.
  • Adopt some more orangutans – again, for me, another no brainer. I know Palm Oil is now a big thing in lots of people’s worlds – see the Iceland Xmas ad if you don’t believe me but I am happy to have been a part of this fight for a while and for me it’s a sacrifice worth making to save those gorgeous little things…..I mean, look into their eyes and tell me they aren’t sentient.
  • Train as a firewalk trainer/leader – I have walked on hot coals twice and for sure, if I had unlimited money I would happily train to show other people how to do this, it was something that really built my confidence in me and would love to pass that feeling on to others.
  • SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS – well, who wouldn’t want this?
  • SWIM WITH TURTLES – as above
  • Silent disco at the Natural History Museum – I’ve wanted to do this for years but money (or lack of) has always stopped me, maybe next year will be the year.
  • Start donating more and practically helping out causes which mean a lot to me – Alzheimer’s research and Orangutan Foundation are the 2 charities I support most at the moment but I’d definitely like to help more and share the love. There’s so many needy people and I wish I could help all of them so maybe more money will help.
  • Take the man to Essen and to Miami, he is such a wonderful man to me that I want to make all his dreams come true. I know how much he loves gaming so would like to take him to the centre of those worlds and be able to spoil him the way he spoils me.
  • Just have time – I think this is the main thing I would choose, I mean, if you have money, you have time, if you have time, you can do pretty much what you want. Not saying I want to break laws and that but I see classes I’d like to take which I cannot, because I work, so if I wasn’t having to work, maybe I’d learn new things, maybe I’d take up hobbies, maybe I’d actually learn to be good at something. Just having time I feel would be a real luxury.

What about you? What would be on your wishlist if you could choose anything? Feel free to let me know, inspire me and see where imagination takes you.

Day 17 – Thoughts on Education

To be honest, i’m not sure how someone can be negative about education……I mean, who actually doesn’t want to be educated and aware of how the world works and why?

I had interesting times at school. I would say overall I enjoyed it, the places, the learning – not necessarily the people and the lack of confidence in myself or the stress I put myself under at the time for something which really, isn’t that big of a deal.

I’d like to share some fun stories from my school times throughout my life, about teachers who have inspired me and things which have shaped my views and behaviours! I have already spoken about let’s say, less than positive points in my learning, not being very confident, being bullied and the like but for this, I’d like to share snippets of stories which have had a positive influence on my life and the person I am. I hope that this shows my thoughts on Education and that also not all education is book learning based.

England – Tower Rd Primary School – Mr Pike – such a great teacher, who I don’t actually think was MY teacher at any point but he was definitely a massive influence and someone who made me question the world, and have a thirst for knowledge of how things worked and their places in the world overall. I’m lucky enough to have now found Mr Pike on social media and despite the fact he and I differ on a lot of views and opinions, I cannot thank him enough for being that first teacher who made me feel open to the world.

There are other great teachers that I had at Tower Rd but I cannot remember them all, there was the teacher who put up with myself a best friend acting out scenes from Monty Python, the art teacher who tried again and again to make me an artist, the piano teacher who couldn’t actually play piano, the teacher who let me take the school rabbit home for the holidays and even the English teacher who helped me with my squint and the stupid glasses/patches I had to wear. These people have all made me the person I began my life as (well, the first 11 years lets say) and that gave me a good base to work from.

I passed my 11+ (for younger readers, ask your parents) and went to the local girls grammar school, this was a strange few years for me as it was stressful at home, a bit disjointed with family life and a very sad time in our home and family. I found myself being bullied by some really awful human beings and thankfully the school librarian Miss Gallagher seemed to understand so she encouraged me, let me go in during the holidays to help out, made me feel comfortable and always willing to give new ideas/suggestions for someone who wanted to read everything. She genuinely got me interested in so many random things, plus was one of the first people I knew who was veggie/vegan leaning and I got a lot of info about things which interested her. I liked that she always treated me like an equal, as opposed to a student.

Mr and Mrs Ross were an epic teaching couple, he taught English and she taught Science (I cannot for the life of me remember which specific one) and in the years I was back in the High school after Spain were year heads. I was certain that they hated me – ok this is a bit dramatic, i’m pretty sure they didn’t hate me but I felt like they tolerated me, the fact I had come back off my own back and not gone through the standard system made me feel very out there and an oddity – but in the end of my time back in the sixth form I found them both to be really lovely supportive and made me Miss smiles in the U6 – how the heck that happened i have no idea!! Even she said when giving me the award that other people had brought up how positive as a person I was……I still to this day think they might have confused me with someone else!!

Moving to Spain when I was 14 was stressful and to begin with, I genuinely cannot remember anything about my teachers that I liked, there were ones who most definitely treated me differently due to the fact I was English. My language was not good enough in that first year and some issues did happen but as i’m trying to be positive I’m just going to focus on the fun teachers.

My favourite teacher, and actually someone who even then I considered more of a friend than a teacher was Vicente, my art teacher for the last year or so of Spanish school. He made us watch films and do creative projects and was always open to just learn about people. He and I shared a very similar music taste which as I was very singular whilst there, really helped me feel less weird. I can remember when a favourite band of both of ours brought out a new album, we knew there would be 1 copy in the music store in Malaga and both had plans to get it before the other. Running through a mall to beat a middle aged man to a quality album is a memory that will stay with me forever.

I’m actually really happy as Vicente and I are still friends, he keeps popping up in my life and I love seeing his gallery shows and the way his life has taken him. Am pleased he still accepts me for me though, he’s still incredibly encouraging – despite my general inability to do anything arty!!

The last teacher I will talk about is one who was a good teacher to me but a great show of how people power can have an effect, probably the first time I’ve ever seen that work in person.

The spanish teaching system is generally based on 1 year contracts, every new teaching student will be sent from school to school to hone their skills and our Music and religion teacher was actually brilliant and when we heard that he had been moved onto his next school we all felt like we would be detrimentally affected by this so the decision was made to have a student strike. We superglued all the doors and main school gates for a few days to no avail so then decided to actually have a sit out, we would refuse to go to classes until he was brought back.

To be honest, this was (and still sort of is) totally odd to me, I fully expected to be out there for say 20 mins before the teachers would just barrel out and order us inside with our tails between our legs……so 4 hours later I was getting cold and more importantly bored. I went home, deciding it would be better to at least do some homework or the like. Cue walking into the house to tell mum why I was home earlier……she totally didn’t believe me so (with my dad – for extra punishment if I was trying it on) frogmarched me down to my school gates to find out what I was on about…….EVERYONE was gone. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, bloody typical, I decided i’d had enough and went home, then the teachers had finally snapped and got everyone inside. I was cacking myself!!

Thankfully upon going inside the school I saw the school secretary who seemed surprised I was there, I explained why I was and her response to my parents at least made them see I was telling the truth. Scary but fun nonetheless.

We never did get that teacher back I don’t think but it certainly made me more likely to revolt in future about things I saw an issue with. Sometimes, lessons like that are invaluable.

I hope over the course of these little stories have given my opinion clearly, I loved learning – I still do – and I honestly feel it’s people like this who gave me this feeling and inspired me to always try more and learn more and see more.

I should also point out that there were a multitude of teachers I haven’t talked about, all good in their own way and therefore should not be ignored. I am immensely proud of my schooling and the person I have turned out to be, and I can only hope they feel the same way!

 

 

 

Day 16 – What’s your favourite movie?

I’m not much of a film person anymore, I’m not sure I’ve got the patience for this right now as my attention span is a lot shorter than it used to be.

There are however, some films I will happily watch and re watch time and time again, like Some Like It Hot, Young Frankenstein, Finding Nemo, Tank Girl and i’m also a pretty big fan of shockingly awful films – generally with massive sharks/crocs or the inevitable end of the world happening so our new introduction to the Sharknado set of films has been a) eventful and b) bloody brilliant!!

I used to really love films but after a couple of operations and being pretty much housebound for a few months I found that I would be able to handle 30m or so but then i’d be way to bored. Or i’d lose my thread and couldn’t pick it up again. I do still try to do watch films but find that unless it’s one i’ve seen before, or REALLY absorbing, I cannot handle or even remember it the next day (true – last time the man and I watched a film we were talking about it the next day and I could remember about half of the plot and even the “twist” were a bit dimmed to me. One day, hopefully that may change but as it stands, I need to find new films which I can actually get into. If anyone has any suggestions, please, contact me and give me your thoughts, am always willing to try something new.

I’ve written about movies I enjoy previously (read it here) so I need to make sure that the film(s) I write about today are not on the same list. This doesn’t mean that these films mean any less to me but that I know they are different to the previous article.

The first film I have chosen is Jaws.

jaws

“When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.”

Whilst I do genuinely love this film, the book and all it’s options, I’ve watched it so often that it’s become a classic as opposed to a great film! I very much enjoy the over acting, the dodgy effects and was really lucky a few years ago to be able to see it out in the open air cinema next to Bournemouth beach.

I went with a couple of friends, took many snack and really relished listening to the real life sea lapping and seagulls crying as we watched the gore and overall superbness of the film.

I think it’s difficult to discuss a film which is one of my faves without giving away too much detail or for that matter story. I know that most people would have seen this but I would definitely recommend the book too, well worth a read over a couple of days 🙂

Another good film which I do re-watch and then promptly forget about is Miss Congeniality.

congeniality

“When a terrorist threatens to bomb the Miss United States pageant, the FBI rushes to find a female agent to go undercover as a contestant. Unfortunately, Gracie is the only female FBI agent who can “look the part” despite her complete lack of refinement and femininity. She prides herself in being “just one of the boys” and is horrified at the idea of becoming a girly girl.”

I know, I know, from one extreme to the other so far on this list but bear with me.

I first saw this film years ago when I was going through a bubblegum phase, not looking for deep and meaningful but more, fun and a bit of cheese and this has this in spades. I’ve always been a sucker for Sandra Bullock films too so that most definitely helped this become a fave of mine!

I’ve always been very tomboy ish and although this takes that to the extreme, there is a huge part of me that would love a glam team, to make me lady – like, beautiful and more comfortable as myself – a lottery win is probably needed for this but still, it’s a 90 minute, glittery fun romp through beauty pageants and a film I can watch again and again and will happily recommend this to anyone wanting a girly film which isn’t just the average sugary sweet romantic offering!

Lastly today I think i’ll write about one of my favourite Disney films – I haven’t seen many of them to be honest and I know that appalls one of my friends as she is a Disney Princess but in real life (honestly, if she doesn’t have livestock coming and doing her chores; then there is something really unfair about the world!

Anyway, the Disney film I do tend to go back to every so often to reattach to my more childish side is Aladdin.

aladin

“When street rat Aladdin frees a genie from a lamp, he finds his wishes granted. However, he soon finds that the evil has other plans for the lamp — and for Princess Jasmine. But can Aladdin save Princess Jasmine and his love for her after she sees that he isn’t quite what he appears to be?”

I can remember watching this at my aunt’s one night we were there when I was a kid, I’d always been a huge fan of Robin Williams and this made this film perfect for me. Ok, so it has a lot of romance, which I don’t care about in any film but the humour and songs are actually brilliant. I hadn’t seen the film for well over 10 years and a friend of mine stuck it on in the background and I was astounded at the amount of songs I could still remember!

It’s corny, it’s funny, it’s colourful – weirdly useful for when you’re in a real funk i’ve found, colourful films are just amazing for that!

Ok, that’s enough for now I think. I’m running out of other things to say so will no doubt expand more, or talk about more at some point in the future of my writing!!

 

Day 15 – Write about your favourite childhood books.

I was obsessed with reading as a kid, I mean, pretty much all of my life as a younger person I was safe when I was surrounded by books. My brother and I were really lucky as kids but once he left home, I felt a lot lonelier and retreated more into the safety of books, this was only compounded by being the weirdo, the loner, the one who just generally was not liked by kids – that’s not 100% true, my friends were always and always have been amazing – but there were a lot of bullies who found me an ideal target to harass.

My mum says that even as a kid, she knew reading was a big thing for me because i’d read the back of packets, the papers, even when we went shopping, she knew I would take myself off to the paper/books area and just perch myself down and read. I got through countless books in this style which i’m sure the supermarket was thrilled about!

I had an excellent little book set as a child of the entirety of Beatrix Potter’s tales, all mini hardback with gorgeous artwork and they were kept in a special box, this was something that until very recently I have always had with me. I’ve never even dreamed of having kids so i’ve never really known what to do with them but you know when you have something childish yet wonderful that you can’t imagine being without? I think I gave them back to my mum and asked her to sell it, or at least find a home for them where hopefully they will bring as much joy to someone else as they did to me.

I was obsessed with Enid Blyton as a child, The Tales of the Faraway Tree made me wish for excitement, and new friends, and talking trees – ok, the last of those may have been less possible that the first two – and made me see magic in the oddest of places. She made me look at things differently and I’m sure that seeing creatures, clouds and trees and beginning to apply anthropomorphic characteristics to them comes from her.  Plus another joy of a group of friends who stuck together through everything, through thick and thin was appealing to me, I know I had a small group of friends at that point of my life and we used to do similar escapades when we could – going on bike rides, building forts, just playing and imagining what our lives were going to be.

I included Jennings and Derbyshire in this list as although they were not specifically favourites of mine, they have a very special place in my heart as mum used to read them to me when I was in the bath as a kid. I used to love them and for a long time kind wanted to live in that jolly hockey sticks, ginger beer kind of world. I think maybe my obsession with Mallory Towers and the Twins at St Clair’s also started around this time and made me consider that that kind of life was an option – which at no point was it but I always remained hopeful!!

jennings

Reading back the previous list this is all sounding a bit 50s housewife dream kind of style of reading, I swear I read other things too! Like Point Horror – which I’ve no idea are still in existence or if you are younger than me and now asking yourself “what the fudge is a point horror?” but before I started reading lets say, more adult horror stories like Stephen King and Shaun Hutson (if you’ve not read his stuff and like some gore and mental horror then he’s a good person to investigate); I was a bit obsessed with a sort of horror light. It was a series of books which tended to be passed around my group of friends and mostly they were mild frights but for some reason I can remember one book (weirdly my brain has scrubbed over most of the details – including the name) which really terrified me! Well worth it to be scared in the middle of the day with all the lights on….I’m too much of a coward nowadays to read books like that anymore!

We moved to Spain when I was 14 and thankfully I got a lot of books as leaving gifts from people, these became my closest friends when I arrived as I spent so long stressing about not being able to hold even the most basic of conversations without massive pauses and a dictionary so the joy of just being able to open a book and not have to worry was a joy. This is where my love of Pratchett came from. I’d read some beforehand but they really took hold of my imagination at that point. As I said, I really relished having books I could read without having to worry about not being clever enough – which is how I always felt when speaking to people.

I know I’ve banged on about Pratchett in many of my blogs and #PratchettPostal is actually going really well (i’m buying up second hand copies or cheapish bundles from fleabay, advertising them on twitter and then sending them out to fellow fans/new readers. He was such an influence and support to me that I would love to pass that on. If you’ve never read Pratchett you’re missing out but if you are on twitter, come find me at @polmoose83 and maybe come get yourselves a new book – or just come and say hey anyway, I love to have many people around to talk to!

So there we have it, once again, no real specifics but many different options. I would love to be more of a book reviewer in specifics and have read a few good book blogs which have inspired me but currently I’m not sure i’m good enough at specifics and writing my views. We shall see what 2019 has to offer in the way of challenges.

Day 14 – A photo of yourself.

This subject honestly terrifies me. I am a very uncomfortable person in front of a camera and then to have to look at the picture and not just cry over the self hatred I have for what is there.

I shouldn’t be so dramatic, I have got a lot better with myself over the last few years but still, photos of me are a bit tricky.

Here’s a photo of me that I sort of like, please be nice – if you chose to comment anyway, in your thoughts you can do whatever you like hehe!

WP_20180818_086

I’m very surprised that when I started talking about my depression and self esteem issues that so many people reacted like I was crazy – not as in crazy for thinking that but more crazy for telling people and they had never noticed. I don’t know why this would be, I suppose I consider that it was just the way I behaved. I’m fairly good at hiding how I feel and though on the outside I was good at portraying being happy, and fine, and not upset by what people say or do but inside I was getting crushed.

I should clarify, it wasn’t only other people making me feel rubbish, I’ve always had the negative voice in my head that even when someone is lovely to me, my first thought was usually “this person is lying to you, this person is going to lie and make you feel good and then the joke will be revealed” or suchlike.

Over the last few years I have tried hard to improve my own self esteem and for a really long time have never felt comfortable in my body but due to some recent changes – giving up Palm Oil and trying to be generally healthier I actually feel pretty good right now.

I’m not suddenly saying i’m hot or whatnot but I find myself hating myself less. Less uncomfortable and more likely to treat myself well. I have bought new clothes, not just because they actually fitted (seriously, scare both yourself and the postman by your trousers falling down and you’ll see the need for new clothes!) but also thinking they might actually “suit” me. I’ve even brought a dress, for the office Xmas party – I should say, whether i actually wear it or not is still outstanding!!

But yes, after losing all the weight I even did things like get my hair cut. I know my mum has always wanted me to take more pride in myself and slowly I feel like that’s happening.

I’m aiming to dye my hair tonight (or this weekend, who really knows) and if that happens, and it’s before this publishes, I’ll share a pic…..if not, then that’ll have to wait until I get another kind of blog like this – to be honest, I’d rather not. I’m still not that comfortable and would rather write about fun things like food, travel, drag and generally happy things!

 

Day 13 – 3 healthy habits

Erm, this is not really me as I’m not what you’d call a gym type of person.

I mean, I’d like to be but every time I have done healthy stuff, there has been a specific reason, be it a diet or prep for a race, there’s never been a life long shift that I have made (I still smoke, I still drink, I eat bad foods sometimes, I do not get enough exercise or sleep for that matter but I think overall i’m ok) and although I’ve seen friends manage this (and i’m very proud of their commitment) as of yet, nothing like that has hit me. I don’t expect to wake up one morning and just decided to be a gym bunny or whatnot but maybe one day? Who knows!

1) I started following the Slimming world diet earlier this year, it did help me and those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I am now thinner than I was. I’ll be honest though, for me, this wasn’t perfect. There’s a lot of things that I was unsure about and unfortunately my consultant was not the most helpful – I asked her something at the beginning of my second week there…..I was there for 16 weeks and have been off since August but at no point have I had an answer.

Anyway, I agree, that by monitoring and being strict on my diet and avoiding lots of            bad fatty foods, yes it is possible to lose weight. I’ll be honest though, as soon as I was            at my target, I stopped and had a really fun couple of weeks where I ate whatever the          hell I wanted! It was DIVINE!!

I get that a good diet is considered a good and healthy thing, but for me, personally, I want to be more balanced, not completely strict. I’m not sure as a person I could handle it if I had to be strict forever – plus, I’m the main cook in our home and if I left it up to the man, although I love him like no-one else, I’d probably starve or simply survive on toasties!

2) As a non driver, I do walk a lot, but I know that everyone can improve themselves so one of my challenges for this year has been to up my steps. I’m aiming next year to (as one of my challenges) be walking 10,000 per day. We shall see anyway.

I can’t wait to start my challenge. I don’t have a fitbit or something which will nag me to walk more but i’m hoping that i’ll be able to overall get healthier. I was hoping to complete a marathon before I hit 40 but due to my knee issues, I worry that i’m pushing it so maybe the walking will have to do for now. If anyone reading this has become a longer distance runner, please feel free to pass on any hints and tips, I mean, help a girl out over here!

3) Lastly the most important and for me, the easiest one. I wanted to drink more water and made the point especially when I started at slimming world. I’ve never been a real fan of water, I always preferred squash or fizzy drinks (or tea, I’m obsessed with all teas!!) but I can remember being force fed water when I was younger –  I never really drank anything – and was promptly sick, which just shows, when I don’t want something, my body will do everything it can to avoid it!

But deciding that SW was the way forward, I started to challenge myself to a pint of very weak squash and then a pint of water, alternating throughout the day. This was going ok but thankfully by the time the heatwave happened here, I was drinking between 10 and 12 pints of water a day. I think if nothing else I’ve grown up, I use water as a first resort – if i’m hungry/tired etc, it tends to actually be that i’m dehydrated so that has certainly helped me.

Well there you go. 3 healthy habits that I will use and improve upon over my lifetime. I didn’t think that would be possible but I am now tempted to do a blog on my unhealthy habits…..that list would be ridiculous!!

Day 12 – Favourite foods

This is a tricky one for me, I mean, a REALLY tricky one. I think genre or theme of food will be easier….

I am food addict *well, obsessive; I’m not sure if people would agree but I love food, I think about it, I plan my days around it, I have so many plans for dinner parties/food I want to make for people/things I want to try and play with and this tends to take up at least 80% of my life.

I’m happy to say that despite there being some things i’ve never experienced food wise, I have so many loves of food from around the world and those I will write a little bit about below. Probably broken down into areas of where they come from and I hope if nothing else, this might make your mouth water, or inspire you to try something new.

Also, if anyone has any good suggestions as to things to try/new directions for my food obsessiveness, please, do not hesitate to say. I love hearing about other people’s enjoyment of food almost as much as I actually enjoy eating!!

Both of my parents are really good cooks – my dad was a chef and mum I feel has the same food obsession as me! They make epic food – mum is the best at curries and dad makes superb food from all over the place – he’s great at pies and pastry stuff, I wish I could but i’ve got hot little hands and that for Pastry is never good!

Italian – I adore Italian food. I think probably if I had to give up all other foods and just settle with one, this would be it……maybe, possibly not. But having pizzas, pasta’s and of course, Gelato on offer sounds excellent to me! I’m currently obsessed with this restaurant in Southampton, lovely place to eat and spend some time and it’s somewhere I cannot allow myself to go often otherwise i’d be the size of a house!!

When I was doing my A levels I worked in a local Italian restaurant, I loved it. Despite the long hours, the rubbish pay, the stress of holding everything down at the same time but my favourite memories were from the end of the night, Mas (the chef) was happy to cook us all a meal to sit down and eat together or if it was a night I had other plans, he was great at doing me some pasta and bits to take to the pub – often swapped for pints, well, except the pasta carbonara he made, that was ALWAYS mine!

Ideal Italian Meal – Prosciutto and Melon, Carbonara and garlic bread and of course…..Pistachio Ice-cream.

Indian – Is almost the most comfortable food I’ve ever had. I’d happily become a veggie if this was the only food I could eat, I do love veg and the variety of bits and bobs you can try here are simply divine. I am such a lover of flavour, the thing with curries is you can have differing temperatures for them but for me the overriding thing of focus is the taste. There are a huge variety of tastes, textures and cooking styles which mean that I don’t think I could ever be bored!

I’ve always fancied a trip to learn how to properly cook Indian food but I know that the food I eat from takeaways is probably very different to actual Indian food as it is eaten over there. I suppose the joy from a takeaway is being able to travel the entire country and then pick and choose.

Ideal Indian Meal – Vegetable Samosas, Bhindi Bhaji (ladies fingers), Saag aloo (spinach and potato), Samba Daal (this is a daal made by my local takeaway, it’s full of lentils and veg and it’s super hot which I adore) and then for dessert? Hmm, maybe just more of the same?

Spanish – When we moved to Spain, I was already aware of the standard spanish fare, but I learned so much while I was there and there’s been some recipes I’ve been introduced to which I adore and there are others which if I never had to eat them again I’d be completely fine with!

Lenteja is one of the meals I now adore, it’s a warming lentil stew, often cooked with potatoes, pig knuckles (I use chorizo) and amazing bursts of warmth and comfort. It is a real classic for me and something I feel i’m going to be tinkering with for years until I get a recipe I know is foolproof!!

The thing I found most bizarre when eating out in Spain was the lack of veggie/vegetarian options, apart from salad or weirdly, tinned veg. I used to love Salad about 75% of the year but seriously, even in Spain, salad doesn’t cut it in January!! It was a pleasure when I came back to the Uk to be able to get loads of variety and ok, I know a lot of it comes from Spain but I never thought I’d get better veg options in the UK – i’ve been spoiled obviously!!

Ideal Spanish Meal – Gambas Pil-Pil or Lenteja, Pollo con Vino de Competa (a local wine which was produced in our Village) and then hmmmmmmm, crema catalana, which is very much like flan but has burned sugar on the top. It is simply superb!

English – I think finally I should talk about all of the foods that I adore from this country, that i’m obsessed with or for the love I have of these as far as I’m concerned, ultimates in comfort food.

There’s so many things that I love, cottage pie, stews, roasts (oh the mighty roast) steamed puddings, cheese, pasties, cereals and the like, as you can see, a huge variety and probably not much that can be considered healthy.

I do very much love cooking and using my Pressure Cooker and Slow Cooker so a lot of the above tend to be staples in my household. We’ve been experimenting with chilli con carne recently but I have a hankering for a good old cottage pie, some veg and gravy. Sounds good now that the weather is becoming more wintery!

So what about you? If you had to decide on a favourite food, meal or something like that, what would it be?

 

 

Day 11 – What’s inside my fridge….

Well, as a food addict in so many ways, this should actually be a fun writing challenge. Not sure how i’m going to stretch it out as at the moment, it’s pretty empty. I need to do shopping tomorrow!

Previous readers of my blog will probably know by now that I am obsessed with food. I love cooking, playing around in the kitchen, creating and experimenting and then sitting down and devouring a feast. I know that the man is less like that than me but I do love it when we get to cook and enjoy a meal together – something which currently is very rare due to different work hours.

Anyway, I digress, what is in my fridge?

I tend to have an almost constant selection of sauces/condiments and the like……currently this includes some lemon curd that I made, some microwave berry jam, some rhubarb and ginger jam my mum got for the man and our newest collection of chilli jams. I love a good condiment and these are frequently used at the moment due to the weather making us both crave toasties. Plus, I’ve found a bread which uses sustainable Palm oil which is amazing. I really missed bread whilst I was slimming so I do treat myself but am trying to remain strong and not slip back into my old habits!

So, jams and the like, what else? We’ve also got quite into our slow cooker at the mo – great for cooking when you can’t really be bothered and not sure if we’re eating together or not so I do tend to try and have a selection of veg for stews – currently suede, carrots, butternut squash and carrots but potatoes also work well. I think there’s some meat in there now, probably just some sausages to make sausage casserole so loads of onions and chilli sauce needed for that one I think.

I know that summer is better for fridge stuff to be honest, I love a good salad and try to have a really mixed choice ready for anything, be it, avocados, boiled eggs, spinach, asparagus, I like having a choice and I feel more likely to eat more good things if more good things are on offer…..this was my fridge week 1 or 2 of slimming world shopping. Safe to say, it doesn’t look like this right now!

in my fridge 2

So there we have it, just a short one today I think as I genuinely don’t have much I can say. Why not show me a pic of your fridge – especially if it’s full of fabulous things – I love to be inspired!

 

 

 

Day 10 – Best Trip Of Your Life

I’ve  been really lucky to be honest and travel has been a big thing for me, I haven’t taken advantage like I should have (travel while you can kids – it becomes harder as you get older) but even since I moved back to the UK, I have enjoyed travel and a variety of wonderful holidays.

I decided to write about a few places as some really stick in my brain but I also don’t want to make it seem like I have had only 1 good trip and the rest have all been mediocre.

  • CUBA
  • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
  • PARIS
  • ISTANBUL
  • EGYPT
  • PRAGUE
  • BARCELONA

I have travelled a few places (from the list above) and every place I go – even if bad things happen like in Cuba, I feel lucky to have seen the places and experienced the life. I definitely try to relish the positives and kind of work past the negatives.

Cuba was the first place I had travelled alone, I had a real wanderlust when I was younger and when I left school, worked for a while, but Cuba was going to be my jumping off point. Unfortunately, I got mugged halfway through the first week and came home early, before I had seen and experienced what I wanted to – something which I regret to this day!  I did love the joy of seeing the crystal clear waters, and the fun of speaking with Cubans and actually finding out about their lives, which was mind-blowing and if someone had said to me “give me all of your possessions” I would have done – and then at least been able to keep hold of my passport! anyway, it was still a wonderful trip.

Sadly I don’t even think I have any of the photos I took in Cuba. I’ve moved about 10 times since then and somewhere along the way, they got lost but the memories of watching storms fly overhead, snorkelling with a barracuda, gorgeous flowers tumbling down in the main hall of the hotel and the wonderful 4 pools and azure sea. Sometimes memories are good enough.

I went to the Dom Rep years ago with the ex who shall not be named. It was a good holiday but unfortunately he managed to ruin a lot of it – we met some lovely people who he managed to push away with his attitude but still, it was nice to see dolphins, swim and feed fish with bread and to generally meet new people. I am still in touch with a wonderful couple we met and that for me is a real bonus. Again the Caribbean is superb and wonderful and despite the negatives from it, I managed to take away good memories.

Paris is somewhere really special for myself and my family. My dad lived and worked out there and it is most definitely his spiritual home. He loves spending time there and I adore being there with him and exploring and seeing how his world has been shaped by it. I try to spend time there as often as I can, I love eating at the restaurants he worked in and seeing the world he lived among. I do enjoy this and love learning random facts every time we go.

My parents and I went to Istanbul a few years ago for my mums birthday. It was really wonderful to be able to stand on 2 continents as it were and a really wonderful place to spend time (I’m not sure how comfortable I would be now as I have heard it is much less friendly to westerners now but I still enjoyed it and apart from a couple of places, I didn’t feel harassed or uncomfortable. It is a wonderful mix of culture and style, such wonderful places to see, lots of beautiful markets and buildings and despite my general dislike of Churches, I do really like Mosques and had a great time exploring and seeing the places which I had read about.

I was so lucky to go to Egypt years ago with my parents. I’d always dreamed of seeing the Pyramids and I actually never thought it would be possible so when I was given the opportunity I jumped at it. I loved it, it is stunning and wonderful but the level of poverty is scary. I would happily go back but feel that my own personal levels couldn’t handle it. I can remember haggling for an ashtray for a friend, and I realised I was haggling between 40 and 50 pence. Which I’d have been happy to pay full price if you see what I mean. I’m not sure how I could cope. I’d definitely recommend it to people though, just be aware of the looky looky men who are very brazen.

Prague was a great holiday, we went for my dad’s birthday and I have written about it previously (see the link here: share about a recent holiday) but it is certainly somewhere I will be going back to. Full of history, culture, galleries, epic food and drink and a real great place to spend some time. Even those places which weren’t the most glam, were still fun.

Lastly I thought I’d talk about Barcelona. I truly love this place and spending time there, I feel comfortable and free there. Great bars, great buildings, fun places and epic restaurants. I used to travel there alone (very much like my dad with Paris) but am looking forward to showing it off to the man, sharing my life and the places I love with him, which, considering that Parc Guell is where I want to be scattered when I pass away, it would probably be a good thing for him to know where it is for example 😉

So, I’ve finally reached the end of my list. Ok so not specifically “The best trip” of my life but I prefer seeing the positives in a lot of things, at least this was I can appreciate all the trips I take as opposed to trying to make one better than the rest.

I’m hoping to take the man somewhere sunny next year – somewhere cheap and cheerful is always appreciated and we’ve never actually gone somewhere warm so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears. I’d love somewhere with a bit of history and culture but also somewhere pretty and fun to enjoy nature and relax. Think that would cover all bases!