Friday, 22 July 2011

My new love aka Peanut Butter Puffins

Hello Lovelies!

Finding interesting, quick, relatively healthy, vegan, wheat free breakfast cereals in the UK can be a pretty depressing activity. In fact, if it wasn't for Doves Farm's Chocolate Stars and Low Fat Flakes, I think I'd be a very depressed bunny indeed. Hence, I decided it was time to get a bit creative and after hearing Nicky and Laura declaring their love of Peanut Butter Puffins all the time, I decided to take the plunge and order myself a couple of boxes.

These little crispy, puffy pillows are utterly divine. They hit that perfect spot between salty and sweet with a good peanutty kick to satisfy any health bloggers nut butter cravings! They're also really rather healthy, for a processed cereal and the ingredients list is gorgeously natural! I'm sold... I can see the start of a rather expensive addiction.

You can grab them from iherb and provided you only order one or two boxes, the airmail shipping really isn't too bad (and only took around a week and a half to arrive)!

Have you tried Peanut Butter Puffins?
What's your current favourite breakfast treat?

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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lush Volcano Foot Mask Review

Hello Lovelies.

Today I'm going to be bringing you a review of this bad boy - Volcano Foot Mask from Lush.

Lush Volcano foot mask

Volcano is one of those phoenix-esq Lush products. It used to be around a looong time ago as part of the Fresh range, then it went, then it came back, then (I think) it went again and now it's back, it a smaller tub. A product's gotta be good to have made its reappearance that many times - no matter how often we try to kill it, it just won't die.

Volcano is part foot mask, part foot scrub and oh my goodness, do I love it. It's packed with yummy things like papaya and lemon (packed full of antiseptic cleansing power), tomatoes (they're deodorizsng apparently...), a multitude of other anti-fungal and astringent herbal bits and errr, potatoes. Yeah, I'm not sure either. All of this is mixed into a based of kaolin and pumic to give your feet a good deep clean and exfoliate.

To use it, you simply need to slather it on - not too thickly though:

Next, wrap your feet in cling film or two plastic bags and leave for 10 minutes. Spend the majority of those 10 minute admiring your new, cheap-as-free shoes and attempting not to break your neck when you need a wee.

I can definitely see this look going down well for A/W 2011 fashion, no?

After your 10 minutes are up, unwrap your feet and give them a good massage. This will help the exfoliation process and (if you're anything like me) warm your feet up a bit too! Then, plunge them into a bowl of warm water and rinse thoroughly. No, seriously, if you think you've finished rinsing, keep going. A white mask of kaolin does not an attractive foot make.

To finish, slather your feet in a luxuriously rich moisturiser, Ta-daa super soft feet!

One thing I will say is this isn't a massively moisturising foot mask, and it does have a lot of active ingredients. If your feet are really dry or cracked, you might want to opt for something else. I find this leaves my feet feeling really fresh and tingly afterwards but equally, that could be less of a nice feeling if your feet are already a bit sore.

Available from: Lush (online and instore) for £5.50
Would I buy this product again? Yes!

*Disclaimer* This product was sent to me for review purposes
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Friday, 15 July 2011

Small moments of joy

Hello lovelies,

It's Friday (apparently!) which means it's nearly the weekend - do you have anything lovely planned? For me, the weekend and weekdays are barely distinguishable from one another at the moment! I thought I'd share some of the small moments of joy from the past week that have made my 5th week of house arrest a little more bearable...

 Leaving the house on Monday night
I went to a pub, an actual pub with people and everything. It's a long time since I've been to a pub (because of anxiety issues) so this was really quite special - I spent an evening with awesome people I didn't really know, chatting about protesting and the best thing? The pub had a cat that I got to fuss!

 A visit from my best friend on Tuesday
Admittedly, I was a little silly as I made us walk into town and wore myself out but I love spending time with Katie and her gorgeous son. It was so lovely and I very much appreciated my Iced Tea!

 Even more visits on Thursday
My friend Graham came to see me on Thursday afternoon - I love spending time with Graham, we always have such interesting chats. On Thursday we chatted about activism, anarchist philosophy, theology, feminism and gender. Graham and I kept each other sane when we were working for the same church so it's always nice to get time to catch up with him. I then had a lovely visit from my mother-in-law and one of my other best friends, Mary who took me off to the Farmer's Cart for afternoon tea, which was a bit of a disaster as they served no gluten free options and no vegan options either. I had to beg them to do me a bowl of crisps. I did however have this gorgeous smoothie:
I felt like I should have been sipping it by a pool somewhere hot!

 Random surprise gifts
Sorry that I look an absolute state, however the flowers themselves are beautiful! I was just given them by a lady I barely know from a church I no longer go to who'd heard I was ill. It was such a wonderful surprise and the flowers are gorgeous (some of my favourite flowers actually!)

What have been the small joys in your life this week?
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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A difficult decision.

Hello Lovelies.

Are you having a nice week so far? What have you been doing with yourselves? This week I've mainly been enjoying...
munching cookies with a big glass of chocolate and hemp soya milkshake...

and learning how to knit!

But also, I've had to make a really hard decision this week. I already knew I wouldn't be well enough to run the York 10k I had scheduled in but I've also decided to pull out of the Great North Run. I'm gutted to be honest. I've been looking forward to it all year but I've had to look at my health at the moment and the ever decreasing amount of time left in the run up and realistically, I won't be able to safely train or take part in a half marathon in September. I'm still waiting to hear back from the CF Trust about whether I'll be able to defer my place to next year or not but needless to say, I'm pretty crushed about having to make this decision.

I'm actually finding it really frustrating to not be able to exercise - I miss running and yoga and cycling. I think I hadn't realised how much I use exercise to (successfully) control my anxiety issues. When I'm doing those things, I can get rid of any extra nervous energy that I'm carrying. When I'm not, I feel a bit like I might go crazy.

How do you help your body chill out when you can't exercise?
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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Taking the bull by the horns.


Remember this post about the comparison trap? Well I thought I'd give you a bit of an update on some progress I've made towards breaking the comparison trap.

One of my most stupid points of comparison was comparing myself to activist friends of mine and deciding I wasn't "activist" enough to be able to get involved in protests. Yeah, I know, stupid. To be fair, I've also had some issues with anxiety over the last year or two so I've found the thought of crowds a little terrifying.

However, it appears that being trapped in your house alone for over a month gives you plenty of time to think and you end up making some pretty good decisions. Mine has been that I need to stop just talking the talk and start walking the walk.

So how am I doing it? Well, as I said in the original Comparison Trap post, I think it's important to see if you can make an achievable goal out of the thing you're comparing yourself to. My achievable goal has been to read, read, read. One of the things that worried me was that I wouldn't have enough knowledge - thanks to my ridiculous amount of time off, I've been able to read plenty!

I've also taken steps towards getting involved in the local Stop the Cuts group (I even LEFT THE HOUSE last night to go to a workshop on Organising Protests.... leaving the house was amazing. I went to an actual pub and sat with actual people and everything. I mean yeah, I was falling asleep but still - I LEFT THE HOUSE!!!), I'm doing the promo for Just Do It and I'm going to this:
The Uk Feminista Summer School. It's a completely free weekend of seminars and workshops from some pretty awesome speakers (there's a full list on their website). At the moment, I know literally no-one going (terrifying!!) so if you're planning on going, do let me know!

What have you challenged yourself to do recently?
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Sunday, 10 July 2011

What I've been munching

Hello Lovelies!

I know it's all quiet here - I'm still ill (yup, it's getting ridiculous now) hence there's not been much in the way of tasty recipes going on (too tired to cook) and I don't have masses to tell you (too tired to leave the house!)

However, I thought I'd share some of my favourite meals and munchies of the past week with you starting with....

Socca Pizza! We made the base a little too thick but oh my goodness it was delicious. I made the batter from 1 cup chickpea flour mixed with 1 cup water, 1 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs. Poured it into a cake tin, baked for 20 minutes and then topped with homemade tomato sauce, tonnes of veg and some Cheezly Super Melting Mozzarella and cooked for another 10 minutes or so. Yum!

Chocolate and Beetroot cake. Wait, correction, Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate and Beetroot Cake... with amazing sugarcoma inducing chocolate frosting. The recipe is here (I subbed the flour for Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour and added 1tsp vanilla extract too) and the frosting recipe is a random one I found on vegweb. We've finally found a way to use up the beetroot that so often appears in our vegbox. It was fudgey deliciousness.

Errr, yes, yes I do feel the need to take a bite out of everything before I photograph it (I'm a hungry monster). I made these cookies yesterday - they're technically meant to be whoopie pies but a)I couldn't be bothered to make up frosting and b)I wanted to eat cookies, not whoopie pies. They're like a delicious cross between a cookie and a cake though which is alll good! I used this recipe and subbed in Doves Farm GF flour and caster sugar for brown sugar (because it's what we had in!)

What have you been munching this week?
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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Just Do It


A wee break from the norm to share a little info about a film I'm really rather excited about... nope, not Harry Potter (although I am ridiculously excited about that), I'm talking about Just Do It

So why am I excited about this?

Basically, film maker Emily James has spent a whole year immersed in the world of activist groups (mainly Climate Camp and Plane Stupid), seeing the real nitty gritty of their lives and work. Just Do It is an opportunity to see the lives of people who aren't just willing to sit back and accept the world the way it is, but who are dedicated to standing up and making their voices heard. The access Emily James gained into the inner workings of these groups is unprecedented and aims to show the true passion and motivation of the people involved.

As someone who's a passionate activist at heart but has a tendency towards laziness and fear of crowds, I feel this film is going to be a very welcome kick up the arse - a film to motivate and inspire. We don't all need to superglue ourselves to the bank trading floors as some of the activists in this film did (although maybe more of us should be taking direct action, after all it was direct action that got women the vote and stopped the apartheid...), but I do think it's important that we break free of the chains of apathy and make take a stand against the corruption and destruction of the world.

I'd strongly urge you go see this - even if you're not remotely interested in activism or politics or environmental issues, go see it. It might just change your mind :)

Just Do It is showing in selected cinemas nationwide from July 15th - you can find your local screening here.
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Monday, 4 July 2011

Doctor, Doctor...

Hello Lovelies,

Thank you for your kind comments on my last post. I thought I'd give you a little update on how my visit went this afternoon after this morning's slightly upsetting phonecall .

Essentially, the Dr agrees that I'm not depressed (see, I told you!) and that it is post-viral fatigue. She said she thinks my immune system basically freaks out when I get a virus (well... she didn't use those exact words) and this will probably be my body's response to it anytime I get a full on virus... which explains a lot about the last four or five years.

She's signed me off work for another two weeks (which gets a boo for not being able to go back but also a yey for her understanding I'm not well enough to go back) and wants me to keep resting but gradually increase my activity levels a little more every day too.

She also apologised for upsetting me this morning and saying I was depressed, which I thought was incredibly nice of her.

So the plan for the next two weeks goes something like this:
♥ Rest!!
♥ Even if you think you're better, rest a little more
♥ Plan in a small activity every day - a walk to the corner shop etc
♥ Drink lots, eat healthily, keep the brain active

One of the most frustrating things is it's looking like I probably won't be able to run the York 10k and I'm a little worried about my Great North Run entry too... I'll cross that bridge when I come to it I guess.

What's your favourite Doctor Doctor joke?
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For every step forward, I seem to take 3 steps back.

Hello Lovelies,

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post - it was so lovely to be outside in the sunshine enjoying my beautiful city. Sadly, I think I may have misjudged my energy levels this weekend and did one too many things and have now landed myself back in bed utterly exhausted.

Who knew it took so much effort to sit up without cushions for a couple of hours?! Apparently I completely forgot this fact... having spent the last 3 weeks being supported by a small army of soft snuggly cushions. It's the least exhausting way to sit.

My doctor's note runs out tomorrow, so I called the Drs to see what she thinks I should do. Our conversation went a little like this:

Me:Hello. I'm calling because I'm still tired. I know my blood tests were fine but I literally can't do anything for more than 30 minutes without feeling like I've been hit by a bus. I've tried to do things here and there - I'm not just being lazy and lying in bed but everytime I do things I just feel worse and worse.

Dr: Hmmm yes. Well your blood tests came back clear. I think you should go back to work tomorrow.

Me: Sorry, go back to work? But I can't do anything for more than 30 minutes (clearly there was a bad line or something at the start of this conversation)

Dr: Yes, well often when you've had a virus you can be tired... staying home won't help. I think you need to go back to work to take your mind off things.

Me: Err ok ... I'm just so tired though *holds back tears*

Dr: Hmmm yes, well you are a very busy person(Me: Busy?! My life these days is practically dead compared to 3 years ago), training for a marathon (Me: Half Marathon actually... in fact I'd hardly started training babble babble), working as a teaching assistant and your husband has got cystic fibrosis (which has nothing at all to do with how I feel... I'm not his carer)..... Hmm I see here that you saw a counsellor a while ago.

Me: Yes I did when I was having some stress and anxiety issues. I'm not stessed, I'm not anxious *in full on tears*

Dr: I think you're depressed. Come see me this afternoon

The conversation ends with me crying down the phone that I'm not depressed, I'm just frustrated about being stuck at home and feeling tired and having had a rubbish 3 weeks (probably adding fuel to the fire that I'm a crazy).

I am not depressed. This is not in my head.

I've been depressed before, at various points in my life. It's not something I talk about much, but it's a part of who I am. I know what depression feels like - and it's not this.

When I was depressed, I cried literally all the time. About everything and nothing. I hated myself. I cared about no-one and nothing. I didn't clean because I couldn't see the point. I didn't leave the house or spend time with people because I couldn't deal with the thought of having to try and make conversation. I actively lied to people to find ways to avoid spending time with them because I felt so low. I had no motivation. I wanted to curl up in a ball and avoid the world. I didn't want to eat. Everything in my head felt noisy and confused and scary. Nothing made sense.

None of those things reflect who I am at the moment or how I feel.

I am so desperate to spend time with people that I've risked making myself more ill this weekend to do it. I miss my job dearly and would quite like to go back tomorrow in a lot of ways. I've spent all my time off ill chatting to people online because I've been so desperate for human interaction. I would love to do some cleaning but I'm too tired to. I'm desperate to cook a meal but I don't have the energy to get all the way through it. I'm rather happy, chirpy even if you can ignore the frustration of being so tired. I'm eating like a beast. I want to go running and practice yoga. I've let myself get passionate about things again - passionate about activism and politics and the way the world works.

My list could go on and on but in short, I am not depressed and I do not appreciate being told that it's all in my head.

I'm going in for a "proper" appointment this afternoon (this morning was just a phone consultation).

I'm hoping she'll listen to me...
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Saturday, 2 July 2011


Hello Lovelies!

Isn't it a gorgeous day?! It would seem that things are on the up - after a stupidly tired start to the day yesterday, my energy levels went up and up and up and today I was feeling pretty much back to normal so we decided to have a lovely walk by the river in the sunshine and a little trip into the centre of York. We don't live far from the city centre (about a 15 minute walk by the beautiful riverside) so it's quite a nice, easy way to spend a Saturday.

The first thing we did was stop off at Costa for a drink - it was craaazy hot and we were both feeling a little dehydrated. I went for what I always go for - a peach iced tea. Cooling, sweet and refreshing :)

After a bit of trundling around and a trip to the bank, we decided it was lunch time! We decided on El Piano which is a pretty awesome vegan, gluten free tapas place - originally we'd been planning to eat in but they seem to have changed their menu and you can't just buy a few bits of mix and match tapas anymore which is a shame.

Instead, we went for the uber bargainous takeaway option - Peter had Dahl, Rice and an Onion Bahji and I went for Cuban Black Beans, Rice and a Corn Fritter. Peter's was actually a lot tastier than mine - mine was a little drier than usual and a bit less limey. All of that for £2.95 each though - can't really go far wrong!

We decided to eat in the Minster Gardens - one of my favourite places in York. It's always a little less busy than the Museum Gardens and doesn't seem to end up so full of tourists. Oddly, York did seem very quiet indeed today - it's normally heaving on a Saturday, especially after payday.

After a bit of shopping (obligatory trips to Holland and Barret and Lush mainly), we figured it was getting a bit too hot and it wasn't worth pushing it and making me ill again so we headed home.

I felt bizarrely grateful for being outside - I found I appreciated York so much more than I normally do. I also seem to feel a little more confident. To be fair, that's something I've decided on whilst I've been ill - I need to stop being so anxious about everything and just relax, enjoy life and engage with the things I'm passionate about!

How has your Saturday been?

Do you love the place where you live?
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