Friday, 30 December 2011

2011: The Year That Was

Hello Lovelies,

I hope you've all had a nice festive break and that you're all recovering from the endless stream of mince pies you'll no doubt have had forced upon you. I spent the majority of mine relaxing with my sister and her family, which was lovely.

As it's that time of year for goal setting and reflection, I thought it was worth having a look at the goals I set myself for this year and how I did with them! 2011 has been a funny year for me - it's had some wonderful parts and some really horrendous ones. I've met some wonderful people and had some terrible experiences. I've been happier than I've been for a long time, and also ill (in a whole variety of ways) for almost half of the year. A lot has changed, and I'm a very, very different person to who I was at the start of the year, but you know what? I think it's good. I feel like I've got a lot of my "me-ness" back, if that makes sense?

Anyway, on to the goals of The Year That Was:

1. Continue Shredding and aim for a regular fitness routine (including getting back into running when the weather is a little warmer)
This all went a bit caflooy when I got ill with post viral fatigue. Until then, I was doing moderately well. Maybe not *quite* as well as I'd have liked to, but I was training for a half marathon and getting into a good routine. Then I got ill and have spent the subsequent months being terrified of exercise. However, I've spent the last few weeks making sure that all changes, which can only be a good thing.

2. Eat vegan more (aiming for around 60-75% of the time by the end of the year)
This I have most definitely won at! I eat vegan around 90-95% of the time. Sometimes, it's just not practical or possible, but generally I'm vegan... just willing to be flexible about it too :)
3. Carry on blogging regularly
Big massive fail at this one - it all started incredibly well, but then post viral fatigue and general life shaped ick got in the way and my blogging mojo left me, which I found really difficult.  

4. Attempt the 50 in 52 challenge (50 craft projects in a year - eeeek)
There aren't quite words for how much I failed at this. I made so few craft things I'm embarrassed. My sewing machine most definitely needs more use!

5. Get better at keeping my eyebrows in shape
Yes! I love my eyebrows now more than I ever have in my life. It sounds like a stupid thing, but for years I've hated my eyebrows because they're thick and dark and one of them grows upwards a little like Patrick Moore, but I've definitely tamed them.

6. Post more FOTDs and get a bit more creative with makeup again
Yeah, this didn't really happen, but the makeup I wear on a daily basis makes me incredibly happy.

7.Work as an MUA on at least 1 photoshoot and continue building my portfolio
This didn't happen either, although there was technically a shoot I was meant to work on (but then... you guessed it, I got ill). What I did end up doing though was 15 women's make up for our work Christmas Party, so I feel that kinda counts.

8. Apply for a GTP in Hull and see where that takes me
Well, I most definitely applied. This was an incredibly long and painful process, that lead to a hell of a lot of change and re-evaulation. A lot of what came from my GTP application was good, some of it less so good. I'd say that this is the thing that shaped my year more than anything else, and I'm not entirely certain I had any idea of just how much of an impact it was going to have. Let's put it this way - this time last year, I certainly didn't expect to be housesharing in Greenwich and working as a PA in Camden.

9.Live a more ethical life - try not to use products tested on animals, recycle/upcycle more, make, do and mend wherever possible!
Done, to as much of an extent as this sort of thing can be measured. 

10. Project 365 and Thrify 365
Fail. Big, massive, huge, incredible fail. I challenge myself to Project 365 every year.... and every year I fail to do it. Maybe one day I'll learn.... maybe.

So a bit of a mixed year all in all, but I'm happy to see that I did manage to stick to or work through some of my goals at the very least. It's interesting to reflect on just how much can change in such a short amount of time!

What were your goals for 2011? How did you do?

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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Insane in the membrane, Insane in the brain!

Ok, possibly a slightly tongue in cheek title, but it's been my earworm for the last few days.

Those of you who follow me on a twitter will probably have noted that I've been a bit errr... crazy in the head stakes. Partially, this post is going to be a little explaining, partially it's going to be some pondering on mental health issues and how they're often perceived.

So, first things first. I'm not depressed. It's interesting that when you say something's wrong with your brain, people assume you're depressed or at the very least sad. I'm not. What I do have is severe anxiety, which triggers ocd, panic attacks and just a general grim feeling of everything being overwhelming. For the record, this isn't like feeling anxious before a job interview or just worrying about things. It's intense and its debilitating. It feels like the whole world is caving in on you and you're completely out of control. It's possible that I also had a hypomanic period. But we'll ignore that one for now.

The other thing I've noticed is how weird it feels to talk about having a mental health problem. I mean, I talk about everything with anyone. I'm an incredibly open person. If you follow me on twitter, you'll know that there's not much I won't tweet about. But tweeting about my mental health, that made me... uncomfortable. At least to start with. Right now, I'm deciding to screw that uncomfortableness and just tweet my way through things. I'd tweet if I'd been to the Drs and given antibiotics for a chest infection, why on earth shouldn't I tweet I've been given diazepam to calm my brain down?!

Two good things have come out of this. The first is that so many people seem to have started to engage in conversation with me about mental health. Not just mine, but theirs too. Anything that increases the visibility and dialogue about mental health issues can only be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. The other good thing that's come out of this is that through the power of Twitter and awesome things, I've manned up and got myself some medical help. Boom!

Saying all of that, I think it's also important for us to acknowledge that for a lot of people, Christmas is a difficult time of year, for a whole host of reasons. I know that Christmas politics are one of the many things that triggered my crazy. Christmas is a difficult time, especially if you're alone or there are things you can't cope with. The wonderful Kellie of Big Fashionista has been compiling a list of useful numbers for anyone who's finding the festive period difficult - be it depression, anxiety, bipolar... please, know that you're not alone. Know that you deserve help, that you're entitled to help, that things can get better. Here's the list. Use it if you need it, pass it on to someone else if you think they might.

0300 123 3393
08457 90 90 90
Alcoholics Anonymous
0845 769 7555
Info line 08000 50 20 20
London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
0207 837 7324
0845 767 8000
Preventing young suicide
For people in Northern Ireland
0808 808 8000
0800 1111
0808 2000 247
Eating Disorders Association
0845 634 1414
0808 800 4444
NHS Direct
0845 4647
No Panic
0808 808 0545

 And one last thing - why not knock on your neighbours door with a Christmas card and the offer of a festive mince pie this year? You never know the difference it could make :)
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Recipe: Garlicy Mushroom, Courgette and Babycorn Wraps

Hello Lovelies!

So errr... I FOUND GLUTEN FREE TORTILLA WRAPS!!! You have no idea how excited I got about this. Tortillas are one of the things I've really, really missed since going gluten free, as they're a vegan's source to a quick and easy lunch. I've never really been a sandwich girl, but tortillas... yum. Anyway, to celebrate, I made myself some pretty delicious wraps last night.

I'll be honest, this is barely worth calling a recipe, but it was so delicious that I thought I'd share it with you anyway.

You're going to need:
3 Tortilla (I use these gluten free corn tortillas)
2 Big Cloves of Garlic
3 medium mushrooms, sliced
1/4 courgette, cut into half moons or quarters
4 Babycorn, chopped up small
Hummus! (I use Sabra aka crack hummus)
A couple of spoonfuls of pine nuts
Mild Goats Cheese (optional)

In a hot, dry pan, toast your pine nuts - they don't need long and you'll need to keep shaking the pan to stop them from burning, but I promise you, they taste a thousand times better toasted.

Remove the pine nutes and in the same pan, saute your mushrooms, garlic, courgette and babycorn in a little olive oil over a medium heat for around 5-10 minutes until they soft and have started to get a bit juicy. I added oregano, basil, black pepper, salt, a pinch of cayenne, herbs d'prov and a dash of vegan worcester sauce to mine.

Heat up your tortilla wraps.

Spread with a thin(ish) layer of hummus, then a handful of spinach, followed by a couple of spoonfuls of your yummy mushroom, courgette and babycorn concoction, a couple of blobs of goats cheese and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Yum!!

I had a bit left over and didn't fancy another wrap, so I made myself a wee salad instead - perfect :D

Are you a tortilla fan? What's your favourite filling

(Also, please excuse the truly awful pictures... I haven't managed to find my battery charger for my camera since moving hence you got the slightly horrific macbook proud of my food photos I put on twitter last night!)

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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A bit of food based reflection

Hey lovelies,

So after yesterday's food based melt down, I've done a bit of reflection and established the following things:

  • I need to stop apologising for being a wheat free mostly vegan. I apologise for it all the time and tell people it doesn't matter but actually, it does!
  • I'm going to reintroduce goats cheese into my diet because it doesn't seem to screw with my body too much  and it'll be a good extra source of fat and protein and calcium.
  • Eggs are icky. I intend to carry on avoiding them.
  • Microwaveable ice packs are my friend. I discovered some dairy and gluten free risotto packs today, so that's good. Once my stomach has settled, I can go back to my old favourite of Uncle Ben's Spicy Mexican Rice. Adding cashews to them for protein and maybe a few baby sweetcorn or some mushrooms will help balance them out a bit more.
  • I need to start bulk cooking things at the weekend to freeze into portions. This means scheduling time into my diary to do this!
Thank you to those of you who helped out yesterday. Any other suggestions or words of advice would be gratefully received.

What do you eat for lunch?
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Monday, 5 December 2011

Food Woes!


So I try to keep my ranting and such away from the blog, but at the moment, I'm having a bit of a bout of the food woes and I was wondering if any of you can shed some light or give me some inspiration/advice on how best to cope with it.

As most of you know, I'm wheat intolerant (although I've been extremely bad about avoiding it recently), mostly vegan (and that's partially because of my body's reaction to dairy since getting ill with post viral fatigue)... what you might not know is that I'm also kinda intolerant to tomatoes and peppers.

The result of this is that I'm basically feeling immensely frustrated by food... I've been stupidly busy since moving to London and tend to eat out most days. As a result, I'm not eating properly and my lunches are really bad.

I hate lunch at the best of times (finding interesting wheat free, dairy free, veggie options that aren't heavy on tomatoes and peppers = really not easy) but at the moment, I'm just completely bewildered. Breakfast I just don't care about and I've taken to skipping and dinner tends to be eaten on the hoof.

It got to the point today where I stood with a packet of stuffed vine leaves in my hand in Marks and Spencers and just sobbed when I saw they had tomatoes in. Normally, they'd be fine, but after my body's reaction to peppers yesterday, I knew I had to leave them be. Instead, I spent £8 on lunch from Whole Foods. Not cool.

Essentially what I'm saying is, what on earth can I eat?! How can I fall in love with food again when my body is being so anti everything? Also, unlike a lot of food bloggers, a salad doesn't work for me lunch wise. I know my body well enough to know that I need carbs to sustain me. I'm also concerned I'm not getting enough protein at the moment (I've had massive meat cravings).

Sorry for the slightly whiny post but please, can anyone help me get my food shaped mojo back?!
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