Are there days when it’s okay to stay in bed?

When I was younger I would maintain when ill that I was going to stay in bed all day. My Mum would always tell me that it makes you feel better to put clothes on, and by midday I would normally have given up and located myself on the sofa to watch endless films in some form of slobby clothing. Throughout university so far I have always maintained that I would rather get up and go do something than mope around feeling sorry for myself, even dragging myself into lectures and sitting with similarly ill friends at the back, looking like death.

Mexican Feast!

Mexican Feast!

Today I gave up. Yesterday, completely out of nowhere, I suddenly had yet another horrific cold, which left me looking scary even though I didn’t feel that bad, despite being unable to be away from a tissue for more than 10 seconds. And this went on all day. After going to bed very late – we had a bit of a Mexican fiesta and it was too much fun to miss – I decided to sleep until I woke up. This turned out to be about 10 this morning, but I still felt rough, so I put on a documentary. I paused this about halfway through and fell back to sleep for another hour.

Thus my day fell into a pattern of watching TV I’ve been meaning to catch up on, then finding something exciting in the recommendations bar and starting to watch that (and eating a whole bar of Cadbury’s Turkish Delight chocolate). This went on until about 5, when I ventured downstairs and did some washing up from last night so that I could have a plate for dinner. This was, naturally, leftover Mexican food.

Beechams: the elixir of life as far as I am concerned.

Beechams: the elixir of life as far as I am concerned.

Now here I sit, having finally stopped watching awful telly (I really could have carried on), done my reading for uni (I’m not sure it’s a good thing that I find myself wanting to kill most of the writers we have to read), and having stayed in my pyjamas all day. I did contemplate changing into normal clothes when I did the washing up, but by that point it just seemed too late in the day when I already seemed to have fully committed myself. I am literally torn in two about this incredibly lazy decision. Half of me is really glad I did it, as I now feel a hell of a lot better. But the other half feels gross, wants to wash her hair, and is insisting that it was probably just a 24 hour bug.

The one person who I thought would really judge me – my Mum – actually turned out to be all in favour of my day. She told me that I need to be kind to myself, but I wonder if she is overcompensating for this week’s blows (I was told that I didn’t get an interview to work for Lidl because I was underqualified. Having worked in a supermarket for three years. Depressed Tania insisted that I am going to die alone and on the streets and it just wasn’t pretty). Turns out she also stayed in bed until lunchtime today though, although she is actually unwell and I am just melodramatic. Her support was nice though. We had a massive chat on the phone the other morning and it was lovely – she always makes me feel better.

My mind is just confused by this version of myself. After so many years of barely being capable of staying in bed past 10, I struggle to wake up (yesterday I was in bed until almost midday, but I maintain that was because I had a really bad nightmare and clearly didn’t sleep properly). Before I could barely stand the telly, now I will spend a whole day just watching nonsense. To be honest, I am not a fan, but I am stuck in this vicious cycle and nothing I try to do can get me out of it. Combined with struggling to exercise because of my knee it’s just a nightmare! Today’s workout actually looks pretty focused away from knee-type moves, so I’m possibly going to give that a go tomorrow because what I should be doing is all about the legs and has all sorts of moves on the knees. I have become that person who feels bad about not doing exercise everyday. At least it’s motivating me to drag my bum out of bed tomorrow!

WP_20131009_002Healthy eating makes me feel better. Exercise makes me feel better. A new development is that being almost caffeine free is making me feel better too. After having a cup of coffee-shop coffee the other day and shaking violently for a couple of hours I realised that it might be a better move to give up the caffeine and invested in both decaf tea and coffee. They also boost my feeling-like-a-good-person factor as I bought fairtrade (I was in the Co-op, it was either fairtrade or ridiculously expensive brands to be honest). I say almost because of the caffeine in chocolate. Although I probably should give up chocolate, it just isn’t going to happen. But I have eaten all of the Cadbury’s now. Thus my healthy regimen can return in full force tomorrow.

Although I am kind of disappointed in myself, I cannot promise that it won’t happen again if I catch something else – this is the third time in four weeks and I am going crazy!

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Lesson 2 in Stress Control: Letting blood is no longer a valid form of de-stress

Yep. This is me.

Yep. This is me.

It has never been discussed in my posts how I am one of those horrifically clumsy people that need to be rolled in cotton wool on a daily basis. I am such a person. At some points I have been described as ‘A walking disaster. With legs’. Lately I haven’t had any major accidents – just my usual stream of mysterious bruises and the occasional saved stumble. Naturally, today fate, karma, or whatever force you believe in, decided that this needed to change.

This week’s Stress Control class was meant to see us less stressed than last week, as we knew where to find the building. We even had a slight shortcut in mind. However, as we crossed the road I suddenly found myself sailing gracefully through the air as I tripped over the curb (apparently). Apparently it was actually very graceful – the pilates must be doing me some good! Thankfully it was one of those falls where time seems to slow down, or at least I instantly realised what was going on and managed to slow myself in some way, as I had the time to roll myself away from falling onto both my palms and my face. I do have a slightly swollen patch on one palm, but I can deal with that. My knee is a different matter though. I instantly got up, not particularly phased by the whole incident as I had somehow managed to deal with it relatively safely for me falling over, noted that there was quite a big hole in my tights, but there didn’t seem to be too much damage to my leg. By the time we got round the corner to the hall there was quite a lot of blood, and thankfully there was a first aid box so I had access to some plasters and cleaning wipes. These didn’t really help much and by the end of the evening people were asking me what I’d done (it looked so bad one woman thought I’d fallen off of a bike, not my own legs!). Thus en route home I had a look for bandages, but they only had children’s plasters in Lidl. Much as I love animal shaped plasters, this time they just weren’t going to cut it! I did buy some imitation nutella and an abusive amount of biscuits, but I’m coming to that. Co-op didn’t have any bandages either, so I am now writing with a cotton pad and some microporus tape covering up the nice hole in my knee.WP_20131010_004

Despite being told a number of times in English A-Level classes that it used to be believed that letting blood was a cure for many things, including stress, I have been forced to conclude that this is really not the case. Worryingly, my main concern is that I’m not going to be able to do Blogilates in the morning! I can’t do anything on my knees! I missed out the last five minutes this morning because of time, and I just looked through tomorrow’s videos and there are a lot of knee-related movements. Saturday is the rest day, so I might swap the two days around. I really need the exercise as I have been quite unhealthy today!

WP_20131010_005The other day I  came across a post involving hot chocolate made from milk and nutella. Simples. Today has been a bad day for eating. I’ve just been hungry all day! After my little accident I decided that hot chocolate would be a nice treat, and picked up Lidl’s version of nutella, as I mentioned. I also bought the awesome chocolate sandwich biscuits.

This hot chocolate is amazing. Probably easier than the normal stuff as you don’t have to keep trying to stir out the lumps. and it tastes awesome. With sandwich biscuits dipped into it I was in heaven.

I’m going to sleep now. I can’t stay awake any more! Masters is exhausting!

Photobooth: Accurately depicts how people really feel?

Photobooth: Accurately depicts how people really feel?

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Narnian Chat-up Lines

Although I have other things to post about, I just thought I would quickly share with you a couple of gems that my housemate shared with me:

‘Your name sounds like Narnia… Could I put my lion in your wardrobe?’

‘If you were a witch I’d eat your Turkish Delight’

‘You can lean on my lamp post any time…’

As you can tell, sanity reigns in this house. I came home to find an array of plastic cutlery decorating my room.

I currently dread bedtime…

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The Mystery of Gary and the Toilet Brush

Some spiders are just so large that they need to be named and counted as an extra housemate. Gary is such a spider – I  came across him in the bathroom yesterday morning but Bethan had already discovered him when he decided to climb inside her towel and then her clothes after she had a bath. When I left home yesterday evening Gary was happily sitting next to the toilet brush, where he had been all day.

This is Julia.

This is Julia.

Can I just add that I haven’t always been crazy enough to name spiders, it’s actually quite a recent thing. On the night that I got dumped there was a massive spider in the downstairs loo, so the two of us were only using the upstairs toilet. Then the ex’s housemate came down, and we mentioned this spider, to which he replied, ‘Oh, you found Geoff!’ Despite all the anguish and whatever that was going on, I still found that hilarious. When I was at home I found a pretty sizeable spider in the bath and named her Julia. Apparently Mum threw Julia out of the bathroom window. So now it has become a thing – I name large spiders.

Anyway. I came home last night and became greatly distressed. On entering the bathroom I discovered that the toilet brush holder had been overturned and the brush itself was lying on the floor. My instant conclusion was that someone had used the brush in a vicious attack to murder Gary, which made me very sad. Although I’m sure I wouldn’t like it if I found him in my room or running fast at me, I would never want him dead. However, upon talking to my other housemate, the main suspect, today, I discovered that she had not been aware that the toilet brush had moved, and that she had met Gary in the kitchen this morning.

Thus Gary is alive and at large somewhere in the house. I actually find this quite distressing, as I didn’t mind having a large spider around when I knew where he was. I also don’t mind having large spiders around if I don’t know they’re there. It’s when I know they’re there and am unsure of where they are – that’s when the real potential for surprise is added.

The main question, however, is not about Gary’s location, but about how the toilet brush got thrown to the floorMaybe Gary is the spider equivalent of the Incredible Hulk?

WP_20130830_001

Apparently my name has too many letters...

Apparently my name has too many letters…

Maybe it’s the stress of having a giant hulk-spider on the loose in the house, but I’ve been unreasonably hungry today. Me and Siân cracked into a packaged Victoria Sponge that was left behind after Beth’s birthday party and have now eaten about two thirds of it… It is out of date and needs to be finished? Siân says that we are vindicated in our cake eating because we finally found all of the letters that she hid around the house. I’m not sure about the logic, but there’s not much that can be done about eating a third of a cake…

The measure of a good meal (according to Siân): Can you stand a fork in it?

The measure of a good meal (according to Siân): Can you stand a fork in it?

Dinner was good though. As it is the first rest day of Abtoberfest today’s tasks were to do a 10 minute stretching for flexibility video and to make cauliflower crust pizza. I have done this before and put too many watery vegetables on it, so it came out kind of soggy, so I decided to make Cassie’s latest Cheap Clean Eat, Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza Bites. It involved grating cauliflower, so I decided that they’re somewhere around the same ball-park. I made coodles (we realised that courgette noodles works just as well as zucchini noodles when you think about it) and homemade tomato sauce to go with these balls of cheese and cauliflower and they were rather tasty. I forgot to put the garlic in and they definitely needed it, but they were still good. Although I did have major problems with mozzarella-meltage and some falling apart. We live, we learn.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

However, I am tempted to go to bed now to stop me from eating more! Otherwise I might finish the cake…

 

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Why-have-I-got-a-bag-of-carrots-in-my-backpack Soup

On Monday I was lazy. Not super lazy – I still got up and managed to get myself to uni and orchestra – but the kind of lazy where actually preparing food was too much effort to contemplate. Consequently, I decided to buy a sandwich whilst I was at uni. I was going to chop up some carrots to take as a snack, but discovered that I had neglected my bag of carrots so long that they had all gone very off. So on the way in, whilst my housemate waited outside with my travel mug, I ran into Sainsbury’s and bought a bag of pre-chopped carrots.

Why my carrots had gone off in the first place is a mystery as I am generally a carrot fiend. My normal enthusiasm has however been lacking, and this became very clear when I found the bag of pre-chopped carrots at the bottom of my backpack two days later. Although they no longer looked appetising enough to eat, I stuck them in the fridge hoping to achieve something else with them. Thus I  created the ‘Why have I got a bag of carrots in my backpack?’ Soup.

WP_20131004_014Today has also been quite lazy. Although I haven’t been writing about it, I have been attempting Cassey Ho’s latest calendar for Abtoberfest. So far I have completed 2/4 days. After seeing comments saying that the final video for Day 1 was making people feel like they were going to throw up I decided it wasn’t such a good idea to attempt it, seeing as I was ill and it had taken me the whole day to feel well enough to do anything! Then yesterday I simply ran out of time. Anyway, I completed the arm and back workouts today, and have just sort of been sitting around ever since. I eventually decided to force myself to do something by making the Easiest, Healthiest Cookie recipe that I never managed to do in order to finish my beginner’s calendar. I decided to add some cinnamon, as I like that sort of thing with bananas. The end result actually really reminds me of a low pro-points flapjack recipe that I used to make in the days of my true Weight-Watcher-dom. Definitely not a cookie, but still pretty nice.WP_20131004_010

This then spurred me on in my soup making efforts, and I have decided that I like it so much that I will share it with you. It is definitely not a perfect recipe, but it tastes good, is super easy to make, and it is a million miles away from my first soup recipe attempts, in which I managed to make an interestingly watery mushroom gravy-type concoction!

‘Why have I got a bag of carrots in my backpack’ Soup

WP_20131004_006Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 400g carrots (mine are pre-chopped but you don’t have to be lazy)
  • Apprx. 800ml vegetable stock
  • Probably about a thumb sized piece of ginger (I use Lazy Ginger, so I just dumped a load from the jar into the pan. Use however much you like!)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander Seeds
  1. Heat some oil to a medium heat in a frying pan and add the onion, cooking until tender but not browned or burned.
  2. Add the ginger, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to the onion (I didn’t measure the seeds, I love the flavours so I just put in a generous amount!). Cook them for a minute or so, until you can start to smell them
  3. Place all the ingredients in a big saucepan (yes, everything!) and simmer for around 20 minutes, or until your carrots can be really easily jabbed through with any sharp implement.
  4. Use a blender-blender or a stick-blender to make your soup the desired consistency – I found that it was best to get it as smooth as possible as I am a stick-blender user and this normally leaves lumps anyway. I get the feeling that I am also supposed to warn you not to blend things until they have cooled down some, but I never do this…
  5. Enjoy. I decided to share this completely untested recipe that I just made up with you because I took one bite (I had dipped a bread roll in it) and loved the slightly gingery flavour, with hints of lemon from the coriander seeds and curry from the cumin. Yum! WP_20131004_012
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Lesson 1 in Stress Control: Learn to find buildings without panicking.

Tonight I went to the first session of six in learning to control stress. I initially agreed to go because a friend asked if I would like to come with her, and I decided that it sounded like something that could potentially be very useful to me as I got myself in such a tizz last year.

So we got off the train and swiftly realised that we didn’t know where we needed to go. Thankfully my phone is now equipped with map software that actually works (sorry Blackberry, but Nokia takes you down!), so we worked out a route. We got more panicked as we missed our first turning, which turned out to be down a narrow alleyway, and eventually found the Baptist Church we were meant to arrive at. All the doors were locked and the lights were out. We realised that we were meant to be at the church hall, and proceeded to look round the building for said hall (there was a sign on the side trying to point us to it). No luck. By this time we had been joined by another woman. Eventually, a couple of guys came out of a building that looked very much like a bungalow and asked the three of us, who by this point were looking very uptight, if we were looking for the stress management course. Cue giggles all round when we finally made it inside.

WP_20131003_005 On arrival we were handed a massive manual (this is definitely a situation in which I would happily apply the word ‘hench’) and that thing dreaded above all others; the depression and anxiety form. Upon circling the numbers for corresponding statements, even though I am not 100% on how it is measured, I could see that I’ve gone severely downhill since the last time the doctor made me do the test (I could have told you this anyway, but seeing it on paper is nasty!). This instantly set me off and I spent about 20 minutes wanting to cry. The more the women talked, the more I realised that this isn’t a place it might be useful to be, it is a place I need to be. The course is strongly centred on depression, anxiety, and panic. My three favourite words. So there we have it; I have inadvertently started trying to fix myself. Although when they talked about vicious circles I did draw a circle with fangs on my friend’s manual like the mature being I clearly am…

WP_20131001_006-1Today has been one of those inexplicably busy but fantastic days. Yes, there has been emotional upheaval, but I have not only survived stress control, I made it through an intense seminar AND Postgrad Forum (straight after each other. I had to take tea in my alumni travel mug that I thought I would never find a use for). I also finally went to the Falafel Bar.

WP_20131003_003This place is amazing! I’ve always been told so, but for some reason I never got a chance to go (damn it, I only had my first Magic Wrap last year!). After the forum some of us ventured out, planning on getting lunch in the pub.  On looking at the menu and remembering how little choice there is for veggies the three of us somehow came to the conclusion that we should go to the Falafel Bar, opting to battle on through the rain up Woodville Rd to reach this haven of chickpea based wonder. It is very cosy inside, and we were lucky to get a table. I had also discovered in the pub that I had left my purse at home, and my friend was a beautiful person and paid for me to have falafel, a drink, and a cookie. I owe her £5, or lunch at some point! That £5 is absolutely worth it: the most amazing massive pitta bread stuffed with falafel, which the owner then instructs (and shows you how, if it’s your first time) to squish in order to fit in as much salad as possible. The salad even includes gherkin! You also get a can of drink (and they had vanilla coke – my guilty pleasure!), and a massive cookie. Seriously, it was a beast. And homemade. It was beautiful! Two of us went for double chocolate cookie, but we have now renamed the combination as ‘Super Chocolate’.

If you get the chance, go! We will be going back because someone was served coffee whilst we were there, and it was the most heavenly smell! The instant stuff from Lidl that we made up when we got back to the postgrad suite didn’t have anything on the scent of this stuff alone!

WP_20131003_004Upon reaching home after an afternoon of grappling with Eduard Hanslick I was made even more content by the arrival of the Star Wars prequels trilogy, meaning that I finally have the complete set and can spend the evenings this weekend having a mini Star Wars marathon (it’s orchestra weekend so my daytimes are sort of lost…). I also got given a bar of galaxy free on the way home!

Things may not always be the best, but they are most certainly good! And, of course, settling down to write with a mug of my favourite Dreamtime tea after a satisfying day always helps!

Complete with locationally incorrect mug

Complete with locationally incorrect mug

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Channelling my Inner Miley

I am about to go to bed.

Today has been a very Sunday kind of Sunday, where I didn’t wake up until almost midday, spent too much time faffing around writing my earlier blog post, and eventually managed to sit down and dedicate a good chunk of time to my reading. I still have a lot to do tomorrow, but it is looking much more positive!

I am heading to bed before 11 (I am definitely no longer an undergrad!) because a friend took me to my first ever Bokwa class this evening and I am now so tired that I can barely stay awake! I only really have one thing to say:

The instructor of this particular class is very up-to-date in her music choices; I am pretty sure that most of the music we danced to came out this year. One song in particular came up that made me giggle (but in my head. I was too out of breath and ready to die to actually laugh), and it was of course Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. It was just something about throwing myself around and wiggling my hips in a ‘sexy’ fashion that made me want to cry with laughter, after the whole Miley Cyrus incident. People thought her moves were distasteful?

They don’t have nothing on me!

I am going to sleep now, hope you are all well!

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