Category Archives: nature
Good Sunny Morning!
I honestly could not think of a title for this post. I have been sitting here for the past five minutes staring off into space, thinking of everything that is too corny or cheesy (why are those both having to do with food?) and altogether confusing.
So there you have it. Something literal. Because yesterday I was museuming again.
My wonderful body woke me up early again so that I could have time to putz around before I left. (<– not really, but I DID have time)
I decided it might be a good idea to make some jam since I had some rather squidgy plums taking up space on my shelf in the fridge.
I love plums for a few reasons.
1. They seem to always be the cheapest fruit here, so I’ve kind of been buying them exclusively. (and probably will lay off them once I get home for awhile haha)
2. They are the perfect mixture of tart and sweet.
Two minutes zapped in the microwave and BAM –> JAM!
It pairs well with yogurt cheese, and cinnamon on toast.
Toast in tummy, I set off to the bus stop wearing my vintage dress that I figured might be appropriate for where I was headed: The Imperial War Museum.
I got to the bus stop and, what do you know? There was another woman there wearing a vintage dress! I kind of looked around and made like, ‘no, we are not going to a convention’ and boarded the bus.
I took the bus through London, south of the River to Elephant and Castle. After winding my way through the meandering tunnels that burrow underneath the traffic circle there, I found myself leaving behind the dangerously complex traffic and walking towards the park in which the museum was located.
After walking around a bit and enjoying the sunshine, I found my friend and the two friends he had invited, and we went inside.
While my D and his friends perused the hall, I made for the loos (tmi?) since my bus ride had been long!
Taking pictures of yourself in the full length mirror is totally okay….right?
Obviously. Because I kept doing it.
We made our way upstairs and thank goodness for this sign:
Because I would have been more than happy to climb all over this old double decker!
Probably wouldn’t be safe….in my opinion, the best museums are the ones you can touch!
D did get a picture of me going into the body of a plane though. Sort of….I’m in motion!
This one was better.
After viewing all the tanks and aeroplanes and such, we made our way through the Holocaust Exhibit (I’m a bit of a WWII buff in this category) and down to the general War areas where there was a Trench Experience (which smelled like pee…) and a Blitz Experience (which made me want to build a bomb shelter in my back yard…)
Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong century? Which century would you choose?
I’m in love with all the wartime propaganda posters- the art really pops! The best ones were those for the victory gardens though!
The messages and graphics are cute and catchy.
and as a self identified cheapskate and food saver, I identify with these posters. Maybe I wasborn in the wrong time period….
There was one, however, that I couldn’t get behind.
For me, bread is something that has always meant fear. I don’t know what it is, but the staff of life strikes me dumb. I’m slowly working to overcome this, but I simply could not get behind a poster telling me to eat less of it
I had a look at this picture after I’d uploaded it and freaked out before I realised that those are D’s fingers, not mine.
Do any of you guys know this song? My Dad always sang it when I was a child to encourage good manners.
I even bought three post cards to put on my wall. I forgot to take pictures of them but they say:
-Eat your greens
-YOU deserve victory
-Start Fresh today
All are about victory gardens, except the YOU one, which has Winston Churchill on it. Fun Fact: Did you know that Winston Churchill and I share the middle name, Spencer?
Did you know that (I think) this building has been the Imperial War Museum since 1919?
We had a truly lovely day, and the humidity even stayed away so that I could enjoy a lovely breeze on my walk back to the bus.
I even managed to beat the heat until I got back to my heat box of a room with the window that only opens 2 inches
I baked some bread in our rubbish oven and had to flip the entire thing over to cook the insides as well because it doesn’t ever cook things all the way through. Gosh what I’d give to be home able to actually cook things. It is a bit gooey in the middle, but it came out alright.
I’m currently sitting in my room listening to Nickel Creek and reading about Nutritive and Non Nutritive Sweeteners. I’m setting off to the Wellcome Collection museum after lunch to look at some brains!
Hope today doesn’t get too hot!
Love, Hannah X
ps: Does anyone want to do a guest post for me while I’m in Morocco from June 7-14?
If you know me, you know that I hate hot weather. (Says the girl who is setting off to Morocco in a few weeks and is applying to work in Taiwan)
Yes, it’s true. I’ve said it. I hate summer.
Maybe a bit harsh, and perhaps I don’t hate all of it, but I really do dislike hot weather. Unless I’m swimming in a lake. Then I’m fine.
Just a couple of weeks ago we had this:
Everything was beautiful and shadows were cast of two friends in a park
There was even foreboding, ominous sky.
Regents Park gave us sunshine that shone through leafless trees
In break from my poetic banter, I don’t know why that picture is so big. I’m no good with formatting….)
and some springtime babies! This is a blurry picture because I snapped it as the baby duckling was flapping its wings because it was just so darn cute! I hope you can sort of see…
Skies were blue and buildings were tall.
Okay, this one has always been tall.
Days were brisk, but perfect for fruit at Borough Market. Yes, I finally got around to taking some pictures!
and veg, of course.
and a…thanksgiving spread?
But of course, we all know that I go to Borough Market for the samples.
My favourite condiment**? Mustard! They had wasabi and truffle and fig and just so many!!
**savoury. Nut butter is in its own category, obviously.
I’ve heard this is great. Haven’t gotten it yet though.
They’ve got so many great samples at Borough. Favourites include: Jams, rosemary flavoured olive oil, white balsamic reduction, CHEESE and the most wonderous mushroom pate. Seriously, I don’t know how they do it.
I will be missing the market lifestyle when I’m back in the states. Anyone know cities that have good
sample opportunities markets?
Tomorrow I’m off to the Imperial War museum with a friend. I can’t wait!! Hopefully it isn’t quite so hot though, I’m going to ride the bus. No tubing for me in this weather, I’d imagine they are stifling.
I wish I could begin this post by telling you that I had slept in again, even that I was upset about sleeping in, or had missed my alarm. But the truth is that I don’t use an alarm, and I woke up wayyyyy before the normal time (read: 3:30 am). One of you has to be in sleep research- what is wrong with me?
I had a snack before bed, I woke at 3:30 hungry, had a snack, fidgeted, did some jumping jacks, read, and went back to bed. Woke up normal time, hungry again! Nutritionists in training, what is the meaning of this?
On a lighter note, ’bout time I came back to WIAW. I’ve missed it.
I began my week with a trip to this famed site:
I cannot believe I haven’t been yet, but I guess I felt kind of stupid geeking out 5 minutes from my own flat. But as my sister, G, is the fan-est of fans, I simply had to get a shot. I felt totally a-okay about it after some 20-something guy snaped a shot before me. Also note the completely random location of the cart? Given, it IS between platforms 9 and 10, but still, it sits in the middle of a wall….
This morning, after I’d re-gone to sleep after my extreme energy episode, I tubed it to Piccadilly Circus for the opening of the new Whole Foods Market!
I was going to walk here from my flat, but I decided against it because I wasn’t sure exactly where this place was, so I didn’t want to get lost while looking for the
goodie bags store.
and I saw it!
Not like there were big signs or anything.
Since they had said that the first 100 people there would get a goodie bag and I was like, ‘Guys. I’m already there. Seriously.’ I mean, I was pretty close to the front of the queue.
True to their word, they broke massive bread-snakes. Okay, they weren’t actually shaped like snakes, but that would have been cool. Although somewhat, un-whole foods like.
The older man in the gray shirt is the store team leader and he was the most adorable thing ever shouting, ‘I got the biggest piece, hahaha!’
They finally let us in. Shame it was only about 8:30am, because when I saw the spread, I was ready for lunch!
Stacks of dessert? It was even farther from dessert time.
The lighting was exceptionally bad, as it tends to be inside. My poor little point and shoot couldn’t handle it. Undeterred, I found the squash but….
I decided I didn’t need anything, after sampling some natural yogurt and granola with one (!) raspberry on top, a slice of pineapple, a strawberry, a slice of rather pungent cheddar, and a corn chip with what I think might have been mango guac? It had bite!
I walked aimlessly back in the direction of my flat. I stopped into Planet Organic at what I’m convinced was the very moment they opened. Sheepishly, I snagged a sample of an unnamable smoothie from the counter and turned back around to leave before they could tell me it was too early.
There is a park I like to transverse while on this particular route home, and today was no different. Well, it was different in that it was sunny, which prompted me to stop and soak in some rays and read awhile!
I settled down to finish my book, ‘The Woman in Black’ by Susan Hill, not even thinking about the connection between the story line and my place next to tombs and gravestones.
It wasn’t long before a lovely bird came and perched on the rubbish bin behind me, chirping in the sunlight. I reached into my bag and tore off a small bit of the Whole Foods bread they had given me, tossing it to his hungry beak. He came and sat a few times on the bench but would not hop onto my hand as I wished
After my walk home and read in the park, I was quite hungry, even after all my samples, so I set a big pot of chia oats onto the stove and walked away (Don’t do this at home kids!) to take pictures of my bag’0′swag.
It was awkward getting that rose home, because the stem was just longer than the depth of the bag, but it was worth it. Have you ever seen such a beauty? The gifter was none other than random Whole Foods lady, unfortunately, not my long sought boyfriend. He’s got some serious shoes to fill though, this rose is the nicest I’ve seen.
I was pretty excited about the coconut oil because I’ve heard SO many bloggers rave about it. I broke it right open and stuck in a finger. Um, heaven?
I spent the next couple minutes scouring amazon for the cheapest organic coconut oil/butter only to be told by my mother that we had a 4lb bag of organic unsweetened coconut at home. SCORE! Oh to be reunited with my food processor…..
I’m pretty excited about the bars as well. I’ve never tried those bounce balls, but the coconut one was a good choice.
Also, I’m pretty sure clif bars in the US are larger than the one that I was given. Or perhaps they’ve made them smaller since I’ve been away?
As soon as I broke out of my coconut induced stupor, I remembered that I had oats on the stove (no, they didn’t burn, thanks) so I went to deposit them into their waiting jar which was not, as it might seem, tahini. It was banana-sunflower seed butter (banana+sunflower seed butter, whizzed up)
Chia seeds and OIAJ may seem like old hat in the blog world, but I’m still a fan of both.
But the best part to me will always be the crispy bits at the bottom of the pot.
I mixed in some maca, cinnamon, and yogurt and ate these first. MMMM good.
I think it was eros who made my day so fully of love.
So, I know it is exam time and you probably all think I’ve gone under in light of that, but I could not stay away. I’ve got too much to say! Not regularly, since most days these days consist of….revising ALL DAY intermixed with some time on facebook and eating and pinterest and skyping my mom and trying to figure out internships and my Fulbright.
I’ve been out a few times with friends. Don’t hate me, but I actually really like clubbing?
Hear me out. As someone recovering, drinking still means calories for me, but on the one hand, I’ve learned that a night out here and there does not automatically make me unhealthy, and on the other, I can go out and still have fun without drinking. Both of these facts are reassuring, although it only decreases my irrational fears somewhat. I’m working on this. I’m sure this is relatable.
I’ve been a bit lonely since everyone has been revising. Not to mention that everyone who wasn’t was off traveling. How they’ve got the time to do so, is beyond me. Some other international students are on programmes, but I’m here for the full year, directly enrolled in uni, so I’ve got to stay until I’ve gotten the exams sorted.
So what have I been doing with myself? Besides revising, that is. My friend D and I went to see the London Marathon last sunday, which I’ve been waiting for literally all year. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was a lot of this :
It was actually really emotional. Having only run two 5ks, I cannot imagine how it would feel to conquer the beast that is 26.6 miles, but watching this made me tear up. Notwithstanding the physical triumph, but some people were running for others. Could I ever set this as the ultimate goal? To show my body that I care for it and trust it to care for me as I challenge it?
I said to D, as we were watching, that I’d enther be crying the entire time (that’s a long time, folks) or stopping to help everyone who stopped or looked ill. Yeah. I’d better get a grip first haha.
The sky over by Blackfrier’s Bridge was beautiful and baby blue at around half 12 when we were there.
So we walked around a bit and D taught me how to use a film camera while we had tea by St. Paul’s.
You have no idea how many pictures I have of St. Paul’s.
This one especially. How can you not love the rooftops?
We soon relocated to Sainsbury’s where D bought a baguette which I stuck in my bag.
Not knowing what to do, we decided to check out the Tate Modern, which I haven’t been to yet. Don’t hate on my lack of tourist capabilities. I’ve got a lot on my mind.
We crossed the Millinnium Bridge, like the one from Harry Potter.
Except the real one crossed to the Tate, where we were going.
The Tate Modern is WEIRD. I shall confess to being more of a classic art girl, so this was a bit odd, but it’s so close so I had to go.
Luckily, there was something on the wall near most of the art that gave you the ‘bigger picture’ in case modern art wasn’t your thing. Or you weren’t feeling especially sharp that day in terms of abstract applicatoin.
Some of them were just like….hm…..
When we finally left the Tate, it was pouring. I went over to D’s flat for a bit where I had some ginger tea while D ate baguette and cheese. Then we watched My Drunk Kitchen (if you haven’t seen this DO IT) and some Feminist videos and chatted about intellectual things.
In terms of food, I’ve been trying to save money/eat everything in my room so I don’t end up with things to take home with me. It is actually kind of fun because it forces new combinations into things.
This was my first attempt at overnight oats. 1/4 cup barley flakes, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tsp maca, 6 strawberries, 1 tbsp coconut flour, 1/4 cup soy milk. Left overnight. Hm. It was….I don’t know how I felt about it. Perhaps it was the barley flakes, but they just felt a bit soggy. And the yogurt was almost off (which is why I used it) so I think I’ll try it again. In general, I’m certain that I prefer oats to barley flakes, so I’m not sure I”ll try them again.
I’ve been making lots of spreads (and eating them, obviously) lately. I finally put tahini in hummus (I used to be scared to do so because of extra calories- PSSSH) and it tastes so good! I’ve also been experimenting with different beans and different mix-ins. This certain one had peanut butter in.
I didn’t take this picture at night, but rather in bad lighting on a brown scarf. Yes, I know you’re all jealous of my photography skills. But fear not, I’m taking photography in the fall!
I broke my blue plate, so there will be no more blue plate special (aka: every single meal on that blue plate) but now we’re working with boring white plate. Sorry. 2 months guys, two months. Then I get my gnome plate back!
The market is my love. Last week I bought 2 large square punnets of Strawberries for £1.50. They’ve been eaten. Oh yes.
I love strawberries. They are also the most beautiful fruit to photograph.
Since I have basically no food left in my fridge, I had to improvise. I looked around my room and saw that I had some things. 3 eggs, coconut flour, leftover peanut butter hummus. Hm…thought I, what can I make with these? I hopped online and found this recipe
I love Leanne’s recipes and her photography is phenominal. Where do you live Leanne, that you get such great light???? Obviously not London with its relentless rain….
Chocolate Coconut Protein Bread
Adapted from THIS
makes 1 small loaf, serves 4!
1/4 cup chocolate protein powder ( I used GoTein, since that’s what I’ve got on hand)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hummus (I used PB hummus, but you could also use some other puree like carrot, prune, pumpkin, or applesauce)
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup wheat bran
1. Combine protein powder, coconut flour, baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix eggs, puree, and vanilla until incorporated.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until just mixed.
put in greased bread pan
4. Bake on the middle rack for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (about 1 hour) before serving. <– that didn’t happen, I ate it.
Seriously so much protein in this bread- 10g per slice!
Sliced into 1/4′ths they are pretty thick slices, so I sliced one slice in half and ate it open faced. Enough slice?
I had another slice for breakfast this morning, sans topping at all, since I was in a rush to get to the library to revise. Speaking of which, did you guys hear about the guy who threatened to blow himself up on Tottenham Court Road today? That’s near where I was, I tried to go buy nut butter there, but the police had cordoned it off.
If you know me, I’m as stingy as they come. Not only because I like to save, but because I’m literally petrified of spending. I have a credit card, but I never use it. I never take money out of the bankomat, and I always use cash.
Take today, for instance. I am utterly out of nut butter. I’ve been making it for myself since peanuts are only £0.56 at Sainsbury’s and my flat mate has a mini food processor. But lately I’ve been going through it quicker (yay me!) so it’s gone and gone. I decided to challenge myself and get something that came in a jar. Product of choice?
I’ve seen this on some blogs and know they don’t sell it in the US so I had to give it a try.
But it wasn’t as easy as all that. I’d prepped myself and even asked my mom if I coud justify buying it rather than making it for cheap. I’d been at the library for a couple hours and then at a revising session. I headed to one store, as I mentioned above, but was turned away because of the hostige situation. ‘Could this be a sign that I shouldn’t spend money?’ I thought as I walked to the other more local natural foods shop. In I walked, surveying the nut butters. They all looked delicious and I imediately saw the one that was the most “interesting” and yet the one that cost £5.39. Yes my friends, that would be how much I’d spend on about 6 packages of peanuts at Sainsbury’s which would last me until I go home, and then some.
I walked out of the store.
I walked around the block. I thought I lost my oyster card. It was in my bag.
I walked back into the store and bought the damn thing.
And friends, it tasted good.
I had to add a bit of salt, because I couldn’t taste it that much, but that could be because I was just hungry. Or perhaps I didn’t know what it SHOULD taste like. Definitately realy mild, and not very nutty, but distinct. The texture was the same, quite drippy with a lovely flecked almost rosy colour. High in protein too, which you’d never know. Oh the things you can make into nut butter these days.
The next challenge will be to actually fill my fridge this weekend, for I cannot live on plums and nut butter alone. Well I could….but….
Well, the weather in London has been going up and down like it’s trying to lose a policeman hot on its trail. Sunday was dreadful but it SNOWED properly, which made me run around my flat with a big grin on my face. And stomp out into the street on sunday when it was slushy and all the charm had dissolved into limp, gray sludge that covered all the streets.
My eats from tuesday are always really boring and spastic because I’m usually running around doing who knows what and doing to and from class.
AND because it’s veggie week (my fave!) I’ll share with you some special things to do with fruits and veggies!
I love veggies! Favourites include: Squash, Sweet potatoes, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, brussels sprouts, parsnips….okay I can’t pick. I love them all. Roasted, raw, steamed, you name it, I’ll eat it.But wait until you see what else you can do with them!
But no matter how scattered I get, there is always WIAW. At least the name adds some sort of organisation to the fact that I never actually post what I ate on wednesday or tuesday or even in one day usually.
Let’s begin. I look forward to sundays because I get to go to the market but the farmer’s market is also there. As I’ve mentioned before, there is usually some sort of deal box that I like to get. Usually it’s great, but not this week.
There were eight apples here- most of which were rotten inside, or at least which had weird dots inside. I was afraid of bugs, so ended up binning most of these, sadly. The avocado and lemons aren’t for eating, but for something I’ll show in a moment.
So I took the good apples and was going to make applesauce out of them but ended up with a mess instead.
I guess I’d left the stove on. They were CHARRED the next morning. I felt horrible, because my flat mate said the whole corridor had been smoking. WHOOPS.
I love a good bargain, I’m sure you know. There was a coupon for this milk in the Waitrose Weekly so I took them up on it, knowing full well I dislike cows milk. It’s not actually bad though, this milk. And the peanut butter was on reduced, which you can see by the top and it’s state of disrepair. I also have peanut butter that I’ve made- but whatever. You can NEVER have too much nut butter, right? Plus, I’d never tried this kind.
I had loads of Chestnuts that I finally decided to roast. Now, I may or may not have bought these in December, intending to roast them when I went home for the holidays, but never ended up doing so. Yes, I’m sure you can guess that they were pretty much hard as rocks when I roasted and peeled them. So I decided to soak them.
I had this strange idea that I’d grind them to make a spread.
The spread isn’t featured in this breakfast, but peanut butter was. This was the first time I’ve really SPREAD peanut butter on something before, so I was really proud. Somehow, nut butters are scarier when I actually eat a portion, rather than sticking my fork into the jar and taking microscopic bites. Sounds weird to you, it is weird and something I”m trying to get away from. A serving of fat isn’t going to hurt me, no way!
I love the combo of nut butter + cottage cheese + maca powder + necterine on a wrap.
speaking of fat.
Butter and cinnamon on (admittedly) white toast. It was on reduced. Childhood treat, right there. Where has butter been for the past couple years?!
Our flat had Bollywood night last week. We’d previously had Greek night, so this was the sequal. My flatmate, who is ethnically Pakistani made us all Biryani which I loved- so spicy! I was really nervous about this night because I know that Indian food usually has lots of Fat involved, and I took 2x as long to walk home from work in hopes I’d miss it. Alas, they were still eating when I arrived at the flat. But do you know what? I served myself some rice and Biryani and ate alongside the rest of them. The fat didn’t hurt me. I am not fatter. I felt fine, and had a great time! A couple months ago, or a year ago? No way would this kind of flexibility happened.
Remember the chestnut spread I told you about? SO GOOD.
2 bags chestnuts, roasted, soaked
3 tbsp milk of choice
1 tsp cinnamon
BLEND and serve
I recently tried Trychips, which the company sent me to review. All I have to say is, please get these! They sent me three flavours; Aspire (Green Tea), Endeavour (Acai), and Supercharged (Maqui). These are crunchy and full of real fruit flavour- no soggy Special K strawberries here. They were a mixture of all sorts of fruits you’d expect to find dried, and those you’d not think of. I loved the dried bananas dipped in peanut butter and they are puffed dried, not fried like the normal dried banana chips.
Thanks so much Try for letting me Try these (heh). And yes, the multiple packs I was privided with are very nearly gone except for the banana parts, which I’ve saved
We interrupt this message for a bit of SNOW
I’ve got three awesome recipes to share with you now! Remember last week when I shared this picture with you?
Well a couple of you guessed eggs and you’re right. But not to eat! The whites of these eggs went into my pancake monday pancakes, while the yolks went….into my hair!
Attractive, I know. But hear me out. If you’re like me, and your hair gets that limp, straw-like quality in the winter, you’re probably looking for something to do about it. If the chemicals in Herbal Essences aren’t doing it for you, give these next three recipes a try!
Egg Yolk Hair Moisturiser
2 egg yolks (if your hair is especially thick or long, use three)
2 tbsp water
mix with a fork
Massage through wet hair.
Let sit for 30 minutes
Rinse in COLD water- DO NOT rinse in warm water, or you will have scrambled eggs in your hair
So does it work? You bet!! My hair felt so nice!
Later that day….
A couple days later, I tried the same thing with Bananas.
Banana Hair Mask
2 small bananas or 1 large banana
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp water
Massage into hair
Leave 30 minutes
Rinse, Shampoo and Condition as usual.
How did this work? Well. Except that I had bits of banana ALL through my hair. Bad time to realise that curly hair = not having a brush = not being able to get banana out of your hair. I used a fork.
Next up was Avocado! I absolutely detest avocado. I think it tastes like soap. But for the hair, the beautiful green colour added new life back into my hair!
Avocado Hair Smoothie
1 Avocado, mooshed/blended
Massage into hair. Leave 30 minutes. Rinse throughly. Shampoo and Condition as usual.
Let me know if you try them!
High Low friendlings.
Yes, look high and low. It’s part of what I’d like to talk about today.
This doesn’t only have to do with my ED; how it clouded my head and made me concentrate so much on food that I tuned out so many great things. It has to do with life. We all need to be aware, and it is amazing what there is outside what we think we see daily.
I was walking through London the other day, like I do, and I thought, “Gosh! Isn’t that beautiful? How come I don’t look at it like that more often?” In that moment, I thought more and more about being aware. Aware of myself and aware of my surroundings.
So how can you be more aware? And what does it mean? I don’t mean being hyper-vigilant, but rather mindful of your surroundings and how you fit within them, how you are perceiving and interacting with them.
1. Look up- I can’t tell you how many times I forget to do this! I love looking at and photographing the places where the roofs and sky meet. What’s up there? tree tops, architecturally stunning vistas, scraggly branches, blue sky, gray sky, purple sky, airplanes, UFOS (kidding), balloons, stars, take your pick. I looked up the other day and saw this for the first time:
2. Imagine a soundtrack to your life, right then- This sound strange, but maybe you’ve done it? I hope I’m not the only one that likes to listen to “Like a G6” while shopping for yogurt. It makes it seem a little bit more bad ass….Say you’re walking through a park. What would your soundtrack be at that moment? Or if you’re rushing to class or to make the bus? How would the music sound? This exercise allows you to tune into how you are feeling in any given moment, and also how you are interacting with your surroundings.
3. Look Down- but don’t trip! Looking down can ground you. Where are you standing in time? What passes under your feet while you move thoughtlessly down the sidewalk. Notice what you are stepping on. The way the path cracks, the shoe marks when the pavement wasn’t quite dry, each dirt mark or bit of paint, that gum wrapper someone should have thrown away.
4. Walking meditation- Take each step with awareness. Painfully slowly, if you must, but feel and experience each part of the step; the ball of your foot, heel, and toe hitting the ground. Try this without shoes for the best results, but it is also done wonderfully outside. Outside barefoot? Great, but wait for spring unless you’re keen on frostbite
5. Look at things from a different perspective- Get down on the ground and look up at the tree you pass daily on the way to wherever it is that you go. Climb to the top of a tall building and try to find your house or some familiar landmarks. Marvel at how wonderful everything is when you look at it a different way.
6. Close your eyes- Being aware doesn’t always come from looking, in fact, you can be more tuned in to things often if you close your eyes and let your hearing do all the work. Practice this by sitting in one place, closing your eyes, and thinking about what it is that you hear. Visualise these things, imagining them, but resisting the urge to open your eyes to check how they manifest in real life.
7. Peoplewatch. You’ll learn so much about yourself if you look at other people. Jacques Lacan said that we create our identities based on watching the “other,” outside of us. We are what we are not. Thus, by looking at and watching other people, we reflect on what we are and want to be. Watch how people move their bodies, how they gesticulate as they talk, how they smile, cry, exclaim, touch. Watch the very old. and the very young, especially if they’re particularly cute
8. Concentrate on breathing and blinking and movement- These are things we take for granted. Indeed, we often take our bodies for granted. In my recovery I’m learning to thank my body for everything it does, and credit it accordingly. I get to class on time because my body gets me there. I smell delicious breakfast, I hear people call my name, I see nature. Although my body isn’t who I am and doesn’t define me, it does enable me to be. Thank yourself, and then spend some time thinking about and experiencing all that your body can do for you.
9. View yourself from outside- Next time you’re in an awkward or confrontational situation, or any situation, really, stop. Think about how you are being viewed from the other side. If you don’t like what you see, change it.
10. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Too often we are not aware because we fall into patterns. Patterns are easy; wake up, brush teeth, shower, dressed, breakfast, check email, class, work, etc. (yes, that’s mine). Changing something up will make you think. What do I have to do next? How will this change things? Observe how you feel before, during, and after. Make note, and know that it won’t hurt you. It won’t harm you. It will probably make you better.
(Go here: for this and other wonderful photos! I wish I could take credit for these)
Glorify who you are today, do not condemn who you were yesterday, and dream of who you can be tomorrow. -Neale
So I’ve been absent lately. Noticeably or not, I haven’t been around. Not since Thanksgiving have I really been up to blogging. I”m just not feeling college right now, and its kind of getting me down. But it’s probably this time of year. Raise your hand if you’re feeling a bit of a slump. Thought so.
We begin with a 21st birthday parcel that’s been sitting under my bed for about a week.
I didn’t have to wonder long. After my flatmate wished me Happy Birthday at 12:01 am, and my parents not 1 minute after, I danced around my room a bit before deciding I’d better go to bed.
I opened it as soon as I got out of the shower. My family is the most amazing thing. My mom got me the cardigan that I have been imagining (that makes me feel like I’m in prep school) and sent me Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, which I’ve never tried. You bet I ripped it right open to try it.
My sister, G (who is ten) sent me a really cute card featuring my favourite animal; owls!
I think my mom knows I like cooking
All the tuna I could find here has sunflower seed oil in it- greasy! blech.
She also sent me my bag of peanut flour that I’ve been missing and a pop up turkey centrepiece, in honour of my birthday.
Oatmeal raisin cookies are a staple at our house. By which I mean we make them occasionally. G and E, at ten, are really into cooking right now and they sent me these cookies they made. Let’s back up and I will tell you how I’m afraid of cookies and never eat them myself. I’ll post about that in the future, but mom knew what I’d say!
I still don’t know how I feel about raisins though. They are so dreadfully sweet.
and of course a 21st birthday wouldn’t be quite right without Birthday Pancakes!
Birthday Pancakes for one 21 year old
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg white
1/2 cup water
vanilla and sweetener, to taste
load on the sprinkles!
These hit the spot, I tell you.
Can we just talk about the deliciousness?
and yes, I did run to the shops just to get sprinkles when I realized I didn’t have any. I needed flour that wasn’t white anyhow.
My friends came round and celebrated with me! Note the “Birthday Girl” badge. I was made to wear it out all day
My other American flat mate wanted to do a “typical” American thanksgiving so, although my family doesn’t do it that way, I let him. This meant *gasp* sweet potato casserole, cornbread, boxed stuffing and all sorts of other things, all of which contained enough butter and sugar to last the rest of my life. I was polite and took some, because that’s what you do. I also made myself a baked pepper and had some lettuce because I felt a lack of veg.
For the weekend, I ventured off to Bath. It’s so beautiful there, and they’ve got a Christmas Market on. The last two times I’ve been have been in summer, so this was different.
You can see the cold in the photographs, I think.
I stayed in a little B&B and for breakfast she cooked to order. I ordered grilled tomatoes and mushrooms and had a side of organic yogurt and fruits.
I sampled my way through the entire morning (literally)
Do you see all the people around Bath Abbey?
I had to be careful what I bought because I only brought one bag!
I was surprised at myself though- I actually bought things! More on this in another post, but I’m petrified of spending money.
I don’t know if this is usually there. I don’t recall having seen it on previous trips.
I walked around most of the weekend, eating out of the grocery shops because it’s nice and cheap.
Bath is really quite lovely.
I love how the old historic quality of the city has been preserved.
and the Royal Crescent, of course.
case in point.
I can’t possibly show you all the pictures (although I didn’t take as many as I thought I would) but these are just gems.
And who AM I to think I can leave town without a jar of nut butter?
I had to rush into Sainsbury’s to replenish my empty stock. Silly me, never again will I leave without the stuff.
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and weekend. It’s almost time for me to go home for Christmas (read: 18 days) so I’m quite excited!!
I plan on trying to post more this week on some introspective stuff. Also about the cake I ate out of the blue yesterday when the family I Nanny for gave it to me. No big deal. Hannah:1 Ed:0
I had a really great weekend with my friend, L.
We ate good food, shared laughs, saw some pretty great sights and even celebrities!
Yes, it is that time again!! Link up here at Peas and Crayons. Every week I think I’m too tired to take part, I just can’t help it!
I can’t share all of the 200+ pictures I took, I haven’t even uploaded them all yet! I’ll just share a few gems and leave you to wait until later in the week when I’m not so knackered and stressed.
We got up early on saturday and booked it to the British museum. I polished off some oatmeal, and promised to drag L to Whole Foods for lunch. (Read: I told her we were going, she probably didn’t care haha)
The British Museum is so huge- and located within a 3 minute walk from my school!
We timed everything perfectly and hopped onto the tube to High Street Kensington to get there at the start of their Thanksgiving Tasting Fair. Being Americans abroad, we had to go to this. Or maybe I just wanted to, being a foodie and a Thanksgiving baby. Yes, it is a shame that you can’t take pictures in Whole Foods. I had my usual ginormous salad. I won’t tell you how much it, it will only embarrass me. After I’d
stuffed myself finished, we proceeded to the tasting! (not my photos, we couldn’t take them, remember)
We began with Pumpkin Pie.
I’ll be honest. I’m a Thanksgiving baby, born on Thanksgiving. Every single thanksgiving I try pumpkin pie and every single thanksgiving I just don’t like it. This time was no different. I’ll take pumpkin breakfast bakes over this pie any day.
and not THAT big The guy was serving pancake wedges with real maple syrup and blueberries. L is from Maine so we split a wedge. So good. Something about pancake soaked in syrup was just….heavenly….
L tried some wine, I’m not big on wine, so I waited around. The wine guy was talking about how he didn’t like New York City and when he asked me where I’m from I said “Upstate New York” and he immediately replied “oh, well I love New York City” jokingly. I love being reminded how huge the US is. No one knows NYC isn’t the whole state!
Lastly we tried some really delicious cheese from Scotland and the Channel Islands. The cows, it was explained, have a higher fat content in their milk, which produced a Brie that wasn’t bitter! I loved it.
We did a bit of shopping, I bought a dark chocolate almond bar, and we went back upstairs again. Only to be confronted with Thanksgiving in a bowl. One of those little soup cups filled with Thanksgiving dinner. How could we say no? Stuffed, we walked out of WF nibbling on the bowl of warm family memories. L gave me her Brussels Sprouts and I gave her my turkey. I’ll say, yum about that stuffing!!
I’d like to mention at this point just how proud I am about having done this. I’d already eaten, but I wanted these things, and we were doing a lot of walking, so why not? Sampling is fun and being with my friend was fun. We enjoyed these foods together, which is one of my goals. Pancakes, stuffing, and cheese can all be enjoyed in small doses.
We got a bit turned around leaving WF and ended up on a meander.
Hey, I never said I had any sense of direction
and take a look at this picture photoshopped into vibrance!
We made our way to Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park. As soon as we entered the gates I spied Chestnuts! I quickly stuffed as many as I could into my bag.
I’d later learn that they are horse chestnuts and are not good on the stomach. Let’s just say I was sad.
We walked on, eventually ending up at Buckingham Palace.
I dragged her through Waitrose 2x in one day until they got these suckers in. Then I grabbed the two biggest ones and checked out! Thanks Nicky for telling me they were in the shops!
Next day! (yes, I’m skipping a whole bunch)
We Tower of London’d it up although we didn’t go inside. At the steep price of £18, we poor students got a good enough view from the outside.
Crossed the Tower Bridge (which is NOT London Bridge!) and walked along the Themes on the other side.
Suddenly, I heard screaming. I thought it was kids and, being interested in Education, thought I’d go check it out if it was a school. It wasn’t a school it was a crowd of 14-year-olds!
It turns out that Justin Bieber was supposed to exit the building (which was a TV studio, not a school) and crowds had gathered. L and I wedged out way to the front, figuring, why the heck not?
We waited for a long time.
Finally, some guy came out and said “If you’re over 14 and have a photo ID, please follow me” again, “why not?” so off we went.
Low and behold, we and about 50 other 14-year-olds (yes, I am nearly 21) got to be in a live JB music video he taped for one of his new Christmas songs! We stood on the floor below the stage and were told when to scream and when to put our hands up.
I’m not the biggest JB fan but I’ll admit, when he came out and was like….right there….I screamed and jumped up and down just like I was 14. Afterwards, L and I couldn’t even believe it had been real. We just kind of ran into the opportunity.
Justin was so adorable! He was shy and did some funky moves with the microphone. He sang with Tinie Tempah, who I had no idea of before this. They sang “The Little Drummer Boy” and Justin even got the words a bit wrong. But he aced his rap!!
and his voice was really that high! Really a sweetie though.
Way to exit my 20th year with a bang, huh?
We went to sit on the steps in Trafalgar Square but I was legit attacked by a pigeon (it hovered in front of my face and flew at me) so we left in a huff and high taled it to the park.
We’d gotten sandwhiches at Boots- I got the Bugsy which is hummus, carrots and greens on wholemeal bread. I was quite proud of myself for eating a sandwich, a whole sandwich (and nothing but a sandwich, just kidding) in front of my friend, and enjoying it. Gosh, it was SO GOOD!!!!!!!!
Because I always like to see pictures of bloggers themselves eating. If we blog about it, we’d better truly eat it. That’s my philosophy.
We traipsed around a bit more. But I shall leave that for another post.
After she’d left at 6am, I hopped to the shops. Checking the Reduced stacks, as usual, I discovered a 1kg box of Wheat Bran Flakes. SCORE! I’ve been looking for cereal that isn’t expensive and this one was only £0.60!!! Major steal!! It’ll last me awhile, I might grind it into flour for pancakes (since I’m totally craving those now) or use it on top of Fromage Frais like I did this morning.
Happy WIAW everyone. My Birthday and Thanksgiving are in one week. I’m starting to think about what I’m thankful for. This weekend has made me so thankful for my recovery process- but that, too, is for another post.
ps: I made cashew-sunflower seed-pumpkin seed-flax seed butter tonight but I don’t know how I like it. I’m going to add chocolate tomorrow and see where we stand.