Friday, 8 March 2013

Being ill and allowing it

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.


- Golda Meir 

So, I have been ill for the last 2 days.  I have had to spend 2 days in bed and feel incredibly guilty about it.  This is just generally because I hate to let myself rest when I have other things that could be done, like for one example my 2 essays due in 2 weeks.

However, after some loving encouragement from friends, family and my counsellor it turns out that resting your bones is fine.  Why is it fine?  Well because if you don't allow yourself to rest when your body needs to you will generally end up running yourself more into the ground along with producing below par work and spreading your illness around (if it's catchable that is).  

I used to think working when you're ill comes from a "good work ethic" but I actually think it comes from a bad work ethic - I mean when you're ill and you literally break a sweat hanging the washing up you are too ill to produce anything worthwhile.  And anyway, who said we have to work all the hours that god sends?  A good rest makes good sense!

Now, I am not a doctor nor a life coach but I think the suggestions below are great for helping oneself to let go and relax when ill (on a short term basis).  


  1. Just think "what is, is".  By stressing out and not allowing yourself to be ill you cause your body the extra stress from being stressed and ill.  If you allow yourself to be ill and relax for the whole day then you will get better quickly.
  2. Try to look after yourself whilst you are ill - run a bath, use a comforting moisturiser, put on lovely clean pyjamas and try to spend time away from your emails or brain draining activities.
  3. Be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you are important and therefore noticing that you are ill and taking care of yourself should come first.
  4. If you can ask those around you to help with little things - like picking up some orange juice for you on their way home or prepping dinner for that night, then do.  
  5. Try other relaxing activities like listening to relaxing music, doing a meditation, cooking yourself a simple healthy meal or by trying restorative yoga.
  6. Or just try and watch a film you've always wanted to watch and never got round to!
  7. If you are vitamin crazy like me, get your groove on and treat your body to some revitalising supplements.
Before you know it, you'll feel physically and emotionally better in much less time than it takes when you don't rest up...lemon, ginger and honey tea anyone? xxx

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Think.Eat.Save - The UN Environment Programme


                                   (picture from www.eatwell.in)

Reports differ – but it is estimated that world wide from 30% - 50% of food is wasted (Smithers, 2013).  According to the Wall Street Journal waste occurs from the beginning of the food process.  Farmers are unable to put slightly damaged or imperfect food in for sale to the general public as the supermarkets and apparently their customers don’t like it (Patterson, 2012).  Supermarkets go on to waste 50% of produce (Smith, 2013), which is then wasted by individual households that chuck a third of the food that comes into their home (Wall Street Journal, 2010). Now it’s been thought about, food waste starts right from where the food is picked to the people that pay money for food to throw away – whether in a restaurant or at home.   What can be done about this?

Changing the way we buy food and where we buy food can make a difference.  Personally I have tried to cut down on buying in supermarkets as I think they treat farmers unfairly.  Buying direct from a farmers market is now my preferred method of food shopping.   Shopping at the farmers market is a dream – I look forward to going to the farmers market and having a good old chat whilst paying reasonable prices for organic fairly traded food.  Thinking about what I eat and planning a weekly shopping list is the important part here – it means that minimal waste comes out of our house  (although I usually make a vegetable soup or put leftover vegetables in the compost) and I can feel relatively guilt free about the food I am buying.  Shopping at local markets or farmers markets (or even trying to grow food in your garden) along with planning food could make a big difference to individual waste on food.     

Trying to get supermarkets to change their policy could help too.  By shopping at farmers markets and avoiding using shops that have a negative effect on food waste and production is already a good ploy to get supermarkets to change their ways.  But, writing to them and asking them to change their practise could help too.  Sovereignty.org has lot’s of further information on supermarkets and what malpractices they could improve on.

Contacting governments and local MPs to help create a change could help too. Current government policies on food especially that food is allowed to be on the stock exchange needs to be reconsidered – have a look at the World Development Movement page on food speculation for more information.  If governments made a change to free market policy and started to moderate or ban certain items on the stock exchange – such as food, we could be on track to creating a fairly stocked global food market.  Government backed initiatives for reducing supermarket waste and allowing food that would usually be thrown away to be given to those in need, such as the homeless could really make a difference too.

If the public in more developed countries made the effort to really think about what they eat and make changes on a personal, local and global level through rallying against food waste, food waste could be saved.   In turn money will be saved and hopefully could be put to good use helping those starving to death.  World environment day is on 5 March 2013 - join the UNEP in making a change!!    



References

Patterson, O. (2012) Defra, UK - Owen Paterson’s speech at the Women’s Institute food security event [online]. Available from: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2012/12/07/owen-paterson-speech-womens-institute-food-security/ (Accessed 24 February 2013).

Smith, J. (2013) Half of the world’s food is thrown away? Come on, supermarkets: give us ‘imperfection’ [online]. Available from: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/half-of-the-worlds-food-is-thrown-away-come-on-supermarkets-give-us-imperfection-8446646.html (Accessed 24 February 2013).

Smithers, R. (2013) Almost half of the world’s food thrown away, report finds;  Environment; guardian.co.uk [online]. Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste (Accessed 24 February 2013).

Wall Street Journal (2010) Throwing Away Our Food. Wall Street Journal. [online]. Available from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703440004575548391291973152.html (Accessed 24 February 2013).

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How to reduce plastic use - The Midway Trailer

The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.

- Meryl Streep 

I watched The Midway trailer video about "plastic beach" today (as embedded below).  It made me think about my plastic use and also made me wish that humans made the time to use their empathy in order to fight for a good cause. Such as cutting down on plastic use due to the terrible consequences of which only one example is shown in the trailer. GO ON WATCH IT!



This video prompted me to re-post the link on my facebook wall and to start thinking about my plastic use, again.  A small project that I have already started is trying to REALLY cut down on my plastic use.

I mean I call myself environmentally aware and friendly - I shop mainly at the farmers market on Saturdays, try to cook all of our meals from scratch, use a bread machine, carry reusable bags with me, never throw away a plastic bag after the first use, have reusable water bottles etc.  But then I started reading about buying in bulk (a switchover we haven't done YET) and how that could help cut down on plastic use.  This led me onto thinking about other throw-away plastic goods I have like my razor blades and pads that I use during my "time of the month" (for want of a better phrase).  So here are some more ideas below on how to cut down on plastic use:

1) Razors

I found some great articles about these...my favourite one is here.  Basically safety razors don't involve any plastic and should be able to be used until the day you die...unless you leave to someone else of course.  The razor is replaceable in it, but apparently it lasts longer than the throw-away blades and you can get a cleaner and sharpening tools to make them last longer too.  There are for sale in antique stores and on eBay - I just searched for safety razor and loads came up.  Just think about how much plastic is used for each throw-away razor top or disposable razor.  And YES, men AND women can use these razors (ok, I'm really not sure how I will get on with delicate areas...*cough* but I will see)

2) Period Pads

Yes, tampons and pads aren't all exactly biodegradable...I know I've seen one or two floating in the sea along with the disposable nappies.  What are the alternatives?  The tampons that are 100% cotton will eventually break down into the earth - however with modern day tampons there are a lot of plastic extras such as the packaging (now for each individual one) and the applicators too.  Most pads have plastic in them and therefore take 1000s of years to decompose.  Solutions:  using tampons or pads that are designed for the eco conscious such as NatraCare.  Or one can purchase a mooncup - which although made of plastic is a "menstrual cup" that should last a lifetime.  What is it?  It's a little plastic goblet shaped cup that fits in the same space a tampon would go and it collects the menstrual blood.  It has to be emptied, washed and boiled in between uses.  Lip So Facto has a much better and well researched review here.  OK, they aren't going to be for everyone, but it is a small way to save the planet.

I have some more ideas but the clock is a tick-tocking and I need to finish my research for my essay. More on this soon...

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It's my birthday...I am now 27!! YAY!!

I think that's what makes life interesting - the evolution of getting older, and it's kinda fascinating to me, the whole process.
 
- Alexis Bledel

It's my birthday, it's my birthday, WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP.  OK, self celebration over...I haven't posted in a while. But is is because I have been meeting friends, doing things, making things - generally living.
Last week I decided that before starting any new craft projects (bar the ones for the handfasting), I should finish off the ones I have started.  This plan is going OK...I say OK because I broke 3 needles trying to recover the mini suitcase I got...and then gave into frustration. 

However, I did manage to sew two things that needed mending, which had been in a pile for a year - so I feel accomplished! :)
Also, plans for the handfasting are going well.  As our overall budget is £3000 I have been trying to do as much organizing, decorating and EVERYTHING myself...with a lot of help from friends! Thanks guys! We have had help with the following: invites, dress making, collection of crafts, food ideas/amounts, cocktail ideas and alcohol ordering...SO THANKS SO MUCH. 

Just to re-cap our budget is £3000 - a very cheap wedding in comparison to others.  Many people may wonder why spend SO MUCH on a wedding (yes I have seen lower prices) whereas others may doubt it is possible...(I think I sound like Rudi from mighy boosh.

A short look at the break-up of the prices is as below:

Wedding outfits (both mine and Aarons)  £500
We are having lots of help from friends for this - so thank you SO MUCH!! 


Flowers (my mum is paying for these)    £0

Photography                             £200
I have bought a polaroid camera and 50 shots to go with it, and have asked 2 friends to take photos on the day...although we may get a professional photographer just in case..?

Stationary                              £150
AKA: invites, thank you cards, wedding programmes and postage. Although we had to spend £120 on invites, so guessing we might go over this budget.


Ceremony                                £1300
Performed by my mum, for free :). Location fee and some books for signing are the main costs here.

Food/alchohol for guests                £500
With help from friends, family and ourselves we hope to keep this cost down (it helps that we are having a small amount of guests).

Decorations                             £400
Including mexican day of the dead banners, tissue paper bunting for the long house and fairy lights for decorations too (although we will be borrowing some of these!!).  We got loads of good tutorials for tissue paper pom-poms, home-made games, lighting etc on pinterest...which can all be found on my crafting board.

So far that's £3050 and doesn't include our wedding favours - which are super cool, but surprises!! 

There are places where costs can be cut down...so we will see :).

Oh yes, and our lovely friends A KISS WITH A WHISK are making our cake(s) or cake pops!

YAY!  Off to have a wonderful birthday morning tea and a read.


HAVE A GREAT DAY EVERYONE.




 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Flu.

It is never too late to be what you might have been.
 
- George Eliot.

I have flu!  Well I had flu and slowly I am getting better...although I feel like I have a lot more energy today.  I will probably feel tired after doing anything, so I am going to try and spend a bit of the day organizing myself and making another batch of face wash and relaxing (by using this amazing scrub!!).

Organizations for the handfastening are going well - I have ordered some of the wedding gifts and decided what will go in them...I have ordered the crafting supplies needed to make decorations and I have arranged to go to Cornwall next weekend so we can see the site properly and get any questions answered.

Although that said, we haven't started the dress(es) yet!! Which is making me feel a bit nervous!  Hopefully we will get a day or two in this coming week.

I suppose that's it for today - thought I should do a short post, as haven't been posting all that often even though it is the summer holidays.

 
 
 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Low Fat Wholemeal Banana (Ba na na na na na na) Bread

"The one thing you can't take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one's freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance."
 
~Viktor Frankl

It is very easy to blame things on other people - if only "x" had come earlier I wouldn't have felt so tired...etc.  I am sure you get the point!  If you take control of your own feelings about something e.g. yes "x" did come over later then usual, but I am going to ask them to leave at a reasonable time today so I don't get tired or actually I was having loads of fun which is the real reason why I didn't go to bed early seems to be a more optimistic and positive way of taking charge of your own feelings (well for me anyway!)

I'm trying really hard to try to stick to this approach now, as with the ceremony slowly creeping up, there a lot of people with ideas, wants, needs for the day etc.  I have also started going to hot bikram yoga, but have been getting terrible headaches afterwards - although headaches are not that unusual for me, I usually get them less when I am doing exercise and eating well.  Puzzled....hopefully it is my body detoxing and will pass.

ALSO!! Esther and I managed to go to a massive fabric warehouse yesterday and found amazing laces and silks to make my dress(es) out of!! But, we only bought some practise fabric to make the mock out of...exciting!! 

Onto the recipe.

Modified from this one.

Wholemeal Low-fat Banana Bread

Ingredients (to make 2 massive loaves)


7 mashed bananas (some bits can be in bigger chunks)

4 cups wholemeal flour

2 cups sugar or sweet alternative

1 cup crushed (by hand) walnuts

1 tsp salt 

1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup softened butter 

4 large eggs

2/3 non-fat plain bio yoghurt

1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cooking spray/spray oil

Method

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the flour in 3 batches thoroughly mixing in between.  Add the baking soda and salt and mix.

Add an egg at a time to the mixture, beating well.  Add the mashed bananas and mix well and lastly add the yoghurt, walnuts and vanilla essence.

Pour/spoon the mixture into two oiled bread pans or ceramic dishes. (Lick the bowl clean if you want).

Put in the oven and bake for 1 hour.  Check with a skewer and if it comes out of the loaf dry - then it is ready.  Leave on the side to cool. 

You can add icing to banana bread...but I prefer this one without.



ENJOY!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Great Full Ness

“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”

- Sarah Ban Breathnach

I've been feeling a bit down the past couple of days, not as much I have in the past - but still after about 9 weeks of feeling great, it is a strange feeling.

It's very easy to tell others how to live their lives and cheer themselves up, or do certain things to make them feel better. But, it is a slightly different situation when it comes to doing that for yourself. 

I suppose a good place to start is to congratulate myself for things I have achieved recently:
 
1. Being a tidier person (even though Aaron does not seem to recognise this AT ALL).

2. Eating less sugar.

3. Going to hot yoga.

4. Passing my course and getting into good Uni's without any problems.

5. Committing to myself and going to counselling.

6. Abstaining from drinking.

Despite all of the above I am still beating myself up and wishing I applied to other Uni's or got into Cambridge...This comes from me always beating myself up and not focusing on the positive things that have happened, just the negative.

So my situation is: feeling like I didn't actually achieve anything.

Emotion is: feeling sad and worthless, like I can't do anything.

Physical sensations: feeling low energy, like I can't be bothered to do anything.

Unhelpful thoughts: Why couldn't I just do better, will I even pass Uni?  Everybody thinks I am stupid.

Alternative/more realistic thought:  I have achieved a really high pass with 42 units at distinction, 18 at merit and the rest high passes.....which is actually not that bad and accounts distinctions for over 2/3 of my grades....it really is actually good.  I should give myself a big pat on the back and look forward to going to Uni as it is a goal I set myself a while back.

This technique is part of CBT, which I find extremely helpful - although I don't know if it will work for everyone.  There are LOADS of worksheets here

Also a gratitude list:
 
1. I am grateful for my friends and family.

2. I am grateful for my current approach to life which really helps me.

3. I am grateful for music and having ears that can listen to it.

4. I am grateful to not be the only person that has experienced hardship in life...and to have the mass amounts of advise and support that I get.

5. I am grateful for all of the support with the wedding.

6. I am grateful for the beautiful house we get to live in that keeps me warm and safe.

7. I am grateful for all the life experiences I have had - without them I wouldn't be able to be me, or to have connections with others.

8. I am grateful to live in a place where I can get access to organic food.

9. I am grateful to have been travelling and have seen other cultures.

10. I am grateful I have a great support network.
 
My angel card for today: spontaneity! dictionary meaning: the quality of being spontaneous and coming from natural feelings without constraint; "the spontaneity of his laughter".

A good message to take from this: Live spontaneously and creatively with the courage to make your life what you want it to be. (borrowed from this blog). 

Cool.  Today I will be grateful, spontaneous and have compassion for myself and others....