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.



Saturday, 21 July 2012


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


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.


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....

Monday, 2 July 2012

A blog from Wales

Personal Excellence
Personal excellence means to strive to be your best in all little and big things.

To strive for excellence, invest in yourself daily.

Take 5 minutes in your morning commute to go through the following steps:

1) Identify ONE self-improvement you would like to make today.

2) Create a deeper understanding of why this is important and beneficial for you.

3) Clarify how you will keep yourself inspired and motivated throughout the day.

From - Innerspace 

1) A self improvement I would like to make today - accepting people for who they are and not taking them personally.

2) This is important for me as it means I don't judge others views and approaches to life with my own, it allows me to accept others for what they are without finding fault and wanting to change them.

3) I will not have any expectations of people I meet today.  Those that I have met before will be seen as 'new' people who I will not have expectations of (apart from to be fair and not rude to me...).

Hopefully it will work!

I still cannot believe that my course is over (little dance in my head).  Cool!!

I am now freeeeeeeeeee, and have finally joined up to hot bikram yoga and plan to go 2 -3 times a week (if not more when I have nothing else to do)....I booked my first class for this evening and am very much looking forward to going.

We have been in Wales since Saturday evening as Aaron started the three peaks challenge on Saturday morning and completed it in 23 hours and 27 minutes! I am so super proud of him...and so grateful to have such a wonderful man to stand by me, LOVE YOU Aaron.  

Hopefully we will make it back to Wales and go to the Lake District to climb mountains with our family over the summer...looking forward to that too!!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

New day: new DIY - Skin Drink Recipe

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
― Plato

There's my compassion quote for the day.

This morning I am going to make some more DIY Angels on Bare Skin - with added ground almonds.   And as my skin is getting red, angry and dry I need to make a face lotion.  My favourite is another lush product: Skin Drink, for which the ingredients are:  

Water, Fair Trade Organic Sesame Oil, Fresh Rose Petal Infusion, Fresh Organic Avocado, Almond Oil, Propylene Glycol, Cocoa Butter, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Aloe Vera Extract, Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Evening Primrose Oil, Neroli Oil, Rose Absolute, Triethanolamine, *Geraniol, *Farnesol, *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Out of these I have: water, almond oil, glycol (or glycerine), cocoa butter, organic aloe vera gel, evening primrose oil and rose absolute.

I also have orange blossom water which I think I will use in place of neroli oil.

And I would like to add a bit of jojoba and vitamin e oil to make the cream rich - which will probably make up for the lack of avocado and sesame oil.

OK, so now, by looking at other recipes by Hello Giggles and their tutorial.  I think I am going to do:

DIY Skin Drink

Water part
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tsp boiled orange blossom water
1 tbls aloe vera gel 
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp of glycerine

I omitted the 1/4 tsp desert salt for glycerine instead)

Base/carrier oil part
2 & 1/2 tbls almond oil
2 & 1/2 tbls jojoba oil
2 tbls coconut butter
1 tsp vitamin e oil
capsule of evening primrose oil

Essential oils
8 drops Chamomile Oil
4 drops Rose oil

In a clean and dry pan melt all of the oils together, set them aside in a blender or a bowl that can be used with a hand blender.

In another clean and dry pan add the distilled water, orange blossom water, aloe vera gel, honey and glycerine together and heat and mix until combined.

The oil base will be soft and opaque when ready to mix with the water based part.

When ready, slowly blend/combine both parts together and then add any essential oils that you would like.


I choose chamomile for my skin as it gets red and irritated easily - you can find the best for your skin by typing "best essential oils for "x" skin" into google.  I would recommend tea tree oil for spot prone skin.

OK - now I am off to do this.

I will update and let you know any changes to the recipe/explosions!



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Been busy in the bedroom!!

“In separateness lies the world's greatest misery; in compassion lies the world's true strength.”
- Siddhārtha Gautama

Um, yes, after my counselling session yesterday I realised two things (with the help of my counsellor of course).  (1) I need to practise more compassion. MORE.  I already try to let every one on the bus before me, with joy, and I sometimes do a compassion meditation where I cut flowers from my garden and give them to everyone knowing that they will re-grow (and even give them to people I thought I hated).  But I tend to have less compassion for those I am around a lot - i.e. Aaron and my mum. There are loads of good suggestions here.  And (2) I need to value myself enough to do the things I want to do i.e. getting up and doing compassion practise, or being a clean and tidy person. There are loads of articles online about this, but I only found a couple that really ring true for me - such as this one. So - compassion for others and compassion for myself will be the flavour of the week.

I have FINALLY finished my college work! YAY!  And I got a merit in my last assignment.  Which, considering the work I put in, is very pleasing.

We have also been actually making changes to our bedroom:

Cool partitioned cabinet we got at the boot sale for £10

Our new collection of frames with old maps, thesaurus entry for "sex", a page from Alice in Wonderland etc.

Greenery in the bedroom - with upcycled fruit basket and heavy duty garden sack!

I am so happy to have an orchid plant...all that I need to do now is look after it! 

Also - I have an interview for a summer job on Friday morning, so all-in-all things seem like they are moving in the right direction.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Film Photos

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
  - John Wooden

I went and got the film's developed yesterday in boots - and ended up paying £18 for a few nice photos, but a majority of unflattering, finger-in-the-way, unfocused photos. 

Next time I am going to go Old St and get the photos developed directly onto a disk and pay a lot less, so I don't feel cheated.

Although, the magic feeling of picking up the photos was unique and enjoyable.  So maybe when I am a bit richer I will pay the full price for photos to be developed.  Or I'll just have my own dark room.

One of the last photos taken on the Kodak underwater camera.  At the end of Ramsden Rd, London SW12

With the waterproof camera again. My feet in the garden.

Aaron and Jon after they went through old art they did together - the camera seems to be focused on the curtains/back wall.  Taken with normal film camera.  Jen & Jons new home.
Buster and Aaron in the health food shop - taken with waterproof (seems to be the best!!)

Posing in Elephant and Castle

Aaron looking sulky at home

Aaron with Passion (his bike).  I opened the camera at this point...so there is sun bleaching, but I like it.

Angel in the garden (I like the shadow).

It was windy so the roses got blurred, but I really like the sun bleaching at the tip of the photo.

Battersea Power Station, from the back of Netherford Rd.  (this is before we dropped the camera...maybe it did work better before?).

The back of the car of the really cool older couple.  I heart them, wish I had been quick enough and bold enough to get a photo of them from the front.  Maybe I will wait for them in the car pack again. They were so cool. (Had to crop this photo due to my finger!)

My favorite photo from the 'normal' camera. Jen & Jons garden.

An example of my finger...damn you finger.  It only seems to happen with film cameras...lol.  This is in the Galapagos Islands swimming with the sea lions.

Over and out...got loads of stuff to do today.  Guess what...Ima going to finish my essays.  

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ah-ha look at my goals from ages ago!

My plan is as below:
  • Now - March/April 2011; save, save, save, research South America, learn Spanish, do singing lessons, do some jamming, look after myself, volunteer for the LWT.
  • March/April 2011; go traveling for 5 - 6 months in South America.
  • September 2011; start an access to higher education course (2 evenings a week for a year) whilst working and saving money/volunteering.
  • Summer 2012; go traveling in Asia/India.
  • September 2012; start International Development degree at Sussex Uni (I got into Sussex, but will most likely be going to SOAS).
This means that it will be 2015 (and I will be 30!!!!) when this is all done; and maybe I'll change my mind along the way but I am pretty impressed and satisfied with my plan.

Also this post here is pretty interesting... 

It is nice to see what my plans were and how they have panned out :).  It just goes to show that a little bit of planning helps to reach goals.

A nudder organization day

"In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail."
- Anonymous

Having a willingness to fail is hard for me!  Especially when I always want to the very best grades and outcomes.  However, I must learn that enough is enough and sometimes getting a pass or below the bestest best is OK.  It truly is.  

I suppose this comes under limited thinking, and after reading this post I started searching for ways to deal with limited thinking.  There is another good article here too.  It's funny to think that when I first started trying to get out of depression and a repressive lifestyle the first thing I tried to change was my thoughts, but still I have to keep them in check.  I suppose it just means practising mindfulness and reading to stop myself from slipping back into old patterns. 

Right, back to the organization.  Something that really needs organization is our 'big day'...for which I have so many ideas....so here it goes (along with what needs doing):

Appoint 1 main photographer for most of the day.

Polaroid booth - need to buy impossible project film, borrow one more Polaroid camera and appoint people to booth. (budget - £200?).

Make a props box and chalk board for people to use in photos.

Crafts/decoration (budget - £400)

Work out and buy how much fabric is needed for bunting and then sew.

Ask every body to save up glass jars/bottles for the day as we are making:

UV glow jars and candle jars for night time.

Jars with brightly colored flowers in.

Buy fairy lights to go around the bottom of trees/hang outside.

Buy chinese wish lanterns. 

Other paper crafts - buy tissue/crepe paper for these.

Paper mache supplies.

Make a list of all specific things that need making and send out an email to crafters who said they wanted to help!
Buy loads of candles (find a bulk cheap supplier).

Food & Drink (budget - £500)

Find suppliers of alcohol for wedding (budget £300 for the night/day).

Find meat suppliers for the BBQ (budget £200).

Locate and contact local veg/salad farmers.

Locate and contact local cheese shop.

Email those who said wanted to help with food with sample/idea menus in order to budget and buy the right amount of food.

Buy/find large mason jars to have cocktails/salads/food in for the day.

Personal touch's

Think of what wedding favors we want to give to people?

Check if the typewriter is working and get quality paper for people to type messages on.

Organize photo book for people to write messages in.

Clothes (budget...£500 - for Aaron & I)

Go fabric shopping/look in charity shops/online/on ebay.

Try to draw up some ideas with Esther.

Start rough makes with sizing etc.

Buy glitter/look at tutorial for shoes again.

Invites (£100)

Check where the designers have got to with invites.

Order the invitation holders.

Collect/collate addresses to send to.

Flowers (free - £200)

Check and write a list of what brightly colored flowers are in season for September.

Rings (Budget - £250ish)

Choose/design rings

Organize London reception
I have already spoken to Jen about the cakes - we are actually going to have cake pops and maybe some other bits.  Should be super cool!! 

So, rather a lot to do then!  However I have homework to finish first, but it feels to good to have gotten this list written down and out of my head. Although I am sure there are some things I am forgetting...

The venue is costing £1200 including our private roundhouse for the 4 days.  In total we should be spending around £3500 for the weekend which isn't too bad.

Updates on my other (other, other) to do list:

  • Psy editing & email to Rohini.
  • Finish Anthro (ONLY GOT 2 PARAGRAPHS TO GO!)
  • Reading for Soc/look @ essay plan (writing today).
  • Clean up kitchen.
  • Clear out clothes for boot sale (Friday/Sat).
  • Put shoes in bedroom away (maybe use bottom drawer)(Friday/Sat).
  • Move books from bedroom (Friday/Sat).
  • Find a place to sell books from college(Friday/Sat).
  • Hoover under the bed and dust bits (Friday/Sat).
  • Move things from under the bed not used (Friday/Sat).
  • Call abbey re; closing account & money on credit card.
  • Call Natwest re; moving debt onto interest free credit card.
  • Call back to work office.  
  • Take throw away camera to boots to be processed (doing today). 

YAY!  I actually feel like I am getting through my list.  

I have been downloading and using budget/to do list templates from here  and collating ideas for the design of the wedding on pinterest.

OK...today I am going to do my sociology essay (a pass is enough).  I'm going to do some work in a coffee shop whilst I wait for the photos to be developed in boots.