Sunday thoughts: 24th August 2014

When your week begins with a cancellation and a solidly rained out Bank Holiday Monday (during which cabin fever ensued, which prompted the half-hearted assembly of a shelf, to be interrupted by a lull in the rain which encouraged us to leap across London to the final moments of the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition), you know it’s going to be a bit of a strange week.

It has been another good one though; cancellations coming at just the right time, a gorgeous late lunch/afternoon snack with a good friend, secret birthday present shopping for Ben, and a few days with family in France.

New things I have learnt this week

Lots of clicking around on the internet this week!

  • I read this great little – easy to read – report on epicatechin and its effects on muscle growth. This molecule, found in chocolate, is thought to inhibit myostatin which, in turn, supports muscle growth. While I can’t say that I am convinced that the doses of epicatechin present in a recommended serving of dark chocolate would lead to a noticeable difference in muscle size, I had no idea about myostatins and follistatins and even less about epicatechin. It is also worth noting that results of experiments done using a isolated molecule may vary from the effects of consuming the molecule within food, but I loved the conclusion:

    “Since (-)-epicatechin provides other health benefits and is very safe, it is possible to test this potential muscle growth agent for yourself by eating dark chocolate twice a day.”

  • I continued clicking to read “The Unbiased Truth about Marijuana” which, although I knew about its medicinal use, I didn’t know could be used in cancer treatments to combat loss of appetite. I also found it interesting to hear that it is promising for the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (and I did have a moment of guilty amusement whilst picturing two of my grandparents suffering from the latter sparking up a joint). I also found it interesting that studies have been conducted on the amount of second-hand inhalation needed to cause a positive blood test in sporting events… and I can’t help but think that research funds could perhaps be used to greater social benefits than determining how long an athlete can hang around pot-smoking friends before being disqualified. Surely, if it is a concern, you can just stay away from people smoking pot for a few weeks if competition is that important to you?
  • I have also started to dig into Anita Sarkeesian’s work since reading about the increasingly worrying and specific death threats she has been receiving for talking about the derogatory ways in which women are presented in video games. Exploring feminist sites also led me to spend far more time than you might expect reading about Nicki Minaj’s rear end and its societal implications. Don’t laugh at me, this stuff is important!

New things I have eaten this week

  • Finding ourselves at the Barbican with a sudden appetite, we braved the Food Hall in search of something vegan. For a fiver, I got 3 servings of salad from the salad bar. Only two were vegan so I doubled up on the cabbage, walnut, sultana and I forget what else… It was actually surprisingly tasty! The other one made far less of an impression on my tastebuds but it’s always good to know there are options… The Lounge offers sharing platters than could surely be made vegan (where there is hummus, there are content vegans), but we weren’t up for anything too leisurely.
  • I also got to test my 100th chocolate! The honour went to a dark Seed & Bean bar which didn’t live up to the expectations set by its flavoured counterparts, but still hit the spot (and was half price).

Other delicious yums have included many smoothies, an embarrassing amount of sundried tomato and pickles eaten as snacks from the jar, Village Pizza night, lots of proper French bread, lovely apple tart made from the apples in my granddad’s allotment, fresh damson plums from the same, and other simple pleasures. No photos though I’m afraid, I have been a good eater and a bad blogger!

Other highlights this week

  • Our super rainy Bank Holiday Monday turned out surprisingly nicely; my morning client cancelled, I cancelled a later one as there was simply no benefit to traipsing across London in the pouring rain, we hibernated a bit until the rain broke which was a much-needed spell of laziness, then finally made a break for it to hit the Barbican, which we never normally do. A nice day of simple living.
  • Pizza night. Always a highlight.
  • Many lazy lie-ins this week which were greatly appreciated, and a couple of refreshingly deep sleeps in France.
  • Some fun work times with clients!
  • Perhaps one of the main highlights though was a Pain Quotidien-based late lunch with an old and dear friend. I went for their avocado and lentil salad, while she had a scone (not vegan) and a side of olive tapenade (a girl after my own heart), which I got to finish off and eat the sundried tomato garnish from (I tell you, I can’t get enough sundried tomato these days!). We stayed for hours (and hours) and it was beautiful.
  • I also had some good fun gathering some little surprises for Ben’s birthday, the first I will actually be with him for since I have always been on the other side of the Channel celebrating my granddad’s birthday, which is the day before. I’m probably more excited than him at this point!

In other fun news, Ben has a brand new little nephew! An early arrival, but I am told everyone is healthy and happy. I can’t wait to meet him!

So, friends, I think that’s about it. Tonight we have one more family dinner (avec granddad) following which I will probably spend far too much time juggling half a dozen articles online before slithering to bed. I hope you all have a relaxing and reinvigorating Sunday, and a very happy start to the new week and, of course, the new month!

Much love xoxo

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Some like it hot

I always roll my eyes when people here complain the weather is “too hot”. I know no “too hot”, but I am very well acquainted with a number of different “too colds”; wet miserable cold, bitter stinging cold, shivery cold, numb cold… I sleep with a duvet all year round and get teased at work for turning all the fans off.

But a little part of me wondered if actually, I would deal well with heat when it was more than our mild British summer heat. Or would I also be reduced to a limp lettuce leaf, meek and uncomfortable? Continue reading

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Sunday thoughts: 24th August 2014

I don’t think I had quite realised how much I needed wanted a quieter week. Ben and I enjoyed a couple of earlier finishes this week, as well as a couple of well-timed daytime breaks during which we could train together. Not a huge amount of training, mind, as Ben had hurt his wrist and my thumb was trying out some new styles (let’s just say I’m lucky it hasn’t been dislocated) so heavy lifting was not really an option, but I enjoyed some sweaty cardio work on the bike.

I just feel like I’ve had a little more time to breathe this week, and it feels good. Continue reading

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London Vegan Festival

If I’m honest (and why wouldn’t I be?) I very nearly didn’t go to the London Vegan Festival. I was tired and was quite sick of public transport by the end of the week. I doubted whether it would surpass Vegfest, I wondered whether there was really anything new the London vegan scene could offer me at a collection of stalls, and if so, I didn’t want to go through the “I want to buy everything” anxiety that would necessarily beset me.

But I had a last-minute look at the list of stallholders, and realised many names were new and unfamiliar to me. I also knew I would regret sitting at home all day more. And, frankly, it was comforting not to be so rabidly excited about vegan baked goods – maybe I could remain somewhat civilised. Continue reading

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Sunday thoughts: 17th August 2014

This big lump of a week has truly been about the little things.

Although all the days have now all blended into one, the things that stand out are the moments spent indoors looking out at the sporadic downpours, the reasonable bed times that have allowed for a bit of fiction reading, the showers after working up a sweat in the gym or yoga studio, the cancellations that have allowed me to crawl back into bed, the tasty improvised meals (from pasta by Ben to giant salad by me via pizza by Village Pizza), the bus journeys into work for a nice change from the train, the genuinely kind smiles from shop keepers and kiosk vendors and random strangers on trains… and I could go on.

But I won’t, because I have set headings for this weekly review, and none of them reads, “Fairly insignificant miscellaneous happenings and coincidences”. Continue reading

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Stretching the truth

I rarely get my clients to stretch. In fact, I never do unless they have some injury or niggle that could be caused or aggravated by overly tight muscles in a particular area (glutes and hamstrings are often the culprits here) – and yet, nobody seems perturbed by the fact that I can go from not giving a single stretch to a client, to making them stretch in between every single set, nor by the fact that other personal trainers around them in the studio get their clients to stretch.

Nobody has ever mentioned it to me, and yet the topic deserves a little more airtime (or whatever the internet equivalent is… megabyte-time? That sounds delicious). Continue reading

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Sunday thoughts: 10th August 2014

Despite a strange start to the week that involved waking up in France on Monday to have a leisurely morning, a lovely family lunch, an afternoon walk with my granddad… and then missing my train to Paris, being driven to the next big town, and finally making it to Paris and then back to London, the rest of the week has been highly normal!

A bit of training here and there, a few clients dotted around, a bit of translating, a few cups of tea in my local haunt, and a couple of catch-ups with friends. Just life doing its thing, really. Continue reading

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