Sunday thoughts

What a strange 3-day week sandwiched between two weekend family-breaks. I’ve been really tired, possibly due to the cold as I do have a tendency to turn to hibernation, so getting up late and with a translation to work on all week, I was often too amped up to meditate – which I don’t think helps. So we’ve fallen out of our usual routine totally, and I’ve missed it. Still, sometimes it’s nice to indulge in a bit of me-time. This weekend has been full of that, as we enjoy the cosy family life in Northern Ireland, and all of a sudden the week’s city life turmoils seem far away!

New things I’ve learnt this week

Again, due to the aforementioned lie-ins and solid translation, not much thought-pushing going on at the moment. Well, I say that, but on Tuesday Ben took me and a few of the other trainers from a studio we work at through some calf anatomy and rehab protocol. I didn’t actually realise that the soleus muscle in the bottom portion of the calf is almost entirely slow-twitch, and is responsible for keeping us standing upright, whereas the gastrocnemius on either side of the higher portion of the calf is reserved for more explosive, powerful movements. I actually have quite a thick, wide soleus muscle – which completely explains why I struggle less with endurance-based activities than explosive ones (annoyingly, all my chosen sports at the moment are power-heavy!).

I liked taking the opportunity to share with you some TED talks last week, so once again, here are some of my favourite from this week:

New things I have eaten this week

  • As we’ve only had three quiet days this week, and I’ve been busy and still full from last weekend, I’ve not been particularly experimental in the kitchen. The only vaguely new thing I made was a diabetic-friendly batch of my old favourite thumbprint cookies to give to Ben’s mum and her partner as a thank-you gift for having us this weekend. I used wholemeal flour  and quinoa flakes instead of just oats, and couldn’t be bothered to process any nuts so didn’t use any of those, and for sweetener I used roughly equal amounts of coconut sugar and stevia. I didn’t measure anything though so no recipe I’m afraid – though this does serve as a testament to how foolproof these cookies are!
  • In Northern Ireland, I actually managed to have a vegan lunch at the Titanic Museum in Belfast, believe it or not. Bistro 401 had a vegan-friendly daily vegetarian special of cauliflower dhal, served with two salads out of a selection of 4 (only one was vegan, but I happily ate a double serving of it as it was delicious).
  • At Giant’s Causeway, the Causeway Hotel had a vegan soup of the day – red pepper and tomato – which was really tasty (but served with wheaten bread made with buttermilk).
  • As well as all the wonderful food Ben’s mum has been making me (mushrooms in puff pastry cases, chunky vegetable and barley soup, apple crumble, the best flapjack ever, not to mention all the snacks you could ever want), his sister brought over a jar of Wowbutter – soy-based peanut-free peanut butter. I heard about it a few months ago but was sceptical – how could anything with no peanuts in it ever taste like peanuts?! Well, ladies and gentlemen, it was incredible! Creamy with a spot-on toasty peanut taste, I never would have known the difference. I have no need to spend the extra cash on it, but I’m glad people with nut allergies can enjoy something every bit as good as “the real thing”.

Other highlights this week

  • Opening the first windows of my Moo Free advent calendar – and eating the chocolates!
  • Being able to look forward to watching Masterchef: The Professionals every night… Little things in life.
  • Deciding to treat myself to some Kharma vegan cosmetics under the pretense of supporting a new vegan business… The founder, Christina, and I have a mutual friend who made me aware of the products. I love the look of them, and think it’s time I expanded my makeup bag just a little. Christina made me a very kind offer to help with shipping costs too, since I made a donation towards her crowdfunding initiative, so I’m even more excited about my purchase! I’ll tell you more when I receive and try out the tint, but if anyone knows of any beauty boutiques in the UK who would be interested in stocking the products, please get in touch!
  • This whole weekend in Northern Ireland has so far been lovely and a highlight in itself; getting to visit the Titanic Museum, Giant’s Causeway, seeing another bit of the world that I haven’t seen, and being able to relax with Ben’s family and their dogs… It’s just what you need at this time of year.

I will leave it there for now as I continue browsing the internet for some nice gifts, or even just some gift inspiration, for friends and family. Other bloggers are being so good putting together their lists of ethical gift ideas, but I’m no use I’m afraid! Plenty of nice things out there, but it’s finding the right thing for the right person, the gift that will really put a smile on someone’s face every time they see or use it… How’s everyone else doing with their shopping?

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend and are feeling ready for another week!