Sunday thoughts

So there it is; a week ago we were losing our minds over Christmas – either having bought all our gifts and getting really excited about giving them, or still having some last minute shopping to do – and now, it’s all over. I hope everyone was able to make the most of it whatever you got up to, whether it was a low-key holiday of peace and quiet and some good food, or an opulent occasion, or a chaotic and fun-filled family event. But then, I always hope everyone has had a good week by the time it gets to Sunday thoughts.

New things I’ve learnt this week

  • I did a little research into gout a while ago and found out that sources of purine were to be avoided, which rather counterintuitively includes healthy greens like spinach and asparagus. My dad was struck by an attack of gout shortly before Christmas, so I refreshed my memory. Turns out mushrooms are also to be avoided, and there is a real heavy emphasis on anchovies and herring along with the usual suspects like red meat and animal proteins. I also didn’t realise that a small amount of wine (like, 150ml a day) actually isn’t a big deal, and that 4-6 cups of coffee can be beneficial in reducing the risk of gout in men. Weird!
  • After hearing a lot about it, I finally watched Blackfish, the chilling documentary on the reality of keeping wild animals like orca whales in captivity. I can’t believe how much footage they had of trainers getting mauled, and I am sickened that amusement parks are doing nothing about it.
  • I got given the Trail Guide to the Body textbook which teaches me something new at every glance… But I have yet to sit down and study something that I can tell you about. It is coming with me to Australia though, and I plan to learn something new every day.

New things I have eaten this week

Funnily enough, despite all the eating I’ve been doing this week, I haven’t actually tried anything new. Mum made me a great nut roast and some stuffed aubergines, both of which were new recipes to me but no new ingredients.

I suppose the standout dish she made was our Christmas Eve dessert; a chocolate mousse made only with coconut cream, dates, and chocolate. I’ve seen plenty of recipes of the sort online and always been tempted to try them, but never have due to a combination of being too lazy and not being sure how they would turn out. This one was great; it came out right in between a mousse and a creamy pudding, not too sweet or sickly but by the end of a serving your sweet spot had definitely been hit! I’ll be making those sort of things again for sure!

Other highlights this week

  • On Monday, I had an early client who brought me a pot of Neal’s Yard Remedies Almond Moisturiser as a gift, which was really unexpected but so sweet! I have never actually used Neal’s Yard products myself (I’m not actually sure if they’re vegan – they are BUAV approved but as far as I know that just means the products aren’t tested on animals – any advice?) and I really appreciate having nice moisturisers, especially for my face. Either way, it’s the thought that counts, but it’s just a bonus that I love my gift!
  • After getting home on Monday, Ben and I had a leisurely breakfast before he accompanied me to the station to get the train to Paris – I never get to be accompanied, or to have any sort of leisurely lead-up! Then I bought a Caffè Nero mince pie for my journey… it barely made it out of the station.
  • Finishing my book! It took me two months to finish it due to 10 days away meditating with no reading materials, a couple of weekends away, getting Ben addicted to Mad Men and prioritising meditation and chatting to Ben over reading before bed. I had to stop listing my favourite bits as each sentence was a gem. If you are in any way into judo or other martial arts, or even just sport in general, do yourself a favour and seek out a copy of The Pyjama Game by Mark Law.
  • Bringing Vegusto cheeses to a gathering of non-vegans – they loved them! Well, those who like cheese loved them. I guess it’s a good sign that people who don’t like cheese didn’t like them…
  • Being at my leisure to binge-watch Orange is the New Black whilst on holiday in France. It’s been a while since I unashamedly watched 3 or more episodes of anything in one go, and it felt good. Especially as I ate a lot of cake.
  • Of course, getting and giving Christmas gifts. I loved the earrings and the book my parents got me, and I am happy to see everyone at least didn’t hate their presents enough to let it show. And I think some may have been very pleased with them.
  • Getting home with Ben after being met by him at the station, wildly opening our gifts, and getting our packing done surprisingly efficiently. I got a snorkeling set from his brother and sister-in-law, which is awesome as I’ve never had one, and Ben got me a fantastic little collection of list-making materials; a wonderful sustainably-made weekly planner with a wooden cover, a “Wreck This Journal“, and a Music Listography Journal. It will take a bit of courage for me to get over my fear of ruining a perfect book, and that’s exactly what I need!

Well boys and girls that’s it for me for today, it has been a surprisingly busy day and it’s time to get some dinner on and just relax… Big day tomorrow; I suppose the next time I stop in I will be in Australia and it’ll be 2014, so I wish you all a very happy start to the new year!