Sunday thoughts: 25th May 2014

This week has been a total whirlwind – one of those weeks where you can’t recall sitting still for any length of time, but where nothing tangible seems to have gotten done.

I suppose part of the reason – other than not having any internet at home until Friday – may have been to do with my falling back into a pre-London pre-job routine of sleep in-breakfast-gym-home-lunch-work-home, etc. In recent months the routine had turned to more wake up-snack-gym-snack-write-snack-work-home. The key difference is the intake of proper meals again, whereas I had gone a few weeks surviving the days on snacks alone until dinner.

What you lose in time you gain in quality of life, but I might need to find some balance this week. Might.

New things I’ve learnt this week

  • Well. Let me tell you – I have learnt a whole heap about our toilet. Long story short: our flat being a basement flat with weak pipes, macerators have been fitted on the toilet and the kitchen sink, so that waste gets ground up and doesn’t block the pipes. However, as you can imagine, these devices themselves have a tendency to be temperamental, and ours just so decided that Friday night was its time to have a tantrum. On Saturday after Ben had left for work I groggily stumbled to the bathroom to be greeted by what was, effectively, a cesspit. Needless to say, no more sleeping was done. Ensued a gym session for the main purpose of being able to use the toilet and shower at the gym, lots of home DIY research to learn about the causes and cures for macerator-equipped toilet ailments, the mixing of many different potions and the purchase of a fluid vacuum cleaner. A fun weekend, in other words.
  • Slightly more relevant to this blog, I read a great little article today on the University of Sydney website that suggests that high intensity interval training (HIIT) – the stop-start sprint-recover format that personal trainers everywhere have been salivating over for the last few years – may not actually be the most effective method for fat loss in overweight individuals. Now that’s not to say it’s not an effective training method; it is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness, and it will obviously burn a large amount of calories in a short space of time, as well as have the potential to build more muscle and strength as you perform more explosive movements, but if you cannot walk or jog or cycle at a steady pace for 20 minutes or more, building up to that may be a good place to start. Not to mention that if somebody does no exercise and doesn’t particularly enjoy it, they are more likely to stick with an easy slow-paced effort and be able to perform it multiple times a week, than some gut-wrenching knee-crunching circuit that takes them half the time but puts them out of action for the rest of the week.

Random sources of interest this week have included:

  • Sporty girls smoke Luckies on Fit is a Feminist Issue
  • Bill Cunningham New York
  • Some documentary on the use of anabolic steroids in the USA, but I’ve forgotten the name and it didn’t offer any overly mindblowing information
  • But by far the viewing highlight of the week has been Undefeated which may or may not have made me cry – I won’t say any more, just watch it.

New things I have eaten this week

  • As Ben popped out to the corner store, he asked – as he always does – if he could get me anything. As I declined the offer, he pressed on, “No olives? No hummus? No tahini?” which describes my taste in food pretty accurately, but nope. “Anything weird and random?” Ah – well now you have me; there’s always room for something weird and random. Turned out to be… carob molasses! Already a fan of molasses, and vaguely familiar with carob, I wasn’t expecting the surprisingly fruity caramel-like flavours; I have been enjoying it on chia pudding but I bet it would be amazing on pancakes and even vanilla ice cream, not to mention in baking. Plus, sounds like it’s full of antioxidants and a fair few other minerals and B-vitamins too. Cha-ching!
  • I toyed around with a couple of pizza recipes for when my friend Vivien stayed over before her 100km walking challenge – I didn’t want to cook her anything that might me new or alien to her digestive system. Asparagus-pepper pizzaI couldn’t be bothered to go out to the shops at that point, so I foraged around the fridge and cupboards and went with a fairly standard topping of tomato base (chopped tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, a bit of paprika and plenty of salt) with nutritional yeast, grilled green pepper and asparagus, but I also threw together a spiced sweet potato base (roast sweet potato, creamed coconut, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, soy sauce, chick peas) topped with cubed tofu, frozen peas, and slightly crumbled cashews. If I do say so myself… they were both excellent – or at least, very much to my tastes!Sweet potato tofu pizza

Other highlights this week

  • Getting into a more regular routine of tougher workouts was awesome, and twice I managed to get 20 minutes of varying resistance work done on the stationary bike which worked up a good sweat, so that made me feel awesome.
  • We had some really good food this week; lots of great bread (including a loaf of potato bread that the market lady gave us, and which didn’t make it through the day), a curry and a hearty stew made my Ben, the pizzas above, and a peanut curry made by Ben’s sister-in-law.
  • In fact, Ben cooked most nights this week as he often got home earlier than me and felt more inspired, it was like a total role reversal this week but I really enjoyed coming home to put my feet up and being fed!
  • Seeing Ben’s mum and family was lovely as everyone seemed in truly good spirits.
  • And having our first guest – none other than my lovely friend Vivien – stay over at ours! Even the blocked toilet situation couldn’t totally sour the occasion.

On that note, however, I will have to leave you for today as – short story short – the toilet situation has gotten worse. So this is going to be a truly excellent evening I feel, but luckily the upshot of it is that I cannot wait to go to work tomorrow morning even though it’s a bank holiday!

I truly hope that none of you are having to worry about overflowing bathroom fittings – or, indeed, overflowing any fittings – this weekend! As the weather had been so dire this week, I will leave you with another sunny photo I took last week of our glorious Sunday afternoon:

River walkIf you are in the UK, enjoy bank holiday Monday! If you’re not… have a happy Monday 🙂