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.

New things I have learnt this week

As evidenced by the fact that I actually have a fully drafted post all ready to go out, but didn’t get around to actually publishing it, I haven’t had much time in front of a screen and keyboard this week. When I have, I have been working on a translation, catching up on blog posts, and researching ethical iPad cases. Yeah, that took me a very long time – I can’t find anything (apart from sleeves, which aren’t what I was after) that is certifiably ethical (vegan, recycled/upcycled, fair trade, or anything) that also looks like it would do the job properly. So I have had to go with one of the big, non-ethical brands, but I am going to find myself an ethical sleeve to protect the whole thing properly when it’s in my bag.

I have, however, continued practising bikram yoga, and today we took a trip to the driving range when Ben attempted to teach me to play some golf shots. More on that below!

The rest of the time, I have been working with clients, getting to bed at reasonable times and reading, and catching up with friends. I’m not complaining!

New things I have eaten this week

  • On Wednesday evening, looking for a dinner spot but struggling to feel inspired, we gravitated towards Jamie’s Italian. Mainstream Italian food is typically not hugely exciting for vegans, and the hype around this small chain left me cold. But it was there, the menu looked interesting, and we had heard good things. Am I glad we did venture inside! Not only were all the staff incredibly helpful and friendly – and not in a forced way – but they were also only too happy to provide the dedicated vegan menu that was suggested on the main menu. Jamie's Italian vegan menuOn it, a selection of dishes from the main menu with omissions and adjustments; after much deliberation and consultation I decided on a small penne arrabiata as a starter, and the superfood salad (I can’t wait until “superfood” falls out of favour as the buzzword) as a main. I was highly impressed with the pasta – although it wasn’t penne, it was fresh and tender and juicy, and coated in just the right amount of freshly-made, tangy, spicy sauce. I just wish I had had more of it…Jamie's Italian penne arrabiataAfter the slight confusion as to how to attack the entire avocado half balancing on top, and the search for the promised hummus (it turned out to be hidden underneath the crunchy bits), I really enjoyed the superfood salad.Jamie's Italian superfood salad It didn’t look overly appealing, but all the flavours and textures were there, and I found myself just ploughing my fork through the pile and creating a delicious mess in which I couldn’t tell what was what but I did know it all tasted so right. No vegan-friendly desserts beyond mango or lemon sorbet, so I stole a scoop of mango sorbet out of Steph’s bowl – tasty but nothing to write home about. When I return it will be for the pasta, breads, planks, and super friendly staff.
  • On a less positive note, I caught up with my amazing friend Sara on Friday and found ourselves in Hummus Bros. I visited a few years ago for the first and last time – I was told the bread wasn’t vegan so I had crudités instead, but ultimately I didn’t even enjoy the hummus itself. But a number of respected vegan bloggers rave about it so much I assumed I must have visited on a bad day… But no, I really, really do not rate their hummus or their toppings or their bread. I’d have been a lot more negative about the whole thing (we got charged extra when we ordered seconds at 5.30pm, as the prices all go up after 5pm, which I thought was a little harsh) if the staff hadn’t been so cheerful despite my being very grouchy at them, including bringing us a free dessert on the house for no discernible reason (not vegan so I couldn’t partake in it, but still a nice thought). I will probably still be avoiding Hummus Bros in future though; there is far better hummus in Central London for far less money.

Other highlights this week

  • There is no doubt that the two big highlights this week were catching up with Steph, who moved to Miami about 7 months ago, and meeting up with Sara who has been travelling South America for 10 months. Really, they each deserve their own bullet points but I couldn’t decide who to put first! It is when I am with them that time really just disappears; one minute you’re talking and the next it’s four hours later – that has to be one of my favourite things in the world ever.
  • Ben and I have just come back from a trip to the driving range. I have never played golf, and the idea of a long drawn-out game that involves lots of walking and etiquette doesn’t appeal to me much, but I did love the driving range. Just you in your little booth, hitting the ball as far as you can hit it, looking at your stats after each shot to see if you got any closer to the target. It was a really peaceful way to have some fun on a Sunday evening.
  • Our landlady finally agreed to consider getting our plumbing fixed if we can get her three quotes… And yes that was one of this week’s highlights! We’ve had recommendations for two plumbers so if you know anyone reliable in London please send them my way!
  • Yesterday after I had taken Ben to his first bikram yoga class, we chilled out a bit, then got pizza and watched Masterchef. It was perfectly relaxing.
  • I finally brought my guitar back to London on Monday, so it has been really nice to rediscover it and start teaching Ben the basics. It’s perfect for when I can’t be bothered to do anything productive but the idea of lolling aimlessly on the couch watching mindless television doesn’t appeal.
  • Oh, and one of my clients popped into the gym unexpectedly to give me a little gift – a julienne peeler! How sweet and thoughtful is that?

What have you been up to? Have you taken up anything new lately?

Whatever your week has looked like, I hope next week is shaping up nicely! Happy Sunday!

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