Sunday thoughts: 31st 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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