Sunday thoughts: 7th September 2014

And another week of life goes past, and I have no complaints. I have to say, it has been a particularly easygoing week; wake up in France with the family around, have a delicious family lunch, an easy journey back full of reading and a bit of sleeping, a lovely evening home to Ben. Then, a few birthday surprises for Ben and a lovely day out for us both, and the next day, another birthday surprise (the cake, whose arrival I had failed to wake up for on his actual birthday, and then missed the depot opening times… Sigh) and a leisurely return to work.

But let’s get on with the formalities, other highlights will have to wait!

New things I have learnt this week

I have to admit that my mind has been a little all over the place this week, though I’m not sure why. To be fair, Monday and Tuesday were out due to aforementioned travels and birthday celebrations, then Wednesday and Thursday both saw late starts and some training followed by relaxed evenings. Meanwhile, Friday and Saturday both saw earlier starts but afternoons that were put to use for training and household chores. So not much computer time and, I’m ashamed to say, not a huge amount of intelligent thinking time either!

If you didn’t manage to click on all the links in last week’s post, or didn’t get to click on the links in the articles I linked to, feel free to catch up on those now. I can’t be the only one who forgets to return to posts to click on links, can I?

New things I have eaten this week

  • For Ben’s birthday, we had talked about doing brunch or doing afternoon tea, but there was nothing that ticked our mutual boxes. In the end, he just wanted to wander around Richmond and make the most of living in such a beautiful area. Unfortunately, I don’t know of anywhere vegan-friendly in Richmond and as we explored, we glanced into a few nice-looking rather upmarket delis and cafés, but nothing particularly inspiring. Luckily, Ben had done more research than me and found Tide Tables right by the river, listed as vegan-friendly on Happy Cow. They even marked their vegan items on their online menu, and once in the humble café we found that they even had a separate vegan menu board up (as well as a specific gluten-free board)! I frustrated the poor guy behind the counter with my umming and ahhing until he offered me a sample of their homemade chickpea curry. It was a smart move on his part as that won me over!TIde Tables curryWhile the curry was tasty and quite different the the normal chickpea curries I am accustomed to, the best part by far was the homemade Harissa flatbread… Oh how I wish we had gotten two of those! It was greasy and moist and stuffed with onions, fragrant and warm and just begging to be ripped apart with your fingers.Tide Tables flatbreadI wasn’t at all hungry after that, but I couldn’t resist the almond twist which had been marked as vegan – I haven’t had a pastry since I went vegan! – and I couldn’t let Ben go a birthday without cake. Tide Tables almond twistUnfortunately the almond twist was very dry and not very exciting (and the way it didn’t fit on the plate frustrated me greatly), but Ben’s non-vegan date and pecan cake was reportedly delicious, and that’s what matters!

  • For dinner, we returned to Jamie’s Italian where we shared a delicious bread basket for a starter, which I followed with Penne Pomodoro and a side of Seasonal Greens (which turned out to be zucchini). Jamie's Italian penne pomodoroAll very tasty but, apart from the artisan breads with their sundried tomato and olive tapenade, it didn’t come close to beating my first experience.

Other highlights this week

  • Ben’s birthday! I was so excited to sneakily put up the birthday banner I had made him and to lay his presents out and light some candles. Unfortunately, I delayed our outing as I wanted to wait for the surprise cake delivery… before realising that they had attempted to deliver it while we were fast asleep, then running to the post office who were shut for lunch, freaking out, twiddling my thumbs at home waiting for their lunch break to end, striding back to be told that I had the wrong depot, and then realising that the correct depot had shut just 5 minutes ago. But we had a wonderful day regardless – strolled along the river where we found a woman in her pottery studio making some beautiful things, looked around Richmond, I bought us each our own coaster (Ben’s has a golfing man and mine has a running girl), and we had some food. We wandered home via Richmond Park, and went out for dinner. Just perfect!
  • The next day, I had a later start than planned so I excitedly ran round to the Post Office depot to pick up Ben’s cake, which I had ordered from Vegan Cake Direct very last minute (just kidding, Ben, I had totally planned this one way in advance!). It was superbly packaged – with a super cute little card – and despite spending a night travelling and another night in a post office depot, it was remarkably tasty. I can hardly blame it for being a bit dry, but it was just the right level of sweetness and the frosting was to die for!
  • Getting back to work was nice. Is that weird?
  • I really felt like I needed some cardio this week, so some frivolous cardio I did. I also ended up getting a very decent back session in on Friday in my afternoon off, followed by a good 30 minutes of sweating on a spinning bike. It was just what I needed!
  • As my brain became increasingly scrambled, I knew I had to stop procrastinating and take matters into my own hands, so I meditated for 30 minutes on Friday night. It was one of the most powerful meditation sessions I have experienced, and I almost immediately felt calmer and more poised. For a spirituality-sceptic like me this is a big deal!
  • With little desire to do much at all yesterday, and with Ben suffering from a persistent headache, I spent the afternoon at home after work pottering around. I did some cleaning and I sorted out the storage cupboard and it felt good!
  • I also made last-minute lunch plans with my gorgeous friend Sara today. We decided to meet in Clapham Common, where we wandered for a while examining our options before settling on Olives and Meze, a chilled-out Mediterranean café restaurant. The vibe was friendly and bright, and though the staff we a little confused and clumsy around the vegan thing, they were very helpful and brought us hummus, falafel, tabouleh, aubergine caponata, olives, garlic mushrooms and a beetroot salad. Sara also had a tomato and vegetable soup, and they brought us a couple of tortillas as their bread wasn’t vegan… We finished with a couple of teas and the bill only came to £33, with no complaints from us! More importantly, we had a wonderful time gabbling away non-stop for about four hours… What more could you ask for?

I hope you have also had a beautiful and refreshing Sunday and are ready to tackle the week ahead! I’m off to eat some avocado toast because… avocado toast!

Happy Sunday all!