Sunday thoughts: 23rd November 2014

After reading back through last week’s Sunday thoughts, I feel a little sheepish posting these as it has been a much less eventful week! So if you haven’t read those, maybe just have a look at them and ignore these ones.

Oh but before you go, I should promote my end-of-year special offer on personal training! I’ve written a short introductory blog post about it over on Great Expectations Fitness, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. Please do share it with anyone who might be interested.

End of year promotion

Food for thought

  • Lots of studying this week, all on low back disorders. I stumbled on an interesting debate over the link between psychosocial factors and chronic low back pain; the textbook on which my exam is based pushes strongly for the association of psychosocial factors (e.g. stress) with low back pain, but more recent research states quite clearly that there is not enough evidence. Obviously, there is also a significant insurance and compensation angle to the issue, so it is hard to know which studies are genuinely unbiased. I can’t say I have read enough to form my own opinion on the matter, but it certainly bears thinking about.
  • I also had to (attempt to) learn a fair bit of back anatomy to make any sense of the textbook and exam questions, and I mainly learnt that I’m really glad my job doesn’t involve reading x-rays or MRIs.
  • Did you know that a full sit-up, with legs bent, imposes 3000N of compression on your lumbar spine when it is fully flexed (i.e. vulnerable)? As terrifying as that is, it is a testament to the strength of the human body that more people haven’t simply snapped in half. Having said that, do avoid full sit-ups, please!

Other internet news, did you see that Julien Blanc has been denied a visa to the UK? Hurray! Let’s have some cake!

Thought for food

  • Montezumas ChocolateMontezuma’s chocolate bars were on offer this week in Waitrose (affiliate link), so I had to stock up and test the ones I hadn’t had before! I tried Charlie’s Luck for the first time which promised so much but delivered very little (spoiler: couldn’t taste the peanuts), enjoyed an old favourite in Sea Dog, and was happy enough with the Dominican Republic Very Dark 73%.
  • Ben surprised me with the cutest little Ohso chocolate bar. It tasted quite unique – and way better than your average no-added-sugar chocolate – although I would struggle to describe it accurately. I suppose I could say it had notes of caramel? Anyway. It was tasty. And adorably tiny. And has one square that glows in the dark. (Not really. We just have photo-unfriendly lighting in our cave flat.)Ohso chocolate bar
  • I’m a little late to the party but I finally got my hands on some Salted Caramel Almond Dream ice cream (affiliate link). It was so much better than I had imagined, and infinitely better than the vanilla (obviously). Taste-vs-Value for money-wise, probably the best vegan ice cream available in the UK at the moment.
  • I’ve been very busy tasting chocolates so you guys don’t have to. Our work-local coffee shop, Harris+Hoole, have started doing handmade (apparently) chocolate bars, and the peppermint-cocoa nib dark chocolate bar seemed just the thing to go with my giant soy flat white. Harris+Hoole dark chocolateI was really impressed with it: a generous crunchy scattering of nibs, and such a subtle peppermint flavour I actually forgot it was peppermint until the aftertaste would remind me of it every couple of bites. Super thick so it feels indulgent, but I will admit it actually a little hard to munch on. A bit expensive at £2 but worth it for that chocolate hit with your coffee.
  • Oh and last night’s dinner was a real treat: a giant roast dinner with VBites Oregano & Basil sausages which we were really impressed by! We had them with roast parsnip, butternut squash and sweet potato, mashed potato, and lots of gravy. I added some of my mum’s plum sauce. It was perfect and just the right amount of too much.

Happy thoughts

  • After my parents dropped it off a few weeks ago, my poor piano had been sitting in bits across our bedroom as I debated whether to put it up when we were considering a swift and early exit from our flat. Yesterday, I finally concluded that we were moving nowhere fast, and that a piano should be played. So set it up we (well, Ben) did, and play it I did!
  • Pizza night on Friday night was much needed and highly appreciated. Usual sundried tomato/artichoke/mushroom/olive combination for me, usual Hickory Chicken with jalapenos for Ben, usual excitement all round followed by usual fullness all round. Good times.
  • Training this week has been excellent; cardio is becoming less painful and I knocked another 7 seconds off my half mile cross-trainer PB (3:02 now on the cross-trainer at the studio).
  • Drinking from ludicrously giant cups of milky caffeinated drinks has been my treat of choice this week. A soy cappuccino the size of my head lasted me about an hour and a half in Le Pain Quotidien, and a slightly smaller soy flat white from Harris+Hoole warmed me up on a dark wet evening before my last client. Yesterday was fuelled by cups of milky vanilla chai, and today was brightened by a matcha latte. If you haven’t taken a frivolous (caffeinated or not) break to yourself (preferably in an optimal people-watching location) this week, that is your task for this coming final week of November!

And my task now (besides refilling plastic containers of on-the-go snacks for tomorrow, and figuring out whether I have enough clean work clothes to make an outfit out of) is to make up for lost piano time. I hope your evening is filled with whatever music makes you happy, homemade or not.

Happy Sunday and happy week, stay warm and dry and caffeinated!