Sunday thoughts: 30th November 2014

I think this Sunday thoughts series must be the one that gets written from abroad most often. Here I am in Luxembourg, for the first time in about seven or eight months, and we have treated ourselves to an extra day’s holiday to make the most of the festively laid-back vibe of my home country.

I can’t wait to share with you everything that has gone on in this final week of November, but before I do please allow me to take a moment to remind you of my festive offer on personal training sessions:

End of year promotion

Food for thought

  • Tis the season… to potentially be driven a little way up the walls by loved ones. Here is a fun article why that is such a common occurrence for many.
  • TED talks are ideal for encouraging me to hang out the washing (which is a precision-engineered Tetris-like endeavour in our cosy little cave of a flat), and this talk by Brené Brown on “The power of vulnerability” made me pause for thought.
  • And then, this is pretty cool. I always like to think that every order for vegan food in a mainstream establishment, and every trip away from a non-vegan business towards a vegan one, makes a difference – so it’s nice to see that it does add up and influence business decisions. I think we should all go out and pay for something vegan, now.

Thought for food

It’s the International Bazaar weekend in Luxembourg! That may in fact be 90% of the reason we are here. More specifically, these may be the reasons:

  • Falafel from Lebanon: Lebanese falafelA few stalls sell falafel; the Israeli stand serve their small crunchy falafel in a fluffy pita, while the Egyptian stand serve their green broad bean falafel in a tortilla wrap. The Lebanese ones are my favourite, and they have even marked them as vegan on their signage!

    Vegan sign

    The correct French term for vegan is “végétalien”, but most people don’t know what it means and will use “vegan” or “végan” instead – so I’m super impressed to see this marked on a sign!

  • Vegetable patty and vegetable roll from Sri Lanka, served with coconut chutney:
    Sri Lanka samosaAnd a samosa from Bangladesh because they looked the biggest and Ben was getting a curry from there.Bangladesh samosaSamosas can be found for €2 from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. All of these stands also serve vegetable curries, and India serves a dhal too. The mint and coriander sauce from Sri Lanka is unbelievably good, but I can never decide which my favourite samosa is (they are also all too small for my unconditional approval).
  • I found zaatar (one of my favourite things for the last few weeks)!Lebanese zaatar galetteI spied these little “thyme galettes” on day one at the Lebanese stand, but was sure they would be made with some sort of buttery non-vegan ingredient and couldn’t be bothered to deal with the confusion of stall volunteers. On day two I spied a gap in the throng surrounding the stand, and a woman who seemed to know what she was doing, so I asked and had it confirmed that they contained neither egg nor dairy! I stocked up on two – one for now and one for later, though they both got eaten within 5 minutes of leaving the stall despite being slightly stale.
  • I felt bad for always ignoring the Scandinavian and Icelandic stands, so I picked up pretty much the only thing I could have from them: licorice from Iceland! Iceland licoriceIt was actually super tasty, but I know there are a lot of licorice haters out there so I won’t expand on the matter.
  • The best food discovery for me, however, was koshari. First having it pointed out to me last year by Steph, I never got around to it as didn’t want to commit to one big meal at an event like this. Egypt koshariThis time, though, I was all over it. By far the best value meal, with piles of rice and pasta, chickpeas and lentils, topped with a generous and rich tomato sauce and crunchy fried onions, all for €6, it was perfect. Thank you, Egypt!

For more International Bazaar eats, I wrote a much more comprehensive post about it here last year. There are a few more bits and pieces among some general ramblings from two years ago here and here.

Happy thoughts

  • I only worked three days this week, but boy were they good days: a busy Monday, a very quiet Tuesday, and a busy Wednesday meant I was perfectly primed for each day. Clients on busy days were perfectly spaced out so that it never threatened to be a stressful day, and I felt like a very sharp personal trainer on each of those days. Plus, I managed to squeeze my training in early on those days, making the most of my day and of my training. Just perfect.
  • Speaking of training, it has been going really well. Although I missed the chance to scratch a new PB out because the cross-trainer was acting up, I am feeling strong and fit and no longer terrified of certain exercises (TRX pikes, I’m looking at you).
  • Oh, and after passing my final recertification exam last week, I am now enrolled on an introductory nutrition course at the University of Westminster! Is now a good time to announce that I plan to enrol on a Masters in Sports Nutrition? First hurdle: getting the university intranet to work and keep working.
  • How cute is this little coffee cup the Turkish stand were serving Turkish coffee in?Turkish coffee
  • Am I the only one who still gets excited about travelling? Sleeping on a train, checking onto a flight, eating travel snacks, sleeping on a flight, eating travel snacks… I love it, and I am glad that I do.
  • We took a spontaneous trip to the cinema on our first night here – because you can be spontaneous when everything of interest is about 10 minutes away and you have access to a car – and we entered a pub quiz with friends on Friday night… and won!!!

And with that, I will leave you with a photo of this little rose that insists on adding a touch of colour to our exceedingly grey November garden. I call it The Little Rose that Could:

The little rose that couldHappy Sunday, happy Monday, happy week, happy December, happy happy happy!