Friday, 5 July 2013

Friday Food-day: Chilli Courgette Spaghetti

This recipe is mega easy but it will make you feel like you've created something fancy and complicated, depending on how hot you want it you can add more or less chilli, and make it as cheesy as you want but putting less cheese in seems a bit cray to me...


You will need (to serve one): 85g spaghetti (I used Waitrose gluten free spaghetti but obviously you can use any kind, fusilli pasta also works well), 1 small clove of garlic, 1 small red chilli, 1 courgette, lots of parmesan (if you're veggie make sure to find a parmesan that doesn't use animal rennet), a handful of rocket or spinach and some black pepper.
  1. Boil a pan of water and cook the spaghetti to the packs instructions.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large pan, finely chop the garlic and chilli, add to the pan and fry for a few minutes. (After chopping the chilli make sure you don't touch your eyes, nose, mouth, cheeks... I learnt this the hard way)
  3. Grate the courgette with a cheese grater, whack that in the pan and stir for a few minutes.
  4. Grate a handful of parmesan and add to the pan. Ladle in some of the water from the pasta and simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce is your desired consistency.
  5. Drain the spaghetti and stir in to the sauce, then serve on a plate with a handful of rocket/spinach, some(/lots) more parmesan and a sprinkling of black pepper. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Thoughts from Thursday: #7

  • OOPS. I guess blogging is more difficult than I thought, especially when you go from not blogging at all to attempting to blog everyday. Perhaps less frequent but more consistent blogging is the answer. Here's hoping!

  • June was such a stressful yet completely wonderful month and I'm incredibly grateful to have completed it and still be plodding along. I guess when an agoraphobe tries to do anything outside of the confines of their house it's going to be tricky but somehow I've come out of the other side of June with a job, a weekly counselling appointment, wonderful memories of trips to Amsterdam, Glastonbury Festival, parties, pubs, restaurants, concerts, and a smidge more self-belief; thanks June!

  • Pizza Express has a new gluten-free pizza option which I excitably ordered last night buuut... I give it a 3/10, soz guys.

  • This feels particularly relevant, thanks Wheezy!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Music Monday: The XX

Well this album is a blast from the past, I remember when it came out and it was the weirdest and most exciting thing I'd ever heard (to be fair I think my music world had been a little sheltered until that point). I saw them live for free at the Itunes festival in Camden a few years ago and myself and my friend bought dodgy £5 t-shirts from some guy on the street outside which I like to wear to sleep in. Now I'm just reminiscing, listen to this album now please.


Personal faves from this album: VCR, Crystalised, Islands, Heart Skipped A Beat and Shelter... Oh wait now I'm re-listening to it I'm remembering that I love them all oh no. I'll leave it at that but listen to them all.

Their second album 'Coexist' is also really good, listen to that after you've listened to this.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

We can do it! Wednesday: Knitting

At some point last year while clearing out my bedroom I found a load of knitting needles that I think belonged to my great grandmother and I thought 'hey why don't I learn to knit?!' so I asked my mum to teach me but she doesn't knit and if your mum doesn't know something then your only other option is to ask the internet. So I found this video below and watched it about 7000 times because I generally learn well from repetition; like a small child.


I'm sure this isn't the best video out there but this is the one that worked for me, however after I'd already got the hang of it I came across this site full of tutorials which might be a much easier way to learn if you're just starting out. I started knitting my scarf in November and it is now June and I'm just over halfway through so hopefully if I speed up a bit I'll be finished by next winter! I find knitting to be good if you're feeling stressed or if you're just a big ball of nerves like I am. A lot of people that are in to yoga are also in to knitting because it's the same kind of slow mindful action that calms you down and brings you back to the present (sorry to get all hippie on you). Here is my scarf!


I like that that photo gives the illusion that I am tall and the scarf is long, actually we are both short... happy knitting!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Travel Tuesday: Lapland, Finland

Back in March I went to Lapland to see the Northern Lights! Taking 35mm film photos in -26 degree temperature with huge mittens on wasn't the easiest thing to do but here are some of the images I managed to get...






Just to prove I ain't lying about the temperature...


Also my brother made this snazzy video of the Northern Lights...



ooo shiny

Monday, 3 June 2013

Music Monday: Chime For Change Concert

On Saturday night myself and 3 of my favourite people went to the Sound of Change / Chime for Change concert at Twickenham Stadium, and I don't want to to make you feel bad if you weren't there buuuut... OH MY GOD YOU MISSED OUT IT WAS AMAZING (it's cool though just watch it on iplayer). The line-up was pretty spectacular: Jesse J, Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, Haim, John Legend, Timbaland, Florence and the Machine, Jennifer Lopez feat. Mary J Blige, Ellie Goulding and Beyonce feat. Jay Z, and that was just the performances! Also there to talk about issues and introduce videos were James Franco, Madonna, Ryan Reynolds, Freida Pinto, Jada Pinkett Smith, Blake Lively (who I missed while waiting in the cash point queue sigh) and loads more. Cor, talk about value for money! The whole point of the evening was to raise money and awareness for lots of different causes that effect women around the world. The pretty wonderful thing about being a ticket holder is that Gucci have already paid for the whole thing, so now it's over we get to choose which charity the money we paid for our ticket goes to. I'm gonna have to consult with my friends and see what they want to do but I'd like to give at least some of our ticket money to the @everydaysexism project (which I've spoken about before here). Laura Bates made a wonderful and intense video which was played at the concert, I don't think it's online yet but look out for it.

As far as the line-up goes, obviously the highlight was Beyonce, it was pretty incredible to see however many thousands of people shaking their hands to Single Ladies, fist pumping to Survivor and pointing to the left in Irreplaceable, all at the same time. I'm not sure how legal this video is but it makes me want to be back there shouting 'GUUURLZ!'


Florence was also wonderful obviously because she's Florence. I missed her first song while waiting in the cash point queue which I ran out of and straight back to my seat as soon as I heard 'You've Got the Love', I guess it wasn't the end of the world as this was my 3rd time seeing her... but still it's Florence! I'm not sure why they put her on so early though, it would of made more sense to me to replace the Ellie Goulding between J Lo and Beyonce with some Machine... but whatevs she was still amazing, as was her dress. (Just as a side note, look at how amazing her house is!!)

(photo credit zimbio.com)

Jennifer Lopez was also incredible, I wasn't expecting much but when she did a mash up of all of her most famous songs (including Jenny from the Block thank god!), and then when Mary J Blige came on it all got a bit too exciting.

Some of the more average acts include Iggy Azalea because she's a bit scary, Timbaland because he doesn't sing he just walks around and grunts, and Ellie Goulding because she should have been Florence...

Anyway here is a photo of my friends and I refusing to go home!


And in case you haven't seen it yet floating around the internet, the cutest thing to ever happen in all of ever...

(unsure of original photo credit, found on a Beyonce fan page!)

EEEEEEEEE sigh... 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Friday Food-day: Warm Quinoa Salad with Grilled Vegetables

This meal is good if you're feeling lazy but think you should probably eat something that will do your insides good and not just the pizza inside the freezer.


If you would like to make this you will need: quinoa, red onion, orange pepper, courgette, asparagus, rocket, olive oil and a lemon.

1. Cook the quinoa according to the packs instructions, drain and set aside.

2. Chop the vegetables, toss in some olive oil, arrange in a baking tray and place under the grill. Shake the baking tray every so often so all sides get nicely grilled, then when they start to get sizzly and brown remove them.


3. Mix together the quinoa and the grilled vegetables, drizzle over some olive oil and as much lemon juice as you want, season with salt and pepper, mix in a handful of rocket and nom.


As you can see this is incredibly easy, if I'm feeling extra adventurous I'll grill some halloumi and whack that in as well but I already had cheese today so I decided against it. You could also replace the quinoa with cous cous, rice or pasta, and just use any vegetables that you have, as long as you drown it in lemon juice it will taste pretty good.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Thoughts from Thursday: #6

  • Today I had tooth filling 2/2 and it was even worse than tooth filling 1/2.

  • "Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes but he's a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties" FILDI bro

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

We can do it! Wednesday: Youtube Yoga

'YOGA IS GREAT, YOU SHOULD DO YOGA' is what I feel like screaming at everyone I know, and some people I don't know. It's like when you see a film and you fall in love with it and want everyone else in the world to watch it so they can love it too and you can all talk about it and maybe make a fan club.... yeah it's like that. But serious, yoga improves pretty much everything: your mood, your posture, your digestion, your aches and pains, your energy levels, it's stretchy magic. I don't really like going to yoga classes so I generally do my yoga at home, in my bedroom, on youtube, on my trusty little purple mat. I thought I'd share some of my faves so you can do them too! Split into morning, daytime and bedtime classes...

Morning:

I like to do short videos (which Ekhart Yoga are best at) in the morning because I'm normally hungry and sleepy and probably grumpy (STOP NAMING DWARVES), I try to yoga a bit every morning but usually it's a few sun salutations and an attempt at meditation, but if I feel like turning on my laptop this is this one I almost always do...



And sometimes I do this one because it's fun...



Daytime:

If I'm having a day where I'm not doing very much and I'm feeling unproductive I like to go for the long classes, which Yogayak are very good for... This one's for sadness relief and I'm pretty sure it at least mildly does what it says on the tin...



If you fancy a challenge this one's pretty good...



And this one is my fave and the one I do most often...


Bedtime:

If you feel like a longer class before sleep this one's really good and will leave you feeling very relaxed...



Or if you feel like a shorter class this one's pretty good but it does move a bit too fast for me, I'm on the hunt for a better short bedtime one, Tara Stiles' channel is very good though for yoga/food/knitting/advice etc.


I hope that was helpful and not too rambly (this is what happens when you try to write an informative blog after a couple of glasses of wine) if you're like 'nah yoga's lame' or 'leave me alone I don't feel like it', I wrote a post on Meghan Currie the other week who will almost definitely make you want to give it a go... Namaste bitches...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Travel Tuesday: Brighton

Last week Elliot and I trundled off to Brighton for some fun in the (rainy/windy) sun! Here is a snazzy little photo diary to document the experience...

Bein' cute in Snooper's Paradise

Ellz getting some interior design inspiration

Elementary, my dear Watson............

Brighton Pavilion

Being a reb

Seeeeaaaasideeeeee

Stone throwin' throne stowin'

Shooz

Snazzy anti-graffiti, made by cleaning parts of the wall

Gotta have a pier shot...

When I'm a millionaire I plan to buy a cute little multi coloured cottage in Brighton and furnish it with strange old things from Snooper's Paradise and walk my many dogs everyday on the beach and eat all of my meals in the vegetarian cafes and buy all of my clothes in the weird shops on the North Laine, very much looking forward to that...

Monday, 20 May 2013

Music Monday: Instrumental Music

I have the concentration span of a goldfish, my mind buzzes around like crazy the majority of the time, but I don't think this is rare and I know that a lot of people feel the same. Whenever I have to do something that involves concentration and focus I have to try extremely hard to not get distracted. One of my biggest distractions is music, particularly if it's a song I love I'm always really conscious of the lyrics and sing along to them in my head, or sometimes sing along to them not in my head if there's no one around... This is probably the reason why my memory when it comes to important things is horrendous but I know every lyric to pretty much every song I've ever listened to. If I'm doing something that requires concentration and I need to remove that distraction, instrumental music is pretty handy. While I was doing my FMP for my art foundation I listened to Gonzales' solo piano album pretty much on repeat for 2 months. Each song is so varied and different from the one before so it was good to fit the crazy mood changes of a big project.


It's actually really hard to pick my favourites from this album as I kind of love them all for different reasons, but if I have to pick a couple I'll go with 'Overnight' and 'Dot'.

I also want to add a couple of extra songs, so if you're looking for something epic this is a good'un:



If you're looking for something nice:


And if you're looking for something extremely calming:



And if none of these work you can always go for a bit of Beethoven Symphony No.5... now go forth and concentrate!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Friday Food-day: Veggie Bolognese Pasta Bake

Every so often when I'm feeling a bit blah, I like to spend a ridiculous amount of time making extravagant meals for myself. So today I decided to make pasta with vegetarian bolognese, but then I decided that wasn't long and extravagant enough, so I went a step further and I covered it in cheese and baked it. And it tasted good.


If you desire to make this you will need: 200g fusilli pasta, a red pepper, a red onion, a courgette, a carrot, a clove of garlic, frozen Quorn mince, a tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, red wine, marmite, herbs, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Chop up your veggies.


3. Boil a pan of water and cook pasta according to the packs instructions, drain and set aside.

4. While the pasta's cooking, heat some olive oil in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and fry until they've softened a bit. Then add half the bag of Quorn mince. I'm not sure if Quorn mince is available everywhere but if you don't live in the UK you might be able to find an alternative, or you can use meaty mince if you're in to that, or no mince at all! Here's a nice little shot of my mince so you know what to look for...


5. Apparently it's the 'best ever mince' so that's got to be good. Stir for a minute then add the tin of chopped tomatoes, then fill the tin about half with water, swilling it around to get the tomato-ness off the sides, and add that too. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer, half cover with a lid and stir every so often.

6. Now's the bit where everyone has their own preferences, but I like to add a pinch of salt, a lot of pepper, a splash of red wine, a load of random mixed herbs and the secret ingredient... a teaspoon of marmite, although I think that's a standard thing now so not so much a secret ingredient...


7. Keep it simmering, stirring every so often and making sure it's not burning on the bottom, until the sauce is your desired thickness. I like it when there's pretty much no liquid but some people are liquidy people. Whatever you're feeling.

8. Once you're happy with the sauce stir in the pasta until it's all smooshed together and combined, and then tip it in to a baking tray and flatten it down on top. Then cover in as much cheese as you want, I used a nice little mix of cheddar and mozarella because I'm fancy or something, then whack it in your nicely prepared and preheated oven.


9. A cheeky little glimpse inside my oven how exciting. After about 20 minutes the cheese should be browning on top and sizzling, this is the exciting part when you get to take it out!

10. Now you may serve, if you want it to look like you put even more effort in you can bung some kind of salad leaf on the side (I went with rocket) and drizzle with olive oil... enjoy!


This serves 2 or 3 people so if you have friends you can give some to them, if not you can just eat it for every meal of one day. I'm not sure how long this took me but I'm pretty sure I watched 2 full episodes of Big Bang Theory in the process so about that long.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Thoughts from Thursday: #5

  • Gravity feels very strong today and my body feels very heavy; is this how Chris Hadfield feels now he's back on Earth? I feel for you bro.

  • Today I ate a whole giant Oreo Dairy Milk, and then I read the packet and realised it wasn't suitable for vegetarians. Woops x 2. Tasted guuuud though.

  • I don't want to alarm you but if you're reading this and you're a female there's an 80% chance you're wearing the wrong bra size, read this and be amazed!

  • I've always disliked Abercrombie and Fitch, mainly because their clothes are boring and expensive, and their shops are really dark, or is that Hollister? I don't know it's all the same. (But seriously dude are you trying to trick me in to buying your nasty clothes by not letting me properly see them?) But anyways here's a load more even better reasons to dislike them! And something you can do about it! Yay! (Just BTW, I do find some parts of this video slightly problematic, e.g. the way he seems to be implying that homeless people are the polar opposite of 'cool kids', but I love the idea behind it, and anything that pisses off Fitch guy and encourages people to donate clothing to the homeless has to be a good thing! Also if you own any A&F clothing that's cool you do your thang, but if you could donate some that would be fantastic!)

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

We can do it! Wednesday: Trains

Today I went on a train, 4 trains actually. I spent an hour and a half travelling to Brighton to spend the day with my boyfriend who is now truly in exam mode, we had lunch, went shopping, went to the beach, and then at the end of the day he trundled off back to Southampton and I got the train home. No big deal right? I love trains. I've been on hundreds of trains in my life. (I have this picture of my train ticket collection from the past few years to prove it.) But that's the funny and awful thing about panic disorder with a little side helping of agoraphobia, it robs you of abilities that are natural to you and you never used to think twice about. You have a panic attack on a train and suddenly all public transport becomes off limits to you. You have a panic attack at a party and suddenly you can't face going in to any social situation. You have a panic attack at a friends house and suddenly you stop going to any house that isn't your own. Or at least that's how it happened for me.

This time last year I was about to move out of my flat in London, where I'd spent about 9 months living in halls of residence with the most insane and hilarious bunch of people I've ever met, doing my art foundation in which I was studying photography at pretty much degree level and achieving a distinction grade despite the fact panic had robbed me of A levels and a fair few GCSEs, running around London on tubes and buses and going to galleries, bars, clubs, parks, cafes, restaurants, etc on a daily basis, zooming off to Southampton every other week to visit my boyf, and just generally living my life. The fact that I did that seems incredible to me, especially now a year later, now I'm living back home again and I'm too scared to go to the shops in case I see someone I know or panic on the bus.

I guess it's best not to question it too deeply, the fact of the matter is this is the way it is now and I just need to focus on improving the way it is now with small and manageable steps. So today I got on a train, and as small an achievement as that may seem to some people and would have seemed to me last year, it was hard and I did it and I need to take note of that and congratulate myself for that so I can move on to the next step. It's definitely not going to be easy, but I look forward to the day when I can accept an invitation to a party again without freaking the fuck out... Here's hoping!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Music Monday: Chris Hadfield the astronaut David Bowie-ing in space

I was going to post a sad post about sad music but fuck that shit an astronaut sang a David Bowie song while in space that's way more interesting!


WAA?! SO COOL. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has spent 5 months onboard the international space station, tweeting all the way, and is about to come back down to Earth. You can read the news article about this video here and you can follow Chris on twitter here. Even though I'm underneath the height limit to be an astronaut (which is clearly the only thing holding me back) I can still live vicariously through this!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday Somebody: Meghan Currie

I never really knew what to post in 'Sunday Stuff' as it felt too vague so I'm renaming it 'Sunday Somebody' so I can just talk about people who inspire/motivate me and are insanely cool.

I first discovered Meghan Currie last summer when I was starting to get in to yoga a bit more and was looking for some good youtube videos I could follow along to. I stumbled on some of her videos and immediately was obsessed, she basically films her yoga practice, speeds it up, adds some wonderful music and it ends up looking like this insane bendy dance. If ever I'm not really in the mood for yoga-ing I watch one of her videos and immediately I'm like YEAH! gotta be like Meghan Currie! She's definitely my yogspiration, (not thinspiration because that word sucks but I wouldn't mind having her bod...) watch some of her videos and be amazed!





Ahhhh so bendy, one day one day. She also has some weird hilarious videos that make me want to be her friend so she can cut my hair and help me do handstands and stuff, this seems like a very one sided friendship but if you're up for it Meghan let me know.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Saturday Style: May Wish List

I finally broke my April spending ban yesterday and bought myself this dress from Topshop, which I hoped would quiet my inner shopping demon but all its really done is make me want to buy ALL THE THINGS. Maybe I should find an old rich man who will buy me things and satisfy my Topshop addiction, or ya know, maybe I could just earn my own money and buy myself stuff but where's the fun in that... Anyway these are the clothing items I would buy if I had moneyz but I don't so I can't.


Light Blue Casual Chambray Shirt - Topshop - £29 (I tried this on when I was buying my dress and it is SO SOFT)




Lola Lace Bell Sleeve Kimono - Boohoo - £20 (So I can satisfy my dreams of looking like I live in California/a fairy)







There's definitely a lot more but I think that's enough to be lusting after for the moment... and on a completely unrelated topic my birthday is only a short 2 months and 8 days away!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Friday Food-day: 3 Ingredient Pancakes

This is the incredible story of how a banana, an egg and a spoonful of peanut butter can make pretty decent pancakes...


It's a pretty short story though. Basically just whack these 3 things in a blender and blend until smooth, you can add extra bit and bobs if you want to. I added a pinch of cinnamon, but you could maybe add some chocolate chips or blueberries. And then just use it as you would normal american-style pancake batter.


Heat a little bit of butter in a frying pan, add a spoonful of batter, fry on a very low heat until the surface starts to bubble and then (VERY, VERY CAREFULLY because it will be flimsier than a normal pancake) flip over with a spatula and fry the other side.


Then pile them on to a plate, drown in maple syrup and nom. This recipe makes 4 small pancakes but one of mine magically disappeared before i could take a photo... They taste pretty good, the textures  a little less fluffy than normal pancakes but considering they're lactose-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and full of protein I think we can let that slide.


Recipe inspiration goes to this blog post! Let me know if you make them and what you think!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thoughts from Thursday: #4

  • Holy moley I think I may have found my new house (and my new favourite blog)

  • I want to go to the Natural History Museum and fall asleep in the butterfly house

  • I have lots of big travel plans in my brain box and I want to go NOW

  • I found the Blue Valentine song and I can't stop listening to it it's so lovely:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

We can do it! Wednesday: The dentist

“It doesn't really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist's chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on.” - C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

This quote is pretty good for general life living, but today I got a filling I've been putting off for months due to a massive needle fear, so it felt especially appropriate. The plus side is it was a good excuse to watch Kardashians' for the rest of the day and drink milkshakes.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Travel Tuesday: Paris

About a year and a half ago, just before Christmas, I went to Paris for a few days. While I was there I shot lots and lots of rolls of black and white film and then spent the weeks following hiding in the darkroom making prints of them all (ahhh how I miss having free access to a darkroom). I've been going through all of my negs looking for photos I could maybe make prints of to sell and came across them again and started feeling all nostalgic for pretty black and white Paris so thought I'd post some here. 

paris, self developed

elliot, self developed

eiffel tower, self developed

elliot outside the louvre, self developed

mona lisa, self developed

If, by any chance, you would be interested in buying a print let me know which one and I'll make sure to get one made, or just check back soon for a link to my Etsy shop when it's ready!