Lunch time musing

Have thought for a while of blogging a bit more (lacking a bit of self belief!) ..and today while I was making lunch I thought I’d share what I had to eat! Like there’s not enough of that on Facebook!! 

Anyhow I’m a bit of a soup freak in the week. I try to be a bit ‘good’ during the day.. only so there are enough calories left for wine. 

Joke! 

*sort of*

I’ve taken lately instead of finding a recipe…. I look at what I’ve got left in the cupboard and conjure up something.  

So today I fried a bit of onion  (I’m a bit lazy here as I buy frozen chopped onion it’s about a pound and it’s so much less faffy than those stingy eye real ones) then chopped up a cauliflower and with some vegetable stock simmered that for 15 minutes.  Then I added some spinach and simmered for another few minutes  taking it off the heat I added a bunch of fresh mint  (I bought a plant about a month ago for a quid and it’s still alive so it must be easy to grow!) .. then some fresh lemon juice and some salt  (I use lo salt…. so much less sodium) and some ground black pepper.  Then I whizzed it all up in a blender. 

Hey presto.  

I have to say I thought it was really tasty. 

Wintry and also a taste of Spring at the same time. 

Hope you’ve had a nice lunch today! 

X Dwys X 

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Fulfilled?

I still go for some counselling.  This week I arrived in a tizz.  I’ve been thinking of stopping the sessions but there’s a lot to get from being able to talk to a stranger.  I now realise why the phenomenon of ‘therapy’ got so big in America.  Just talking to someone totally unrelated to anyone in your life and being able to say anything you want knowing it’s never going to be used against you or twisted or cause an argument.  Blissful.  I still use the sessions to talk about Tes and life events around losing her.  How sad I feel, how worried I am for those I love, how to cope, how to get up, how to laugh and smile.  My counsellor has been one of my saviours in the (almost) last 3 years.  And it is her that TOLD me what to write this week.  Do you think you’ll ever be fulfilled?   She says.

Maybe you should write a blog about it.

She asked me that for a reason.  Firstly I was late to the session.  I text her on my way to apologise.  Don’t rush she says.  I rush.  I swerve my car into the busy car park and am ecstatic to see a car park space as that will save me thirty seconds.  I try to get in to the building although by now I know I can’t because it has one of those lock key pad things.  In my rush I’ve forgotten and I feel stupid as I hit my head on the glass.  She comes out and smiles at me.  We go into the yellow room.  There’s always a blanket in the room and I’m not sure why.  I’m cold as I forgot my jacket and it’s raining outside.  I really would like to use the blanket but I’d feel silly asking so I don’t.

I start off by saying I’ve got a headache and I’m tired.  How are you, she says.  I haven’t seen you since before Christmas.  Surprisingly, I quickly blurt out that I know I’m taking too much on! I explain that every morning I get up I’ve noticed for the past week or so I chastise myself for about 30 minutes because I’m not doing anything right.  Like what, she says.  I ramble through a list.  I don’t exercise enough, I drink/eat too much, I don’t walk my dog enough, I always leave work late, I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like, I feel guilty because I don’t spend enough time with my son.  We break them down and of course it turns out that as usual the only person really thinking ‘i’m not doing any of these right’ is me.

Tell me about your dog, she says.  Well, I take her out for a run in the morning, I either take her out lunch time or I get someone to take her out and then I take her out when I get home.  Sounds like a lucky dog, she says.

With that, I realise of course that for some reason I’m giving myself a hard time for absolutely no reason.  Why do we do that?  Why spend time criticising ourselves?  We talk about my job and how I feel guilty that if I come to a counselling session, I should therefore work an extra hour.  Would you ask staff to work an extra hour if it had been agreed they could go to counselling, she asks.  Of course not, I say.  She looks at me.  Knowingly.  That, you know what you should do, kind of look.

Why do you push yourself so hard?  She asks.  I don’t know.  We do some exploring.  For a change this doesn’t seem to be anything to do with childhood angst.  We got it down to the fact that I’d left school without any real qualifications and had spent a number of years feeling a little bit stupid compared to all my friends who rushed off to University.  It was in my thirties that I completed my a-levels and a degree.  Of course I was no brighter after doing them than I was without doing them.  That’s the first thing I learnt.  I was so proud though.  Really proud.  And I realised I wasn’t stupid after all.  It was just me, again, telling myself that.  I tell her that I am proud of the fact that in the last ten years I finished my degree and got a job in management.  Can you stop there? She asks.

I don’t have to think about the answer.

No.  I can’t.

Should I?  I don’t know.  But I can’t.  This week I managed to get two freelance paid writing jobs with two different management companies.  Paid writing jobs.  A dream of mine,  to be able to actually call myself a writer.  Yes I work full time, I’m a mum, I’m a dog owner, a gym member, I’m someone who tries to cook from fresh, I cook, clean, iron, I see friends, have a relationship.  I’m like mostly everyone.   So, am I ever going to feel fulfilled?

The dictionary explains that fulfillment is the achievement of something desired.

I’m not sure that I have achieved what I desire.  My desire is to keep  pushing myself, to keep having challenges, to aim high, to be happy not just today but tomorrow too, I desire to be a great mum and partner, I desire to walk my dog as much as I can so she is happy, I desire to eat properly and keep fit and healthy.  I desire to work and be happy.

I desire to keep fulfilling my ambitions.

I might just have to be a bit kinder to myself while I’m doing it.

Now.  Where’s that dog lead…………

 

x

 

now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New year, new you?

Like many people as the clocks struck 12. As Jools sang at his hootenanny. As the fireworks cast a glow. As strangers kissed. The beginning of 2016. I too mentally began to think about what I’d change this year. I too like many people found myself annoyed as I failed a few days later.  I fell of the self-love writing blog that I’d promised to commit to after only a few days.

At the same time I smile and feel part of the ‘trying’ crowd as I see various posts on Facebook confirming that I’m not the only ‘failure’.  Most are friends attempting ‘dry’ January.  Within days of hopeful tee total promises and fruit tea drinking there are cheery photos with plum coloured wine glistening in large glasses scattering my timeline.  ‘Well it is a Friday’ says one.  Some are back on the cigarettes.  Others are bathing themselves in their forbidden chocolate. Some already know the money they spent on  gym membership may as well have been spent on the wine they’re going to drink any way.

I know why they don’t work. I think.  It’s simple.  We are forcing something on ourselves.  Unless you want to do it.  You won’t.  Smoking, drinking , eating, exercise. If you don’t really want to. It’s not going to happen long-term.   You’ve got to want it.

I found forcing myself to write every day made it feel like a job instead of something I love.  So I stopped.  I berated myself and felt like I’d let others down but I got over it after a day or so. I then felt relieved. 

Instead what I’ve decided to do  this year is to have a ‘theme’. This year it’ll be creativity.  Not only do I want to write here I want to write more.  I want to make all the cards that I’ll send. I want to cook new things and make ‘stuff’. I might knit or crochet or sew. I’m going to read more so my mind becomes more creative.  A theme seems a much better way to approach the new year. It has ambiguous potential without pressure to perform. 

So whatever you decide for 2016 whether it be to change nothing,  to  change something,  or perhaps even to take on your own theme…do it with passion,  don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t work out, try something else or just accept who you wonderfully are in the first place.

Happy 2016. I’m off to have a Sauvignon. Cheers x

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You’re simply inspirational

This week I found out that I’d inspired someone without knowing it. It made me smile inside and out and made me think about how we perhaps all inspire people in different ways by just being us.

On this occasion I was particularly taken aback because the said person was my counsellor.  I’ve dipped in and out of counselling since I lost Tes and I’m probably coming to the end of this last stint because I’m feeling well again.  I actually enjoy going now.  The tiny yellow room with mint green sofas and trees waving outside the large window with the well used tissue box on the table has become my comforting friend.

There was a time when I barely got through the door without sobbing.  There were times when I just didn’t know what to say.  There are times when I just talk and talk and it’s time up.  There are times when i’d make excuses and not go. 

More recently though I have learnt to enjoy the experience and look forward to sharing my feelings with a person removed from my every day life.  I can say anything! ! She won’t cry. She won’t judge. She won’t say that you need to be thankful for this and that or how lucky I’ve been in one way. She doesn’t tell me what to think or pretend it hasn’t happened. That’s why I go because she’s trained to deal with these events. Not like the rest of us just desperately trying to say the right thing  (which  by the way I’m ever grateful for you even trying).

I digress again! !

During my session this week. My counsellor says she’d like to share something with me. What?? I say eagerly. 

I’m on week 4 she says with a shy grin.

I gently clap my hands with excitement.

During our talks I’ve often referred to the fact I’ve taken up running amd a few weeks back she asked how I got into it, I told her about the couch to 5k programme.  And there you go. This woman who is helping me has in turn been inspired to do something for herself.  And I didn’t even know I’d done it.

So I’d like to also thank you who have inspired me, you might not know it but you have. You inspired me to blog.  You inspired me to go for that job.  You inspired me to look after myself better.  You inspired me to run.  You inspired me to be more patient.  You inspired me to bake.  You inspired me to take photographs. You inspired me to slow down (occasionally!). You inspired me to listen. You inspired me to make difficult decisions. You inspired me to be brave.  You inspired me to keep going.

And more. 

Thank you.

I’d like to remind you how you inspire others by just being you. Its worth remembering how we influence others by what we do, how we behave and who we are.

Talking of running.  Time to get up and face the rain and wind. I’m off for a run.

Happy Sunday xx

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Something new?

Something new?

When’s the last time you tried something new? 

It’s fair to say I’m on the constant look out for anything that brings even a miniscule of serenity into my life and I’ve found recently that new things have brought a feeling of temporary calmness.

 Either that or I’m getting old, it could just be the latter.

 Some of this has been hobbies. Running being one. I’m no Zola Budd (Google it if you are younger than 30) although we have remarkably similar out of control hair and when I was a teen my mum also made me wear those elasticated tight fitting shorts that made me feel naked. Mine were red with a big white stripe on the side. No wonder I went through school single.

 I’ve also discovered gardening. I’m a bit hopeless. We’re talking lavender, chives, parsley, basil, some strawberries but my most proudest bit of gardening are my tomatoes!!! I actually have a cherry red tomato growing in my plastic greenhouse. It is true that I could have bought said cherry tomatoes from Tescos for 69p a punnet as I normally do but where’s the fun in that! The fun is in planting 30 tomato plants, watching at least ten grow from seed, thinking some were tomato plantS for a long time before a surprise sunflower popped out, going back to the real tomatoes, and shrieking when one appears in delight. I’m not briliant at watering or taking leaves off and feeding and things like that. However I still do have tomatoes so something is going right!

 Another new interest has been cooking. I’ve never had a huge interest in food, food was to be eaten when I was hungry and that was it. I don’t really enjoy eating out in fine restaurants, much rather a cheese board and (another) glass of sauvignon to the pomposity of poshness. However I’ve discovered basic cooking and baking. 

 This week I apparently made the nicest dish I’ve ever made according to my partner and my son also actually ate it!!! My guess is that it was up there with ‘best ever’ because mainly… it was chicken. I’m vegetarian so I guess real chicken pieces were always going to beat soya that has been battered to look like chicken pieces that taste absolute nothing like chicken pieces. Still, I was so pleased with myself as they happily ate the vegetable and chicken pie topped with golden filo pastry.

 And it’s not just hobbies, today we took a drive off to somewhere we’ve walked many a time and I said what about going up that mountain! We were totally unprepared but took a sharp left and risked the oppressive dark threatening clouds. For some reason just going somewhere different lifted my spirits and even better the rain just started to trickle as we got back in the car after the 2 hour hike.

 One last ‘new thing’ ……this morning I stepped outside my front door as I do many times a day and I just stopped and looked, just for 30 seconds and took in the view from my heavy red front door. I looked over at the pink and purple hanging baskets on the pub wall opposite, the iron fence leading towards the red telephone kiosk, the tip of the bench sitting on the glistening grass overlooking the lazy river. No car passed. I didn’t see one person. How many times do you look around for just 30 seconds and really take in your surroundings?

 I’m off now to eat my lemon cheesecake, another new recipe for me, but it’s really not very nice at all, honestly you’d hate it, you would, you just would not want a piece!!! 😉

 X

Happy (almost) International Happiness day

Happy (almost) International Happiness day

                                              daff 

 Did you know it’s International Happiness day on the 20th March? Well it is and I’ve taken it as an excuse to look at what’s made me happy lately. After the dark days of a few weeks ago it’s been good to face a literally brighter world. The grass is actually greener, the rare bits of blue sky are bluer and even the frost seems to glisten more. 

 It really is in the mind how you feel but sometimes your mind can take over and that has to be ok. I watched a fab Ruby Wax TED talk today (if you don’t know TED talks, google now – lots and lots of inspirational videos on there). As you probably know Ruby Wax was diagnosed with clinical depression over ten years ago, she simplifies our stress and anxiety with the fact that when we were cavewomen (ok she did say man but hey) – you literally did fight or flight…. or you were eaten by a really big hairy animal. Nowadays most of us choose not to fight so when that car cuts you up or your colleague makes a sneering comment, we no longer pick up our spear (it’s tempting) …. that’s where she says we stumble as we’re left with the fight and seemingly nowhere for it to go.

But there are places for it to go and that’s what we can do to keep healthy and happy, we exercise, we run, we meditate, we box, we play football, we do quizzes, we ride bikes or horses or quad bikes (yes mum I’m thinking of you there!). We tap dance, we act, we swim and we walk. We exercise our bodies and we also need to exercise our minds, to keep happy. 

 I was thinking as I drove home about what makes us happy. I saw a home made banner waving gently in the breeze on the corner welcoming someone home and that made me smile, someone had made that banner and wanted that person to know they were loved and had been missed! It struck me in a world where we are faced with frankly miserable terrible news via the media, hour after hour, we can miss what makes us happy. 

 So this is what made me happy this last week – if you want to, add yours to the comments either on my blog or on my facebook page for International Happiness day! Here go mine…. 

 1. a rabbit in a field – it’s soppy but it was cute and caught my eye as I drove past (hope it was ok!)

 2. some daffodils growing near Tes’s bench, a poignant place but it reminds me of the day friends gathered together to make it look pretty and I love the stunning view of the mischievous river 

 3. my own very seedlings – I am the worlds worst gardener with the most enthusiasm and this year I really will remember to feed them and water them and thin them out and plant them into bigger pots, I will, I will, I will! 

 4. home made broccoli and blue cheese soup, I was feeling all germy on Monday and this made me feel so much better (basically it’s onion, celery, garlic, broccoli and blue cheese – you can add cream oh and I get Tescos value blue cheese which is ace for soup and makes a cheap but yummy dish) 

 5. while home and being poorly I finally managed to watch Julia and Julie which is completely crazy as it came out in 2009 and Ive been wanting to see it since then – if you haven’t seen it, WATCH it (I’m definitely thinking of you here Mrs Lowe!) 

 6. Saturday, Wales and the rugby. Need I say more! 

 7. Mothers day, as tough as it was, after my sobbing as I chatted with Tes and drew hearts on the raindrops of her gravestone, I returned to a frankly fabulous afternoon with my nearest and dearest. My love of cheese meant that almost every sandwich was a version of cheese… cheese, cheese and chutney, brie and cranberry and a few ham ones thrown in for the carnivores, oh …. and of course there was cheese and pineapple. Swilled down with some gorgeous Pinot Grigio from my son and a Mothers day quiz hosted by yours truly (great way to find out your sister in laws most embarrassing story – splinter in the bum story anyone?) – all turned out well

 8. A card through the post, not just a card but with two little gifts and it’s not even my birthday! And another gift in work hanging on my door which said – if life gives you lemons then drink tequila… on that note I fear I’ve bombarded you enough with happy stories so may I wish you a fabulous International Day of Happiness. x