Today is the day that this blog ends as Food, Things & This, and continues in a new body under a new name over at Wordpress! What are you waiting for? Come and check out the new look!
I'm moving! Come with me!
You may remember I told you I'm on the move this weekend. To mark one year of my blog I'm striving for bigger and better things by attending my first bloggers conference, scrapping my name and rebranding! Check back on Saturday 10th May to check out where I've gone!
It's been one of those days. I foolishly thought that spring was here and summer was in sight, but I woke up this morning to heavy rain and a need to be in central London all day. (And when I say need, I mean need. I rarely choose to spend an entire day in the city.) In heavy rain, everything in London is more miserable. I am more miserable. After a hectic day trying to wear my work-hat and not my blog-hat, I traveled home on the dreaded tube. Stood up, obviously. My journey home ended with me dropping my oyster card just after I'd swiped it and the barriers had opened, which led to a less-than-attractive scurry on the ground to pick it up, followed by me launching myself through the barriers just before they closed on my face, all with a long queue of commuters waiting impatiently behind me.
However, my journey was not all bad. One good thing about commuting is the immense amount of opportunity to people watch. Highlights included,
#1 - The very old man with a long gray pony tail and wearing a leather jacket intently reading the women's style page of the London Evening Standard.
#2 - The super cute couple who held hands the entire journey, and as the guy fell asleep with his mouth wide open and let out little piggy snores, his girl looked adoringly at him. (Okay, I'll be honest, this made me want to puke a little bit, but a less cynical person would have thought it was super cute.)
#3 - Watching women. This isn't as weird as it sounds...or maybe it is, but I am constantly watching women. You're all an amazing source of inspiration when it comes to things to read/wear/do.
So in the rain and sore from commuting, I thought about what makes a good work outfit. As always, fibromyalgia plays a huge part in how I live my life and my outfits are no exception. I need warmth to prevent my joints from seizing up, I need flat shoes, and I need a light bag. Oh, but more importantly, I want to look nice damnit! Here are my fibromyalgia friendly fashion finds. (Wow. Mouthful.)
Now having thought about good work-wear, I need to think about good first-bloggers-conference-wear. That's right, tomorrow is the start of Blogtacular, my very first bloggers conference. I have no idea what to wear or what to take or who I'll meet or what I'll learn, but I do know that I have the nervous excitement of the first day of school and need to prepare my outfit and pack my stationery.
One of the things I wanted to do in the year I turned 30 was join my very first book club. Instead, I started one. The purpose of wanting to join a book club is often to make new friends, especially when you're new to an area and looking for new social activities. However, that wasn't really my reason; I was driven by wanting to read more and chat about what I was reading with people I like. I also wanted to read with a group of people I knew would spur me on when I was being lazy. So now a group of us from work get together once every six weeks; we take it in turns to 'host' the group and it's the responsibility of the host to choose the book and the venue, and then we rotate.
I kicked things off with The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, and we met at the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham.
I really loved this book, and I read it in two days which is pretty impressive for a slow reader like me. The book is about a 19 year old with schizophrenia and follows his life and, more importantly, his grief after the loss of his brother. Filer wrote the book in between his shifts whilst working as a psychiatric nurse, and the detail he gives to the hospital and care paints a harrowing picture. It was an easy read, accessible but still insightful. Not everyone in my group agreed; some grew tired of the day-to-day observation and were waiting for a 'dramatic moment', but I loved witnessing the 'normal' life of someone who had experienced something so immensely 'abnormal'.
The relationships explored and the many emotions experienced took me on a hectic journey that I truly enjoyed. Every time I pick up a book I hope that I'll be conflicted between racing to finish it and wanting to stop it from ending. The Shock of the Fall was the first book to do that to me in quite some time.
Next at book club - Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.
It's bank holiday Monday, which means there's already plenty of joy in our world. But for those of you who are feeling the Sunday night blues today, or didn't get the day off work, here's some BH Monday Joy. As always, sources are available via Pinterest.
As you may remember, one of the 30 new things I wanted to do this year was go to immersive theatre, and I've finally done it! I went to see Grimm Tales, a performance of five of the Grimms' Fairytales rewritten by Philip Pullman. I've been a fan of Philip Pullman since childhood way back in the days of The Ruby in the Smoke, and he was the first author I saw at a book reading; he signed my copy of His Dark Materials and I loved him!
When I saw that Pullman had rewritten Grimms' Fairytales, I knew this was the perfect production for me. Performed in the underground tunnels of Shoreditch Town Hall, and it was the eerie atmospheric setting I hoped for as soon as I walked through the door. Some people may have an issue with the term 'immersive' being used to describe this production, because it's more like promenade theatre. On arrival the audience is given a coloured band, black or red, and depending on your colour depends on the direction you turn when you walk through the entrance door. From there, the audience follows the actors from room to room through dark corridors, sitting on parts of the stage but not being 'part of the performance'. The actors act around you, and don't engage or interact with anyone in the audience. That's just the way I like it!
Each performance lasted 20-30 minutes and there weren't more than 40 people in our audience group. Along with Little Red Riding Hood, The Juniper Tree and The Three Snake Leaves we also saw Rapunzel. (Apologies for the borrowed images - cameras were band during performances, unsurprisingly.)
My biggest concern with immersive theatre has always been the amount of walking involved. Grand performances in large warehouses may be more commonly associated with the term, but I (obviously) far preferred the smaller scale performance that allowed me to be seated in every performance. Not only was this a tick on the activity list, but it was fibro-friendly one at that!
Today is an evening for spring salads, and this one couldn't be easier. It's also a good one to add to the diet list at less than 300 calories.
Ingredients (serves two)
200g of tenderstem broccoli
2 x pieces of parma ham
2 x medium eggs
1 tbsp of olive oil
0.25 of lemon
Boil or steam the tenderstem broccoli (depending on preference) until cooked al dente. At the same time, soft boil a medium egg. When the egg has boiled, leave in a pan of cold water to cool.
Once the broccoli has cooked, stir through 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of quarter of a lemon, then season with salt.
Quite simply, serve the broccoli then drape the parma ham and cut the egg on top.
If you're not counting calories, I'd recommend adding an extra egg and more parma ham. Enjoy!
Happy Monday! It's a beautiful spring evening and there is joy here, there and everywhere! But especially here. Enjoy!
As always, pictures with their original sources can be found on my Pinterest page.
Hope you all have a great week. x
I know that this post won't surprise you, but that's okay. It's purpose is to remind you: RELAXATION IS THE KEY TO LIFE. This weekend has been amazing and, as I write this post curled up on the sofa on Sunday evening, I'm having a light-bulb moment. I've relaxed, and it's been wonderful! I need to do this more.
It all started with Friday night at home, when the boy made Chicken Tikka Masala. The Guardian's Felicity Cloake has a range of "the perfect" recipes and he's a bit of a fan, so the perfect Masala was the next recipe on his list to try and the girl did good, it was delicious! Wine, curry and crap TV - the perfect date night in.
Saturday morning we viewed some flats in South London, hoping one might be remotely affordable to buy. They weren't. Still, I wasn't too miserable about it because I had a spa day ahead of me! SPA DAY! I absolutely love a spa day, and this one was with a friend I haven't seen in too long and included three treatments and a two course meal. A massage, a facial and a manicure later we went for pizza and wine and...wait, why do my good days always revolve around food? Anyway, it was just what I needed and an amazing way to spend the day. The spa was in the Britannia International in Canary Wharf and, quite honestly, I wouldn't recommend it. Decor was weird, customer service was weird, and the other customers were also pretty weird. But the treatments were wonderful and I had hours catching up with my friend, and that was really all I needed.
Following a day at the spa, we headed to the Water Poet in East London to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. It was such fun catching up with friends and checking out new London haunts - and the Water Poet was far more fabulous than the Britannia. Plus, the friends I was with are the same friends I'm off to Italy with in less than four weeks, so it was excitement all round!
Sunday morning I had a slightly hungover lazy lie-in followed by brunch with two school friends at St David's cafe in Forest Hill. This was a wonderful start to my Sunday, with tea in quaint cups accompanied by a rustic bacon sandwich. Yum! This was a great little cafe, and one I'll definitely be going back to.
Sunday afternoon was spent chilling out at home, house hunting online and trying to keep two blogs going whilst I prepare for 10th May. It's so lovely to be at home for the weekend, and so wonderful to be doing relaxing things with friends. I need to do this more. So my fibro-friendly tip today is to put some "free weekend" days in your diary, be spontaneous and be relaxed. It's incredible.
Did you know that this blog has been going for 11 months? 11 MONTHS! That means I'm very nearly at my one year anniversary which is pretty exciting. Not only that but, as always with anniversaries, it's a time for a bit of reflection. It's a chance for me to think back over how far this blog has come, but more importantly a chance to think about where I want it to go. And with that, I have an announcement!
I'm on the move!
I'm using my one year anniversary as an opportunity to mix things up a bit, change the things I don't like about this blog, and improve on the things I do. I've been looking around at other blogs I love, working out why I love them and thinking about what I can develop that's relevant to my own world of blogging. I'm also going to change the name and therefore the location; Weebly has been good to me but it's not quite right for my needs (unfortunately I discovered this a little bit too late) and so I'm taking a jaunty trip over to Wordpress and hoping you'll join me. Watch this space because by 10th May, my new blog will be live and it'll be all change up in here!
As it happens, 10th May is special day for one other reason; I'm attending my very first bloggers conference! Whooop! What is a bloggers conference?, I hear you ask. Well, I'm not really sure. I know I parted with some hard earned cash and in return I'm hoping to meet other bloggers, get some tips on how to improve my blog, attend some motivating workshios and come away feeling totally inspired. (My biggest fear is that I will come away devastated having realised everyone else's blog is much better than mine, and I should have stuck to a nice and private paper journal. Fingers crossed that's not the outcome!)
I'll let you know how it goes. Until then, watch out for the new blog address launching in just over two weeks! It's exciting times, and there's nothing like a spring clean to feel totally rejuvenated. Here's hoping that as I move on, I move up!