Monday, 31 August 2015

Wardrobe wishlist

Heading up North

It's conference time again!  In a couple of weeks I will be heading up to Glasgow to attend a European Educators conference, I'm really looking forward to it as I haven't been to Glasgow before.  I'm still paying off my credit cards from the time I spent in the States after the last conference I attended so this Wardrobe Wishlist really is a wishlist.  I can feel my bank balance whimpering at the thought of me buying any of this *sigh*.

Conference essentials
  • My conference essentials would include a water bottle - with all the talking and presentations you do you'll need to hydrate, I'm a big fan of glass water bottles as I hate the taste of re-usable plastic water bottles. 
  • Comfortable shoes are a must, stomping up and down a conference hall you quickly rack up several miles walking a day and it is agony if you have bad footwear because you just have to keep going blisters or not.  Take blister plasters just in case!
  • I use an iPad to take my notes and find that Evernote is the best software for it, I have it synced to my phone, iPad, work computer and home computer so it doesn't matter which device I use to take my notes they'll automatically appear on which ever device I'm using.
  • Always take more business cards than you think you will possibly need!!  Not having a card to give at each and every meeting is really embarrassing and potentially a missed opportunity.
  • Mints, so many mints... you'll drink so much coffee to get you through the long days (breakfast meetings, back-to-back itineraries followed up with evening receptions mean you need a ton of coffee) no one likes to meet someone with coffee breath and it's certainly not something you want to be remembered for!

Well that's about it, if there are any more essentials I discover after the conference I'll let you know!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

This is my town

I live in a town where you stumble across 'wee' and 'poo' graffiti, a town in the South West of England in the county of Devon.  

In my town salami can be found stuck to drainpipes...

My town is near the seaside which means you get AWESOME shop signs? Sculptures? Models? like this one...

My town has talented artists whose work isn't white washed over but encouraged...

My town has the right mix of nature and urban (the right mix for me at least!).  A short drive to the nearest beach, a short walk to the nearest blackberry treasure trove, a stone's throw from stunning Dartmoor...

My town can always improve of course, but to me it's pretty awesome as it is.

Monday, 24 August 2015


Better than Before

I've been reading 'Better than Before - Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives' by Gretchen Rubin recently, I'm about halfway through but I'm finding so much of it is resonating with me and my #fudgeitfatclub goals that I thought I would share one of the strategies that I think will work really well for me.

Firstly I've read all of Rubin's books and find them really easy to read, really insightful and I have applied many of the things Rubin suggests to my everyday life and seen real benefits.


As it turns out I'm an impulsive person, I'm all about the short term gratification and lose sight of the long term benefits, apparently.  I have to say I rarely regret my impulsive decisions, for example when I got engaged I ordered a ring from an ETSY seller based in the US, they provided a printable ring sizer, I printed it, sized up and placed my order not giving it any thought whatsoever.  When I told my sister-in-law and Sam the looks of horror on their faces really confused me, what's the problem??  As it turns out I hadn't scaled the print off properly and got sent a ring that was waaaay too small, but it just didn't bother me I sent it back and ordered the correct size it just didn't seem like a problem.  Which is kinda my problem when it comes to food.  Had a bad day; have a bottle of wine, colleague pissed you off; eat a chocolate bar, did back-to-back Body Combat and Body Pump classes?  Free reign to eat what I want of course!  I need a plan....

An If-Then Plan

So what is an if-then plan?  It's putting into place a strategy of action to tackle those troublesome occurrences that push you towards bad habits.  So to repeat the example above, if I've had a bad day I tend to have a glass or two of wine to soothe and calm me despite knowing it goes against my longer term weight loss goals.  So if I have a bad day at work, then how about making time out to spend twenty minutes reading my book instead of having that glass or two of wine?  As Rubin points out the key to successful If-Then planning is identifying those trigger instances and formulating  planned behaviours that break the cycle of bad habit forming.  Here are a few I've come up with so far:

  • If at work I find I want to snack on chocolate or the never ending supply of cake then grab a glass of water from the cooler out of the office - this defuses the moment and creates a little distance between the moment of wanted to snack on the bad stuff and remembering my longer term goals
  • If I get home and I'm tired and can't be bothered to cook then make healthier options more convenient - at the weekend cook up batches of healthy food that can be heated up rather than opting for a pizza
  • If I want to cycle to work in the morning then remove the barriers that make me late and therefore result in my driving to work. So for example, pack my bag the night before, put my alarm on the other side of the room so I have to get up and out rather than hitting snooze!
I'm sure I will come up with more over time as there are many different behaviours I am looking to transform into good habits rather than bad.  What would your If-Then plan be, any suggestions?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The view from 39a

Lazy, hazy summer on the allotment

I had an unexpected long weekend at home this weekend (long story), Friday was a washout as it rained most of the day but for me that's perfect as I pottered about the house getting all of those jobs I've been meaning to do for ages sorted.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday however were beautiful and sunny so we spent some serious time on the plot.

I haven't grown sunflowers for a couple of years which is such a mistake as I love them!  The first year we had our plot we planted loads for our wedding and they looked amazing I really enjoyed growing them but they seemed like a luxury plant in comparison to all the fruit and veg we wanted to cram onto the plot.  Mistake!  They do a great job of attracting pollinating insects and I love looking at them so how is that just luxury?

The ongoing saga of the woman who took over the other half of our plot but has done nothing with it is almost at an end, she has had her letter of warning and we've had confirmation that if she doesn't pull her finger out we can have the other half back.  If/when we get it I'm going to grow so many flowers to attract the bees and add some colour to our plot!

Speaking of colour...

Look at these tomatoes!  I love that on one vine you have a fruit at every stage of ripening, the smell of tomato plants isn't rivalled on the plot and to me it just equals the smell of summer.  I am delighted to confirm that the variety of tomato Sam has decided to specialise in (we lost the label so don't actually know what it is so have to save seeds at the end of each season for next year) is really tasty and plentiful.  I ran out of boxes to hold the harvest and had to carry this bunch home in my t-shirt, nice.


Over the years we've had rubbish luck with growing peppers, whilst other occupants of the polytunnel have boasted massive fruits and plenty of them we've always struggled to get our plants past flowering into fruiting stage.  This year however we seem to have done well, we kept our plants on the inside of the raised bed nearest the 'wall' of the polytunnel away from the walkway and draft of the doors, they seem to like it and have started to produce these:

Butternut squashes are loving it in the tunnel as well this year with this beast making an appearance (even though it doesn't look that big in this photo, it's epic I can't wait for it to ripen up and get it in the oven). 

Cooking up a storm?

With all the veg finally ready to pick it means our kitchen is constantly fired up, this week I made spicy passata and runner bean chutney, the chutney needs some tweaking as it's a bit vinegary at the moment but I might add some cauliflower or courgette to tone it down a bit.  

If the weather holds out we'll try for another weekend on the plot this coming weekend I'd like to make a start on a path going down what is currently the border of our plot and our neighbours but if she gives it up it'll be down the centre which will be great as it will avoid us compacting soil we want to grow stuff in.

Anyone got any suggestions for stuff to make?  In particular how to preserve courgettes, any suggestions welcome!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The view from this mat


Pat the Twat is back!  He has been M.I.A. for about two months, I can't say I've been very upset about that and then at yoga the other night he rocked up with that sneer on his face.  Damn.  Not only was Pat there but it was a total testosterone fest as well, usually we have one or two men but we got up to about 12, something I hasten to add I don't have a problem with but my goodness the competitive breathing, grunting and farting was a bit much!  Calm yourselves gentleman yoga is supposed to be chill!

Like water rushing in

I missed Combat a couple of times last month and when I returned my sacred spot at the front near the fire doors was taken!  Erm... what?  A bunch of tweens had muscled in while I was away, damn it!  It just goes to show you shouldn't skip class, don't worry though Sarah and I are working on reclaiming our rightful place permanently, a couple of weeks with us flailing about in front of them will be enough to put anyone off and we will once again have all the kicking room we need.  

Wish me luck

So I've not been cycling to work recently, it has been a horrible, busy and stressful time recently and to be frank I have been putting off going in until the last minute which means driving not cycling.  But that must change!  I love cycling in and the exercise high you get to start your day, plus my work is at the top of a hill, so by knocking off time I can whizz down the hill to home in no time at all.  Fingers crossed it doesn't rain tomorrow...

Edit: I didn't cycle it is absolutely tipping it down!  Maybe tomorrow?

Monday, 3 August 2015

Spotlight on Pinterest: Double take

This is one of my all time favourite Pinterest boards, and possibly the first one I created.  It houses the weird and wonder, and mostly things I have no idea how to categorise other than wtf was that??

The Double take board strikes me as a good Monday board, or for that matter a good Friday afternoon 'why is there still an hour to go?' board.

Follow Anna's board Double take on Pinterest.
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