31 July 2012

Foodie Penpals July

I love Foodie Pen Pals. End of. My Penpal this month was the very lovely Lin, of http://linsfood.com/ and she sent me a stonking parcel. I wish computers had smell-o-vision already, I recieved such a beautifully fragrant package!

Lin's Homemade Curry Powder - which we tried a smidge of in Fishcakes. Honestly, just the memory of them is making me hungry... I may have to put in a repeat order...




Multi-coloured Pasta - I'm saving these babies for a special occasion. Lin says her guests love these, and I can totally see why.



Chilli Oil - The only response I got from hubby was 'Nom nom nom' in between mouthfuls.

Sugar Love Hearts & Lavender Sugar - These are just so sweet & were made by Lin's little ones. I served the Sugar Hearts with afternoon tea to my Mother & Father-in-Law who LOVED them. The Lavender sugar brought back such strong childhood memories, and I can't wait to use them in baking. Thanks kids!

Strawberries & Cream Tea Bags - These smell utterly delectable. They didn't last the day, and I've been to the supermarket to buy more already. They even recommend making the tea - letting the jug cool for 2 minutes, then steep for 8-10, which is my favourite way to drink tea, though I'm called a barbarian in my office for it.


They say Foodie Penpals have a touch of the psychic to them - I've just run out of Green Tea, and a lovely new packet arrived. This tea is lovely and refreshing.

Mini-Crackers - I didn't even read Lin's note before cracking these guys open, they are ever so sweet and full of properly corny jokes...

Lin also included one of her favourite Greeting Cards, and I can't wait to pay it forward to someone I love.


Thank you again Lin, for such a lovely package!

What is your favourite/most evocative childhood smell?

28 July 2012

Olympic Camping

Camping, oh how I love thee. Oh how I hate thee.

Forgetting the Olympic opening ceremony was on, we accepted a lovely invitation to go Camping with a group of really good friends.


Our 5.5mile tramp, skirting beautiful lakes..
Our home for the weekend, sleeping under the Stars (a 101 in 1001 goal!) It was cosy, very very cosy and one of the harder things about Camping - like our friend said when he kindly lent it to us "It's meant to be a 2 man tent, but it's a good thing that you know each other well!". The next time we'll go, I think we'll invest in one ourselves. And an airbed. Or maybe I'll just stay in a hotel, carrying some freshly mown grass to create the proper smell of camping. I wonder if they'll mind me using the furniture to make a bonfire? Celebs get to chuck TVs so I can't see why I can't utilise the curtains as lighter paper.

Gathering for Camp, we settled in amongst suited and booted businessmen, celebrating Friday night.


Rolling English Pastures...








... and primordial forests.


Oh, why, herrow.

A well earned rest stop


 
If I could only remember where I left that tent...




 




 

The best meal of the weekend.



How to get into our campsite, this is roughing it.

 
 



Home, Sweet Home.

 
 



Best part of the weekend. Sitting around the campfire, talking tall tales with wonderful people.


Dusk Sack Racing! There was quite a bit of foul play that went on.


I learnt how to recognise a constellation, the Big Dipper. Thank you Mark! (another 101 in 1001 Goal!)


(Best viewed large)

Workout: Lugging 17 pound backpacks from campsite to campsite, including a 5.5mile tramp. Loved it, and would never have been able to complete it 3 months ago.

Are you a Camper or a Glamper at heart?

27 July 2012

Postcrossing

Another wee hobby I've picked up recently is Postcrossing. Such a nice thing to be dropped in your mailbox "a Postcard exchange project that invites everyone to send and recieve postcards from random places in the world".



Todays Workout: 55minutes Treadmill at 6.3kph

25 July 2012

Average, and nice

It's been a pretty quiet week this week so far;
Foodie Penpal Packages!

Scrummy Vege box
Tropical Fruit Smoothie
Smoothie Bowls
Chillin'
Sometimes I love my job
Because the best thing to celebrate an althetic competition is mini-cupcakes, right?

Bunny Rabbit free journeys

Zuuuuuuuumba!

Chocolate Frozen Yoghurt. Nom.

22 July 2012

Ealing, Queen of the London 'burbs

I'm going to geek out for just one minute, I promise. I have a strange fascination with English place names - towns, streets, boroughs, you name it, I'm fascinated by it. I think it may stem from the fact that alongside traditional Maori names, such as Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu and Whangamata, New Zealand has so many hearkening back to the settlers; Wellington, Cambridge, Dunedin. I digress, anyway...

As per my training plan for the walking half-marathon in September, today we were scheduled for an hour and 45 minute walk. With the sun pouring in, and a cloudless blue sky, we knew we had to head out and soak up some Vitamin D whilst we could, instead of blasting tunes & staring at the wall on a treadmill. We decided that instead of looping a nearby park hundreds upon hundreds of times, we decided to catch a train to leafy Ealing and get our walk on.

Map checking told us it would be 4.8miles which felt like a good walk, and as we were feeling good, it should take us 1.45-2hours which would be slow but steady as it was our first longer planned walk (no shopping today which usually slows us to a snail pace as I lust over all the pretty clothes!)

What a lovely place to be on such a glorious day! Ealing is a borough in West London, and was known for a long time as Queen of the Suburbs - where every aspiring West Londoner looked to move with their families. With the big beautiful houses and leafy green streets I'm not surprised, especially in contrast with the grimy grey London of yester-year. Apparently Ealing is one of the ancient parishes of Middlesex and its origins are Saxon or even earlier.



We passed Ealing's oldest tree painted white because people kept crashing into it, Castle Hill Lodge, owned by Queen Victoria's Dad and rumoured to be a love-nest of Victoria & Albert, oh, and just to keep it real, part of the A40 Motorway!

England in the sunshine is just magical. I think that's what got us walking so fast - we made it in an hour and 30 minutes. Awesome.


 Patiently waiting as I snap away

Todays workout: 1.5 hours walking at 5.5km/h.

How you spend your Sunday? Is there a meaning to your road name?

21 July 2012

Party breakfast

I love Saturday mornings. They are made oh-so-much sweeter by the working week 'schlep' every weekday morning. This morning the clan all arose at about 10 (by clan I also include the cat, though she got up, stretched and went back to sleep...), we fixed ourselves some breakfast and began to plan for the day.

Today I discovered Almond butter. A jar has been living in my cupboard, almost mocking me for being a scaredy cat and not trying it. I love peanut butter, but it's not so good for the hips, and when my kind penpal sent a jar of Almond butter I was a little worried as I dont like almonds...

I am such a wuss. To be frightened of a jar!

In this light, it doesn't look so frightening...
So this morning in search of something different when I lit upon my lonesome jar, I reached for a knife and girdled my loins. Verdict = lucious goodness. Once you mix it all up in the jar (a bit of a arm work-out in itself), it's delicious. Nutty and rich, I layered it on my cinnamon bagel with light Philly and, as it's Saturday, sprinkles.


Nom nom. Now, onto some heavy sanding and undercoating. Such a glam life!

Today's workout: Sanding, Painting, 20minute easy walk.

What is your favourite weekend breakfast? Have you tried any nut butters?

20 July 2012

Bunny Wrangling

So, the last thing we expected was to be doing was bunny wrangling on our way home from the gym...! We were walking past a green near our house, and we noticed two animals bouncing around under the trees lining the park.


This is essentially the main view we had of the fellas Photo Credit


Looking closer, its a brown bunny and a white bunny! A hour and a half later, we've managed to keep them away from being squished on the busy road, and 10 people armed with coats, a dust sheet and some hastily ...gathered carrots finally manage to subdue the beasts. I even managed to catch the white one in my hands (definately the cheekiest!) before we bundled them into the cages bought by a local vet nurse (who incredibly luckily happened to be walking past just after we spotted them).

flipside, it was so heartening to see all of the random strangers who stopped and helped gather the terrified wabbits in, two couples even crossing the road from inside their homes, bringing the dust sheets with them.  

It was certainly and unexpected cardio bonus, but my excercise counter was a wee bit confused:


We followed up with the most delicious Dark Chocolate Smoothie bowl for dinner. Not the most traditional of dinners, but we were knackered by the time we got in. Hubs is absoloutely right when he laughed that we learned much about bunny agility and our lack of!

 
Today's workout: 50 minutes steady treadmill walking, 1.5 hours diving & running after wabbits.
Update: We called the vet surgery the next day, and they are settling into a cage in the vets' kennel, with hay and food for a couple of days before they go to the RSPCA for adoption by a new loving home.

18 July 2012

Goals

I love lists. I make no apologies for it, and admit that sometimes I make lists of lists, and then lose them, adding ‘find list’ to the items of a new list.
Sometimes we find ourselves saying “what are we going to do this weekend?”

I love 1001 in 101, solving the twin conundrums above. I stumbled upon the website via the blogs I read, and devoured the fabulous goals people are setting.
In order to spice things up a bit, and to ensure we don’t find ourselves wandering aimlessly or sitting on the couch, no matter how much our Puss pins us down, I decided to set 101 goals. I think my main goal in life to have fun. We work such long hours, in stressful jobs to get the bills paid and I really think that you need a distraction to think about and look forward to. From the simple things such as joy on a friends face, to complex undertakings that affect hundreds of people. It’s all important.

This is why I do the 365 challenge I think. I LOVE photography. I have my baby-camera (it’s a Fujifilm Finepix EXR550 nothing as cool as a DSLR but has most of the manual functions, and I am coaxing a few good photos from it) and my phone on me at all times, and a film camera which I am starting to get to grips with tucked away at home. It’s something on a daily basis to be thinking about and looking for. Even if your day is terrible, and I’ve had a few over the last few years.

Anyway, back from my tangent, I’m going to set a page up on this little here blog and mark things off as I go along. I don’t want it to be a dead page, but a vibrant link back page, celebrating each goal as we achieve it. It may change, goals may become defunct or un-achievable, but I’m going to do it. And I’m pledging to myself to complete them all. I hope you enjoy, and would like to join in! Set your own 101 in 1001. Tell me about them, I’d love to see the adventures you have planned!


100 in 1001 – 01/06/2012 – 27/02/2015
Personal Goals
01. 7 Random Acts of Kindness in 7 days
02. Participate in NaNoWriMo
03. Go up in a Hot Air Balloon
04. Unplug from the phone, internet and television for a weekend
05. Do 3 days of Volunteering (../3)
06. Leave a 100% tip
07. Leave 25 Operation Beautiful notes (../25)
08. Join, or Start a book club
09. Save £1001
10. Donate Blood
11. Send a Message in a bottle
12. Learn to recognize a constellation
13. Don’t complain about anything for a week
14. Begin drawing again
15. See the Queen!
16. Write a letter to myself to be opened in 10 years
17. Organize all outings for at least 2 months in a calendar. Don’t miss any.
18. Complete a work related qualification
19. Send someone flowers, just to brighten up their day
20. SkyDive (with instructor)
21. Make an item of clothing
22. Complete the Monopoly Walk
23. View the Crown Jewels
24. Visit Buckingham Palace
25. Read 60 books on a top 100 book page (I’ve read 39/60 so far of the BBC’s 2003 list 10/06/2012)
26. Attend a Cricket Game at Lords
27. See the All Blacks in Twickenham
28. Find a penpal
29. Pay for someone in the line behind me


Friends and Family
30. Make and send a photo Christmas card
31. Give everyone home/locally made Christmas gifts one year
32. Have a Makeover
33. Go on a trip with my Sister
34. Go on a trip with my Brother

Health


35. Complete a Spin class
36. Walk behind Waterfall
37. Complete a Hike
38. Publish Workout Playlists
39. Be able to touch my toes
40. Go indoor rock climbing
41. Swim 50 lengths
42. Lose 30kg
43. Maintain that weight once lost
44. Do a 5k & raise money for a Cancer Charity
45. Run an entire 5k (no walking breaks) & raise money for a Cancer Charity
46. See Big Ben


Travel
47. White cliffs of Dover
48. Chichester (Crooked spire)
49. Visit Greece
50. Visit America 
51. Visit the Pyramids
52. Olympic Village
53. Scottish Highlands
54. Go on a Canal Boat Holiday
55. Visit the Anne Frank House
56. Sleep in the treetops
57. Kiss the Blarney Stone
58. Go on a spontaneous Road Trip. Use a spin board to decide where to go for an afternoon.
59. Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day
60. Sleep under the stars
61. Dance in the rain


Food
62. Cook an entire Cookbook
63. For a day, cook a menu of hubby’s favourites.
64. Make Vanilla Rum & Skittle Vodka
65.

66. Make Crystal Wraps
67. Eat only locally grown/made food for a day
68. Have a themed meals week
69. Host a Marguerita, M….s and Monopoly night
70. Cook a Beef Wellington
71. Attend a Clandestine Cake club
72. Host a Posh Afternoon Tea
73. Try 5 new restaurants in London town
74. Create & post 15 original recipes


Home
75. Create one original artwork for our walls
76. Grow (and eat) edible flowers
77. Make the years’ Christmas Decoration
78. Keep the coffee table clear for a month
79. Grow my own tomatoes
80. Complete 3 home craft projects
81. Clean out the pantry cupboards by eating it all

Photography

82. Make & Develop a PinHole Camera Image
83. Sell a photograph
84.  Two day Photography Courses
85. Develop 3 rolls of film (../3)
86. Enter a Photo in a Competition
87. Photograph a week of quotes
88. Photograph a Red Squirrel in the wild
89. Catch at least 12 items on my ‘all time’ list (../12)

Blog
90. Design & run a blog for at least 1001 days
91. Go a week without using the words ‘Awesome’ ‘Yay’ or ‘Lol’
92. Complete a Blogging Workshop
93. Write a guest post
94. Conduct and post an interview
95. Write a “day in the life” blog post
96. Add 5 new food blogs to my reader
97. Do a “what I ate Wednesday” post
98. Review 52 books, one per week for a year
99. Review 5 food related nonfiction books
100. Meet a blog friend
101. Complete my 101 in 1001 page/countdown
 
Which would you like to do? Would you like to join me in any?

14 July 2012

London Kiwi Spotting

Psst look what I found in Regent's Street..



Today's workout: 40 minute steady easy walk through Central London from work to Picadilly.

Are you as excited as I am for the Olympics? London Ex-Pats, have you seen your flag?

12 July 2012

International Foodie Penpals

It's here! My eagerly apnticipated trans-atlantic Foodie Penpals swap, has arrived. I was too excited to get a photo of the box on my mat, so here is the big reveal!

Clara (of coWWow with her Twitter handle @mmmoomoocowow) lives on the West Coast of the U.S. of A. and sent me the loveliest box of goodies. We amended the usual £10/$15 limit as this was a special arrangement outside of the usual Foodie Penpals. With restrictions on what we could send, due to the time delivery could take, both Clara and I opted to send treats.


Where do I start? Clara, thank you, everything so far has been scrummy and I can't wait to get stuck into everything else. The Coconut Pocky, the family sized Pretzel M&Ms, the Oreo cookies, but especially this baby - Askinosie Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.


Goldfish Crackers! I read about these on so many US blogs, they seem to be a must-have back when you're sick, and they are lovely.


The Oreos are scrumptious, slightly different from our UK ones, which have more bulk to the biscuit and filling, but the US Oreos are richer and somewhat more unctious.

Favourite treat so far - the Caramel and Coconut Crunch bar. We seriously need to get them over here. They are totally worth the run to burn it off. And believe me, I don't often rate treats as worth a run, often at all.