food, healthy, life, recipes

Recipe: Potato & Egg curry

This is a great way to use up potatoes left over from a previous meal. Oh and eggs. To make it vegan, just skip the eggs. A quick tip – book the eggs and potatoes in the same pan if you’re using raw potatoes. 

1 or 2 hard boiled eggs per person 

A few potatoes boiled and chopped up 

Tin tomatoes or passata

Onion, chopped

Celery, 2 or 3 sticks, diced

Ginger – 1 tsp fresh or frozen

Garlic – 1 tsp fresh or frozen 

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1 tsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp or a small fresh one chopped

Masala powder (optional) – 1tsp

Salt & pepper to taste

Method 

Boil the potatoes (10 minutes till al dente) and eggs (7/8 minutes till you’re happy they’re done). 

Brown your onion and toast the cumin seeds, add the ginger and garlic and leave to mingle for 5 minutes. Add your spices and season to taste. 

Pour in the tomatoes, mix and cook for 5 or 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them and the celery. Mix in well and simmer. 

When your eggs are done, run them under a cold tap, peel and slice. Add them to the pan for a minute and spoon some of the sauce over them. 

Serve. You can add raita or yoghurt to serve or your choice of Chutney etc. I don’t tend to serve it with rice because of the potatoes but it’s up to you. I do like a piece of naan to dip. 

This is based on a recipe from my lovely work wifey whose family come from Gujarat in India. You can use different vegetables to bulk it out and it tastes just as good reheated the next day minus the eggs. 

food, healthy, life, recipes

How to: tummy soother

We’ve all been there, you’re bloated, your belly aches and you’d quite like to die now thank you. 

Here’s a quick recipe for a tummy soothing remedy that costs less than 50p to make. 
You will need: 

One mug from your cupboard

Hot water – a little cooler than boiling. 

A thumb of ginger root (If you can’t find any in the shops, 1/2 tsp dry ground ginger) 

Half a lemon/lemon juice from a bottle 

Pour the water into the cup and let it cool slightly so you don’t scald your tongue. 

Peel and grate the ginger. Wash and half a lemon. 

Put the grated ginger in a bowl and press down on it with a spoon to release the juice. 

Pour the ginger juice into the hot water (I use a tea strainer) and squeeze in the lemon juice. Sip. Adjust juice levels to taste. Drink slowly and in a while you should feel better. 

Ginger helps promote good digestion and soothes the bloat. Lemon is a friend to your liver and helps break down chemicals like alcohol.

If you can stomach it hot water with lemon is a great way to get your body up and at ’em in the mornings. Personally I found it smelt like pancakes but tasted horrific. The ginger version is definitely better. You could also use fresh mint in warm water as mint also helps the digestive system and has anti-inflammatory properties. Or you could buy some tea bags – whatever works for you. 
I am not a doctor or nutritionist – this is just a simple home remedy. For anything more serious please see your GP or visit a hospital. Any ongoing pain in your gut must be addressed with a professional as it could be serious. 

fun stuff, life, wedding

Wedding Wednesday 

One of the most stressful things during wedding planning is working out what venue you want. It took us ages to decide how we wanted to do things and then find the right place to host it. 

Image from Wedding Wire
Wedding Wire got in touch about their fun quiz designed to help you decide. Now I don’t know about you but I love an online quiz and this one is quite fun. You can do it alone or with your partner (even if you’re not planning a wedding at the moment. 

Image from Wedding Wire
According to the quiz I should be having a vineyard Wedding, sadly North London is lacking in those so I’ll be sticking with the venue I’ve picked. 

Image from Wedding Wire

If you are planning a wedding or are already married, how did you pick your venue? Let me know in the comments. 
This post is sponsored by Wedding Wire but all opinions are my own. 

feminism, inspiration, life, tv

20 Years of Buffy

Friday was the 20th anniversary of the first airing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – one of the defining tv shows of my life. 

Final seasons Scooby Gang
I remember watching the first season on BBC2 with my little sister and my dad, and just thinking here was a show that spoke to me. I was just starting secondary school and those teenage monsters were very familiar. 

Now we were all supposed to be in love with David Boreanaz’s tortured vampire-with-a-soul Angel but I must admit I do love a bad boy – there was a huge poster of Spike (James Marsters) on my bedroom wall.

“I’m a bad rude man”

The monsters as metaphors is a construct as old as story telling but these were monsters A teenage girl with a sharp stick and a great line in quips could kill. That’s a pretty empowering thing for any young woman. 

Buffy dealt with bullies, death, a bratty sister, love, heartbreak, exams and friendships – all the things we all go through. She showed us the way. How many times did you want to quite literally stab your heart breaking ex through the heart with a wooden stake. 

And then there was the kickass soundtrack. I still have all 3 of the soundtrack cds – including the musical episode ‘Once More With Feeling’.

Mr Pointy

I have trouble picking a favourite episode, character etc but here’s my highlights. 
The silent episode ‘Hush’ was masterful. And proves the cast can all act. 

Xander and Willow’s relationship is definitely a friendship to aspire to – he saves her from becoming full on evil Willow with the power of his love for his best pal. And then there’s the Snoopy dance (bless Nicholas Brendon for still doing this at fan conventions). 

When everyone loses their memories and Spike and Giles think they’re father and son (and Spike’s called Randy) 

My ideal tea party

Faith – just too damn cool for school. But also power crazed, murderous and just a tad unhinged. 

Five by five

The Halloween episodes – vamps took the night off but all sorts of havoc would break loose. My favourite was either when everyone became their costumes (Buffy as an actual damsel in distress) or when they get trapped in a haunted house and have to defeat a fear demon – who’s about 3 inches high! 

Squished

Tara and Willow’s beautiful falling in love story. Pretty much the first sane sex couples I remember seeing on tv. Sweet, sad, romantic and tragic. 

😭😭

How much I hated Riley the cardboard soldier and that whole plotline – even more than the Glory/Dawn storyline and I really hated that. 

Eurgh
When did Buffy sleep? Demon fighting by night and school by day. What a hero, or serious caffeine habit. 

How sad I was when it all ended. 

Me too Anya, me too

This weekend I am planning a boxset binge to mark the anniversary – anyone else? 

inspiration, life, thoughts, wedding

Wedding Wednesday: a prep timeline

This is my incredibly scatter brained approach to wedding planning. My wedding is about 18 months away now, but I started planning a while after C proposed. I wasn’t one of those girls who planned their dream wedding as a kid so I’ve had to learn a lot fast. 

💍Get engaged. Or decide to get married. If photoshoots are your thing or a party, do that. We got a new fridge. So rock ‘n’ roll.  

👰Are you going to have a long engagement? Or do you want to get married relatively soon? If it’s the second- pick a date. C and I very romantically picked a date a month and a day after C’s birthday so he wouldn’t forget our anniversary. 

🎁Set a budget. Are you paying for it or is there some money set aside? I had no idea my Dad had been saving since I was a baby, and that has really helped with paying deposits. 

👱Guestlist time! Who do you want to share your day with? Do you want bridesmaids/groomsmen or even bridesmen or groomswomen? 

💒 Start looking at venues. Popular ones can be booked up very quickly.  Depending on what kind of wedding you want, this can affect your venue choices. We are having a traditional church wedding and then a big knees up, very relaxed and informal to follow.  

🌹Once you have sorted the venue – start looking at vendors like florists, photographers etc. I actually found my photographer before I picked our reception venue. Again, try not to leave this too late as popular vendors get heavily booked, especially at peak times of the year. 

🎪What fun features do you want? A photobooth maybe, a band, lawn games? I suggest visiting wedding and event fairs to try these out or look online. Again, once you know what you want – book it. 

🎉Pinterest is your friend. Build inspiration boards for just about anything. I also use Etsy to look for ideas.  

💌Time to send out Save the Dates – most people seem to send these 18 months to a year before the wedding. I plan to send my invitations out about 6 months before so StDs are vital in making sure the people we want there the most can start making plans. 

🎂 Cake tastings are a great way to decide what you want- look online for ideas – most wedding cake makers are really happy to work with you on designs and flavours. 

❤Are you writing your own vows? What about readings? Research some ideas and work with your intended and celebrant to put your service together. 

 There’s lots more to do, from picking out outfits, deciding on hair and make up and designing menus. But I haven’t quite got that far yet and as my planning is a bit topsy-turvy I can’t really say what I’m going to do next.  

Any tips from married folks or engaged types are always welcome in the comments. 

The images are all from Pinterest – search ‘weddings’ for similar inspiration. 

adventures, fashion, fun stuff, life, wedding

Wedding Wednesday: National Wedding Show with the Mothership

On Saturday my Mother Dearest and I went to the National Wedding Show at the Kensington Olympia. I won tickets through an Instagram competition hosted by the lovely Kat from Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride.

Goody bag

There were many freebies on offer, including a goody bag for every ticket holder. Now I love a freebie but some of these were a little problematic – more on that later. 
According to the brochure there were more than 250 vendors present, offering everything from wedding dresses to confetti, cakes made of cheese to flowers. 

It was a bit overwhelming, weddings are big, big business, and the centre was heaving with brides to be, their mothers, bridesmaids and the occasional bewildered groom to be.

Will this turn into a really tiny pumpkin?

There was a Groom Room full of suits and very fancy cars, which C would have loved except he refused to come with me (but did take a Best Man to look at suits). 

I took my Mum – and she was having a ball. I now know I get my love of a freebie from, she’s been married for 37 years, but oh she was lapping up everything we were offered. 

Some of the freebies I gathered

I tried on a flower crown (definitely having one of those), looked at dresses, flowers, table settings, entered every competition going  (please can I have a free holiday), tried cakes, looked at fascinators for Mum, discussed my engagement, our wedding plans and the colour scheme about a million times, are more cake, and looked at about a thousand dresses. 

Fistfuls of leaflets, brochures and business cards

I totally failed to take any photos, there was just too much. 

Wedding magazines galore

Now I want to talk about something that has already annoyed me beyond belief and my Mum decided to bring up several times too. 

The wedding industry is fixated on a very particular type of bride – slim, conventionally pretty, and white. There was very little diversity on show. 

Where were the dresses for fuller figured brides? Where was the ethnic mix of London being represented? What about the lesbian and genderqueer brides? 

Every picture of a bride could have been of the exact same girl. The only suits were tailored for men. There was no suggestion of same sex weddings. I saw no pictures of black or Asian brides, no temples, synagogues, churches or mosques. 

Now, I’m sure a lot of the vendors present would happily work with a wide range of wedding couples, after all, business is business. But I can’t imagine how alienating this vision of skinny, perfect whiteness must be. 

My Mum pointed out that the wedding dresses were stuck in the past – women on the whole are bigger than before – the average dress size is a 16, but so many of the dresses were designed to fit slim, small-breasted, narrow hipped women. Where is my wide hipped, rugby player shouldered self going to get a dress? (I have ideas, but there was nothing for me there – I didn’t see anything on display above a 12). 

The other issues we had revolved around this idea of being perfect- teeth whitening services, professional makeovers, all conforming to a standard not everyone can achieve. 

 My mum was also horrified by all the weight loss products on offer. In the goody bag offered to everyone were weight loss shakes, tea, biscuit bars and offers for discounts on these and other products. 

At a time when even 8 year olds are suffering body image issues, when eating disorders are on the rise, when the standards of beauty are ridiculous, the pressure on the engaged women (and men) is insane. 

A wedding is pretty stressful anyway, dealing with vendors, venues, family politics, negotiating everything you want, wrestling with a budget – you name it, it needs to be done. Yes, there are loads of tools, apps, websites etc to help you, but it’s still a lot to take on. 

And then on top of that the pressure to lose weight, to be made perfect, because obviously your fiancé doesn’t want to marry you as you are – but some ridiculous impossible image of some other you. 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best – to have your hair and make up done, to wear an outfit you feel (and look) fab in, but there is something wrong with feeling pressured to change everything about you to fit into a box. 

When my parents got married (37 years and still both alive), there wasn’t nearly as much of this extreme pressure on young women before their weddings. And it really casts a pall over the excitement of it all. 

feminism, jewellery, life, relationships, wedding

Wedding Wednesday: Why I chose to wear an engagement ring 

The other day I read a really preachy article (which I don’t have a link to) about why the writer, as a feminist, wouldn’t wear an engagement ring. 

Now I strongly believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion but the tone of the piece and the fact that she was using feminism as her reason really annoyed me. 

I’m a feminist. I believe in equality, equity of the sexes, and a woman’s right to choose what she does with her life and her body. My mum instilled these beliefs in me growing up. 

However, I don’t feel like those beliefs preclude me from wearing my engagement ring. 

I am aware of the original symbolism of wedding rings and the whole patriarchal problematic wedding traditions. But I don’t see the engagement ring on my left hand as a symbol of ownership. 

Nobody, least of all C, owns me. I am my own person, regardless of marital status. 

I see it instead as a symbol of commitment, of a promise to be a team, to stick together, to be a family. I see it as C’s love and mine for him. We’re going to get married, be together for good, legally bound and all that jazz. Not because society says so, but because we want to. 

And that doesn’t contradict my feminism. This is my choice. Isn’t that what women have been fighting for all these years – the ability to make their own choices? 

life, politics, questions, thoughts

Oh America….

This is my formal request for a refund for 2016. It has been a complete shit show and I would like a do-over.  

Reading the reaction of the black, Latina, LGBT, scared Americans to the election of the world’s first orange President, a man who has threatened to deport innocent citizens for the ‘crime’ of being immigrants, Muslim, Other. His running mate, Mike Pence believes that electric shock therapy can cure being gay, who thinks women who suffer miscarriages should be imprisoned. These are frightening times. 

Several people have drawn a connection through history, from the rise of fascism in the 1930s and what I am calling the new hate of 2016. From Brexit to this week’s election, fear mongering is up and being different is marking people out. 

But there is still hope, there is still love. Now is the time to speak up, to stand up and be counted. To show solidarity and support for those who find themselves victims of this new groundswell of hate and bigotry. I am reminded of the following poem. I for one will be speaking out because we cannot let anything like this happen ever again. 

inspiration, life, wedding

Wedding Wednesday

This week – are you traditional or modern? 

I’m having a traditional church wedding and then a massive knees up after with kareoke and a photo booth. 
The church is one I went to as a kid, my mum’s still a member of the congregation. Which is how I get to marry there – you have to have a connection to the church and parish. There’s a rather scary looking legal form to sign to this effect. 

We’re not overly religious but both come from church going families and I like the idea of the traditional ceremony and legal bit all tied together. 

It helps that the church in question is over 150 years old and beautiful. Perfect for photos and full of history. 

We went to a friends’ wedding a few months ago and they had had a civil ceremony the day before at the registry office and then a more public do the next day. It was really lovely and personal, full of touches that were very them. The groom’s late mother collected hourglasses and as part of their wedding the couple poured sand into an hourglass, uniting their lives symbolically. 

I’ve been to weddings on boats, in barns, hotels and temples. I don’t think there is a right way or wrong way to do it as long as it means something to both of you. 

But I won’t be saying the traditional vows – definitely taking the promise to obey out of there. 

I also don’t really want speeches or a first dance. The speech thing really bothers me- the bride’s father, groom and best man all talk and the bride just sits there. 

It harks back to when marriage was a business contract and a woman was property and it makes me squirm. 

As for dancing, we’re not the most coordinated of people and having wiggled into am expensive fancy dress I really don’t need the Mr running it over with his grubby wheelchair wheels (apparently suggesting he go through the car wash is mean). 

I don’t actually like being the centre of attention or having my picture taken so that in itself is a bit anxiety ridden. 

I’m still looking for the perfect party venue for after the church. We know what we want it’s just finding it. No sit down meal of lukewarm food that nobody really enjoys, no trying to guess what our guests will enjoy. 

We want a buffet of nice tasty treats, maybe a chocolate fountain, definitely a pick ‘n’ mix station and a fruit salad bar. Drinks for those that drink and tea and coffee on tap (we’re both from families of tea fiends). 

There should be a dance floor for the jukebox/kareoke machine we’re hiring filled with our favourite party tunes, we’re having a photo booth so our friends can take silly snaps, and if there’s some outdoor space a few lawn games, like giant jenga and boules; perfect for our more competitive guests. 

Casual, relaxed and informal, perfectly balanced against the traditional ceremony before hand. 

Even more exciting are my planned vendors – but you’ll have to wait and see next time. 

life, thoughts

The Temp Guide to Life

Since the end of last year I’ve been temping, having quit my job of six years in an effort to restore some equilibrium to my life, here’s what I’ve learnt. 

1. You will receive little to no training so get used to figuring stuff out. 

2. Be on time, time is literally money when you’re paid by the hour. 

3. Get your agency onside – if they like you, you’ll get sent on nicer assignments. 

4. Have your interview patter down – know what you’re going to say and have examples. 

5. Scope out the lunch sitch as soon as you can, is there somewhere to eat your packed lunch or does everyone eat out. 

6. Plan your route, and if you live in London or another city, add extra time to accomodate delays. 

7. Be friendly but remember they are not your friends, it’s unlikely they’ll remember your name in a few weeks time. 

8. Getting paid weekly might sound great but it can wreck havoc with your bill schedule, hold onto your money to make sure your rent gets paid. 

9. All skills are transferable. Yes, even those ones. 

10. You will hate some temp jobs, just think of the money. 

11. You can give your all, but they won’t offer you a permanent role – aka the dream. 

12. You will encounter some really lovely people and some utter arseholes. Your interpersonal skills will be exemplary. 

13. All databases are basically the same – cheap, crap, utterly hackable. 

14. You will never earn enough per hour to put up with some of the utter bullshit in some offices. So don’t. 

15. Admin jobs basically equal office dogsbody, however they dress it up. 

16. You won’t get a leaving gift after three weeks, you might get a ‘thanks’. 

17. There is no holiday or sick pay – but you will still throw the odd sickie because your bed doesn’t judge you for breaking the printer printing off job descriptions to peruse at lunchtime.

18. Make the most of the free internet access and find your next job, polish your CV, fill in application forms etc, you’re probably only being given the shit jobs anyway – ‘make work’ or just tidying cupboards. I don’t get around to tidying my own cupboards so why am I cataloguing your stationery?

19. Get the Wi-fi password, fill the twiddling thumbs time with Twitter polls and trying to work out who that person is in all of your friend’s Instagram posts. 

20. You will become insanely good at filling empty time so you don’t get sent home early, you need the full day’s hours on your timesheet.