Tuesday, 12 July 2016

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - BEN'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS, LOVING LIFE IN BRIGHTON & BRIGHTONS BIG SCREEN

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

BEN'S VEGAN RISOTTO RECIPE


INGREDIENTS:
* 2 tbsp of olive oil
* ! large red onion, chopped
* 2 garlic clothes, grated 
* 250g of arborio risotto rice
* 900ml water with 2 vegetable stock cubes
* A handful of chopped, fresh basil
* 2 tbsp mixed herbs 
* 2 bell peppers, chopped
* 100g chopped button mushrooms 
* 250g of organic spinach 
* freshly ground black pepper 

(We sometimes change this recipe up: adding Engevita yeast flakes, violife prosociano cheese, asparagus, peas, artichoke, sweet potato or free from pesto, however, we always stick to the mushroom and spinach idea as a base).

METHOD:
* Heat the oil in a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasional until softened and just beginning to colour. 
* Add the risotto rice to the pan and stir well for 30-40 seconds, until the oil has coated the grains of rice.
* Meanwhile, stick the peppers in the oven on gas mark 5 for 20 minutes to be roasted.
* Pour a quatre of the stock in and bring to the boil, stirring well while adding the rest of the stock in bit by bit as the stock boils off, Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring constantly until the rice is tender and creamy in appearance. 
* Take your peppers out of the oven and add those.
* Add your mixed herbs, fresh basil and spinach in and then continue to cook, stirring constantly, for a further 4-5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and all the vegetables are heated to your liking. 
* Remove the pan from the heat, then season with sea salt, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon (this is optional, but specifically helpful if you overdo it with the salt). Cover the pan with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes before serving. 

Peace out potatoes! xo

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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

FIVE LESSONS TO TAKE FROM A FUNERAL - TRANSLATING THE NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE #1


Yesterday I attended the funeral of a family friend and it got me thinking about the positives I could derive from the funerals I have been to in the past few years. The day was full of lots of tears, sadness and, of course, mourning. What is a girl to do when she is feeling such an emotional low? Write of course! So, here I am writing my feelings down on this little internet space of mine (it's better than eating them I suppose, ha). 

Rewind ten years or so and it would have been in a handwritten little diary covered in stickers, but I find writing a blog post even more therapeutic. This is because if someone is meant to come across it, in order for it to help them, then they will, however, it does need to be available! Elevating other people is what drives me to this want to help others with my own experiences. I like to think I can translate anything life throws at me from the negative into the positive. I actually trained in translation and interpreting at University so maybe I picked up some tricks. However, in recent years i have realised I am very good at doing it with negative situations by having gratitude for them and highlighting the lessons they have brought.

I will write more posts like this in future: about how I have dealt with family illness for the past eight years; break-ups, an abusive relationship, living with someone with an OCD, eyesight issues, body image issues, internal abuse, health anxiety, loved ones moving away, the mind versus heart sagas of life - any life experience I can draw upon to help another, I will. However, today's post will primarily be focused on our final farewell to a loved one and what lessons we can take away from a funeral.

1. Never be afraid to cry. People can see through false emotion, always, so don't do it. Crying at a funeral is particularly important because you can all mourn together in one joint energy force and it is comforting to know that at that one point in time, that it is perfectly 'normal' to be crying. However, I do believe we can carry this into all aspects of our life because it is always okay to cry. If you didn't need to then your tear ducts wouldn't be welling up and your bottom lip wouldn't be wobbling. If it wasn't completely natural then we wouldn't have the urge to do so. Always go with your true emotion - suppressing it will only ever make oneself and those around you severely uncomfortable. How must we reach our higher self if we're too busy pretending to be someone else?

Having a little 'ball', as we call it where I am from in south London, is the human form of emotional release and it is just as healthy as doing some exercise or drinking your green juice. It releases toxins and stress hormones from your body!

I also want to highlight the whole 'big boys don't cry' ideology society has pushed upon us in recent generations. That couldn't be further from the truth. My friends and I have discussed this before and actually, we all respect a man who can cry. It's genuine, it's transparent and it is real - there is nothing more attractive in a soul than those three qualities. So, Male or Female, Rich or Poor, Big or Small, Old or Young; cry to your heart's content if you need be, it's healthy after all!

2. Let's focus on quality, not quantity - always! So, this was particularly prominent to me at a funeral of course because we put so much emphasis on 'age' and 'she was too young to go' or 'she had a long life' as though that then means a good one. No, I couldn't disagree with this more. Let's sit here and talk about how full of happy interactions, funny experiences and beautiful memories a life was instead.

The same goes for things outside of death. So, people focus on having five kids. 'How many kids do you want?'. 'How about'. 'As many as I can have without sacrificing on the quality of what I can give a child and consequently the life that child will have and the soul they will grow to be'. How much money do you make? How about, 'do you love your job?' 'Do you have a quality time in that place where you spend the majority of your life?' and worst of all - the focus on:

'How long have you been with your boyfriend?'

'Oh, a long time, so when will you move in together?/ have kids?/ get married?'

'How long have you been with your boyfriend?'

'Oh not long, don't plan ahead then, it's a bit soon to be going on holiday isn't it?/ it's a bit soon to be moving in together isn't it?/ You're engaged and it has only been nine months? oh dear...'

No. No. No. No. NO. I have been in relationships that were toxic for four years and people focused on the time, so as did I, prior to learning that the authority is never outside of myself. So I stuck to relationships that were toxic to me in many ways focusing on the fact we had been together 'a long time'. I have been with my boyfriend now for less time than both of my previous relationships, however, I would swap the time I have had with him already with the eight years I have lost simply on the basis that our relationship is exceptional. We laugh every single day without fail, we have infinite trust and our time together is true, real life quality time.

3. Death is sudden and life is short so just 'do you'. All of your bodily organs will eventually stop in a matter of seconds - this includes all of what is going on in this dream you are in. Done, Finito, Terminado. So, please explain to me why we are all taking this quite so seriously and running our lives by other people's conditions? No thanks mate. Do what makes you happy in every given moment. Find your higher purpose and run with it, enjoy it. Let's make life a dream and not a nightmare.

4. Death is sudden and life is short so be grateful for what you have and be sure to show your appreciation for those around you'. Again; all of your bodily organs could stop in a matter of seconds. So, appreciate your loved ones whilst you still can. At your funeral, those you leave behind will be discussing what you gave, not what you saved. So, seriously just love and be loved. Spend your time, efforts, affections, compliments, generosity and undivided attention on the people you hold dear. Do it right now and always for as long as you can. You won't be getting this exact moment ever again so do it now. (Speaking of which, I am going to give my father a cuddle first thing).

5. In the words of my favourite artist (Ben Howard): 'Memories are the best things you'll ever have'. Memories are the only thing the people you leave behind will cherish, in this life and the next. Yes, there will be the mediocre, practical conversation about the organisation of material possessions but, in reality, no one cares what 'things' you have left. If they do they have not evolved and the joke of life is on them because they won't be dragging them into their grave either.

People will remember dancing round the kitchen to 'dancing with myself' with you (Oh Hey Alison!), people will remember the time you danced the night away in Silves and watched the sunset on the river (Hey Ben-Jack), people will remember the time you went to vegfest with them and robin couldn't get the car out of the carpark after enjoying the finest food together (Hey katrina), people will remember the time you drank stein after stein and got lost in time (Hey Trina!), people will remember the time you met your blogger friend Liuba and spoke for hours on end in a Wimbledon cafe, people will remember the time we went to Geneva and walked up the mountains to drink from the evian fountain (Hey Lisett), people will remember the deep chats over dinners (Lou & Mel). 
The list could go on and on for days with me because my sole focus in life is making memories with the ones I love - you get the gist no doubt. 

'People won't always remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel'.

When I exit this earth, I want my loved ones to feel some comfort in how much love we shared, how many cherished moments we had, and how many wonderful memories we have made together in our lives. Memory making is magical.

This blog post was inspired in loving memory of Danny Caldwell & Katherine Ann Hill.

xxx
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Monday, 4 July 2016

TEN (ALMOST) FREE THINGS TO DO IN BRIGHTON!

1. Have a picnic in the royal pavilion gardens. You could even have a midnight picnic with lots of tea lights - the Pavillion is so beautiful when it is lit up a night. Keep safe though kids! I would suggest only doing this if you're in a large group!
2. Snoop in Paradise (Snooper's paradise in the North Laines).
3. Take your pennies to the pier. Now, this is almost free as we all tend to have lots of coppers just sitting around somewhere at home. The 2p machines provide hours of fun for very little money that would have probably just sat there for years to come anyway, so that's basically free, right? ...right?
4. Go free with your children's wristband! Some of the rides actually flip your belly, ha. My friend and I took her little boy the other week and took it in turns to go on all the rides with him. So, although the wristband costs an initial £7.00 fee, you will get on for free and, in this case, my friend had pre-ordered the wristband so we both felt like it was absolutely free on the day. The carousel is my fave. 
5. Skim pebbles at the beach.
6. Have a couple of drinks on the beach (bring from home) - I have been doing this a lot lately. I much prefer being able to hear my friends speak. I also much prefer drinking alcohol that hasn't been priced up by 300%. I like being in a cosy pub in the winter for obvious reasons but, when the weather is mild/warm, I want to be outside, listening to the sound of the waves and enjoying the company of my loved ones down by the sea!
7. Create your own walking tour, you could do a graffiti art tour, a retro clothes store tour or, if you wanted to spend money you could do a cafe tour. Whatever you wish. If you want to make it a historical or informative one, you could use google at all of your selected checkpoints and monuments along the way and find out all the history and interesting facts yourself.
8. Explore the flea markets and shops through the Laines.
9. Get hot and flustered for free: roller skate or bike ride along the promenade or you can join into a game of volleyball. There are also lots of free walking and running groups in and around Brighton to join.
10. Take a wander through one of the many pretty parks: Stammer, Preston, and Hove are the prettiest in my opinion, but there are so many to choose from. You could bring a homemade picnic along, some games and you can even bring the Pooch in your life along too.
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Sunday, 3 July 2016

MY WEEK IN PHOTOS - FRIENDS, FAMILY & FUN!

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