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Category: Things I Love

Foodie things I’ve bought, foodie things I want 

I love my Instant Pot. I got it on Prime Day earlier this year and it has become an amazing addition to my kitchen appliance arsenal. My bone broths are so much more gelatinous because of it and my pulled pork is so flavourful. Get it!

instant-pot

I want to start making my own ferments – kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut. I know there’s a wealth of information about this on the internet, but I couldn’t resist picking up this lovely looking compendium, Ferment, Dry, Pickle to flip through for inspiration.

ferment-dry-pickle

Until I crack making kombucha myself, this is the best kombucha I’ve ever tasted. It’s not too sweet and not too bitter and it comes in lovely looking brown glass bottles.

jarr-kombucha

We’re about to add some new shelves into our kitchen and I love the look of these floating wooden shelves.

I took a knife skills class at Leiths this time last year and improved my cooking immeasurably. Everything just seems so much easier. I’m now eyeing up their food photography course, as improving my food photos, (especially in low light!) is on my to do list.

Things I Love: 13 Ways To Simplify Your Life

I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk with Sarah Wilson, the Australian journalist who has spearheaded the I Quit Sugar movement in Australia. She spoke for an hour about 13 ways to simplify your life. It was a really fun talk with loads of brilliant examples and tips. And I got my copy of Simplicious signed!

 

Here are her tips one by one – enjoy!

1. Stop Eating (So Much) Sugar

This is a no brainer. Sugary food has moved from being a treat that you might have at the weekend, to a must have after every meal. One of the ladies in the audience shared the problem of her son’s nursery offering a sugary dessert after every meal and asked for Sarah’s advice on what to do. My son’s nursery does the same and it drives me nuts. Food habits start early and I definitely don’t want J to be in the habit of expecting something sweet after each meal. Sarah advised the lady in the audience to have an honest chat with her son’s nursery – my experience is that nurseries think it’s normal to give a pudding after every meal so I just ask J’s nursery not to give him any sweet puddings all, that way when he has ice cream or cake with us or at a party, it actually is a treat. Problem solved.

 2. Cook

sarah wilson michael pollen quote

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Sometimes the very act of cooking with fresh, local and organic ingredients seems almost revolutionary.

3. Ride a Bike and 4. Walk

They’re both cheap, easy and give you the benefit of exercise and the opportunity to take in your surroundings in a different way.  As a Londoner, it’s hard not to walk, whether it’s to and from the tube, doing the nursery pick-up and drop-off  or meandering around the neighbourhood. Sarah raved about Boris bikes and I made a mental note to use them a bit more often – they’re so easy and fun!

5. Slow Cook

I love my slow cooker. It is such a brilliant way to cook, especially knowing that after a long day at work in the winter, you have a warm meal waiting for you. Slow and low, Sarah advised, is the best way to cook. It better preserves micronutrients and phytonutrients and the long cooking time generally means that the food is more flavourful.

 6. Use Less Stuff

Sarah showed an amazing photo of her wearing a ‘Consume Less’ t-shirt when she was explaining this point. She urged us to reuse everything (something she does brilliantly in her latest book, Simplicious), to simplify our wardrobes and to generally not be so bound by the stuff that surrounds us. We’re currently on the cusp of a house move and I can really relate to this point as we’ve prepared the house for viewings. We’ve just got too much stuff.

7. Use Fewer Ingredients

Sarah’s recipes are incredibly straightforward and she’s a great believer in creating a flow of cooking, i.e. start with the foundation items, like stocks, spice blends, which then help with the main meal recipes in her book.

 8. Be A Total Scummy, Daggy Cook

Take doggy bags, buy the wonky veg, reuse everything. Sarah told a story about how she took home the bones from her restaurant meal to make stock – she takes waste not, want not to heart!

9. Have A Warm Root

Sarah is a big advocate of the balancing principles of Ayurveda and talk a lot about kapha, pitta and veda in her first book, which I found really interesting. She believes that  warming foods recreate balance in the body, especially when you’ve had a time of huge excess.

10. Create Your Own Life Boundaries

We get pushed in some many different directions and I know many of us have a very hard time saying no. Sarah talked about the importance creating your own boundaries and sticking to them. I’ve found this to be very true, especially at work. And if I don’t respect my own boundaries of leaving work at 6pm and not answering email after hours, my colleagues and clients surely don’t.

Sarah also urged us to “close some of the tabs in our brains” – which is an apt way of thinking about the incessant multi-tasking we’re all guilty of. Did you know that Brits toggle between devices 21 times an hour! Imagine what that’s doing to our brains!

11. Drop Stuff That Makes You Itch

If it’s not working for you, then drop it. The word no can be one of the most powerful words in your arsenal.

12. Don’t Seek Balance

sarah wilson don't seek balance

Enjoy the things that feel good and that will gradually create balance. I’ve talked a bit about this in the past. There’s no such thing as a fully balanced life and the more we seek balance, the more imbalanced we often become.

13. Get Your Grubby Mitts Off It

Sarah talked about time when she was feeling anxious and her meditation teacher advised her to ‘get her grubby mitts off it’, i.e. take a step back from the situation and get a bit of perspective.

 

Stories I loved this week.

photo-1433838552652-f9a46b332c40

Photo by Daniela Cuevas

It’s Saturday and I’m looking forward to some sweet relaxation time with my two guys. A lot of cooking, playing, laughing and eating is planned for this weekend before I head off on another work adventure to Jakarta next week! Here are some stories I loved this week.

The quest for work life balance is erroneous according to this wonderful article. I wrote about this a while back as I truly believe there’s no such thing as balance. (The Pool)

A fascinating article on how our childhood experiences can impact on our health as adults. Find out what your ACE score is. (Aeon)

8 things to eat and drink on when you get your period. Unsurprisingly, magnesium and calcium rich food are high on the list. (The Chalkboard)

A smarter way to ease the return to work after maternity leave. Companies are slowly starting to understand that not only are mothers an important part of a company’s culture, but that easing their return to work has long term benefits. (Washington Post)

Would you make your own treadmill desk? (Guardian)

Love this initiative. IBM’s travelling breastfeeding moms can now ship their milk home for free. (CNN Money)

Things I Love: Psycle

I took my first Psycle class back in January and I was hooked.

I had been watching Psycle ever since it opened last year, but weirdly kept making excuses about why I couldn’t go. Too tired. Still breastfeeding. Feeling insecure about my body. Frankly, feeling a bit intimidated. I can’t explain it (the mind is a strange thing), especially since I love Soul Cycle  (and have been patiently waiting for it to come to London) and always try to get in a few classes when I’m in New York.

I had a gap in freelance contracts in January to study for my semester one biomedicine exam and finally got up the nerve to head to a class. And one class was all it took for me to get addicted.

I love heading to a class first thing in the morning – usually the 7:30am or 8am class when M does the nursery dropoff – and getting that early morning endorphin fix. I love the friendly atmosphere, the enthusiast instructors, the plush soaps and facilities. But most of all, I love how each workout is different, depending on the instructor.

Some instructors are all about the choreography – making me feel like Beyonce on a bike – others are about those tough hill climbs and pushing you to the absolute limit with the resistance. The music is always amazing and I leave each time drenched in sweat (my sign of a good workout) and feeling like I’ve worked my absolute hardest.

Insert sweaty, redfaced picture! :)
Insert sweaty, redfaced picture! 🙂

At £20 a class, it’s not the cheapest, but you leave feeling like you’ve gotten value for money. The cost per ache metric. Interestingly, they’ve recently partnered with Class Pass so there is the opportunity to get a bit savings there. Check out the Oxford Circus studio and the newest studio in Canary Wharf – you won’t regret it!

P.S. Here’s one of my favourite Psycle tracks.

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