An Evening Walk At Bulverhythe

I worked from home on Monday and Harvey amused himself.  He was then able to choose what we did for the rest of the day and he asked to take his BMX down to the coast.  So we set off, with the BMX and Milton for an evening stroll.  I chose to park at the Western end of St.Leonard’s and walk towards Bexhill.  It was a delightful walk and one we will definitely be repeating.

P1070026I wasn’t expecting to see a white picket fence and astro turf next to the beach huts !P1070030The path runs on from the end of the promenade at St.Leonard’s and there is a car park which is very convenient.P1070032P1070033I confess, I do have beach hut envy.  I would love one and one day I will treat myself but I think I need to wait until I know which town I will be living in as the beach hut needs to be easy to get to to make it more useable.P1070034P1070035P1070039P1070036Everything about this walk was lovely.  Obviously the company was great (boy and dog), the weather was perfect as it was sunny and warm but not too hot and there were so many interesting things to look at.  There were people also walking/cycling/running along the track but mainly it was peaceful and quiet so you could really enjoy the sounds of the sea.P1070041P1070048P1070050Harvey loved the route and cycled many miles as he went backwards and forwards, up and down the gentle hills and along the flat.  This is looking towards Bexhill.P1070052If I close my eyes and breathe deep I can imagine I am back there, with my boy, with the sun and the sound of the waves.P1070053I definitely did not expect the profusion of wildflowers so they were an added bonus.  This is the view looking towards St.Leonard’s.P1070058P1070061P1070063P1070068P1070072After the walk we picked up some fish and chips (no fish for me obviously) and headed to Rebecca’s.  She had just made a fabulous dal which she gave me a bowlful of and which I must try and recreate.  We then sat in her pretty garden with its views over Hastings (and the ‘haunted house’ next door) and chatted away while the sun went down.  A lovely ending to a wonderful evening.P1070078

I have done well with the walking over the last week and actually walked 79,000 steps which exceeds the target 10,000 a day so I was happy with that.  I ate reasonably well too (apart from the chips) yesterday  and today I fasted.  I had water with the juice of 3 limes and 45ml of maple syrup.  I mix the lime juice and maple syrup together and take it to work.  I have a large glass in the office and I add 1 tbsp of the lime and syrup mixture to every 500ml of water.  I drank between 3 and 4 litres of water today.  I actually find it easier to eat nothing rather than a little so that is what I am going to try and do twice a week.  If I can do 3 days in a row (which I have done twice now), then I can do 1 day twice a week.

On the 5:2 diet you can have 500 calories on your fast days.  The juice of 3 limes and 45 ml maple syrup is 60 + 156 = 216 so I am well within the allowance.  I took Milton for a walk in the woods over the road when I came home as I had no time to go for a walk at lunch time so I have walked 10,682 steps so far today.  So all is going rather well at the moment with exercise and eating.  Room for improvement on the eating but a huge improvement on recent weeks.

 

 

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Sunny Hastings Evening

Harvey and I had a lazyish day at home on Saturday which was very pleasant.  It was still so warm and sunny in the late afternoon I suggested we headed for the coast so we could go for a walk along the seafront in Hastings, have supper and watch the sunset.  That is what we did.  We parked near the pier as by good fortune, street parking restrictions are lifted at 6pm which was exactly when we got there.P1060950I walked and Harvey cycled along to the far end of Hastings, Rock-A-Nore.  The beach had fewer people on it than I expected.P1060951These two were having fun on their paddle boards; they paddled out and then raced back in on the waves.  I really fancy trying that and sea kayaking.P1060953P1060952It was a very pleasant stroll and cycle.

The seafront near the boating lake and mini golf was full of people enjoying themselves and making the most of this fantastic weather we are having.

I meandered about, sometimes on the beach and sometimes on the promenade.P1060966As we approached Rock-A-Nore we came to the business end of the beach, where the fishing shacks are which sell fresh fish, the beach with the boats on it and the fishing net huts.P1060973Hastings really is a photographers dream.  I must dust off the large camera and come back as it is so picturesque.P1060969P1060975P1060981This is the coastline beyond Rock-A-Nore.P1060979The end of the road for us so we about turned in the direction of the pier for a cold drink.P1060983I love the lines of the pier and how they reflect in the wet sand.P1060986P1060990It was such a beautiful evening.P1060988A cold beer drink and crisps and peanuts were just the thing.  The only negative aspect of the evening was the ghastly rap style music being blasted out by a ‘DJ’ on the pier.  It seemed an unusual choice of music for a crowd of mainly families or middle aged people. P1060992Harvey chose to eat pizza which meant we had to walk back towards the Old Town to find a restaurant which sold pizzas and was on the sea front and had a table for us.  We ate in Bella Napoli at Pelham Crescent.   It was very good value; we nibbled on bread with Balsamic and olives, I had a pizza and Harvey a Calzone plus a glass of wine came to £24 which I think is really good.  The portions were so large we had to take half of it home so that’s lunch sorted!P1060995

We had a lovely evening in Hastings and thanks to all the walking, my step count for the day was over 17,000 which is really good.  Not enough to justify the pizza and bread though😦

Today was a gardening day.  I could always go to the beach but I have a large garden and it needed attention today so I stayed at home.P1070001P1070003P1070002P1060999Much of the garden looks really good, thanks to the weekly endeavours of my gardener, Adrian but certain bits, like the pots and veggie garden are all mine.P1060998I worked on the pots on the patio which were a mess and planted up a flower bed next to the veggie patch.  I haven’t been so inspired to grow as many veggies as usual as I was expecting to have moved.  Rather than look at an empty bed, I bought some flowers and planted them out.P1060997I only have tomatoes and squash in the greenhouse this year and they are doing really well.  We have already eaten some tomatoes which is the earliest I have ever had any.P1070005There are so many trusses on each plant.P1070006

P1070007I enjoyed being outside, gardening and was inspired by all the plants in the garden to make a juice for breakfast.  I picked some rainbow chard and juiced it with half a pineapple, an orange, a kiwi and red pepper and then blended it with half an avocado.P1070008I was aiming for a green juice but it was more brown than green.   It tasted good though.P1070009For supper I picked lots of peas and spent a pleasant time, sitting in the garden, shucking them.P1070010P1070011I also picked all the raspberries I could find and some rhubarb and made a crumble.  I haven’t made a ‘proper’ pudding for ages and thought it was about time I did.P1070013It was cooler today than yesterday with a pleasant breeze and in the afternoon we enjoyed a walk over the road in the woods.P1070017It is so lush and green in the woods at the moment.P1070018Look how high the ferns are?  They are huge, almost tropical.P1070019We ate supper in the garden.P1070014As we were having a pudding we had a light supper; stir fried vegetables (peas and chard from the garden) with smoked tofu with sesame seeds and almonds.P1070021The crumble was delicious.  I had about 5 cups of fruit which I placed in an ovenproof dish I had coated lightly with coconut oil.  I added 3 tbsp brown sugar.  I made a topping by blitzing together 1 cup of oats, half a cup of wholewheat flour, half a cup of pecan nuts, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, a pinch of salt and 4 tbsp vegan spread.  Baked in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.  Served with vegan custard.  We both really enjoyed it and have another portion to look forward to tomorrow.P1070023

 

 

 

 

 

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Discovering Bexhill

While I continue to be drawn down to the South coast, and regularly visit Hastings and St.Leonards, I have recently been reminded of how lovely Bexhill is.  I travelled home from a book reading with Gilli who said how charming Bexhill is and how it might be a good place to consider living.  So I went to take a look.  I think she may be on to something.  Bexhill seems charming, quaint and peaceful, particularly when compared to the craziness of Hastings and the faded grandeur of St.Leonards.

P1060837P1060838P1060839For the first visit, I took Harvey and we went with Lucy who by coincidence had been to Bexhill that week and was also pleasantly surprised by how lovely it was.  We strolled around the De La Warr Pavilion and then along the promenade.  Unlike Hastings and St.Leonards, where there is a road between the seafront houses and the promenade and beach, there are many houses in Bexhill with gardens directly on the promenade.  I could live in one of these!P1060840P1060841P1060842We also walked up to the Old Town which is like a rural village.  Very charming but not lively enough for what I am looking for so we headed back to the front.P1060844P1060847That was the first visit of many I have made since.  The following weekend I went to St.Leonard’s and was pleased to discover a mainly vegan cafe had opened on Norman Road.  They provide cow’s milk for coffee but the rest of their produce is vegan.  I had a fabulous chocolate cake with my coffee.  This is newly opened and I wish them well with their venture.

P1060855I strolled up Kings Road and bought some veggies in this shop and then pottered about the street market as by chance, it was the St.Leonard’s festival weekend.P1060859P1060860P1060861As usual I was drawn to the sea front.  The planting in St.Leonard’s is pretty so I enjoyed a walk along the front and then hopped over to Bexhill.P1060862

P1060864This time I walked away from the centre of Bexhill and headed West towards Eastbourne.  This is such a pretty promenade.P1060868P1060869Handy to know the rules about dogs on the beach.P1060870It seems so peaceful and quiet here but not isolated or lonely.

I sat and relaxed for ages, enjoying the sunshine and the soothing sounds of the waves on the beach.P1060880P1060881P1060882I would love a beach chalet on the beach!P1060884

P1060887After a long and lazy afternoon I headed home, all the happier for another jaunt to Bexhill.P1060892P1060893

So the following weekend I came back with Harvey and Milton.  Harvey BMXd and I walked with Milton.  Milton could not be persuaded in to the sea which is a shame as although it was overcast it was very warm.P1060899We moved along the coast to Hastings to see what Pirate’s Day was all about.P1060903

Wow!  So many people – men, women and children – dress up as pirates and the Old Town and promenade were heaving with people.P1060904

I think this chap, with the bird on his shoulder and his peg leg really was a pirate.P1060905P1060907I wouldn’t argue with this lot either.P1060908When the sun came out is was very hot; much too hot for Milton so we took him home.  Next year we will leave Milton at home and will hopefully be living in Hastings because I would like to experience Pirate’s Day properly.

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This week I headed North rather then South, to Edinburgh.  I always stay in the Apex hotel on Grassmarket if I can and this time I was given a large room with 2 double beds.  What a waste being in there on my own.  I wished I had Lara and Harvey with me as we would have enjoyed a night together.P1060915P1060917

The last time I was here it was very cold and there were no chairs and tables on the street.P1060918I sat outside one of the restaurants and enjoyed a pizza and glass of wine with a colleague from the office.P1060920

This was the view I had of the castle from my hotel the next morning.P1060922I wish I had time to explore Edinburgh; the little I see of it every time I come is extremely appealing and I would love to see more of it.P1060924

Instead I enjoyed the 15 minute walk to the office in the sunshine.P1060925

Harvey broke up from school and began his summer holidays this Friday at midday.  So I took a day off, picked him up from school and took him to the pub.  Well, I hadn’t seen him since Sunday and we had a lot of catching up to do.  This pub was in Bexhill.P1060929

We did some shopping as Harvey needed swimming trunks and then went to Seasalt for lunch which was very good.  I had a salad without the chorizo or goat’s cheese it was meant to come with and some chips.P1060930

With a very decent Sauvignon Blanc.P1060931

We then went to do something I have been wanting to do for several weeks – swim in the sea.  This was the first time I have swum in the sea all year and i really enjoyed it.  We both did.P1060937I also enjoyed relaxing and snoozing on the beach afterwards.  Despite the very warm day, there were only a few others on the beach at Bexhill as I think most people head to Hastings beach but I prefer the peace and quiet of Bexhill.P1060945P1060946

So there we are.  Bexhill rediscovered and somewhere I will keep returning to because we really like it.

 

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Four Days, Three Concerts

I have had a lot of fun in the last 4 days which is good for the soul but not necessarily for the improved health or weight loss I am aiming for

Wednesday was amazing.  I went to Wembley with 2 of my sisters and nephew Harry to see Coldplay.IMG_3173 IMG_3184 IMG_3190 I met Lucy and Abi in Zizzi at Wembley for a pizza and rather a lot of wine first !!  They do have a vegan cheese but unfortunately they also added goat’s cheese.  Having waited 2 hours for it, I picked off the cheese bits but it was disappointing.  Luckily the manager discounted our bill by all our main meals so it was quite good value in the end.IMG_3193 (1)Time to go in to the stadium.  So exciting !!!!

P1060770P1060774P1060777We had unreserved or pitch seats and we chose to sit.P1060776 The effects were amazing; at one point the entire stadium was filled with paper cut in to the shape of little birds.P1060779 Coldplay played on the main stage, an extended stage in to the centre of the stadium and a small stage at the end .P1060781 They are amazing to see live as they play all their hits and they also sang a tribute to David Bowie.P1060783 We were given wristbands which lit up and changed colour; this was very effective when 80,000 people were wearing them and waving them around.P1060787 P1060788 P1060790 And we had giant balloons to play with.P1060791

Thank you for coming they said.  Well thank you for playing – it was magical and amazing and fantastic.P1060792

The critics agreed.

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I had lovely supper at Jules’ on Thursday with some of the local lovelies and on Friday I went to Bedgebury, a forest near us, to see Tom Jones.

It did rain for a while but then the sun came out.

IMG_3243 Tom was great; he is such a good singer and his band were excellent.IMG_3248 Thank you Marion and Colin for the ticket and it was lovely to see you both, Clare and Lesley.IMG_3252

Last night we were at Bedgebury again to see the Kaiser Chiefs.  We had a very enjoyable evening and the Kaiser Chiefs were also good.

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Sally stayed with us last night and it was lovely to have some extra time with her.  We had a good start to the day this morning; a smoothie made with apricots, strawberries and bananas.P1060797We had coffee at Hartley Dyke and then it was time to say good-bye.  Lara and Harvey took their Dad out for lunch and I took mine.P1060799

Well, my Dad took me actually.  We went to a local Chinese restaurant in Sutton and I had a delicious meal of vegetable spring rolls, seaweed, sizzling tofu in black bean sauce, rice with vegetables and broccoli cooked with garlic.P1060802 I think 4 late nights took their toll.  I forgot to take my Dad these lovely flowers I bought him which I was so annoyed with myself about.  Sorry Daddy, but here is the promised photo of them xx

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Tomorrow I fast and get back on my thyroid healing protocol.

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A Weekend Of Healthy Eating

I have had a very relaxing weekend which was much needed.  I had nothing in my diary ALL weekend which is unheard of but I have actually enjoyed it so much I want to do it again.  I did very well with my eating this weekend too.

I wasn’t very hungry on Saturday morning so I just had an apple for breakfast with green tea.
P1060724 Lunch was a very simple stir fry, with the vegetables “fried” in water rather than oil.  I “fried” mustard seeds and cumin seeds in water and then added chopped onion and chilli, before adding cauliflower and sugar snap peas.  When it was ready I added cooked brown rice.P1060725 Served with fresh coriander made for an enjoyable meal.  It was less tasty than if I had used oil but so much healthier.  I didn’t add any salt as I have high blood pressure and am trying to bring it down without medication and neither did I add soy sauce as the thyroid protocol I am following asks you to avoid soya products.P1060726 P1060727 I snacked on some Goji berries and apricots in the afternoon.P1060728 For dinner I made High F-W’s aubergine and green bean curry from his Veg Everyday cookbook.  I have previously blogged the recipe for it.  It is delicious and well worth making, especially as it’s easy and tasty.P1060730 P1060731 P1060732While I was clearing up after supper I put a cup of buckwheat in water to soak overnight.

P1060723In the morning I rinsed it and put it in the blender.
P1060733 With some berries.P1060734 And coconut milk.  I also added a spoonful of coconut jam as it was a bit tart but I liked the thick slightly grainy texture and this was a very filling smoothie.P1060735 I love this green tea which has puffed brown rice in – such a delicate and wonderful flavour.P1060737 P1060738For lunch I made some sweet potato fries. You can never have too many sweet potato fries, right?  Well wrong actually.  When you make too many they sit in steam and don’t crisp up so I had a brilliant idea;  I added some red kidney beans and covered them in vegan cheese and popped them back in the oven for 10 minutes.
P1060739 Ta daaa!!!!  Cheezy sweet potato fries and they were amazing.P1060740 Served with roasted red pepper, courgettes and carrots with sauerkraut.P1060741 The cheesy fries and beans was the best part.P1060742 For dinner I made a really good shepherd’s pie.  Probably the best ever.  I used a mixture of lentils and aduki beans which I cooked with onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots for the base.  I used the beans and lentils with the water they come in.P1060743 For seasoning I used Worcester sauce, liquid aminos and a sprinkling of bouillon powder.  When it was cooked, I stirred in some cornflour mixed with a little water to make a thick sauce as that is how I like it.P1060744 Remember how much I love my green leaves?  Well I added them to the middle of this pie filling.  I put a layer of lentil and bean mixture over the base, added a packet of fresh spinach and then the rest of the filling on top.  Covered it in mashed potato and popped it in to the oven.P1060745 Served with frozen peas.  Always has to be frozen peas with shepherd’s pie and then some Branston pickle on the side.  It was delicious.P1060746 Three empty plates (mine, Matt’s and Harvey’s) were testament to how good it was and I look forward to the leftovers tomorrow.  Better still is knowing how much great nutrition is in this dinner.P1060747

Yesterday was a bit too lazy on the exercise front but today we went on a decent length walk around Hemstead so I am over my 10,000 steps.  I hope you had a good weekend too.

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Food Diary 10th May 2016

All she ate and drank today:

A glass of water with thyroid supplementsP1060707

Orange and pink grapefruit juice with protein powder.  I shared the juice with Harvey.

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Half a watermelon.

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A mug of green tea with Alison.P1060714

A stir “fry” using water instead of oil, made with onions, tender stem broccoli, cauliflower, brown rice and kidney beans and seasoned with chili, ginger and Maya’s spices, with a serving of sauerkraut and garnished with fresh coriander.

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750ml glass of water with a Berocca and vitamin B12 supplement.

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Afternoon snack; dried plums, pistachios and apple.

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A late afternoon dog walk with Harvey and Lucy at Hemstead Forest.P1060716

An apple snack.

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Half the frozen bananas were used to made banana nice cream made with raspberries, almond butter and coconut water.  I shared this quantity with Harvey.

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So yummy

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The other half of the bananas were blended with coconut water and cocoa powder.P1060720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Battling with Hypothyroidism

I was recently reminded that I had previously been diagnosed as being hypothyroid i.e. my thyroid is not functioning correctly and is under producing thyroid hormone or it could be producing enough but I am not able to utilise it sufficiently.  I went to the Doctors because of the following symptoms: difficulty losing weight, poor memory, a low and decreasing pulse rate and just feeling tired a lot of the time.  A blood test confirmed I was hypothyroid and I began taking thyroid hormone tablets – well, when I remembered I did!  I hadn’t taken the thyroid tablets for a long time and I am feeling better after just 3 months worth of taking the tablets regularly.

I know, from studying nutrition, that what you eat can make the condition better or worse so I went off in search of a decent book.  As with all things in nutrition, there are conflicting opinions about how best to help you so I bought a book I had been recommended and I am going to stick with it.

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I also have quite a few symptoms of being insulin resistant such as : general fatigue, constant hunger, craving sweets, frequent urination and difficulty losing weight.  So I am starting the the section in the book about trying to combat insulin resistance.  The protocol Dr. Kharrazian recommends is to do a 3 – 5 day fast of only consuming green tea, plus a lot of water mixed with lemon or lime pulp and maple syrup.  You then introduce specific types of food.

This is day 2 of the fast and I do feel very tired but I suspect that is in part having given up tea and coffee.  Apart from being tired I feel alright and this has been easier to stick to than I expected.

I use limes rather than lemons but you could use either.P1060684

I peeled the limes and put them in the blender with enough water and maple syrup to make a base.P1060685

I leave the base in a jug and every time my glass is empty I add some base and top it up with water.  Similar to how you would make a cordial or squash.

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I worked from home today so it was easy to keep the water and base cold in the fridge and top up regularly.P1060689

The quantities are not specific except for asking you to drink 2 gallons a day which I think is 7 litres (it’s an American book so I have assumed USA gallon).  You add enough maple syrup to take the bitterness away, rather than making a very sweet drink.   I haven’t managed that much though, I have had 4 litres of water with 3 limes and about 150 ml of maple syrup plus 2 mugs of green tea.

I really like the taste of it so it is very easy to drink.  You have to sip throughout the day and make sure you sip some every 10 – 15 minutes.  I did think it would be improved by a good slug of gin and I might even serve this as a cocktail the next time I have friends round.P1060690

The 3 – 5 day fast is important so you take a break from food to let your digestive tract have time to start recovering.  People with insulin resistance often have multiple food insensitivities and intolerances,  which is another symptom I have actually.

The lime juice alkalinises the blood and green tea helps produce the hormone lipase which helps burn body fat.  The book asks for Grade B maple syrup as that is sweeter so you need less but I couldn’t find any.

It was sunny and warm today so when Harvey came home from school we went for a walk  in the woods over the road from the house.  We are so lucky to have this on our doorstop.

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Shame my English rural scene was photo bombed !

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I love walking through these woods.

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There are several ponds and ditches in the woods which Milton usually drinks from as we go round but he wouldn’t drink it today and it was a very orange/brown colour.  I wonder what happened to that.

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I love this huge oak tree we pass on the way home.P1060704

I will repeat the lime/maple syrup/water drink tomorrow but I am out at the theatre in the evening and meeting a girlfriend first for supper so I will be breaking the fast a bit early.  But I will try and break it with foods on the permitted list for the next 2 weeks.

 

 

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An English Country Garden

I had a very busy and most enjoyable weekend.  I spent time with family and friends, appreciated the sunshine and managed to eat some delicious and nutritious food.

I made a divine apricot and banana smoothie.P1060568.jpgThe apricots were a bit beyond their best but I just cut off the mouldy bits, washed them and used the good bits.P1060569.jpgBlended with frozen banana.P1060570.jpgThe texture was soft and super smooth with a delicate flavour.  I added walnuts and coconut for healthy fats and texture.P1060571.jpg

I want to eat this again!

P1060572.jpgLara came home for the weekend and we began by having supper with my Dad and Step-Mother on Friday evening.  On Saturday we went to Hastings.  We had a simple lunch in the pavilion in Alexandra Park and then strolled through the park and the town centre and on to the pier, which I have not been on before.

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P1060622.jpgP1060623.jpgP1060625.jpgThe end of the pier seemed very peaceful and we enjoyed looking at the remains of the original pier and listening to the sea lapping beneath the pier structure.

P1060631.jpgP1060635.jpgP1060633.jpgThe pier has been a bit controversial because there is not much on it but I liked the sense of space and the fact it is a versatile space.  They can set up a cinema or concert venue here.  We gave the pier a big thumbs up.

P1060634.jpgI was intending to have a quiet nigh in on Saturday but my fab neighbours invited me over for supper and what a supper we had.  Lucy made me a delicious vegetable paella which I enjoyed very much with sweet potato chips, salad and ratatouille, followed by fruit and crackers.  And far too much gin, prossecco and wine!

Sorry Chris but this photo made me laugh so I had to include it .P1060644.jpgIt was a wonderful evening.  Thank you very much Marion and Colin for being such wonderful hosts and to all my dear neighbours; I could never have such lovely neighbours anywhere else.P1060646.jpg

I was a bit jaded on Sunday morning but several cups of tea, a long lie in and a banana made me feel nearly normal again.

P1060650.jpgI sit next to a lovely lady at work called Maya and she brings in tasty home made treats for us to share sometimes.  This week she gave me 2 boxes of home made spices;  this one smells earthy and citrusy and I couldn’t wait to use it.  I know it has cumin and coriander in it but I can’t remember what else.

P1060647.jpgI chopped up some potatoes in to chunky chip shapes.  I put some oil, a heaped tbsp of this spice mix and 1 tsp salt in with the oil and then added the potatoes, mixing to coat with the oil and spice.  I baked the potatoes for 35 minutes in a hot oven, turning half way through.

They were amazing !

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Enjoyed with a huge salad made with a base of rocket and little gem lettuces, then cucumber, celery and tomatoes and topped with griddled peppers, spring onions and red peppers and garnished with pistachio nuts.

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‘Follow Your Heart’ make a fab range of vegan salad dressings and I had the Caesar dressing on this salad and it was very good.P1060655.jpgIt was such a hot day we ate outside, under the shade of the apple tree.

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We all enjoyed that lunch.

P1060656.jpgAfter lunch, Annette picked up me and Harvey and we went to a beautiful house and garden, which was open to the public in aid of the Heart of Kent Hospice.  It was a 14th Century Wealden house.

P1060659.jpgThe gardens were delightful.

P1060672.jpgThere were lots of interesting sections such as a large pond, a vegetable garden and areas left more wild.

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I particularly liked this natural shelter.

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Just look at the size of that oak!

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There were tea tables set out in the pretty gardens and lots of cakes which I didn’t have but I was very pleased they had soya milk so I didn’t have to have black tea.

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I may have resisted the cakes but I didn’t manage to resist these crisps and houmous, which I shared with Lara when I got home – oops!

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Supper was a very simple baked sweet potato, vegan cheez with cauliflower steaks, which I seasoned in du’ca’ and baked in the oven.

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I did enjoy my weekend; I hope you enjoyed yours too.

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April and May 2016

This is the longest I have gone without blogging since I started!  I have been busy, with some significant life changing events and also lots of celebrations with dear friends and family.  This blog will not be so much about food but what I have done recently.  I am hoping, that having done a quick catch up, I can get back to more regular blogging and definitely dieting.  I have been dreadful lately; eating too much and of the wrong kind of food and in huge quantities.

I have only taken a small fraction of the photos I would usually and unfortunately I did something wrong when I imported them and have lost many which is a shame as we have to been to some wonderful places with some of our favourite people.  But here is what I do have.

We had a family weekend in Chichester at the beginning of April, celebrating Richard’s 50th birthday.  All the photos of the family party are missing apart from this one of my dear daughter who made a batch of scones to take along to the afternoon tea which kicked off the weekend’s festivities.

P1060235.jpgWe have also, thanks to Lara for organising it, had a lovely evening at the Udderbelly.P1060287.JPGThe Udderbelly is like a Big Top but cow shaped.  Purple and cow shaped!P1060289.jpgOutside is a selection of bars and pop up eateries, in a fun landscape, reminiscent of a music festival but thanks to the astro turf, minus the mud.

P1060298.jpgWe ate in Wagamama before we went inside.  Wagamama is a good choice for a vegan as they have information about the contents of all their dishes and there is a reasonable range you can choose from.  I started with the vegetable gyozas.P1060293.jpgFollowed by one of their rice noodle stir fries.  Deeelish!P1060292.jpgWe watched Closer by Circa and it was fabulous.  The run of that particular show is nearly over but I do recommend it and if you miss that show, or don’t fancy it, there are plenty more to choose from.P1060299.jpgWe have had some lazy weekends at home which we also enjoy as we need downtime sometimes.P1060352.jpgThe next birthday to celebrate was James’ 50th.  He chose to spend the day at a Heronry in Northward Hill in North Kent.  We didn’t actually see any herons but we had a lovely walk through the bluebells and then an interesting drive around the Isle of Grain.  Definitely worth visiting and I hope to return there one day.P1060380.jpg

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P1060366.jpgP1060363.jpgOur next fun event was Emily’s 21st in Bristol.  In Clifton in Bristol to be precise.  We stayed in The Victoria Square hotel which was very good value, especially because it had family rooms.  It was located in this square and we shared the hotel with most of my dearest friends.   The whole weekend was lovely and we began in style with a  fantastic party.P1060388.jpgAfter a long and leisurely breakfast together, I bade farewell to my Besties and went for a wander around Bristol with Lara and Harvey.  We walked over the world famous Bristol Suspension Bridge, which was not for the faint-hearted but the views were spectacular.P1060385.JPG

P1060381.JPGP1060384_2.JPGWe spent most of the day in Bath, visiting the Royal Crescent and the Roman Baths.  It was a beautiful day but sadly I have lost most of my photos which is a shame as Bath is stunning.

I can share this one of us having a coffee at the Royal Crescent Hotel which has beautiful gardens which are far larger than you would imagine behind the facade of a building on the Royal Crescent.

I will also share a travel tip I received from my Father, before I went backpacking at the tender age of 18.  His advice was, if I ever needed a bit of luxury but couldn’t really afford it, dress as smartly as I could and go to the best hotel I could find for a drink.  I have often done this and it is a great tip because the best hotels provide an excellent service and allow you to rest in luxurious surroundings.  So the three of us had about three staff on hand, to show us to a table and serve coffee in their beautiful garden.P1060389.JPGWe have also spent a lot of time in Hastings recently and the last 2 times with my sisters.P1060481.JPG

I have needed to be with my family recently and the last weekend was spent with all 3 of my sisters in Lyme Regis.  Abi and I stayed with our Step-Father Ian and his wife Helen in Sidmouth but we spent most of our time in Lyme Regis with my other 2 sisters.

The weekend involved lots of walking and we were blessed with constant sunshine.P1060513.JPGIt’s very hilly in Lyme Regis so I definitely did my fitness a lot of good with the regular walks up and down to the town.P1060516.JPG

P1060518.JPGWe noticed a sign for an open garden and went to visit as the house looked lovely and we expected the garden to be equally gorgeous.P1060519.JPGWe were not disappointed.P1060521.JPGP1060522.JPGThe owners had spent 9 years creating their garden paradise in the cliffs overlooking the sea.

P1060524.JPGI loved this swing seat and might have to treat myself to one.  It is from a company called Sitting Spiritually who are based in Lyme but who deliver father afield too.P1060523.JPGThis was a lovely garden to potter about in and gawp at the loveliness or just sit and stare.  We did plenty of both.P1060525.JPG

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P1060532.JPGP1060533.JPGThis was one of those day where nothing was planned and it just flowed and everything seemed perfect.  Such as bumping in to our Aunty and Uncle in the beautiful garden. P1060538.JPGWe weren’t expecting to see them until the next day so this was a double pleasure. So we wandered round the garden again.P1060541.JPGP1060539.JPGP1060545.JPGOn Sunday it was still sunny – which is unheard of when I go to Lyme.P1060550.JPGIt is all part of the ritual to go for a walk along the Cobb, which is what we did.  We walked there and back again which must have burnt off gazillions of calories.  Through the sheep field again and past this tree, which was split in half by lightening!

P1060553.JPGP1060554.JPGThe beach was packed with people and some were swimming and paddle-boarding in the sea.P1060561.JPGP1060563.JPG

That was a truly wonderful weekend.  Just what I needed.

I am happy to be back blogging again and hope to make it a regular event again.  Matt has sorted out my lap top for me, the last weekend has restored my happy mood and so i have no excuses.

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Seascape and Woodscape Easter 2016

This Easter has been happily spent with some of my family.  It will be remembered for Storm Katie which created some very memorable beach scenes and damage to the woods and trees around me.

Anticipating a day of over eating, I began with a smoothie made with coconut water, coconut yogurt, blackberries, blueberries. spirulina and some fresh blueberries.

I had a lovely Easter weekend, at my sister Abi’s or at home.  I hope you did too.

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