Colourfest 2017

Wow – what an amazing experience Colourfest 2017 was!  It was located at Gaunts House in Wimbourne, Dorset.  I had a life changing 4 days and can’t wait to go again.

For a while now I have been wanting to do yoga and start meditating and finding a calmer and more peaceful way of living.  I have too many stressful events in my life and need to be able to handle them peacefully rather than turning to food.  I did a bit of yoga many years ago and remembered it helped me so I have been meaning to do it again for quite some time.  However, despite my good intentions, I haven’t managed to do any until this weekend but I have now tried various types of yoga plus other experiences and I loved it all.

This is Gaunts House and the central meeting area.P1080746Some of the meditation sessions and workshops took place in here.P1080758P1080759This central meeting area was a lovely place to sit.  It was surrounded by little shops and most of the eating places so we spent quite a bit of time hanging out and relaxing here.P1080760P1080747P1080748Hello girls.  I was at Colourfest with Clare, Leslie and Diane and they helped make it really special.  They have all done lots of yoga and were very helpful, supportive and encouraging.P1080749I enjoyed lying under these shapes.P1080750P1080783At night time they were lit up which gave the area another vibe completely.P1080761P1080763We camped!  I never like the idea of camping much but I do like it once I get there.  We were able to park really close to our campsite and if I had known that I would have brought a lot more things with me.  I will know for next time.

We had 2 tents for the 4 of us and plenty of space around us.  Plus a windbreak and a parasol and chairs so we were well set.P1080768We camped under the large cedar tree in the middle of the picture.P1080745This beautiful wooded area was near our tent.  The trees were so tall and close together and it was really beautiful to walk in.  It was also the location of a dance music venue which was at times annoying (because it was loud and open until quite late) but we did enjoy a few dance moments in there.  It was lit up with little lanterns at night time and stained glass images were cleverly thrown up on the tree trunks, making it look like a cathedral.P1080739The grounds were set up in a way to create lots of little rooms and spaces.  Wandering around you regularly came across groups of people interacting together.  It was delightful.P1080787There was much to admire and enjoy.P1080752P1080753There were lots of treatments on offer, plus a swimming pool and a sauna but I didn’t get round to using any of those facilities.P1080754P1080755P1080756P1080770Some of the tents had cushions available and this one, the Acoustic Stage, had some sofas which I confess I did enjoy sitting on for a few moments one wet afternoon.P1080776Colourfest was very pretty in the darkP1080781This area often had an open fire and also a chai and cake stand.P1080767So what yoga did I try?  None on Thursday (the day we arrived) but I did hear my first ever Kirtan (a devotional song that is chanted) and I absolutely loved it.  We heard Elahn and Radhe in the Sacred Sound.  I was really moved by it and was keen to hear more.

We always had to take our shoes off before entering any of the tents/spaces and we usually had to sit on the floor which I found difficult but I will practise as it’s good for you (but I am enjoying my armchair tonight).P1080769My first yoga session was on Friday when I went to a restorative yoga workshop led by Elise Yuill Cohen in the Yoga Shala.  I had been told it would be a good introduction; I enjoyed it very much.

I also went to a very interesting workshop in the Ballroom of Gaunts House which was a lovely space to be in.  It was called ‘Soft Power, Full Desire, Women’s Sacred Space’.  The women only session was run by Katinka Soetens and I have never been to anything like it before and I took a lot away from that session.

What I really wanted to do though was to participate in some more Kirtan so we headed back to Sacred Sound.  I enjoyed the Kirtan led by Sivani Mata.P1080774It was lovely and I enjoyed it but it did not have the same power as the Kirtan led by Elahn and Radhe.P1080775Luckily for me they were leading Kirtan again in the evening. It was fabulous.  Really fabulous. So powerful, when you sit and chant and listen to the beautiful music with so many people.  P1080779The pipe, harmonium, guitar, drums and percussion combined with the chanting to make a really beautiful sound.  I need more Kirtan in my life and would say this session was my favourite moment of the weekend.P1080780I didn’t make a meditation session but I did go to a 2 hour Hatha yoga session run by Swami Asokananda who had flown over from New York for Colourfest.  He said something that resonated with me a lot.  Some of the yoga he was leading was very advanced but he always gave warning when showing something that many people would have been challenged with.  I was challenged with a lot of it!  But he said we should be happy with what we can do and not to be disappointed about what we can’t do.  Thank you for that Swami Asokananda.

We then went to a workshop run by JewelsWingfield called Deep Soul Awakening.  That was surprising and uncomfortable and a bit strange for me and not a session I would repeat but I was glad I experienced it.

On Saturday afternoon we had one of my favourite sessions of the weekend;  Elahn and Radhe Kirtan Bhakti flow yoga with Nicole.  We had the pleasure of the Kirtan but as background music rather than participatory chanting and Nicole ran a fast but story based yoga which was exciting and beautiful and poetic with images of animals and elements.  There was quite a lot of yoga I had to sit out of but I enjoyed the music and watching the experienced yoga being practised by everyone else which was lovely to see.

P1080785It was an extraordinary afternoon and I saw one man moved to tears (literally) by the beauty of the music.  It was amazing to experience.P1080786We had a very musical evening too.  Back to Sacred Sound for an evening of story, world music and chants with the Anjali Ensemble.  I have never seen such a wide array of instruments and I enjoyed listening to them very much.  It was very clever how they were used to tell the story.  Afterwards we heard The Turbans in The Unstructure and finally some of the dance music in the Woodland Cathedral.P1080788There was more yoga and meditation today but I was very tired, aching all over and ready to head home so i didn’t participate in any today.

We had a vegan breakfast from the Vegan Pyramid in the central space before packing up and leaving.  It doesn’t look great but tasted very nice; vegan sausage, beans, baked tomatoes, bread and really yummy roasted potatoes.P1080793P1080784Colourfast 2017 was a huge experience for me and one I enjoyed very much.  I am very grateful to Leslie, Clare and Diane for showing me the way and sharing Colourfest 2017 with me.  It really was lifechanging in a very positive way.




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Weekend in the Cotswolds

I had a fabulous weekend in the Cotswolds with 3 very dear friends.

P1080717We stayed in this cute little cottage in the village of Ebrington; Spring Cottage, which is the cottage in the right with the red brick extension.fullsizeoutput_f1aThe garden was a very pretty place to sit and i spent Sunday morning here, chatting and knitting.P1080718This is the back view of the cottage.P1080719Beautiful flowers.P1080721The kitchen was small but furnished to a good standard.fullsizeoutput_f25A small and cosy lounge.P1080725On Saturday morning we had a look around Chipping Camden.

The villages and towns in the Cotswolds are very pretty and most buildings are made of the same yellow stone.

We stopped for coffee and cake and I had a delicious slice of vegan treacle tart.  It had lemon zest in it, just like my Grandma used to make.  This was worth every calorie.


In the afternoon we did a long and rather hilly circular walk from Blockley; another pretty village.

Very well navigated Gini, from a little map on her phone.

There are some rather large houses and plenty of horse studs round here.

Plus lots of beautiful scenery.P1080712We finished the weekend with a roast in the Ebrington Arms.fullsizeoutput_f26A very pleasant ending to a lovely weekend.P1080726

I worked from home today and really focused on my diet.  I felt a little dehydrated after rather a lot of alcohol and salty snacks during the weekend.  So I made a large pot of water with ginger and lime which I sipped all morning.  I started off with a glass of Kombucha.fullsizeoutput_f27I had some left over mashed potato in the fridge from Friday’s supper and I heated that up in the oven and had it with half a can of baked beans. 1.5 syns for 1 tsp Flora Freedom in the mash.fullsizeoutput_f28I made a quick tofu stir fry for lunch.fullsizeoutput_f29Half a bowl full of mixed salad leaves and smoked tofu with veggies.  I “fried” it in water to save calories.

2.5 syns for 100g Taifun smoked tofu with almonds.fullsizeoutput_f2aI finished working at 6pm and headed off to the beach.  It was chilly but sunny and we walked for 2 hours and it was gorgeous.  Rebecca and Beryl joined us and we all enjoyed the fresh air and scenery and walked further than we usually do which contributed most of the 13,000 steps I walked today.fullsizeoutput_f2bThis was Milton’s first proper walk since his operation and he loved being outside.  It was wonderful seeing him so lively and happy.fullsizeoutput_f2cI made a cauliflower and potato curry for dinner.  A very tasty Deliciously Ella recipe but it did take an hour so we had a very late dinner!

4.5 syns for 100 ml light coconut milk and 2 syns for 1 tsp olive oil.fullsizeoutput_f2d

I had some almond milk for my Hex A (but not 1 litre) and no Hex Bs.








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Jack In The Green 2017

I have had an amazing weekend and feel tired as a consequence and happy.  It was the Jack In The Green festival weekend in Hastings and there were events on every day.  I had a very late and extremely enjoyable Saturday night when Sally and Lucy came to stay.  We had supper and a fair few beers in The Stag.  Greg, Clare and Millie joined us which contributed to a very late night!  On Saturday Harvey and I went to see the drum off in the Old Town which was very impressive and in the evening Lucy and I went to see the Lianne Carroll Trio which was brilliant.

Today was the main day of the weekend festivities.  I didn’t manage to be up and on the hill at 4:30 to see the Morris dancers welcoming the dawn.  But we were in the Old Town at 9 am to see Jack burst out of the Fishermen’s museum.

It was exciting walking over the West Hill and in to the Old Town, knowing we were going to see something special but not sure exactly what.  P1080585Shame about the weather but spirits were high.P1080586The costumes and make up were incredible.P1080587Cute decoration on a young boy’s hat.P1080590This family had been up since 3am to get blacked up and to dance in the dawn in Eastbourne.  Historically, this group of Morris dancers hailed from Shropshire.  They blacked themselves up with coal dust and goose fat so they were disguised because it was illegal to dance on a Sunday.P1080591This man’s costume was one of my favourites.P1080592The drama begins as we ready ourselves for Jack to break out from the fisherman’s museum.P1080596These costumes were all made in a local studio in Hastings by their wearers.P1080597This Mother and daughter looked very glamorous and the Mum had made both headpieces.  I loved how friendly everyone was and how willing they were to talk about their costumes.P1080598And here is Jack, so now the celebration of summer beginning  can start.P1080599More amazing costumes.P1080601Harvey and I wandered over to the High Street to watch the procession.

The procession pauses in the High Street so we can be entertained by the dancers.P1080608Here’s ‘Jack’, covered in greenery and wearing a crownP1080609Off he goes, up the hillP1080610With all his followers.P1080612The streets were packed and there was a fantastic atmosphere.P1080615Here’s the fabulous Clare, looking amazing.P1080617Happy smiling faces.P1080618Hello again!P1080622This mural was painted in the Old Town.  Jack is coming and its nearly time to break him free.P1080626As we walked up the West Hill, the sun came out.P1080628I do love my new town.P1080629We got to the top of the hill and then saw the procession again which was an unexpected bonus.

Hello Greg

P1080642There were so many incredible costumesP1080643There’s MillieP1080644I could have taken a photo of everyone, they were all so interesting!

We saw this drumming group in Hastings Old Town yesterday – they were excellent.  This was perhaps my favourite of the many drumming groups because they were very upbeat.P1080668P1080669After the procession, all the different groups performed.  I was enjoying watching it and was happy my sister Abi and family were able to join but it was actually quite cold, because of the wind so when they wanted to go and eat in a cafe, Harvey and I headed home.  We had been on our feet for 5 hours and felt a bit tired.

P1080676Tired but very happy as I walked though my door.  I love my new town and next year intend to be more involved in the festival.  It was an amazing sight,P1080677After a very long snooze I enjoyed a glass of red or two with rebecca and then managed to cook a delicious and nutritious dinner of 3 colours of quinoa with a stack of veggies, my favourite tofu (Taifun’s smoked tofu with almonds) and a mustard sauce.  We both enjoyed this meal.P1080680I go to bed tonight with many happy memories from my wonderful weekend.  This was my first Jack in the Green festival and it will not be my last.





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Easter 2017

We have had a lovely Easter and I hope you have too.  We have eaten lots of good food (not necessarily  diet friendly but not too bad either), walked a lot and seen lots of dear friends and family.

Last week my brother-in-law Jim and nephew Max came to stay.  Jim took Harvey and Max out for 2 days so I could work which was a great help and in the evening we had supper in The Crown.  I really enjoyed the pearl barley risotto but none of us liked the churros with rhubarb.  We enjoyed Jim and Max coming to stay.

On Good Friday Harvey and I met up with Lara and my oldest friends (from school !!!) at Michelle’s.  Michelle cooked a fabulous Middle Eastern themed lunch with special vegan yummy food for me.  I had a nut roast with vegetables, roasted fruit with ice cream and then a chocolate fudge cake.  It was all amazing – thank you Michelle.  We had a lovely afternoon together, chatting, laughing, eating and playing games, after which Lara came home with us for the long Easter weekend.

On Saturday we took Milton for a walk to the beach and back and then headed over to Brighton.P1080539We wandered through the Lanes.P1080540There was a very long queue to even get in to this extraordinary chocolate shop.P1080541We had lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant, Pho.  Vegetable spring rolls with a peanut sauce to start with.P1080542Followed by a hot and spicy noodle bowl with mushrooms and tofu.  It was very tasty.P1080543We walked along to the pier and Harvey wanted a go in the bouncy thing – I am not sure what the correct name is but its a bit like a catapult and pings you up, skyward.P1080548There he goes!P1080550I knew he would love it and he did.P1080553A few games of basketball in the amusement arcade.P1080556Then a walk along the pier.P1080558P1080559We walked miles today and I ended the day with over 20,000 steps on my Fitbit.P1080560For Easter Sunday I invited James and his sister Anne and family to join us.  They came down to Hastings and I booked The Stag on All Saints Street for lunch.  I didn’t feel up to cooking for 8 people so we ate out instead.  I really like The Stag and they do a great roast (and other types of food).

My nut roast was delicious.P1080561Cousins and siblings.P1080562We all enjoyed our lunch and then set off for a walk.P1080565I knew Anne and Tony, with a love of vintage and an interest on history, would enjoy Hendy’s on the High Street.P1080566It was quite empty so we could appreciate the building today and take our time to look around.P1080567It’s such a fascinating shop but can be hard to work out what is part of the decoration and what is for sale!P1080568

P1080569We walked around a LOT and finally took the lift back up to the West Hill.  P1080572Back at home we had tea and cake.P1080575It’s James’ birthday on Wednesday so Lara baked him his favourite cake.P1080576Coffee and walnut.P1080577Tony treated himself to a radiator brush in Hendy’s.  They do seem to sell a brush for every occasion and even for reasons you may not have though of. He particularly enjoyed walking round Hastings with it.P1080578I really enjoyed our Easter Sunday; I didn’t over eat and I did exercise a lot as I walked over 16,000 steps.

On Easter Monday we had a very lazy morning at home and then Laura (who I have known since University) and her daughter Lucy came down for lunch and a potter around Hastings.  We had lunch in Dragon on George Street where I had a lovely pizza.P1080579We walked along the seafront and to the end of the pier.P1080581This was a chilly but very enjoyable day and I walked over 12,000 steps.  Thanks for visiting Laura and Lucy.P1080583We had a wonderful Easter, with a lovely combination of resting and socialising.  Eating and exercising.  It’s a shame it’s over but it was all very lovely.

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Broadchurch and Sidmouth

I had a wonderful weekend with Harvey in the West Country.  We stayed at my Step-Father Ian’s beautiful home in Sidmouth for a couple of nights.  I am lucky to have such loving and welcoming hosts as Ian and Helen and the comfortable home to stay in is a bonus.

I really wanted to see my Uncle Clive while I was in Dorset and to go to ‘Yarn’ in Bridport, a shop that sells everything you need for knitting.  So on Saturday morning we met Uncle Clive in Bridport for coffee, with his niece Melissa and her fiancee Alistair. We met at the Soulshine Cafe on South Street which was very good. P1080475Yarn was great too and the lady who runs the shop, Rosie, is so helpful I left a happy customer and with my next project all bagged up and ready to begin.P1080477I did well to leave with only one new project as I could have chosen loads.P1080478After a potter about Bridport we went to The Stables for lunch and they had a vegan menu which always makes me happy.P1080480I had the Bute Island Blazer.P1080481It was fabulous.P1080482Are you a Broadchurch fan?  P1080488I am and near Bridport is West Bay where Broadchurch is set, so we had a good look around.P1080484This beach  features in every episode.P1080486The hill in the distance was the setting for the argument with the newspaper editor this week and the round building is the police station in the drama.P1080487The harbour is in most episodes.P1080489This amazing pear sorbet has nothing to do with Broadchurch but it was so delicious it deserved a photo.P1080490P1080491There is a river that feeds in to the harbour which I found very picturesque.P1080493All very lovely.P1080494My step-Mother, Helen, loves plants, inside and outside and she is very good at nurturing and growing them.P1080495This conservatory is a wonderful place to sit and relax in.  It’s lovely all year round and particularly in the sunshine.P1080496I should have taken a photo of the dinner table on Friday as it was so pretty and dinner was lovely.  Ian and Helen went to a lot of trouble to buy multiple vegan food offerings which I was very grateful for.  P1080509We had pasta on Friday and on Saturday we had a very tasty black bean casserole with falafel and salad.  I really enjoyed it.P1080510We had quite a lazy at home day on Sunday.  P1080524I had a large fruit and vegetable juice for breakfast and we then strolled along in the bright sunshine, beside the river to Sidmouth beach.P1080511Such a pretty spot.P1080512P1080514P1080515The red cliffs of Sidmouth beach are quite dramatic and if you look at the sea, the first few feet closest to the shoreline are red too.P1080517P1080519We walked along the promenade to the part of the beach near Jacob’s Ladder.P1080520We then pottered about in the rock pools.P1080521We left the beach via a steep staircase called Jacob’s Ladder.  Good views at the top.P1080523I had a delightfully tranquil afternoon, reading, knitting and snoozing in a chair in the beautiful garden.P1080508Every inch of this garden is filled with beautiful flowers and there are no weeds anywhere.

Helen even has a lemon tree full of lemons!P1080502I have potting shed envy.P1080504For supper we had bbq’d pizza and salad for supper.  Mine was delicious.P1080525Thank you Ian and Helen for such a wonderful weekend.  We both felt very loved, well entertained and certainly well fed.

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Yarn Bombing

What a lovely sunny day we had today.  I was able to enjoy a lot of the sunshine by walking in it to St.Leonard’s and back, via the pier to see the yarn bombing.

I made a juice for breakfast but have managed to delete the photo!  You’ll have to trust me on that one.  Lucy came over and after a coffee, we walked, with Harvey, down to the pier.P1080456It was perfect walking weather; sunny and warm but not too hot.  I had heard about the yarn bombing on the pier and wanted to see it for myself.P1080458It was fantastic.  So many local groups, such as primary schools and the scouts, had made pictures, installations or models, such as this charming mermaid. They were then displayed all over the pier.P1080464People are so imaginative and creative.

P1080465This installation was massive.P1080466The beach was surprisingly deserted although it did fill up a lot by late afternoon when it was warm enough to lie outside.P1080467Just a few paddle boarders earlier on though as it was too calm for the windsurfers and surfers.P1080468I think this merry band of pirates was one of my favourite installations.P1080471We had lunch in the Love Cafe on Norman Road.  I had the falafels with salad, avocado and pitta bread.  The bread and falafels were lovely but the salad was drowned in a very strong vinaigrette which was a shame.  I will go to the Love Cafe again as I like it in there and the soy milk latte was excellent.  But I will ask for the dressing on the side next time.P1080472The reason for walking to St.Leonard’s was to go to the excellent Kino-teatr to see Moonlight.  Rebecca met us in there and had saved us good seats in the arm chairs and sofa near the front.  Moonlight is not an easy or pleasant watch and I am surprised it won the Oscar for Best Film.  I am glad I went but would not see it again.

Dinner was a very quick, easy and uninspiring salad with humous, sweetcorn and potatoes.  With a glass of wine plus I had some peanuts before hand.P1080474My eating was ok today and the walking very good; I walked over 14,000 steps and hardly sat down all day so a good active day.  With lovely friends and great scenery.  Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

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Out and About in Kent, Sussex and London

I have seen some very dear friends and family this week, seen some amazing sights, eaten some wonderful food and been very good at exercising.  So a good week in many ways.

In 1749, during a severe gale, the Amsterdam was shipwrecked at Bulverhythe (between St.Leonards and Bexhill) and when the tides are very low, you can see the remains of it.  The tides were very low this week so on Thursday morning, we went down to the beach at 7 am to have a look.

P1080398It was a beautiful morning and I am so pleased we made the effort to go down to the beach as it was tempting to stay in bed.P1080401The low tide is usually 1-2 metres but on this day it was 0.35 so the water was very far out, which gave us plenty of time to walk around the exposed ribs of the remains of the ship.P1080407P1080418Lots of interesting smells for Milton.P1080406P1080404If you want to find the wreck, it’s near the railway crossing at Bulverhtythe.P1080400P1080416P1080417We all enjoyed our early morning trip to the beach.P1080409P1080410P1080412On Thursday evening Jane and Vicky came to visit me.  I didn’t take any photos but be assured I had a really lovely evening.  We walked over to the Old Town and had dinner in The Stag which has a Balinese themed evening on Thursdays.  I had a delicious vegan dish of stir fried vegetables with rice and a side of fried tofu with beansprouts.  It was so lovely to see them both and I look forward to them visiting again.

Last night I met Laura and Jeremy, who I was at University with, so we could celebrate Laura’s birthday.  We had a table booked at The Oxo Brasserie.  It was fun walking along the Southbank, watching the skateboarders and then the cyclists and of course, enjoying the view of London across the Thames.

Photo credit to Jeremy for this one, taken while he waited for us to get there.IMG_4743The Brasserie had a vegetarian menu with vegan options clearly marked so choosing dinner was easy.  Choosing the cocktails was harder because any of them would have been enjoyable.P1080427I had the falafel and pomegranate salad to start with which was delicious.P1080428My main was stuffed mushrooms with a side of broccoli and chips.  Enhanced it must be said by a very decent Sancerre.P1080430For dessert I had a banana cake with a ginger and pear sorbet.  It was a delicious meal in a splendid setting with dear friends.P1080431Harvey and I went to Canterbury today.  It is such a pretty little City, filled with charming independent shops and enticing cafes.  We went in this one.  It was great.P1080439This is a vegetarian cafe that serves mainly vegan food.  We both had ‘special boxes’ and both really enjoyed everything we had; the salads in particular were delicious.  Lots of raw and fermented foods so very nutritious.  I had the white bean burger and mixed salads with seeds, sauerkraut and vegan mayo.  It was really very good indeed.IMG_4745We were sitting near the cake counter so we naturally had to try a cake too.P1080434The cupcakes were moist and with the right proportion of icing to cake;  we each had half a chocolate and half a vanilla.  Mine were enjoyed with a good strong coffee.  I highly recommend this little cafe.P1080436Our reason for being in Canterbury was to go and see the Cathedral.P1080440We had been given a free family ticket and I was really looking forward to going.  Harvey less so but he was interested once we got inside.P1080441The scale of the place is jaw dropping and the quality of the craftsmanship is hard to believe.P1080442There is a lot of restoration work underway so we couldn’t see everything but we loved what we did see.P1080443Beautiful pulpit.P1080444One of the 4 sides of the Cloisters.P1080446P1080447P1080451P1080452We have a light as large and ornate as this one in our modest sized sitting room.  I noticed this one because everyone who visits my house comments on it.  I will change it eventually as it is too big and fussy for me but it would go well in this Cathedral.IMG_4747We were lucky enough to be there while the choir were practising.  The sound was so beautiful it sent shivers down my spine.  IMG_4748I really like choral music and in such a splendid setting it was a sound to behold.  I could have stood there for hours.P1080453When we left the cathedral we pottered around the shops for a while which was lovely, ambling along in the Spring sunshine.  Canterbury is a charming City and one we will visit again.

IMG_4753We then spent a couple of very happy hours at my cousin Katie’s house in nearby Blean, having tea with her and her husband Twig.  Our lovely day out ended on our front patio, where we enjoyed a drink as the sun set.IMG_4755I have been really good at walking this week and have an average step count of 13,197 steps each day which I am very pleased about.  Hopefully that will help work off some of the lovely food I have had this week.

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This Is London

I was saddened and angered by the attack on Westminster on Wednesday but I will not let such things stop me enjoying the greatest city in the world or interfere with my life.  It was Mother’s Day today and I had booked tickets for the three of us to go to the Royal Academy of Art and see the exhibition of American art after the fall i.e. the 1930’s followed by lunch nearby.  We stuck to our plan and had a really wonderful day.

Harvey and I caught the train up to Victoria where Lara met us.  We then planned to walk past Buckingham Palace and through Green Park to the Academy.  Our way was blocked by huge crowds because it was Changing Of The Guards so we stood to watch.  We had a great view from the palace end of St James’ Park which looked really pretty.P1080356I don’t think my children have actually seen this before but it’s a fantastic sight and we somehow managed to be standing at the front and had a perfect view.  P1080358The red uniforms, white palace and blue sky looked very patriotic.  Red, white and blue.  This is London and we are not afraid and we are not changing our way of life.P1080360The Queen’s guards play their instruments and march on to the palace.P1080357 I am so pleased we saw that and it set us up perfectly for a wonderful day in sunny London.P1080364We walked through Green Park and on to the Royal Academy of Art in Piccadilly.P1080372London has so many beautiful buildings.  Remember to always look up or you miss some extraordinary architecture, such as these statues set in alcoves along the front of the Academy.P1080369This was a small exhibition but very interesting and I really enjoyed it.  I appreciated Lara and Harvey coming with me as it’s not something they would have chosen to do but they came along willingly and hopefully got something out of it too.  I definitely did.P1080371P1080370After the exhibition we meandered through Piccadilly and Soho and enjoyed the many sights of London.P1080375Our chosen lunch venue (Mildred’s) was closed so we went to Tapas Brindisa. Lara had bought me a cookbook by my favourite vegan bakers who make the BEST cupcakes.  Can’t wait to try making some of these.P1080381I was given a complimentary Mother’s Day cocktail and then had a sherry and citrus cocktail with the most amazing olives.P1080382And salted almonds, vegetable croquettes and sourdough toast with tomatoes.P1080383Then more bread with garlic, olive oil and herbs, a fennel, radish and orange salad and wilted spinach with pine nuts and raisins.  We feasted and chatted and laughed and had a really wonderful lunch time.  It was the best and I felt very lucky to spend my day with two such delightful companions.P1080385We walked some more after lunch and ended up in Golden Square.P1080393These pink tulips were so pretty.P1080392An unusual sculpture.P1080390Lara had found the Nordik Cafe for us to try but it was a bit dark and nothing special.  But it didn’t matter because the rest of the day definitely was; it was very special.P1080394London in the Spring sunshine was the perfect place to spend Mother’s Day with my 2 favourite people on the planet.  I hope all the Mummys among my friends and family had a lovely day too.

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Aloe Aloe

I lost 2 pounds last week which was a bit of a pleasant surprise after the weekend’s excesses and my Prosecco evening last Wednesday.  I felt happy about that and really pleased I bought my new scales last week so I can plot my progress.

It looked like a promising day on the terrace today; shame I had to work but I intended to get out for a walk at some point.P1080305I juiced up a bag of watercress, some blueberries and 2 apples for breakfast and made them in to a smoothie with half an avocado and some aloe vera jelly.  P1080313Check out that monster aloe vera leaf!P1080314When you cut in to it the centre is full of jelly.P1080315I looked up what to do with it (any advice would be appreciated though) and I read to peel it and blend it in to a smoothie.  I also rubbed some of the gloopy jelly on my face, hands and arms.  I cut off a piece about the size of half a small avocado.P1080317It looks pretty.P1080319It tasted very pleasant.P1080320For lunch I made a large salad bowl with some kimchi which is a Korean fermented vegetable condiment.P1080321I had some rice, alfalfa and radish sprouts, chestnut mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, spinach, wilted red kale, beetroot , mangetout and cucumber.P1080322I snacked on some prunes, dried apricots and dried mango in the afternoon and for supper had less than half a pizza.  I bought the base and topped it with some roasted tomatoes I had grown last year, roasted and then frozen.  And one slice of 3 different  vegan cheeses I wanted to taste test.  Not bad.P1080323At about quarter to six we took Milton for a walk on the beach with Rebecca and Beryl.  It was an extraordinary sunset.  There are no filters or enhanced edits on these photos.

Looking West, shortly before 6pm.IMG_4590Looking East.  Such a different light.IMG_4592This dear old dog of ours does love the beach.IMG_4594The colours in the sky just got better and better as we walked West.IMG_4596The stunning sky was reflected in the sand which made the sunset twice as good .IMG_4598IMG_4600IMG_4604The only editing on this photo was some cropping.  It really was amazing being out there and we walked further than we thought we had as we kept walking in the pinkness.IMG_4607We walked back along the track beside the railway line.IMG_4609I ate too many dried fruits today which massively added to my calorie count today.  I consumed 1,966 calories, nearly half of which was from the dried fruits.  I had no idea they had sooo many calories.

I walked over 8,000 steps which is not my target but not bad for a working from home day.

I only managed 6 hours 48 minutes sleep.

I can confirm that the aloe vera and dried fruit (prunes!) lived up to their reputation for being a laxative !


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Walking in Hastings and London

Another weekend comes to an end and as I enjoy looking back at the pictures I have taken, I am happy to say it was another good one.

Saturday was a lovely sunny day.  I went in to town, to Trinity Wholefoods to get some provisions for the day.P1080260Lucy and Rebecca were coming for lunch so I made My New Roots’ Four Corners Soup for lunch.P1080261Such a great recipe.P1080262Lots of green leaves; red kale and spinach.P1080263I made my first massage kale salad.  I put 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp lime juice with a little salt in the salad bowl and massaged that in to the kale.  After about 1 minute,  the thick kale leaves became much softer.  I chopped them up and mixed them with the other salad ingredients: spinach, chestnut mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mange tout, alfalfa and radish sprouts.  We had a bowl of salad first and then a bowl of soup.P1080264Having nourished our bides, we went on another Hastings Greenway walk.  This one from Alexandra Park to the Conquest Hospital on The Ridge.  This was a very pretty, mainly car free and at time hilly walk.P1080266P1080267It’s definitely Spring.P1080268After the walk we went to the cafe in the park for a cuppa.P1080270It was lovely sitting in the sunshine with Lucy and Rebecca and I could have stayed much longer but I had plans for the evening so had to get going.P1080271I travelled up to Muswell Hill on Saturday afternoon to spend the afternoon with my sisters Lucy and Abi.

While sitting on the long train journey up to London (about 100 minutes) I felt very hungry.  Really hungry.  So between the mainline station and the Underground I went in to a shop and bought and ate, a Bounce ball, small box of Graze nuts and a bag of vegetable crisps.  I had been so good all week and then just fell off the wagon completely.  When I arrived at Lucy’s I had wine and crisps.  I am so bad sometimes too often.

Lucy cooked us all dinner of rice, beans and a delicious tomato and avocado salad.  My Neice Olivia commented that it was a bit “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here” which made me laugh.  She exaggerates of course, it was lovely.  We had a couple of drinks in the pub and a lovely evening.

I did well with walking – 14,940 steps.  Very badly with calories but ok with sleep; 6 hours 41 minutes.P1080268

After a very leisurely Sunday morning we walked up to Highgate to meet Lara and Harvey and then walked back again, through Highgate Woods.P1080275P1080276We pottered about in the shops for a bit as Muswell Hill still has many independent shops, such as Martyn’s, a lovely grocery shop.P1080277Local produce.P1080278I bought some dried apricots, mango and prunes and paid for them at this cute hatch.P1080279Great shop.P1080280We ended up in La Porchetta for pizza.P1080282Yummy pizza and a very pleasant Valpolicella.P1080287The portions were ridiculously large and it was good and tasty food.P1080288Check these out!  These incredible little paintings are on squished chewing gum blobs on the pavement.  They are so detailed and so much more attractive than the grey blobs.  This one is next to my shoe for scale.

P1080291I think this is my favouriteP1080293I liked these and love how imaginative artists are.  I wonder why he decided to start painting gum blobs.

Muswell Hill has a Planet Organic so I stocked up on some goodies and also a couple of sweet treats because we bought desserts to have back home at Lucy’s, rather than in the restaurant.  I bought a small bar of chocolate covered marzipan (divine) and a ‘Snackers’.P1080299The Snackers looks better than it tastes, mainly because there was too much very dark chocolate.P1080302We had a very relaxing afternoon together at my sister’s lovely flat.P1080301I do like a relaxed family day.P1080304Harvey and I caught the train home and had a simple supper of a large bowl of soup.

Today I walked 11,605 steps, ate far too many calories and had 7 hours 41 minutes sleep.  8 hours remains elusive.

I hope you all had a good weekend too.

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