January is always a long month. There is a constant chill in the air and the sun is fleeting in the dead of winter. It did snow a little one Saturday morning but it didn't last too long, it's my favourite part about winter, I do hope we get some more before spring arrives.

I've been trying to focus on my goals for the year, some have been going okay. Back to healthier eating and have been exercising regularly. I started a little internship at the beginning of the year. So not bad with those goals. The rest have taken a backseat but there are still eleven more months to make real progress in them.

If you have ever tried cutting down on coffee in the colder months it's actually really difficult. Maybe it will just have to be an indulgent that is here to stay. A few days ago I took a trip into central London to the Victoria and Albert Museum, I can't believe I've never been there but I guess there's a first time for everything. Then walked around Kensington and headed to Spitafields market.

Hope you all had a great first month of the year and next month will be even better.


January

31.1.15



January is always a long month. There is a constant chill in the air and the sun is fleeting in the dead of winter. It did snow a little one Saturday morning but it didn't last too long, it's my favourite part about winter, I do hope we get some more before spring arrives.

I've been trying to focus on my goals for the year, some have been going okay. Back to healthier eating and have been exercising regularly. I started a little internship at the beginning of the year. So not bad with those goals. The rest have taken a backseat but there are still eleven more months to make real progress in them.

If you have ever tried cutting down on coffee in the colder months it's actually really difficult. Maybe it will just have to be an indulgent that is here to stay. A few days ago I took a trip into central London to the Victoria and Albert Museum, I can't believe I've never been there but I guess there's a first time for everything. Then walked around Kensington and headed to Spitafields market.

Hope you all had a great first month of the year and next month will be even better.


Last year was the first time I read a book by Rainbow Rowell and this is now the third and I have another on my to read book pile. When I like a book I make a mental note of that author to check out their other books. So far I have not been disappointed, I've read Eleanor and Park and Attachments, I enjoyed them both and after reading the last page I finish the book feeling like I learnt a little lesson in life and love. The same happened with Landline. 

Georgie is married to Neal and have two little girls. They met at college, she is a TV writer and Neal looks after their children full time. Just a few days before they leave to visit Neal's family for Christmas Georgie tells him that she can't go. An opportunity arrives with her show and is left with a close deadline. So Neal leaves with the girls for Christmas while Georgie is left wondering if she ruined everything. At her Mother's home is a yellow landline phone in her childhood bedroom where she calls Neal that evening. It connects her with Neal from the past. It's not exactly time travel but Georgie takes this chance to mend her marriage, at least that is what she thinks she is supposed to do.

We learn more and more about their relationship and their life together, the good and the bad. The time physically apart lets Georgie evaluate the person she is and in some way is given a wake up call in the importance of her family and loved ones. Sometimes I think we all find ourselves at a point where we remember to appreciate what we have and who we have in our lives. The daily mundane events can consume us more often than we like but at the heart of it there are other great things that need to be looked after. Whether it is our partners, families or health. We should cherish them. That is what I took from this book. No matter what happens, take a step back and hold onto the most important things to you.
 

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

22.1.15

Last year was the first time I read a book by Rainbow Rowell and this is now the third and I have another on my to read book pile. When I like a book I make a mental note of that author to check out their other books. So far I have not been disappointed, I've read Eleanor and Park and Attachments, I enjoyed them both and after reading the last page I finish the book feeling like I learnt a little lesson in life and love. The same happened with Landline. 

Georgie is married to Neal and have two little girls. They met at college, she is a TV writer and Neal looks after their children full time. Just a few days before they leave to visit Neal's family for Christmas Georgie tells him that she can't go. An opportunity arrives with her show and is left with a close deadline. So Neal leaves with the girls for Christmas while Georgie is left wondering if she ruined everything. At her Mother's home is a yellow landline phone in her childhood bedroom where she calls Neal that evening. It connects her with Neal from the past. It's not exactly time travel but Georgie takes this chance to mend her marriage, at least that is what she thinks she is supposed to do.

We learn more and more about their relationship and their life together, the good and the bad. The time physically apart lets Georgie evaluate the person she is and in some way is given a wake up call in the importance of her family and loved ones. Sometimes I think we all find ourselves at a point where we remember to appreciate what we have and who we have in our lives. The daily mundane events can consume us more often than we like but at the heart of it there are other great things that need to be looked after. Whether it is our partners, families or health. We should cherish them. That is what I took from this book. No matter what happens, take a step back and hold onto the most important things to you.
 


Every year for Christmas I like to make a dessert, I really don't like Christmas pudding, cake or mince pies. For a few years I used to make a trifle, last year I made a ginger cake and this year my Mum suggested I make a pear and almond tart. I have never made a tart before and I have to say I was quite happy with the way it turned out. As you can see it looks home made but I like the 'rustic' look. I googled a few recipes and this one seemed fairly easy and it did taste pretty good.

For the pears.. 1 vanilla pod (split), 1 cinnamon stick or half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 250g caster sugar, 4 pears peeled, halved and cored. 
Pour 300ml of water into a large pan and add the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick and sugar. Bring to the boil, then add the pears and simmer them for 20 minutes. Leave to cool then chop into slices.

For the pastry.. 130g plain flour and extra for dusting, 80g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and left to soften. 30g sugar, 1 egg yolk.
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt, place them on the work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the butter and sugar and gently work together with your fingertips. Add the egg yolk and gradually fold in the flour, adding a few drops of water as you go. When all the flour has been added, shape the dough into a ball but do not overwork it. Wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. 

For the almond cream.. 125g softened unsalted butter, 125g caster sugar, 125g ground almonds, 3 medium eggs, 2 tablespoons of rum.
Mix the butter and sugar until pale, then add the ground almonds. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and finally the rum.
 

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3mm and use it to line a greased 28cm flan tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork, line it with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (or rice/pasta), then bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and put the pastry back into the oven for another 5 minutes or until the base has cooked but not taken on too much colour. Spoon the almond cream into the tart base, then arrange the sliced, drained pears on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. 


I served the tart warm with some almond flakes and vanilla ice cream. Depending on your tastes you can add custard, jam or anything you fancy.


Pear & Almond Tart

11.1.15


Every year for Christmas I like to make a dessert, I really don't like Christmas pudding, cake or mince pies. For a few years I used to make a trifle, last year I made a ginger cake and this year my Mum suggested I make a pear and almond tart. I have never made a tart before and I have to say I was quite happy with the way it turned out. As you can see it looks home made but I like the 'rustic' look. I googled a few recipes and this one seemed fairly easy and it did taste pretty good.

For the pears.. 1 vanilla pod (split), 1 cinnamon stick or half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 250g caster sugar, 4 pears peeled, halved and cored. 
Pour 300ml of water into a large pan and add the vanilla pod, cinnamon stick and sugar. Bring to the boil, then add the pears and simmer them for 20 minutes. Leave to cool then chop into slices.

For the pastry.. 130g plain flour and extra for dusting, 80g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and left to soften. 30g sugar, 1 egg yolk.
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt, place them on the work surface and make a well in the centre. Add the butter and sugar and gently work together with your fingertips. Add the egg yolk and gradually fold in the flour, adding a few drops of water as you go. When all the flour has been added, shape the dough into a ball but do not overwork it. Wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using. 

For the almond cream.. 125g softened unsalted butter, 125g caster sugar, 125g ground almonds, 3 medium eggs, 2 tablespoons of rum.
Mix the butter and sugar until pale, then add the ground almonds. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and finally the rum.
 

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3mm and use it to line a greased 28cm flan tin. Prick the pastry base with a fork, line it with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (or rice/pasta), then bake blind for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and put the pastry back into the oven for another 5 minutes or until the base has cooked but not taken on too much colour. Spoon the almond cream into the tart base, then arrange the sliced, drained pears on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. 


I served the tart warm with some almond flakes and vanilla ice cream. Depending on your tastes you can add custard, jam or anything you fancy.


Books about people's lives and relationships are one of my favourites. Finding stories that you feel you can somewhat relate to can sometimes make them more real. This is one of those that you can imagine has actually happened. It's realistic in so many ways and ordinary but touches on so much throughout a man's adult life.

Douglas is a man in his 50's, academic, passionate about science and married to Connie an artist. Their son Albie is leaving home to go to university when Connie tells Douglas that she will be leaving too. Before the departure of two of his loved ones, Douglas is set out to make their last family holiday count, in the hope that it will bring them closer together and make Connie reconsider her decision as well as gaining respect from his son. They set out on their Grand Tour interraling across Europe, following the itinerary Douglas planned with days full of seeing the sights. However, not everything goes to plan.

During their travels we find out more about Douglas and his life with Connie. Piecing together the puzzle of their relationship. From when they first met, to the day they married, to the birth of their children and everything in between. Much like many typical relationships they have their fair share of laughter and heartache. You begin to understand why each person in the family of 3 feel and think the way they do. And another little reminder that not everything lasts forever and sometimes change is the best thing for everyone. Even if it does not feel like it initially. Douglas comes across some interesting characters that help him along the way to accepting what will be.

Us is an all-round good book, you want to know what happens but you can also go a few days or weeks without reading and you can be brought back into the story. From the outside it does seem like a bit of a chick-lit novel but it's written in a more simple matter-of-fact way that can be read by anyone and still be enjoyable.


Book Review: Us by David Nicholls

3.1.15

Books about people's lives and relationships are one of my favourites. Finding stories that you feel you can somewhat relate to can sometimes make them more real. This is one of those that you can imagine has actually happened. It's realistic in so many ways and ordinary but touches on so much throughout a man's adult life.

Douglas is a man in his 50's, academic, passionate about science and married to Connie an artist. Their son Albie is leaving home to go to university when Connie tells Douglas that she will be leaving too. Before the departure of two of his loved ones, Douglas is set out to make their last family holiday count, in the hope that it will bring them closer together and make Connie reconsider her decision as well as gaining respect from his son. They set out on their Grand Tour interraling across Europe, following the itinerary Douglas planned with days full of seeing the sights. However, not everything goes to plan.

During their travels we find out more about Douglas and his life with Connie. Piecing together the puzzle of their relationship. From when they first met, to the day they married, to the birth of their children and everything in between. Much like many typical relationships they have their fair share of laughter and heartache. You begin to understand why each person in the family of 3 feel and think the way they do. And another little reminder that not everything lasts forever and sometimes change is the best thing for everyone. Even if it does not feel like it initially. Douglas comes across some interesting characters that help him along the way to accepting what will be.

Us is an all-round good book, you want to know what happens but you can also go a few days or weeks without reading and you can be brought back into the story. From the outside it does seem like a bit of a chick-lit novel but it's written in a more simple matter-of-fact way that can be read by anyone and still be enjoyable.



Looking back at 2014 it was a weird, up and down year for me. The beginning was slow and dull, in my mind it's a hazy blur. As we hit the mid way point of the year everything became a bit brighter, there were some dark days but when I think back at the Summer months, I feel warm. Towards the end it has been a mix, it has disappeared so quickly like it never even happened.  I've been reflecting on the past 12 months quite a lot lately. I do this so that I can go into the new year with a clear mind of what I want from it.

Every year for the last couple of years I like to write down my dreams and goals for the rest of the year. Everyone does it, it's a good way to keep on track, seeing your progress or if what was important to you a year ago isn't any longer. Mine are almost the same every year. They are more dreams than goals for me. The most important things. I do like to add in a goal that will challenge me in a different way in the hope that it will benefit my life. I hope to continue to make some real progress this year.

Take more steps on the career ladder
I want to focus more on progressing in the career area. The past year I didn't put my heart into it, I wasn't in the right mind set for most of it but I'm now more determined than ever to do what it takes. Finding work experience, internships and jobs that can get me a step closer to being on the right track to doing what I want to do.

Be healthier and look after my body
In 2014, for the first time ever I actually made progress in this part of my life. I'm healthier and fitter than I've ever been. Most importantly I feel a lot better. I've learnt a lot about how important it is to look after yourself. I want to continue this and make some more changes that I hope will make me feel even better and in turn change my life.

Write more
In the past year I kept a journal where I wrote down little things every now and then. I love taking that time for myself, I've found it healing. I'm still going to write in the new year and possibly for the rest of my life. I want to finally put together a portfolio of my feature/creative writing. And write more on this blog. I'd like to take it the next level and improve my blog writing and content.

Take and print more photographs 
In this digital age I find that I store most of my photos on my computer or it's on my Instagram profile. I lost my most adored rabbit this year and it made me realise how precious all of those photos I took really are. I have a scrap book where I have personal photographs but I have not updated it since 2010. I want to take lots more with those closest to me and make sure I have a physical copy of my favourites.

Love and be happy
I unfortunately spent more time than I'd like to admit with sadness in my heart. Sometimes these things happen. I want to look back at the end of 2015 and know that I had more love and happiness in my heart and soul. From anything as small as a cup of coffee or as big as a person. Anything and everything. Finding those happy moments and loving more, every single day.

What are your dreams and goals for 2015? And Happy New Year to all of you beautiful people!
 

Dreams and Goals for 2015

1.1.15


Looking back at 2014 it was a weird, up and down year for me. The beginning was slow and dull, in my mind it's a hazy blur. As we hit the mid way point of the year everything became a bit brighter, there were some dark days but when I think back at the Summer months, I feel warm. Towards the end it has been a mix, it has disappeared so quickly like it never even happened.  I've been reflecting on the past 12 months quite a lot lately. I do this so that I can go into the new year with a clear mind of what I want from it.

Every year for the last couple of years I like to write down my dreams and goals for the rest of the year. Everyone does it, it's a good way to keep on track, seeing your progress or if what was important to you a year ago isn't any longer. Mine are almost the same every year. They are more dreams than goals for me. The most important things. I do like to add in a goal that will challenge me in a different way in the hope that it will benefit my life. I hope to continue to make some real progress this year.

Take more steps on the career ladder
I want to focus more on progressing in the career area. The past year I didn't put my heart into it, I wasn't in the right mind set for most of it but I'm now more determined than ever to do what it takes. Finding work experience, internships and jobs that can get me a step closer to being on the right track to doing what I want to do.

Be healthier and look after my body
In 2014, for the first time ever I actually made progress in this part of my life. I'm healthier and fitter than I've ever been. Most importantly I feel a lot better. I've learnt a lot about how important it is to look after yourself. I want to continue this and make some more changes that I hope will make me feel even better and in turn change my life.

Write more
In the past year I kept a journal where I wrote down little things every now and then. I love taking that time for myself, I've found it healing. I'm still going to write in the new year and possibly for the rest of my life. I want to finally put together a portfolio of my feature/creative writing. And write more on this blog. I'd like to take it the next level and improve my blog writing and content.

Take and print more photographs 
In this digital age I find that I store most of my photos on my computer or it's on my Instagram profile. I lost my most adored rabbit this year and it made me realise how precious all of those photos I took really are. I have a scrap book where I have personal photographs but I have not updated it since 2010. I want to take lots more with those closest to me and make sure I have a physical copy of my favourites.

Love and be happy
I unfortunately spent more time than I'd like to admit with sadness in my heart. Sometimes these things happen. I want to look back at the end of 2015 and know that I had more love and happiness in my heart and soul. From anything as small as a cup of coffee or as big as a person. Anything and everything. Finding those happy moments and loving more, every single day.

What are your dreams and goals for 2015? And Happy New Year to all of you beautiful people!
 

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