Monday, 28 July 2014

What to do with time off work...


I have a grand total of about three months off of work coming up. One of those months semi starts this week, simply because I wanted it and I'm taking it unpaid. The other two months will be in November and December, due to the surgery I mentioned the other week.

It seems like time to start planning what on earth I'm going to do with it!

Okay, August is easy. I intend on cooking something really healthy and yummy at least twice a week (I cook only for myself or a friend, so I make giant portions and freeze it all!), I plan on going to the gym every day (don't make me out to be amazing at exercise though - next week literally every one of those days is for a yoga class!), I'm going to catch up with friends, meet new people, and mainly, take advantage of all the free stuff London has to offer. It's summer, and the kids are off school, so that means even more free events and exhibitions than usual - but if nothing appeals to me, there's also so many museums and galleries that I haven't been to yet, or just more parts of my walking loop of London that I'm trying to complete.

There's also another thing I'll be doing in August that I should probably mention as it's very soon now - I'll be going to Iceland! Oops. I got a little bit impulsive and bought flights yesterday for, um, next week. I'll tell you all about my plans on Friday!

What I am having trouble with, however, is the November & December plans. I'm going to assume that November is just written off as doing nothing but watch Netflix and cry about my life, but December has a little more openness to it. Here's the challenge - I won't be allowed to eat. I won't be talking much. I'm not allowed to exercise. I will probably really struggle to see my friends. As a very active and social person who loves her food.... these all throw a major spanner in the works!

Here's what I've got so far...

  • Become the soup master. I have a really great soup book (New Covent Garden's a Soup For Every Day, if anyone wants a recommendation!) that I used to make some great soups from and I haven't used it in probably about a year. Being that I'll be eating basically through a syringe, it seems like a pretty great time to get really, really into my soup making.
  • Read. Read read read. Primarily I want to read more non fiction. I don't read it very often at all, and I keep trying to look into more non fiction books but what I do find just doesn't appeal to me. Any recommendations?
  • Finally bloody learn to crochet. I have the book. I have the supplies. I CAN'T DO IT. Normally I lack the patience, but when there's nothing more exciting for me to go and do it is finally my time!
  • On the same note, learn to waterpaint. I've wanted to forever, but even the kids in my class have more artistic talent than I do.
  • Let's not act like this isn't the main one. Sims 4. Do I think it looks very good? No. Am I going to buy it anyway? Yes. But I'm going to buy it in November, so it looks like an act of rebellion, and in the ever so optimistic hope that the price will have dropped just a teeny tiny bit. Well, you never know. Civilization Beyond Earth is also looking pretty appealing to me. And maybe I'll restart my Pokemon game...
  • The exercise is a problem. I need to exercise! I don't know how I'm not going to. But I figure I can find minor accomplishments - maybe do one of those squat challenges and slowly build those up?! I'll have no arms or body anymore, but at least my butt will look great. (Though on a serious note, I figure push ups and sit ups are going to be too demanding on me afterwards. Who knows) I'm going to look to see whether any of the yoga classes for pregnant women will be suitable, as I figure they're probably also low impact. Maybe I can use a standing cycle machine at the gym. I don't know! I hate this as I'm very active, and more than that I have a job that requires me to run, so I'm really worried about that. I'm already taking 6-8 weeks off, and I want to go back completely ready, the idea of taking even more time off because I don't have the stamina or energy (let's face it, the not being able to eat thing isn't going to help either) does not appeal to me in the slightest so if I can find any way around that I will take it.
Anyone else have any suggestions I could use? Anyone else gone through similar recoveries - if so how was it for you?

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Friday, 25 July 2014

The Lambeth Country Show

Last weekend was the Lambeth Country Show, something that I have disappointingly managed to miss for the last couple of years. Every year I want to go, only to find that I've already booked something else that I can't get out of, so I was really excited to finally be able to go this year!

It's a bit of an odd one, as it takes place in London - more specifically, in Brockwell Park, which is inbetween Herne Hill and Brixton - not the sort of place you'd expect to find a country show! And a true country show it is, with vegetable competitions, chutney for sale, sheep shearing contests. All with the lovely backdrop of big blocks of flats and canary wharf! A very odd one.

I watched all of the acts in the main arena on Sunday...

Berkley Owls
A little show with some owls doing some tricks. I forgot how cute owls were, they are adorable. They were also very unco-operative! But to be fair, it was very hot and the owls probably weren't very happy about that. They reminded me of cats in a way, as there was a point when the handler was trying to get the owl to fly to his arm whilst moving closer and closer to it. Each time the owl would lower itself like it was preparing to do it, and then would just change its mind and decided it didn't want to bother. It was nice to see the owls, a shame they weren't feeling too happy about performing but, well, they are owls. They had a stall throughout the day where you could go and hold the owls too, but we didn't really have enough time.


Dog & Duck Show
This was probably my favourite one. Lovely Jason, with his three sheepdogs and his group of ducks. There was a bit of a demonstration of the sheepdogs, a bit more of a lecture on dog behaviour than I would have liked (don't get me wrong, I totally get it, and I'm an ex volunteer at Battersea Dogs Home so, you know, important - but not really what I want to hear about whilst watching an amusing act in a country show. Sorry Jason, you are lovely, but...) and then the actual show itself. I learned quite a bit about the behaviour of the dogs and enjoyed watching them round up the ducks, including one poor newbie duck who kept running out into the crowd. It was a cute show and the most interesting one of the day.

Joseph's Amazing Racing Camels
My main thought after watching the first of the races was "wow, camels are really bloody weird aren't they?" Their humps wobble. They are all very oddly shaped. They look highly unpleasant to ride. I don't know. This was very strange. I was entertained in a confused sort of way. This one kind of lost its appeal after a while because once you have got over the oddness of camels running it doesn't hold too much for you, but something that everybody should see once for sure.




Fens Falconry
To be fair, during this show I was more concerned about how hungry I was so I perhaps didn't give it the attention I should have. This isn't a trick show like the owls were, its more the birds fly around whilst lots of information is given in them so its certainly more educational - my friend really enjoyed it and kept commenting on the facts, I lost interest. But the birds were definitely impressive, particularly when they swooped over us. As with the owls, they had a tent where you could go and hold the birds. We thought about this, but both made eye contact with this giant bird which we both found quite intimidating and decided it would not be a good idea...

The Knights of the Damned
A medieval jousting show, basically. This was actually really entertaining! They gave each rider a personality, the horses were great, the commentator was really good, it was good fun. I think everybody enjoyed this as there was something for all ages in it. I feel bad that I don't have too much to say about this one as it was what it was, but it was good fun and worth watching.



There was also a main stage for music acts, and another stage - the main stage seemed to be more reggae music whenever we were there whilst the other stage was more country. Neither appealed to us much! Of course there were stalls everywhere selling all sorts of things, random things like firemen doing demonstrations, and lots of food. Really disappointingly overpriced food!


 I ate the above noodles and orange smoothie which were fairly 'okay' priced considering its a festival and it was actually a big portion but it was difficult to find anything reasonably priced. We started the day each paying £3.50 for a brownie which was sort of extortionate - I expected it to be higher priced being that it was a festival day, but it really wasn't any better than anything I'd had before for less than half the price! There was a fairground as well with quite a few rides, and a water slide that I really really wanted to go on.





Still, this was a fun day - even if we did leave just before it got closed because the rain wouldn't stop! I'd recommend it if you're around next year, seems they have a lot of the same acts each year, and its a nice fun atmosphere with a lot of variety!
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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Simply Cook: Mexican Beef Chilli

Back in May I posted about SimplyCook, a company that sends out recipes and accompanying sauces and mixtures to make amazing dishes.

Well, I just thought I'd show you the results of the Mexican Bean Chilli!


Looks good, doesn't it?

Tastes great too! The only thing I'd say with this one is that it is really, really strong. As in, my housemate's dad had to leave the kitchen because it was making his eyes water whilst I was cooking it (I consider this a benefit, so...) and it takes me about half an hour to eat it because it burns. But, it's the good kind of burn! However probably one to be avoided (or just reduced!) if you're not too keen on the spice.

I still really like SimplyCook. I wasn't sure how I'd feel but the dishes I've made have all been delicious, and in good sizes - I got five filling servings out of this one! As with the previous recipe, this one was really easy to follow and it was really simple to make. It really did taste of a much better quality than I could ever expect from my own cooking! If you're like me and you wish you could cook more but just can't make anything that tastes good enough to spend the time, I really would recommend trying SimplyCook out.
My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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Monday, 21 July 2014

The countdown to surgery begins...


So, I figured now would be a good time to tell you about something pretty important coming up in my life in the future. I haven't mentioned this to you before because there has never been a definite date, it keeps getting pushed back, and getting more vague, but now everything is bookmarked in.

In mid November, I'll be having surgery.

It's not super serious surgery or anything life threatening, but it will be my first time having any sort of procedure and it does have a long recovery time for me, which is going to be pretty sucky.

Quite simply, I'm going to be having jaw surgery, followed by potential chin reduction surgery. I've been in the line for this procedure for about five years now, and got braces put on about two and a half years ago. It's been quite a slow process with lots of waiting lists and longer wait times between appointments than I'd have liked, but I am getting this done on the NHS so, y'know, it's also free and I can't complain too much about that. It's been odd being in braces during my mid twenties but has had less impact than you might imagine - actually, it's probably had the opposite and increased my confidence quite a lot after realising that most people actually don't care about them - but that's a post for a different day!

I'm going to be having lower jaw surgery, which will move my lower jaw forward by about 10mm. Which is a lot, and it scares me. It's also extra worrying because despite the large size, it is surprisingly not all that noticeable on my face - but the difference afterwards will still be a big one, and more than anything I'm just really worried that I'm going to hate what my new face will look like!

Obviously my law enforcement involvement means I'm more at risk of being punched in the face than most people...! So after surgery, I'm going to be taking the rest of the year off. This is the other thing that scares me, as I really do not do well without having much to do. I am sort of used to sometimes working 24 hours straight and though I'd love a break at times, a break for me is an extra day, not an extra couple of weeks. But I've decided that getting my fitness back up afterwards is going to be one of the more important things for me, and it's going to be quite difficult as I'm going to be on a liquid diet and not allowed to do much exercise at all... but we will just have to find a way to work around that, as obviously I can't be chasing people if I have completely lost all my fitness.

More importantly, I'll have to stop watching some TV programs and refuse to buy the Sims 4 on release (or perhaps just some Sims 3 expansions because frankly Sims 4 is not impressing me right now) until November so that I have something to do in that first week or two. I suppose I'll also be a lot more blog involved but I'm not sure what my posts are going to be like - I in no way want to change this blog to any sort of recovery blog, but I also probably won't be doing very much. My face will be swollen and ridiculous and even after that I might hate it so my desire to go and socialise will probably be down!

Well, just under four months to go...
My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Kindness, or weakness?


This is an odd kind of a post for me, but I've recently been thinking a lot about how kindness and helping other people sometimes leads said other person to begin to believe that you weak, and its completely okay to be used for that reason.

What on earth is that all about?!

So I work in a pretty intense environment. We deal with a lot of crap from people, and then we leave not completely hating the world because we go back and chat with our colleagues and get our faith in society back again.

I would also say that in general its a very friendly and helpful environment. It is not unusual for people to have helped me out without really needing to, and in a way that causes problems for them. For example, waiting around a couple of hours for me to finish my shift when they know that I've had a really horrible series of events so they want to stay even if its just for a quick hug when I get back. Or the people who have had to stay longer to help explain a computer program to me. Or the ones that just make an effort to come and have a chat when they can see that I'm exhausted and barely staying awake. Even just the people who wait around to give me a lift home because they live pretty close to me. And I appreciate all of these people, significantly. And even if it is only a small thing they have done, that doesn't change how much I appreciate it - and, I suppose, how much I will go out of my way to help them should the situation come up.

Of course, it doesn't always work quite that way back!

I like to think I'm generally really good at helping the others where I can. I'm new too, but if I know something then I'll share it with you. Recently that has been little things like just showing someone how to use the printer, how to sign out of something, or talking them through paperwork when they can't keep their eyes open anymore. Because they're my buddies, or my co-workers, and they'd do it back.

When it gets to the point that actually, you're pretty sure they would never do it back, then it becomes a little more conflicting.

There's a story, of course. Something has recently changed between me and the person I probably had the most respect for. I'm not entirely sure what. We always got on, then we started getting close, and then he freaked out or something and just got kind of obnoxious. The other day I saw him really struggling, and I decided that the fact that he'd been a bit of a douche before didn't matter. The guy was stuck. He couldn't get onto his computer. He couldn't fill out the paperwork. He couldn't read it properly. He wasn't typing properly and was just writing the same sentences over and over again. I spent just over two hours sitting there, going through the paperwork with him, basically doing it for him at some points. And then, at the end of it all, he ended up kind of being a complete douche about it and getting kinda rude about really silly things. In the end I even said, "You do realise I just spent two hours sitting here helping you, missed my ride home, and everything else right?" His response being, "Sure, but I didn't ask you to do that." True, and I didn't do anything expecting anything out of it, but you know, a little bit of kindness would have been nice. I helped him because he was stuck and because it was the right thing to do, and because if I hadn't have helped him he would still be sitting there right now. Well, that kind of reaction is how you lose all of my respect, and it is disappointing it has come to that with someone I used to feel quite a high regard for.

It's ironic, because when I was stuck with something before the same guy told me that you can't hold other people to the same high standards you set for yourself. And to me, that situation does apply perfectly in this case, and its a shame really.

If the situation came up the other way, would he stay and help me? Absolutely not.

If it came up again, would I help him again? In my head I'd like to think of all these great come backs and remarks I'd make instead, but truthfully, yes, I probably would.

Does that make me weak? Still thinking on that one.
My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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Monday, 14 July 2014

DegustaBox - July


I have to admit that I'm just not feeling DegustaBox at the moment. I've had July's box for a little while now and though I took all the photos and tried some of the products, I just wasn't really feeling motivated to get it up and reviewed because it was all a little disappointing to me. This is my second disappointing box in a row, so, as is my box rule, hopefully August is going to be a good one or its going to be a change to a new box!

 First up was this box of Alpha Bites multigrain cereal. I really like cereal, and I'd never heard of these, so this was quite a welcome surprise. These are actually pretty tasty and I'm still munching my way through them. As you'd expect, they are shaped like different letters - but what surprised me about these is that they actually have a lot of flavour to them and are really sweet. Milk gives me really bad stomach aches (which makes me very sad as I love it) so I am always hunting for new cereal that still tastes good without it - and these definitely do!
Veetee - Wholegrain Brown Rice
This could have been nice in concept, though I thought it was a bit pricey when you can get so many more interesting flavours and better known brands for so cheap. But quite simply, the flavour was disappointing and I didn't actually manage to finish the whole thing! Easy enough to cook, sure, but if I can't finish one I won't be trying another from the range.

Elizabeth Shaw Milk Chocolate Amaretto Flutes
I had mixed feelings upon seeing these. Firstly, I was disappointed because the last box also included a blox of flutes though of a different flavour, and I'd rather try something different. This was followed by optimism, because actually I ended up really liking the last ones! However, these are sort of just okay. They're fine. They're nowhere near as nice as the other ones and I wouldn't buy them again, but they're not horrible. I'm sort of just slowly snacking through them.

Urban Fruit - Mango
These little packets are fruit that have been baked for a sweet and healthy treat. I actually haven't eaten these yet. I like the idea but I find the various packeted fruits are never that nice and I'm not that keen on mango - but I'll still give these a go.

Dr. Oetker - Madagascan Vanilla Grinder
I don't have much to say to this one - like their product that came in the previous months box, I simply have no need for this. I will put it with the cake decorating stuff in my kitchen and imagine I may use it in a year or so, it seems like one of those products!

BeFast Breakfast - in Strawberry and Banana
I...don't really understand what these are. They looked like milkshakes. Then they looked like protein shakes. Then they ended up being a healthy breakfast. Apparently. I don't really know. I feel a little scared of these as I am always iffy about drinks anyway and these are so ambiguous that I don't really know what I'm going to be drinking! I almost definitely wouldn't have this as a breakfast as I need something enormously filling in the mornings and I very much doubt that these are it - but I am thinking of having one with my lunch later today.

Estrella Lager
Don't drink lager. Housemate doesn't drink lager. At some point a friend will probably come to my house who does, so into the cellar you go!

Lambrini - Strawberry
I am very much in a mixed mind about when these sort of drinks are included in the boxes. On the one hand, they're sort of a waste as I never even open them. But on the other hand, I'm lucky enough to have a cellar that I store this sort of stuff in, and I think the collection of weird and wonderful fruity drinks I've got from the boxes will be great when we start having parties or BBQs here again. This looks like a nice summery drink, but as I say - I won't be trying it for a while!
My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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Monday, 7 July 2014

I'm still here!

Hello world!

Before I started this blog, I'd see other bloggers apologising for their absences and I always wondered why they felt the need to - of course they had a life, what was wrong with that! Well, I'm now one of them, because I genuinely do feel bad for disappearing slightly, but I've been so so busy and hope to be able to correct that now.

Basically, starting the police role has had a significant effect on my weekends! I usually do weekend night shifts, after which I don't sleep meaning I'm knackered for most of the weekends which is when my normal blog writing hours are! I have been writing the entries, but they just haven't been up to standard so I haven't wanted to post them.

There's also been a lot going on in my personal life recently - a close friend is having a bit of a crisis so I've been helping him, and I've had a weird love life thing going on. So you see, since this year I decided to make this the year of no dating because I just haven't had the time or the desire to be honest with you. Something slowly formed very naturally with someone I worked with, it got emotional between us, he reacted by literally leaving and vanishing...yeah, there's more of a story to that, but I don't think I'm ready to finish it off to you all yet. Plus its all a bit confusing so I suppose it remains unwritten.

Anyway, I am very sorry for the vanishing and hopefully you'll understand - this career changing thing is hard, especially when it means literally doing two careers at once for a while. Trust me, I worked 36 hours straight the other weekend and then still didn't sleep when I got home!

I'll be back to normal for now, and thanks for sticking with me :)
My Gold advertiser for the month is Katrina of carouseldiary.com, a wonderful lifestyle and fashion blog. Do check out her blog and those of my other advertisers, and if you'd like to be included next month you can find out how here!
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