Am I missing out?

Last time I wrote around here, I was talking about appreciation. How important it is that we remember to appreciate the people around us and the things that we do have. It’s so easy to lose sight, and it’s important to take a breath every now and then to remind ourselves of how lucky we really are.

But there’s something that often stands in the way of that. On our paths to zen we encounter, in the modern age particularly, FOMO.

Fear of missing out. Yup, it’s so prolific it has it’s own acronym. That’s when you know a concept has made it to the big time.

Oh man, I suffer from FOMO so much you wouldn’t believe! The amount of times I scroll through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and see people I know living glamorous, exotic lives while I shove instant noodles into my gob, is unreal. It’s enough to put a girl off her carbs (and it takes a lot to put me off carbs). All joking aside, it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, not living life to the full and (dare I admit it?) wasting my youth.

But before I descend into the shame spiral of being in my jammies at 2pm on a Saturday, I have to remind myself that it’s all posed. Social media is a particular representation of reality. Think about it, you aren’t going to post a selfie that shows just how long it’s been since you’ve washed your hair, or just how tired you really are. You’re going to run through the shower and put some slap on first, right? It’s the same across all of social media, no matter what people are posting about.

A brief visit to a coffee shop can become a thirty minute photo shoot, if you want it to. A catch-up with old friends can be an elongated selfie sesh, if that’s your thing. I love a selfie and an insta-snap as much as the next girl, but if I have to sacrifice that to get to work on time, or really talk to an old friend, then that’s fine by me.

My online presence might not be as inspiring as some, but I’m ok with that. Because in the physical world, I’m doing my best. I care about the people in my life and I try to make time for them, weather we’re doing something worth posting about or not. After all, it’s not the version of ourselves that we project, but the version that people actually interact with, that counts.

Besides we all know that sometimes, instant noodles on the sofa are all that will scratch that itch. Am I right?

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Food time: Mediterranean wraps

Happy Monday, beautiful people!

Today, I have something a little bit different, and a big bit exciting to share.

Today, I have a recipe for you. Well, I call it a recipe to make it sound swanky, it’s more of a lunch idea.

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(Action wrap shot. Photo by me.)

How does a Mediterranean wrap sound to you? Yummy, right? It features healthy veg and halloumi cheese and it’s super easy. It’s quite cheap too, which is always nice.

There are a couple of things to watch out for: halloumi is addictive. There will be some snaffly bits. You must do your best not to snaffle them, because if you manage not to, one batch of cooking can last you almost a week of lunches. And that little bit of genius is worth the restraint. (I think. I didn’t manage it, myself. I had to have crumpets for lunch, instead, for a couple of days. Quel domage…)

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(Halloumi, YUM. Photo by me.)

So here you go…

Mediterranean wraps (makes 4 servings)

You will need:

  • 1 aubergine (or egg plant for any American readers)
  • 2 courgettes (or zucchini for any American readers)
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Dried thyme
  • Crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 block of halloumi
  • 4 wraps
  • Sweet chilli sauce

Preheat the oven to 150ºC (ish, none of this needs to be precise).

Slice your aubergine and courgette thinly and scatter on baking trays.

Sprinkle olive oil, lemon, thyme and chilli flakes over the vegetables. I wasn’t specific with quantities, you don’t need to be either, just go wild.

Bake the veggies for 15-20 minutes, or until they are looking a bit juicy/gnarly/crispy (mine were all of the above).

Meanwhile, drain your halloumi and pat it dry. Slice it into 5mm thick slices and fry in a dry pan on the hob. If more liquid comes out during cooking, soak it up with some kitchen roll and chuck that goo away. We want our cheese toasty.

When the underside is mottled orangey brown, flip each piece of halloumi. Remove from the heat when both sides are equally toasty and scrummy.

Whack your wrap on a plate. Layer up the courgette and aubergine (I did courgette, aubergine, courgette but it’s not exactly a science) and then put a few slices of cheese on top. I like having an extra slice at the bottom so the last mouthful is super cheesy. Drizzle with sweet chille sauce, wrap and EAT.

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(Neat stacking. About the only thing I do neatly. Photo by me.)

The veg makes it fresh and zingy, the cheese adds some salt and protein and the sauce gives it some kick. Perfect lunch? I think so.

Top tip: if you put all of the fillings in the middle at the top you can do the nappy fold and keep all of your fillings safely inside the wrap. Yes I just said ‘nappy’ while talking about food. It’s ok, you will survive.

Until next time, amigos!

Workin’ 9 to 5…sorta

As you may have guessed from my previous post, things are all shaken up round these parts. It’s all good shaking (think Taylor Swift rather than hypothermia) but it’s still been pretty dramatic. Particularly, the way I work has changed a lot. I’m currently working from home, rather than in the office in Bristol, and it’s pretty mind boggling how different things feel. Here’s my roundup of pros and cons to working at home. Because I’m sure you’re all dying to know…

First things first.

The elephant in the room.

The big issue that I know you are all very concerned with.

PRO:

Working in your PJs.

Yes, I have and yes, I will again. No, it’s not slovenly and yes, it’s as amazing as you imagine.

Moving on…

PRO: Lunchtimes

Ok, so I might not be in the centre of Bristol anymore, and I might not be able to pop out on my lunch break to buy a pair of jeans and be back in the office within twenty minutes. But let’s face it, I never did that when the option was there, so I’m not really missing out. And, really, who can buy jeans that quickly?

The counterpoint, and the massive win, is that I don’t have to take a packed a lunch or spend a small fortune on sustenance anymore. Do you know what I had for lunch on Friday? Goat’s cheese on corn thins topped with oven roasted peppers and tomatoes, piping hot and juicy from the oven. That’s bordering on gourmet, guys, and it’s the norm now. Things are stepping up!

CON: Company

I’m lucky, and my family and friends are nearby for human interaction on my lunch breaks. Let me tell you, if they weren’t around, I would go officially crazy spending this much time alone. It’s so wrong. Within a week I got into the habit of singing about everything I did, telling myself off constantly and aiming some really foul language at my online email system. Things got dark, guys. So thank God for lunch pals. Working by yourself can by scary…I mean, I always used to do that stuff, just silently, in the confines of my own mind. That’s normal, right?

On a more serious note though, I am really missing my colleagues. It was great being able to share the stressful things and vent, to have a bit of giggle and a joke, and just have those lovely ladies around me every day.

Miss you guys ❤

PRO/CON: Efficiency

This one is both good and bad in every aspect. I can get up later than I used to, do some chores around the house and still be at my desk on time, now that I am at home. That is awesome. BUT. I can also work through lunch and carry on until about 9pm if left to my own devices and conversely, I can get very distracted with jobs around the house when I do stop for lunch. It’s all about control. Luckily, I’ve stopped my self from going overboard/underboard (if that’s a thing) but you really have to watch it.

PRO: Commuting

Oh gee. For a long time I was a cheeky sneaker who only had to walk ten minutes to get to work. Then everything went bibbledy and I suddenly had an hour commute that involved a train and 45 minutes of walking to get to work. Want to know a secret? That was hard. It was draining and miserable and more often than not very cold and very wet. I don’t miss it. Not one jot.

PRO: Gym motivation

Now hear me out on this one, I know it seems weird. When I used to work in the office, it would get to the end of the day and I would trudge all the way home and the last thing I wanted to do was head back out into the mire and do a workout. I managed to make myself go to ballet classes (sometimes) but that was still tricky. Now that I’m at home all day, I’m desperate to get out of the place come 5pm and do something physical. The result? I have been to the gym four times in eight days. I’m gonna get ripped.

So there you have it. That’s my two cents on working from home and yes, I know you didn’t ask but hey, it can still be entertaining, right? Answers on a postcard…