Today is (a poem)

Today is Sunday.
On this day
I will eat streaky bacon sandwiches,
And Sunday brunch with Tim and Si.
I will hold my head up high
As I lie in-
Taking time wasted on the chin.
We will potter in the garden
And listen to the archers
And pretend that we are 40 years or more.
The football teams will score
And the chapelgoers sing out for more silence-
Gently enjoying this day of rest.
I will seek out sunny beaches
And snuggle under blankets
As this sunny day descends on me-
Watching dancers in sequins
Getting in a spin on our Sunday night telly.
My heart is smothered in gravy
And crumble-
As the week ends in a lovely mumble-
And I am ready for the Monday beyond.

Hope you’re all having as lovely a Sunday as I am 🙂

H xx

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Things that inspire me (a list-in-progress)

So today, I should really be writing my latest music post-because November’s almost over, and there’s a lot of tracks to catch you up on. But, you know what? I’m not feeling inspired to do so. I’m a big believer that when it comes to writing, you should always go wherever  your instincts and inspiration takes you. And today, for various reasons, I’m inspired to write about inspiration itself (how very meta of me). This is probably because I’ve just managed to draft my first poem in ages, after feeling completely uninspired for a while-and it feels lovely. To avoid writer’s bloc in the future, I thought I’d post a little blog to remind myself of where inspiration can be found, even at the most uninspiring of times. Hopefully, it’ll also help any of you who may be a bit stuck in a writing rut right now.

Because lists are one of my favourite things to write, it features below in list form (but it is absolutely not a listicle. This is not Buzzfeed). So, without further ado-the things that inspire me include (but are not limited to):

  1. Conversations overheard on public transport (especially when I’m trying really heard not to listen to them)
  2. Little moments which most (normal) people wouldn’t notice, nor care about
  3. Other people’s art.
  4. Song lyrics overheard on coffee shop compilation albums
  5. Song lyrics heard on the radio (usually whilst still in bed in the morning)
  6. The last song on a night out before you have to head home (night outs happen less these days but hey, don’t judge)
  7. Unexpected, interesting conversations with people who have a completely different perspective on life to my own
  8. When I’m in a situation where I’ve chosen to make a brave choice, rather than an easy one (e.g when I choose to buy a gluten-free falafel wrap instead of a ham and cheese toastie)
  9. Long, sunny afternoons filled with herbal tea and biscuits (because sugar and helathy herbs help the brain)
  10. Robin Williams films (in particular, every single line of speech he had in ‘Dead Poet’s Society’)
  11. When I watch/witness other people working really hard to create something brilliant
  12. All unanticipated moments, situations and experiences.

I’m sure there’s lots more, so I’m going to treat this as a ‘living’ blog post that I can update and add to whenever. And if you have any suggestions, please do let me know-if they’re good or lovely, then I may just add them on as well!

That’s it for today-I’ll be back soon.

H xx

Going Walking

I’ll remember this year for all kinds of reasons-and perhaps one of the most important of those is that it’s the year I learnt to walk properly. You’re probably thinking I should have got used to putting one foot in front of the other by now-and of course in the simplest of senses, I can walk just fine. But, somewhere in between childhood and getting older, I think a lot of us get into bad habits when it comes to walking-trundling along with out heads down, eyes fixated on the pavement or on our phones. We start to only see it as a way of getting from A to B, and disengage with it as an activity as there are so many other things going on in our lives. It’s not something we particularly enjoy, and it’s definitely not something we spend a great deal of time thinking about.

At the start of this year, I was feeling really lost. It was as though I’d been focusing so intensely on the map of my life for that I couldn’t make sense of it anymore, and my goals and dreams had become this  vast, confusing blur.

And then I  realised that you don’t always need a map.

I took some advice to make space in my life to walk everyday. This walk didn’t need a specific reason, or purpose per se-its purpose would be to simply experience the moment. I was encouraged to keep my head up and to take notice of the things in front of my eyes, whilst leaving my worries on the front doorstep.

It sounds like the such a simple thing-but it has made the biggest of differences.

walk2

I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful place, and walking has given me the opportunity to truly appreciate that. Every time I make the effort to step out of the house, I’m able to take  to immerse myself in a world of pretty landscapes, rickety paths and tranquil beaches-with a good dose of wildlife to boot! It’s also an opportunity to take a step away from the stresses of everyday life and express however I may be feeling. If I’m angry, I can stomp out my emotions and regain some calm. If I’m in a slump, I can feel my energy being rekindled with every step. It’s a chance to think,  breathe, and notice the little things. Most importantly, it keeps me going in the right direction-no matter where I may be in life.

So if you’re in need of a little headspace right now, I can heartily giving recommended some mindless, mindful walking a go. It may give you more than you might think.

See you soon,

H xx

 

 

Avocado; in a pudding (a recipe)

So I’ve been having quite a foodie time recently! You may have noticed this if you follow me on Instagram, or if you’ve had a conversation with me sometime in the past few weeks (there’s nothing better than finding out what your mate had for their tea the other night).I think this is the effect Masterchef has on my life-John Torode and Gregg the egg clearly have a way of bringing out my inner cook. I’ve also been cooking more for my family recently, which I really love as it’s a great way to show my appreciation for them. Sometimes, I just make a spag bol or something; but I’m also trying to be a bit more inventive and develop my culinary repertoire.

This particular recipe is for a pudding; something I only make when I’m feeling particularly fancy. It’s based on a recipe by a fabby lady called Nadia Lim, and marries together two of my all time favourite ingredients; chocolate and avocados! The result is a lovely, smooth chocolate mousse that isn’t too sickly sweet, and is probably even quite good for you. Here’s how to make it:

Chocolate Avo Mousse (for 4 hungry mouths):

Ingredients:

ingredients

  • 2 avocados  (make sure they’re ripe!)
  • dark chocolate 200g
  • soya milk 1 glass
  • liquid honey 1-2 tablespoons (optional)
  • A handful of Raspberries/ other yummy fruit of your choice

 

Method:

1. Sort out your avocados. Cut your avos in half, like this:

avo1

and then section each half into small squares, like this:

avo2

Don’t forget to get rid of the stone, too. You don’t want to be eating THAT thing.

 

2. Sort out your choc. Separate your chocolate into smallish cubes. Meanwhile, put the kettle on and wap out a saucepan. Put your boiling water into a saucepan on a warm hob, and place an appropriately sized bowl over the water to create a bain-marie . Put your chocolate cubes into the bowl so that it looks like this:

choc1

 

And keep stirring it occasionally until it starts looking like this:

choc2

 

When your choc’s completely melted, take it off the heat.

3. Pop everything into a blender.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use a food processor to do most of the hard work for you! Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from your cubed avocado halves. Then pour your melted chocolate over the top of this (Top Tip!: If the bowl is still warm from the bain-marie, use a nice pair of oven gloves to protect your fingers). 

choc in

Turn your food processor on and get blending-keeping a stern eye on things at all times!

4. Add milk. Once your mixture is starting to turn a nice shade of brown, you can start adding milk to it, like this:

milk in

 

The type of milk you use is up to you-I’ve used soya in this case as I wanted my puddings to be dairy-free, but cow’s, almond or coconut milk would work just as well.The amount of milk you need may well depend on how ripe your avos are, so keep checking it and only add as much as you need. You’re looking for a soft, but not runny consistency IMHO.

5. Add Honey. Once all your ingredients have been blended together like a dream, you can start to add honey if you like. This is the perfect time to do a taste test, to see how much honey you need. I added quite a lot, but would probably have used less if I’d used a different type of chocolate.

honey

6. Pour and Garnish. Once you’re happy with the overall flavour of your mousse, you can put it into glasses ready to serve later on. I found that the mixture is quite rich, so unless your guests are big eaters you might want to consider using slightly smaller glasses than the ones below:

mousses

Once your glasses are full of mousse, you can garnish them with whatever fruit or other sweet treats your heart desires. I went for raspberries as they go so well with chocolate!

7. Refrigerate and Serve. Now that everything’s ready, it’s worth popping your mousses in the fridge for a bit, to allow them to set slightly.

in fridge

 

They’ll then be ready to serve when your dinner guest/family member asks a question I know all too well- ‘What’s for Pudding?’

finished

That’s it! Hope you enjoy these, and if you have any easy pudding recipes you’d like to share with me, then please do!

See ya later,

H xx

 

14 things I love today (a list)

  1. Lazy Sunday afternoons, just like this one.
  2. Shiny, experienced, lived in faces which hold unuttered stories. (See: Humans of New York)
  3. My slippers (just call me Grandma).
  4. The last Rolo.
  5. Crisp, sunshiney morning walks; filled with dewy cliches and poetic inspiration. (See: last Friday)
  6. New books; fresh and inviting and smelling of glue.
  7. Bad Puns.
  8. Silly Nuns. (See: Call the Midwife, Sister Act).
  9. Things that rhyme.
  10. Inspirational quotes with a genuine profundity. (See: Maya Angelou, Daisaku Ikeda, Roald Dahl). 
  11. Unexpected kindness in unlikely places. (See: London street corners, train platforms, supermarkets).
  12. The biggest of hugs from the oldest of friends.
  13. When my fringe behaves itself.
  14. Lists.

Heart Neon Table Lamp - Urban Outfitters:

 

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The iPhone, Eddie Redmayne and I

So today, I want to talk about Eddie Redmayne. Not just because of his boyish charm and impressive acting skills (although I may throw a bit of that in for good measure!), but because we actually have something in common; an odd relationship with our phones.

Over the past week or so, there’s been a small, but noticeable amount of media attention over the fact that Eddie’s phone has died. You’re probably thinking that this just sounds like another empty tabloid news story; devoid of any purpose other than to stalk a famous actor. And if you thinking this, then you’re right-to a degree. But there is a slightly interesting element to this story.

The phone in question wasn’t the usual, flashy iPhone. It wasn’t even a Sony Xperia or a Samsung Galaxy. It was, in fact, AN ANALOGUE PHONE. As a member of the internet generation, I’m not even 100% sure what this means. Are we referring to an old-skool flip phone here?  Something resembling a brick? Or even a Nokia 3310?! If you have any idea then submit your answers on a postcard, please (may as well keep things retro!).

80s phones old tech

I miss these. So reliable.

Anyway, the actual model and style of said phone is besides the point. What’s more interesting to me is why a young, trendy actor would go without a smartphone; something which is seen, perhaps sadly, to be a pre-requisite of modern living. He stated in an article published in the Daily Telegraph that “It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours. The deluge of emails was constant and I found myself trying to keep up in real time, at the expense of living in the moment.”

I don’t know about you, but I can really relate to that. Okay, so I’m not exactly bombarded with a ‘deluge of emails’-I get a steady trickle, at most!-but I do have experience of getting glued to my iPhone screen. In fact, at one stage in the not-so-distant past, I’m rather ashamed to say that I was starting every day by spending a good 2 hours a day on my smartphone. My phone alarm would go off, and within a few minutes I’d be checking Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and then trying to get to the next level on Candy Crush. And then maybe repeat the process, if I really couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed. It got to the point where it was having a knock-on effect on the rest of my day; and my morning ritual was definitely proving to be unhealthy. Something needed to change.

I haven’t gone as far quite as far as Eddie and got rid of my iPhone-yet. But some little changes have really helped. I’ve started turning my iPhone off at night, so that I’m not tempted to look at it, or to even use the clock on it if I’ve woken up unexpectedly or something , and I’ve also gone back to using a radio alarm (which often scares me shitless for some reason, but still). I even use a little  reward system with myself occassionally-i.e ‘if you do the really boring mundane task, you can watch a YouTube video’. Sounds really lame, but it works-and makes me enjoy both screen-time and proper-real-life time quite a bit more.

And if all else fails, I just watch one of Eddie’s films. Cos you can never get too much Redmayne.

eddie redmayne the danish girl movies film i dont know

That’s it for now! Would love to hear if there’s any other little things I could do to curb my social media addiction, or about your personal experiences.

Muchos Lovin,

Hope xx

Why I’ve created this (and the long journey to getting here)

Well then-first things first. A huge welcome to my own little corner of WordPress! It’s (probably) my final of several internet ventures this year-others include starting up a YouTube channel, and having another slightly half-hearted go at Twitter. I hope that my latest venture into blogging, however, doesn’t prove to be so quite half-hearted-and that this brief intro goes some way towards explaining why.

If you’re a friend or family member of mine, then you may know that I already have quite a long and tumultuous history with blogging (and indeed, with writing in general). I wrote in a blog for the first time during my early teens, when I created an account on the now-defunct ‘MyKindaPlace’ (Anyone remember it? No? Just me then). I’m kinda sad that the blog no longer exists, because I’m pretty it would make for an amusing  (if highly cringeworthy) read. From what I can remember, it mainly featured boys, what I had for dinner and my incredibly inflated opinion of Topshop and McFly. Later on at the age of 18, I decided it was time to create a new, serious, adult (but not in that way) blog entitled ‘The Wordfield’. Lovely idea, but one that I executed at completely the wrong time; I went to uni and forgot all about it. Then, more recently, I had another stab at this blogging malarkey by writing about a specific venture on ‘The Tiny TEFL Teacher’, which was lovely for a while, but ended up being too niche for me to continue  with in the long term.

Now get don’t get my slightly derogatory tone wrong-I’ve got a lot out of writing online in the past. Each blog I’ve created has served its own little purpose to my personal and online journey, and will continue to hold a special place in my heart (I even look back on the ones still standing from time to time). However, the monumental challenges I’ve been faced with this year have made me realise that it’s time to create something new; which can be loved, nurtured and sustained over time. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have realised that consistency is something I struggle with, so I’ve tried to create something really open that will stand the test of time; wherever life takes me. If being twenty-something has taught me anything so far, it’s that you can never predict what will happen next.

So-what do I hope this blog will be? In short: funny, interesting, thought-provoking and honest. Perhaps I’ll write about my interests here, which include (but are not limited to) theatre, art, performance, music, food, film, fashion, comedy, radio, tv and general daftness. Maybe I’ll focus more on personal thoughts and feelings (although I hope these will be more nuanced than my dinner choices and love for clothes shops, a la 2005). Or alternatively it may mainly feature creative work, such as poems or videos. I guess we’ll have to wait and see-predicting will get us nowhere.

Whatever happens, I really do hope you enjoy reading what comes next.

Hope xx