Weekend Notes

Weekend Notes

It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a completely guilt-free lie in on a Saturday morning. That’s not to say I haven’t partaken in a number of lie ins in the process of settling in to working from home (I absolutely have) but feeling like I’ve truly earned it is more of a rarity. Periods of prolonged, unplanned relaxation are often tainted by my knowing that I should be doing something more productive. A feeling of laziness rather than deserved rest. This morning, though, I’m actively stepping back and making time purely for myself. After a busy few days, I’ve made a positive decision to leave behind the pressure of feeling that I should be working instead. Which feels far more legit than planning to have a solid morning of work but instead messing around on my phone in bed for an hour! I hope you’re having a happy start to the weekend also, and here’s some of my favourite links from around the web from the past week or so.

Weekend Notes #2

– A few tips on creating the perfect sleep routine – it’s so much easier to get up and go when you have the proper habits in place.

– We purchased a ton more house plants last weekend and I’m determined to be the best plant parent that I can possibly be.

– A recipe for sweet potato tacos with black beans, purple cabbage slaw, guac and goat’s cheese – we love making wraps at home so I’m definitely trying this flavour combo next.

– Simple self-care.

– Ways to gain energy without relying on caffeine – I love my coffee but could definitely drink less.

– Mindful ways to beat the winter blues.

– A fantastically informative article on essential oils and what they can really do for you. And another one specifically on how to use tea tree oil that I also enjoyed.

– Five healthy pancake recipes just in case you didn’t get your fill (or, like me, completely forgot!) on Tuesday.

– This bowl of sticky Korean chicken is making my mouth water as I type.

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

Dress your tech with these beachy, breezy wallpapers.

Hey guys! I’ve toyed with the idea of sharing my photography in the form of tech/desktop wallpapers for a while, and I’m finally getting round to doing so! I’ve already spoken about my love for being beside the sea, and I’m always sure to snap a few visual souvenirs whilst I’m there – here are three of my very favourite seaside images from my photography collection.

Scroll down to find download links for the images (plus a bit about when/where they were taken), all of which are completely free for your own personal use. They’re in the ideal format for a desktop wallpaper, however can be cropped/flipped for any device. Enjoy!

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

1. Norfolk

Taken on the most magnificent, haunting beach I’ve ever visited. I was in Norfolk visiting Rich (he was working there for a couple of months) with his mum and sister, and we came here for a walk with the dogs. The sand stretched for as far as the eye could see, and blew in ghostly, snaking patterns along the shore. I thought that the stones and pieces of broken shell looked like jewels scattered in the sand.

At this point, I’d been having a tough time at work for a long while and, despite my best efforts, nothing was changing. Things had begun to affect me on a deep-down, emotional level. I didn’t feel like me anymore. But standing on this epic beach, looking out to the mighty ocean, everything felt so small and pointless. Not in the sense that my problems were insignificant, but in the sense that if I could be somewhere that made me feel so full of life, so in love with the world, why was I letting myself get beat down by something I could easily change? It was on the train home from my next visit to Norfolk that I wrote my resignation letter.

Click to download.

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers
3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

2. Tarifa

Tarifa is a small town at the very tip of southern Spain, and one of my favourite places on Earth. I have friends with a house over there, and had heard so much about the town before I visited; it wasn’t until I first arrived though that I really understood why they’d fallen in love with it. It’s a truly magical place that’s now filled with so many happy memories. Lazy mornings before trips to the beach or pool. Sunbathing on the roof with cold beers. Delicious food and lively cocktail bars. Dancing and laughing with my best friends into the early hours… I could go on forever.

I find myself immediately calm whenever I glance at this photo – had it been a clearer day you’d have seen the faint outline of Africa on the horizon! This is my personal favourite of these desktop wallpapers and currently adorns my own laptop and phone.

Click to download.

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers
3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

3. Brighton

Taken on our first afternoon in Brighton when we visited back in October, just before a beautiful sunset. I loved the colour gradient created by the tide on the stony, pebbled beach. We came back to the same spot a couple of times during our trip to sit, gaze out to sea and skim stones (something I’m awful at, Rich slightly better!).

The beach reminded me of being young, sitting beside the sea with my Grandma. We’d sift through the stones for what seemed like hours, saving our favourites, throwing those we discarded. We found a really beautiful one once, with a mesmerising pattern. It must have gotten caught up with the throw pile, because we couldn’t find it when we were packing up to leave. I spent the next I-don’t-know-how-long searching through the rough area we’d been throwing at… and found it among the many hundreds of others! A proud moment.

Click to download.

3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers
3 Beachy Desktop Wallpapers

Bubble and Squeak Fritters with Smashed Avocado

Bubble and Squeak Fritters with Smashed Avocado

To state the obvious, brunch is the best meal around.

And this dish is my new favourite thing to throw together for a lazy Sunday brunchtime. I’ve always adored bubble and squeak and these fritters, like the classic they’re inspired by, can of course be made with any leftovers you may have instead of the ingredients below. Either way, it’s a cinch to make, the most taxing part being boiling/steaming some veg and roughly mashing it.

Serve surrounded by family or friends (or treat yourself!), sipping a fresh coffee or Bloody Mary, and enjoy!

P.S. When mashing together the potato and sprouts, keep it chunky! These come together/taste far better when you have actual pieces of potato and sprouts rather than a totally smooth mixture. In my first experiment with this recipe I used a handheld food processor and it made the mix way too smooth.

Bubble and Squeak Fritters with Smashed Avocado
Bubble and Squeak Fritters with Smashed Avocado

Bubble and Squeak Fritters with Smashed Avocado

Ingredients, serves 2

– 100g potato, cut into chunks
– 200g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
– 1 egg
– ½ white onion, finely chopped
– 1 garlic clove, crushed
– 70g plain flour
– butter/coconut oil, for cooking
– 1 large avocado
– juice of 1 lemon
– salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. Place the potato chunks into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for 15-20 minutes until tender.

2. Meanwhile, steam the sprouts. Fill a large saucepan with water, pop a steamer insert on top and cover, letting the water come to a boil. Add the sprouts and steam, tossing midway, until bright green and just tender.

3. In a bowl, roughly mash together the potato and sprouts before cracking in the egg and adding the onion, garlic, flour, a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix well. If you feel that the mixture is too wet, add a touch more flour, a teeny bit at a time.

4. Heat 1 tbsp of butter/coconut oil in a frying pan. Separate the mix into four before spooning into a pan and frying each in turn, allowing each side a few minutes in the pan, until golden.

5. Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Combine with the lemon juice and some black pepper before mashing with a fork.

6. Serve the fritters with the smashed avocado sandwiched in-between. Add a poached or fried egg on top if desired. Enjoy!

Bubble and Squeak Fritters with Smashed Avocado

New(ish) To My Reading List

New To My Reading List

I’m a serial book buyer and, regrettably, in the past, a serial half-book reader.

Every few months I’d buy a new pile of books, with every intention of becoming a “reader”. I’d start one, before abandoning it in my busy schedule and forgetting about it for a few weeks. By the time I fancied reading again, I’d be out of the loop and, instead of skimming through the book to refresh myself, I’d just start another one.

By the end of the year I’d be surrounded by piles of half-read, discarded books. Partially explored worlds, characters and stories (that I’d begun to enjoy but that had lost out to the ease of switching off to a Netflix binge) lay abandoned on the shelf, gathering dust. 

This year, however, instead of wasting time on social media or watching telly, I’ll be making a conscious effort to spend more of my downtime with a book. Reading leaves me not only relaxed, but also inspired and energised, making it the perfect break activity between getting work done.

New To My Reading List

New(ish) To My Reading List

I’m currently racing through The Bees by Laline Paull, a book that I’ve stopped and started more than once. The fact though that I was interested enough to pick this book up multiple times and reread it again and again is testament to the fantastic writing and compelling story it tells. A stunning marriage of biology and fantasy, The Bees transports you inside a beehive as you follow Flora 717, a bee with skills and abilities not usual for her kin. I won’t delve into the plot, but I will say that I’ve found myself becoming extremely attached to Flora and haven’t been able stop reading about her exploits for the last two or three days. Honestly, I’m heartbroken that I’ve nearly finished this book!

Next on my list is Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, the second book in the Themis Files trilogy. I couldn’t tear myself away from book one, Sleeping Giants, which follows a team working to track down and uncover the mysteries of a giant robot, pieces of which have been found scattered across the Earth. The chapters are presented as files containing journal entries, transcripts and interviews and sometimes you’ll find events have skipped forward a few weeks or months. This makes the book super fast-paced, racing through events as it imparts only the most important details. Each chapter contains a new revelation, so I’d often have to force myself to put Sleeping Giants down. I cannot wait to start book two.

New To My Reading List

Another series I’d like to continue is The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, the first book of which, Annihilation, I absolutely loved. Disappointingly, I ended up giving up on book two because, along with a new narrator, the voice of the book noticeably (yet understandably) changed. Because I’d moved on so quickly from the first, I found this a touch jarring. I am however quite keen to persevere as I often catch myself wondering where this story goes. This is another sciencey mystery involving a team working to uncover the secrets of a mysterious place called Area X, an uninhabited and abandoned area of the US that nature has begun to reclaim. I love the biological aspect of this trilogy, like I do with The Bees, though this takes a considerably more chilling path.

Finally on my reading list, I’ve got The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey and Nod by Adrian Barnes, two books that I’m once again ashamed to say were at some point abandoned… see you when I’m finished reading!

Let me know the recent additions to your reading list!

New To My Reading List

Weekend Notes

Weekend Notes

Hey guys! And happy weekend!

It’s been quite a week for me, mainly because it marked the start of my new internship in social media/PR! I haven’t mentioned it here yet because I wanted to find my feet a bit before I went into any detail, but I left my full time job as a supervisor in retail at the very end of last year (without anything else to move on to) with the idea that I would find something more ‘me’ in the New Year… and it’s all come together rather more quickly than expected!

Fate/destiny/amazing timing have worked in my favour, and I’ve secured a dreamy position with a small business that I adore, doing exactly what I love doing! Mix this with seeing lots of friends, working on upcoming blog posts and beginning to dip my toe into that nutritional therapy course I’ve been wanting to do for two years, I’m pretty in love with how this week turned out. Here’s a handful of links from around the web that inspired me this week…

Weekend Notes #1

– I’ve gotten into the habit of making a fresh smoothie each morning, and I’m dying to try out a few of these 5-ingredient smoothie recipes.

– Reversible ways to upgrade your rental space.

– These recipes for dishes you didn’t know you could make in a slow cooker have inspired me to find ours and start using it more regularly.

– 7 tips for slowing down and decluttering your mind.

– Organise and refresh your phone and laptop for the new year.

White Grapefruit and Rosemary Gin Fizz

White Grapefruit and Rosemary Gin Fizz

Hey guys! The new year is thoroughly upon us at this point, and what better way to celebrate this fresh start than with an even fresher cocktail?

Cocktail-making has been on my to-do/wish list for as long as I can remember, and since my decision that 2018 will be the year of just doing it, what better time to share a cocktail recipe?!

Here we’re talking sweet-tart white grapefruit paired with woody rosemary, mixed with gin and topped up with bubbles. The recipe requires a simple syrup, so I’ll scribble down how to make that first, then go ahead with the cocktail. Enjoy!

P.S. This gin fizz was going to be made with blood oranges, but they didn’t have any when I went shopping, so I switched to pink grapefruit but then when I got home I realised I’d picked up white grapefruit by mistake… must pay more attention (but I think it paid off).

White Grapefruit and Rosemary Gin Fizz

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Ingredients

– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar
– 4 sprigs’ worth of fresh rosemary leaves

Method

1. In a small saucepan combine all ingredients and, over a medium heat, stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before straining into a jar or bottle for storage. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.

White Grapefruit and Rosemary Gin Fizz

White Grapefruit and Rosemary Gin Fizz

Ingredients, makes 2 cocktails

– 50ml gin
– 1 white grapefruit (for juice and garnish)
– 100ml rosemary simple syrup (method below)
– 2 rosemary sprigs
– splash of prosecco/cava/champagne

Method

1. Add gin, juice of the grapefruit (save a couple of slices for garnish) and rosemary syrup to a cocktail mixer with ice and stir.

2. Using a strainer, pour the drink evenly between two glasses filled with fresh ice.

3. Top with a splash of your chosen bubbles and garnish with a rosemary sprig and slice of white grapefruit.

White Grapefruit and Rosemary Gin Fizz