Friday Links

Happy Friday! It’s been a week, it was windy, the trains were a nightmare and I’m settling into the new job which is good except that the lifts keep giving me electric shocks and this week has been a week of having a ‘muggy migraine head’.

In case you missed them, this week there was miscellany, an update on my skin care routine and some general chat about the indignity of spots when you are over 40, a list of work that needs to be done on the plot and a small chat about making soup.

Here are this week’s links from everywhere else….

A hot bath may be as good for you as exercise. I know, but I can dream…

Care for your houseplants. Which reminds me, I need to make this the year I feel them weekly in the summer and I need to repot them. Which is actually trickier than it sounds, I need to find them all new containers too!

Graham Rix and Gwyn Williams accused of racism and bullying while at Chelsea You like to think that it doesn’t happen at the club you support, especially when it had a black manager at the time. The only comfort I can take is that Chelsea took the letter seriously and reported it to the police and the FA, but that isn’t much comfort.

Is whisky the new gin? I bloody hope not.

Oh no. Cyrille Regis, former West Brom and England striker, dies aged 59. and this just made me well up. A letter to Cyrille Regis

Rogue landlords making millions out of housing benefits But MP’s won’t make laws about rented property being fit for human habitation.

Gin Foundry are running a ‘spotlight on’ series, this about Sean Harrison and Plymouth Gin, is worth reading if you are interested in gin.

I found this interview with Ellen Pompeo, fascinating. I’ve already seen comments about how no one deserves that kind of money and bemoaning her arrogance but it’s also true that we don’t say those things about men who ask for and make those sorts of deals. Women are judged for asking for the same things that men are quite happy asking for.

Shelf effacement: how not to organise your bookshelves

The truth about why we don’t use all our annual holiday leave. Honestly, when I had a permanent job, I took my full holiday leave allowance. I have no problem forgetting about work when I leave the office, even if I don’t go away, I can stay at home and the rest is not wasted.

Finally, this consultation goes live on 29 January, which I will be responding to and if you live in Ealing or have used the clinic and/or seen what these people do, then please respond too…

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been eating soup for lunch.

Soup is a perfect meal planning staple, when I was starting to meal plan, part of my process was to make a vegetable soup using all the vegetables left in the fridge at the end of the week, this use it all up soup then provided me with a couple of meals during the week. I still make the black bean ‘freezer’ soup, that is not pretty but great for weeks when cooking is just not on my list of priorities.

Soup is for me the ultimate no recipe cooking, I really just wing it and see what happens. My soup this week was inspired by the pumpkin sage blender soup in this post from Cassie at Wholefully.

I used the monster Boston Squash I grew this summer it was 14 and a half pounds of squash, carrying it home was like carrying a small toddler home and it’s been gracing various rooms of my house, along with it’s friends the butternut squashes, but it was past time to use it up.

I cut it up and roasted it in three batches. I ate quite a bit of it for various dinners and in two batches, made soup. Into the blender with the cooked squash, I added plain yogurt, vegetable stock, salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Once blended to the consistency, I liked and after tasting it and juicing a lemon into it, I poured it into 4 Kilner jars (and this is where I’ve discovered that Kilner jars, the 500ml ones hold just the right amount of soup for lunch)

It’s the perfect desk lunch and using the cooked squash means that when I’m making it, I don’t have to mess with hot liquid in the blender. It’s lazy soup but it’s really tasty, quite healthy lazy soup made with my own home grown produce. It makes me feel good!

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Allotment Adventures: Things are looking up

I did a very quick trip the the plot at the weekend to collect some food, I took leeks, chard, kale, black radishes and parlsey, sage and rosemary.Which is not bad for January and much better than last year but the plot is looking very January-ish and sad. There is so much work to do before the end of February and then I’ll be thinking about sowing and everything!There are signs of life though….rhubarb is starting to pop up along with the weeds.The rosemary is flowering which makes me happy but reminds me that the herb patch needs a haircut and generally things need attending to.Ma reckons she’ll be back to full strength next weekend, assuming she is, this is the list of work for next week.

  • paint the shed (me)
  • weed (ma)
  • dig up raspberries (me)
  • cut back remaining raspberries (me)
  • move gooseberry bush (both but mostly me!)
  • tidy up the area next to the shed (both)
  • plant sweet peas and put in a cold frame (both)
  • buy a cold frame, which will probably be a little plastic thing we can weigh down (both)
  • sort out seeds and get the ones we need (both)
  • burn plant waste (both but mostly me!)

The last weekend of January, we probably won’t get to the plot so there is another list for February.

  • buy and assemble new raised beds
  • buy compost and fill new and old beds
  • sow leeks
  • sort out the herb patch, things need cutting back and tidying
  • clear the brassica bed
  • clear the leek bed
  • buy and assemble a new greenhouse
  • sow tomatoes (end of the month)
  • sow beetroot and carrots (end of the month)

That is enough to be thinking about, there is a trip to Wilko in my future and lots of manual labour!


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New Year, New Skin Care Routine

I’ve talked about what I use on my face in this space for a while and January always seems like a good time to talk about it. Forty-something skin is no joke, winter always shows on my face and I need to slightly adjust my routine to accommodate, it’ll change again in the summer…

As I’ve settled into my forties, I’m find I’m less concerned about the lines and wrinkles, I still feel that I look like me. I am deeply offended by the chin hairs, no one tells you that the difference between old ladies with chin hair and those without, is the application of tweezers, Ma did warn me but I just thought it wouldn’t happen to me! Far worse are the spots, I wasn’t spotty teenager so to have them now seems like a punishment for something….

(oh and all of these photos were taken with my iphone after 9pm on a rough Monday night , they are not great I know it. I know I should do better but it may never happen…)

They seem to be hormonal as they mostly pop up two weeks before my period, on my chin and mostly on the right side of my face, Like all spots, they are better when I drink lot of water and worse if I’m not taking my make up off properly. I make sure I do both and thoroughly wash my face at night, with either Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter (still) or Waitrose Pure Hydration Hot Cloth Cleanser which is fantastic. I use a flannel to take it off and I change them every day. My skin doesn’t feel tight afterwards and it really helps keep my skin in good health, in the morning I use Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Facial Wash.

The second thing I do is put freederm on the spots, it’s the best stuff for reducing the redness and inflammation of the little red blighters and lasts a long time.

Finally, one of the things that does help is using Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Pads once a day and Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Overnight Peel once a week, I didn’t start using them to help reduce the spots, I just noticed that it helped, it also makes my skin feel great.Finally, this year, someone suggested that folic acid might help. I have never knowingly taken folic acid, I’m not pregnant and never planned to be, but I thought I’d give it a try I’ve been taking it since the end of December and so far, so good. I’ll report back in a couple of months to see if it sticks or survives PMT fortnight!

When three people with very different attitudes to skin care but all with good skin, recommend a face cream which has also been mentioned by Sali Hughes, I go and buy it. The face cream in question is Superdrug’s Optimum Phytodeluxe Day Cream. It is really lovely to use, moisturising but not greasy, and the packaging is lovely! I liked it so much that I bought the night cream too.Then when they was on offer, the serum and the eye cream, I thought it was time to commit to using eye cream but I’m still not sure that it’s helping, I still have dark circles but it’s only been three weeks so it might need more time and I to use them for a while to work out if they are working and if the serum is worth replacing my usual serum for.

The great thing about Superdrug’s ranges is how often they go on offer, currently the Optimum range is on buy one get one free, but when I bought them in December they were half price. I’d like to say that price doesn’t make a difference but it does and putting something on my face that feels good and doesn’t bankrupt me is important to me and probably to lots of other people too! The truth is though that the most important things  are the cheapest – drinking lots of water and washing your face throughly, so do that if all of this feels like too much money but a month in my skin seems to be in better condition. My make up goes on better and generally when it’s not working or I’m not looking after it, a sure sign is that my foundation won’t go on well and sits on my face. It looks less natural, more Elizabeth I!

Has the New Year inspired you to change your skin care routine at all or do you have the perfect face products and use them well?


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Monday Miscellany

Last week was hard, my first full five day working week in three months, tough. The 9 to 5 wasn’t too bad, it was all the other stuff – the commuting, getting up in the dark, the rush to be in bed by 10pm.

Schools went back this week too, which means that my commute (at least the home to Hammersmith part) is filled with Oratory schoolboys talking authoritatively on subjects which they do not know or understand. Generally I ignore it but the kid who I told off on Thursday had it coming, and if girls really put out to the extent he spent the week boasting about on the train, well there is no hope for the human race!

This is the sign on one of the toilets at the office.

Unisex fine, but only headless women?

But work has been productive, my work mail box gets somewhere from 50 to 100 emails a day, when I left the office on Friday, there were 2 mails in there that needed actioning, yes I’m feeling pretty good about that. There were 0ver 5,000 emails in that mailbox when I started that job!It’s been a good reading week, I love actual paper books but a kindle makes it much easier to be near the end of a book because you’re just carrying the kindle, not as I was on Tuesday carrying two book because I was going to finish one and being without a book anywhere is horrific!

I went to the allotment this weekend and was pleased to see that, in spite of my neglect of it in December, it’s still giving us some food!This week I also managed a walk with Sarah and Fred, all the laundry, mega food prep, a trip to the cinema (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri), a trip to Ma’s (she’s still not feeling amazing but is much better) where  I teased her about being way ahead on her codeword a day book. On Sunday night, I was knackered but ready for this week!

Things to get done this week:

  • pick up my dry cleaning
  • make marmalade
  • pick up the prescription I still haven’t picked up
  • be in bed at 9:30pm and lights out at 10pm (I’ve been in bed at 10pm and awake because I need some time to chill!)


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Sunday Music

Sometimes music has meaning to you beyond anything the person who made the music intends or has a different meaning to the one the listener takes. (For example there is a Foo Fighters song that makes me think about Lent and Jesus in the desert and I’m pretty bloody sure that was not the intention when the song was written, there you have it the mystery of creativity…)

For me, and this is a huge part of my journey as a christian, I understand that I fail God most when I don’t love enough. As a human, I understand that judgement comes from fear and fear comes from lack. When I am whole and secure in who I am, I’m able to switch off love and when I can do that, I am the person that God made me to be and I am truly free. (Yes it is unbelievably cheesy, it’s really hard to be English and reserved and christian or sincerely express any emotion, which is why my Grandad bought us lots and lots of kitkats and fruit!)

However, I’m human and not God so I fail in that more times than I care to think able. To be human is to fail. This song somehow sums that feeling of when I get it right, which I do very, very occasionally.

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Friday Links

Happy Friday! I’m the more happy to see a Friday come around than I’ve been for a while. this is the first straight five days I’ve done at work since 30 September last year, it’s both easier and harder than I expected!

Here are this week’s links….

How I let drinking take over my life

Good for Macmillan. Fire and Fury Publisher Shuts Down Trump Lawyer’s Demands to Cease the Book’s Printing. I’m not sure if it is an important book in the greater scheme of things but Trump shouldn’t be allowed to be a bully.

Number of Britons applying for French citizenship rises tenfold in three years. You can understand that!

The growing problem of rural homelessness

 “We should judge ourselves on how we look after our weak members,” he says. “If we’re not doing that, we’re not doing a good job on anything.”

‘I live in fear I’ll miss a seriously ill patient and they will die’. It’s a crisis and it doesn’t stop being a crisis because you thought it might happen and decided that if it did, you’d cancel routine operations. Sometimes I know it’s going to rain and I take an umbrella, that doesn’t mean it’s not raining. Also how did Jeremy Hunt get to keep his job and add more responsibility to it, when this is happening?

Farage backs second Brexit referendum. Even an stopped clock is right twice a day, Farage is still an charlatan though.

Finally, backwards books. Has there ever been a more stupid trend? No, there has not…



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