Chilli lentil, mushroom and pepper stew with stilton and cranberry

DSC_2169This week, I have felt like eating lighter, which usually happens when the temperature rises and I prepared a quick and easy lentil stew with some vegetables I had lying around the fridge.

I vigorously boiled about a cup of lentils in enough water to cover them, with a stock cube and some chilli flakes. I then added a chopped onion and chopped mushroom, capsicum pepper, spring onion and coriander and let the stew simmer and reduce for about 20 mins.

Once complete, I crumbled stilton and cranberry cheese over the top for a nice sweet/ savoury contrast.

I ❤ the versatility of lentils!

~Boop

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Prawn and vegetable boiled rice

Prawn and vegetable boiled rice

A healthier alternative to fried rice, all ingredients are boiled together with the rice which is seasoned and gently flavoured.

Ingredients were not strictly measured and include: prawns, rice, grated carrot, garden peas, onions, salt and black pepper.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing my photos of meals/ dishes I have prepared during the week with you!

~ Boop

To Read Or Not To Read? (What A Ridiculous Question!)

To rephrase a Shakespearianism, To read or not to read is the question which Lynnette Noni explores in this fascinating examination of the true beauty of pastime of reading. Take a look…

Lynette Noni

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I have a confession to make: I read a lot. As in, heaps. It’s what I do. Some people watch movies, some go out with friends, some spend time with their families, some play sports… And sure, I do all of that, but when I really want to space-out on life for a while, what I truly love most is sinking into a book.

Reading allows me to journey to other worlds. And in those worlds I can wield swords, wave wands, fall in love with vampires, sail across the universe, travel to the past and to the future… I can do anything. I’m only limited by the confines of the story – and even then, my own imagination can fill in any gaps if needed.

So, why is reading so beautiful?

Well, I’m sure there are a number of reasons, but one that I believe to be fairly significant is the fact that

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Look Up

A powerful look at the increasingly technologically minded world we are living in and the need to be heard and liked by people we do not know. And the life changing opportunities we miss by being so absorbed in this world. Watch and be touched! Then go give someone you love a hug…

~Boop

Spam filters for everyday life

WordPress is still very new to me. BlogSpot has been my hosting site of choice in the past because it seemed the more simple, particularly for beginners who did not want as much flexibility as WordPress seems to give. I wanted to try something new, so ventured over to play with the big boys.

Today I was reviewing my Dashboard and I saw that my Spam filter Asikmet has been getting rid of so many ‘spam’ comments. I was able to view one of these alleged Spam comments and saw that in fact it was a lovely comment from one of my readers. I was immediately filled with horror. How many of these lovely comments have been deemed ‘Spam’ before they had the chance to prove themselves otherwise?

This crisis averted, having edited my spam filter settings (rookie mistake), it got me thinking about whether we could employ spam filters for our everyday lives.

How many hours have you spent listening to vacuous attention-seeking drivel or poisonous gossip and wished that before you commenced that conversation, you were aware of how much of a waste of time it would be. Hindsight is amazing (and virtually impossible unless you are psychic or can predict the future). There are some things that I am trying to do to recognise and reduce the spam in my life however.

SPAM FRIENDSHIPS

SPAM FOOD

SPAM TELEVISION

SPAM FEELINGS of negativity

SPAM JOBS

SPAM RELATIONSHIPS

These are just some of the uninvited spam that invades our daily lives, impacting on our mental health and general well- being.

In the almost 6 months since I have started at my new job, I cannot say that I have really connected with anyone which is really sad when I say this out loud to myself. I have had several jobs in my 20 something life and never been in this position. One where I feel like no one is interested enough in me to engage in conversations revolving around matters other than work or the ones with whom I have slightly broken ice with on discovering I am in a relationship treat me with the ‘arms length’ judgement. Sure, you are single and want to meet, get drunk with and club with different guys every week and talk about it, whereas, I am very happy and settled and while I like enjoying myself, do not feel like I need to constantly behave in this way to be validated. Still, I feel like I am being judged for having a boyfriend in a promiscuous environment. (too much?) I rarely talk about my relationship to people I do not know so am a little irked by this disingenuous behaviour.

It then clicked. In the past, my friends included work colleagues. The two worlds were barely distinguishable. Work, apart from being just that, was also an environment in which I was able to socialise with like-minded people and so that daily grind became more bearable. As you get older, work and friendships are kept separate as work no longer becomes your life, but a supplementary part of it.

I began pursuing my many interests and hobbies outside of work. Having a life. Taking photographs, reading, writing, fostering happy thought and behaviours, spending time around people who make me laugh, (who ‘get’ me) cooking, spending less time wondering or caring what people think about me or seeking the approval of others.

I have developed a love of ‘gardening’ and flowers.

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My mini herb pots

I live in a one-bedroomed flat on the second floor so I really do not have access to a garden. However, I am determined to bring a bit of the garden into the flat.

I read in a few online and print articles about the benefits of getting green-fingered on your health. Gardening in any sense is shown to be a great release for stress (more spam filtering!) as well as meaning that you will get some exercise and consume the vegetables or whatever you grow. Wellness Mama (http://wellnessmama.com/5437/why-do-gardeners-live-longer/) says,

“Logically, gardeners often grow vegetables, which means that logically, they also probably eat them…”

Makes sense right? I feel so much more relaxed at happy outside or in a garden. But also the presence of flowers and plants in my personal space also breeds the same feelings for me.

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My Osteospermum “Moon daisy”? (or so the lady at the flower stall informs me)

 

I have also been a huge fan of Psychologies magazine (www.psychologies.co.uk) which is a great collection of articles all about well-being in all aspects of your life and the most recent edition from June 2014 had an article on page 45 regarding the positive impact that pets can make on our lives. I don’t think it is any secret that petting a cat, walking a dog or observing a fish going about it’s daily business can be anything short of therapeutic, but it is one more way of avoiding the useless spam that is negativity.

On a brief aside about relationship spam, wouldn’t it be easier if you could spot ‘spam’ from a mile off and avoiding it like the plague, protect your mental health , time and diginity by not indulging in it?

I think that there is a lot to be learnt about spam and negativity and perhaps it makes you appreciate the smaller, worthwhile things in life. At the risk of coming across more bumbling than I already do, I will stop here.

But one more thing…

Harry Potter fans, did you know that a ‘Dumbledore’ is actually a bumble bee and a ‘Muggle’ is a cannabis user? NO? QI hosted by the lovely Stephen Fry informed me thus, making me wonder what JK Rowling was actually thinking about as she wrote the books!

You can also see more discussions about the etymology here: http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3104&start=0&sid=d278c38dc23d7f2410f87e0d1d7219bc

Watch that riveting episode here :

Simple pleasures folks. Let’s not get too het up about spam!

How do you filter out the spam from your life? Being cautious? Putting on a brave face? Avoiding conflict?

~Boop

Merging with the man-cave: 10 things to love (and hate) about cohabiting

Last year I made the difficult decision along with my man-bear to move in together. After numerous heated discussions about where we should set up our love nest, we finally took the plunge and settled on a lovely flat with a great view over our area of London. If you are thinking of cohabiting however, there are several horrors and blessings to consider. These are my pros and cons:

CON : Socks

One man, two feet. 573 socks. 10 matching pairs. Numerous stragglers. The sock invasion is so bad that I once opened my handbag at work and found a single dirty sock staring me back in the face, taunting me.


PRO: Cuddles

You come in from a long, hard day’s work and there is a friendly face waiting to greet you with a steaming cup of tea and a cuddle. Ahh.


CON: Football

Nuff said, constant sport streaming means he hogs the television and you can’t watch endless reruns of the Kardashians whilst simultaneously stuffing your face full of chocolate ice cream.


PRO: Companionship

It’s a lovely thing be able to share your home with the person you choose to spend your life with.


CON: Sleep

No longer is it possible to starfish across your lovely large bed with your man / lady/ mineral occupying the other half. You may have to deal with the occasional night of drunken snoring and heavy breathing.


PRO: Finances

You are in a better position to save and build on a savings pot as both of your finances are combined. Cost of living is less than if you lived alone. In most cases anyway.


CON: Grooming

Your beauty regime is no longer a mystery to him. Lip fuzz removal and furry legs for winter are no longer a viable grooming option. His whisker shavings will be all over your sink and fancy Lush soap.


PRO: Pest Control and DIY

He can deal with any infestation and  bulb change with ease. (Yeah right)


Two from the horses mouth: “man-bear”

CON: Her flatulence

Surprising her emissions pack a shocking punch when you least expect.

PRO: Waking up next to her…

…dribble, eye crust and bandanna and still feeling the luckiest man in the world!

THANKS BEAR!

All in all, most of the above should be taken with a pinch of salt. Once you get used to each other’s habits and respect each other’s space, it is so easy (bar the occasional squabbles which you can later find ways to make it up to each other after).

What are your cohabiting pros and cons?