Back to reality… and my head doesn’t like it!

There is nothing like a holiday away from everything to reenergise you and help find that motivation that has been hiding whilst you have been enduring long working hours. Well my holiday did do this and so much more but I had only been back at work for a day and a half when a nice big migraine zapped me and my mojo was once more running out the door. It always takes me at least a day to recover from a migraine. The following day I always have a fuzzy stuffy head and my brain just takes longer to get into gear. I forget words, I’m tired and I’m irritable – none of this is a good formula for feeling positive and happy.

However this wee blog is helping me to get back on track. I really want to achieve my goals and be Merry.

I absolutely 100% believe happiness isn’t about getting something or targets (of course those things can momentarily give us a happiness boost or help us to keep on track… mmm cake!) but to be happy you have to embrace positive thinking and just be happy right here and now. Believe me I know how hard that is and I know it isn’t always possible – my episodes of depression mean that I have first hand experience that sometimes no matter how much we want to be content and happy our brains malfunction and we end up in the depths of despair. The depression taught me that in order to keep me on the right track I need to challenge myself, find the positives, appreciate all that I have around me and give myself health and wellbeing goals.

So today now my head has finally cleared I could be grumpy because I am stuck in my greenhouse of a library when the sun is shining or I could think about how truly lucky I am. There has been a little thing on facebook encouraging people to think of 3 positive things for 5 days so here are my first 3:

  1. I have a good job, a permanent contract which is elusive these days and I appreciate that days in my library working pay for all my other fun things I do outwith the library and actually my job is pretty good. So I might be working today but it means I can get ice cream with my Boyo later.
  2. I have just been on a most wonderful holiday to a place that I used to live, I am not yet 30 but I really have had a pretty good life and experiences thus far. I’m wearing a gorgeous turquoise stone necklace from my holidays today, a nice wee reminder of Hong Kong.
  3. I enjoyed a lovely 20 minute walk this morning to my bus. It was a lovely sunny morning, I live in the countryside, those 20 minutes allowed me to chat away to my Boyo and for us to appreciate our surroundings.

So now I’m all happy again (and thinking about ice cream later) I can once again think about ebing postive and think about my  little (big) targets for the next few months:

  1. Start planning meals again. I don’t do a weekly plan but a little forward thinking will help me to be a little more economical and healthier and get back into the habit of cooking everything from scratch again.
  2. Exercise everyday, walking, swimming, the cross trainer and cycling all need to become part of weekly routine. I need to lose weight and think about my long term health. If it becomes a daily habit it will be a lot easier to stick to it.
  3. Start taking my vitamins again. This is just me being tired and forgetful in the mornings – the ironic thing the vitamins help me from feeling so lethargic!
  4. Work harder with the hypnotherapy in order to really work on this vegetable & fruit aversion. Again this is important for my long term health.
  5. Find a hobby or a class or some sort of activity where I can meet new people. I love my Boyo but having some other friends nearby would be nice and maybe help my social awkwardness improve
  6. Finish cataloguing my recipe folders at home (such a librarian)
  7. Do something about the garden. It is only small and it could be so nice.
  8. Show my Boyo that I appreciate him a little more. When you live with someone it becomes all too easy to take things for granted a little bit. I still get wee moments where it hits me how truly lucky we are and how amazing it is that he loves me just as much as I love him, I hope these wee moments never stop.
  9. Stop buying clothes and start exploring my own wardrobe a bit more. I was looking back at some older photos and saw things I had completely forgotten about, granted my weight gain means a lot of things don’t fit me but even with the stuff that does I could be a bit more adventurous.
  10. Save my pennies more. We hope to buy a new home in 2 years, this really should be all the incentive I need, I just forget and live in the moment a bit too much, but saving will mean that more extra special moments – like houses and holidays – will be possible.

So there we go, 10 goals for me to think about and hopefully I will actively pursue them!

That will all for today folks – coming up a little guide to holidays in Hong Kong and of course a Foodie post won’t be far away!

Merry

 

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Foodie Friday

Foodie Friday

Another fishy Friday – sorry to those who aren’t fans of fish! I am trying as I have mentioned before to become a healthier person and one of the things I am trying to do is to eat more fish. As a child the only fish I ever ate was haddock in breadcrumbs or ‘yellow fish’ made by my Granny. Yellow fish is smoked haddock baked in milk and butter – hence the name yellow – and the fillet was served with the wonderful buttery sauce and a slice of bread and butter. Delicious! So I really feel that I need to expand my menu where fish is concerned. So today’s meal is Smoked River Cobbler with roasted herby potatoes and courgettes with a herby white sauce.

On another note regarding my food eating I am embarking on a whole new daunting challenge. I am what is known as a ‘picky eater’. Over the past few years I have become much more adventurous (I only tried curry when studying for my postgrad. Thank you to my friend from Bristol for introducing me to this wonder, I will forever be thankful). Living in China and Hong Kong forced me to try some new and exotic foods and developing a serious cooking hobby over the past two years (and having a boyo who is willing to try EVERYTHING) has meant that slowly but surely I am eating a much wider variety of food.

But I have a major stumbling block-

I don’t eat vegetables or fruit.

(I am Scottish so I do love potatoes, does that count as a vegetable?… I’m joking)

I’ve had a major problem with fruit & veg for as long as I can remember. I am happy to eat a wide variety of vegetables in soup format as long as they are blended. I will cook with vegetables and enjoy the flavour they give to my meals – but I pick all the actual vegetables out. I literally gag and can’t swallow when I feel the texture of vegetables in my mouth. As for fruit, I don’t even go near it. The closest I will get is a puff pastry apple puff thing where the apple inside is basically pureed and the whole thing is covered in custard. This my friends (if anyone reads my ramblings) is ridiculous.

I enjoy cooking, I love looking at all the wonderful variety of food, I want to be able to cook and eat away to my hearts content. I want to give up my sugar crazy tendencies. In the past I didn’t mind so much but now that I enjoy cooking so much I am seeing so many tasty things that I am missing out on. Another big factor is my Boyo. I’m not just responsible for myself now – don’t worry he can look after himself- Boyo and I decided to live together, one day we hope to start a family together and we intend to spend our lives together (we aren’t married but the same objectives really!). I worry about him and want to look after him and he does the same for me. Although I am trying to improve my health I can’t really claim to be healthy unless I eat a balanced diet. I am 30 later this year. The question of us starting a family gets closer and bigger all the time, how can I grow a little person if I am not properly nourished and how can I raise a child if I do not try to be healthy and show good behaviours to them? It is important to me and it is important to the Boyo.

So I hear you ask what am I doing about it? Well I am trying to improve what I eat all the time – sneaking spinach into curry, using more wholesome ingredients, varying our carbs – cous cous, rice, pasta, potatoes and limiting our portion size of carbs and instead of having massive meals I am trying to just use sensible portions. I am also trying to reduce my dairy intake by eating less cheese, just the equivalent of 1 glass of milk a day and a yoghurt, I try to eat no more than 2 slices of bread a day and I make my own bread (I try to make nearly everything from scratch) and I only drink fizzy drinks if we are out for a meal or at the weekend and still not a crazy amount. I’m trying to up my peppermint tea consumption, experiment with green tea and drink more water.

But this isn’t enough – so time for the major step. Next week I will attend my first hypnotherapy session. I am actually quite nervous about it. I have a lot of questions but the two main questions are:

What if it doesn’t work?

And

What if it does?

I’ll update you on my healthy eating quest soon.

So back to Foodie Friday

Smoked River Cobbler with herby roasted potatoes & courgettes with a herby white sauce

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Ingredients

    Fish

2 x skinless and boneless smoked River Cobbler fillets
Dash of Olive Oil
Seasoning – I used a lemon pepper seasoning mix

    Potatoes & Courgettes

Glug of Olive oil
White everyday potatoes peeled & cut into small chunks (A great way to use up old potatoes that need cooked quickly)
Half a Courgette sliced.
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Seasoning – again I used the lemon Pepper mixture

    White Sauce

About 150ml-200ml of Milk (I used semi-skimmed)
Knob of Butter
300ml of Crème Fraiche (I would usually use half fat)
Knorr mixed herb flavour pot
Black pepper
Garlic (I used a pinch of garlic granules instead of fresh this time)
Tablespoon of Philadelphia
2 teaspoons of grated Parmesan

    Method

1. Put your oven on to warm up, I had mine at 200c. Put a good glug of the olive oil into a large roasting dish. I used a large oval le creuset one but I also have a big glass one that is ideal for roasting the potatoes. Place the dish with the olive oil into the oven to warm up whilst you peel & chop the potatoes and slice up the courgettes.

2. On the chopping board mix up your courgettes and potatoes using your hands then cover in the seasoning and a good sprinkle of sea salt and a little black pepper. Mix up again so all the potatoes and veg are covered in the herbs and spices.

3. Lift the now hot dish out the oven and put your potato and veg mix in. Give a good mix then put in the oven. Depending on the size of your potatoes and how well spread out they are in the dish it could take between 30 – 40 minutes for them to cook. Every so often you want to lift them out and give them a good mix so all the sides turn golden and a little crispy.

4. Now to prepare the fish. Place them in another roasting dish. Sprinkle your seasoning over them and gently rub it in. Sprinkle a little dash of olive oil over the fillets and cover in tin foil. The fillets will cook in the oven in 20 minutes so time putting them in on how your potatoes are looking.

5. The sauce isn’t necessary but adds a little more flavour to the dish. Put the milk and butter in a pot and place over a medium heat on the hob. When the butter has melted add the flavour pot and mix thoroughly. Add the crème fraiche and Philadelphia. Keep mixing until it starts to resemble a nice consistency, add the garlic, parmesan and a little black pepper. If you have the sauce ready before the rest of the meal just leave it off the heat to warm up again when you are ready to serve. If it is a little thick then just add splashes of milk whilst stirring until the desired consistency is reached.

6. Check to see if your potatoes are cooked through by cutting one in half and eating it! If they are cooked then you are all ready to go and serve it up. Enjoy!

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