Table #4

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Welcome into the kitchen, we’ve made it to the end of the week and a glass of wine has been poured.  The menu for tea is a quick pull it together for the boys and I.  The boss is out with a friend and a very rare occasion for a Friday night!  Rice and a tub from freezer containing left over frozen lentils and lamb curry, served with broccoli and a spoon of mango chutney before some boys tv.

I got the boys to bed an hour ago and I’ve been shamelessly procrastinating, clicking and looking through Pintrest…man that can zap time!  And the irony of it is that I’ve been clicking through organising oneself…..until I got a hold of myself and went to play the piano for 10 mins.  We have the easy play version of La La land….the pieces are very evocative of the film and a joy to play.  I take it slow and remarkably they sound ok.

My blog has been calling me despite the fact when I sit down to write it’s a struggle….and finally starting to type and explain how the evening has gone is a help.  Spending time on something un-interrupted is a luxury and so sitting here with my mind to roam free is taking all my will power to concentrate!

The clocks changed last Sunday and my plans to revolutionise my weekly habit were going to kick in…easily bounding out of bed at 6, fresh and ready to take the world on…..it didn’t happen!   It happens to be pitch black at that time (obviously) and the last thing my brain wants to do is wake up!  Add to the that there’s definitely been a dip in the temperature,  the sporting gazelle did not appear and I just wanted to pull the duvet over my head when the wakeup call went.

The new Honey & Co Foodtalks Podcast appeared in my stream today.  This edition held with Ed Smith creator of the Blog Rocket and Squash (another recent discovery) has been blogging for 7 years or so.  He talks through how he came to blogging and how food became his calling rather than being a lawyer.  For a guy in IT with a passion for cooking well, this really struck a chord.

My challenge with Nigel continued,  one recipe I followed to the letter.  From the chronicles, taken from Three dried fruit drinks for winter Apricot, orange and anise (which doesn’t do justice to the brandy and sweet wine.  The other recipe, Lamb ‘osso buco’ with pappardelle which I really made my own, a slightly different cut of meet, an addition of tinned tomatoes (my Indian cookery class has annoying half tin tomato recipes so there was a half that needed using up) and I used port rather than Marsala.  Also made my own pasta…..which is a labour of love despite what anyone tells you.  I always forget how long it takes….enjoyable when you have the time…not when you have spent the day dismantling an old kitchen for the tip.   This Sunday nights tea involves a pan, a pork chop, and some pears

The table is my weekly review,  with a nod to #DSFWeeklyRewind and with that in mind I need to mention what I’m grateful for this week.   It’s music, this week it got me through some moments…I’ve discovered a new pianist, Yann Tierson (he’s not new), his music is new to me and I love this album, from track 2 it’s exquisite.  My favourite track of the moment though is Everything Now by Arcade Fire

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Weekend Coffee Share – Week 1 Challenge

If we were having coffee, we’d talk about the weather in Edinburgh the last few days and how the tourists are getting a rough deal. One minute it’s sunny, the next torrential down pours and then hours of dreich sticky mist that hangs in the air and just clings to you.

I’ve woken up early for a Saturday, normal time for a weekday, I’ve snuck out of bed, so you were passing just at the right time.  The house is quiet for a few minutes and I can tell you about my week.

I started a 13 week challenge for myself, mainly taken the ideas from the self journal approach, and I’ve high jacked it to work with a bullet journal.  The self journal would create waste for me in a journal, I just don’t think I could be that fanatical about my day (yet), whereas the bullet journal is more random and suits the nature of the beast that is my working week and my random head.

My main goal is to get myself organised, you could say it’s the prequel to being able to take the self journal approach.  And the 2nd goal was to really give my a blog a stretch of its legs.

I started writing a piece for the weekend coffee share whilst on holiday but then something got in the way….probably a child.

The thing about holidays…you start to think differently, the daily demands of the mind start to unravel at the edges.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the constant demands of the boys and I’ll be going back to work for a rest on that front.   It’s the moments where your mind gets to drift, the first coffee in the morning (if your left in peace) or the moments when we are all on our bikes in harmony.

I’ve been trying to hang onto that feeling of holidays, freedom, harmony and mindfulness.  The boys are still off school and I’m 2 weeks back in.  There have been a few ups and downs, hence the challenge and the daily focus has helped both keep my work and life priorities on track.

So here I am two weeks in a row now enjoying your company!  I’ve been looking forward to it wondering what I’d tell you.

  • I’d set myself a goal of getting at least one recipe up this week and I managed it.  Bolognese EdinburghCook Style
  • Loving Rachel Roddy, if you are into podcasts, great intro to the book from Honey and Co Food Talks   With the Honey and Co Podcasts here
  • The eldest had seen SpiderMan, and I’d promised I’d take the youngest one night.  A school night for me, the timings sucked in terms of lateness but I went for it.  Pleased I did he was so grateful and it was great.  I’ve started to become tired of the adventure hero genre and really didn’t need to see another reboot of SpiderMan.  Marvel have done a good job, and so much better than I thought it would be.
  • Discovered this great playlist on Spotify Music for concentration 
  • Really inspired by the I Am Bolt documentary
  • Despite the weather, manged to cycle to work every day plus a Monday run
  • As well as the 13 week challenge.  I’ve started a  365 photo challenge…for no other reason to try and capture a moment in each day.  Something that made me smile, react or think about my place in the world, a wannabe cook and his iPhone!  @EdinburghCook Instagram


Thank you for sharing coffee and saying hello,  The weekend coffee share is hosted by the PartTimeMonster

 

 

 

If We Were Having Coffee – 14 May 2016

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If we were having coffee we would discuss how dry it’s been but cold. I’d tell you how exciting it’s been coming home each night to see the progress on the kitchen.  I’d get my phone out and show you the pictures and you’d nod your head in agreement that it looks great.

Deep down you’d be thinking that looks like a crazy building site and why would you put yourself through the dust and the mayhem.   I’d be trying to point out the features, the nooks and crannies.  We’d talk about what’s still to be done and then we’d discuss how we are managing without a kitchen.

I’d explain we’ve been cooking in the loft.  A left over falling to bits student kitchen which despite its ramshackle appearance it’s like a little home from home.  The boys start their breakfast without us with the radio re-tuned to Radio1.  On appearing I immediately do the dad thing and change the station to my choice of Radio2.  It’s not like I’m torturing them with a high brow radio 4!  To which I get the moans and a few awwghh Dads, but it settles down with the usual chomp of rice crispies.

I’d talk to you about my spotify tracks…..My retro album of choice this week has been Disco by the pet shop boys, an album that takes me back to my Walkman sat in the back of the car drowning  out whatever was going on in the world at the time.

The new song discovery is this years British entry for the euro vision taking place in Stockholm this evening…You’re Not Alone by Joe and Jake .  A great poppy tune gets everyone into that summer vibe whilst we are camping in the loft.  The remix has been added to the scribble playlist that’s under construction.

I’ve had coffee with a couple of other folk over the week, and enjoyed hearing about having a proper blog plan Literati-Girl   And enjoyed Millysguidetohappiness.  Then I stopped by Trents World

I’ve got various cooking ambitions despite being hampered without an oven, it’s like my right arm has been chopped off, but I think it’s more that a fall back has gone and since I’ve been looking for recipes that are quick simple and easy the oven seems to feature a lot.  I hope to share in due course.

Until next weekend, thanks for popping by.

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster.  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the “Linkup Linky“.  

Permission to Start the Year

Calendars

Been psyching myself up all year to write this post.   There have been a million and one thoughts that I’ve wanted to put down, insightful and entertaining, pure nuggets of gold……all drifted away into the darkness because I didn’t get round to it.

For some reason theres always something else going on stealing those precious moments, always a few rabbit holes to go down and always another job lurking round the corner.  Not helped by the severe winds (I had to rescue the fence) we’ve been suffering here in Scotland, my want and need to have a spring clean around my desk.   Also switched back to OSX Yosemite from Windows 8.1…..as I thought that might kick start my ability to write by osmosis!

One of my rabbit holes took me to this blog  Journal Fodder Junkies and a post that talks about Permission and Initiative which hit a few nails on the head for me around giving oneself permission to try, fail, experiment, not be perfect and open-up along with having the initiative to get off our lazy butts, break out the tools, accept where we are and trust our ideas.   I’ve stolen the few that resonated with me (hopefully this doesn’t count as ‘not to merely copy’).  If you keep a journal then do check out this site for inspiration and ideas.

2015 Food Bloggers Resolution Advice

Braid HillIt’s at that time of year for me where I start to reflect on what I’ve done this year.  The door closes after boxing day, we get a few stolen moments and a little time to ourselves……and the creative bug comes back.   As a part time blogger and cook I’ve started to think about what I’d like to achieve next year and it led me to think about the advice that I’d like to see and how I might structure myself for success!

Your Only Human – Take Time

Forgive yourself for what you didn’t achieve last year and give yourself a pat on the back for the things you did.  Also recognise or acknowledge that you most likely helped others to achieve through out the year.  At the tail end of November my son got a bronze in a local swimming gala.  At the age of 8 he stood on an actual commonwealth podium from the 2014 games.   This was not only his achievement, his teachers but also his mums for taking the time to get him to class after school in amongst the errands.

I was there for the moment he swam in his heat and won.   Also for the moment when he took to the pool and swam by himself because  of a slight mess up with the race.   The smile on his face, this was one of life’s precious moments for me…..and it’s important to take these moments when you can.

Sharpen Your Saw

Relax and take time out. Remember to live and enjoy the things around you. Go to an art gallery, visit the cinema or simply take a walk. Even maybe taken a different route to work.  The lost art of free time struck a cord with me in that it’s important to plan free time.

Join in

Join a community and get involved.  I was given a huge boost mentally by taking part in the blogging101 course ran by the daily post.  The free course was great for creating momentum, a schedule around activity, genuine feedback and some good old fashioned advice

Avoid Rabbit Holes

This is the process of following link after link. I find following rabbit trails too easy, going from site to site. I find lots of good stuff, and usually end up adding to my list of things I want to do and read. A bit like finding new recipes when I already have some to try! It’s easy to procrastinate and follow too many links. Set yourself a time limit and realise when your doing this.

Daydream

Not the same as procrastination…..this is about visualising your goal. Think about what it is you want to achieve and picture yourself succeeding.  The telegraph wrote an article related to Sports Visualisation and explores this further.

Getting Things Done

Discipline is key here and what you do gets done!

Find yourself a process and stick to it.  David Allen has defined the GTD process.  If you haven’t heard of GTD then for me this guy is the most widely known author of Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity.

There are a few GTD videos on YouTube.  This one is a TED talk as well…..be careful you might go down a few rabbit holes with this!

Got a Tablet?

I use OneNote and just recently took Wunderlist under my wing (after trying EvernoteRemember The Milk and Toodledo).  There are quite a few productivity tools out there, my key advice is to choose and give it a good shot, stick with it and your process……saying that if it isn’t working at the same time don’t be afraid to swap and try something new (just to sit on the fence).   The key thing is that it’s you who gets things done……not the app!   The app is purely a mechanism to organise and group your thoughts along with your process.  Discipline is key here!

Get Organised

Easier said than done, juggling is hard work. WE all find time for the things that must be done. Treat your being organised as a priority. Book a regular slot and stick to it in your diary where you choose and stick to just organising yourself. That diary you’ve just bought isn’t going to organise itself. Make it work for you and put the things that are important to you into the regular slots. Can’t find a diary that works for you…..create or tweak your own.  I use CalendarPedia a great free calendar resource.  I take the excel version and tweak to suite my style of working.  I download the school term calendars and fill those into the spreadsheet as well.

The Blog

Sort it out! There is a great list of tasks here Blogging 101 – Zero to Hero.  You could build a plan to achieving this list….they all take time so be realistic.  I’ve definitely not mastered this!  I find myself less proficient throughout the summer as I take to the outdoors at the weekend.   The key message to myself in this space is to take a few moments to plan out the schedule…….take notice of the getting organised section and stick to it.

2015

Have a great new year!  Remember for all the organising and planning that you do there will be curve balls, these can be both good and bad.  It’s how you choose to deal with them that’s important.  One thing is pretty certain, there are 24 hours in the day….and you do choose how to spend them……I’m off to get beaten by the boys on the xbox again!