Food & Diet

Most people don’t really think about what their bodies need and how they fuel it. Like, people go on diets and say they’re ‘clean’ eating, but it’s not very often that people actually look at their body’s needs, tailor a diet plan to suit them and watch how their body responds to it. It’s usually something that’s been found online or in a book that fits ‘the masses’ and mostly (but not always) for aesthetic or weight loss reasons rather than overall health. In our culture, thin=healthy. But that’s not always the case.

I’ve been having issues with feeling well and diet for a long time. The only way I could vaguely feel like I wasn’t going to pass out or faint for a long time was by eating a lot of sugar and carbs. There’s a cortisol-linked reason behind this, which I’ll go into in another post, but I’ve learnt recently that this is also partly because I’ve got reactive hypoglycaemia. So basically, I’d eat a lot of carbs and feel better temporarily, but the carbs made my blood sugar drop too fast and I’d feel like I was going to faint again. Which meant I’d have to eat again to make my blood sugar go back up and the cycle continues- it’s like being on a roller coaster with the highs and the lows. I became a bit like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors- the more I ate carbs, the more I had to eat them to keep me feeling ‘stable’.

I’ve been to see many dieticians and they were a bit stumped. But with an actual diagnosis now and the advice of eat 5/6 small meals a day rather than 3 big ones from my endo, I’ve been doing some experiments, reading and learning. I’m essentially eating the same or less than I was before, but more routinely and regularly. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

Eat like a sheep- little and often

Those were my endo’s exact words. Now I eat a meal of some description every 2-3 hours, regardless of whether I’m hungry or not. Mentally, it’s a lot easier to deal with because I’m not as hungry all the time, but there are times when I definitely feel I have a bit more energy than before. (Although I’m stress dosing currently so not a completely valid test for the scientists amongst you).

Eat low carb/low GI

I’ve been eating low carb high fat anyway, but the key is eating even fewer carbs at each meal but more often. That’s not zero carbs, I still need to eat carbs, but I *think* I feel relatively steady on between 10-25g carb per meal depending on the time of day. It’s a massive case of trial and error though.

Some foods trigger when they ‘shouldn’t’

Some foods make me feel terrible, I’ve discovered, even if they’re low carb or low GI. Raspberries should be fine but seemingly aren’t. Likewise with sweet potato and dark chocolate. Pretty much any of the foods I really enjoy, which is pretty frustrating! So it’s a case of working out which foods cause problems even though they’re on the ‘ok to eat’ list. You’ll be relieved to know that small amounts of Nutella seems to be fine (thank god!), possibly because it’s probably part of my blood stream by now 😉

It depends on the time of day

I was eating a portion of porridge recommended by a dietician but with a bit of experimenting I realised that actually it was eating that amount of porridge which was messing me up by lunchtime with the rollercoaster feeling. I halved the amount and I stopped feeling quite so all over the place. However, I seem better if I eat slightly more carb in my evening meal.

You have to think about food combinations

This is where it gets hard and maths-y. Each meal needs to have carb, protein and healthy fats. So that sometimes means I end up eating a hunk of cheese if I can’t find anything else to go with a salad. Cheese and peanut butter seem to fix a lot of problems, especially if I’m not feeling well and need something fast. Although not at the same time, that’s just gross!

But you also have to think about *where* the carbs come from

More maths. Carbs coming just from vegetables makes me feel shocking most of the day, except for at lunchtime, where I worked out that carbs coming from obvious carb like sources e.g. Bread or oatcakes makes me feel terrible. At 10.30 and 14.30 meal I eat oatcakes with protein and fats and at lunchtime I eat only vegetable soup and salad at the moment.

You can’t cut the calories

If you’re cutting carbs, you can’t cut calories as well, otherwise you don’t get enough energy. Problem is, we’re in a culture where people think fewer calories means better for you. Actually, lots of low fat or low sugar things have more carbs in them than the full fat versions. It just makes eating out or from packets hard work sometimes.

Eating in the middle of the night is ok

I used to try to convince my body I didn’t need to eat and try to tough it out because that’s what the dieticians said. But having done some research, all that happens if I avoid eating overnight is that when I do eat my porridge first thing, my body peaks and drops blood sugar a lot quicker, which then causes me problems for the rest of the day. I tend to eat things with 0 or traces of carbs overnight, which has been working so far.

Cortisol and blood sugar are linked

I’ll go into this more in another post, but just to add to the difficulties, sometimes my blood sugar is off because of what my cortisol is doing. But I can’t check cortisol in the same way I can check blood sugar, so it’s another thing to guess at and experiment with.

I’m still learning, and I think I’ll be learning for a while. It also takes a lot of planning and organisation to get right, which is actually pretty complicated, especially if I’m not at home. So I’ve got alarms going off all over the place! I’ve got a testing metre so I can check my blood sugar which has been helpful and means I can vaguely work out what I should be eating or what isn’t a good idea to eat. I’m trying to get used to the way my body feels with it though- numbers and measurements are good indicators, but aren’t the be all and end all. I’d rather learn my body’s instincts if I can. And sometimes I’ll eat cake and put up with the feeling crap afterwards because sometimes you have to eat cake!

Photo: google image

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Final Update: 30 Foods Before 30

Well, I’m 30 now! So time to see how I got on with the 30 Foods before 30 challenge. It got slightly hampered by medical diets, but I tried the best I could!

1. Biscuits and Gravy. Didn’t succeed with these.

2. Musakhan Jajj. Also didn’t achieve this!

3. Freak shake. 


4. Wood Ants. I’m not against trying them, more the opportunity never came up!

5. Lobster

6. Khachapuri  I got as far as finding the recipe and then got no further!

7. Ceviche 


8. Kleftico. I’m pretty sure I actually ate this at some point but I can’t remember properly and don’t have a photo. I definitely had a really good piece of lamb at some point this year though!

9. Nutella Krispy Kreme. I tried a few of these. Just to make sure my opinion was right obviously….


10. Racelette. Turkey stew on raclette is amazing. Who knew?!


11. Afternoon Tea. 

12. Tapas. My brother now owns a Tapas bar! And he cooks it surprisingly well! (Sunbridge Lounge, Bradford– shameless plug)


13. Alcoholic Ice Lollies. I really can’t tolerate alcohol so I haven’t been brave enough to try them!

14. Proper lose leaf tea. 

15. Tartiflette. It’s made mostly out of potatoes and I now shouldn’t really eat potatoes. I ate a lot of this while I lived in France so I have actually experienced this before.

16. Dosas. I did look in Indian restaurants we went to but they didn’t serve any. I did eat them for breakfast when we were in India for a wedding though.

17. Tagine 


18. Real steak. To think this time last year I hadn’t eaten a steak before… now I have it twice a week!


19. Gelato 


20. Pecan Pie


21. Mississippi Mud Pie. I had an ice cream sundae version. It was quite nice but a bit bitter


22. Ice Cream Float


22. Hot Dog 


23. Octopus 


24. Thai food. I‘d still like to eat this out in a restaurant again but my friend made a really good curry for me

25. Chowder. Also made by my wonderful friend! I really liked this.

26. Mussels 


27. Woodfired Pizza. I had this when we went to the Royal Albert Hall for a concert. It was good but I didn’t think it was super amazing.



28.churros 


29. Jerk Chicken & 30. Sweet potato fries. 


Not too bad an effort! I need to say thank you to my friend Rich, who helped me tackle a lot of my list by cooking things off it- he’s a really good cook. The final totals are: 5 not completed, 3 tried before but not as part of this challenge, 23 completed. 

I’m quite impressed with that. The 5 I didn’t eat was mostly because I couldn’t find them, not because I didn’t want to eat them. If I do manage to track them down, I’ll be sure to write another update 🙂

Banner photo: google stock image

Review: Sunbridge Lounge, Bradford

I’ll be honest from the beginning; my brother owns and runs this bar, which was the only reason we were in Bradford in the first place. However, if you know my brother and me, we’re often each other’s harshest critics, so if it wasn’t up to scratch, I’d be the first to tell him! 

Sunbridge Lounge is located in the new Sunbridge Wells development in Bradford, where the old Victorian tunnels of the city have been converted into shops, restaurants and bars. It’s not immediately obvious where or what it is from the street, but while we were there, there was a steady stream of people visiting the complex, so it’s clearly well known by the locals. 


Sunbridge Wells Complex


Tunnel in Sunbridge Wells

Sunbridge Lounge is upstairs and is a Craft Beer and Tapas Bar. I don’t know anything about Craft Beer because I don’t drink beer, but the Sunbridge Lounge has a huge range of craft beers available from all over the world, as well as serving alcoholic, soft and hot drinks. 

We went for lunch on a Sunday and tried out the food menu. There was an impressive range of tapas or small plates to choose from, as well as side dishes like chips or salad and a specials menu, which is changed regularly. We ordered 6 small plates/tapas and some of the twice cooked chips and patatas bravas between 4 of us, which was the perfect amount of food. Everything is cooked to order, but the great thing was that it all came out at the same time, which isn’t always the case with tapas places.

I was really impressed. My favourite by far was the sweet potato bhajis, which lots of people had been raving about on Facebook and Trip Advisor- we ordered 2 plates. It came with a minted red onion, yoghurt and coriander dressing, which worked really well. 


My husband said his favourite was the salt and pepper squid, which was a special that day. 


We also had Tandoori black tiger prawns, which were really good (we ordered 2 plates). They were spicy but not overpowering and came with yoghurt. The flavouring was really well done, in that you could also taste the spices and herbs used, not just the heat.


Halloumi was the final small plate we had. My only criticism of the meal was that I thought the halloumi was sliced a bit thickly, but my husband disagrees and says it wasn’t and I’m just being fussy! The patatas bravas, also in the picture, were really good- we should have probably ordered 2 portions of that with hindsight! 


The service was quick and the waiting staff were friendly. Most of the plates are between £3-£7 and the produce is all sourced locally. The place was relatively busy for a Sunday afternoon, and I know from Facebook that you have to book to guarantee a table in the evenings. Because it’s tapas, it’s perfect for a quick meal if you’re popping in before the theatre, but the bar has a laid back feel to it so you can have a leisurely meal too. 



The interior is modern, fitting in with the industrial feel outside in the complex. I liked the fact that it had a bit of a nod to Bradford’s Victorian background and history, but still managed to seem up to date and trendy.

It would have been great if there had been some kind of dessert but apparently other people weren’t buying them so it didn’t make sense to keep serving them. The tapas more than made up for that though- it was amazing food and we had a great lunch there. Well worth a visit! 

30 Foods Before 30: Spring Update

My birthday in May seems a lot closer now Spring has sprung. I’ve started a new diet, low carb high fat, which slowed me down a bit with finding some of the foods on my list. But now I’ve got to grips with it, I’ve been able to take a few breaks from it to make sure I complete my list!

1. Biscuits and gravy

2. Musakhan jajj

3. Freak shake We went to the shopping centre where I got the Freak Shake last time and it took a lot of will power not to go in and get another one!

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4. Wood ants I’m not looking forward to this one… The friend who suggested it was talking about this place the other day. The restaurant sounds like an interesting place so I’m up for trying it, even if I don’t feel excited by the prospect!

5. Lobster I had steak and lobster in a steak house.

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6. Khachapuri

7. Ceviche Texture was weird, but the taste was good!

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8. Kleftico

9. Nutella Krispy Kreme Many, many times…! So good! Sadly, Krispy Kreme definitely isn’t low carb, and one doughnut would be approximately 2/3 of a day of carbs for me. So I shouldn’t really sample anymore of these 😦

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10. Raclette I’ve had lots of Racelette now. Especially as it’s a very low carb meal, which is an added bonus! Here’s our most recent one a few weeks ago:

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11. Afternoon tea While on holiday in Wales we had a lovely afternoon tea out.

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12. Tapas I’ve had Spanish and Italian Tapas since starting this list. My brother now owns a Tapas bar, so hopefully I’ll be able to sample his soon too!

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13. Alcoholic ice lollies We tried making these over Christmas, but lacked the alcohol to put in them…

14. ‘Proper’ loose leaf tea I’ve had this a couple of times, once at a friend’s house and also with afternoon tea

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15. Tartiflette I can’t believe I’ve not had this yet! We even have the cheese in the freezer ready to go! It’s become slightly more difficult with my latest diet, which rules out potatoes. I’ll make an exception for this though 😉

16. Dosas

17. Tagine My husband made this for tea one night. It was alright- something I’d eat, but not something I’d really look forward to having again.

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18. Real steak Steak is now a regular feature in my diet. Here’s my favourite one- philly cheese steak

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19. Gelato I’m happy to continue sampling flavours with this, despite it being ‘done’😉

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20. Pecan pie In an american smoke house- very, very good pie.

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21. Mississippi mud pie I didn’t eat it in pie form, but I did have it in a sundae the other day. It was pretty good- quite bitter but I like some desserts like that.

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22. Ice cream float Also in the smoke house, had this a couple of times now.

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22. Hot dog This was ‘alright’. I wouldn’t pick it again, but I can say I ate it!

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23. Octopus We had this as part of the tapas meal I had ages ago and it was ‘alright’. But then my friend (the one who’s the really good cook) made it for us as part of a meal we had before Christmas and it was really, really good.

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24. Thai food I’ve had a Thai Green Curry at a pub and at home and Thai Red Curry Mussels but haven’t eaten in a Thai restaurant or eaten authentic Thai food. So this is kind of done, but not quite

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25. Chowder My good chef friend made us chowder a few weeks ago. It was amazing! Definitely something I’ll have again

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26. Mussels We had these this week on our anniversary meal out for our second wedding anniversary. They were also unlimited so we could eat lots of flavours. Korma and red thai curry were the best.

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27. Wood fired pizza Pizza is the opposite of low carb so takes a bit of planning. But that won’t stop me! 😉

28. Churros I’ve had these a few times now, still really good, especially these ones with nutella and dulce de leche

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29. Jerk chicken This was an amazing meal out for my husband’s birthday.

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30. Sweet potato fries I’m still pretty obsessed with these- every meal that comes with the option of chips, I switch them for sweet potato fries if I can!

If you’re observant, I repeated the number 22 by mistake when I wrote my list so I’ve actually got 31 things, not 30. But I’m happy to eat one thing extra! So in my Winter update I had 19 done, 1 nearly done and 11 not tried yet. Now I’ve got 21 done, 1 nearly done and 9 not tried yet. I’m getting there slowly! It’s the more obscure things on my list I have left now. So if you want to cook for me (please) or accompany me in my quest for finding the things on my list, let me know! 🙂

Banner photo: google image

Low Carb High Fat Diet

I love food. It’s pretty much the only thing I can do socially at the moment. Culturally, we now associate the word ‘diet’ to mean ‘weight loss’, rather than ‘what we regularly eat’. I’m not dieting, I’m trying to find a diet that works for me because I have endocrine disorders which make me feel terrible most of the time, and how I fuel my body is especially important. If I also lose weight, that will help those conditions, so it’s also something to bear in mind, but it’s not the sole reason for me doing it. The main purposes are to try to control my insulin resistance and to slow down diabetes.

I’ve tried various combinations of things: Low GI, Low sugar, Low fat, Low GL – I’ve tried pretty much most things with the word ‘low’ at the start. After seeing 2 dieticians and a lot of food diaries later, I gave up trying to follow other people’s diets and kind of made my own one up. I then got sent to a third, diabetes dietician, mostly because the other ones didn’t know what to do with me. She mentioned ‘grams of carb’ and ‘low carb’ a lot, so I thought I’d look into it, and found that a lot of diabetic patients have seen vast improvements with the Low Carb High Fat Diet. I did some research and I realised that grams of carb isn’t the same as grams of food. You take out carbs, but you don’t take out healthy fats, calories and protein, if anything you increase them. Which went against the grain of most other diets, but I thought it was worth a shot.

Diets can be miserable things because they limit the food you eat and you have to have good willpower. But if it’s for weight loss, you can usually visibly see the effects which makes it more worth while. Medical diets are worse, because, with mine anyway, I’ve had to do them and not felt any better while doing them and there’s no physical change I can see. I just ‘might be slowing down diabetes and helping my insulin resistance’. Low Carb High Fat is good so far because you’re actually still eating real food for the most part. Things taste nice! Eating low gi was the worst because it was like eating tree bark or dust. Going out to eat is not as hard work.

The average person eats about 260g of carb a day. For reference, a Pizza Express pizza has at least 100g of carb by itself. I was eating waaaaay more than that to try to stop myself from passing out- but it’s a cycle: the more carbs I gave my body, the more it needed because it doesn’t mobilise insulin properly, so the quantity just kept getting higher. I’ve been phasing out the carbs and I’m now on 80-90g of carb per day, and I think that’s where I’ll stick to. Most people who cut out carbs have flu like symptoms to start with, but because my body is really sensitive to change, it would be a bad idea to just cut them straight out, I’d end up in hospital, hence the gradual introduction of the diet. I did have a really bad headache and felt sick for some days but, to be honest, I feel flu-like most of the time anyway, and I only noticed the headache because that’s one symptom I don’t get very often! I don’t want to go any lower than that for lots of reasons, I think I’ve got a good balance where I am. It does involve a fair bit of maths and forward planning, but I’ve got an app (and a husband) which helps me with that.

If you’re thinking about cooking for me (thanks for the invitation!), it’s not a bad thing if I don’t eat low carb for one meal (the last dietician told me this a lot), and I’m not following a strict plan- I’m making it up. But avoiding things which are purely carb e.g pasta, pizza, rice dishes like risotto would really help me out 🙂 I’m quite good at balancing it myself, but meat, cheese and vegetables which grow above ground are lower carb foods. Ask me questions about it- if you fed me during low GI points, this is a lot more flexible! And I still eat pasta, rice and bread, so if that’s what we’re going to eat, let me know the day before and I’ll eat fewer carbs earlier on in the day so I can eat more of your lovely food 🙂

Anyway, here’s the interesting bit, photos of recipes we’ve been trying!


Ham and cheese rolls. I found this on ‘the stay at home chef’s’ blog, but not sure if it’s actually her recipe. Really easy to make and 8g of carb in each. Good for getting out of the freezer.


Raclette is surprisingly low carb, even though it’s high in fat. This is because meat and cheese have next to no carbs per 100g, like less than a gram.


Steak with a cream, spinach and mushroom sauce. This was gooooood. Taken from the lean in 15 red book. 6 carbs without rice.


This is a good snack. Carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes with Philadelphia.


Prawn Thai green curry from the lean in 15 book. Pretty good! 13 carbs without rice


Cheesey chorizo chicken and spinach from lean in 15. This was really good and filling. The pine nuts meant that we didn’t actually need rice with it, it was filling enough by itself. 16 carbs without rice.


Egg, bacon and cheese muffins with pesto and spring onion. 5 muffins works out about 2g of carbs. These are good for snacking on and taste really good. I think this recipe is off a website I found called diet doctor.


Now these don’t look great, but they tasted amazing! We adapted a recipe from an Instagram user’s blog, Actually Low Carb (that’s the name). They’re bacon, Philadelphia and jalapeño poppers. Not very good for a snack because they’re not portable, but a good treat!


Philly jalapeño steak with mushrooms and spinach from lean in 15. I think this is my favourite so far. Tasted so good! 13g carb without rice.


Indian spiced lamb from lean in 15. I don’t really like lamb but I quite liked this. Not my favourite though. 10g carb without rice.


Chicken korma from lean in 15. This tasted like a takeaway which is always a good thing! 25g carb without rice, so a bit more heavy on the carb front.

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Peanut and chocolate bars. 3g per square. They’re really rich, so you don’t actually want to eat more than one in a go, and also have coconut oil as added fat. Taken from the Diet Doctor website (I think).

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Popeye Chicken from Lean in 15 book. Chicken. spinach and tomatoes with onion and cream sauce. 12g per carb without salad.

30 Foods Before 30: Winter Update

For various reasons, I haven’t been able to get out and about as much to go to places which have some of the foods on my 30 foods before 30 list since my Autumn Update. However, I’ve been either cooking the more obscure ones at home (or my husband has) or asking a friend who’s a good cook to feed me! 🙂

1. Biscuits and gravy

2. Musakhan jajj

3. Freak shake As I said in my Autumn update, I don’t eat an awful lot of sugar now because I’m insulin resistant. But my husband and I shared a chocolate brownie oreo Freak Shake in December. This was actually one of the smaller ones on the menu, and we still couldn’t finish all of it! But it was really, really good!

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4. Wood ants I’m not looking forward to this one…

5. Lobster I had steak and lobster in a steak house.

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6. Khachapuri

7. Ceviche Texture was weird, but the taste was good!

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8. Kleftico

9. Nutella Krispy Kreme Many, many times…! So good!

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10. Raclette I’ve had lots of Racelette now. Here’s the most recent one at New Year:

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11. Afternoon tea While on holiday in Wales we had a lovely afternoon tea out.

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12. Tapas I’ve had Spanish and Italian Tapas since starting this list

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13. Alcoholic ice lollies We tried making these over Christmas, but lacked the alcohol to put in them…

14. ‘Proper’ loose leaf tea I’ve had this a couple of times, once at a friend’s house and also with afternoon tea

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15. Tartiflette I can’t believe I’ve not had this yet! We even have the cheese in the freezer ready to go! It’s become slightly more difficult with my latest diet, which rules out potatoes. I’ll make an exception for this though 😉

16. Dosas

17. Tagine My husband made this for tea one night. It was alright- something I’d eat, but not something I’d really look forward to having again. 

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18. Real steak Steak is now a regular feature in my diet. Here was last night’s one made by my husband: philly steak with mushrooms and spinach- it was really, really good!

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19. Gelato I’m happy to continue sampling flavours with this, despite it being ‘done’😉

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20. Pecan pie In an american smoke house- very, very good pie.

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21. Mississippi mud pie

22. Ice cream float Also in the smoke house, had this a couple of times now.

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22. Hot dog This was ‘alright’. I wouldn’t pick it again, but I can say I ate it!

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23. Octopus We had this as part of the tapas meal I had ages ago and it was ‘alright’. But then my friend (the one who’s the really good cook) made it for us as part of a meal we had before Christmas and it was really, really good.

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24. Thai food I’ve had a Thai Green Curry at a pub and at home and Thai Red Curry Mussels but haven’t eaten in a Thai restaurant. So this is kind of done, but not quite.

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25. Chowder

26. Mussels We had these this week on our anniversary meal out for our second wedding anniversary. They were also unlimited so we could eat lots of flavours. Korma and red thai curry were the best.

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27. Wood fired pizza I’m surprised I’ve not eaten this yet!

28. Churros I’ve had these a few times now, still really good, especially these ones with nutella and dulce de leche

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29. Jerk chicken This was an amazing meal out for my husband’s birthday.

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30. Sweet potato fries I’m still pretty obsessed with these- every meal that comes with the option of chips, I switch them for sweet potato fries if I can!

If you’re observant, I repeated the number 22 by mistake when I wrote my list so I’ve actually got 31 things, not 30. But I’m happy to eat one thing extra! So in my Autumn update I had 17 done, 1 nearly done and 13 not tried yet. Now I have 19 done, 1 nearly done and 11 not tried yet. I thought I’d done way better than that! I guess it’s because I ate slightly different versions of the things I’d already ticked off my list so it felt like I was ‘achieving’ more. I’d best get eating then….!

And if you want to come and eat wood ants with me *shudders*, or anything else on the list, let me know!

Banner Image: Google Image

30 Foods Before 30: Autumn Update

I’ve been a bit slower eating my way through my 30 foods before 30 list in recent weeks, but here’s my Autumn update as to how I’ve got on so far:

1. Biscuits and gravy

2. Musakhan jajj

3. Freak shake I recently gave up most processed sugar to help manage my insulin resistance, and I think eating a freak shake might be a bit of a sugar overload now! But I’ll still try someone else’s at the very least. 

4. Wood ants I’m not looking forward to this one…

5. Lobster I had steak and lobster in a steak house.

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6. Khachapuri

7. Ceviche  Texture was weird, but the taste was good!

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8. Kleftico 

9. Nutella Krispy Kreme Many, many times…! So good!

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10. Raclette Will be eating more raclette this week too 🙂

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11. Afternoon tea While on holiday in Wales we had a lovely afternoon tea out.

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12. Tapas I’ve had Spanish and Italian Tapas since starting this list

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13. Alcoholic ice lollies 

14. ‘Proper’ loose leaf tea I’ve had this a couple of times, once at a friend’s house and also with afternoon tea

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15. Tartiflette I can’t believe I’ve not had this yet! We even have the cheese in the freezer ready to go!

16. Dosas

17. Tagine 

18. Real steak I had the steak and lobster which was ‘alright’, but also steak at another steak house, which was amazing!

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19. Gelato I’m happy to continue sampling flavours with this, despite it being ‘done’ 😉

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20. Pecan pie In an american smoke house- very, very good pie.

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21. Mississippi mud pie 

22. Ice cream float Also in the smoke house, had this a couple of times now.

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22. Hot dog This was ‘alright’. I wouldn’t pick it again, but I can say I ate it!

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23. Octopus Again, this was ‘alright’. We had it as part of the tapas meal. I’ve been told that it tastes better if made differently though.

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24. Thai food I’ve had a Thai Green Curry at a pub and Thai Red Curry Mussels but haven’t eaten in a Thai restaurant. So this is kind of done, but not quite.

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25. Chowder

26. Mussels We had these this week on our anniversary meal out for our second wedding anniversary. They were also unlimited so we could eat lots of flavours. Korma and red thai curry were the best.

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27. Wood fired pizza I’m surprised I’ve not eaten this yet!

28. Churros I’ve had these a few times now, still really good, especially these ones with nutella and dulce de leche

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29. Jerk chicken This was an amazing meal out for my husband’s birthday.

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30. Sweet potato fries I’m still pretty obsessed with these- every meal that comes with the option of chips, I switch them for sweet potato fries if I can!

So by my counting that’s 17 done, 1 nearly done and 13 not tried yet. And if you’re clever, you’ll have realised that that adds up to 31, not 30. It’s because in my original list I repeated 22 by accident, but when I realised, I decided to leave it in because I’m quite happy to sample one extra food! I think some of the red ones I might have to make at home from recipes, because I haven’t seen them on menus- if you have, let me know so I can hunt them down.

I’m quite impressed that I’ve eaten everything so far- there’s not been anything that I would say ruined the meal because I didn’t like it. But then again, I haven’t eaten wood ants yet!

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30 Before 30: Autumn Update

I haven’t done an update on my 30 things before 30 list for a while because it got tricky in completing something every week. Plus I’ve had a few health setbacks recently which have made it virtually impossible to do even the ‘easy’ things. I started the list over the Summer, and here’s my Autumn Update! The idea being, I will have hopefully managed most if not all of the things on the list by the time my birthday comes in May. I will definitely need some help with some of these, or if anyone wants to join in let me know 🙂

  1. Ride a Horse. I’ve not even seen a horse since starting my list!

  2. Go on a Spa Day. 

  3. Make a wearable piece of clothing. I’ve started this by starting to make a skirt. But it’s been put on hold while I recover because it takes too much concentration/effort to do.

IMG_66834. Volunteer for a charityI signed up to post cards/letters to a 5 year old child who spends a lot of time in hospital (postpals), one from each of the reindeer throughout the month of December. It’s not practical volunteering, but it’s still doing something for charity. 

5. Go to a Christmas Market that’s not just the one in Birmingham. I’m determined for this to happen!

6. Sell at a craft fair. 

7. Go see a musical and stay the night in London. 

8. Be a tourist in London. 

9. Go for a picnic in a park or a forest. Complete! Although I still want to go on a picnic in the forest.

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10. Go punting. 

11. Do yoga outside. I did some physio and Tai Chi outside. Yoga is definitely too ambitious at the moment. And it’s now cold outside!

12. Make brioche.

13. Sleep in a yurt. 

14. Learn to play Mvt II Sonata Pathetique (Beethoven) all the way through. I have one more page left to learn. Sadly it’s the hardest page!

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15. Make my own fruit juice for breakfast. Complete! I made peach and mango and apricot juice for breakfast. 

IMG_619516. Practise Spanish in an actual situation. I’ve done this a bit to a spanish waiter, but it would be good to have a conversation where my responses weren’t just ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

17. Go/watch ice skating. Ice skating won’t happen. But hopefully watching it could.

18. Read all of the Harry Potter books in order. Complete! And I even read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well. I can’t have read the last 2 books as much as the other ones because it took me a lot longer to read as I didn’t already know the story as well and kept forgetting bits and having to flick back. And the films, which I have watched a lot, miss out a lot of storylines I’ve discovered! Thank you to my friend who let me borrow his books 🙂

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19. Make mojito ice lollies. 

20. Learn how to crochet properly (even if it is bad). I still can’t do it… It’s proving hard.

21. Re-read a book in French. 

22. Host a raclette party. Complete! 

IMG_665523. Listen to BBC Proms concerts. I kind of tailed off listening to them as the Summer went on, but I still listened to lots of different performances. 

24. Record a song on GarageBand. Or Logic. 

25. Play Pokemon Go. I’m still playing, but I can tick it off the list.

26. Eat tapas. We had some very good tapas, on 2 occasions, Still open for trying more though!

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27. Visit a castle. We visited a lot when we went on holiday to Wales. This one is my favourite:

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28. Go to the seaside/beach and paddle. 

29. Play in a band rehearsal. I *kind of* did this when I went to my old concert band’s reunion event. As in, I played the triangle and the tambourine for a couple of pieces! But I’d still like to play more if I can (although looking unlikely)

30. Go to a Carol Service. This will hopefully happen, a friend was talking about this yesterday so fingers crossed!

My list is looking a bit like my RAG spreadsheets for school exam predicted grades (teacher in me), so I feel like I should add them up! I’ve completed 8, made a start towards 6 and haven’t done 16… There’s still a lot to be done!

I started the list when I was in a more of a healthy spell, so some of them might not get completed at all now as they’re possibly too ambitious. Others are weather dependent or seasonal. So overall, I’m quite impressed with myself! I think I’m going to focus on the Christmas ones and ones I can do at home, like reading a book in French, crochet and playing the piano. Hopefully I’ll be able to tick those off in my Winter update 🙂

My Husband’s Birthday

***This is a light-hearted post and not remotely me making a point or looking for sympathy of any kind!***

You have to laugh at yourself a lot of the time. Last week, it was my husband’s birthday, and I woke up feeling pretty good for me (I have adrenal insufficiency, so my normal everyday feeling is usually not good). So, I thought ‘I know, I’ll make him a cake!’

Then I remembered that cake cooking involves a lot of standing, measuring, reading and following instructions, hot baking tins… and decided against a cake. There’s no way in hell I would be able to make a cake. So I thought about it a bit, googled and found a recipe with 4 ingredients required for flapjack and literally no actual ‘baking’ required. Perfect.

How hard can it be? Weigh out 3 ingredients, mix together in the food mixer, put in a baking tin, and put it in the oven. Easy peasy. I used to do baking all the time.

First up, get the ingredients out of the cupboard. The baking shelf is the top shelf. I used to stand on a chair to get things down. That’s clearly not happening. And I can’t lift my arms over my head to grab things. No problem, I can see some brown sugar on the shelf at eye-level, that will do fine. The butter was in the fridge, porridge oats and golden syrup on the breakfast shelf. Challenge 1 smashed.

The food mixer had the cutting blade in it rather than the mixing blade. And I thought I knew where the mixing blade was, but it turns out I didn’t. I thought for a bit and decided that it’s flapjack and it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit more bashed up then they should be. So I avoided rummaging in the cupboard for the right blade. Challenge 2 done.

I weighed the oats first. I was starting to get a bit tired by this point, so I managed to throw oats all over the floor. Arghhh. I definitely can’t clean those up. So I asked myself ‘is it really bad to make your husband birthday flapjack but ask him to clean up after you?’ I decided there wasn’t an awful lot I could do about that, so I had to leave them there for the rest of the day. Challenge 3 failed. That’s ok, I’m still one up- 2-1 so far.

I had a rest for 10 minutes and then went back to weighing. The butter had been on the side the whole time so was now a bit melted, but that’s ok, it gets melted anyway. Butter weighed, and brown (the wrong) sugar weighed, I went to put the golden syrup in. Except it was out of date and had some scaly thing on top so I thought against it. Argghhhhh again. This could happen to anyone, and there is a shop over the road. But that would kill me off for the rest of the day and the next probably. Plus I wasn’t dressed yet. And I’d already invested a lot of time and effort in the concoction so far. I found some honey, crisis averted, challenge 4 overcome. 3-1.

The baking tins are all in one drawer. I was kind of hitting the wall about now so I thought ‘this one will do’ and got one that was too big. But it’s fine, it’s flapjack. I set the timer for the oven, or at least I thought I did. Then I went to sit down and chatted to a friend online on my phone. After a while I thought ‘those flapjacks smell good. Hang on, how long has it been? Why’s the timer not beeped yet?’ I hadn’t put it on after all. But nothing was burnt and they looked about done, and I knew that I started talking to my friend a few minutes after I put them in the oven so checked the time stamp. 23 minutes instead of 15 isn’t too bad, and nothing was burnt. Score =4-1

Triumphantly I got them out of the oven. But I’d ‘forgotten’ why I don’t use the oven, because the sudden heat from it makes me feel awful pretty quickly. So I put them down, looked around at the mess in the kitchen, added on about 10 points (score= 4-11) and left the kitchen in chaos. Because if I’d tried to clean it up, I’d have ended up adding my collapsed body to the porridge oats left on the floor!

I think I still won. My husband had birthday flapjack. He also had a messy kitchen to deal with, but that’s besides the point! Note to self: any type of baking, no matter how easy it seems is a bad idea. But the thought was there!

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Week 9: 30 foods before 30

Here’s how I got on in week 9 on my 30 foods before 30 list

29. Jerk chicken 

We went out for my husband’s birthday to a Caribbean restaurant, Turtle Bay, and jerk chicken was all over the menu. So I picked a half chicken with jerk flavouring and it was really, really good. I had it with sweet potato fries which was number 30. 


I also had rum cake which deserves a mention because it was really good! I can’t have alcohol (cooked alcohol is fine) so it was a really nice change! 


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