29.4.13

Chilli Chorizo Spaghetti {Recipe}

I find I can be quite uninspired when it comes to meals.
Cottage pie, pizza, spaghetti bologneise, curry, pie, roast chicken, sausage and mash.

Every now and then I'll get an idea, and cook something from scratch.
My Carbonara is probably my favourite thing to cook because it's easy and can be adapted in many different ways. But I don't want that to be my only speciality dish.

Inspired by the starter when we went out for our anniversary I bought a selection of ingredients and hoped for the best.
My starter was: King Prawn, Calamari and Chorizo in a chilli oil (obviously written a lot better on the menu but you get the rough idea).
My husband doesn't like Calamari and I forgot to buy the King Prawns but it was yummy without those.
I don't tend to keep note of measurements and amounts as I like to always make things up so excuse the lack of numbers here.

You will need:

Chorizo (I used a Chorizo ring)
Spaghetti
Red Onions (2)
Sun blushed cherry tomatoes
Mozzarella
Chilli oil
Parmesan
Red wine (4 dessert spoons)

First finely chop and fry your red onions, I used two.
Chop up some Chorizo and add it to the onions. Fry for around 15 minutes.
Start cooking your spaghetti at this time.
One the Chorizo is cooked add the tomatoes and mozzarella. Mine came in a pack together so I don't have amounts but you don't want to use too much mozzarella as it does clump up once mixed with the spaghetti. Add the red wine too.
Once your spaghetti is cooked, drain it and then return to the saucepan and drizzle with chilli oil (as much as you like).
Mix the spaghetti into the Chorizo mixture.

Serve on a plate and top with finely grated parmesan.

Enjoy!

Y for the a-z challenge...YUM!
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25.4.13

Harry Hates The Swings {Video}

If you're a regular reader of a blog you may know I'm not the biggest fan of the park. I much prefer to take my boys to the zoo, and use the playground there.
Harry has never really liked swings. He'll normally either scream and refuse to sit down, or let you push him twice and then break down in tears because he hates it so much,

Imagine my surprise when this happened at the weekend. There was a row of 3 swings, all identical. He asked to go on all three, twice.
It was funny and actually really quite nice to hear him enjoying it so much.
I love how he is calling for his brother at the end. He loves Charles to watch him doing things.

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18.4.13

Therapy Taught Me: The Poisoned Parrot

Do you ever think you are going crazy?
You hear a voice, or voices, going round and round in your head.
"You shouldn't wear that, you look big"
"Your dress is too short"
"Your top is too low"
"Are you putting make up on?"
" What have you done today?"
And so on...

I was starting to experience this every day, and I still do. Constant picking, nagging, sniping. It sometimes makes me not want to answer the phone, read text messages, go on Facebook, or Twitter. Which is pretty hard when I'm addicted to social media and can't leave text messages unread on my phone without going mad.

When I went to therapy I talked about these voices, not suggesting I was schizophrenic before anyone accuses me of being a drama queen, but more talking about things and saying "X" then causes the niggling in my head. I talked deeper about it and for particular reasons I'm not going to go into that on here, but I felt these issues really needed attention, as I was starting to feel crazy and like I wasn't in control of my own mind anymore.

I was then told about the Poisoned Parrot. And it made complete sense to me.
It's one of the things that really stuck with me after therapy and I think about it everyday.
I haven't quite worked out how to shut my parrots up yet but I think understand what it is in the first place definitely helps when these issues occur.

The following explains The Poisoned Parrot more than I could, and is taken from the Get Self Help website.

The Poisoned Parrot

Imagine you're given a parrot. This parrot is just a parrot - it doesn't have any knowledge, wisdom or insight. It’s bird-brained after all. It recites things ‘parrot fashion’ – without any understanding or comprehension. It’s a parrot.

However, this particular parrot is a poisoned and poisonous parrot. It's been specifically trained to be unhelpful to you, continuously commenting on you and your life, in a way that constantly puts you down, criticising you. For example, the bus gets stuck in a traffic jam, and you arrive at work 5 minutes late. The parrot sits there saying: "There you go again. Late. You just can’t manage to get there on time can you. So stupid. If you’d left the house and got the earlier bus you’d have arrived with loads of time to spare and the boss would be happy. But you? No way. Just can’t do it. Useless. Waste of space. Absolutely pathetic!"

How long would you put up with this abuse before throwing a towel over the cage, or getting rid of the parrot? We can often put up with the thoughts from this internal bully for far too long.
We can learn to use the antidote: notice that ‘parrot’ – and cover the cage. "There's that parrot again - I don't have to listen to it", and go and do something else. Put your focus of attention elsewhere. Be persistent in your practice! Eventually this poisoned parrot will tire of the towel, tire of you not responding. You'll notice it less and less. It might just give up its poison as your antidote overcomes it, or perhaps fly off to wherever poisoned parrots go.
(Vivyan 2009 - adapted from 'The Malevolent Parrot" source unknown) 


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3.4.13

Beaulieu Car Museum {A-Z Challenge}

I remember that when we were little my brother was car mad. He would get a new Top Gear video every Christmas which we had to sit and watch, over and over and over again when all I really wanted to do was watch Mary Poppins and sing a long with Bert.
He would spent pocket money on Auto Trader and on long journeys would name every.single.car.we.went.past.
At the time it was annoying but now, I think it was terribly sweet.

We would visit car musuems if and when we could and despite not being into cars, I've always had an appreciation for old ones. The beauty of them, rather than the performance.
One place we went to was Beaulieu, at the New Forest. I remember certain things about it so clearly, in particular the Orange car.
So when we went to Butlins last week and saw a leaflet for Beaulieu we knew we had to go that very day.

Since having two boys, and a husband who is interested in cars, I am bound to have to visit such places. But between you and me, I don't mind.
I find cars, bikes, tractors, carts, etc all really interesting to photograph, so essentially Beaulieu was a day out for me as much as it was for my boys.
In fact at one point my husband told me off because I was taking too many photos and holding them back too much.

With a Bond in Motion section as well as a Top Gear exhibition I was in no doubt that I would find this really interesting.
Charles loved going around on the green monorail and I can't lie, I did get rather excited at seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And even better, I found the Orange car I remembered from years ago.

Beaulieu is a fantastic day out and I wish we lived closer so we could go all the time. Not only is the car museum great but the grounds are too. We didn't get to see a huge amount because it was so cold but hopefully we will visit again soon.
There is also an amazing play area for children. Harry absolutely loved it and both boys cried when we had to leave.

We had lunch whilst there. We usually find food at places like this pretty standard and the typical ready meals BUT the food was amazing. I highly recommend the Salt Baked Jacket Potato.

Charles and my husband needed no encouragement when it came to dressing up and sitting in one of the cars for a photo opportunity. I fear embarressment may have set in when a small crowd gathered.

This is a very small selection of the 264 photos I took whilst there.


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2.4.13

Brighton {A-Z Challenge}



Bright lights. Loud music. Rows of shops selling fish and chips, doughnuts and candy floss. With every other shop selling cheap, tacky souvenirs.
Arcades all filled to the brim with 2p machines, dance machines and those grab-a-teddy crane game things which you can gurantee are set up to make sure people very rarely win.
Having to dodge all of the holiday makers as they make their way towards the beach.
Children walking along with sticky hands and sticky faces due to the many sticks of rock consumed.
That's how I imagined Brighton.

It wasn't what greeted me though.
I wrote on my Facebook page that Brighton certainly made me appreciate Great Yarmouth a lot more, because even in low season it's clean and reasonably busy.
Brighton just seemed to have completely shut down, although there was evidence of them getting ready for the summer season.

We visited the Sea Life Centre (seperate post coming up about that) and then walked along the pier, which really makes your legs shake as you look through the old planks of cracked, damaged wood and see the water crashing below.
It would have been rude to not stop for lunch.
We ate in at Palm Court and had an amazing meal. Beautiful fish, really yummy chips and proper diet coke.
Even the boys enjoyed their food, and were happy because they were supplied with "colourings".

I'm sure Brighton must be better in the Summer, I just expected it to be that image of Brighton all year round.

Still, I'm not disappointed at visiting. It crosses another thing off my bucket list.


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1.4.13

Living with Anxiety {A-Z Challenge}

When deciding to take part in this years A-Z Challenge I thought it would be best to get ahead with my post topics.
A was an obvious choice.
Anxiety.

I am coming to terms with having anxiety, and the other issues that come with it.
Low self-esteem
Paranoia
Depression
I'm finding it quite interesting to learn about. I've always been interested in Psychology, I studied it for my A Levels but had to drop out because the teacher had confused exams and I felt I wasn't getting what I should have got from it.

Not only am I finding it interesting to learn about anxiety but learning about how I deal with it, and my behaviours.
I'm very aware that anxiety can rule my life sometimes, but I'm also aware of how well I'm doing to fight it too.
I'm realising that only becomes a negative thing if I let it.

And I think this is somewhat true for a lot of us.
I think a lot of people use anxiety as an excuse, to get out of day to day life, going somewhere, being a part of something.
That's when anxiety becomes a negative thing.
I've done this a lot, and I still do sometimes. But I'm trying to fight it and so far am proud of the results.

I went on Sky News, LIVE, and fought my anxiety to do that.
I attended a WI meeting by myself, and fought my anxiety to do that.
Just because I did those things it doesn't make my anxiety any less severe, or make anyone else's suffering worse than mine, it just means that for a moment I was able to break free before being prisoner of it again.

Doing those things is an even greater achievement when you've taken yourself completely out of your comfort zone. You just want to run and hide and never come out.
But breaking free, and being brave, is essential. And a positive step towards the fight between me and anxiety.

I have good days and bad days. And sometimes the bad days are awful. I feel like I can't talk about them as much as a used to.
As with many other things there seems to be some kind of competition when it comes to anxiety. Who has it the worst? Who can't do X, Y and Z because of it? Etc etc.
If you live like that, then you'll never get better.
The competition is part of the reason I don't share as much as usual. I have my particular friends who I can go to now, thanks to blogging and Twitter.

And actually anxiety is one of the things that brought me and one person together and started our friendship, so it can't be all that bad.



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