Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Wanderings Lately :: February 2016

February always whizzes past in the blink of an eye, but it's an important month for me as it's my birthday! Woo! It's also Valentine's Day, but as I don't seem to be able to find any man who I can't find some kind of fault with (Am I picky?) I prefer to treat the 14th as I would any other day. This year that meant studying in the library! I am so rock and roll!

This year the weather has begun to grace us with some sunshine in February; there have been enough sunny (but cold) days this past month to justify proclaiming 'Spring is on the way!' to everyone I speak to at work! It's also started to get lighter in the evenings, when I get out of work on time at 4.30 I can cycle home without using my lights. That really is exciting!

This month I've been watching the BBC series on 'The Story of China', which is really interesting and mentioned Suzhou in the last one I watched. Whilst I am about to criticise it, I must say that I absolutely love China and watching this has re-ignited a desire to go back soon and see all the places I didn't visit before. However, throughout the hour the show is on, I can't help thinking how much like Chinese propaganda it is! Although I know that China invented so many important things throughout history, items that have greatly changed our lives as we know it this show has been downplaying anything the West might have done better... I haven't made it to Mao and the cultural revolution yet, which I'll be surprised if they can sugar coat! I probably just want to defend Europe, like you would a family member when someone else criticises them, but they do seem to be hamming up how wonderful China is without offered any negative aspects of life during the many dynasties. 

Anyway, here was February...

My Birthday







I had a great birthday,  and since on the actual day I was travelling down to London from Oxford with a group of students, I got the rest of the day off once we arrived! I went for lunch with my Mum and brother and then went back to Hawker House with friends, both brothers and my Sister-in-law. It was a great night, nothing crazy mad but with enough wine and laughter to brighten an already fun day!

This weekend I also celebrated, this time with my Mum and Dad at Fortnum & Mason's Afternoon Tea. I'm going to write about this at another time, but just to say that it was lovely, and I'm still making my way through scones and jam now!

Studying



I've spent every weekend (where I didn't already have plans) in the library trying to work on my dissertation. The current deadline is at the end of March, I'm unlikely to make that, but I'm going to give it a good go! Thankfully I now actually have more of a clue what I'm doing, as I've had a look at previous students' dissertations in the library and they really showed me the direction I need to head in! Now it's all about focus and writing the words!

Green Fingers



This month my first flowers started to pop up in the garden! I bought some daffodil bulbs at the end of last year, and then took ages before I actually planted them. But look! They have started to give our garden a bit of colour! I've now cut a few and put them in the house, along with a bunch my housemate bought from sainsburys. Who knew gardening could be so easy!


Healthy Cooking







I've stepped up my healthy cooking game this month. After going vegetarian for lent - it was going to be vegan but that is just so darn hard! I'm mostly being vegetarian - and a couple of times pescatarian when out with friends - with as much dairy cut out as I can. I've swapped out cow's milk for either soya or hazelnut/almond milk. I actually quite like soya milk in my tea - nut milk not so much. I was pushed in the vegan direction from watching the documentary 'Cowspiracy' on Netflix. I wouldn't be vegetarian/vegan due to animals rights - which probably makes me sound like a monster - but to know what a massive effect it has on our environment was more of a reason for me.

As I was embarking on this vegetarian month and a half; and this has also come up when looking into being zero waste, I ordered the Deliciously Ella cookbook from the library - I didn't want to buy it as it has some fairly bad reviews. Chatting about this at work, one of the girls lent me another vegan cookbook. The 'Oh she glows' cookbook. Although I've never actually met a Vegan and I was blown away by their 'glow' I have been enjoying making some of the dishes in each of these books.

Above have been some highlights - homemade granola, spicy almonds, frozen banana bites and cashew nut butter! Despite what everyone seems to say about switching to this kind of lifestyle, it IS expensive, and it's definitely NOT easier or simpler for life. These recipes take much longer than just buying a packet at the supermarket, and for me I'm just not going to buy a small packet of £8 coconut sugar when I can use some caster sugar from my cupboard! However, you do feel a little sense of achievement when it turns out ok and you get to munch on things you've made that you usually just mindlessly grab out of the cupboard. Also; I can't believe how easy it is to make cashew butter!

Tube Rage


This month I have noticed myself getting less and less tolerant of people on the tube. Mondays seem to be the worst! Why don't people move along inside the car, or take their bloody backpacks off?! And those people who try to get up out of their seat ages before the trains even pulled into the station when the carriage is packed.... this is particularly annoying when we're at a big transfer stop like London Bridge or Waterloo because you just know that half the people on the train are also going to be getting off. You've had a seat, and now you want to be the first one off too?! Ahhhhh! I definitely need to cycle more often to lessen my tube rage!

::What was your February like? Do you have exciting plans for March?::
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