Reasons to get more sleep

A cat sleeps on a laptop computer

Do you really need reasons to get more sleep? I love the idea of getting loads of rest. However, I seem to do very well at finding reasons not to do so. Some weeks are just busy. There’s lots to fit in and so early mornings and late night appear to be perfectly reasonable. Or a book is just so good that it’s hard to put it down and close my eyes.

However, a recent episode of the Rich Roll Podcast featuring sleep diplomat, Matthew Walker has really bought home to me how important it is to get enough sleep and the unwanted impact of not getting enough shut-eye.

It’s a long episode, even by the standards of this podcast but it’s definitely worth setting aside the time to listen and then getting an early night.

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After the sunshine

The warmer, brighter days this week really perked me up. I got the urge to put on real clothes instead of glorified pyjamas. To dress up and go out and explore the world again.

But I can’t so I stayed home and carried on tidying and decluttering my space.

Today it’s a bit darker. The sky was the most delicate shade of grey in my morning walk. I’ve lit a candle while I do some writing for a client and have a hot water bottle under my feet. It’s so cosy. Maybe I can wait a bit longer for aspiring to truly arrive.


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Pizza Squash

This was such an easy lunch to prepare and afforded time to read a book and drink tea while it cooked.

I cut the squash into 4 and scrapped out the seeds. Put these aside to rinse and bake as they make a lovely snack to nibble on.

The cut squash then went into a baking dish and then into the oven.

About 20 minutes later I spooned onto each segment some pre-made pizza sauce (a yellow sticker bargain), a spoonful or two of cooked chickpeas, more pizza sauce and some vegan mozzarella.

Back in the oven it went while I poured more tea.

Once the top was melted it was ready to serve with a handful of spinach.

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Lockdown is a tiny taste of the past

I remind myself every day how fortunate I am as regards the pandemic. I’m able to work from home. I have my chap for company. My health has been good. I have enough to eat. I have an excellent internet connection. I’m not trying to homeschool children.

But there is no doubt it can get lonely. And the daily round lacks variety. I’m not much of a TV watcher but find my consumption has shrunk. I had to stop watching in the evening because my dreams had become so disturbing. So now I might watch some at lunchtime maybe 3 or 4 times a week.

A weekly Zoom with the family is nice but sometimes we scrabble around for topics because we’re not doing anything different. Who would have guessed that the weekly phone call home would return in 2021?

And it’s occurred to me that in a small way this is a taste of life in the past. Maybe on a farm or in a hamlet. Only obviously for me right now minus the manual labour and possibility of starving to death. Life where the only people you see are those you live with. You sometimes see neighbours in the distance so you know that they’re still alive.

Small changes in routine are exciting and novel. But also strangely alarming. A 10 minutes walk to collect a bag of vegetables once a week seems like a highlight.

Birthdays are both special and nothing really different. it’s the people that make them mean something.

The same clothes over and over again. Hair now so long and pinned into place.

It’s not the same but sometimes I get a taste of the isolation. The struggle to find meaning and keep going. The urge to accept whatever the day brings because what else is there?

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Musing on a Tuesday

There seems to be something about the start of a lockdown that makes me want to blog. Maybe this time because it’s the start of the year. A stay-at-home festive season does actually result in feeling rested and ready to go when January rolls around.

Blogging has been erractic over the past few years because I seem to be incapable of treating this as a personal blog. So rather then writing when I feel inspired I’ve felt under pressure to be consistent. That if I’m going to post I need to do so regularly. So any mention of food I’ve eaten must be the first of a series of ‘What I ate’ posts.

I spend all day writing for clients which is glorious fun but doesn’t always leave me much capacity to do it for myself. And annoying when I have felt the spark then I’ve quashed it by overcomplicating it.

So 2021 will be the year of an erratic posting schedule on random topics. Sounds a bit like my head. I think it will be fun. The way blogging is supposed to be fun.

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A change in planner for 2021

It looks like my planner habits might get a shake up next year. For the past five years I used a Moleskin daily planner. Each year they come in a different shade of green so the completed books look lovely together. I though I was breaking out a bit in 2020 when I went for the Millennium Falcon design. But it looks to be all change for me next year.

The Myrtle green Moleskine I’ve had my eye in seems to sold out in every variation.

I’ve looked different sizes, page allocations and suppliers. Green is obviously popular and it looks like everyone did their planner shopping early this year. So I guess it’s time to try another brand. This is quite exciting!

What shape will my planning take next year?

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This week in food

It’s been a week of fighting off the urge to hibernate and trying to get back into an exercise routine. So craving big bowls of warming stuff while trying to avoid snacking.

Saturday 7 November

I made massive amounts of beetroot setian and served it with rice, salad leaves and a garlicky, basil, sunflower seed dressing.

Sunday 8 November

I cooked up a load of soy chunks, butternut squash and aubergine earlier in the week. The remains (because of course there was way too much) got wrapped in pastry.

Add a piece of raw brownie for dessert because we were all out of fruit.

Monday 9 November

Yet more seitan served in rolls with vegan cheese, Mayo and sauerkraut.

Tuesday 10 November

I got what I thought was coriander stock out of the freezer. Worried that I had C19 when it didn’t smell of anything much and then after cooking it with lentils realised it was probably mushroom stock. So the dahl got turned into a spaghetti sauce with some cooked mushrooms and roast garlic. Must label murky jars of liquid before they go in the freezer.

Wednesday 11 November

I’m loving these vegan kievs I found at Tesco. There’s just enough lovely garlicky filling to make serving with plain rice and kale work beautifully.

Thursday 12 November

The last of the seitan got dunked in marinade for a few hours and then cooked up with garlic, mushrooms, Pak choi and brown rice noodles.

And cheese, cracker, fruit and scheese and onion crisps for supper.

Friday 12 November

Lunch was jacket potatoes which (due to a mid morning nap and a breakfast fail) I munched before thinking about taking a photo.

Then I took a contender fir the world’s fullest photo of supper. It was home made flat breads filled with vegan cream cheese, deli slices and kohlrabi.

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What I ate this week – 7 June 2020

I managed 2 nights of earlier dinners this week but then I went back to work after. On the plus side I am so tired when I go to bed that my insomnia has vanished!


For lunch I made a chopped pesto with radish stalks, garlic, oil, nutritional yeast and walnuts. Served with baguette and radishes it was divinely garlicky.

I’ve taken to referring to this as German potato salad. But really it’s potato salad with something pickled mixed into the mayo and some vegan frankfurters chucked on top.


It was Monday so lunch had to either be tempeh, tomato and kale salad. Or pizza salad, right? I was all out of kale so I radically made spinach, tempeh and tomato salad!

And then for dinner I made the tofu I couldn’t be bothered with last week to pair up with more Pak choi.


Tuesday wasn’t a good food day. Once again there was a delivery involved. So lunch was toasties and then dinner kind of got missed.


Back on track (following a bundle of socially distanced house viewings and shenanigans with various parcels) with pizza salad for lunch. I’m definitely getting faster at making this.

How I love chilli. I made a huge pan of this because it’s so tasty. Chilli is about to become a weekly feature on the menu.

And a huge bowl of strawberries and vegan cream for dessert.


Lunch was easy and delicious- a plate of dinner leftovers!

I haven’t made risotto in years and now I remember why! It takes so long while you stand and stir. I added in mushrooms and fennel and served with a rough parsley pesto and sausages.


Friday lunchtime I ate some of the canned soup stash and spent an hour enjoying a talk on kimonos as a virtual attendee of the York festival of ideas. It was a fascinating talk and made a nice change.

For dinner, I made Coconut Samosa potato salad from Salad Samurai again but I added coriander this time. Wow it made it even more awesome!


The freezer has gotten a bit full (and it’s not very big) so we had chicken style burgers for lunch.

And for dinner I veganised a recipe I spotted on Bento Expo. The Ebichiri Bento made in season 3 episode 8 was really easy and really good! Check it out for yourself

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What’s on my digital reading pile?

I seem to be tearing through ebooks. I’m now waiting for the next volume in the St Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor (the shenanigans of time travelling historians).

I’m most of the way 1602 and it is wonderful. I find myself being reluctant to turn the virtual page to make it last longer.

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What I ate – 31 May 2020

I seem to have gotten into a habit of cooking dinner really late. Maybe it’s the heat?


I tried another recipe from Salad Samurai. This is coconut samosa potato salad. I skipped the chickpeas, coriander, mint and cashews and chucked in parsley. It was good enough to make again and I’ll try for all the ingredients next time!


We’re clearly entering the season of potato salad. I added turnips greens, peas, green onion tops, mustard, vinegar and mayo. Then topped it off with a couple of vegan sausages.


Another helping of pizza salad. I cooked the tempeh in the remoska with no oil and it turned out just fine.

The curry sauce was supposed to be put through a sieve but I was tired and chunky is just fine.


Kale, tomato and tempeh salad. I actually made the effort to soak almonds before blitzing them with mustard, vinegar and dates and the dressing was the best yet.

How I love chilli. And This one was super easy. I soaked the soy mince during the afternoon and then sling it in the remoska with other ingredients after a networking call. As a result I got go sit down with a glass of kombucha and a book while it cooked.


Lazy lunch! Toasties with vegan cheese, deli slices and tomato.

I started cooking dinner really late. But this mushroom and pasta dish actually turned out a bit fancy looking.


This was a bitty kind of lunch but the combo of hot green beans, dressing, random vegetables and a handful of poppadoms was most satisfying.

Another end of the week dish. I never got round to making tofu so the Pak choi got added to this dish. It really does have all the random stuff in it.


I shop early on Saturday morning and collect my vegetable bag while I’m out. Hence lunch is never elaborate.

For some reason I thought I’d have more time to cook at the weekend. I don’t know what I was thinking. But the beet balls recipe from Salad Samurai made up loads so I popped them in the freezer for an easy future meal. This was really tasty and worth the effort of shredding beets.

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