1

Healthy Days – Rhubarb challenge!

It’s day 2 of the 100 Healthy Days and I feel it went ok today! I mean, in terms of food I ate a little more than yesterday but i’m still loving having time to cook (see food diary below!)

Today I had to figure out how to use up a bunch of rhubarb while still making healthy choices. The problem being that generally rhubarb needs a ton of sugar to make it palatable. I decided to use strawberries and cinnamon to sweeten the filling and to drastically reduce the sugar in the topping. 


Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

Low-sugar rhubarb-strawberry crumble.

Homemade and warm from the oven – and lower in sugar!

Filling:
– 1 bunch rhubarb, washed and chopped
– 1 punnet strawberries, washed and hulled
– half a teaspoon of cinnamon
– 1 tsp honey (optional)
Topping:
– 100g/ 3½oz plain flour
-75g/ 2½oz butter/vegan butter
-50g/ 2oz rolled oats
– 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

Simply stew the filling ingredients together until the fruit has softened. Transfer this filling to an ovenproof dish.

Blitz the flour, butter and sugar together until breadcrumb-like in appearance. Stir in the oats. 

Cover the filling with this topping and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 180C.


I’ve been thinking a bit about the other elements to this project that I need to tackle. For one thing, I need to learn to turn out the light early and just go to sleep! No Tumblr or Facebook last thing at night. I think being responsible at bedtime will be very important for gaining more energy, fighting off winter bugs and keeping my appetite under control! 

Aside from that, I’ve booked in with an osteopath for the pains in my neck, side and knee that have been plaguing me for a while (…9 months…) I’m looking forward to getting it dealt with! 

Today met with my friend Áine for lunch/coffee in town. I decided to eat at home and just have a juice and a coffee when out to try to optimise my healthy eating potential!

Food diary:
-porridge with cinnamon peanut butter and banana
-Homemade roast vegetable soup, two slices of seeded rye toast.
-Beetroot, raspberry and orange juice and a skinny cappuccino. Brazil nuts.
-Veggie spanish omlette with rhubarb and strawberry crumble with a tablespoon of creme fraichefor dessert!

 

Roast Vegetables for Soup

Roasting a selection of vegetables left over from yesterday’s dinner for soup.

Homemade veggie soup

Nothing beats hearty, thick soup on a rainy autumnal day!

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5

Wizard Wedding Weekend

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the wedding of two wonderful friends, Laura and James. The bride and groom met at a Harry Potter wizard Rock show in a library a few years ago and honoured the connection by theming the wedding around books. This was a very special wedding, and Laura and James’ personalities and hard work could be seen throughout the weekend.

This was a very small wedding with forty-two people in attendance, meaning that we could all stay together in the large house where the reception took place. On arriving at the house, we could see the schedule of the next day’s proceedings while we settled down to a fish-and-chip takeaway.

Image

On the morning of the wedding, many of us woke at quarter to eight and so we pootled into Kylie and Mel’s room for a chat and a cup of tea. By 10am we had Twerked, tea’d and Cheerio’d and decided it was time to put our nice frocks on before heading down to the Knight Bus to go to the ceremony.

Wedding bus

Ellie and I show off our hats aboard the Knight Bus!

We drove over hill and dale (singing a rousing bus-related wizard rock song) to get to the ceremony’s venue, a small converted barn on an organic farm. We saw lots of nice cows and sheep on our way, as well as a sign for pig racing, which we decided would be an excellent day out and a marvelous activity to follow a wedding…

Paper book flowers

Handmade flowers from the pages of books to tie in with the book theme.

Wedding

Vintage and pretty decor at the venue.

When we entered, Here Comes the Sun by Laura’s favourite band, the Beatles was playing. There were strings of bunting and fairylights and garlands decorating the barn along with the red roses and book-roses that Laura had made. As is tradition, the bride was quite late. Untraditionally, though, it was because she’d got lost and ended up in a field. Luckily we had the Beatles playing and cereal bars to keep us fueled until she arrived. We also convinced James and our friend Neil, the best man, to keep us entertained. 🙂

Wedding Men

Kylie-faces!

The ceremony was beautiful. Laura looked stunning and elegant in her red gown. We were so few in number that we all felt honoured to be there for Laura and James. When it came to their readings and vows, we knew exactly what they meant. Laura read a passage from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that was so wonderfully relevant and poignant that Mel, Ellie and I all made good use of the tissues I’d brought.

In the Morris

Mr and Mrs in the Morris.

Vintage Wedding

The wedding party and parents on the farm.

When we got back to the reception house, the photographer took some photos of everyone outside the house. Meanwhile, a few of us scurried off to take some photos in the surrounding area. There were some great props like tyres and old sheds, long grass, and rubble! Grunge-chic!

Wedding fashion

Rachel in the wedding high-fashion photoshoot!

Feeling a bit... tyred? Hahaha...

Behind the scenes!

Leaning on the fence

David does his best model-farmer pose.

After a pretty sparkling wine and some nibbles, we moved through for dinner. The dining room had been decorated beautifully by the wedding party. As we arrived, we each found our names attached to a small charm (mine was a clock!) on top of an old book which bore the name of our table. All of our friends were seated at the Fantasy table, which was decorated with the one ring, the wardrobe, and a pile of children’s book, including Philosopher’s Stone and Beedle the Bard.  When we found our seats, there was an envelope each with our names on, and a literary address. (Mine was 4 Privet Drive!!) Laura and James had also chosen a different classic Ladybird book to suit each person. I got a make and do book! 🙂 This was such a lovely touch and made everyone feel really included in the wedding!

Toast

To celebrate!

Favours books

The wedding favours. The envelope contained a quiz about books and the bride and groom!

After an italian themed dinner, we dined on cupcakes and drank tea from vintage china teacups and saucers. Once the speeches and toasts had been made (there was an actual piece of toast raised), we all headed through to the dance floor.

Wedding Cake

The sideboard of sugar.

Cup and saucer

Everyone had a different vintage cup and saucer.

Ellie, Cathrin and I provided some live musical entertainment with a selection of songs from the 40s and 50s. This included Unchained Melody, sung by Cathrin, to which Laura and James had their first dance.

First dance

Serenaded by Cathrin.

At around 10pm, we came back to do a special set of Wizard Rock songs and to debut our new act Kate and the Bushes.  We sang Wuthering Heights and had a choreographed dance routine. It was fun! 😀

The night went on with sing-alongs to such classic hits as Vindaloo, songs from Greece, 500 Miles, Goodbye Privet Drive, Sweet Child of Mine, 500 Miles and 99 Death Eaters.

The following day we had a picnic in the garden, went to visit some nice friendly cows with the cow-whisperer (Lucy) and played Pointless. There was a group reading of some Mills and Boone in the late afternoon and a drama with a missing cheeseboard.

What a lovely weekend it was. Thanks Laura and James for including me. ❤

5

Start here

Owl!

Colouring in – not just for kids!!

I’ve been thinking about starting this blog for quite a while. With all the different new social media sites popping up what feels like every five minutes, I felt I needed to have one place where I could just share what I want to share, and pull all the different threads of my life together.

Food, music, friends, health and fitness are my main loves in life and I sometimes feel that I’m being torn in different directions when it comes to all of them. Hopefully this will be the place where I can bring them together. It doesn’t matter to me if no one reads this, this is a bit about getting myself together and a bit about having one place to refer new people when they ask for my contact details!

I’ve spent the last few days running around all the social media sites that I inhabit, trying to consolidate things and make myself more… streamlined? It may seem like a bit of a waste of time to some, but I really want to focus on music and singing, and that means having one place that I reliably update with my new things. For much of this year I’ll be studying music too, so it may also be a place where I share what I’ve learned.

1

Mrs Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award

It’s so nice when the people you know acknowledge your blog! I sometimes feel I’m writing to myself (which is fine. I’m comfortable with self-communication.) Thank you Evin, from Sláinte Cork for nominating me for Mrs Sparky’s Ten Commandments AwardWhat’s involved? I need to answer some questions about myself, and here we go…
*Describe yourself in 7 words:
Friendly, interested, loving, sincere, enthusiastic, eccentric, weird.
*What keeps you up at night?
Planning adventures and projects. Sometimes I’ll start writing little songs in my head or stories, sometimes I get really involved. It’s a problem that I get really excited about things when I’m trying to sleep, because I just want to get up and sing. Someone sleeps next to the music room in my house, so I’ve had to be really strict about no late-night song-writing. (Which, now that I think about it, could account for my lower song output!)
*Whom would you like to be?
The best version of Amy. It’s my ambition to keep trying to be a better person, with better skills. I have a loooong way to go, but I’m trying!
*What am I wearing right now?
This:
But with a black and gold waist-cinching belt, and black tights. Spectacles. A head of curly brown hair, and a smile.
*What scares you?
  • Greed, ignorance. 
  • Being misinterpreted.
  • Animal cruelty. 
  • The quest for happiness – not fully knowing if I’m happy now or if it’s something that’s coming later. 
  • The concept that I’m wasting my life, that I’m spreading myself too thin and I should be focusing just on singing.
  • Artistic confinement.
*What are the best and worst things about blogging?
Best: It’s nice to have a place to just get it all down. It doesn’t matter if no one reads it, it’s a thought that I had and it’s good to be able to revisit ideas and events with another frame of mind.

Worst: Not being able to do it while I’m running. I write the best mental blogs when I’m running!

*If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be?
I’d like to be more able to relax, and to suffer less joint and muscle pain.

*Slankets, yes or no?

No. They seem like such a good idea in theory… but no.
*Tell us something about the person who nominated you.
Evin has beautiful eyes and a blogging addiction. She has lovely, long, straight hair and looks completely different when it’s up or down. In her apartment, Evin has a Little Liam, a fishy chair, and a staple gun, which she uses to staple things, and to ward off clowns with suspicious-smelling fridge foods.
My next step in this award is to nominate 10 others.

These are my favourites, and my friends! I really hope that you’ll all give it a go! 🙂

The red red robin goes blog blog blogging along: http://redbreastedbird.blogspot.ie/

Goodnight Boutique: http://goodnightboutique.com/

The Smallest Smallholding: http://www.smallestsmallholding.com/

This Yorkshire Life: http://thisyorkshirelife.blogspot.ie/

The Savage Searching: http://savagesearching.wordpress.com/

LizzDelicious: http://www.lizzdelicious.com/

1

The Very Cusp!

Classy.

This Christmas has been stupidly decadent. Every single one of my lovely students gave me chocolate and I ate ALL OF THEM. (I shared, don’t worry.) It was foolish. And delicious. I also spent a lot of if watching DVDs and meeting friends, recuperating and hopefully getting the coming year’s illnesses out of my system. (Wishful thinking.)

Since we hit 2012, I’ve been on a family trip to Northern Ireland and on a hen weekend. I must say, Miss Estelle (far left) and her friends know how to have a good time. We dressed up in 80s garb and pub crawled in a West Cork village, much to the bemusement of the locals. One of the bars we shimmied into had a 20s theme. That was fun.

A lot of people have been talking about New Year’s Resolutions. Bleh.

As much and I have thought and written about it (by hand), I know that nothing is real until tomorrow – the first day back to school!  So it’s totally fine that I ate ten Celebrations earlier. And that I’ve not sung or done any exercise today.

My resolutions are as follows:

1. SING MORE – write and record songs, post them. Singing is the most important thing ever. However, on this, the cusp of the new year, I have a sore throat, so that leads onto…

2. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK – you don’t have to be on form all the time. Sing through the bad times, but don’t record them. I just recorded myself singing ‘My Funny Valentine’ with a chest and throat infection. “Why?!” I hear you ask. Guilt. I felt I hadn’t done anything singing-constructive in ages so I recorded some songs. Whatever, it’s all a learning experience. I can only improve.

3. EXERCISE – every day. Get toned. Good times.

4. BE MORE POSITIVE – stop talking about situations and people in a negative way. Let it all breeze past you unless really need to get it off your chest.


5. LESS INTERNET – limit Facebook and Twitter. I am just the worst person when it comes to frittering time away online. I never get anything done. It must stop.

0

Adele

What makes Adele so nice, for me, is that her music is quite straightforward. It’s like the accumulation of all the music she’s listened to in this (what I would describe as) heightened era of musicians being able to do whatever they like. She’s taken all this stuff in, digested it, and then written some songs straight our of her heart. Then she’s sung them in a plain way with her nice voice. She’s talking to us, she’s communicating. I like that.

I think that’s why so many people are loving her so much. They’re hearing what she’s saying and understanding it. Maybe it’s just because there’s something to understand in the first place. It’s not about shaking your ass or being purely an object of sex. The funny thing is that I am not one of her devoted followers – I just understand what I’m hearing. And I like that. I respect it – and for that I respect her.

Listen to the piano part. It’s so basic. Then there’s a straightforward harmony on strings. It’s the same thing in ‘Someone Like You.’ It’s just broken chords. But that’s perfect, because it means that the story can come across and doesn’t have to compete with anything.

I like it. 🙂

3

Memememe

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte from Sunday lunch today. Got to have the dark chocolate! 😉

Hooray! I was tagged in this meme thing by The Cottage Smallholder. The rule is to tag eight other bloggers and make your own eight questions. 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

__..::1* What have you learnt from blogging?
I started blogging when I was an angsty 17 year old. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s a very good idea to just let all the ideas, troubles, annoyances, happiness sprawl on the page. Once they’re there it’s much easier to be reflective and to work things out. I’m actually looking forward to meeting more bloggers. I’m new to the public blogging thing, really. If anyone has any tips, I’m open to learning!

__..::2* What was your proudest moment and why?
Graduation day at university. I have never worked so hard or suffered so much for anything in my life. It was an incredibly tough course (Music and Drama and Theatre Studies) and I learned so much about the world, people and myself.
__..::3* What is the naughtiest thing that you have ever done?

I picked up all the business cards for a rival soprano, put them in my handbag and replaced them with my own. I feel so guilty to this day. I think I’ll put them somewhere else because I can’t live with the guilt.

__..::4* Who or what populates your nightmares?
Men with knives coming to stab me. My mother.
__..::5* Do you have “me time”. If so what do you do and why?
I love meeting up with my friends in Cork and Tweeting/Facebook. I find the internet so relaxing. It’s better than a bath. I also enjoy tidying….
The whole social thing is good for me. I like socialising and meeting with people and the internet opens up the possibilities of who I might meet. 🙂 It’s very useful for keeping in touch with my friends in other countries, which I do every day. I prefer real life contact though, and that’s why it’s important to me to see my close proximity friends regularly.
__..::6* The one food or ingredient that you fret about running out and why?
Dark chocolate. Things can never go completely wrong when there’s good quality dark chocolate in the store cupboard.
__..::7* The best book that you have read in the last five years and why?
OH MY GOD, HARDEST QUESTION EVER!!!!  I’m going to say ‘His Dark Materials’ which is a trilogy by Philip Pullman. It sucks you right it to its world and almost makes you into a character.
From my LiveJournal:
Jan. 5th, 2005 at 1:16 AM

 
“I’ve been reading Northern Lights and thinking about daemons. When I’m reading it/thinking about it I’m like “Wow, thank God no one will ever separate me from my daemon.” It’s actually surreal to think that I don’t have one. I feel like I do.”

__..::8* If you could erase a person/experience/mistake from your life who/what would it be and why?
No, never. Nothing. I don’t think I’d erase anyone or anything. I’ve learned from everything.
Questions:
1. What inspires you to blog?
2. What’s the best thing about blogging, for you?
3. What is your favourite book of all time?
4. It’s 9pm and for some reason you’ve been hungry all day, despite the three square meals. What do you rustle up?
5. Who are three of your style icons?
6. What’s your current favourite song/piece of music?
7. What’s the last book you read?
8. What is your current favourite recipe?
Tagged:
aaand I fail because I need more blogs! I INVITE YOU  TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS! 😀