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100 Healthy Days – Mindfulness in every day life

vegan hot chocolate

The best way to enjoy 85% dark chocolate is to drink it! ūüėČ

This morning I saw a post on Facebook about a woman who decided to turn the #100happydays tag into #100healthydays. Ordinarily I look at these people who transform themselves into super-toned fitness enthusiasts and think ‘It’s just not for me.’ This is because I’ve tried the gym thing and unfortunately due to frequent injury I find it impossibly to maintain the necessary consistency.¬†

On this occasion, however, it wasn’t the super-toned physique that caught my imagination but the idea of the tag. I completed the #100happydays tag on Instagram and, though there were a few days when everything was so horrid that I blatantly had to make something up, I did complete it. It was just one day at a time, and I never knew what the thing was that was going to make you happy, so I had to be on the lookout for it. It made me more mindful throughout the day of how I was feeling, and that can’t be bad!

So why not apply this idea to health? Personally, I know that being more mindful of what I eat and how I take care of myself is really important. I tend to indulge and obsesses over food. After finishing my all-consuming music degree I found that I had to unfollow all the food accounts on Instagram and Pinterest as I just felt overwhelmed. I wanted to make everything and try everything and felt enormous pressure. It may sound silly to someone who has never had the obsessive thing, but it became a bit of a problem! Now I avoid looking at pictures of recipes online, or buying foodie magazines and I feel much less overwhelmed. If I want to look something up, I will happily search, but I try not to let it take over my thoughts too much. 

So here was my first day of #100healthydays! I’m not aiming to be a size 0 at the end, I’m not aiming to be anything! Just more mindful of what I eat and how I move, and proud of the choices I’ve made for my body.

breakfast

Cinnamon to steady blood sugar is great in the morning!

Breakfast is always porridge for me! I just love it! I love using different ingredients for variety but this morning it was pretty basic! Banana to prevent my twitchy eye/leg/arm, cinnamon to keep my blood sugar steady, oats for slow-release carbohydrates and fiber and peanut butter because it is yummy and contains a small amount of protein! 

Rocket Man salad

Chickpeas are full of fiber and keep energy levels steady throughout the day.

At lunchtime I was out and about meeting my friend Orla at the Mahon Point Farmers Market. I love it there! There is so much to look at and so many delicious options! I steered away from the cake and had a salad from the Rocket Man, Cork’s most popular salad bar. This was a chickpea and roast vegetable/ spelt and beetroot salad combo. ¬†There weren’t as many veggies as I would have liked but I was on the move!

Homemade blackberry jam with vegan hot chocolate.

A snack around 4pm keeps me from gnawing my arm off (or stuffing my face with chocolate!)

The 4pm snack is going to be my new best friend. I always get hungry at this time and never realised that I could just plan a snack before dinner. Well, now I know and this is what I had: seeded rye bread with homemade (by me!) blackberry jam and vegan hot chocolate made with 85% dark chocolate, unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract. Yum.

Vegan white bean and vegetable hash with nutritional yeast.

Rosemary, garlic, nutritional yeast and black pepper made this cannellini bean hash taste so good!

 For dinner I made this recipe for Vegetable White Bean Hash. I added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, which has added a lot to the flavour. The recipe really needed some more herbs or spices as the recipe was a little bland. The yeast really cheered it up, though! 

So, that was my day apart from a skinny cappuccino! ¬†I’ve tried to take my time with things today. Making dinner, I didn’t want to rush and just appreciated having the time to prepare the vegetables and listen to a podcast while cooking.¬†

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Getting Caught Up

It’s a metaphor. See?

Things all got a bit serious.

When I called up the singing teacher who I had been afraid to contact for two years, I got sucked into this singing vortex. During the first lesson, which is meant to be a consultation to see if the teacher likes my voice, she got very excited and decided that she would take me, and that I must apply for course X, Y and Z. I was send home with a few songs to study, some interesting new thoughts on vocal technique and a sense of utter bewilderment.

Mingled with the bewilderment, though, was the feeling that this was all correct. This was what I should be doing now. I should be working hard on my voice and body, saving up, learning and applying to courses.

It’s true that I spend my days swinging dramatically (internally) from “YES! This is right! Everything’s going to come together and it will be wonderful! The life I want is within my reach” to “WHAT AM I DOING, WHAT AM I DOING?! AGH!”¬†Ultimately, no matter what the scared and confused part of my mind says, if I don’t give it my best shot now and work hard I will spend the rest of my life wondering what it would have been like if I’d taken those steps.

There are no fantasies for me of being a massively famous, stadium-sell-out musician. I’m sure that would be nice, but what I really want in my life is stability and creativity. I want to be able to write, perform, teach and inspire while having a roof over my head (and some hens in the back garden. And there’s a lot of cake in this dream life, too.)

I suppose what I’m getting at is: I do feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment with all this singing plus all the work that unexpectedly fell on top of me but I’m trying very hard to see to the end of June. Then I can celebrate what I have achieved and be proud and I can stay in bed all day or go into town and not feel guilty because it’s the SUMMER.

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A personal blog that no one needs to read.

My new motto is “GET SHIT DONE!!” Just like that, in a shouty voice with exclamation marks.

This blog has been rather sparse of late, owing to my complete incapacity to deal with life, work, body, family AND internet. The whole ensemble was not working out and something just had to give.

Life:
Oh life! What a funny thing you are. Occasionally I think I have things figured out and the path before me seems crystal clear. Then I have a sudden bout of self doubt, financial doubt or confusion and I’m back to where I started. Right now I have arrived back at where I started and where I KEEP arriving: singing.

It’s time to get on that road. The singing road. The next 1.5 years are for getting into any possible singing situation that I can, getting back to lessons and applying everywhere imaginable.

Work:
Teaching music. I am inclined to really, really enjoy it. However, it’s something I’d like to do alongside singing professionally. So, for now, I’m going to work and save, sacrifice moving out and cut down on using my car, so that I can save enough to go to the UK or wherever I can sing.

Body:
Abridged version: Many pains – much physical therapy – getting better. Tomorrow I’ll be starting week 4 of Couch-To-5K and I am absolutely thrilled! I’m still eating too much cake, but that ends tomorrow.

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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.

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PRIORITIES

Dear Amy,

You need to sort out your priorities. What have you been spending your ‘free’ (non-teaching/event organising) time doing for the last, let’s say, four months?

a) Cleaning and decorating a house you don’t own.
b) Sewing baubles and soft furnishings.
c) Twitter.
d) Going from infection to ‘flu to infection.
e) Being involved in a lame-ass T.V. show competition.
or
f) All of the above.

Oh, Amy. You idiot. You don’t need to tell you what’s missing here, but just in case you really are that dim, I’ll spell it out for you.

M.U.S.I.C.

Yes. That thing you’d like to do as a career. That thing you’re massively, overwhelmingly passionate about but unbelievably inferior in. Oh dear.

I feel rather strongly that you should get your backside in gear, get back to studying singing and piano and start writing again EVERY DAY. That malaise you’ve been feeling; that sort of weird gnawing in your stomach and tightness in your chest? That’s all the unwritten songs in you, eating away at your soul, trying to get out. That uncomfortable feeling in your brain? Feels a LOT like a sinus infection? That’s the Amy of the future calling to you and really super hating you for wasting so much time and not improving yourself.

Here’s what I want you to stop doing:

1.i Spending money.

I’m not actually sure where you’re going with this, but let me remind you that you’re not very wealthy. That trip to Florida you insisted on taking (though I understand why) was incredibly expensive. You don’t need to spend any more money. You’re cool. It’s cool.

1.ii. Neglecting the dog.

THE POOR DOG. The weather was FINE for the last two days,¬†you neglectful asshole. She loves you. That poor dog just wants you to bring her out so she can smell things. This ¬†refers back to number one. Do NOT join a gym – you can’t afford it. The dog is your gym.

1.iii So much crafting.

This is a hobby. You enjoy it. You are not going to make any more from it. Maybe take a sabbatical from sewing after Christmas. Use the time to practice for another piano grade, or to get back into researching opera, or even brush up on your baroque counterpoint harmony theory! You do NOT need to spend money on any more fabric, thread, buttons or anything of that nature. Go to the Saturday morning knitting group. Improve your knitting in that weekly slot.

2. Cleaning the house.

Just pick, like, two days where you do one hour. Stop spending your life tidying and cleaning, it’s moronic. If you were practicing or writing, you wouldn’t make a mess anyway.

Write songs. Record them. Upload them. Play the piano. EASY.

Quite frustrated and definitely hacked off at you.

Amy~*~

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Horizontal Thinking

I’m in bed. It’s WAY past my sleep-time but I’m just being stubborn. I feel like a useless lump because I’m ill so I haven’t gone for a walk in…. weeks.

But I wanted to make a few notes:

  • I am going to Sweden on Thursday and I have not thought about it AT ALL.
  • I wrote and posted three letters today.
  • I made 15 pairs of key earrings and three Wizard Rock tote bags.
  • I have eaten one proper meal in the last three days. If I have not at least lost 2lbs, I will be most put out. It’s the least this illness can do for me, really.
  • I don’t want to teach drama tomorrow.
  • I hate spending money on clothes, but I really needed to.
  • And, in the last half an hour, I’ve actually felt hungry.

It occurred to me about an hour ago that I put pressure on myself to do things that I really shouldn’t. I should worry that I miss a day of reading a book, or that I didn’t get my room tidied today. Maybe I should make a list of the things that, if neglected, actually merit guilt. (Singing practice, piano practice, walking the dog…)