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Sunday Sevens 19th August – Almond milk, embroidery and black magic

Roses in rose bowl

It has been a busy week and what weather we are having! Sunny days interspersed with rain it is nice to be back to our normal temperatures and see the grass turning green again!  I’ve escaped the four walls nearly every day this week – friends have been so kind to pop by and take me out for a bit. I am walking on crutches so I am somewhat  of a liability – especially as Thursday was raining cats and dogs – but it has been great to catch up with good friends and be a lady who lunches for a while! I have also been showered with more flowers! I bought this rose bowl in a charity shop some years ago – its crystal and was a bargain for about a fiver. I have used it often as it makes displaying flowers so easy as the grid holds the heads nicely.

mini heart brooch pincushion

We had a family gathering recently I wanted to make something to give as well as the usual gift. As she is a stitcher I decided to make a little heart brooch pincushion. I am always losing pins no matter how many pincushions I have scattered around the craft room – so having a little brooch that travels with me, has been very useful. I love this little print and the flower sat so beautifully framed in the pink felt.

brooch pin cushion

Its tiny, only about 4inches by 2 and a half inches but it came out nicely. Ok, I will admit I got carried away with the embroidery bit – I was watching Bletchley and the story tension was building so I was stitching faster! I crocheted a little border round the edge which seemed to finish it off nicely. I do adore Petra Cotton Perle – it is lovely to embroider with. Thankfully the gift was appreciated – which is always a bonus!

make a wish - dandilion embroidery

It is difficult to capture this little embroidery that hangs above this little heart, it is only 2inches – it is a dandelion head worked over fine organza. When I am eating it looks as if I have captured a lovely seed head in a frame, but photographs just don’t seem to come out right.

Dandilion embroidery

Stitching on such a see through background is more difficult and messy than I hoped, and looking so closely at the embroidery – doesn’t really capture how effective it is when viewed from a distance. It took me less than an hour to do but it really does please me.

moon over soho ben aaronovitch

Moon over Soho is the second book from Ben Aaronovitch – I am delighted to see that there are a few more books already out in this Series.  I have become rather fond of DC Grant, – his sardonic humour is delightful, the police procedure and social commentary makes me giggle. Not to mention the mix of the magical in every day cynical London life.

The 1960s planning department of local council whose unofficial motto was Finishing what the Lufftwaffe started…

Some things never change, and a senior police officer doesn’t organise a costly raid and admit to failure, or violating the Magna Carta, until he has done his best to convict somebody of something.

I think this book follows on very well from the first one – and we are now introduced to our ‘modern day Moriarty’ in the form of a Black Magician who managed to escape this time, so I am keen to read the next book. I don’t think it will be long before we see this series televised – it is that good! although they might need some really good special effects to do it justice.

Oh and the little fox brooch was a tiny fabric illustration of the fox cushions I made for my daughter – I could not let it go to waste so I made it into a little brooch. It is lovely to have time to stitch.

almond milk

I made a huge mistake buying some ‘almond milk’ in the supermarket a few weeks back – It was basically water with a hint of almond – I am shocked they can get away with it – the almonds make up less than 5% of of the overall ‘almond milk’ – making it 95% water. So I decided to make some of my own and it is really easy, tastes delicious and is much cheaper.

Simply place a bowl full of almonds (I used the skin on) in water for 24 hours. The nuts plump up and actually taste nicer!

Then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract a couple of dates (to sweeten it a little) your nuts and water to a blender and blend for about a minute. Push through a fine sieve to remove the skins. (I think I might try the almonds without skins next time!)

I found my almond milk was very thick so I did a few more whizzes using the stuff left in the sieve and additional water. It still looked like milk after the third time and my home made milk was more creamy than the shop bought one. It is nice for cereals but I don’t think it would work in coffee or tea!

Sunday Sevens, your week summed up in photographs,  is the brainchild of Nat at Threads and bobbins – you can find her site here.

Have a lovely weekend.

x

 

 

 

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Sunday Sevens – post op and enchanted convalescence

Post op

I went in to have foot reconstruction surgery two weeks ago; I suffered osteonecrosis when I was a teenager and had radical surgery, over twenty years of dancing and walking around left my foot in a very sorry state – and I am so grateful to the surgeon and hospital staff for their wonderful care. It is marvellous to live in a country where you get the health care you need without having to worry about the costs involved. So I find myself having to sit down and recover – which is harder than I imagined!

yellow gerberas in blue vase

E picked me up from hospital with the most beautiful bouquet of sunny yellow blooms, Gerberas and Yellow Roses to brighten the bedroom and here they are two weeks later still looking bright and beautiful. I love the contrast of the blue vase – and our home has the most delightful French doors that give such a great soft light for photography.

My lovely place

Recovery is so delightful – I finally had time to do a little painting – and what a beautiful spot to paint! I managed two canvasses: one was a still life of tulips I had photographed, once again the combination of cobalt and yellow the other was a fun butterfly using various shades of glitter. I managed to get most of the glitter on the canvass but was a little bit sparkly for a few days!

Sweet peas and summer hat

These delightful sweet peas were a get well soon gift and I am so humbled to receive so much kindness from friends and neighbours. Get well soon cards have overflowed from the mantle shelf to the dresser and visitors have been very frequent and welcome. It has surprised me just how hard it is to be on the receiving end of so much kindness, but it has certainly aided my recovery and made me feel appreciated.

food journal

This lovely bowl of fruit was a welcome thoughtful gift – the apricots were delicious. I am struggling with my diet at the moment – since discovering lactose is triggering my migraines I have been migraine free for a while. However, I forgot to mention it to a dear friend who invited us round for tea and cake – only to discover she had made a full afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones cream and jam! I was too embarrassed to ‘make a fuss’ I thought it would be ok, but the following day I suffered one of the worst bouts of migraine and sickness I had in years. So much so that it has made me frightened to eat a lot of things.  I now keep a food journal which has helped me track some of the foods – but I am still having digestive problems. I know that I was given strong antibiotics during my surgery so have been using probiotics.

chocolate parcel

Of course I could not live without chocolate – and the current trend for Veganism has made this a little easier as well as the food labelling laws. So my weeks of indulgence included a package from Montezuma’s – organic, dairy free chocolate. This is sublime and I find I don’t need to eat that much to satisfy the craving now and then. I’ve since discovered that there is a vegan chocolate factory not far from where I live! So it is on my ‘to visit list’ once I am mobile again.

Little embroidery

I am enjoying enchanting afternoons spent listening to radio plays while stitching – my winter embroidery is coming along – I have also found time to do some much needed hand sewing repairs to my clothes. It is such a calm, meditative practise that is fast becoming my preferred method. The sewing machine is not as accurate nor is it quite so relaxing.

IMG_3075

Mr Barnykins has been really enjoying his time with a wonderful local dog walker – I think she gets far more fuss when she arrives than I do, but then I am here all the time at the moment. I think he is trying to pretend it was someone else who is responsible for the inside snowstorm!

Happy Sunday.

 

choreley wood method, dieting, diets, food, health foods, healthy, healthy eating, losing weight, unhealthy foods, wheat free

What’s healthy?

I saw the doctor the other day, I have been struggling with my health for a couple of years but she forced me to get on the scales and I had to face it – I am overweight and heavier than I have ever been – (including pregnancy weight).

I know I am not unusual, Women’s hour reported that 61% of the UK population is overweight.

I needed to do something, I could not keep on simply buying bigger and bigger clothes and my health is really starting to suffer.

I started as I love to do, with books. I sat in my favourite Waterstones, with my green tea, thai noodles and a pile of books so high, I could not see above them.

I chose randomly, picking up one here and there from the shelf right at the bottom of the cooking section, below the bake offs, sweets and pudding books. It seems in order to be healthy one must be able to bend down that far. (I still can so all is not lost!) My pile included, sugar free eating, wheat free eating, healthy living, cleansing, medicinal foods to name but a few. The sugar free one seemed to offer me hope that I could continue to eat cake that would also magically be low in calories, and it looked promising, pages and pages of savoury food, (cheating!) finally the puddings section which included cakes and biscuits. I was surprised until I discovered the recipe included ‘dextrose’ not sugar… er… isn’t that another name for sugar?

Another book substituted sugar for weird ingredients – some of which were unpronounceable leaving me to wonder about the processing and artificial sweeteners have been linked to increasing obesity and cancer.   Coconut sugar? er.. isn’t that still sugar? Xanthan gum was proposed as a ‘heathy’ alternative to sugar, but it is created from the fermentation of sugars, identified as a polysaccharide (poly as in multiple + another word for sugar) combined with bacteria. Call me old fashioned, but sugar looks to me to be the healthiest option.

Another told me that wheat was virtually poison and I should never eat it, suggesting  odd ingredients that were most likely found in health food shops. I struggle to imagine any natural foodstuff to be poison, but rather than point the finger at wheat, maybe the cause of the problem is what happens to the wheat between the field and our plate? Bread can be natural, made simply from flour, yeast and time. The choreley wood method of bread making has been identified as bad for our health while a huge advantage for the stores. It speeds up the process chemically, then introduces chemical retardants, eventually to be heated up in a store giving us the impression that it is ‘freshly baked’. Its not made for our benefit, but maximise profits. I can’t eat it – the last time I had a tiger loaf I ended up in hospital, but I can eat home made bread.

The debate rages on about Butter, but to be honest why does spread need probotics, or cholesterol lowering plant enzymes? I would rather eat something that has the simple ingredient of churned milk and a little salt than soya lecithins, potassium sorbates, emulsifiers and acid stabilisers.

I glanced at the packet ingredients for my Thai noodles, it was the only healthy option available in Costa. I had ignored the cakes, biscuits, cheese laden toasties, it looked like a healthy choice, feeling saintly for my good intentions which was sabotaged; it contained over 10% fat! It would appear that in order to make the salad more tasty it needed a sauce containing not just fat but sugar!

Call me old fashioned but healthy food to me is as close to its natural state as possible – I am so tired of the manufacturer’s spin. Today’s nonogenarians ate food in season, grown slowly without pesticides or growth enhancers, they walked. food was expensive, farmers were able to make a living from non-intensive methods, bread was baked locally using local flour, not shipped half way across the world.  Snacking between meals was unheard food was restricted to mealtimes when they sat round a table and concentrated on the taste of what they were eating. 

I am astounded at how many times I reach for food as a matter of habit – a cup of tea seems to need a biscuit, or I grab a few nuts while I am waiting for the kettle to boil. My favourite programme on TV has adverts for chocolate and sweet things – subliminally I want something that I don’t really need – I have made a link with comfort and food. I reward myself with sweet things because my parents taught me good children get sweets, sugar is the reward – its embedded in my psyche. I  need to find a way to reward myself with other things. 

We can’t have our cake without calories, there is no magic that melts away the food we chump into our mouths and just because a food comes from a health food store it doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t processed. 

So I am going to follow the doc’s advice: eat less move more. 

I’ll keep you posted!