Friday, 30 October 2015

Cookery course

A quick post with useful tips from that cookery course I took. It really opened my eyes to not bodging, and I have had better results since.

Useful equipment: 
A spatula or spoonula for stirring is really useful, more hygenic than a wooden spoon and can get into all the corners. 
A meat thermometer will let you know when meat is hot enough to be safe, without being dried to a crisp. No more food poisoning worries or fibrous chicken.

Useful tips: 
Lay out all your ingredients and equipment on the worktop first. This helps you to be organised and feels professional.
Always wear an apron to stay clean. I just need a protective screen for my glasses now.
Measure carefully and don't make too much or put in extra leftovers which will only spoil it.
Focus and take your time!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Women Still travelling

I was asked to update on my women's travel books project. Actually, I am finding it harder to find good books to read about this, which don't repeat locations or authors.
Some of the best from the last few months....
Indonesia etc by Elizabeth Pisani, a long book, providing a fascinating insight into this huge and complex country...many islands, nationalities and religions. Really enjoyed this.
The Slow Breath of Stone by Pamela Petro retraces the travels of two architectural historians photographing historic churches in France, and their difficult and doomed relationship. Gripping and reads more like a novel.
Bury me Standing by Isabel Fonseca explores the history and travels of the Romany or Gypsy people and their unique culture. A must read to understand these much maligned and misunderstood people and their tragic story. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Have to Have It

Bit of a shopping spree today. Went to the Clarks sale and bought a pair of comfy orthopedic shoes for work....and these. Leopard print mary janes in cow hide, patent heels. They are called Chinaberry Pop (no idea why) and are also available in patent and a rather amazing metallic leather.
 I love leopard print, although it is perhaps a bit tasteless, and I did once read a fashion advice book advising Never to wear it. I say if you like it, wear it. Do you have any dress vices, readers....perhaps glitter, sequins, feathers, outrageous shoes?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

My Favourite Season

A quick painting to celebrate my love of Autumn. The cold, sunny days, the glory of the red and gold leaves everywhere. Berries and fruits on the trees. Crunchy leaves underfoot. It makes all the other seasons seem dull besides its wonderful technicolour. 
Do you have a favourite season, blog readers? Do tell.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Mind Training

Alistair and I are currently trying to do a daily meditation training. 
We use the ipad application Headspace which has a daily talk through. It starts with your eyes closed and you scan the body from head to toes, seeing how you feel physically and emotionally. Then you do a while where you count your breathing from 1-10, this is very helpful everyday if you feel tense. Then you just let your mind wander.
It is very helpful for relaxation and for noticing if you are doing obsessive thinking about things, so your mind can move on. The idea is that you can be aware of your moods and thoughts so you are not taken over by them. It is not easy, but I am already finding it very helpful.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Venice Interlude

Off to Venice! This is the Ca' de Mosto,  one of the oldest palaces and home to the Da Mosta family. May be familiar from Francesco de Mosto star of many programmes on Italy and a particular favourite of mine. The building dates from the 1200s and is in the Byzantine style. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Winter Wardrobe

Why the colour swatch? Well, as winter seems to be coming upon us (so cold in the castle!) thinking about winter clothes. This year, I have a two pronged attack of : wearing things from the back of the wardrobe and :trying new colours. Find something you love but don't wear much (purple velvet jacket from about 1996) and wear it lots, even if initially you feel uncomfortable in something bolder, more glamorous or unusual. 
Try a new colour in something, I had an urge for a coral lipstick, a colour I have never owned in my life. I loved it, very retro and just different looking. I feel the need to counteract the long, long, gloomy Aberdeen winter with colourful and luxurious things.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Fufu with Friends

Today we went round to see Alistair's colleague Nana and her husband Patrick. They made lunch for us, the traditional Ghanain dish of fufu with light soup. Fufu is a large dumpling made of pounded cassava and plantain and is served in a spicy tomato soup. It is very tasty and filling, a real comfort food and something very new to me.