…the first sip of tea, feeling worthy, drinks and laughs with friends, cuddling cats and sipping chai lattes, the rush after a good work out at the gym, finishing a book, midnight snacks, being at peace.
from a sick bed. I have an horrendous cold. i am fevery, and sniffly, and all the not-so-great things that come with Being Ill.
I am surrounded by tissues, and empty tea cups, and Olbas oil is the fragrance of the day. It is far from exciting.
I just wanted to write a little something, though. You see, I’m awfully self-degrading. Sometimes I joke about it, but there is an element of truth to my self-berating insults. You see, I always feel I could do better. If only I could be better, be stronger, more intelligent, more compassionate. It takes a lot for me to sit back and realise that I am doing ok. So. I suppose whilst I’m ill, and already feeling sorry for myself, I’ll sit back and count my blessings.
This month I graduated. That’s right: I’m a Master of Research (whatever that is). I have a 120-page thesis and several publications and a lovely certificate to show for it. So, there’s that.
Here’s me, looking uncomfortable in my graduation attire.
I’ve also survived a year in the workplace (hooray!). And though I’m currently in the midst of job applications and other job-related things, I feel positive that I’d be an attribute to most workplaces. I really like working. It gives me purpose, and something to aim for. I just need someone to realise that and to take a chance on me!
I am having a great time with Ben, and my friends, and I have a lot to be thankful for. There’s obviously a reason these wonderful people are in my life, and I should recognise that more often. I just need to take stock of things and realise that, hey: I’m doing OK. I actually am.
Anyway. I’m off to get another tissue, and make another brew.
Maybe we all need to sit and take stock sometimes. I recommend it.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love tea. Any type is fine with me: green, breakfast, black, white, green…I’ll give anything a go. So when I was asked if I’d like to sample some of the delights courtesy of The Tea Shop X Trinity Market, I jumped at the chance.
Though I’m not actually a Hullian, I like to think of myself as an honorary Hullian since I lived there during my university years. Hull will always have a special place in my heart, and supporting small Hull businesses is something I will always be more than happy to do.
I only discovered Hull’s Trinity Market in my final year of undergraduate study, and i was surprised how full it was of curiosities, antiques and interesting bric a brac. There’s also some fabulous food and drink kiosks, selling handmade, locally sourced produce made with love and passion. You can’t really beat that, can you?! I remember venturing into The Tea Shop briefly when my parents visited, but my student budget didn’t allow for much splurging and I had to make do with own-brand breakfast tea for a while. Well, fortunately enough for me, I’ve now had the chance to sample some delicious blends and they most certainly didn’t disappoint.
The tea blends are: Elderflower and Green Tea, Honeybush Chocolate Cake and Blood Orange. Sound good, don’t they?!
I got out my finest tea pot, and started brewing.
The Elderflower Green Tea is gorgeously floral and sweet, with a slight fruity aroma that couples well with the crisp, slightly bitter green tea. If you’re not the biggest fan of elderflower, I’d still give this a go. It’s a really great pairing.
Honeybush Chocolate Cake is a wonderfully-unusual sounding tea, that includes chocolate chips, cream-caramel pieces and rosebuds. It smells exactly as you’d think: a deliciously chocolatey, sweet blend, with a floral note to finish. Another fabulous brew that is something a little bit special.
The final tea is a Blood Orange tisane, with lots of pieces of dried, sweet fruit. It contains apple, hibiscus, rosehip, orange, lemon and natural flavourings. I’m a really big fan of tisanes as a pre-bedtime beverage, and the fruity flavours – and gorgeous colour – is such a wonderful combination.
As Hull is the City of Culture this year, The Tea Shop is also stocking some exclusively-designed, Hull-themed Moorland pottery mugs, alongside a selection of other Hull-themed goodies. Make sure you pop in when you’re on your travels. They have a Facebook page , website and an instagram account as @theteashophull . Why not check out Trinity Market’s insta, too? Find them at: @TrinityMarketHull .
I’m heading back to Hull for my MRes graduation (eek!) next week…I think I need to pay The Tea Shop a little visit!
Thanks so much to The Tea Shop X Trinity Market for providing some truly delicious blends. I’ll be back!
I feel like I’ve been having a mid-life crisis.
I thought I’d had my life and career all mapped out: I’m graduating with my MRes (with distinction!) in July; going on to do my English PGCE in September, then I’ll teach. Sorted, right?
I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve well-and-truly changed my mind, at least for now. I’m not really sure if this was a gradual process, or a sudden ‘light-bulb’ moment, but I just know teaching is not the right thing for me at this time. Doesn’t mean it’ll never be. It’s just, right now, not what I want to be doing.
I’d be lying if I said my disabilities didn’t have an impact on this decision, because they absolutely, almost certainly did. I’ve had the unique experience of actually being able to teach before embarking upon teacher training; I have my own classes, mark registers, prepare resources and do all of the other usual ‘teachery’ things that teachers do (except marking…thank goodness). And this unique insight has perhaps shown me that though I may think I’m invincible, and though I do not like to admit that my cerebral palsy can cause issues, it’s a struggle. And, being truly honest with myself, I just think I’m not cut out for the teacher training, with all the rigmarole of planning and marking and studying simultaneously.
There. I said it. I’m not cut out for it at the moment.
I know I’m a good teacher. I’ve had several observations from line managers that have been great. And I love teaching. It’s hugely rewarding seeing that ‘light bulb’ flick on; it’s intensely gratifying watching a student mould, change and develop into themselves. It’s a pleasure to watch their confidence increase; to share their successes, and to pick them up when they need a boost. But it’s also hard. Teaching is – in my experience – either really good, or really, really bad. There’s nothing more frustrating that children refusing to listen, or making fun of your lesson that you’ve spent hours planning. There’s been no in between. And at this stage of my life – where I’m eager to establish myself, and settle down – I just need to focus on what it is I really want to do right now.
I feel strangely liberated by this. I thought I’d be bricking it: I am a person who thrives on routine, after all. But it’s finally time for me to really think about what I want to do, and to go out there and do it. And, most importantly, I need to make sure I look after myself.
Sometimes it’s okay to not know what you’re doing right now. Sometimes it’s okay to have a realisation, and to act upon it. I am taking this time for me, and for my body, and for my mental health. I know there will be bumps along the way, but I am excited to see what happens.
Well hello, you. I know, I know. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?! I’d say I have a perfectly reasonable excuse, but all I can really say is that old little thing called ‘life’ got in the way.
I know. Lame excuse.
Anyhow, just thought I’d let you know about my most recent visit to the hospital. This is following on from my MSK clinic post, which addressed plans for pain management. I was pretty disappointed; my beloved acupuncture isn’t on offer where I am now, and so we decided on a physio/mental health plan.
The appointment finally came around. Though my physio was super lovely, I just felt…well…really underwhelmed. To address the pain the approach seems to encompass a plan for exercise and keeping a record of how this affects pain and/or fatigue, but I am already really mobile considering. I walk a hell of a lot (that’s what not driving does for you), go swimming and gymming when possible, and at least once a week, and keep active even on my ‘rest days’ as my boyfriend would tell you. I literally do not stop. I am always on the go. And whilst I know some people with pain and musculoskeletal conditions can’t be as active as I am, it just seemed to be an assumption that I don’t do anything, and so need to increase my activity levels. I was given a few exercises to try and have given things a go, but all in all I just don’t feel like it’s been very helpful. I still have pain even after trying these things, I still could sleep for days, and I’m still fed up of being told thay exercise is the cure-all even though I do exercise, and lo and behold, I still have cerebral palsy and severe kyphosis.
I am really grateful I got an appointment, and know I am privileged to do so. But I just can’t help thinking this approach is missing the point entirely. Maybe I’m still bitter about not having the acupuncture, but I just don’t feel this is pain management. Right now I miss Hull more than ever.
So, that’s my little ranty update for you. I have a follow up appointment and will mention my concerns. As always, I’ll keep you updated. It’s been quiet on here I know, but thanks for sticking with me whilst I find my feet. I should be back to posting weekly very, very soon
Right, better get back to doing the washing…
It has been seriously dull and rainy recently. I’m currently looking outside and everything just looks so grey. Raindrops are trickling down the windows,the trees are dancing about in the wind, and I’m still too cold to leave the heating off.
It was pretty much the same yesterday, so I decided to inject a bit of colour and deliciousness into my day with Primula Light. If you’ve read any of my other recipe posts, you’ll know I’m a sucker for Primula. I mean it’s just so easy to add a creamy, cheesy kick to meals and snacks without having to spend ages grating blocks of cheese. And believe me, my grating skills are almost non-existent (thanks, hemi!). So to kick start this drizzly year, I was asked if I fancied trying to incorporate Primula Light into my meals, and yesterday was the perfect day to showcase one of my favourite, easy lunches.
Bright, colourful, and delicious enough to blow the cobwebs away: my Mexican-style bean salsa stuffed sweet potatoes. Yes, it’s a mouthful; but one you’ll be oh-so happy about.
You will need:
A tube of Primula Light cheese
Four large baking potatoes or sweet potatoes (I used a fancy purple one to make my meal even brighter)
A tin of your favourite beans (I used black beans, but kidney beans or cannellini beans would also be yummy)
A tin of sweetcorn
A punnet of small tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used baby plum here)
One red onion, chopped
One lime, squeezed
One mild chilli, chopped
Handful of shredded mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to sprinkle
1. Cook the potatoes. I cheated slightly here: I pricked each with a fork, and cooked them on high in a microwave for ten mins to give them a head start. I then popped them into a preheated over at 190 degrees until their skins were crisp and their insides fluffy. Be sure to lightly oil some foil before placing them on top: sweet potatoes in particular have a habit of caramelising and completely sticking to baking trays!
2. Whilst my potatoes were cooking, I mixed together the drained beans, drained sweetcorn, chopped tomato and onions and shredded mint. I then squeezed over the juice of one lime, added the chilli and stirred. Then just season to taste and set aside.
3. Next, you’ll want to prepare your potatoes. When cool enough to touch, cut you potatoes in half and fluff up the insides with a fork in order to leave enough space for the salsa filling.
4. Stuff as much filling into each potato as possible (you’ll want to: it’s yummy!). When stuffed, place back into the oven until the filling is cooked through.
5. Finally, drizzle some Primula Light cheese over each stuffed potato, and sprinkle that with paprika. Serve as it is for a lunch, or with a lightly dressed salad for something more substantial.
Just perfect: gooey, oozing with flavour, and deliciously bright. What’s not to love?
That’s it! It’s really that easy to create something delicious, satisfying and nutritious for a weekday lunch or dinner. I’m going to make several of these to take into work for lunch, as I know they’ll keep me fuelled for the day. What do you think? Do you fancy giving this easy recipe a go?
Hope your week is off to a flying start; look after yourself, whatever you’re doing.
…snuggling up in front of the fire, guinea pigs splashing around in a bubble bath, hot steamy showers, the wave of pain relief washing over me, making plans and chasing dreams, wrapping up in a toasty blanket, rain running down the window pane, sleepy smiles, cloudy winter mornings