Thursday, 20 April 2017

"Be the change you want to see in the world." ~ Gandhi

Lins over at Boo & Maddie recently wrote this post about going vegan and as so many of her beautifully written words resonated with me, I felt compelled to write a post of my own...
I've been a pescetarian for 21 years, however lately I don't feel as if this is enough, both for my own health and to support our environment. Recently I've cut down my milk and cheese consumption and have upped the number of vegetarian meals Hubs and I eat - we used to eat more meals which contained meat-free alternatives; but I'm not sure how far to go.

I feel as if I’m barely dipping my toe in vegan waters.

You see, there are two things keeping me ashore, preventing me from leaping head first into crystal clear vegan waters - ok, I'll quit with the metaphor now!

Firstly, I love chocolate. No really, I L-O-V-E chocolate; I need a taste every day in order to function. It doesn't need to be a lot: a snack-size bar, a couple of choccy biscuits, Nutella on toast; whatever it may be, I need a taste, even in the run up to my wedding when I was dieting, I factored in the calories (or Weight Watchers Points as that was the diet I was on at the time) for a chocolatey treat each day. How do I overcome this? I've tried replacing my milk chocolate fix with dark and, honestly, it's just not the same.

And secondly, I fear how my husband and family would react to the news I'd given up dairy and fish. Now don't get me wrong, my family and my husband have always been supportive of my choices, but that's just it, they're MY choices and I don't know how to navigate dinners out with my family or Sunday roasts at my parents' house as a vegan.

I think the solution, for now at least, is to keep cutting down on my animal products one step at a time, with the hope that one day I'll feel confident enough to take that final step; either that or I'll reach a point where I feel comfortable and confident in the choices I make, both for my long-term health and my impact on the world in which we live.

If you have any advice for me, please leave me a comment :)

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Easter weekend

I'm sooo in love with four-day weekends.
My work life hasn't been the best of late, so spending nearly 100 hours in my home or with the ones I love most in the world was just what my soul needed; well, it could have done with four more days but that'll have to wait until the end of May, when Hubs and I have a much-needed holiday booked :) 

With twice as much time available to us than a usual weekend, many things were accomplished, watched and eaten this weekend, as you would expect, but our highlights included...

Freshly painted nails
Friday night while watching Gardeners' World, I painted a couple of coats of Essie's Merino Cool onto my nails. I've not painted my nails as religiously as I used to; I just don't seem to find the time these days, so it was nice to make time and to have nice nails all weekend. I love this colour; it's perfect for spring and autumn, thanks to its mix of purple, grey and brown tones.

A spot of gardening
Despite painting my nails, I pulled on my gardening gloves and got on with some jobs on Saturday, including repotting my sunflower seedlings and sieving soil from The Mound to put into our raised bed - we figured it'd save us money as we wouldn't need to buy as much top soil :) Tom also moved some slabs from the driveway to the back garden.

Family time
After going out for a meal on Saturday night with Tom's youngest sister, their dad and his wife, we had my parents and Tom's sister, mum and step-dad round for a roast dinner on Sunday and it was lovely. Spending time with my family (both chosen and biological) feeds my soul; I know there are people who will always support and love me and I think that's what I needed most this weekend. It means so much to me that my parents get along with Tom's family and that days like Sunday can become a more regular occurrence once my parents have moved closer to us, which they hope to do next spring.

On Sunday, we went for a walk with most of the family (to walk off our roast dinner) around the fields near where we live and saw loads of calves and cows, a few chickens, heard the occasional pheasant and just enjoyed the spring scenery.

Yesterday, we managed to get out in the late afternoon for a walk and decided to head to Moira Furnace and Country Park for a stroll around the woods and along the canal. It's somewhere I've never been before but Hubs has been loads to canoe on the canal with the Scouts; I'd defo go back again, but I can imagine how busy it must get on nice weather days. 

While I haven't eaten any Easter eggs over the past four days, I have eaten far too many of these cute little nest cakes, not to mention having pudding on Saturday and Sunday - eekk!

13 Reasons Why
You all know how much I love a good TV show, so it'll come as no surprise to know that I binged these 13 episodes this weekend. I thought the show contained some fantastic performances (mainly from the main protagonist, Clay, and Mrs Baker), but agree with the critics who say the story is a little simplistic and doesn't really address the issue of mental health; instead it focuses on blaming other people and getting revenge on said people for a choice Hannah Baker made. Saying that, I would recommend it, so if you're after a new show, give it a try.

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, 10 April 2017

the seasonal garden: spring

After months of cold, wet and downright misery, the milder, sunnier months of spring are finally upon us. Not only are humans coming out of their winter hibernation, our gardens are also springing to life...
When Hubby and I moved into our new build in September 2015, we had little more than a pile of mud and a few slabs, so we worked hard during 2016 to ensure we laid the foundations for a usable garden, somewhere we could eat breakfast on summer's mornings, or potter about on warm spring and autumn days, and eventually somewhere our kids could play. 

While our garden may not currently be the dream garden, or even the 'finished' garden I imagined, I'm determined to add some life to it this year - I want more than a few pots. Late last summer we built a raised bed, which has stood empty and unused. This spring (hopefully end of this month/beginning of next) I want to get it filled with compost and top soil so I can start planting and experimenting with the kinds of plants and flowers I want to grow; I have such vivid dreams for this small outdoor space.
If you've got grand plans for your garden but aren't too sure what needs doing when, here are my must-do jobs for the season of spring...

1. Pick off any developing seed heads on daffodils and other spring bulbs so they don't waste energy setting seed, but leave the foliage to die back naturally.

2. Sow in pots indoors: tomatoes, chillies, sweet peppers and sunflowers. Sow sweet peas in deep pots and keep them frost free in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. Once they develop, prick out seedlings as soon as they produce their first true leaves.

3. Mow your lawn and re-cut the edges with a half-moon edging tool; repair damaged patches.

4. Plant dahlias tubers in pots indoors and plant out after all risk of frost has passed, usually mid-May. Water thirsty crops (tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes) regularly as the weather warms up.

5. Apply wood treatment to wooden garden furniture to condition it for summer. Build (or buy) a new compost bin to recycle the coming season's garden waste.

6. Keep bird feeders stocked and make boxes for solitary bees; hang in a sunny part of the garden.

7. Indoors, start feeding house-plants once a week with liquid fertiliser continuing through to autumn.

Home Etc

Happy Monday :)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

jobs around the house: april

I can't believe we're well into April already, a time of new growth in the garden, warmer days
and lighter evenings, and egg-cellent decor (see what I did there?)
It's once again time to share with you the five essential jobs that I feel are vital to do in April in order to keep your home looking its best and ensure you stay on top of your cleaning schedule...

1. Clean your windows
All the terrible weather of winter leaves your windows far from sparkly, and now that the sun is once again filling your home, streaming through said windows, every speck of dirt and every smear shows us, so it's time to clean them on the outside (after cleaning the inside last month). You'll need a bucket of warm, soapy water, a sponge and a squeegee; don't forget to run a damp cloth around the window frames to keep them looking great too.

2. Clean the wheelie bins
They store your rubbish until collection day week in and week out but when was the last time you gave such an essential piece of equipment a good scrub? April is the perfect time to get the hose and some disinfectant on your bins, leaving them to dry in the sun.

3. Clear gutters of winter debris
Winter doesn't half cause problems for homeowners, so if you've not yet done so, April is the perfect time to clear your guttering and downpipes of any debris (such as leaves, twigs, moss and anything else that has got caught in your guttering), to avoid blockages causing problems further down the line.

4. Touch up interior paintwork
Muddy wellies, rain-soaked pets and the general mess that accompanies winter can take their toll on your home, and with an extended Bank Holiday weekend this month, there's no better time than this month to touch up your interior paintwork; this is sure to make any room look clean and fresh with very minimal effort!

5. Deep clean your fridge freezer
While I hope you clean your refrigerator once a month (at least), the arrival of the warmer weather presents the perfect time to give your fridge and freezer a deep clean; throw out expired items and scrub everything. Don't buy any new food items and spend some time eating the things that are in date and have built up, so you can defrost your freezer to ensure it is working at its optimum.

Home Etc

Life With Munchers

Happy Wednesday :)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

life lately

The months of 2017 are flying by.
As it's April today (how?!), it's time to take a look back at the past month...

In the month when the clocks sprung forward, I continued to fill my home with fresh flowers and began getting the garden ready for summer.

I have also absolutely been loving the numerous blue skies and warmer temperatures we've enjoyed this month, although I have yet to dig out my flip flops - I wonder how much longer it'll be before I do wear them?!

What I think I love most about March is the fact that the mornings are light, the days are warm but the nights are still dark by 7pm so you can cosy up with candles and throws in front of the TV without feeling like you should be enjoying the outdoors...

I made some excellent purchases during March, including...

Finally, I know this shouldn't make me happy but I reached 100 likes on a photo on Instagram for the first time this month!

Happy Saturday,