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ravenousveggie

Thoughts on veggie food, work, play and life in general

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Weighty Issue

When people find out that I am vegetarian 95% of the time they remark” really? You don’t look like one”. Apart from asking “what does a vegetarian look like?” I never really know how to react to this.

Society today is obsessed with the  ‘perfect body’. We know that magazines  are full of photoshopped images and that most people now have a distorted idea of what a healthy body should look like – at any age.  Even though I am aware of all of this it does make me slightly uneasy with my own figure.

I mostly eat healthily  – veg, salad, pulses, nuts, fruit – however I have a very real love affair with sugar.  I don’t do artificial sweeteners and haven’t found a stevia product I like the after taste of.  



Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

This sugar issue means that I am slightly more ‘cuddly’ in the middle than society would like.  I am still a healthy weight though.

Various changes in myth life  over the last few years have meant that  I am not getting to the gym as much (or ever) as I used to.  I pretty much work 6 days a week. This means that on my free days catching up on housework and relaxing tend to get top priority.  Getting out to exercise has dropped off the priority list.

I am very aware that this is within my control (to a great extent).  I have chosen to re-prioritise exercise in my life. It is something I am reviewing.

My busy life means that I tend to have less time to prepare food than I used to.  The ‘on the go’ food options for veggies predominantly focus on cheese and bread options, or over chilled sandwiches of egg or tomato that leave them tasteless.  Or chips. Love chips!

Although the range of veggie food is slowly changing, for me interesting, tasty, easy to eat veggie food on the go still mostly doesn’t exist.

With a bit of extra effort I can remedy this situation, and I am making changes.  However wouldn’t it be nice to have a larger, more widely available choice of healthy , vegetarian fast food?  All those shelves of chicken salad – could we not have the option of buying a salad and then a ‘protein’ to go with it?  A flexible meal deal to appeal to everyone? Or am I the only one who is bored with the current offerings?

For now I am putting extra effort into making my own lunches and tking healthy snacks with me. It still doesn’t stop the lure of a good doughnut, but it is a start.

Monthly Loves – November

November seems to have gone by in a flash.  I was lucky enough to have a few days off work, which resulted in some great restaurant finds!  

  • Winchester -lovely place for a short break.  Beautiful architecture, great museum and lovely shops.  Mkre sure you go when the market is on – a lovely mix of stalls.
  • River Cottage Kitchen – I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Much More Veg cookbook so took the opportunity to eat at his Winchester restaurant.  The food was amazing, although most of the veggie/vegan food options are side dishes. But don’t be disheartened. The portion sizes are good and the variety of choice leaves you wondering what to order, and hoping your meat eating  companions will order some of the sides so you can try them.
  • Incognito Cocktail Bar – An interesting and quirky cocktail bar, serving a lot of different drinks, with modern twists on your old favourites.
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  • Kinder Tech – This is a small, local opportunity to have your tech issues answered and fixed for free.  Run by volunteers from the people behind The Kinder Living Show, this twice yearly event gives you the chance to find out what is wrong with your tech, possibly get it fixed and find out if it is worth fixing.  They will also take your old tech and make sure it is recycled.
  • I was lucky enough to attend the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.  A beautiful, emotional and humbling evening.
  • Green People shampoo – the only shampoo I have used that means I don’t need conditioner.  My hairdresser is amazed by it and is looking to get it stocked in the salon.

Self- Preservation

As someone who tries to walk to work as often as is practicable, my sense of self-preservation is quite well honed.  If I get the timing wrong then I have to protect my ankles from the fleet of scooters from children on the way to school, or their parents juggling scooters on the walk home.  

If I see a car coming towards me as I am crossing the road I tend to walk a bit quicker to make sure I make it to the other side safely.  Or decide not to cross the road at all.

However I am beginning to think that I have a rare skill as more and more these days I come across people putting themselves in danger.

I live in a quite a built up area – houses built before everyone had cars – so a lot of people parking their cars on the road.  This can cause minor amounts of congestion as cars try to pass. This is mostly avoidable if people had a bit more patience and used the road to its fullest extent.  

I also live between three schools.  During the school run I take my life in my hands as I try to leave my house.  As a pedestrian, or a driver, crossing the road outside my house can be tricky.  Although it is parked up, there are trees obscuring the view, and it is on a bus route, drivers insist on speeding.  Not driving at, or below the speed, limit in case of children crossing the road or people pulling out of drives. That would be sensible.  Some cars drive so fast that even when you have a clear view they appear as if from nowhere just as you are pulling out across the road. Some drivers, determined to get to their destination, drive so close to the parked cars that my neighbours and I frequently loose wing mirrors.  I expect if any of these drivers did have an accident they will spout on about how safely they drive. They rarely stop to to admit to the damage they have caused in their rush.

self-preservation

 

There are some points where the road bends, so you have little choice but to drive on the wrong side of the road to pass the parked cards.  It never ceases to amaze me that oncoming drivers seem unable to slow down for the obstacle in the way – even if it is the number 98 bus. Its as though they feel that you are on their side of the road and so you should get out of the way, and they should not have to do anything about it.  Drivers also seem to have a tendency to speed up when they see something in their way. Its as though they see the space in front of them as theirs and theirs alone.

Supermarket car parks are a good example of where self-preservation gives way to this feeling of owning the space around us.  If you watch car drivers in car parks you will see that they have very little patience for pedestrians. Almost as it is a surprise that people are walking across car parks. How dare they! Why can’t they walk somewhere else?  

The car drivers, park,  get out of the car and turn into pedestrians.  Taking the shortest route to the store, avoiding squeezing between parked cars to get the designated footpaths.  Loosing awareness of the cars moving around them. Crossing oncoming traffic and wondering why the driver inside has not seen them. And thinking these drivers are rude and inconsiderate.  Five minutes before they were the drivers wondering why the pedestrians are not taking more care of themselves.

Why does getting behind the wheel of a car take away our ability to be responsible for our actions?  Why do we feel the need to claim the road, to speed up when something is in the way? We don’t own the road.  The Highway Code does give driver the right of way in certain circumstances, however when does common sense kick in?  All drivers have been in the situation where being across the middle of the road has occurred when they as far as they can see the road ahead is clear.   Driving at speed towards an object or person in front of you sounds like madness. But so many drivers do it. Why do we punish each other by insisting on being aggressive when all we need to do is slow down and take control of the situation?  This has to be better from a car insurance perspective?

Why do we stop thinking about traffic when we are pedestrians?  It is easy to drive fast but a lot more concentration is needed to drive within the limits of the highway and the other road users around us.

When will our need for self-preservation kick in?

Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

As you may have seen from my Twitter feed I have recently enjoyed a few days break in Belfast.  Belfast? Yes Belfast. Not a place you often hear of on the top city break destinations. I too was a bit dubious when my other half suggested it.  

I was pleasantly surprised.

Belfast has so much going for it – architecture, shopping, history, great  vegan and vegetarian food (at almost every restaurant!), The Titanic Quarter and interesting walks taking you through the troubles from both view points.  And the people. They are lovely and friendly and really do give you a warm welcome.

Our hotel was brilliantly placed – close to transport links, the heart of the city and in easy reach of the sights.  We had pushed the boat out for this trip and booked a five star hotel. On entering it was plush, inviting and very organised.  Suitcases disappeared, maps handed out to help with our planned excursions, we were made to feel welcome and comfortable. It felt like luxury.  But to an extent that is where it stopped.

Attention to Detail

At breakfast each morning we were left searching for spoons to eat cereal with, or  jam for toast. The restaurant was designed with booths and larger tables.  The booths were lovely – giving you some privacy, however also putting you out of sight, making it easy for staff to forget you had asked for something, or were ready to order.

The designer rooms were great and very comfortable (decorated in the current fashion for dark colours) but some items left us wondering.  The light system was so confusing we usually had a short disco sequence trying to switch them on or off. A tea tray in a cupboard which was too heavy to pull out and manoeuvre from the small space it is stored in  And the only place to put it down is on the other side of the room. The bathroom was beautiful and spacious but in some cases impractical – only one flannel for two people, toilet roll holder in one of those positions that make you feel you should take up those yoga classes. A candle holder with matches in it, but no candle to light, until our last day. At the evening room turndown it was pot luck whether or not chocolates turned up.  OK some of these are first world problems and not the end of the world. But they are below expectations. And all of it down to a lack of attention to detail.

But the bit that really made me angry was the waste.  The compulsory leaflet saying please help us save the world by not wanting your towels washed every day was superseded by changing the small soap bar everyday.  A small bar, in a plastic wrapper, inside a cardboard box was replaced everyday even though we never got close to using it up. It would have quite easily lasted for the whole of our trip. And we would not have minded.  In addition we would come back most days to find the air conditioning on full, the windows open and all the lights on.

Honestly do they think that washing towels less is going to make the difference? 

On looking at the hotel website there is no published environmental policy, so I haven’t been able to check reality against their goals in this area.

I know the hotel star rating system is mainly judged on the amenities at the venue and the mix of rooms, however I think we all expect service to go with it.  A little more thought, joined up thinking and attention to detail at all levels could have really made our stay special.

Instead it was good.

But not special.

And I think special is what you aim for when you pay over the odds for any product or service.

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