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Monthly Loves – July

July brought us incredibly warm weather, which I always enjoy – even the very hot weather made me feel slightly more alive than usual!  The month left me on a negative note as my Aunt passed away (hence no post last week). She was a lovely lady who led an interesting life.

Journaling – I attended a bullet journaling course at The Britih Library.  I quickly fell for this way of organising your life and being creative at the same time.  I will spending August looking for new pencils, pens and stickers!


Friends – It’s been a difficult month but I have been so well supported by my partner and friends.  They all know exactly the right type and amount of support I need, and were there when I needed some support

Line of Duty – I know I’m late to the party but I really enjoyed the latest series of Line of Duty!

Measure for Measure – Another excellent RSC Live performance and a chance for me to expand my knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays.

Baked Avocado – First time I have ever eaten avocado baked and it was delicious

Long Service Award

I recently had the humbling experience of being given a long service award. This was in relation to me completing ten years in a voluntary role as a Community First Responder.

Community First Responders are volunteers with the Ambulance service who attend 999 medical emergencies in their local communities.  The idea is that we can often get to patients, and start giving medical attention, before the Ambulance service arrives.

On one hand I was really grateful to be recognised for my service.  On the other hand I had difficulty receiving my award from the Chief Executive, who had only been in post for a little over a year and was about to leave for a new job.

As I looked round the room I came to the realisation that all the people at the top of the organisation were relatively new in post.  The majority of people receiving long service awards were all frontline staff. Some of these staff I too had had the privilege of working with over the years.  Some I could remember from my first year responding.

When I first started volunteering the Ambulance trust had a relatively stable management structure.  I got to know those in senior roles – meeting them at training sessions and out on jobs. As a volunteer I felt included and that I was really making a difference.

Over the last seven years I have lost count of the number of manager we have had.  The average length in post for them is 6 months. Very few of them have had experience of dealing with volunteers.  It feels that some see it as tick box exercise to add value to their CV. For some it is an internal HR issue as they are seconded into the role and them moved on elsewhere  – even when they want to stay in post.

This lack of stability has led to a real disconnect between the volunteers and the organisation.  We know changes need to be made on the way our role is delivered and to our knowledge base and training.  However the way this is being rolled out feels as though it is assuming we have nothing else to do and have all the time in the world to attend training sessions.  The understanding of how volunteers work is severely lacking.

So receiving a long service award, from someone who had been with  the organisation for such a short time, and was about to leave, just felt really strange, as well as really good. 

But then this is a reflection of the world we work in now where long careers with the same organsiation is becoming a thing of the past.  Long Service Awards may also become obsolete one day, so I am thankful to get one.


Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

I recently had the humbling experience of being given a long service award.  This was in relation to me completing ten years in a voluntary role as a Community First Responder.

Community First Responders are volunteers with the Ambulance service who attend 999 medical emergencies in their local communities.  The idea is that we can often get to patients, and start giving medical attention, before the Ambulance service arrives.

On one hand I was really grateful to be recognised for my service.  On the other hand I had difficulty receiving my award from the Chief Executive, who had only been in post for a little over a year and was about to leave for a new job.

As I looked round the room I came to the realisation that all the people at the top of the organisation were relatively new in post.  The majority of people receiving long service awards were all frontline staff. Some of these staff I too had had the privilege of working with over the years.  Some I could remember from my first year responding.

When I first started volunteering the Ambulance trust had a relatively stable management structure.  I got to know those in senior roles – meeting them at training sessions and out on jobs. As a volunteer I felt included and that I was really making a difference.

Over the last seven years I have lost count of the number of manager we have had.  The average length in post for them is 6 months. Very few of them have had experience of dealing with volunteers.  It feels that some see it as tick box exercise to add value to their CV. For some it is an internal HR issue as they are seconded into the role and them moved on elsewhere  – even when they want to stay in post.

This lack of stability has led to a real disconnect between the volunteers and the organisation.  We know changes need to be made on the way our role is delivered and to our knowledge base and training.  However the way this is being rolled out feels as though it is assuming we have nothing else to do and have all the time in the world to attend training sessions.  The understanding of how volunteers work is severely lacking.

So receiving a long service award, from someone who had been in the service for such a short time, and was about to leave, just felt really strange, as well as really good.

Monthly Loves – March

March – a month of windy weather and the continuing hope of warmer days to come.

  • Gardening – the warmer weather has meant I have been able to get out into the garden and tidy up.  I also managed to plant seeds for tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and spring onions. This is way better than last year when I didn’t get anything done until the end of April, and had a rubbish return. So here’s hoping for a bumper crop this year!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
  • International Women’s Day – I had a great day celebrating with women’s achievements, and reflecting on where work still needs to be done.  This was with fellow small business owners and also as part of the SheSays Brighton Festival.
  • HeartStart Course.  If you have ever wanted to learn some life saving skills, but have been put off by the cost of a first aid course, then sign up for a Heartstart Course.  Run by volunteers as part of a British Heart Foundation initiative, this two hour course taught me so much. I now feel confident to deal with a heart attack, a cardiac arrest, choking and bleeding. Check for your local course here
  • The Kinder Living Show – A small weekend show highlighting local businesses that have environmentally friendly products for your home and lifestyle.  It was great to see so many different products and to talk to the owners and learn more about living a greener life. There was also an are where you could have clothes mended, and electrical items repaired.  I hope they run another one next year!
  • Coconut Rice Pudding –  A lovely vegan pudding full of flavour and comfort!

Monthly Loves – September

I don’t know about you but for me September was very busy on all fronts.  I am glad to say that I did manage to get out and enjoy the continuing good weather and have so far managed to escaped the cold that appears to be going round.  In September I loved the following:

 

  • AdjustusV Bags – some great designs all made in India.  Although some of the bags have leather on them this is being phased out as the collection grows, so well worth a look .   https://adjustusv.com/

Monthly Loves - September - AdjustusV Bags

  • The Refill App – 27th September was National Refill Day  -a day encouraging us to ditch single use plastic and find local stores/businesses that will refill your water bottles for free.  Refill has an app where you can find your nearest refill station. To find out more and download the app go to https://refill.org.uk/

 

  • My gourmet Veggie Burger from The Roffey Griddle.  Every Thursday evening this small cafe opens its door to sell a range of gourmet burgers, including a decent veggie burger.  I am reliably informed that the meat burgers (sourced from a local butcher) are also very good. Well worth a try if you find yourself in Horsham.. Takeaways are also available  https://www.facebook.com/Roffeygriddle/

 

Monthly Loves - September - Gourmet Burger Evening

 

  • Home made veggie chilli – quick and easy to make and great for when the evening s are starting to get a bit nippy.

 

 

  • The Cafe, Bramley – found this little gem whilst  returning from a client meeting that over ran. The freshly made avocado and tomato baguette was an absolute lifesaver http://www.bramleycafe.com/  It also has a lovely garden for the warmer days.

IMG_0520
Hmm so September looks like it was a good food month.  Lets see what we can find in October!

Monthly Loves – August

August seems to have gone in a whirlwind.  My plans to have a bit more time to enjoy the lovely weather didn’t seem to come to pass, however it didn’t stop me having some great experiences, trying some new products and revisiting some old favourite. Here are some of the things that topped my favourites list in August…..

 

  • Belfast – great place to visit for a city break

 

 

  • The Ginger Bistro, Belfast – lovely food, friendly staff and especially loved the separate vegetarain/vegan menu

 

  • Love Corn snacks – great snacks on the go

 

  • One Stop Corn Chips – made simply from corn, oil and salt – lovely!   None of the extra ingredients of Doritos (MSG, cheese powder etc) and half the price  

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Corn

  • Grilled sweetcorn with salt and lemon or lime  (I love this so much I tend to have it all year round – not just for BBQs)

 

 

 

 

  • Grilled Portabello mushrooms with horseradish sauce (another BBQ favourite)

 

  • Green Woman Fit Pit Deodorant – at last a vegan deodorant that works for me!  They do a men’s version and travel sizes.  It comes in recyclable glass jars so another step towards ditching our reliance on plastic

Fit Pit Vegan deodorant

 

Making the Most of My Time?

Over the last 18 months I have felt that I need to make more of my time.  This need is a little confusing as part of it is the wish to relax and have more me time, and the other part is to get more organised and fit in some learning.

 

Since becoming self employed a few years ago I haven’t missed the early morning commute to get to the office, or the slog home with hundreds of other equally tired drivers.  I have enjoyed some slightly more leisurely mornings, fitting in housework whilst working from home, then

the ability to walk to work most days. However I don’t feel as motivated as I used to and I don’t feel that I am getting much done.

Planning Time Concept

I was at a networking event and started chatting to a personal trainer who suggested I read Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning.  She has read it and adapted his idea to suit her own lifestyle,and is now feeling more energised and in control of everything.  I am a bit sceptical of self help books but thought I would give it a go. As feared the book was quite evangelical and salesy in that way that Americans can achieve – a bit like having an over excited puppy to make sense of,  however the underlying message seemed good, and from further online research, it turns out most of my Llinked In contacts are trying it/swear by it.

 

The main thrust of the book is that you need to get up earlier.  Something which kind of grated against my new found freedom of a leisurely morning.  However I knew that something had to change.  So I tried Hal;s advice.  It quickly became apparent that I don’t really enjoy exercise that early in the morning, and I can’t concentrate enough to learn anything/  I didn’t get any overriding feeling of wanting to get up any earlier so i could do more either.  Even the lovely warm weather we had in June/July couldnt get me out of bed and feeling motivated.  The meditation and affirmations sections didn;t really appeal either.

 

So after  a few weeks I remembered that you need to make your morning routine fit for you.  I still wanted to make more of the mornings and need to find out a way to do this.  I am a weird soul who craves routine and variety so whatever I end up doing it will need to fit this.

 

I spoke to a friend who said that she had read the book and was now getting up at 5.30 each morning and was was going fir a run and then coming back and starting work.  This way she was completing a lot of work before the family was up, leaving her with more time when it came to the afternoon school run.

 

So this week I have come up with a compromise.  I am getting up at 6,15, getting a drink and then going back to bed, where I am catching up on social media and doing more networking  on Linked In In until 7am.  At this point I am going off to do a task for half hour or so..  Today it was filing and tidying my office. When I finished at 7.30 I felt good.  I had achieved a lot, my office was tidy, and I felt awake and in a positive mood.  I also achieved a lot more during the day than I thought I would, and this energy continued into the evening.

 

So perhaps I need to be doing mundane tasks in the morning – filing, laundry, sorting, decluttering.  We will have to see.  This is after all day one, and there are seven days to fill.

 

Happy Cheesemas

Its that time of year when the Christmas party is being organised.  Desks fill with seemingly endless piles of menus.

My meat eating colleagues coo over the different options available to them – the traditional turkey course appearing to take second place to duck, beef or fish options.  I on the other hand sit there looking at endless cheese based courses, desperately wondering what happened to all the other glorious options out there.

My hear briefly rose at the vista of a nut roast, but quickly sank when it is finished with a stilton sauce.  Not so bad?  Well maybe if the two starter options weren’t mushrooms stuffed with goats cheese, or parsnip and stilton soup. Oh yes the choice of the same cheese for both courses, how imaginative.  So imaginative that it is repeated in countless menus throughout the land.

I don’t understand how the people who put these menus together can even start to pretend to know anything about food.  Are they scared to cook with different ingredients or spices?  Do they know other ingredients exist?

I would love to see something like a spinach and mushroom roulade, a chickpea wellington, cashew nut and red pepper roast or spicy butternut squash with chickpeas.  All these go well (in my opinion) with the traditional Christmas veg.

Alas the world of variety of food for vegetarians at Christmas is one that passes the vast majority of caterers by.  And leaves me planning what to eat before I go, and how to survive the evening.

So You’re Vegetarian? Part 1

‘So you’re vegetarian? I’d never have guessed’ is the line I hear 99% of the time when I  confess to being the only vegetarian in room/party/course etc.

It always makes me worry that I don’t look like a vegetarian. But then I don’t know what a vegetarian looks like. In my social circle I know very few other true vegetarians. And those I do know I tend to refer to by their name, or what they do, or what they are like. Not what diet they follow. These lovely people are all active people leading normal lives, and dressing, well, normally.

Is there something I am not aware of that I should be wearing to make it obvious that I am vegetarian? Can someone point me (and my friends) to the vegetarian dress code? Does it need to be obvious that I am vegetarian?

Some people say I look too well to be a vegetarian (especially the French!). I know an awful lot of unwell/unwell looking meat eaters but I don’t mention it. Whatever diet you follow, if you don’t follow it well you too could look unwell.

For me being vegetarian is a lifestyle choice I made over 30 years ago. I love fast food, I don’t exercise enough and I don’t drink enough water, but I am happy with who I am and how I look.

I now find it hard not to smile when people say I look too well or don’t look like a vegetarian. I am considering starting to reply that I am part of an elite network of people whose sole objective is to keep carnivores from the evils of vegetarian food. It’s a sacrifice, but I’m up for it.

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