Who’s The Daddy?

“My Fiancés sperm has fertilised one of my eggs so please throw me a booze-free party with loads of weird games and buy me truckloads of expensive baby shit”

Image result for gross baby shower cake

I am the Antichrist of anything remotely maternal, I can’t even watch the adverts for ‘One Born Every Minute’ without having nightmares and I introduce myself to toddlers with a handshake and a “nice to meet you”.  Seriously, why on earth would anybody chose me to arrange their Baby Shower?

I know I should feel honoured, it really is magical and I really am so over the moon for her. I just really don’t understand why you have to go to the trouble of throwing a party for somebody to say Congratulations on having all the Sex and for the tiny little human growing inside of you. I have lots of sex, I just don’t want to ruin the world by pro-creating just yet, so does that mean I deserve a party too?

Luckily my co-host is equally anti-mushy-baby-behaviour so we’re looking to make it a fun for everyone. Of course we’ll whip out the Baby Shower classics like “Dirty Diapers”, I mean everybody’s idea of a good time is sniffing melted chocolate bars in nappies and guessing what it is.

But to add a twist to the day, there will be alcohol served, and lots of it, and we shall drink on behalf of all those who cannot. We’ll spin everyone around with blindfolds on with no care for health and saftey, and play a little game of Pin the Umbilical Cord on the Foetus. To mix it up a little more we can play  “Who’s the Daddy?” and line up photographs of various ex-boyfriends, colleagues, male friends and the milkman for people to guess who the baby belongs to.  Oh and no party would be complete without party bags for all the guests full to the brim with condoms and sex education leaflets to make sure there are no more Baby Showers on the horizon for a long time….

And finally, as the guests depart, we’ll sing them off the premises with a little bit of this…

BagelaholicsAnonymous

My names LS and I’m a Bagelaholic.

bagelMy ninth visit in half as many weeks and I find myself sitting outside The Bagelry on a Saturday morning, waiting for the clock to tick half past nine, for the cute little OPEN sign to be hung on the charcoal door and for the blinds to roll up.

It feels borderline creepy. I look like an out of control addict. I am one. And actually, I don’t care one little tiny bit ~ these bagels are to die for.

bagelI’ve had the Bagelry Breakfast Bagel every single visit and I never get bored. It’s a deliciously vegetarian concoction of Beef Tomato, Portobello Mushroom, free range Poached Egg (always poached to perfection), sprinkled with organic Cheddar Cheese and Sauerkraut and hugged by a freshly baked Poppyseed Bagel.

Caffeine cravings are completely satisfied with a choice of Kenyan, Guatemalan and Ethiopian coffee blends, all with deliciously unique flavours served in a very cute little coffee pot. I tend to finish off with a splash of fizz to flush the poppyseeds out from inbetween my teeth in the form of a sparkling Rhubarb and Apple drink.

With the late morning light shining on through the steamed up windows and a soundtrack flowing from hip-shaking Reggae to head-bopping Funk, this is the perfect start to any day.

The Bagelry Liverpool

Juicy

Image result for nutribullet juice

Dieting is daft and the majority of us get it all wrong. I remember thinking I was on the Atkins diet when I was 19 just because I just kept eating sliced ham and cocktail sausages. Funnily enough I didn’t lose any weight off that one…

Food is one of the greatest luxuries in life, so trying to restrict or starve yourself is basically giving up one of your greatest Human Rights.

A 5 Day Juice Cleanse, however, sounds much more appealing. It’s for a short, fixed period of time, it doesn’t deprive your body of nutrients and is just as much about health, cleansing, nourishment as it is losing weight.

So Day One gets off to an optimistic start. I sit down at my desk bright and early with giant Juice in hand. It doesn’t take long for my Boss to notice I’ve switched my LARGEskinnyLATTEwithsugarfreeCARAMELSYRUP for a bucket of green swamp water. Funny looks from all angles.
Questions on the Juice got me even more psyched. I started banging on about the health benefits, the zillions of recipe options and how easy I thought the whole thing would be…

The 12 o’clock belly growls signal it’s almost lunch time and I realise I’ve stupidly forgotten I had a work lunch at Oh Me Oh My over the road. An hour of Tastebud Torture ensues as I sit there watching The Girls tuck into my favourite Gruyere Omelette or the Sausage an Thyme Baguette. Food envy hits an all time high and my stomach won’t shut up. I quench the hunger pangs by downing two pints of lime cordial. So now not only am I salivating like a donkey, I’m galloping back to the office like a cross-legged camel.

G-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s

Back to my desk and life feels bearable again as I sip on juice number two. My breathing returns to normal, my stomach’s growls turn to a weird gurgling sound, kind of like when a baby starts laughing for the first time – it must be happy. I focus my thoughts on cleaaannnssing the system. Juice number two gets me through the rest of the day without even thinking about my lack of “real food”. As I start to deflate from the sheer amount of fluids I’ve consumed, I’m feeling quite happily and healthily empty.

It was a long day at the office, I came home late and instead of the usual whiff of scented candles and incense, I’m greeted by the grill.

DAY ONE, 10 HOURS IN: Caved in and had Turkey Dinosaurs, Chips and Beans.

Mechanically recovered chicken disguised in breadcrumbs, who can say no to that? Well not me apparently. I’ll try harder next time.

 

Keep Fat or Keep Fit?

There’s something quite cosy about feeling swaddled in a layer of flab as the winter sets in, but when you can see your cheeks without looking down and your work wardrobe is on a three-frock rotation given the fact that nothing else fits, it’s time to reign it in.

I’m now well over a stone heavier than I was last year. It’s okay to let it slip for a few months but you can’t start whining that you look like the Michelin Man when you strip off if you’re not going to do something about it.

Big Girls Don’t Cry – they just shut the fuck up and get to the gym.

I’ve been gymming since I was 15 years old with varying degrees of dedication but I have never particularly been a runner. If you dangled a block of Manchego cheese or a bag of Tangfastics out of a car window and drove off down the M57 I’m pretty confident I could find a way to catch up, but running for fun?

In fact, I will never forget my first ever run around Sefton Park in Liverpool. It went a little something like this….

Park circumference 3.7km
Lap time: 2 minutes 38 seconds
Actual distance: 0.01km
Feeling: fat and embarrassed

I don’t like not being good at things so I went back every single day fuelled by a non-defeatist determination to beat my last non-stop-distance. It took me six days to be able to finally do a full lap of the park, but I did it. VICTORY!

And so, in my quest for an improved version of myself, I’m setting the bar a little higher this time. I’ve signed myself up to my first ever 10k race in May, the Three Peaks Challenge in June and Tough Mudder in September.

 

It’s time to go from this Image result for onslow to this Image result for jennifer ennis

 

READY.SET.GO.

 

 

boeuf bourguiNON

Image result for burnt cookingApologies to all my French friends, I have taken one of your most well-celebrated dishes and single-handedly destroyed it.

After settling into my new apartment in the Georgian Quarter, I couldn’t wait to invite friends over and play hostess. So I invited one of my Tier Ones (friends are categorised into hierarchical tiers of importance) and her boyfriend over for dinner.

Beef Bourguignon is a traditional French recipe which started as a popular peasant recipe in Burgundy. Basically, it’s a meat plus veg casserole, but to add a little French je ne sais quoi it’s doused in a nice bottle or two of vin rouge and slow cooked for hours. It’s one of my favourites and seemed simple enough considering I was planning on operating kitchen equipment (the new slow cooker) unsupervised.

So, with several hours until the guests arrive I get my chef’s hat on. This is not a figure of speech. Forget furniture, bed linen and other really necessary things for a new home, I went straight on to Amazon and bought myself a giant chef’s hat. Quite an ironic purchase for a novice in the kitchen who has been known to set their dressing gown on fire whilst making beans on toast.

Hat on head I wake up Jamie Oliver for some advice. I seasoned and seared the beef and it quickly started to fill the kitchen with heavenly smells of cooked cow. Shallots, bacon, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, thyme all lashed into the pan with a dash of tomato puree and some plain flour. All seemed to be going très bien, and if I’m honest I did start nodding my head quite cockily and Ooh La La-ing to myself. Cow back in pan, I doused the lot in two lovely bottles of Pinot Noir and saved a small glass to toast myself on my culinary successes.

The very last ingredient on the list was “zest of one orange”. Now to the experienced chef, or perhaps just somebody with more than half a brain cell, this means grate a tiny bit of orange zest into the mix. What it doesn’t mean, is peel an entire Satsuma and plonk the peel into the pot. But I wasn’t told this vital piece of information until later, so off I go stirring it all in, thoroughly, pausing only for chef selfies and sips of PN.

Who has hidden the slow cooker?

I searched high and low but it was nowhere to be found. Jamie, what the hell do I do? “Fear not”, he says (in my head) “it can be cooked in the oven”. Excellent. So, I place it all into a large casserole dish and turn the oven on to the only setting I know – FULL HEAT. I de-chef and off I go on my merry way, tidying up and making myself presentable before the guests arrive.

Tier One plus one are seated with wine in hand and off I prance off to the kitchen to fetch their feast. I opened the oven door to reveal what can only be described as a Beouf Bourguinon graveyard. The entire dish was jet black. It kind of resembled rocks at the sea shore just after an oil spillage.

Boeuf Bourguinon? Just NON. After three hours burning away in 200 degrees heat covered in potent satsuma peel, this was now what I could only possibly referred to as Cremated Boeuf à L’Orange.

Bon Appetit!

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/member-recipes/recipe-detail/3187/#wTJKckUMwpL1ZbqZ.97

The Poach Coach

Sunday mornings will never be the same again.

Image result for perfect poached egg

I’d never been a fan of eggs. In fact, when I was little I used to tell my friends’ parents I was allergic to them just to avoid one ending up on my dinner plate. Little did I know back then that this lie was completely flawed since I’d happily shove biscuits, bread, pasta and all sorts of other foods containing chicken embryo down my mouth.

Since then, I’ve become a little more adventurous in my eating habits and over time I’ve dabbled in the odd scrambled egg, omelette and even attempted my own frittata (which definitely sounds a lot more posh than it is). And 7I don’t know whether I’m embarrassed to say this or not, but it wasn’t until I hit 30 that I tried my first poached egg. The concept of a chicken foetus in more or less its natural state seemed a little bit too cannibalistic for me.

Does anybody know if Poached Eggs Anonymous exists?

I think I need to join. Since my first Poached Egg I’ve never looked back. I think I’m addicted, just like that time in 2001 I got addicted to Cocopops. For pretty much everyday for the past five months, and this is no Egg-xageration (soz), I’ve had a Poached Egg on toast, plopped neatly onto a nice piece of multi-grain toast and served with a hot milky coffee.

I first tried my hand at Poaching using a trick I’d learned on Saturday Kitchen. You crack the egg into a sheet of cling film and seal it into a ball shape then plop it into boiling water. Two minutes later you’re supposed to retrieve from the water a perfectly formed, firm but gooey-centred Poached Egg.
WRONG.
Well at least I got it wrong… What I retrieved from the water looked more like a pair of dangling sheep’s bollocks than a Poached Egg.

Now I’m not Nigella Lawson (although I do think anybody can pull slutty faces and suck their fingers whilst following a basic recipe), but I do think after several weeks of practice, I’ve now mastered the art of Poaching to Perfection.

What You Need:

• A small pan
• 500ml of water
• An egg
• A chef’s hat
• A slice of multi-grain toast
• A few sprinkles of pepper
• A Nigella pout

What You Do:

1. Boil water, wait for sexy ferocious bubbles ooooohhhh
2. Crack egg on side of pan. Drop into water gently. Splosh ahhhhhhhhh
3. Lower heat to a pool of mini bubbles and watch the clock tick for two whole minutes yeahhhhhhh
4. Take one big spoon thing with holes in and go fishing for you egg, gently. Ohhhhhh
5. Neatly place Poached Egg onto warm, freshly buttered multigrain toast and scran the hell out of it whilst making as many sex noises as you feel necessary.

 

The Chimp Paradox

Just like men, there are very few books that keep me interested from the first word all the way through to the last chapter.

Image result for the chimp paradox

The Chimp Paradox became an instant addiction. I was so obsessed with turning the next page that I put my life on the line and took up dangerous sports (walking and reading simultaneously).

Recommended to me by a bit of a real-life career Idol at work, The Chimp Paradox helps you to dissect your brain very simply into Logic, Emotion and Memory. 

 

The Logic part of the brain is referred to as the Human, this is you. By nature, Humans are logical and analytical, taking facts and truths to calculate conclusions. Emotion is the Chimp. Erratic, emotional, illogical, the Chimp will react first, think later. And finally, Memory is the Computer.  This is a sort of reference library of information stored by both the Human and the Chimp which can help us think and act on autopilot.

The book takes you through each part of the brain in detail, with simple explanations and asks you to analyse how each of these functions react to any given situation. It then teaches you how you can take control of these reactions.

Just a couple of chapters in, you will be referring to yourself in the third person as “The Human”,  talking to your Chimp and trying to reboot your Computer. You will understand the complex systems of the brain in the most simplest terms, recognise how your own mind is working and be able to take control of your emotions and thoughts.

In the space of just seven days, this book gave me a clearness of mind that was very much missing. It’s like the skies have been instagrammed and my world had been illuminated with a lovely hue of Hope.

So if you’d like to take control, you feel a little lost or just a little curious ….. read this book. The world would be a better Jungle if we could all manage our Chimps!

http://chimpmanagement.com

 

 

Happiness

Image result for happiness

“Happiness is the greatest gift that I possess” ~ Ken Dodd 

It’s really only when you’ve experienced a real life thunderstorm that you truly appreciate a blue sky.

My skies had been blackened for a while, so now the clouds have finally parted and the Sun has begun to shine through, I can’t help but feel the warmth of every single ray of Happiness. And I absolutely adore it.

In a recent Buddhist teaching by Gen Dao @ KMC Liverpool, she said that all of us Human Beings have one thing in common…

we all want to be Happy.

This one very simple little sentence has literally revolutionised the way I think, the way I feel and actually, the way I live. It’s given real meaning to a word I had previously only admired from a distance; Compassion.

Think about it.

Think of somebody you know. Focus on them, their face, their eyes, their smile, their facial expressions. Think of their body language, their energy. Think of the person you perceive them to be. Think of the person they perceive themselves to be. Now think of all the difficult things they have suffered with, or maybe are still suffering with, think of their worries, think of what makes them feel sadness.

Now come back to that simple little sentence…. we all want to be Happy. 

I Hear Voices

“According to Afghan matchmakers, the voice is more than half of Love” ~Shantaram

I want to explore the truth in this pretty bold statement. The voice definitely plays a role in romantic attraction, but is it really half of Love?

From my own experience, two scenarios instantly jump out at me. I’ll start with the hideous one. And like all true modern stories of love, it started with a Tinder swipe.

I swiped right for his Caleb from KOL hair, his bicycle and his bobble hat. We were pen pals for about two weeks exchanging songs and salespitches over WhatsApp before the initial meet.

He had come straight from work and was still wearing his lanyard, his hair needed a good wash, he was nowhere near as tall or athletic as he’d made out and the HelloHug/CheekKiss greeting thing was awkward as hell. But aesthetics aside, it was the high-pitched squeaky voice that really broke the deal for me, and I knew within the first syllable this wasn’t going to go any further.

My second example is quite the opposite and the voice in question belongs to an Object of Infatuation.

It’s a Southern voice which feels borderline exotic now that I’m living back in Liverpool. It’s delivered at least 10 decibels over the human voice average of 60. It’s bold and confident and commands attention. The appeal is multiplied tenfold by the intelligence that backs it up but even if it was expelling utterances of gibberish, any audience would nod in agreement. It’s deep and manly  with an air of protection but softens and lightens when expressing emotion. It’s a little bit intriguing…

Am I In Love with a voice? Maybe. But is the voice half of love? Neither of the above scenarios could possibly answer that.

I’d say I’ve been In Love three times in my life and In Lust, perhaps only two or three times more. In Love and Lust alike, the sensations that create our magnetic pull towards another Human can be so tightly intertwined that it’s difficult to tell what they’re made of.

Next time I’m In Love I’ll let you know….