Tuesday, July 29, 2014


First batch of tomatoes - all sealed properly, I've taken the clamps off now. Gives me a thrill every time I remove a clamp and the lid stays put. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Here's something Bridget never did

Bought a bit more than 4 kilos of tomatoes at the market yesterday, which my notes told me should be about enough for five 1 litre jars. Spent a couple of hours today giving the kitchen a better cleaning than it has had for months and then set to. Water bath canner on the cooker, jars washed and waiting, boiled as well as chilled water ready and waiting. It took me another hour to get the tomatoes skinned, chopped and into jars. At least I was cleaning as I went though, which helped at the end when I didn't have a ginourmous pile of stuff to do.

For whatever reason, though, the 3.85 kilos of tomatoes that I had (after skinning and hulling) only filled 3 one litre jars. I could have quickly cleaned a half-litre jar to fill with what was left but I did the sensible thing and put that into Tupperware to have with my salad for lunch tomorrow. Don't know how it happened because I have several entries in my notebook and for all of them it worked out as about 4 kilos of whole tomatoes for five 1 litre jars. I do have a note made once that it took that many because I had chopped them rather than leaving them whole. Perhaps I was packing them in very tightly this time round. Or perhaps they weren't as juicy as before. On the one hand, it is somewhat disappointing to do all that work and only have three jars for it. Not least because the organic farmer is selling for 5.00/kg this year, which is crazy expensive. (I bought half good tomatoes and half "juicing" tomatoes, which are blemished, split ones - fine if you're going to use them immediately, you can cut out the bad parts and only 3.50/kg).

On the other hand, of course, I have three big jars of tomatoes to put away for the winter. Hooray!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beer and crisps for dinner

Bridget Moonwaves has been a naughty girl. Invited friend over for tea. Excellent motivator to clear up sitting room and pretend I live like a 'normal' person. Delayed getting home as stopped to mention to the builders renovating shop across road that my apartment was lit up all night due to the new lights they'd put up, resulting in lengthy discussion of how none of it is their fault and I'll have to wait till shop re-opens and then complain to the people there. Lovely.

Got into apartment with five minutes to spare before guest arriving. Luckily guest is also Irish so actually had twenty-five minutes to quickly rush around, gathering piles of stuff and throwing it into bedroom, then closing door to present air of clean, calm and serene living space, gently scented by melty citrus and vanilla wax thing. Not candle, obviously, as do know the word for candle.

Despite best intentions of nice tea and ginger nut biscuits, kettle hadn't finished boiling before we'd decided to have beer instead. Beer and crisps for dinner is v. v. bad. Also, v. v. delicious.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Am domestic goddess

No. of chocolate bars planned to be eaten today: 0 No. of chocolate bars actually eaten: 2 (bad) No. of minutes spent thinking how lovely it is to wake up in someone's arms: 15 No. of minutes actually spent waking up in someone's arms: 0 No. of taxis required to get to work on time following wasteful daydreaming of arms: 1 (v. bad)

Brought healthy lunch to work. Is salad with tomatoes and one slice of bread as healthy option lunch cancelled out by having not one, but two cheesey breadrolls for breakfast/mid-morning snack? Think, on balance, not. The two bars of chocolate from the vending machine at five o'clock however, were definitely not a good idea. Also, chunky white kit-kat tastes yuck.

However, following success of preparing (and eating) delicious lunch and upon arriving home this evening having immediately sat down to repair rip in seam of trousers, am feeling like domestic goddess. This feeling is greatly assisted by focusing gaze firmly on laptop screen and not on piles of things waiting to be sorted/put away/ironed/otherwise dealt with. Did walk home (and then some), delivering two lots of Tupperware from my party a few weeks ago, leaving a much smaller pile now. V.v.glad tax return completion does not fall under pervue of domestic goddess.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mad about the boy

Got first local tomatoes at the market this weekend - v.v.good. Also, reading Mad About The Boy and have decided to post only in the style of Bridget Jones for the week. Book was irritating for first couple of pages but once used to style again was much better. Just like reading the first one. Change of writing style will (a) lead to better results on online writing style test and (b) help self rediscover lighter, funnier side of personality.*

Am obviously also channeling Bridget in the kitchen as have just made salad dressing a culinary disaster. First using sunflower oil instead of nice olive oil, then dropping spoon of mustard on floor. However, have done washing up, which means Tupperware salad bowl will be dry, ready and waiting for lunch tomorrow. V. good.

*(c) also will assist in keeping posts concise, leading to increased blogging activity (e.g. only seven minutes required for this post, leading to more efficient life and wonderfully happy, organised and zen self).

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Just a mini-rant because I want to have this written down somewhere. Just back from the doctor, where I went to get the results of my recent blood tests as part of a general check-up. Everything is fine. Annoying that he doesn't give the actual numbers but whatever, that always seems to be the way unless there's something wrong. I specifically asked about Vitamin D, having specifically asked for the test for that to be done. When I had it done a couple of years ago I measured at, if I'm remembering correctly, just 7. Between 30 and 100 is good, less than 20 is a fairly severe deficiency. The doctor prescribed me a very strong Vitamin D supplement, which I take every two weeks. When I remember, I have to admit. I find it difficult to remember every two weeks so do sometimes end up skipping. After coming back from Australia at the beginning of last year, I actually completely forgot about it for months.

At any rate, my level now is up at 22, which is a huge improvement, I think. Since my bottle of capsules is almost empty, I asked for another prescription only to hear that he's only allowed to prescribe a course of Vitamin D once and that if he were to prescribe it a second time, he'd get hassle from the health insurance company. How ridiculous is that? Particularly since, although there has been a big improvement, I'm still technically in the deficient range. I asked him if I should even just buy them myself but I can't get them without a prescription (there are obviously other, less strong supplements that you can buy in any supermarket) and he waffled a bit about how he could maybe give me a "green" prescription (you get a pink prescription for stuff the health insurance pays for and a green one for stuff you have to pay fully for yourself) but even that, it seems, would have been difficult and he has essentially said that I have to wait for my levels to drop again. Totally fucking ridiculous. Did I say that already? Particularly since the thing Vitamin D is particularly important for is assisting in the uptake of calcium in the bones, kind of particularly important for a women who is slowly but surely approaching menopause age you'd think!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fasting and saving

Back to the Fast Diet this week, or at least trying to get there. I did my first fast day on Wednesday but part of that was needing to get something to eat before choir, as I wasn't quite organised enough to have something with me. Went to a pub near where we rehearse, thinking I might get some soup and noticed they had penna all'arrabbiata, which I remember from WeightWatchers days as being a relatively good restaurant choice. It was a huge portion though. Really far more than one person could manage, even one not trying to fast. I still ate a bit more than half, more than I really should have and I was stuffed. Otherwise it was a fairly successful fast day. Today was my second and it was also pretty good.

Went into work this morning to catch up on some desperately overdue printing out and saving of emails. As per usual, what I thought might take three hours or so took closer to five. I didn't have breakfast and planned to leave work by about half-twelve to get home for lunch by one. Ended up staying there until just past three but two squares of dark chocolate and a cup of vegetable broth (I have a small Tupperware container of bouillon powder in my drawer) kept me going for less than 120 calories. Along with a litre of water in my new Tupperware bottle, which I'm loving, I have to say. And when I got home, by the time I'd eaten my planned wrap with salad and tuna mixed with quark and some pickled onions I was very full. There was some chocolate cheesecake at the quiz this evening so I definitely went well over even though they were very small slices. I did walk home at least. And I'm set for bringing lunches this week, too.

But look what I got! A friend of mine has a small translation company and mentioned a while ago that she was very busy and would give me something to do. When I was at her house on Thursday evening we got talking about it again and she sent me a contract to do as a trial. I will admit that it was very difficult but she said that on first reading she was delighted with it. She's going to go through it in detail later and send me her marked-up version so that I can see the things she thinks don't quite fit (hopefully there won't be too many of them). And in the meantime, she handed me this in return:
Well, okay, I had to give her back a fiver, 'cos that was the price we'd agreed on (still far more than I was comfortable with for a first trial)  but still, I've decided that this is officially the start of my 40th birthday fund.  :-)
Along with getting mountains of washing done yesterday and all the washing up done today, I'm calling it a pretty successful weekend all round!