Taking some Time

Well that was quite an extended blog break! It was completely unplanned, but unfortunately, the life of a teacher can be very overwhelming at times. This year was my first year at a new school and I have had a very busy year rewriting the curriculum for every year group (I teach in a secondary school so that’s years 7-13), including two new specifications (GCSE and A Level) and supporting an NQT doing maternity cover. I ran out of steam about two weeks before the end of term and was unable to do anything constructive. I was exhausted and it has taken me a few weeks of the summer holidays to be able to do anything that requires any great deal of thought.  As the end of term drew closer and my work load didn’t demand my every waking moment, I started to really notice how tired I was and how much work I had done during the academic year. It made me realise that, in the hope that I won’t have to work quite as hard next year, I should be able to have more time for myself. Not only that, I need to make it a priority and find time for myself, away from work. Here’s what I plan to do:

Exercise

For most of my life, I have only equated exercise with weight loss. Why else would I exercise, if I wasn’t doing it to burn calories? (usually meaning I could then get take away?!) Well, back at the beginning of June, I joined our local gym. Poppy goes to daycare most days so doesn’t need a walk when I get home. This has been my only form of exercise, which isn’t enough any way and doesn’t give me real space from my day. However, doing a spinning or Pilates class really does. I can’t think about anything else, except what I am doing in that moment, and that makes it perfect for self-care. Both classes help with my hypermobility and I feel great after each class. I really need to remember this feeling when school starts.

Thames walk

Diet

While I have been cutting out lots of processed stuff, my diet isn’t as wholefood plant based as I would like. I keep reading about the benefits this kind of diet can have on your wellbeing but haven’t found a practical way of putting it into practice. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be doing batch cooking on weekends, to help us have healthy wholefood, plant based meals and snacks made from scratch to enjoy during the week. This way, we won’t be eating dinner really late, or relying on processed foods. I’m also hoping that it’ll help us eat more seasonally and cut down on our plastic usage. Keep an eye on my Instagram account for this, as I’ll be using it as a kind of food diary.

Chickpea stew Grated salad lunch

Stress Management

Anyone else feeling completely overwhelmed by the world? Me too. Never mind work being stressful, we are living in crazy times. Who would have thought that the threat of nuclear war would be the second scariest thing to happen this summer?! I know I worry too much, usually about things I can’t control. It affects my sleep and my whole outlook. To try and counteract this, I’ve starting using the Headspace app. Ten minutes of mindfulness every evening, as a break between work and bed is something that I think will help me switch off.

One of the great things about this time of year is the feeling that you can start over. I’m really looking forward to autumn and everything that it brings with it. I’m also looking forward to looking after myself more too. How about you? Are you making any September resolutions? Let me know!

T-Shirts and Tops: SS17

It seems like Spring has well and truly arrived. Even though there is still a bit of a chill in the air in the morning, the sun seems to have his hat on! This made me look at my wardrobe in despair. My wardrobe is designed with comfort and warmth in mind so when the temperature turns up, I’m left scratching my head! So some online shopping is in order and this is a little roundup of my favourite tops and t-shirts.

Tshirts_ss17

[Fat Face Hollie T-Shirt £25 || Fat Face Badge Raglan T-Shirt £29.50 || People Tree Equality Tee £32 || People Tree Vegan Tee £32 || Fat Face Natasha T-Shirt £24 || Hello DODO shop Get Lost T-Shirt £25]

Most weekends, I’m all about dressing in jeans and a top so these are my ideal selection. I already have the Equality tee from People Tree, which I generally wear over a white version of the Fat Face Hollie t-shirt. My only criticism of the People Tree tee’s are that the sleeves are too short, and this is mainly because I have issues with my upper arms being on show. I’m hoping (fingers crossed!) to get the Vegan Tee for my birthday because I think it’s awesome! I love the new(ish) basic t-shirt range from Fat Face. They are a life saver, mainly because they can be worn on their own when the weather gets hot, but they are also suitable for work, which is really awesome. I have certain outfits that I wear depending on how I’m feeling, and if I’m feeling tired or down, I’ll wear something ‘easy’ and this will either involve some stripes or one of these basic Fat Face tops. I’m also loving the slogan t-shirt fashion at the moment and can imagine myself wearing the Get Lost t-shirt while walking along the Cornish coast line…

 

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – The Thames: Abingdon Lock to Sandford Lock

We’re back on our plan to walk the Thames Path, now that everything isn’t completely muddy. Our first stint, since the one we did last year, was from Abingdon Lock to Sandford Lock. It was a lovely, easy walk, that had me feeling like we were a million miles from anywhere. We only saw about three or four other people the whole time. The first part of the walk was insanely muddy and it really slowed us down. But once we got away from Abingdon and closer to Radley, it cleared up a lot.

Heading off from Abingdon Iron Man in Oxfordshire

There were some fabulous views along the way, including seeing Iron Man, which was an unexpected surprise! It’s always amazing what you can see when you’re walking along the lesser used parts of the Thames. We kept on passing fields and fields, full of geese who were clearly loving the food they could find there. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some rowing action, whichever bit you’re walking along!

Thames Path walk Poppydog on the Thames walk Arriving at Sandford Lock

The walk is fairly easy to do and we completed it in just over two hours, with a little rest stop for drinks and snacks. There was no where to stop along this stretch, but there are plenty of places the other side of Sandford Lock, where there’s a pub and a few places to park your car. It’s the perfect walk to do in a morning or afternoon, as it won’t take up too much time and isn’t too strenuous.

Abingdon to Sandford walk

Zizzi Vegan Pizza

I’ve been vegan for about a year and a half now, and I don’t regret anything, other than not doing it sooner. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is how veganism is being embraced by mainstream restaurants. Zizzi have led the way with not only have a vegan offering, but by developing their own vegan cheese, they have put themselves on the map as a vegan friendly place. Others have followed in their footpath, but I wanted to try Zizzi’s cheese. The reason being is because I struggle with vegan cheese. I’ve not really found a vegan pizza cheese that is anything remotely like regular cheese. As a result, I’ve quite happily gone without cheese on all my pizza. That being said, I wanted to see if Zizzi had nailed it.

Zizzi Vegan PizzaThe pizza itself was really tasty. I added red onion, mushrooms and green chilli and it was great combination. I wasn’t overly impressed with the cheese, as it was very wet, so that it melt like mozzarella. I was never a huge fan of mozzarella, and maybe that’s why I wasn’t that keen on this cheese. It had a decent flavour and there was plenty of it, but I wasn’t keen on the texture. I realise that nothing is ever going to be the same as regular cheese, and I’m really pleased that Zizzi have made such a huge effort for their vegan customers. Not only do they have vegan cheese, they also have vegan desserts that aren’t sorbet. I know, right?! How cool is that? Naturally, I wanted to give the vegan calzone a try, despite being pretty stuffed.

Zizzi vegan puddingMy first impression was that it was way smaller than I was expecting! This is because I’m a huge greedy guts and wanted one as big as my pizza! It had pecans, banana and blueberries inside and had chocolate and coconut ice cream on top. It was delicious! The first vegan pudding I’ve had in a mainstream restaurant! I really enjoyed it. It was warm and doughy and filling. Well worth leaving room for.

I hope that other restaurants who aren’t being as forthcoming with vegan options take note. My friends and I, one of which is gluten-free, purposely went to Zizzi because we knew we would be catered for. The vegan revolution is beginning!