Things you shouldn't say on the internet

Monday, 28 December 2015

So, I've been away from blogging for a while. Just having a little break. While I was gone, I read a thread on a website that I will not name (!) about things that people shouldn't be allowed to post on social media.

This is the final list of things that you shouldn't talk about on the internet:

  • Your job
  • Your diet
  • Your holidays
  • Your health
  • Your hobbies
  • Your social life
  • Your relationships
  • What you eat
  • What you wear
  • Your pets
  • Your children
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Your achievements
  • Your kids achievements
  • Your problems
Which leaves, er, the weather.

But for goodness sake, don't talk about the weather! People really hate that.

I did have a little pause after I read the thread. Every now and then I like to stop and consider whether I am happy with sharing what I do online, and occasionally, I want to just withdraw from the internet altogether.

Then I gave myself a head wobble and realised that sometimes people just like to complain. And if you put yourself out there (which everyone that goes onto social media does, essentially, but especially if you write blogs or are a vlogger or something like that), then someone will find something to complain about. Eventually. What really matters with things like this is that your loved ones are okay with what you put out there.

And that you want to do it.

The fact is, if you want even the slightest bit of recognition online, someone out there is going to not like you very much.

Some people might even be able to muster up the energy to hate you.

And do you know what? It doesn't really matter. A wise man once said 'If you're holding out for universal popularity, Hagrid, you're going to be in this cabin for a long time.' (That person may have been Albus Dumbledore). He's right! Some people just like to hate stuff. And they really like to talk about how much they hate stuff. They like to try and convince other people to hate stuff. That is their choice. But it shouldn't impact upon your life.

Essentially, humans like to moan about things. Who doesn't like a good moan every now and then? So, the person who is moaning that her Facebook feed is full of a million almost identical photographs of babies, is probably having their status read by someone who is rolling their eyes and saying 'Oh for goodness sake, I don't need to see another million selfies of you in the toilet of a club'. For example. As humans we find it almost impossible NOT to be annoyed by other people. Here I am now, moaning about people who moan.

What I'm trying to say is: yes be careful. Yes, think about what you're putting out there, preferably before you put it out there. 

And if people don't like what you have to say, then, well. They don't. What gives that anonymous person the right to stop you from doing something that you love?

I know you've probably heard this a million times before. So have I. And I believe it, too. But sometimes I need to, you know, shout it at myself.

Sometimes we let fear of other people's reactions stop us from doing things we really want to do.

Sometimes we use 'fear of other people's reactions' as an excuse to not do something that is a bit out of our comfort zones.

I should probably end this with something really empowering and uplifting.


Now go and do that thing.

Seriously. What are you still doing here? Go!

Riverford Recipe Box - Review

Friday, 18 December 2015

A few weeks ago, I had an email from the lovely people at Riverford asking if I would like to try out one of their new recipe boxes for free!

Obviously I said yes because I love food.

I like veg box schemes, so was interested to try a Recipe Box. They are made for people who are too busy to sit down and plan menus/go shopping for ingredients, so that they can still be able to enjoy cooking and eating good food with fresh ingredients. I chose the 'quick' option because half an hour is about all the time I have for cooking in the evenings.

When it arrived I was very excited.

as was my toddler.

The box was really nicely laid out, with three small sections for each meal. The chilled ingredients were kept cool in an insulated bag. The box also came with an introduction-to-Riverford booklet with an a-z guide to vegetables, and three recipe cards.

The recipes in my box were a speedy ham hock pie, squash and rosemary tagliatelle with creme fraiche and nutmeg, and beef pho with sprout leaves, shallots and udon noodles.

I have to give props to the people organising the boxes and writing the recipes - the ingredients are seasonal and fresh, and worked together (i.e using half the tub of creme fraiche for the pie and the other half for the pasta dish). The recipes themselves work, with very clear instructions, and the timings were perfect.

And they were so good. The squash-and-rosemary tagliatelle was the least exciting to us personally because it is the kind of thing I might cook anyway, but was still delicious. The speedy ham hock pie was quick and easy to assemble, filling, and looked really lovely on the plate. The beef pho was full of flavour (and made me crave noodle soup a lot since we ate it).

The ingredients were organic and of a very high quality, especially the beef, which was about a million miles away from chewy-hard-to-eat supermarket beef like we would normally buy plus the portion sizes were generous. They are sold as boxes for two people, but they easily fed us and our two-year-old.

I learnt some tricks from these boxes, too - like grating veg instead of chopping so it cooks quicker, and cooking the puff pastry lid of a pie separately while you cook the filling and then assembling it all at the end - so I could imagine over time we would probably become better cooks by using the boxes.

I do contest slightly that any recipe involving preparing a whole butternut squash is 'easy' but then again I have a thing against chopping up squashes (because with our knives cutting up a squash feels a bit like trying to saw into a brick).

A very very tasty pie.

A downside for me is the price. I understand the ingredients are of a very high standard and you are paying for the convenience of having the meals planned and delivered to you, but the quick recipe box is £39.95 - and that includes three dinners for two adults. For us, this would be out of our normal price range (by quite a bit!). The vegetarian option is a bit cheaper, but I feel these boxes are definitely more suited for people who can afford to spend a bit more on their food.

I would quite like to see a 'budget' version of a box like this released, for families who could do with the convenience and time-saving aspect, but can't quite afford the more expensive ones. I'm unsure how this would work, because with companies like Riverford you are paying for the quality of the ingredients, but I would still love to see a lower-priced version.

I was really pleased with our experience with Riverford. They have been really friendly and helpful and seem like a very ethical company to buy from. If at some point in the future we decide to start getting a fruit and vegetable box delivered again, I think I will try theirs. They provide a variety of different boxes - just veg or fruit, or a mixture of both, salad boxes, meat boxes, boxes of veg for juicing, as well as their new recipe boxes. So if you are thinking of starting up a New Year, healthy-organic-eating thing, I definitely recommend them.

Thank you Riverford for the lovely box and the very tasty meals!

November round-up: feeling unChristmassy, and mad conversations with toddlers

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Haven't written in a while. Sorry. It's funny because I feel like I haven't properly 'unwound' in a while and I think that's because putting my thoughts into words is the way that I do that. We've had a pretty busy November to be fair.

That's normal, though, I think. For family life. Sometimes I find myself with tons of time to spare, and sometimes I barely have time to get the washing done.

I should probably be doing washing now, actually ...


It is the first of December and I am not feeling at all Christmassy. Which is fine, because Christmas is, you know, not happening tomorrow. Instead, though, I am feeling tired. Like, utterly exhausted. Can't-use-my-brain-properly tired.

The un-funny thing about tiredness is that it stops you from doing all the stuff you want to do. Because the things you have to do (like, you know, cleaning) seems to take longer and I am unable to multitask as efficiently as I used to. I get to the end of an exhausted day and think: what did I actually accomplish today? I didn't do any amazing crafts with my toddler. I didn't go on a walk with her, I didn't help anyone, I didn't get time to pray, I didn't get my Bible study done, I didn't try anything new, I didn't get any writing done.

But then I remember that we shouldn't measure our worth as humans based on accomplishments. Because some tasks are just ongoing. Relationships, for example - with anyone. Child, parents, husband, friends. You never 'finish' them. You keep evolving them. Which is lovely, obviously.

But sometimes, you have days where everything that you do is ... not done. I think a lot of people are in the same position: day after day they do tasks that never get finished, jobs that won't get you praise or admiration, just things that you keep your head down and get on with.

Those little tasks, those never-ending things. They make a difference to the people you love.

So if you are having one of those 'daily grind' type days where mindfulness isn't working and you are starting to doubt that you are worth anything: stop a minute. As a person, you matter. Your life and all the things that you do with it, whether they are big grand accomplishments or just folding laundry yet again - are important.

That is about as deep as I can get on a half-working tired-brain!

Besides, I've still got 24 days to get into the Christmas spirit. And to do all my Christmas shopping.


Let's travel back to last Tuesday:

We are walking along a well-trodden path, on our way to toddler group. It is raining. Jellybean is toddling along. She picks up the most gross, slimy-looking stick she can find and then uses it as a walking stick. It makes her look like a hobbit with a raincoat on.


'Yes, baby?'

'I see ooshawatta now.'

I pause. Usually I can decipher what she's saying no problem. When she first started to babble and no-one understood what she was saying, I did. I know that 'wow-wow' means 'another one' and that 'disonaur' is 'dinosaur' and that 'heh-haa' means feather.

I have no idea what 'ooshawatta' means.

'What was that?'

She continues her toddling, aided by the slimy stick, which is now leaving mud trails on her hand and up the sleeve of her coat. 'I see ooshawatta today.'

She looks at me expectantly. Stops walking.

'Err ... ooshawatta?'

'Yep. Ooshawatta.'

I nod. 'I see.'

But she is still standing there. Waiting. I realise she is not going to be fobbed off. She knows I don't understand her and is waiting for the penny to drop.

'What do you mean, ooshawatta?'

'I see ooshawatta, Mama.' She's getting impatient now. I grope wildly in my brain for something that we might have seen along that path before.

'Er - caterpillar?'

She looks at me as if I am the most ridiculous person in the world and it is testing her patience just to be around me. 'NO Mama. Ooshawatta!'

I try and chivvy her along. 'Okay, you'll see an ooshawatta. Let's go to toddlers.'

'Ooshawatta Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Ooshawatta!'

And so on. All the way down the lane. We don't see an ooshawatta. I still have no idea what it means. I text it to my husband without any explanation. 'Ooshawatta.'

He doesn't even question it which says something about the messages we normally send each other.

I love it. I love being parent to a child who is just learning to talk. I love hearing what goes on in her head. She cheerfully told my mother the other day 'Nanny, I have spiders in my legs.'

Sometimes she calls my husband 'babe'.


Speaking of!

November was the month of my husbands thirtieth birthday! Which makes me feel a bit wobbly because he was twenty when we met, and to my teenage self twenty seemed quite grown up. I feel like I have blinked and suddenly we're almost middle-aged. But I honestly can't remember what life was like without him.

*Brief pause to allow you to make fake vomiting noises*

Anyway we had a week-long board gaming event and if you know my husband, you will know how unbelievably happy this made him, so thank you to everyone for coming and making it awesome. Many games were played, much junk food was eaten.

It was so good!

Here's some pics from this month:

I'm off to power nap!
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