Fun and fancy for free

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They say the best things in life are free and I wholeheartedly agree (with the exception of buying dresses, of course). A person can’t live on dresses alone and nor should they try! Since wages aren’t what they should be and, anyway, Money Makes You Mean, here’s a list of shenanigans that won’t cost the earth (or even an island). Some of them cost nothing at all. Imagine that.

 

  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it: Use that gym membership that is totally neglected, delve deep into the recesses of Netflix, wiggle to your premium Spotify and enjoy your ad-free fantasy world (damn you). Read an entire book of poems that you haven’t picked up yet. Just an idea.
  • Stroke an ego: Maybe your own, but not necessarily. You could beat down a friend’s door with flowers and serenade them in a creepy Ginny Weasley’s cupid kind of way.
  • Deal with it: Crack out a pack of cards or a chessboard and make a move.
  • Booked up: Raid a library, whether a public one or a friend’s. Get stuck in. Reading can sometimes feel daunting if you’re out of the habit so start light – maybe don’t go straight for War & Peace… try one of the Very Short Introduction series by Oxford University Press, maybe. Or Mills and Boon.
  • Dirty Dancing: Learn an iconic dance routine. Become Kevin Bacon. Or leap into Jennifer Beals‘ dancing shoes.
  • Creative cooking: Dig out everything in your cupboards and create something from what’s in there. Things might get interesting…
  • Snuggle ‘n’ snacks: Is there anything better than a cosy cutch and some first-rate munchies. The correct response is no.
  • Water baby: Go for a muddy walk and splash in a puddle. Put a watering can out in the rain. Steam your face. Try watersports…
  • Found you: Grab some free magazines, chop them up and make found poems with the headlines (see main picture for ‘Here’s one I made earlier…).
  • Beauty queen: Go through your beauty supplies and spend some time experimenting. Try some basic nail art or play around with a shade of lipstick you never use. Try repurposing it as a blush stick. Try something a little different, or get ready for halloween… Youtube is your friend.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Distraction Tactics

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Life is sometimes a thrower of curveballs; it likes to test us and see how we cope. When you feel like you can’t cope, maybe, in that moment, you can’t. So you need tools to take your mind outside of your life for a little while.

Here are my top 5 Distraction Tactics:

  1. Read a book: No, I’m never going to stop recommending this as a course of action. It’s appropriate to all situations and it has been a life-saver for me (and I mean that in a literal sense).
  2. Puzzle it out: Do some online quizzes, print out a sudoku and immerse yourself, do a wordsearch using pretty colours. Concentrate and work that grey matter.
  3. Get some grief-bacon: Bake a big, fat, fudge cake. Create a curry. Make moussaka. Chargrill chicken. Delight in dough. Well… you get the idea.
  4. Potter with plants: Have a good nip with the secateurs, wrangle out the weeds, rake vigorously. Green fingers, assemble!
  5. Plans with people: Actual real life people who care about you. Go to the cinema, eat together, read aloud to each other, play a board game that takes hours and ends in a hissy fit. Spend time in other people’s worlds and your own becomes less daunting.

For anyone struggling with self-harm, here are some links:

Scar Tissue

Alternatives to self-harm from rcpsych.ac.uk

No More Panic

Give yourself a break 🙂

A Veritable, Vegetable Feast

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Delicious, healthy, vegetarian curry and accoutrements!

Veggie Curry – Ingredients

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • any other veg you like
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata/ sieved tomatoes
  • Spice mix: 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 2 cloves garlic, salt and pepper

Veggie curry – Method

  • Chop all the veg and place in a slow cooker (you can use a normal pan if you prefer)
  • Fry off the garlic and spices in 2-3 tbsp of oil in a medium sized pan
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and passata to form the sauce
  • Pour over the vegetables and set on ‘High’ for four hours, or low for longer. (If using a normal pan, simmer until the vegetables are cooked)
  • When cooked, add coconut milk, stir thoroughly and serve.

Lentil dahl – Ingredients

  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup of lentils
  • Spice mix – salt, pepper, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of vegetable stock

Lentil dahl – Method

  • Soften the onion in plenty of oil (2-3 tbsp)
  • Add the spices
  • Add the lentils and stock
  • Simmer until lentils are tender – you may need to add more stock

Rice – Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • Bay leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • can of chickpeas (optional)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of water

Rice –  Method

  • Melt the butter
  • Add the rice and coat in the butter
  • Add the spices and water
  • Boil for 15 minutes, checking water levels every few minutes

Butternut squash

  • Chop the rest of the butternut squash
  • Heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Coat the squash in oil and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • Roast for about 20 minutes, depending on the size of your chunks etc.

To serve:

  • Raita: Natural yoghurt with chopped cucumber and mint makes a refreshing dip.
  • Chopped banana or raisins add a little sweetness.
  • Naan bread is surprisingly simple to make – have a go.

Enjoy!