I've had another break up. I'm sure your mind is confused as to how that could happen again.
At the lowest points, it felt like a Smiths song (we tried and we tried and we tried) and at the best points, it felt like looking into the distance with your soul mate and seeing forever with clutched hands.
Of course I will blame it on the immature inept male. It's usually their fault. Although I've given enough chances and none been taken, it will take another month (or three) for ex-boyfriend to realise he's made a mistake, by which point, I will be physically and emotionally gone.
One of the biggest complaints he had was the fact that we had a major blow out while drunk in public. He never recovered. He later said he could never go out with me, it would never work out, because he 'wasn't the kind of person to have fights in public'.
I read through my heart-felt emails, starting from the day after we broke up (5 March), to the end point. There are few responses. Enough said. Breakups suck.
Detox recipes: yoghurt & pear with roasted hazelnuts
I've been doing a 30 day detox since 6 January. It's the same one I did last February, but this time I'm sticking to the rules a lot better (at all). As this version is not so restrictive, I can create a lot more exciting recipes. Last time, I couldn't have legumes, nuts or anything from the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc). It was kind of a nightmare trying to only eat meat, veg and fruit!
This time, there's lots of baking with various gluten free breads and baking powder, healthy snacks like corn cakes (like rice cakes) and butternut squash dip, and of course all-you-can-eat decadent dinners, with fresh meat, poultry and seafood cooked in tons of butter and olive oil and full range of rices, exotic vegetables and fruits.
The deserts, which are totally permissible, tend to be prosaic during the weekdays when you've used up all your creative energies doing a shop after work. Fruit and yoghurt, plus variations on a theme. On day 15 of the detox, I hit the desert jackpot in one of the best combos I've encountered yet.
This is a totally simple yet luscious recipe for weekday indulgence. I have this for desert and a day time snack. You'll want to pick a soft pear type over the hard crunchy variety, so that the flesh melts into the yoghurt. If you're confused about which yoghurt to buy, look at the one that says it contains probiotic or has live active cultures.
If you can be bothered, make double the amount, put half back in the yoghurt tub, then take it to work the next day. That's what I've been doing for the past 3 days and it's like you've treated yourself royally.
Detox recipes: yoghurt & pear with roasted hazelnuts (for 2)
2 pear, conference or any kind of variety
Handful of hazelnuts, chopped in quarters and roasted
Live yoghurt, 250 ml (half a tub)
Ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
Desiccated coconut, 1 tablespoon
Chop up the hazelnuts if you haven't already. Switch the grill on to high and roast the nuts for about 2-3 minutes; just make sure to keep an eye that they don't burn as they brown pretty quickly.
Halve, then quarter the pears, slice the seeds and core out and then chop the pear slices into small chunks. Place in bowls.
Scoop up 3-4 big spoonfuls of the yoghurt on top of the pears, sprinkle the hazelnuts, cinnamon and coconut on top.
Mix it up to spread the cinnamon and coconut thoroughly into the yoghurt.
First stop, Bristol hack space who showed me how to tweet on a really old computer called twitbeeb (i thought it was a typewriter!). It was great to watch peoples reaction to the 30 year old computer- a middle aged man and a young man both shared the eureka moment over the same model.
I also learned about a printer that makes paper cut outs. And realised that I knew the guy demonstrating from about 10 years ago!
Bike ride from Brighton to Ditchling Beacon, Plumpton & Lewes
So this was my third big bike ride as part of my training for Brighton to Paris, which I'm doing to raise funds for Brighton-based charity AudioActive.
We started out on the Lewes Road at the fantastically named Vogue Gyratory then cycled up through Hollingbury (killer), up to Five Ways and onwards up Ditchling Road to the top where the golf course is (also killer).
We then cycled over the A27 towards Ditchling Beacon, the biggest nemesis I have yet to encounter IN MY LIFE. My cycle ride wasn't helped by the fact that I was hungover (I wasn't alone), wearing inappropriate clothing and in terms of cycling, fairly unfit (apart from running marathons but that doesn't count).
Needless to say, this expedition to a Sussex high point did not feel like a high point to me (at the time); however, now that I've put in so much work into a 3/4 hour ride, I am feeling a lot more fit for purpose when facing minor hills around Brighton - that is, apart from my main street home, Elm Grove, which I struggle to even get a third of the way up.
However, I was saved greatly by Lucozade, Skittles, Airwaves, water, a borrowed scarf, a stop off at a fab pub with great local Sussex fare (I tried the deep fried pigs ears !?), beautiful lush scenery and good company.
The cycle from Lewes to Brighton wasn't as flat or as smooth as I'd expected, but after everything, it wasn't the worst uphill journey I'd faced that day. I have to say, the real killer for me was actually the terrifying, death defying journey down Ditchling Beacon. It was like being strapped into a horrific rollercoaster that stuck to no health and safety. While my group went freefall down the steepest incline known to man, I was trying to brake at every curve, to no avail.
So on that note, here are a few pics from our bike ride. Unfortunately, no brilliant scenic shots, mainly due to me nearly having an asthma attack everytime we paused for water, but as I've been dubbed the Group Photographer for the trip, you can expect a continued photo blog right through our Sussex training, to the start of our epic ride and right at the end, when we arrive in Paris. And then again, when we have to cycle from Newhaven to Brighton.
Cycling Brighton to Paris for local charity Audioactive
Many of you saw me get into the whole marathon thing last year, with a half in Brighton and a full one in Berlin, both for charity.
Well this year, I'm shaking things up a bit and I'm throwing myself into a new challenge: a massive cycle ride from Brighton to Paris with a group of 5 other people.
Once again, I'm embarking on this slightly mad adventure to raise funds for Audioactive registered charity (1123891), a Brighton-based children and young people's charity that transforms young lives through contemporary music production, urban arts and performance, and of which I'm a Trustee.
We will be setting off from Brighton on our bikes en masse on Friday 4 May, cycling to Newhaven, where we will take the ferry to Dieppe. From there, we will cycle to our first b&b in France.
We will then cycle all day Saturday and all day Sunday until we end up in Paris, stopping of course along the way for the night - and lunch I hope! We will then take a train back to the UK on Monday 7 May. Unless I decide to stay in Paris a few days longer - tempting!
I got my bike (picture above) at the end of March and have since been on two 3-hour rides along the sea front, to Peacehaven and to Shoreham. This Sunday will see a monster of a ride, a 30-mile ride around Sussex. Slightly nervous as this area is so hilly. But I know I have 22 more days to really focus on training and get as fit as I can.
Since deciding to agree to this independently-organised group bike trip, I've learned that the London to Paris route is a well travelled one - last night I heard about the British Legion ride, which is one of three major events when Paris stops traffic in Champs Elysee and cyclists are escorted through the Arc de Triomphe (the other two events being for the French president and for Tour de France).
I'll be reporting on my travels with further blog posts and photos shortly. I will also put further information about our Dieppe to Paris route, which was found on the internet.
This Sunday is also Brighton Marathon so I'm planning to go down to support the runners, I'm sure secretly wishing I was amongst them. However, there are a few people I will be cheering along and hope that the runners enjoy it as much as I did last September.
When you're looking for recipes that are not part of a more mainstream diet, such as the BBC Food, Delia or Jamie Oliver type of fare, you quickly begin to feel like you're exploring a strange and foreign land. Websites that look they've been built before Web 2.0 and forums whose entries date from 2005.
I feel like I've entered some weird food cult, a society for people with odd and unusual cooking habits: vegans, fruitarians, raw diet, Atkins, Weight Watchers, detoxers, healthy eaters and fussy people. Have I become a freak like them, I wonder?
One of my finds is curried coconut chicken fingers. I've been dying to find recipes that are similar to the ones that I used to make when I 'ate normally' and this is a near replica (in appearance although probably not taste) of my favourite Southern foods, breaded chicken tenders, which I used to make along with corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and buttered garlicky sauteed greens of some variety. I love breadcrumbs and deep frying and batters. I know I could just pick up some gluten free flour, but the detox level 3 says not to have rice or legumes, which is a bit of a constraint when it comes to substitution. So this is perfect.
Chocolate coconut kale chips. No, not just pieces of lettuce. Photo from Averie Cooks http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com
Another variation of kale chips: chocolate coconut kale chips. Haven't had kale in my last two veg boxes so must remember to phone and ask to get it included.
My best online find so far is Youtube celebrity, raw food guru Dan aka Life Regenerator, whose raw food smoothie demonstration includes hilarious asides, commentary and anecdotes including the one about his mate, Dave the raw food trucker and how they like to hang out, drink wheatgrass, drive around to all the raw food restaurants and talk to girls who recognise them from Youtube, followed by a quasi sales pitch for raw food living.
In the 2009 video, Dan says he'll never stop making videos, which makes me want to check out his profile and see if he's still making videos, whether he's stayed true to his promise (he has, he's posted a video one day ago). He advises that we should 'become addicted to growth', which I think is good advice for anyone.
Last but not least, I found a treasure trove of recipes from a rather dated online forum, Low Carb Friends. Coconut mayonaise, coconut treats, virgin coconut oil coleslaw and creamy vinaigrette (made with coconut) all caught my eye. I'll be attempting those when I've gotten over this cold, which sees me spending the day in bed and wondering when the pain in my head will subside. A question: can too much detox see you catching colds?
The one thing I've noticed a lot when visiting these healthy eating blogs was how much product placement was slipped into the pages. Spotting instances of product references, which I always associate as being an American habit, is as exciting (?) as playing product placement bingo when watching American Hollywood films from the 80s. Do they really think no one will notice?