Tag Archives: Learning

Self Care Checklist

While researching I need to make sure I am taking care of myself in really nice ways. I want to switch my current ‘caring’ activities to ones that are really about caring and not about punishing myself.

These are things I know make me feel better and so I would like to do more often. I’m not setting myself targets, but will monitor how I get on and how it impacts on my mood and productivity. I think doing as many of these as I can each day will make a great difference and ensure I move away from destructive habits that no longer serve me in the way I need.

My self-care checklist:

  • Face cleanse and moisturise
  • Make a really good cup of coffee and sit and enjoy it
  • Get the sleep I need
  • Be active
  • Keep my home clean and tidy
  • Actively play with the cats
  • Prepare/cook my meals
  • Relax – meditate, journal, blog, read
  • Stay hydrated
  • Dress to make me feel good

This feels like a good start in changing how I feel about myself and my relationship with food. These are the things I let slide when I’m not feeling good about myself. It’s the simple things that make the difference I believe. I don’t want to complicate my life, but I want to change it.

Changing things up

I’ve been thinking a lot in recent weeks about what I want and how I can get there. I’ve grown over the last few years and it feels good and there are still things I want to change. I’ve come to see this isn’t a bad thing. Just because I want to make changes to how I live my life doesn’t mean I’m doing anything bad at the moment, rather it’s about growing and changing to fit that growth.

The first thing I want to work on is moving away from diets. I’ve tried WW so many times now and always struggled to make it work. I’ve read multiple books, listened to many podcasts, and visited multiple websites, but it’s all the same. I’m rebelling against being told what to do. In reality I want to change my relationship with food. I know I use food as a drug to cope with my emotions. I want to change that to make food nourishment to support my life.

This is a huge shift for me. It’s not going to be easy, but I am determined to find what is right for me and work hard to get to a different place. I want that place to evolve. It’s not about the destination, but about the journey. I want to create a love for food that lets me explore it and places while I travel. Guilt Free!

So I’ve got some new research to do on intuitive eating, self-care, mindfulness, and body positivity. I’ve got a few leads to follow from some of my favourite blogs. Maybe we all reach this place at some time on a weight loss journey. I want to lose weight still, but in a more natural way than restricting what I eat all the time. I have some work to do on binge eating behaviour so I’ll be looking back at all the CBT I did a couple of years ago. I’ve also been through my social media and removed things that no longer fit with where I am – another way of evolving.

It feels good getting this out. It’s hard to talk to people about as everyone is in different places. Most people automatically jump to suggesting diets and fitness, but that’s not what I need. I need to spend time on myself to understand myself and the changes I want to make. It’s funny how people react when you do say ‘oh no, I’m not going to follow a diet’, it ranges from incredulous to disbelief. I’m using it to make me laugh. No one know me better than myself!

I have a plan. I need to do research. I need to keep it simple. I need to trust and believe in myself.

I can do this.

Recent Wanderings… Leonardo da Vinci at the Science Museum

Last week I took the opportunity of a work trip to London to pop by the Science Museum and visit the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. The exhibition showcases models made from his sketches made in 1952 celebrating the 500th anniversary of his birth.

It was very interesting and fascinating to see how some of his ideas have been applied ot modern technical advancements.  I wish I had a better memory to recall all the details I was reading about, but I can’t so based on a few odd memories and some photos of my favourite bits I hope to offer you incentive to visit yourself.

The below photo was of a self propelled vehicle. What I loved most about all these designs was that most of the signs included a note to ‘not workable at the time’, but have since turned out to inspire and look like tings we see today.

This was a miniature version of an armoured vehicle. The section on warfare and battlements was interesting. I found all the drawings were like things I would imagine from the fantasy novels I read.

I loved the atmosphere in the exhibition. The design and layout included many of these hanging with his drawings and writings on.  As I was heading to the museum most people were leaving so when I arrived at the exhibition it was very quiet and was still open for another hour or so. There ended up only being about 5-6 people in the space, which meant I could take the time I needed to look around without feeling other people wanted to get to the same bits. I would definitely go at this time of day again.

This bit just straight up freaked me out! Heads up you walk around a corner and straight into this.

The section on taking inspiration from living organisms was the most interesting to me. There were multiple videos featuring spiders, fish, birds, insects and the like that all related to drawings and models da Vinci made. This section also linked to the modern world most and showed applications in robotics and materials. This was a model of a robotic bird that the video shows taking off and flying like a bird. It was amazing!

I found these instruments beautiful and functional. If I ever live in a large house I would want to get pieces like this and learn how to use them even if putting them on display. There were also interactive things that got you thinking about engineering and how things work. I wouldn’t say it was a lot for kids though and was definitely more reading and looking than practical.

There was way more than I can show here and worth a visit. It really showed what da Vinci did back in the 1400s and how relevant they are today. I will be making the effort to add these trips on to future work trips in the future. It felt great to go and do something cultural for a change.

Upping my Barista Skills

This last weekend I finally went on a course all about coffee. All my interest in coffee has been built on the last 10 years and I’ve never been on an actual course to learn the skills you need to make good coffee. I don’t count being the whole person at a cupping demonstration as a course, although I did learn a lot! So on Saturday I headed to Rave Coffee in Cirencester for a Barista Skills course.

I really want this art work on a smaller scale for my reading nook. I will also buy some of their old coffee sacks at some point to make cushions!

I was early so waiting in their small cafe area with a lovely flat white with the Signature Blend. It got really busy as they are only open in the mornings on Saturdays, but I did wonder how many they had on the course as it is only a small roasting area. It ended up be 5 plus Donavan who took us through everything. I watch him set up the machine we would be using.

This course was focused on espresso shots and the drinks you can make with an espresso base. It was really interesting to learn about the grind and the ratio of water to beans. I still need to learn about the other brewing methods, but this gave me a good start on that road to be able to understand and learn on my own using websites.

We worked through weighing the beans and adjusting the grinder time. We were using a commercial electric one, but I did ask about grinders for the home and they recommend spending more money on the grinder than any other piece of equipment. I also asked about hand grinders and they recommended one I had been pointed to already and a different one I hadn’t heard of. I also recommended to look at Bella Barista, Coffee Hit and Coffee Forums to find out more about this area.

So my shopping list so far is a new grinder and much better scales!

We then worked through what a coffee shot looks like when split out. This was fun to watch and something I don’t want to attempt myself. They each smelled and tasted completely different and the very last one just was not right as too much water had run through the beans. It was really interesting to see and understand what too much water really means to the taste of coffee.

We then got to practice making quite a few shots each. As we had set up the grinder to do exactly the same each time we only had to press the button and out it came. The next skill was in the flattening out of the bean and the pressing it down with a really nice tamper (another thing to add to the shopping list, but not essential). The put it into the machine and timed the shot. We set the machine to the correct time so that all we needed to focus on was getting the tamper pressure right. I was not brave enough to check the seal of mine by turning it upside down, but I will over a sink when I can control the mess if it goes wrong!

We also learnt about keeping everything clean. This will extend the life of all your equipment and shows a real pride in the skills you are learning and demonstrating. It is a really mark of respect and you can tell and good coffee shop from a bad coffee by how well they keep it all clean, but also by how well they clean between making each drink.

We then moved on to the milk. This is the harder part I think as every machine is different and every type of milk is different. We stuck with whole cows milk to keep it simple. This is all about the steam and getting the foam and then the spin of the milk. It’s all done by feel, although we ha d a thermometer to check our gauge of temperature. It gave me a really appreciation for skill involved in getting this right and I definitely need more practice in the area to get my flat white right. The pouring is also key and was the bit I was even worse at than the steaming, which improved as I had multiple goes.

We talked through each type of drink you can make from an espresso base, starting with the cappuccino, which is the one we concentrated on making as this is the one with the most foam. Donavan made this one as I got so absorbed in this I forgot to take any photos of my own.

We then moved onto the latte and that involves less foam so you focus on heating the milk straight away rather than creating the foam like with the cappuccino.

Then we added the flat white. This was the first time I have ever tasted them all side by side and it was enlightening. The latte tasted watery and weak compared the cappuccino and flat white.

We then looked at the cortado and the ristretto, which reduces the milk much further than the other drinks to the point where there is more espresso than milk. I am definitely a fan of the stronger coffee drinks over the milky drinks.

Overall it was a really great day and I learnt a lot. We also got to meet Dave who is on the Coffee Forum a lot and restores coffee machines. It was really interesting to get more insight into the brands to get and to avoid when it comes to grinders and the espresso machines. This was my first step into the local world of coffee and I love it.

I then went home and waited until the next day to practice as I had a little too much caffeine that day. So on Sunday I practice espresso and milk skills. I think with the addition of scales and a better grinder I will improve my coffee, but otherwise I like how I make espresso.

It’s my milk skills that need drastic improvement and my gauge of temperature is awful! I made this cappuccino like drink liking the milk was hot based on my hands and found when I came to drink it, it really wasn’t hot, but rather the hot side of warm. Some work needed there (or a better machine!).

Seriously though scales and a grinder on my must get soon list as they will benefit all my coffee brewing methods. I am also going to get an aeropress for travel coffee making and work I think. Then when my espresso machine breaks I will look at investing in a better one to take it up another level.

Why Do I Want to Lose Weight?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last week or so. Things haven’t been going well with my aim to lose weight and I’ve been working out why.

In the end I sabotage myself. I over count the exercise I do and under count the calories I eat. I treat myself with food for feeling good or bad. I feel out of control.

In the end it all comes down to changing my lifestyle to an improved or udpated version, which is sustainable. I have to think about it like this as it is the whole thing I want to change, not just my relationship with food.

So I’m going back to basics and figuring out why I want to lose weight and change my lifestyle. What does it mean to me? What am I stopping myself doing? Getting to the bottom of this and keep reminding myself of it in times of struggle could help.

  • to fit into old/new clothes
  • to swim, run and bike better and faster
  • to gain confidence and reduce insecurities
  • to have the confidence to date and put myself out there
  • to enjoy clothes shopping
  • to get rid of weight anxiety
  • to have a better relationship with food
  • to compete in triathlons
  • to save money
  • to make new friends
  • to beat my 2013 gala times
  • to buy knee high boots
  • to wear dresses to work
  • to not hold my tummy in
  • so my legs don’t rub together and make wearig tight comfortable
  • to have more energy
  • to relax/be able to relax
  • to be more social and join in
  • to consider myself healthy and to be considered healthy
  • to be active for fun
  • to not care what others think

That is in no way an exhastive list I am sure, but it is still a big list. There are so many advanatages to losing weight. But somehow I let the advantages of not losing weight keep me where I am.

It’s simple for me – I need to reduce how much I eat.

I’ve got the fitness. I’ve got the what I need eat. I’ve got all the tools I need. I just need to do it.

So why do I want to eat?

I think that question needs a whole post to its self!

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