Friday, 29 December 2017

Reflections - things I learned from 2017

Here is the second instalment of 2017's Reflection series. If you didn't see the first post - click here.

If you want to see previous posts then the links are below:

Lessons of 2016

  • Always, always, always listen to your gut 
  • It's okay to let people go
  • Tough love actually works
  • I cry at weddings
  • If you let your guard down and people in, you can be rewarded 
  • Despite the above, you do sometimes need to keep your guard up
  • You can still be empathic and a shoulder to cry on without taking on everyone's troubles as if they are your own
  • Every cloud has a silver lining, and with every difficult experience comes a lesson or a little more knowledge about life, yourself and people
  • Be honest when you need help AND ASK FOR IT 
  • Don't get a massage just before exam and revision period
  • First, second and third impressions can be wrong
  • You can miss someone you don't even really know 
  • Imposter syndrome is pandemic 
  • Sometimes you just know when something has to end 
  • If you want something to happen - don't be afraid to go for it
  • Working > studying 
  • Having a place to call home is more important than I realised 
  • I'm ready to stop going to the hospital 
  • I can sorta, kinda "run" a 10k
  • Tea-pickled eggs are not as enjoyable to eat as they are to make 
  • I'm still making rookie mistakes 
  • The idea of someone or something is often better than reality
  • Reality is sometimes better than the idea of something or someone
  • People can disappoint you and let you down
  • You can expect too much from people so you end up feeling disappointed and let down
  • Figuring out what you don't want is as instructive as figuring out what you do want 
  • Puns are a universal language
  • I could be a professional secret keeper 
  • Baked goods are a great ice-breaker 
  • I no longer enjoy Twitter 
  • I will never grow tired of life, or of living 
  • There are a lot of compliments I need to practice accepting 
  • Some people don't want advice, even if they ask for it
  • Some of my favourite people think I'm one of their favourite people too
  • You can be surprised by who your favourite people end up being
  • You can curl your hair with hair-straighteners
  • Storage heaters are more complicated to understand than a law degree
  • I need both the City and the countryside to stay sane
  • Libraries are actually a good place to study
  • I am very lucky 
  • Life is still an incredible, surprising and wonderful thing (and far too much has happened this year for me to neatly sum it up in these lessons)

What life lessons did 2017 bring for you?

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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Reflections - some of my favourites of 2017

As I have taken to do at this time of year, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year. Two posts will follow - this one of some of my favourite things of 2017, and another one on things I've learned in the last year (coming soon). I will try not repeat too many of the same things from previous years' posts, but be warned there may be a few similar!

If you want to see previous posts then the links are below:

Lessons of 2016

As I said last year (and the year before)...without further ado, and in the immortal words of Julie Andrews, these are a few of my favourite things (from 2017)...

  • Red wine
  • Reunions
  • Rooftop bars in London
  • Walking - both for perspective and health
  • End of exams - especially if someone else pays for a celebratory lunch
  • Getting braver, and going for what I want
  • Polaroid pictures 
  • My friends and family 
  • An actual cat burglar 
  • Re-watching my 1SecondEveryday videos 
  • Playing join-the-dots with freckles
  • Pimms/Beer/Cider/Picnics at the cricket
  • Impromptu plans - although I don't think you can actually plan anything that is impromptu...
  • Being a pedant - see above
  • Trying (and failing) to (temporarily) dye my hair purple
  • Friends trekking across London to provide sustenance of more than one kind
  • Texts that start with, "Do you want to come round to mine for dinner?" and end with "I'll cook".
  • Staycations
  • FINALLY getting free coffee(s) at Pret
  • Kumquats
  • Telling stories about kumquats
  • Being teased about my stories of kumquats
  • Puns - forever and always one of the ways to my heart
  • Well-timed, freshly-boiled kettles
  • Good grammar
  • Good manners
  • "Good morning"s
  • Good referencing - in life, not just in essays
  • Making time for self-care
  • Sheet masks
  • Yoga – especially Child’s Pose
  • Early nights
  • Late nights
  • A dazzlingly coloured wireless speaker
  • The Eiffel Tower light show
  • Being the hostess
  • Being the hosted 
  • Being mistaken for a Parisian
  • Being afraid of an answer, but asking anyway
  • Robing rooms and court rooms (as always)
  • Having one of my idols as a mentor
  • The notification "xxxx has tagged you in a comment/post"
  • Voice notes
  • Screenshots and a flurry of messaging
  • Still having more favourites than not, despite a roller-coaster of a year
...and so much more...

What are your favourite things of 2017? 

Monday, 30 October 2017

Recipe: Homemade healthy muesli

I posted a picture on Instagram of a jar of homemade muesli and asked you if you wanted a recipe for it; turns out you did. SO here we go...a nutty, nourishing, sugar-free, wheat-free muesli that doesn't taste of dust!


600g oats
200g mixed nuts
100g sesame seeds
50g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
100g raisins
100g dried cranberries
100g dried ready-to-eat apricots, chopped

Feel free to: change the types of dried fruit or seeds used according to your preference, and add some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg etc.) if you like a bit of extra warmth.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C
  2. Spread the oats, nuts and seeds on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes – making sure the oats don’t burn, but are slightly golden.
  3. Take the tray out of the oven and leave to cool
  4. Once the mixture is cooled, mix together with the dried fruit and store in a glass jar or other airtight container
  5. To serve – add milk or yoghurt and some fresh fruit if you like.

How do you like to start your day? What recipes would you like to see next?

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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Comfort Food: Lamb Tagine recipe

In my September In Review video I mentioned that I have been loving making (and eating) lamb tagines. I have written up my recipe - please see below. My apologies for the lack of photos - the many times I have made the tagine, the ravenous hordes have descended before I have had the chance to take nice photos...

This recipe serves four or five hungry people.


1kg lamb neck fillet
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
a few strands of saffron
2 small cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, unwaxed
500g of passata
150g dried apricots
125g dried pitted dates and/or sultanas
1 pint of lamb stock, or the water the lemon was boiled in
50g shelled pistachios
50g flaked almonds


1.     Pre-heat the oven to 150C (for fan-assisted ovens)

2.     Boil the lemon in a saucepan of water for 20 minutes, remove carefully and dice up the whole lemon while removing the seeds. Put the diced up lemon in a dish to use later. You will also want to retain the water it was boiled in for later...

3.     Dice the lamb neck and fry in a large oven-proof (and lidded) casserole dish over a very hot heat. Once the meat has browned, remove it from the casserole dish and set aside.

4.     In the same casserole dish you browned the lamb in, add the onion and garlic with some oil and start to sweat this down.

5.     Once the onion and garlic have started to soften, add all the spices (except the cinnamon stick and saffron) and stir over the heat to release the flavour.

6.     Add the lamb back in after a few minutes and stir the meat into the onion and spice mix, so that everything is thoroughly coated.

7.     You will now want to add your chosen liquid and also the passata. If your chosen liquid is lamb stock, then add the few strands of saffron to the stock before you pour over the meat. If you prefer, you can simply use the leftover lemon-y water from Step 2 and add the saffron to this. Stir!

8.     Add in the cinnamon stick, all the fruit (including the lemon) and the nuts and turn up the heat until the liquid is at a simmer, and let it bubble for a few minutes on the hob.

9.     Once the mix has bubbled away nicely for a few minutes, put the lid on the casserole dish and pop it in the oven for between 2 and 2.5 hours.

10.  Serve with a scattering of fresh coriander, rice, couscous or a green salad and watch the tagine magically disappear.

Let me know if you make this recipe - did you change anything? Are there any other recipes you make that are great comfort food meals?

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Month In Review: SEPTEMBER 2017

September 2017 in review, featuring the importance of boundaries, saying goodbye and the deliciousness of lamb tagine.
How was your September?

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Anniversary: four years on from hospital...

I will start this post with the same preface as the last three years "I have just written a 'status update' on my personal Facebook page to my friends and it occurred to me that I also want to say thank you to all of YOU. So I'm going to paste in what I wrote word-for-word on here. 
This isn't something I thought I would ever feel comfortable doing. I try to keep Life In Recovery and my personal life reasonably separate. Not because I am ashamed of the blog but because I think it works better if I don't use this as a platform to air my private life and that I use my past and present experiences in a constructive way to help others who may be struggling. That won't be changing.Keeping this blog, creating videos and posting little (or a lotta) bits on Twitter has been an absolutely wonderful experience. I hope to continue the work I have only just started and love interacting and discovering all of you 'out there.' This is why I felt it was relevant to post the message I sent to my friends and family to you all as well."

For the full effect (and for the new readers amongst you) you can read my first year anniversary post here and my second here and my third year here.

"Today is 5th August - and you know what that means Facebook friends...Yes, it's time for another of my epically soppy anniversary stream of consciousness-es.

Today marks four years exactly since I was discharged from hospital. Four years. Only four. If I thought the last three of these anniversary posts were hard to write this year's is even more so. Normally I like to spend a bit of time reflecting on what the last years have held and how far I've come; I like to remember all the incredible, patient, loving and hard-working people who helped me get where I am today, and I like to try to sum it all up neatly here (which I won't do this year!)

While I won't ever forget the pain and the hard times; it's so important to remember the joy of that first walk in the park seeing a squirrel, or going out for lunch for the first time, or slicing a loaf of bread, or making someone a cup of tea.

This year I don't have the chance to devote half a day to reminiscences, like previous years. But I think that says it all really - last year's post talked about how I almost missed the anniversary - that it almost passed me by, because I was too busy living my life. And this year is the same.

The past year has been filled with new experiences, new faces and new challenges. I have done things I never dreamed I could or would do, I am doing things that seemed so far out of reach and I'm becoming the person I want to be. Even in my darkest moments, when I tried to find and cling onto the hope that I would get through things, I could never have imagined how much could happen in four years.

With a new year of challenges and lots of change can come difficulties, but the last year has had so many more highs than lows and as I've said before, bumps in the road are just part of living a full life. I want to live life like a heartbeat, with all its ups and downs; not flatlining.

I often think things will plateau and I am sure there will come a time where no massive shifts or great strides happen - and this may be the last year where I notice big progress. Yet in the last year I have grown: bolder, stronger, healthier, more unafraid, more silly, more hungry, less wary, more sure, braver. More me. And for the opportunity to do that, I can never put into words. I am incredibly lucky, incredibly grateful and incredibly hopeful.

Going into my fifth year out of hospital feels amazing. Very soon I will stop having my regular appointments, a decision I made before the summer and one that I think shows I must have confidence in both my health and my self.

So, as I try not to cry (again) and I prepare to celebrate someone else's anniversary and don my heels, I'm reminded that this time four years ago I was putting on a pair of high heels in my hospital room as I had been determined to walk out in style, having entered on a stretcher. Yes, then, I may have only just made it out of the front door before having to stop, but still...! Tonight I'll dance all night!

I will quote my post from the last two years, “To the friends and family who have seen up close the changes these past couple of years have brought and who've been there with a solid shoulder, a helping hand, a beaming smile or a thumbs up - thank you”. I couldn't have done this, or enjoyed myself so much without you.

Life. Is. Good."

Do you mark milestones and life anniversaries?

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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Immune-boosting Supplement Regime

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” ― Hippocrates

Supplements mentioned:

Bio-Kult probiotic

Vitabiotics Immunace

Fushi Organic Spirulina

Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract

Other helpful videos for immune-boosting/overall wellbeing:

Mood-boosting and body-boosting foods

What do you do to boost your immune system? Have any favourite supplements?

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Top Health Apps and Trackers

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” – Herman Hesse

March In Review video






Breathing Zone (on iTunes) 

Breathing Zone (on Android)


Period Tracker (on Android)

Period Tracker (on iTunes)


Other useful wellbeing videos from Life In Recovery:



Getting active after being bedbound

Gym workouts

Do you use health trackers or apps? Technophobe or tech-lover? What are some of your favourites?

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Month In Review: MARCH 2017

Quote of the month: "You get in life what you have the courage to ask for." - Oprah Winfrey

Healthy meal/food: supplement regime

Lesson of the month: Don't burn the candle at both ends

Healthy thing: group exercise

Goal for April: routine of good food, exercise, study/work and being outside with friends

What was your favourite thing about March? How would you sum up the month in a quote? I'd love to know if you have a goal for April!

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Friday, 24 March 2017

Simply Cook: Thai Red Prawn Curry - REVIEW

I was recently emailed to ask if I wanted to try out a Simply Cook recipe box*. Having never heard of them - I checked out their website and was quickly intrigued with the nifty concept; a box of spices and flavours featuring four recipes, posted through your letterbox to make quick, tasty and healthy meals.

So, a couple of weeks ago came the familiar sound of the letterbox going, and among the usual bills and leaflets was a slim box carrying the precious ingredients for my next week's dinners.

In each box you get four recipe cards, and four containers of the spices you need to make each one. All you have to do is buy the fresh ingredients, follow the simple step-by-step guide whilst cooking and then voila - eat!
Four spice boxes: Malay Laksa, BBQ Tandoori, Bokkeumbap, Thai Red Prawn Curry
The recipe card and shopping list
I decided to cook the Thai Red Prawn Curry - I followed the steps exactly, although I added a load of extra vegetables and cooked rice noodles, instead of plain rice (my small act of rebellion). I think this just shows that the recipe is very versatile and allows you to tweak it. I love a lot of vegetables, and the only drawback, or negative thing I have to say about the recipe is that I felt the recipe lacked vegetables. But this was easily rectified, by adding some tenderstem broccoli and green beans to the dish.

Three spice pots
Overall, the dish turned out to be delicious. A tangy, flavoursome and more-ish meal - that had a good hit of heat. It was also even more yummy the next day, reheated. I found it to be the perfect balance of creaminess with a punch of chilli - the ideal feast on a cool night while curled up in front of the TV, or shared with friends over a few drinks. It's comfort food at its best!

If you want a quick, tasty and crowd-pleasing meal (they really do only take 15-20 minutes to make from scratch) then Simply Cook have provided me with a discounted trial box for only £3 to offer to you - click here to get this awesome deal - your taste-buds will thank you!

Have you ever tried a recipe kit box? What were your experiences like? 

How to get in touch:

Simply Cook kindly sent me a box to try, free of charge, and they have provided an affiliate link for you to use for your first box, at a discounted rate. However, the opinions above are all my own, nor was the box sent with any proviso that I would write a review (favourable or otherwise).