As you will no doubt be aware, Google Reader is going to be switched off in a couple of months time. As a blogger who has been encouraging you all to add me to your reader, citing Google Reader as the one I like to use, I find this a real shame.
I’ve been doing some investigation on the alternatives and there are several, and no doubt there will be loads more released over the next few weeks.
One such alternative for people who like to read blogs is bloglovin.
Actually the whole point of this particular post is so that I can claim my blog over on bloglovin, but it also gives me a chance to tell you I’m there. I can see that seven of you follow me there already, which is nice to know. Who else uses it? How do you find it as a reader?
Anyway, it’d be grand if you would Follow my blog with Bloglovin - cheers!
Feel free to let me know your favourite reader and I’ll go and investigate that too!
I get groceries delivered to my home regularly. I find shopping in a supermarket very stressful, and so I avoid it if possible. But even I can manage to survive Tesco or Sainsburys when I need just a couple of bits. So when the Tesco man came to my door last Monday evening I felt the need to explain that I wouldn’t normally have him come round for just one bag of chips; they’d been ordered by a PR company to try out. Honest.
The chips in question are these McCain Home Chips – Straight Cut, which are new to the range. They are “authentic chips”; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and are cooked in the oven.
Oven chips aren’t all that bad for you really. It’s obviously better to make your own (or not eat chips at all!), but it’s always useful to have a bag of oven chips in the freezer – they’re an easy, quickly cooked meal accompaniment (and you just can’t beat ham, egg and chips sometimes!). On the front of the packet it says these contain 265 calories per 135g of chips when cooked. Not bad, I thought. Then I weighed them out – it’s barely a handful. I knew my portion control was a bit wonky, but I’d want at least double that… eek! Chips are never going to be health food are they?
What makes these chips very good is that they are coated in a batter type mixture to give them a properly crispy shell when cooked. And it works. After 20 minutes in a hot oven I had a portion (or two) of evenly cooked crispy yet fluffy chips that had a very nice flavour. They tasted just as chips should. The chunky straight cut gives a nice bite, and will hold a lot of ketchup or whatever you like to have on yours. I can see me choosing these over my usual choice when it comes to buying another bag.
McCain actually called this the chip challenge… I’m not sure that serving them up with leftover roast beef and some peppers really counts, so I’ll have a think and come up with something more exciting soon (feel free to comment with your frozen chip recipe suggestions!).
Last week a new cafe opened in Lincoln. A friend and I went to check it out at the end of the week and I think it’s fair to say we both fell in love with the place.
Rock+Paper+Scissors is a “crafterie”, that is, a cafe, a place to do crafts, and a shop. Run by Elizabeth and Michelle, who have both moved back to Lincoln (they were both at Uni in Lincoln) after a little time away, it is a little shop on Guildhall Street, offering something quite different to any of the other cafes and tea shops dotted about. A place to socialise and try your hand at various arts and crafts, as well as somewhere to buy locally sourced gifts from cushions to prints and jewellery to tea towels.
Laura and I sat and chatted with Lizzie and Michelle for ages. They told us what life has been like since Uni, that they both went off to try their hands at all sorts, but that they were called back to Lincoln because they loved the place. They wanted to bring something different to Lincoln, something artsy, something vintage, something social. The idea seems to have come from wanting to create something where they could both spend time with interesting people, something hands on where they could interact with their customers as well as teach and learn at the same time.
They served us loose leaf Darjeeling Earl Grey tea in a massive teapot and little mismatched bone china tea cups and saucers. We had a slice of gooey lemon cake, home made of course. It was divine. What a wonderful way to spend a lunch break.
It’s so cute. Browsing through the wares on sale I found so many things I could easily have bought. Local artists and crafters are able to use the shop to sell their hand made items, it’s going to be a great place to find gifts for friends and family. I particularly liked the cushions by Mary James of Bille Bug, and as we left I found a print I think I’ll actually go back and buy when I get a minute.
The social side of the shop comes from the crafting sessions and other activities they run. Laura and I were there on Valentines day when they were offering a free session to create a valentines message for your loved one while you sat and drank tea. There are also crochet and knitting sessions planned, as well as a clothes swap. And we are told there are lots more planned – sugar craft, paper crafts and other such delights.
In fact Rock+Paper+Scissors has inspired me to finally get my sketchbook out after what must be years and years of neglect. There is a creative person inside me somewhere, I will find her again!
If you’re around and about Lincoln definitely make Rock+Paper+Scissors one of the stops on your list. A gorgeous little place.
I made it clear in my last post about my Weight Watchers journey that I would not be counting while on holiday. For LincsGeek and I food on holiday is a very important part of the experience – we enjoy our food, enjoy eating out, enjoy finding a restaurant we love and going back to taste something else from the menu… and I enjoy just picking what I fancy from a menu rather than thinking about how many calories or how much fat I’m consuming. And anyway, you can’t spend valuable time away worrying about what you should or shouldn’t be eating.
Of course now I am back and ready to start again. I stepped on the scales this morning to assess the damage and was incredibly surprised. I lost weight. Just the one pound but if you could see the pile of hot chocolate glasses… and sweet wrappers… I know that skiing is good exercise, and you probably burn more calories when it’s -20 outside, but it has still come as a happy surprise.
Now I’m home again I’d better make sure I take positive steps to continue the trend downwards – I need to get meal planning again and desperately need to do a proper shop as we’ve not got a lot in.
Because I missed a week I have two challenges to concentrate on over the next seven days. The first is all about breakfast. Yes, yes, I know it’s the most important meal of the day, but unless I’m doing something that requires being fuelled up before I go (like skiing, a long walk etc), then nine times out of ten I don’t bother. I go through phases – I’ll eat breakfast properly for a few days before giving up and just waiting til my stomach starts moaning at 10am (or before). I’ve had boxes of cereal under my desk at work before now to try and get me into a routine of having breakfast as soon as I get in (I start at 8am so it’s early enough), but again I never get into a proper routine. So this week I will eat breakfast every single day, and try and vary it to keep me interested. It is most likely going to be cereal – weetabix, alpen, country crisp, that sort of thing. This morning I had some Sultana Bran. I give me til Friday.
I’ll introduce the other challenge later in the week.
What tips do you have for getting back on a decent diet after you’ve been off it for a week? What do you eat for breakfast?
I appear to have a new addiction. Last week I bought seasons one to five of The Big Bang Theory. I had some Tesco vouchers to use before they ran out and have had the box set on my wish list for a while, so I decided rather than buying something sensible that we needed like food or bedding or Christmas presents or any number of other things, I’d just get something I wanted and might lead to some laughing and relaxation.
Anyway, I opened the box on Friday night and by the time I went to bed on Saturday I’d watched the 17 episodes of season one and a couple of season two. That’s six episodes Friday evening and 13 on Saturday. Yes, 11. Er… oops.
It’s just a tad addictive.
What is it about this show that has me hooked? Well I love Sheldon’s perfectly sensible and logical but equally ridiculous monologues, the fact it’s all based on science that seems very plausible (it’s probably either all garbage or totally correct but obviously I am not a physicist with two PhDs so quite a lot of it goes right over my head), the notes to science fiction films and television programmes and comic books, the fact that Penny forces the four nerds to confront their social inadequacies. All of those things and more. It’s simply very funny.
It’s totally the the same as with some of my friends and, well, Friends, or Downton Abbey (actually I’ve never seen a Downton episode, I’ve been lent the series one DVD to see if I like it), or anything other programme available in a box set for that matter.
Stuff like this helps us relax. Sitcoms like Big Bang Theory can be watched on your own or with your family, you can sit and concentrate or just have them on in the background. They help us while away the hours on a dark and rainy evening (we seem to be having loads of them at the moment), something that doesn’t need thinking about. We can allow our brains time to switch off, exercise our laughter muscles, and think about nothing other than what the characters on the screen are doing.
It’s important to find time to relax, to switch off. There are so many ways to do it. Do you like box sets? Which sitcoms make you laugh? Which dramas make you cry? Do you end up putting a DVD box set on one minute and realise you’re still sat there hours later? Which box set should I be getting next?
Would love to hear your comments. In the mean time I’m off to sit in front of the telly in my pyjamas and (new gorgeously soft) dressing gown (How Many Dressing Gowns?!) to continue with season two. Night!
Sometimes chatting online or via text or even on the phone isn’t enough. Sometimes friends just have to get together. So the other weekend I went to Southampton for tea. Yes that’s a 500 miles round trip, and yes that makes me just a little bit mad.
Actually I only (only!) drove as far as Grays in Essex, and my friend drove the rest of the way. See I’m not quite as crazy as you thought(!).
Anyway, following that visit I’ve been meaning to ask you a question.
How many dressing gowns do you own?
We discussed this at great length over the dinner table. I can’t even remember how the topic started. Some had just one. Some had two. Others had three (greedy!). Some seemed quite strict over which dressing gown they wear for what occasion – if slobbing about the house can be considered an “occasion”. Some confessed to being fussy over the material. Some preferred hoods. Others had oversized mens towelling gowns from Marks and Spencer. Some wear them over cosy pyjamas. Others said they wear them over nothing (oo-er missus).
I do wonder what the people at the next table thought.
So go on then. How many do you own? What materials are they? How often do you wash yours? Go on… humour me and comment below!
Oh and I should answer myself too. I have two. One white soft fleecy robe that I wear all the time, and one old blue towelling robe that LincsGeek didn’t want anymore so I claimed it for myself.
(Whether you air dry or towel dry after a shower and whether you have towels you only use on your hair are perhaps questions for another day!)