Spring (and shortbread) madness

So spring has finally arrived. It seems as if everything and everyone is making the best of the warm(ish) weather, and I am no different. I’ve been for long walks and picnics in various parks and just generally chilled. For now, I just intend to make the most of my free time, so in addition to working my way through the library and making a few stabs at my own writing, I’ve also walked around the city sketching whatever catches my eye. Looking at my surroundings with an artist’s eye really does make a difference – so many things stood out that I previously did not notice.

I often have my head in the clouds, but I do want to share some pictures that I feel best sum up my wanderings over the past week:

Image Continue reading Spring (and shortbread) madness

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A trip to the zoo

I went to the zoo two weeks ago, for the first time in my life. When I was younger I never went because my mother didn’t agree with the idea of caging animals, and felt uncomfortable about supporting it, and my dad just went along with her. I spent enough time on farms and around horses and various other domestic animals growing up, so I didn’t miss out on animal interaction as a child. Also I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything because you can’t really miss something that you have no inkling about, really.

Then, at the ripe old age of somewhere in my late twenties, my best friend suggested a day at the London Zoo. There’s a new tiger exhibition, she told me one day over lunch. Also there’s a penguin beach at zoo.

Well, I couldn’t really say no to tigers and penguins, could I?

So we rolled up to the zoo, got our tickets (2 for the price of 1, with the purchase of any two rail tickets) and there we were: a pair of childless, non-romantically linked adults in 36 acres of zoo, surrounded by either photography-mad, affectionate couples or squealing kids and their parents and/or teachers. Continue reading A trip to the zoo

Why I Have Faith

In my opinion, one of the most honest and well-written, yet easy to understand articles on faith that I’ve read.

Thought Catalog

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

We all have faith in something – whether it’s God, science, institutions, ideologies, and/or our own conceptions of the world, we have faith. Faith is often seen as something in the religious domain and it has been so traditionally. I identify with this domain as a person of faith. And being a person of faith, I often find that people believe that faith is concrete and secure and straightforward. But in my experience, it doesn’t work like that.

Faith is hard work, as my mother would say. Most people don’t wake up and suddenly have it although I suppose that is possible through divine intervention. Faith, however, is a practice and a habit like many things one can embody. Faith is also having to place your trust in the knowledge…

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Happy Easter/Is it Spring yet?

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I just loved this flower arrangement when I saw it in my local pub last week. I haven’t used any filters – the colours really were that deep and rich. Thing is, I haven’t seen any flowers like these outside, alive in pots. It’s pretty much April – where is spring? I feel like we skipped straight through to winter again, given that we had a couple hot sunny days a few weeks ago. Oh well. I await the heatwave with bated breath.
On a more serious note, I just want to share another aspect of Easter with everyone: it’s not just chocolate eggs and bunnies. I celebrate Easter to remember Jesus Christ’s death and sacrifice to give me salvation from the sins I have and will commit. He then rose from the dead proving He is God.
So to me, Easter is all about a certain future – I may not know what job I’ll have in the next year, nor even which country I’ll be living in but one thing I know for sure is that God loves me and one day I will have eternal life with Him. In a world filled with uncertainties left, right and centre, this message gives me hope and peace. 
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
– John 11:25-26

Awesome sandwich

Awesome sandwich

I made a really quick lunch the other day.
First I sprinkled a thin chicken breast with garlic powder and pepper which was then pan fried.
Next I built up the sandwich with the addition of cucumber, red onions and spinach. As I don’t like raw onions, I let the slices sizzle in the pan beside the chicken, which made them nicely soft but not too crispy.
This was then all topped off with a generous drizzle of sweet Thai chilli sauce and sandwiched between lightly toasted wholemeal bread.
I’ll admit it was one of the messiest sandwiches I’ve eaten due to chilli sauce dripping out as I ate it, but at the same time it was one of the most satisfying I can remember having in a long time.

Alone on a hill

Alone on a hill

I just wanted to share something I once wrote. I think I must’ve been on one of my long train journeys and I just wanted a bit of quiet.
The picture was one I took a few years back when I walked up a hill near uni with some friends to catch the sunrise. It was one of the best moments of my life and I thought that it went perfectly with the little paragraph I wrote.

Chicken & Prawn Noodles

Or as it said in the Tesco leaflet, Chicken and Prawn Chow Mein.

I picked up the February/March free recipe booklet when I went shopping last week and left it in the living room. One of the guys I live with, M, decided that the recipe was simple enough and we ought to try it out. There’s only three of us in the house and the recipe said it served four to six, but we eat a lot.

The recipe below is what we did, which is a slight adaptation from the original as we weren’t able to get exactly the same ingredients. Amazingly, it all only cost us just under £10, which is far less than what we’d pay at the local Chinese takeaway. Continue reading Chicken & Prawn Noodles

Sort of Chinese sandwich

Sort of Chinese sandwich

As tomorrow is the first day of Chinese New Year, I thought I’d write about my lunch today, which was inspired by Chinese flavours.
I’d roasted a chicken earlier this week, seasoning it very simply with salt and pepper and since then I’ve been using the meat in a variety of recipes, of which this is one.
All I did was reheat some breast meat in the microwave, seasoned with a little five spice powder, pepper, a dash of light soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil. Then I served it up in (and on) some warm, toasted wholemeal pitta bread with slices of cucumber and a healthy dash of mayo.
This was possibly one of the quickest, simplest ways to recreate all the flavours of a Chinese meal in the convenience of a sandwich.
And to all the Chinese out there, 恭喜发财!