Sunday, 18 March 2018

2018 Vibes

Included: Alice Catherine & Lizzy Hadfield, Image sourced from Pinterest

SELF IMAGE

Since moving to Leeds for university, I've somehow lost my love and confidence for dressing. Wearing the same rotation of jeans, jumpers and trainers daily has decreased my self confidence and left me bored and unexpressed. In my gap year I got a job at Urban Outfitters for a couple of reasons, including the fact I had a load of great outfits but absolutely no reason to leave the house, and it was depressing. I'm not joking.  I get a lot of confidence out of looking my best (so shoot me) meaning this stagnation has sapped a lot of who I am out of the way I present and hold myself in public. Don't get me wrong, denim and jumpers are a crucial part of my wardrobe, but they'll be less for hiding from now on.

In 2018 I hope to invest in key, statement, wearable pieces that transform bland outfits into ones that have personality, and help me be myself. You don't have to be as eccentric as the lady who only wears the colour green to say this. Find the boots that make you strut the way you've always wanted to strut and the funky undershirt that allows you to wear deep plunge necklines without fear.

A sub goal is to reduce impulse buys and curate a wardrobe of investment pieces that feel me.



Included: Images sourced from Pinterest, Sighh greetings card, Photo by Joy Felicity Jane, Illustration by Josefina Schargorodsky

SELF IMPROVEMENT

I have witnessed a distinct development in my personality over the last 3 years, since leaving college. My social anxiety became horrendous, slowly improved, disappeared, gradually crept up, hit me like a fucking train, ebbed away with infrequent jabs and now finally... it doesn't feel like a problem any more. I have gained so much empathy and interest in those around me instead of shutting *everyone* out, expecting them to have bad intentions and hate me anyway. I have listened to activists on social media and truly opened my eyes and changed my opinions and become more critical of what I see, as well as open minded. However, I've also lost some of the key attributes of my old self that I valued. My huge passion and determination to achieve my goals and my self assured knowledge of what I wanted and getting rid of what and who didn't match it. My independent self. 

I took that brilliant Myers Briggs test (would recommend) before uni and was an INTJ, but had changed into another (which I've forgotten) by 2nd year. A key symptom, I realised, was that I couldn't make decisions. From choosing my projects at uni to what to eat in a restaurant, I didn't trust my own judgement and flitted between options wasting time until someone helped. I became almost mute in social situations because I didn't think I had a valid input, or I'd get it wrong. I'd also changed from a Ravenclaw to a Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I just didn't sign up for this as a side effect of fixing the parts of myself I didn't like. 

However, 6-9 months ago I realised all of this, and since then I have seen improvements. I guess this is all part of growing up and developing an identity and personality. Transforming from a naive teenager into an increasingly aware small adult as been difficult and confusing. But as mentioned, I think I'm coming out the other side now.  

In 2018 I hope to I want to live life for me, not the acceptance of others. I am in the process of accepting that what other people think of me is not always under control, and not always my fault. Other people's behaviour doesn't make me a bad person. All I can do is go through life with good intentions. I want to have faith that I will gravitate towards people who are genuine and supportive, with morals aligned to mine. I want to give my all to people who won't throw it back, but if they do, I don't want to take it personally. I want to be my own happy bubble that floats around, bumping into other people's bubbles and sticking to the good ones. 

If my only excuse is fear of what others will think, I want to go ahead and do the thing anyway.

In 2018 I also want to make a consistent effort to stay connected to my friends and family. Whenever I go home or have a long phone call with one of my sisters I leave feeling full of love. I'm so glad that we've grown up and hit the stage where we can be friends rather than arch enemies. I would willingly share makeup with both of them, now. My friends from home are really special. We've always been able to go long periods without talking and stay just as close, but I really want to be in more regular contact now. I want to be involved in their lives real-time rather than catching up on what's happened every 6 months over coffee.



WORK

2018 is going to be a big year for every area of my work life as I graduate this summer. I'll then be thrust into the world once more, ready to be 100% and completely in control of my life. Can't wait. Literally can't fucking wait.

However before I'm thrust from the system, I want to experiment with everything I hope to do freelance work for after graduation. I went to uni to become more confident in specific areas and I don't think I've actually achieved that. I really need to venture into something other than product design - my big comfy comfort blanket.

Importantly, I need to get more on top of the business side of my business. Have my accounts up to date, as well as important dates updated in my calendar. And get the most out of my accountant, who costs a lot. The truth is it's been incredibly challenging to even keep my head above the water over the past (almost) three years of university, balancing a business on my own. I've had to neglect it in order to focus on my degree, so the general mechanics are rusty and ignored, but I'm determined to resuscitate the shop and brand after graduation. I worked so hard to build Sighh up - and I see it as the backbone of my career.

In 2018 I want to develop and establish my brand. Illustrator, foodie and friend. Taking on jobs and putting things out there that represent what I want to be and do.



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Friday, 2 February 2018

Easy Miso Courgette and Fried Rice


If you're weaning yourself off eating so much meat, you might be finding it difficult to find that extra thing to put on your plate... to make it a 'meal'. A lot of life long meat eaters probably have the 'meat, veg, carb' mindset, so taking one part away can leave a hole that you itch to fill.

During Vegetarianuary I had to think up ways to stop me missing that significant element of a meal that meat has always been. I found that eating veggie for a prolonged period forced me to change how I viewed a meal - it doesn't have to follow the formula of 1/3 meat, 1/3 veg and 1/3 carb. But sometimes you want that extra element, and there is a lot you can do for replacements.

Yes this courgette could be chicken, but it's very good as not chicken. It adds the 'main' element to a meal like this which is what you might be missing, and the miso topping is incredibly flavourful and filling. I first tried it with aubergine at a really fancy Japanese restaurant and couldn't stop thinking about it. Determined to make my own I ventured to the shops only to find no aubergines in sight. Luckily, it's just as nice with courgettes, and as they tend to come in packs of three I've had this meal all week, haha!

INGREDIENTS


1 Courgette or Aubergine
3+ tbsp of Miso Paste 
Soy sauce
Chopped Spring onion

NOTES
Brown miso paste is preferable as it's a lot stronger, but if you use white miso just add in more soy sauce. Honey and powdered ginger (to taste) would work really nicely as extra ingredients.

METHOD
Half the courgette lengthways, then cut a hash all along the flesh to give space for the topping to sink in later. Grill for 30 minutes, or until well done. In the meantime mix up the topping ingredients, leaving the spring onion out for garnishing. When the courgette is done, spread a thick layer on top and grill for a further 10 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped spring onion.

Cooked rice of choice
1/2 medium white onion
1/2 bell pepper
1-2 chopped garlic
1/2 finely chopped fresh chilli or powder to taste
1 egg
1-2 chopped spring onion
2 tsp (or to taste) soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

NOTES
Fried rice is a really really simple, easy meal that everyone should know how to do. But until this summer, at the ripe age of 21, I did not, and I assume some of you won't either. I like to use microwave bags of rice for this but if you cook it yourself it will be miles cheaper. Sesame oil is an optional extra but v nice. This can make one or two portions depending on how much rice you add.

METHOD
Chop the onion into decent chunks, and the same with the bell pepper. Fry them on a high heat with your chosen oil. Chop the garlic and pepper and add them in, then once everything looks browned add the cooked rice. Stir in the soy sauce until everything is coated, then move everything to one side and crack in the egg. Move quickly because the egg will harden fast. Scramble it into little chunks, then once it's all cooked mix it into the rice. Don't mix raw egg into the rice, you want the scrambled texture. Mix in half the chopped spring onion before serving, then top with the rest.







I'm so happy about this dish. It's very straightforward and I know it will be a great meat-free pick me up when I want tasty, tangy food. If you make it, please let me know! :) I really enjoy food content and sharing meal ideas! 

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