New Year, new me?!

“What do you need in the New Year? You need a dream; your dream needs an action; and your action needs right thinking! Without right thinking, you can have only unrealised dreams!”
Mehmet Murat ildan

It’s that time of year again where everyone re-evaluates their life and tries to make changes for the better… 2018 was my year of travel and I feel that was mission accomplished! I don’t know what my aim is going to be in 2019… For now, I’m trying to focus on my career as I have a big appraisal coming up and need to work out my long term goals.

My ‘Been’ world map on the app – so much travel, only 27% of the world seen…

Last year was a bit of a weird one for me. I found the start of the year really tough, as whatever happened, I knew that I wasn’t going to see my Mum. I hadn’t expected that as I couldn’t wait for 2017 to be over. I started bereavement counselling in May, which did help but it also made me feel worse for a few hours or even days, depending on what I’d spoken about. I hadn’t realised just how hard I was finding everything until the Summer, which led to me going part-time.

Part-time life really suits me! It gave me the opportunity to catch up on sleep, look after myself better, time to think and of course, more opportunities for travel! I am now in a much better place and am shortly going back to full time hours again.

But I didn’t blog as often as I wanted – I realised that if I didn’t feel excited about sharing my experiences, I didn’t have the motivation to write. Then the things I did want to blog about, I couldn’t as I didn’t think I should when I hadn’t written about everything chronologically as it didn’t seem to be honest. Who knows how the blog will go this year – I’ve never really had a set aim or idea for it but enjoyed blogging when I worked abroad.

Fitness also fell by the wayside and I don’t feel good about myself as a consequence. Both frustrated by my lack of effort and sluggish from bad habits. But with a couple of family weddings coming up, that’s as good a motivation as any to become more body confident!

I read recently that the reason most new years resolutions fail is because people are too strict on themselves and that a better approach may be to use 150 days… So 150 days of the year where you do something i.e. no alcohol, exercise etc. That could actually work!

150

Roast Rating: Punch Tavern

“Gin & Tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire”

Winston Churchill

 

This week, we went to the Punch Tavern on Fleet Street (www.punchtavern.com) for our roast and I have to say we were impressed! It’s a historic site, having been a former gin palace and was named due to its proximity to Punch magazine. It is charming inside – we were lucky enough to get a banquet seat with a view of the whole pub area.

 

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As per usual, we started off with beers. I had a guest ale which was served in a traditional dimpled glass tankard. I always think beer tastes better out of them!

Roast wise, we had a choice of roast beef or chicken. Obviously I had the beef. It was served with parsnip, cabbage, carrots and bonus cauliflower cheese. The cauliflower cheese was delicious – nicely cheesy but not overdone. The beef was thinly sliced and cooked to our personal taste, which is unusual with a pub roast and meant that the meat scored very highly! The roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding were also good. It was a decent portion size but didn’t look like much when it arrived with all the veg hidden from sight!

Roast punch tavern

I had the Malbec to drink and really enjoyed it. The rioja was not quite so good however. Sadly there was no cheese board option but the chocolate and caramel torte was lovely with a good mix of textures and flavours.

The rest of the menu looks interesting, with some decent veggie options so with the relaxed atmosphere and staff who were friendly and helpful, i’m sure we’ll be back again soon.

pud punch tavern

 

(Quote was displayed in the pub entrance and I quite liked it)

Finally!

“Fitness is not about being better than someone else…

It’s about being better than you used to be”

Khloe Kardasian

 

So yesterday, I finally joined a gym! Getting in there just in time to avoid paying a joining fee… I think we were quite impressed that I just walked in off the street and signed up pretty much straight away.

I read earlier this week that most people give up their new year resolutions within the first four weeks of the year so perhaps starting one of mine at this stage is the best solution! And hopefully means that I’ll avoid the new year gym hecticness.

 

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When I’ve not exercised for a while, the way that I get back into it is by swimming. I learnt to swim before I started school and used to swim for my local town when I was little. I love being in the water and have no real fear. Sadly living in central London means that if I want to join a gym with a pool, I have to pay more for the privilege, hence my joy at saving a few pounds!

My first and best gym experience was 10 years ago now, when I had a job with anti-social hours, meaning that I could use the gym at off-peak times and for a reduced rate. This ensured that I was recognised by the staff, so when I hadn’t been in for a few days, would be asked what i’d been up to instead. It felt like there was someone else with an interest in my fitness. It was the best and most confident that i’ve been.

I’m hoping that exercise will help me to sleep better – something that I’ve really been struggling with over the last few months. I’m constantly feeling sluggish and thus am eating stodgy winter comfort foods. Hopefully I’ll soon be a stronger healthier me!

 

(Ps. Pretty disappointed that the best quote I found was from a Kardashian…)

Family fun

“The love of our family flows strong and deep,

leaving us memories to treasure and keep”

Anon

 

I’ve just spent a lovely weekend up North, with my Mum’s side of the family, as it was my aunt’s 60th birthday. Oh and how she loves to celebrate! My sister and I travelled up on her birthday and arrived to a full house with champagne flowing and piles of wonderful presents scattered in every free space! One of my cousins had made a personalised scrap book filled with fantastic photos through the years and little quotes – the changing hairstyles had us all tickled!

 

60 balloon

 

On Friday, my aunt treated all the nieces to a spa day- blissful! All nine of us had two treatments and we were able to hire out the whole spa just for us. As an added bonus, we were allowed to bring in our own bubbly. I opted for a back message which was AMAZING and an eye remedy, which was like a mini facial and then cool stones around the eyes. I can’t say my bags are any smaller but it was very relaxing! The time absolutely flew by – I had planned to go for a swim but before I knew it, we’d been there for 7 hours and it was time to go… At least we were all able to make full use of the Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Girly time is the best and we think this may well have been the first time it was just the girl cousins, without brothers, partners etc

 

spa fun

 

We were absolutely exhausted so it was an early night after a day of relaxation so it was an early night all around! On Saturday, I went over to see my cousins gorgeous new flat and he cooked us a fantastic dinner of sirloin beef and dauphinoise potatoes with vegetables. The spoiling continued!

I stayed with my 92 year old Nan on Saturday night – she is one of the most incredible women you could ever meet, with some fantastic stories including her attempt to run away back home after she was evacuated during the war. I’m trying to treasure every moment I spend with her and ask her to tell me all the stories I’ve heard many times before in the hope that i’ll remember them in the way she tells them.

All in all, I had a fabulous weekend with a few of my nearest and dearest. I come from a big family and loved having so many cousins when I was growing up but we live quite a distance from the majority so don’t get to spend as much time with them as I would like. Perhaps I should add prioritising family to my list of new year resolutions?

Roast Rating: Roast

“Roast beef, medium, is not only a food. It is a philosophy”

Edna Ferber

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A traditional Sunday roast has long been one of my favourite meals, probably because I was blessed with a Mum who was a fabulous cook and made us one very week! For over a year, I have been on a mission to find the best pub roast in London… Unfortunately with working weekends etc, we probably only manage to venture out around once a month so we still have many more to try!

Much to the boys amusement, I have 18 categories, focusing on every aspect of the roast dinner, as well as the location in general. The rules are simple: a beer whilst we peruse the menu, before we order roast beef (i’m a traditionalist and can’t risk not getting a Yorkshire pudding!), red wine with the meal (followed by another glass or two…) and dessert- opting for the cheese board wherever possible.

No reviews of the best roast in London would be complete without a visit to Roast in Borough Market (www.roast-restaurant.com). So I’ve finally made it there!

 

roast meal 1

 

We opted for the 3 courses for £37.50 deal, which offered a choice of chicken, lamb shoulder, pork belly or roast sirloin of beef as their roast options, alongside a wide range of other dishes. We were definitely tempted by the roast chateaubriand for two but weren’t sure if it justified the additional cost.

For starters, we ordered the scotch egg and fish cake, both had roast beef and then apple crumble and cheese for dessert. The starters were fantastic! The roast beef was great too- thinly sliced and cooked medium to our request, with the horseradish being refreshingly different. The Yorkshire was presented as it should be- large and rustic. More gravy came at our request and the staff were attentive without being intrusive. The only slight disappointment for me was the apple crumble – it just wasn’t as good as Mums! The three cheeses were all tasty with two hard cheeses and one blue however a better cracker range would be nice. We opted for the Ruca Malen Malbec, which has been produced exclusively for Roast and it complimented the meal beautifully.

Overall, a good start to our roast ratings this year but not a front runner. However the rest of the menu looks good so we’ll undoubtedly be back soon!

roast wineroast cheese crop