Motivational Monday – Just Be You

The first one in this series is from a disability/chronic illness/neurodiverse perspective but I reckon most people will be able to relate to this, in one way or another.

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I love the part in this which says ‘Be safe, if you can be.’ I cannot tell you how many times I’ve battled on when really it wasn’t safe for me to do so because I was that exhausted, I was having accidents and making terrible decisions. Having a rest is not giving up, it’s enabling you to come back stronger later.

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This idea sunk in when I was around 14 and I thought if people are going to stare at me no matter how hard I try to blend in, then I might as well give them something that I’ve CHOOSEN for them to stare at. Something so they actually see me for a change.

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Neurodiverse people are just a different kind of normal. Don’t forget your quirks are part of who you are and they have helped to shape your character.

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Too loud, too fast, too bright, too busy, too freakin much! This is when you know you need to take a moment to reset and de-stress, if only for five minutes.

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I cannot tell you how important it is to do this, for your own self esteem and sanity. I ended up having to cut a really good friend out of my life because his mates hated me and he ignored it – expecting me to put up with it. Nah! I’ve also tried my arse off to fit in with a group who had no intentions of even trying to understand me. If they are ‘your kind of crazy’ you shouldn’t have to try that much.

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Bit of a literal one for me this, haha! Seriously, though today is a new day and another chance at getting that difficult thing right. Which led me to creating this one myself…

You are enough.

Chrissie

Style Edit – Modern Glam Rock

Glam Rock

 

My Lifestyle Lately – March 2017

Style and Homeware

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The Bloke re-dyed my hair for me which took a much shorter amount of time than the first time. I just don’t get how some people get the depth of colour that they do!? This is a cruelty free dye from Star Gazer.

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My beloved biker boots have finally died after having the sole glued back on twice, just as I managed to find these as a replacement (after months of searching). I added the spike and chain strap which I bought separately.

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This adorable little fella is utterly impractical as a mug – right handed he’s facing away from me and left handed his horns hitting my glasses and he wont sit properly in the draining bored – but as I said, it is adorable!

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Sea for Yourself – sea inspired style and homeware post.

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Spring/Summer Cross Body Handbags post.

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Rainbow Accessories post.

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Its a running joke between me and the Bloke that when I suddenly realise something or I’m contemplating something I sound like I’m mooing, so he surprised me with this!

Food

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I was invited to Zouk Tea Bar and Grill to sample some of their new Spring/Summer menu. Me and The Bloke enjoyed, contemporary and classic Indian food, cocktails and of course mango lassi.

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Every morning I either have a smoothie or if I really need it, I’ll make a small milky coffee with vanilla essence. Banana and peanut butter smoothies are the bomb!

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Gluten and dairy free of course as are these…

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I found this pre-made meal at Coop in the open fridges. They also had a mushroom risotto to heat up the rice did not behave like risotto rice and it contained quinoa which gave it a very noticeable bitter taste. Total fail!

Here’s my Dairy Free, Veggie Goodies post.

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Here are the best naughty treats I’ve tried this month…

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Tiny bites of caramel, biscuit and milk chocolate heaven!

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Higgity! Higgity! Higgity! This Higgity feta and spinach pie is rather wonderful when heated up. Posh restaurants can save their silly feta reductions as far as I concerned.

Beauty

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I don’t know about you but my skin has been freaking out with this wildly changeable Spring weather. I was really pleased to review this Tea Face hydrating, calming and exfoliating tea treatment.

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Read why I love this polish so much here.

Decals (or y’know, stickers)

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Yeah, man. This went straight onto my laptop as did the one below.

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I put this one on my iPad cover. I love the simplicity of it!

Lifestyle/Personal Interest

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I wrote 20 Little Things to Appreciate in Life after the weather had been bad, my back had been bad and I’d not gone out much but I realised I was still relatively happy.

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“I’ll bing you flowers, in the pouring rain…” Great old school garage song by two Manchester lasses. Well, it was pouring and the bloke did bring me flowers.

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My own shot of street art by Tank Petrol in The Northern Quarter

And the award for longest tittle goes to: 10 Helpful Things Having Chronic Illness & Invisible Disabilities Have Taught Me About Life. I really wanted to make sure I didn’t just have a big old rant with this and tried to keep it balanced and upbeat in places.

Always nice having a cuppa (‘tea’ for my American readers) and a catch up. Chat to you again soon!

Chrissie

 

Sea For Yourself

Sea For Yourself

 

20 Little Things To Appreciate in Life

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  2. The sound of rain when you’re not in it
  3. Time to yourself to unwind
  4. Putting on your pyjama’s or tracky-bottoms after a long day
  5. A stranger gladly scootching up so you can get a seat
  6. A cup of tea and biscuits on a chilly day
  7. Rainbows
  8. A stranger flagging you down to give you back something you’ve dropped
  9. Music
  10. Fresh sheets and a bed made exactly the way you like it.
  11. Managing not to kill a pot plant and seeing it thrive
  12. Going out of your way to help a stranger who looks like they are having ‘one of those days’
  13. A friendly cat or dog coming up to you on the street for a fuss
  14. Being able to sleep in and not having to get up early
  15. A good story (even better if it’s read by Tom Hardy)
  16. When someone does something or gets you something something (small) that only they know you’ll really appreciate.
  17. The first wild flowers in the spring
  18. A new planner/journal/diary
  19. Cheese on toast
  20. A job well done, no matter how long it took

Which one’s are your favourites? 

Chrissie

Zouk Tea Bar and Grill – Manchester

I was invited to sample the new Spring/Summer menu at Zouk Tea Bar and Grill  and as you probably know by now, me and the Bloke adore Indian food so we eagerly agreed.

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Zouk has a warm, welcoming and contemporary feel, with a sheltered terrace area with seating and hookahs outside. Inside is a small bar area for anyone wanting cocktails, mocktails, lassi or tea, rather than food. I can attest to their amazing mango lassi and Spring Fling cocktails. We were not so smitten with a strawberry based mocktail which we both agreed tasted oddly like savoury tomatoes! The kitchen runs along one side of the interior with tables and large booths on the other as well as upstairs. I liked how spacious and comfortable the dinning area was as I find that can massively add or detract from the overall experience, especially considering my disability needs.

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I’m always impressed when I see a restaurant has an open kitchen as it means the chefs are proud of the manner in which they cook their food and don’t have anything to hide. It was also nice to be able to see a large amount of fresh produce being used and fresh bread being made.

P1000501I’m always interested to see how many vegetarian options are on the menu at any eatery which has ‘Grill’ in the tittle. The already existing menu has a limited amount of vegetarian options, with an odd lack of very popular paneer, mushroom, daal or saag based veggie Indian dishes. The Spring/Summer menu will be available from April and will hopefully include a larger range of interesting vegetarian options.

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For starters we had Channa (chickpea) Masala, which was for me, a nice change from Channa Daal (although the Bloke would have preferred Daal) as well as Vegetable Pakoras. The Masala had the right amount of spice and the yoghurt gave it a rich texture. We were surprised that the pakoras, rather than being a mixture of gram flour and vegetables, were in fact individual slices of vegetable coated in a spicy gram flour batter. I liked how light these were and thought they were perfect as a starter.

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For our main course we had Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza with rice subtly flavoured with cinnamon. Aloo Gobi, a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes in a Punjabi style sauce is an absolute classic and this did not disappoint. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, not too al dente or too soft. Bindi Dupiaza is an ochra based dish in a garlic, tomato, onion and green chilli sauce. This is usually not a popular dish among vegetarians as it’s so easy for the ochra to be over cooked to a soft slimy consistency but not at Zouk. The ochra was cooked perfectly and the heat in the sauce did not overwhelm the flavour but added to it. As vegetarians me and the Bloke always have to pay more attention to where our protein will come from, not necessarily in our starter but always in our main course. Zouk’s veggie mains had no protein! Although we left feeling full and content I was a little hungry again three hours later and was glad that I’d had a glass of thick lassi with my meal. Maybe if we’d have had a larger portion of Channa (chickpeas) for our mains instead of just as a starter this could have been avoided.

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For desert we had Mumbai Mess; a lot of cream topped with beautiful sweet but sharp raspberry sauce and a tiny bit of crumbled biscuit but no overall substance. We also had cold chocolate brownies which were pleasant but would have been better and probably gooier in centre if served warm. We then tried the cinnamon topped churro-style sticks served with chocolate sauce which were utterly delicious! I was a little surprised and disappointed that there were no popular Indian deserts on offer, especially at the lack of pistachio kulfi.

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Zouk is a place I would look forward to visiting on a Friday night for their extensive range of cocktails. It’s a place we would be happy to visit with a group of friends if most of them ate meat. It is not a place we, as vegetarians would specifically choose to visit ourselves, unlike other restaurants in central Manchester which cater for both diets more successfully. We may change our minds when viewing the full Spring/Summer menu so I will keep you updated.

Chrissie

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book Review

I’d gotten to the point where if I had to colour one more leaf (out of hundreds) I was going to throw my adult colouring book out of the window. Same with flowers. Also, daffodils are very pretty but everyone knows they are yellow, so exactly where is the creativity in that? When I received an email asking me did I want to review Natasha Itzcovitz’s debut The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book I was really excited for the opportunity to actually be creative again.

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book

For me colouring is relaxing and a creative outlet, even on the days when I have fatigue and brain fog and lack the capacity to draw something myself. It’s a great distraction from any negative thoughts and a good exercise in mindfulness as unlike watching TV, which is incredibly passive, it requires enough concentration to keep you focussed.

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Mermaids are so passé, It’s time octomaids get the attention they deserve!

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The difference between using marker pens and colouring pencils has been a revelation! You can get so much variation in texture and depth of colour with pencils, which comes in handy when colouring fabric and hair.

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With 100 hand drawn illustrations there will be at least a few characters in here you will personally identify with and other styles covering many decades which you can let your imagination loose on.

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Another thing I really love about this colouring book is some of the concepts are rather bonkers, which suits me just fine, ha!

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There’s also a pirate, hipster guys and this cute skater boy.

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The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book by Natasha Itscovitz, rrp £8.99 available at WHSmiths and other retailers.

Chrissie

Alternative Valentines Gifts

Alternative Valentines Gifts

 

Cute and Cozy – Clothes and Homeware

Cute and Cozy
Snuggle up in style with cute clothes and homeware.

Trying To Make Your Home Hygge

  1. You have a ‘real’ wood fire. It takes an age to cut and dry the wood but it screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-23-00-22has the scent of nature.
  2. You have an over stuffed leather and wood sofa which takes a layer of skin with it in sticky Summer time and is freezing in the Winter but it looks so traditional.
  3. You place candles absolutely everywhere and then realise you stopped bothering with them as a teen because they are actually quite high-maintenance and possibly dangerous when forgotten about.
  4. You have the thickest hand woven rug imaginable in your living room, which everyone constantly trips over.
  5. You decide with friends to only exchange presents which you have hand-made yourselves for special occasions. You realise just how time consuming crafts actually are and that you are really quite crap at them.
  6. You buy a new wide screen TV (which you’ve sort of needed for ages and which looked reasonable in the shop) only to find it looks utterly absurd in your newly Hyged home.
  7. You have a basket of blankets for people to snuggle under but because they are so neatly rolled everyone is to polite to actually use them.
  8. Lots of your friends are coming around so you’ve put on a spread consisting of convenient comfort food such as cinnamon Danish pastries but everyone is either going gluten free or watching their weight.
  9. You are incredibly pleased with your folk lanterns but with minimal lighting everyone trips over that damn rug.
  10. You realise knitting is a worthwhile hobby but you can only knit scarves and sofa throws as they are rectangular and therefor easy. You note that the throw constantly slides of that damn sofa.
  11. You provide a range of spicy comforting teas for people but the most requested is “Builders tea, white, two sugars. Cheers.”
  12. You decide that wearing snow boots and the Scandi print dressing gown you got in the Primark sale really is channeling the spirt of Hygge anyway.