Money money money…

In trying to decide what to do with your life, one thing generally rears it’s ugly head; money.

day 3 - this is your life

“How are you going to live?”, “What will you do for cash?”, “How will you pay for it all?”, these are the types of questions you hear from people whenever you talk about doing something new, about “…making the choice between liberty and security.” And with good reason.

For example, last week I was idly contemplating pay day, making a list of what I was going to buy with this month’s cash (which included a tri-monthly bonus), when suddenly I chipped a tooth, and I discovered my car hadn’t had a proper service in over a year, and there’s a friend’s birthday coming up, and… well, you get the picture. I went from buying a new stereo to dipping into my savings in a matter of days. Such is the way of things.

But should this be a reason not to try? Hell no! You can live in fear or take risks and have fun, and either way there’ll still be unexpected things to deal with along the way. For example, I used to share a house with this lad who never worried about what he spent his money on. If he saw something he liked, he bought it. Every time he came home he had something new and interesting to show us.

I, on the other hand, was eternally frugal. I was digging my way out of debt and so was counting every penny. I bought shop brand goods (ie: non-Heinz baked beans), thought hard about any major purchase, and never did anything on the spur of the moment.

And you know what, at the end of the month we were both skint, but he’d had a lot more fun than I had. It was a revelation the day I figured that one out. That was when I stopped worrying about money, and started using it to my own advantage.

I still budget, and I still save, but once the bills are paid I allow myself free reign to quite simply spank the remainder on whatever the hell I want, and I have a lot more fun doing it than I ever did feeling guilty for enjoying myself now and then.

Don’t ever be too hard on yourself; there’s plenty of people out there who’ll try and do that for you.

Speaking of fun, meet Thumb Face. 🙂

thumb face

I’d explain him, but I think he’s pretty self explanatory. You’ve got amuse yourself somehow, eh? I’ve got a feeling Thumb Face will make a few more appearances in the future. He has a tenacious curiosity.

Lemon Dribble Cake

Ok, so I know it’s normally ‘drizzle’, but this really is more of a dribbley recipe. It’s funny, coz you end up with a sort of wet patch down the middle (stop giggling) but it kind of works. You’ll just have to try it to see what I mean.

lemon dribble cake

200g plain flour
170g margerine
170g unrefined cane sugar
Egg replacer equal to 2 eggs
2 tbsp water
30g ground almond
rind and juice of 1 lemon
6 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 1lb baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Cream the marg and sugar. Add the flour and egg replacer, and 2 tbsp of water, and mix. Add the ground almonds and lemon rind and mix again.

Spread evenly into bottom of baking tin and put in oven for 50 minutes.

Once golden brown let cool slightly whilst whisking the icing sugar into the lemon juice (don’t worry about the odd lump).

Remove from tin, place on a chopping board (or something like that), and prick the cake all over before pouring over the icing sugar and lemon juice ‘dribble’. Let it soak for a second before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

lemon dribble cake, slice

With mine I found that there was a slight depression running the length of the cake, which allowed the sweet lemon juice to pool slightly before soaking into the cake. The creates the afore mentioned wet patch, which you can see in the slice above, but rather than being a problem I think it actually adds to the flavour/texture of the cake, setting it apart from others. I hope you do too. 🙂

Little People

No you fool, not circus midgets, I mean babies.

Got a friend of mine who is just about to pop, so I’ve diversified from my standard scarf making to do her a hat for the little one to be.


I didn’t like it at first, thought it was too loose, but it’s starting to grow on me now. I’m most proud of the bobble on top. It’s just so… bobbly. I may do a scarf to go with it, I haven’t decided yet. Depends if I can be arsed or not. 😉

And in honour of little ones everywhere I give you this. Guaranteed to make you laugh.

Aww… lol. 😆

Doing and Trying

There is a world of difference between doing and trying (and indeed not trying), and you should always know which is which.

It’s been a difficult week for me, though I didn’t realise it until I started telling someone else about it. Not that anything major has gone on really, it’s just work is full of so much bullshit at the moment, then I come home and have to deal with my neighbours and their machinations, that it feels like I have no place to rest. That’s why I’m often down the local coffee shop for hours with a good book, in an attempt to ‘hide’ from the world for a few hours.

At times like this you have to take pride in your accomplishments. To this end I offer you the following photo.


“It’s just a cooker?” you say. Well how right you are. What it is though, is a damn clean cooker, in point of fact. Two hours and two brillo pads it took me to get off the inch of burnt on crap that had accumulated around the rings over the years. I’d been saying for months that I was going to sort it out, but until you actually do something to sort it out then it’s all just words. Now I keep going into the kitchen just to admire my handiwork. In fact, even though I just recently finished writing my second ever full length feature film script, I’m far more proud of this at the moment than anything else.

day 21 - peace

I’ve decided to start going to yoga twice a week. If I want to start teaching then the sooner I’m able to actually get my head on my knees the better. That’s what I was thinking anyway, but then I realised I’m trying so hard to relax that I never will. If you’re all tense and trying to force your muscles and tendons to stretch it’s like driving with the brake on; it feels like your doing something, but really you’re not getting anywhere.

Been thinking so much about teaching, and being able to quit work, that I’ve actually gotten in the way of my own progression. Like trying to meditate, or trying to calm a lake with your hands, the more you try the worse it gets. You just have to relax and let it happen. Or more to the point, you have to learn to not try. I’ve learnt that with meditation; I need to learn it with yoga. Don’t try and relax, just relax.

afternoon tea

It occurred to me today for the first time, as I looked at the stats for my blog and saw someone had been looking at some of the recipes, that there might actually be people out there making food from my ideas/recommendations. I mean that was always the idea, but for some reason I only just realised that it might be happening. That tickled me a bit. I’d love to know how they got on.

Pancake Day 2011

Shrove Tuesday, a religious holiday that has been joyously hijacked by everyone as an excuse to make pancakes every year. Of course you don’t need an excuse to make pancakes, but it’s nice to have a reminder.

Now I’ve made mine early this year, as I’m working ’til late on the 8th, and I won’t have time to make any then when I get back. Here’s how they came out.

pancake day

I made mine using the pancake mix recipe from How It All Vegan (which is just flour, soy milk, baking powder, baking soda and oil) as they always turn out great. And being a man of simple tastes I garnished them with a heady mix of honey, lemon juice and sugar. They were faaaantastic! 😉

On a side note, if you haven’t seen the movie Paul yet you should go check it out. Saw it last night and thought it was well funny. It’s full of sci-fi movie references, one of which is so geeky it took me a second to realise I was the only one in the cinema cracking up at it. Oh the geek shame, lol.

Comfort Food

Man, it’s been one of those days. Not only did I have to get up before 6am to go do 12 hours at a job I see no value in, but I had to put up with the useless bitching and moaning of my ‘colleagues’ who desperately wanted to drag me into their pathetic little bit of office politics and then got all snide when I wouldn’t participate. Honestly, I don’t know how I made it through the day! What a bunch of monkeys.

About the only thing that saw me through was my dream of pie and chips when I got home. Check this little plate of happiness out.

comfort food

The chips are, of course, home made; and the pie is one of Clive’s Aloo Gobi pies. Man, I can’t say enough about Clive’s Pies, they are the nuts! It’s hard to explain the English love of a good pie, especially a northerner like me, but whereas I’ve gotten over turkey and found a good substitute for bacon, it’s the joy of a good pie that I have missed most in my veganism. Well trust me now when I say that I am once more sated, thanks to a man named Clive (and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever say).

As for work, I’m gonna forget about it for the weekend. Gonna go see True Grit, hang out with some friends, probably make some pancakes as I’m working next Tuesday, and maybe come up with a good name for this bakery I keep thinking about. Not sure whether to go the cool route or opt for a good pun. Kiki’s Kitchen, Karma Cakes, Cup & Cake Bakery, Buns on Seats, Cake and Bend (with yoga studio attached), the possibilities are endless.

Still ill :(

Well, I thought the flu had abated, but it’s back as a tickly cough that’s settled itself comfortably in my chest and looks like it’ll be there for a while.

So annoying being ill. There’s so much I want to do and it’s getting in the way. Could be a lot worse though. Just reading My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. She had a stroke when she was 37, and it set her back a good 8 years. NB: If you haven’t seen her Ted talk yet you simply must! I’ve blogged about it before but it’s certainly worth mentioning again. Very emotional and inspiring.

So really I shouldn’t complain. Things could be a lot worse. Despite the cough I’m stuck in the house today anyway, waiting for a delivery I have to sign for. Going to take the opportunity to do some writing after I’ve done this post. Want to look again at the book I started and see where it goes.

I also keep thinking about opening a bakery. So many things are conspiring to keep it in my mind I can’t not think about it. Keep constructing the menu in my head. The big question at the moment is how much would be sweet (cakes) and how much savoury (pies)? And would I serve tea and coffee, meaning most people would expect cows milk to go with them, or just herbal drinks? Decisions, decisions. For now I’m just going to test a few recipes. Check out this one for Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies from Veganomicon.

chocolate chocolate chip and walnut cookies

Nice huh? The mixture was very wet when I put it on the tray, which looked a bit suspect to me, but they came out nice and moist and chewy, so I obviously did something right.

Starting Yoga 3 tonight at the Sivananda Centre. Can’t wait for that. Hopefully the cough won’t get in the way, though who knows. Could go either way. Thinking about going twice a week now too. Want to push ahead with my practice and get to a comfortable level. Think my progress is stagnating a little.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Time for some honey, lemon and ginger tea.