Forest Fires

It is distressing to learn that the Amazon is aflame, especially as the scale which has been increasing since 2013 is now reaching critical point. Governments blaming local organisations for setting the fires due to cut funding is a ridiculous reaction. It is odd to think that this would be a knee jerk reaction when they have already blamed farmers for some of the fires earlier in the year. The rain forest by its very virtue is to a certain extent fire proof, this is as long as it remains moist and humid, but recently droughts and human activity have increased the numbers of fires dramatically. Previous Governments in Brazil have fined companies successfully in the past to reduce deforestation but its clear that the current Government are not interested in continuing the good work and are allowing the rain forest to be destroyed by carelessness.

The indigenous Amazonian people are in danger, although the topic is not trending on Twitter it still seems to be fairly popular, despite is now having gone on for three weeks and can be seen from space. This is now a crisis point, farmers use this method as a way of clearing land and although there are some trees like Sequoias which are helped by the fire as it burns away dead branches and leaves giving way for the new younger trees to shine through, this is unfortunately not the case in the Amazon, the statistics I am reading on Google are mind blowing, the shear amount of deforestation in an area which is one of our most environmentally important parts of the world you cannot expect the world to not suffer if we take away one of our only sources of cleaning the atmosphere. Global warming maybe a myth to some but it will become obvious soon enough that their disbelieve has contributed to the general degradation of the earth. You can see in the picture from USA Today below, its heart breaking to think there is an entire ecosystem at risk of complete extinction

This true-color image was captured by the VIIRS sensor onboard NOAA-20, which provides daily, high-resolution visible and infrared images of Earth’s atmosphere from across the globe. In this image, taken by NOAA-20, the smoke from these fires can be clearly seen.
NOAAImage: USAToday.com

From the outside it seems like there is little we can do, send aid possibly? But more importantly raise awareness. Join me on Twitter and #prayforamazonas

Changing Seasons

Its funny how we demand certain things from our work place such as a computer, desk, chair which wont ruin our bodies, there is law protecting such things in the UK. How many of us writers actually follow the same principles?

It took me time to realise that the reason why I wasn’t engaging was because of the state of my work space and probably more importantly my mindset, I would sit hunched on the bed or sofa, my face 3 inches from the paper of my notepad. The cricked necks started to get to me and my inherent resistance to sitting at my desk came to a head. I wanted to write but I wouldn’t at my desk, it was ornate and uncomfortable, a pretty desk but not for anyone spending any significant time there, a light-use desk if you will, certainly not designed to have a computer set up on it.

Despite owning my flat for 9 years and my friend recreating the space in many different configurations I myself never managed to engage with the room, it never felt like mine just a cross between a spare room and an office and it didn’t really want to be either.

Its replacement is simple and L shaped, I can have a short side for hand-writing and a long one for the computer and all the gubbins that comes with it and an appropriately ergonomic breathable style office chair complete with headrest.

Its odd how we attach certain feelings and emotions to objects, I feel very privileged to be able to buy myself a new desk and chair (not without some planning and consideration mind you). I appreciate that not everyone can just change their writing space because their current doesn’t suit them. I knew that I had to do something though as I had been drifting despite best efforts, even trying to write on my mobile which felt lazy and i’m sure it showed in my writing.

I look forward to enjoying my new space and making full use of my new office space, its calm and collected just as it should be.

A River Runs Through

Today’s picture is taken less than a mile from my house, the proximity to nature is something I welcome and if I could be closer i.e. in the countryside then that would be ideal but for now I am celebrating the things around me and closest to me.
Writing is one of my favourite outlets and I do not use it anywhere near enough, knowing that you can write a piece and publish it entirely privately should encourage you, no one has to see it but it means you have had that writing time and allowed yourself to open up and publish something on your blog or saved it somewhere, you could even use a notebook if you wanted, however you write its important to keep trying, Stephen King says be prepared to do a lot of reading and a lot of writing.
A simple smile can disarm the most serious of people and they often don’t quite know what to do with themselves, the answer is simply smile back surely? Somewhere along the line I think we stopped smiling at each other for some reason, do we not want to share positivity anymore? Or are we simply to engrossed in our own worlds to acknowledge others? Social media claims to bring us together, indeed it makes the world a lot smaller but the time spent on social media and ignoring the near vicinity ever increases. The emojis for smiling at each other are available but nothing beats a real one, it’s so easy to hide behind the button and the screen.
Having positive people around you is important for growth and support, not just for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, I am lucky to have some very determined friends and I hope I can repay them for the help they have given me.

From Within

Happiness can be perceived as difficult to achieve at times, we spend time envying others happiness and wondering why theirs was better than yours and that’s OK for some reason we lack the capability of satisfying ourselves, even in the most simple of ways, we rarely just enjoy that moment just because we can and why shouldn’t we?

Little positive changes can result in significant happiness boosts and being aware and acknowledging your surroundings, enjoying the moment and taking the good from a situation, even if it may be perceived as negative at the time, its important to appreciate all the world does for us. I hear you scoff, but name me a time where being positive didn’t get you further or help in some way? A lot of the energy we put out into the world we receive back, making some of us wonder what we did, I personally don’t think that we attract everything we receive and we should keep this in mind when we ask the universe for things.

Like I said little positive changes are there to shape your new positive future, we can turn ‘mistakes’ into a change in tack and acknowledge issues and where possible deal with them because again these changes allow for your progression.

If you find happiness in the simplest of things leave a comment below or come join us on Facebook.com/OnlyNomesWriting

Eyes are the Window to the Soul

So as I sit here and write this the artist known as ‘Grimes’ is trending on Twitter because she had part of her eye removed to help cure ‘Seasonal Depression’ there were other elements to her extreme regime including depravation tanks and ‘screaming sessions’. Some would say its extreme, others cry publicity stunt as the news comes at the beginning of her new ad campaign with the sports brand Adidas, others even suggest its satirical. Personally I find it a little extreme although there is some clinical evidence to suggest that the eyes play a part of treating seasonal depression, claiming to have had surgery which is seemingly not readily available even to the rich – I do question the validity of her claims and wonder if it sets a very negative precident for other sufferers, ‘you need surgery and a bunch of therapy to fix yourself’ – is this what we want people to believe? Positivity can support all forms of therapy do we really need to go under the knife?
The standard treatment for seasonal depression is cbt or cognitive behavioural therapy, supported in some cases with light therapy and even antidepressants in some cases. In the UK at least there are some guidelines set by ‘NICE’ or the National Institute for Clinical Excellence’ which the NHS have translated here
When it comes to depression in a world where technology is advancing rapidly I don’t think its appropriate to advocate extreme measures until we have established how effective it is as it would be misleading to let everyone think it will work for them.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below or join me on Facebook.com/Onlynomeswriting

A foray into caramel

I have been making chocolates in varying forms for a few months now, both from scratch vegan chocolate and just melting a good old bar of cooking chocolate (mainly milk and white as they are harder to replicate).
I have layered them in moulds but until today I had never filled them with anything (other than flavouring the chocolate with mint etc) so why did I suddenly decide to make caramels you ask yourself? Well I just wanted to give it a go to be honest, I searched the net quickly to confirm my idea of using premade caramel sauce was a thing and off I trotted to the shops. Now in retrospect I would have bought caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle or similar not a can (hind sight is 20\20 as they say) so feel free to substitute with your favourite or even make your own and use a piping bag (various vegan options also available).
I recommend using deep moulds for a decent sized result as the thinner the mould the less room you have to play with. As you can see in the pictures the caramel can escape!
Ingredients
150g of the chocolate of your choice (here is a very easy vegan version if you want to try it Trinity’s conscious kitchen) if you want milk then I suggest a good quality cooking chocolate purely because it tempers more easily.
1 bottle/can premade caramel sauce the choice is yours. If you want to make your own one of the many recipes out there will yield more than enough to fill your chocolate and there might even be leftovers!
Handmade Milk and dark chocolate caramels
If you have any questions please do get in touch I would love to hear from you!

Veggie Italian Bread Soup

“Are you consciously giving up meat?” My father asked over lunch as I was telling him about my latest vegetarian creation – I explained that as I prep my 4 days worth of lunches for work days I was not overly keen on prepping things with meat in, partly due to food hygiene (although im sure it would be fine) and because I simply dont need that much protein. I put the veggies image up on my Instagram and was requested to publish the recipe. I have previously made and posted an Italian Bread soup recipe on the blog with meat in it so this one is for everyone let me know what you think in the comments below.
Ingredients

  • 2 stale bread rolls (the harder the better) broken into chunks
  • One red or yellow bell pepper (not green) sliced finely
  • One medium size red onion sliced finely
  • 4 sticks Cavolo Nero (sub with kale or Savoy cabbage if not available) chopped
  • 100g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 200g tomato passata
  • 1 tbsp italian herbs
  • Seasonal greens or similar pale cabbage chopped
  • 400g roasted butternut squash and sweet potato mix
  • 750ml of hot stock (variety tailored to your needs)
  • 2 tbsp oil

Method

  • Heat the oil and fry the onions so they are soft but not too golden
  • Add the rest of the vegetables apart from the cherry tomatoes and saute them until soft then add the herbs
  • Add the stale bread and incorporated so that its coated in the flavours
  • Add the passata and the stock and mix (if the bread soaks up the liquid too fast add some extra boiling water
  • Add the cherry tomatoes
  • Leave to simmer for at least 45 minutes on low (or use a crockpot/slow cooker and put on low for a couple of hours, or even if you prefer place in ovenproof casserole dish and cook in oven for 1.5 hours on 150c/300f/gas mark 2

 
This soup ages well in the fridge as the flavours mature so perfect for lunch preps as it will only get better. Feel free to play with the vegetables – I have largely chosen seasonal vegetables simply for the quality.

How to train a squash…

Now I do not profess to know much about gardening but I do understand the principle of training a squash. As I was checking on them yesterday I was delighted to see many long tendrils and vines with fruit on them. To train them is simple, as you can see in the picture, a few bamboo canes or whatever happens to be handy then guide the vines and tendrils around the poles, mounting the poles safely in the ground for stablity.
IMG_20170710_131045.jpg

The Veg Garden 2017

Just a few shots from the garden – its starting to grow into something really special…. as you can see there are courgettes, potatoes, 2 kinds of kale, some red cabbage and purple Brussels sprouts and a couple of other things we are hoping for a bumper crop this year.
 

It is exciting to see so many flowers on the squash plants, although i’m not sure if all of them will actually turn into fruit, having spoken to a friend – she said its not always guaranteed if you use supermarket produce seeds. Nonetheless it is going to be an exciting summer watching them grow and picking the results.
 
 

Homemade Pot Noodle – part 2

In my last post I talked about making my own pot noodles, well I’ve now had a few goes and I think I am getting the hang of it, having tested out a couple of different noodles I continue to try different flavour combinations, some good, some bad. It is by far the easiest thing to do, set your ingredients up and just layer them in a Mason or Kilner jar in fact I use a wide mouthed soup flask. One thing I havent tried is coconut milk or extra soy sauce, partly because I haven’t got round to planning the ingredients to go with them. If you have any suggestions please let me know 🙂 Ingredients1 Tbsp Sauce – Miso/Tom Yum/Umami/any soup type base1 Handful Fresh or frozen vegetables – up to you but do think practically as the veg will not cook in the boiling water, it should however have thawed enough just to warm through. Greens of all kinds work really well as they require little to know cooking and are packed full of good stuff.1 Handful of chopped cooked chicken/pork/sausage/beef – this is totally optional just remember it must be cooked as the boiling water will not cook it for you.1 Serving of Straight to wok/udon/ribbon rice noodles.1 1ltr Mason jar/Kilner Jar or other such heat proof container.Method1. Layer your sauce right at the bottom that way it wont make the noodles soggy.2. Next layer up your vegetables – if you are adding meat be sure to put that layer in between the veg as it keeps it away from the sauce and the noodles.3. Add the noodles on top. Store in the fridge until required (they will keep for up to a week but to be honest they are so quick you could make it fresh everyday like I do.4. When ready add freshly boiled water to the container mixing thoroughly and allow to stand for a minute or two, stir again and enjoy. I’ve added a soft boiled egg to this one to give it the authentic ramen feel.I hope you enjoy my post, if you have any questions please do get in contact or comment below!
Source: Homemade Pot Noodle – part 2