Friday, January 27, 2012

88 days and counting

Our hotel in Venice
A: our Hotel in Venice

This morning I cried.
I was sitting at my desk and I read something that brought me to tears. Happy tears! But I was lachrymose all the same.

The Tate Modern is hosting an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama from 9 February - 5 June. From 4 April - 9 September they are hosting an exhibition of Damien Hirst.

So for the 8 nights I am in London, my favourite city in the world, my favourite gallery in the world is hosting exhibitions by two of my favourite artists.

It's like they know I'm coming home for a visit. They're putting on a show.

I was so happy I cried.

Also, this morning I was trawling looking for deals on accommodation - just the other day I found a well-reviewed hotel in Primrose Hill for the price we were going to pay for a shared-facilities hostel room! - and found, to my shock and delight, a rather budget but very well-reviewed hotel in Venice.

It's kind of close to St Mark's square. Sort of. About 150 metres. No big deal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pa Pa Paleo Recipe: Lamb and Bacon Dumplings


I essentially gave up on Paleo just before Christmas
I kept the basic principles as much as possible but there were just too many sweets, so many refined carbohydrates, a lot of smooth peanut butter on whole grain toast. I started feeling bloated after almost every meal. My jeans started getting just a little bit tight. But mainly, I felt unhealthy after I was finished with a meal.

So I'm heading back to the caveman life, back on the Paleo diet.

With that in mind, I give you one of our favourite all time Paleo meals*.

Lamb and Bacon Dumplings


Meatball ingredients
6 rashers bacon
1 small onion
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp sage
1 tsp ground paprika
1 egg
salt and pepper
500g minced lamb

Sauce ingredients
400g canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp basil
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 spring onion
salt and pepper


Preheat a fan-forced oven to 180 celsius/350 fahrenheit.


Finely chop the onion and bacon


In a pan on medium/high heat fry the bacon and onion for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender


Add the sage, paprika, salt, and pepper and cook for a further two minutes. Remove pan from the heat and leave to cool.


In a large bowl combine the bacon mixture, egg, and minced lamb. Mix well.

5 7

Roll the lamb mixture into balls and place in a tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until well cooked.

6 8

To make the sauce, place the tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium sized pan** and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the spring onion and simmer for a further minute.


Add the cooked meatballs and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve with a sprig of basil.
Note: if you are not on the Paleo diet I'm sure this would be a good spaghetti and meatballs recipe. I would just double the tomatoes, basil, and garlic for the sauce.

10 - plated

* Adapted just a smidge from the free pdf book "Recipes for the 21st Century Hunter Gatherer" by Nikki Young
** I just use the pan the bacon mixture was cooked in, so you get all the excess spices and whatnot

Monday, January 23, 2012

366 in 2012

366 in 2012

Sunday: Civic Square in a bit of a mood
I was in a bit of a mood. Not even the blue blue sky at Civic Square could fix it. I think it was end-of-holiday blues.

Monday: mint green tiles in my new work bathroom
My new job is in a very old part of the Parliamentary complex. I love the vintage mint-green tiles in the bathroom.

Tuesday: new id card, hallelujah
Thankfully I was allowed to get a new ID photo taken. My last one ended up looking nothing like me.

Wednesday: died fetching keys. Terrifying.
He died fetching keys he'd dropped down a drain. That's a nightmare right there.

Thursday: photos for my Irish passport
Black & white photos for my Irish passport application. Despite having to pin my fringe back? I didn't mind these so much.

Friday: walking to the Waterfront
Walking by the waterfront. It's still only January but the wind is getting increasingly chill.

Saturday: popped in to work, gave Craig a tour
I had to go back to the office to send an email (it slipped my mind on Friday) so Craig came to see my new office. Turns out that he'd never seen around Parliament in the three years I'd been working there. So I took him on an impromptu tour.


Blue and Chartreuse

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thoughts become things

It feels like a million but it was only two years and nine months ago that I posted my 2009 birthday wish list. I came across this by accident and I realised something surprising.

I was hoping for:

2009 Birthday Wishlist

This beautiful copy of The Bell Jar, Protea charm & Protea ring by Meadowlark, Cupcakes (!), Peonies, the permission for Craig and I to live in the UK for as long as we like, beautiful underwear, a Kodak Duaflex vintage camera, St Paul's Cathedral back in my life, a traditional peony tattoo, a black retro-style scooter, Chloe Sevigny for Open Ceremony Wedges, Meadowlark pyramid stud bangles, a Marc by Marc Jacobs bag in a berry berry hue.

And two years, nine months later? honest to anything, it would be easier to list the items I do not have.
I do not own that copy of The Bell Jar, I do not have a black retro-style scooter, my Chloe Sevigny for Open Ceremony Wedges are Jeffrey Campbell knock-offs but besides that?
The permission to live in the UK was really just the best.

I was surprised. I am a fortunate fortunate person.

It was nice to remember that.

(It hasn't been two years nine months of presents, it has been two years, nine months of working hard and saving harder. And a couple of presents)