Archive for November 2011

My week off….

November 28, 2011

Organised an awards ceremony at National Museum Cardiff. It was hard work but the results were very rewarding. Here I am, standing at the bottom of the stage, waiting for the Minister to finish his speech.

I took a week’s leave immediately after the awards because I was so knackered! I spent the first day of my week off checking into The Marine Spa at St David’s Hotel & Spa with my sister-in-law. The service wasn’t great and it wasn’t the best treatment I have received but I was VERY relaxed after a nice swim and having my body scrubbed and slathered with mud. After our treatment, we went to the restaurant for a healthy buffet lunch which came with a glass of champagne! (In this photo I am holding a glass of apple juice not the bubbly.)

On Thursday, I had the rare opportunity of going on a date night with R. We spent the afternoon doing some Christmas shopping and then went for dinner at The Social at Parc Thistle Hotel. I loved that they used a lot of Welsh produce such as sewin (a type of river trout), cockles and laverbread (Welsh seaweed). Through savouring each morsel I could tell each dish was carefully and lovingly prepared to perfection. It was definitely a refreshing change from the mass-produced stodge I would normally have at the local pub and it was a rare occasion where I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful of each dish and sighed with satisfaction at the end of the night.

We did a brave thing on Saturday going to London for the day. With just four weeks to Christmas, the shopping crowds were already pretty bad. There was a point where we were all just standing on the pavement literally like packed sardines and barely moving. Despite that we managed to pick up a few gifts and then headed to Chinatown for dinner. My favourite Chinese restaurant in London opened a branch in Chinatown and I finally had my roast duck fix after 2 years. It was still as delicious as I remembered. (Ahhh….)

I stayed, you left

November 18, 2011

Today, I read someone write about their experience on moving to a another country in magazine. She said, “I don’t expect my friends to make the effort to keep in touch with me. Afterall, I am the one who’s chosen to move away.” Now that’s certainly a new perspective for me, it got me thinking and I have to conclude, she is right.


November 13, 2011

I got together with my husband 10 years ago on the 8th of November. It would be impossible then to know that 10 years later, there would be a little boy ransacking my handbag and emptying its entire contents in our house while I was trying to churn out a press release for the Welsh Government. What a crazy decade it has been.

What we did this Halloween

November 2, 2011

We bought a pumpkin for £1 at Asda, carved it and left it at our door. We had two groups of kids knocking at our doors in their scary ghost costumes. (One had a green face!) We gave chocolate bars to the trick-or-treating kids – they made an effort to dress up and asked for sweeties politely. Next year we will be sending Lucien out in his pumpkin outfit to solicit chocolates and candies for his parents’ consumption.

My veggie journey

November 1, 2011

I caught a cold from Lucien so I didn’t go to work today. I needed to rest. So I stayed in my pyjamas and re-read Eat Pray Love in bed. After a few pages, I shut my eyes and rested. Then out of the blue, I heard my mind say, “Hey, you can eat whatever you want tomorrow.” What? I opened my eyes.

I then remembered it was going to be the 1st of November tomorrow. My self-imposed one year stint as a vegetarian officially ends tomorrow.I hadn’t even been consciously thinking of it until my sub-conscious brought the matter up.

I wouldn’t say it has been a difficult year going meatless. I haven’t even been craving for meat. Well not until one day 2 weeks ago when I suddenly had a desperate urge to dig into some really hot, crispy KFC chicken. Oh I tell you, I couldn’t shake the vision of that fried chicken from my mind! I was so afraid I was going to give in. But then, as quickly as that one-off sudden crazy craving came, it vanished, much to my relief.

I viewed that as a test from high above of my commitment and vow to give up meat for a year. It had to be. I mean, how come I had no such urges for 11 months and then suddenly be overcome by juicy chicken dancing in my head just 14 days before the end of my vegetarian journey? But oh no, I wasn’t going to fall for that. Sorry God. I may seem a little ditzy and dim at times but I wasn’t going to do anything that would involve breaking my promise. So yeah, I suppose I passed that little test you set me.

In all honesty, the journey hasn’t been bad. The only frustration I had was not so much not being able to sink my teeth into all the different types of meat, but more the fact that I had severe limitations on what I could actually sink my teeth into.

Let’s take lunch as an example. While I used to walk into Tesco’s and be able to take my pick from the wide variety of sandwiches available (tuna mayo, prawn cocktail, Cajun chicken, bacon and egg, ham and salad, smoked salmon etc), I was only able to pick egg mayonnaise while I was on the vegetarian diet. It was alright, because I was able to waltz into the shop, squeeze past all these business types in suits who have to spend ages agonising over their sandwich filling choices, confidently reach my arm toward the neatly stacked pile of egg mayo sandwiches, then pay and leave. That was it. I knew exactly what I wanted. I was in total control. Because there was only one thing I could have.

Having choices is a double-edged sword. Yes, it would be nice to be able to choose but I have found that choices overwhelm me. Especially when I was at a restaurant before becoming veggie. I would always be the last to order because I didn’t know what to pick. And more importantly because I didn’t want to pick the wrong thing. “What if what I ordered was crap?” constantly stopped me from making any decision.

So it was a huge relief ordering food at a restaurant when I became a vegetarian because it would never take me more than 3 minutes. There were usually only two veggie options available on the menu. Gee, I wish all normal menus were like that. I mean, why do we need to have 28 items on a menu? To give us more choices? More control? If anything I say it gives us less control because you fret about what to order so much that you often end up ordering something you don’t want.

Now that my veggie journey is over, it’s not like I am going to rush out and feast on a pile of ribs. I have enjoyed cooking in a meatless kitchen. Eating fresh vegetables every day. But I miss my protein. And because of that, I will find it hard to become a permanent vegetarian.

However, I like the thought of being a semi-permanent vegetarian. You know, when I can choose to go days or weeks or months without meat, then have meat when I feel like I need a protein fix or more variety in my diet.

It has been a very educative and interesting 365 days.