Day 37 of Project Happiness – Pearl Barley

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought – 1
  • Total car miles saved – 70

I am so pleased with myself today, I have made a fab salad for lunch.  I’ve never tried Pearl Barley before, and I have discovered it’s scrummy!  I put in it –

  • Pearl Barley
  • Black Beans
  • Sweetcorn kernals
  • Orange Pepper
  • Sundried tomatos
  • Cucumber
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Avocado

And then I made a garlic and lemon olive oil dressing.  Absolutely gorgeous!  I would have taken a photo, but by the time I thought of it, it was all gone 🙂  Actually, I do have some in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Result!

I have just heard from middle sproglet that her Maths GCSE went ‘REALLY WELL!’ which I’m very pleased about, and will be taking her for a nice gallopy hack later to celebrate.

I have splurged out on the book from the blog I linked to yesterday.  It should arrive tomorrow, in time for my week away (which starts with a 6 hour train journey) so I’m hoping I will be able to take it with me, and will actually have some time to read it.  Really want to get some proper ideas on how to properly start on my road to financial freedom, and looking forwards to putting together my plan.

I’ve spent some of the morning chasing up my life insurance people again, but have finally got it sorted today – Yay!  Vitality customer services really are appalling.  It’s taken me numerous emails and phone calls to get the points from my fitness assessment in early April added to my account.  They have offered to refund my health assessment checks, and the cinema tickets we bought because our codes didn’t work which is nice, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had problems.  Fingers crossed things get better, as I love the concept, and am definitely all about a healthy life style.

Last night I took middle sproglet to an NCS meeting.  It seems like a fantastic (government run) initiative, which gives young people the opportunity to go away from home and take part in things they might not otherwise get a chance to do, get them thinking about community issues and what they can do to help, and teach them all kind of useful life skills; planning, communicating, budgeting etc. which will be useful to them personally, as well as potentially in their career.  It’s run over a number of weeks, and seems well organised, with enthusiastic and dedicated staff, and Sproglet seems quite excited by it all.  It will be interesting to see what she gets out of it, other than an amazing week doing zip wiring and kayaking etc. 🙂

Only a quick update today as I’ve already used up my lunch break.



Day 36 of Project Happiness – Storms and stuff

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 70

Wow!  Just wow.  Our world is such an awesome place to live.  After a very muggy day yesterday we had just the most amazing storm.  Crazy crazy rain like a monsoon, and thunder and lightening that was indeed “very very frightening”, or so mini EN thought anyway.  Eldest EN sproglet and myself were at the yard so she could have a riding lesson with my trainer, and the thunder was so loud the walls were vibrating with it.  Fortunately pony was very well behaved, and just his ears showed that he was a little apprehensive at times. When we went to put the horses back out in the field, there was a lightening bolt which forked across the whole sky.  It made both of us ‘Wow!’ out loud (WOL?) and made sproglet muse where thunder comes from.  What a silly question!  It’s storm giants of course!!

Today, the weather has been calmer, as has work.  I’m actually feeling on top of the world currently.  Lots of positive things happening at work which has really turned things round for me, still as busy as ever, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now.  I’ve started doing some of my meetings as walking meetings to make the most of the sunshine which I’ve been really enjoying. sun1 At home, I have so much to look forwards to, visiting friends and family, a training course next week which involves boats 🙂 , and I’m taking the kids pony out to an event to hopefully prove that he is a good boy and can do it, so next time they can do it on him.  Fingers crossed.  Also, all the rain from the storm has really perked some of my plants up, and they seem to have grown twice the size in just a couple of days 🙂

Tried some more of the quinoa chips from Eat Real today, this time the sun dried tomato and roasted garlic flavour.  Delicious.  So much so that I went and left a positive review on their website.  Random act of kindness – check! 🙂  Much better than the packet Ainsley Harriet cous cous which I took in a panic as I hadn’t prepared anything in time.  Very meh.

I’ve also been a bit concerned with some of the studies on vegan diets which I’ve been reading, and the lack of certain vitamins (B12) and iodine in the common diet.  On reading the natural ways of putting them back in your diet, I’ve decided that iodine I’m going to struggle with full stop, and the other vits will be hit and miss, so I’ve started taking a multi vitamin supplement from Healthspan, which is specifically for Vegetarians and Vegans.  One of the claims it makes is that B12 can help with :

the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and the production of energy-yielding metabolism.

Sounds mighty fine to me 🙂  I’ll report back if I notice a difference.


I’ve also found this Early Retirement Extreme blog, which looks fascinating.  I’m really really keen to become FIRE, but Mr EN isn’t as motivated as me.  I’m hoping this blog and forum will help us on our way.  It’s tricky as without the ponies we could do things so much quicker, but the kids just get so much from them, and it gets them away from the computer and out into the real world, that I’m just not willing to give that up.

Today’s plant based diet has gone well, however, I have a small dilemma as every now and again I like a couple of squares of chocolate with a cuppa in the evening.  I have some very low fructose chocolate but the milk obviously does have milk in it.  I need a low sugar, dairy free milk chocolate – any suggestions?

Today :

  • Breakfast – Bagel with cream cheese – how long does the violife cream cheese last?  This is our second week now(!)
  • Snack – Eat real quinoa chips and an apple
  • Lunch – Half a baguette and some packet cous cous.  Not the most nutritious!
  • Snack – Carrot cake
  • Dinner – Fajitas with peppers, mushrooms, onions, black beans, spices, salad and rice. Yum!

Day 35 of Project Happiness -Working from home

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 0/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 70 (10 today)

I worked from home yesterday.  It’s something I do every now and again because I have a health appointment, or one of the kids are ill, or maybe something needs doing on the house.  Yesterday was because I had another osteo appointment.  I spent the first part of the morning working from the kitchen which felt cold and dull, but when I went out for my osteo I realised what an utterly glorious day it was.  So, on my return I cleared off the outside table, put the parasol up, and set up camp outside.  What a revelation!  The parasol we have for that table is a good size, and shielded the sun nicely meaning for once I could see my screen properly.  It was so good to be sat there, with a gentle breeze, the birds tweeting, the rabbit stretched out on the grass sunning himself, and my plants all around to admire.  Very relaxing.  I did get a few comments on conference calls about my very noisy budgies(!) but other than that just envy if I revealed where I was 🙂

It also meant I could go for a walk at lunch time with Mr EN in the sun.  Almost felt like I was on holiday!

When the kids came home they immediately joined me outside.  Mini EN persuaded varying people to play giant chess with her until dinner time, and the elder 2 either obliged her or revised for exams.

I took eldest EN sproglet for a ride in the evening, and the ponies were in a very chilled out mood as well.  Back home I planted out the rest of my plants finally, so at last feel the garden is all sorted.  My raised bed is a bit of a disaster, I think it needed another 5 bags of compost on top, and more digging in.  Add to that the slugs and snails have had a field day despite my best efforts to stop them, and it’s looking a bit sad and sorry.  But I’m sure I’ll get something out, and it’ll be better next year.

Dinner was my first ever courgetti spaghetti.  I cooked it with some extra veg and left over pesto, and I’m going to be honest, it tasted a bit weird.  It’s a ‘free from’ pesto, but tasted fine the other night, so I’m not sure if it had gone a bit funny, or if I just don’t like courgetti spaghetti?!

Have to update quickly too on my carrot cake.  It is LUSH!!  Definitely the best vegan cake I’ve made so far.  I found the recipe here -> and modified it just a little to have less fructose, by swapping out the maple syrup for brown rice malt syrup and the sugar for dextrose.  Absolutely fabulous 🙂

Last time I went shopping I bought some (vegan) Sour Cream & Chives flavour Quinoi Chips to try as a snack from Eat Real.  I can report back today that they are very tasty, and will definitely buy them again in the future.


Today I’m back at work.  I made the most of the lovely weather again and cycled in, but just took the short route due to being slightly concerned for my neck still.  It was sore by the end but nothing major.  Hoping it won’t keep me up again as I’m struggling to stay awake currently due to not sleeping brilliantly.  However, it does mean I go for more walks in the sun to wake me up which is a nice bonus.  Have to admit to wishing I was back home in my garden though 🙂

Plant based diet (Yesterday)

  • Breakfast – Bagel with cream cheese
  • Snack – Green smoothie – spinnach, blueberries, banana, peach, summer fruit
  • Lunch – Leftover nut roast and cauliflower cheese, plus tortillas and humus cos I still felt a bit hungry(!)
  • Snack – Carrot Cake!
  • Snack – Tortillas and hummus (I’m addicted)
  • Dinner – Courgetti Spaghetti

Day 33 of Project Happiness – Homestead

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 3/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 60

What a busy day I’ve had today!!  Today I had earmarked as a nothing day.  I had visions of me sat on the sofa with a cuppa and my book, maybe nibbling on some home made cake.  Well, I should have known better! 🙂

I *did* get a lie in, as I didn’t wake up until 9am so that was a great start.  A quick brekkie and then it was straight down the yard with mini EN to give her a lesson.  We spent a bit of time with the ponies first, gave them a good groom and fuss, and then into the school.  Mini EN didn’t feel as well as she hoped, so her ride was cut a bit short, but all in all a lovely way to spend the morning.

Home for lunch, then prep’d for Sunday lunch which is a bit of a marathon atm because :

  • Mr EN is coeliac
  • Mini EN is veggie
  • I am trying to adhere to a plant based diet

So we had a roast chicken, bacon and chipolatas for some, a nut roast (my first ever) for mini EN and me, a gf cauliflower cheese for everyone other than me, a vegan cauliflower cheese for me, roast spuds, and a selection of veg, plus two different types of gravy.  Got that in the oven and then nipped out to buy some plants as my tomatos haven’t grown so well.  Ended up buying a bit more than I anticipated and after dinner planted some tomato plants, potted out the cucumbers that mini EN has grown, and sewed some beans and squash.  Still have some lettuce to sew, and the courgettes and peppers to plant out, and a purple sweet potato plant that I’m very excited about!


After that I’ve made my first ever low fructose vegan carrot cake which is in the oven atm and smells divine.  Fingers crossed!  Also made some vegan smoothie ice lollies with rice milk, banana, peach and summer fruits.  Looking forwards to trying them.

During all of this the sun shone, and mini EN and middle sproglet played giant chess in the garden.  Blissful Sunday 🙂

Plant based diet today

  • Breakfast – Weetabix with rice milk (very sweet, like I had sugar on it!), bagel with vegan cream cheese
  • Snack – Half a vegan smoothie left over from making ice lollies
  • Lunch – wrap with avocado, falafel, spinach
  • Snack – Home made ginger oat cookies
  • Snack – tortillas and humus
  • Dinner – Roast

Day 31 of Project Happiness –

Status (Yesterday)

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – Yes
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – Yes
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week  – 2/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 60

Whoo hoo!! It’s Friday, and I have definitely got that Friday feeling!  Well, I have if that Friday Feeling is to chill out at home with an alcohol free beer, some tortilla, and then some vegan veggie pizza and something inane on the TV.  Wow, I know how to rock n’ roll! When did it all change?  Friday used to be off down my local (The Bridgers, which later became The Dolphin, where I met Mr EN), drink as much vodka as I could, and then mosey on down to the local rock club; The Ag.  Hang out there until it closed or I got kicked out, which happened on more than one occasion.  Was I happy then I wonder?  I think so, but it was all very teen angst ridden.  Stresses of college, boys, parents, what I was going to do with my life etc. etc.  I much prefer things as they are now, but the old stressy me still pops up every now and again, as it has this week.

When I analyse it though, the route cause has changed.  I believe I am much happier in myself.  I have come to like me a lot.  The book I am reading recommends you learn to love yourself, and although I’m not convinced I’m there yet (I’m FAR too self critical), I’m getting very close.  However, I don’t think I have my ikigai really sorted yet (see previous post here), and thus I spend a lot of time doing the following :

  • Sweating every single decision, however small and meaningless.
  • Procrastinating, because my brain is overloaded through sweating every small decision.
  • Trying to multitask, despite the fact that I’m blatantly still of the original single core human model.

I’ve read some really interesting things in the current happiness book (The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha)which have really stood out to me.

“You can’t go through the day distracted by trivia.”

-President Obama.

Both he and Mark Zuckerberg have taken this sentiment onboard, and applied it to their lives.  In a style very typical of the computerised world we live in, they have automated parts of their lives, in order to free time up for the important stuff, and free their brain up for the important decisions.  They both buy multiple clothes in the same colour, or even the same clothes, so that they don’t need to think about what to wear.  Genius!  I mean, that’s what I do at work.  Automate tests to free testers up to do more meaningful intelligent tests which computers can’t do.  Why on earth didn’t I think of applying it to my life?  My husband is very sceptical that I could take on the clothes idea (hurmph!) but it could be applied further, like an automated monthly shop of all cleaning and bathroom products, setting up a shop every week with my core basics, doing more batch cooking.  When I look at what I spend most time doing, I think it comes down to :

  • The weekly shop
  • Deciding what to eat for dinner
  • Deciding what to take for lunch (especially now I’m trying for a plant based diet)
  • Deciding what on my to do list to do next!

So, to try and solve this, I have decided to do the following :

  1. Set up a repeat order for my cleaning stuff
  2. Set up my core basics to automatically add to my shopping basket when I do my weekly shop
  3. Spend Sunday evening making up a batch of salad/pasta/rice to do at least two days of lunches for the week.
  4. Spend Sunday evening also making the sugar free cakes/biscuits for mini EN and I to take as snacks.
  5. Plan in at least one meal a week which I can make more of and take to work the next day for lunch.

This poem is also in the book :


This really resonates with me.  I am very aware that this is my one and only chance at life, and I want to make sure I make the most of it.  I don’t mean by visiting every country in the world, or becoming a millionaire or anything like that.  But I feel truly fortunate to be where I am today; living in a great country, in a lovely town, a super house and with a fantastic family around me.  To borrow again from Neil Pasricha, we really have won the lottery in that respect.  We are the lucky few, who have it so easy, and it’s almost a tragedy to not make the most of that.  I don’t want to be one of those people who when I’m on my death bed, look back and wish I’d spent more time with my family, less time working and more time doing what I want to do.

Anyway, to finish off, my random act of kindness, was more just what any good neighbour would do.  I heard my neighbours having a heated debate the other day, and when I came to speak with her today I noticed she had a black eye.  I spoke with her about it and she has told me that it was an accident with a dog cage, but I have my doubts.  I checked with her, and she denied that it was anything else, but I have also told her that if ever she has any need, she can come round to us any time at all for some time out.

Plant based diet yesterday :

  • Breakfast – Tea, toast and marmite
  • Lunch – Vegan cheese, chutney, lettuce on homemade bread
  • Snack – Home made ginger cookies
  • Dinner – Pasta with quorn, peppers and soy yoghurt.



Day 26 of Project Happiness – Weapons!


  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 3/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 2
  • Total car miles saved – 60

Today has been all about the karate, and specifically weapons.  We had an intensive all day session (although I did get a lay in), from 10-4pm, started with some kata,  went on to work with sai (which I loved,  and am  now trying to source some for practice as I’ll need it for black belt progression), bo (also could  do with a bo, but I have a make do one for the moment), kama (not quite so keen on but ok) and tonfa.  Wow!  My brain is completely frazzled by fitting so much new stuff in.  Also did more kata, and a bit of jujutsu just to finish us off 🙂  Very satisfying way of spending a few hours, although I think one guy in particular is going to have a headache, after walloping himself with his own sai on one occasion and drawing blood.  Yeouch!  I have located a pair which I really like the look of from, but they do not look cheap!  I’ve emailed to find out how much they are, but here is a piccie in the mean time…


I’m a bit torn, because I think they would class as an unnecessary spend, but yet if I want to progress in karate, I need to practice my weapons.  Waahhh!

Followed it up with a quick trip down to the stables to groom, long rein and feed the ponies, a glorious day for it and kinda wished I had time to ride out on one of them to make the most of the evening sun.

Back home for chilli, snuggles and a bit of TV with mini EN.  Speaking of which, I didn’t update yesterday due to her returning after a week away with the school.  She had a fab time but it was soooo good to see her again and spent the evening catching up with her, snuggling, and not a lot else 🙂

So, my random acts of kindness were simple ones, but I think they count.  Mr EN and I went for a drink, and sat  in the beer garden.  Returned our beer glasses and crisp wrappers to the bar staff who looked pleased.  Then today I phoned a relative who has fallen out with a lot of the family, but is frail and on her own.  We had a catch up and I hope it lightened her a day a little.

Unnecessary spends were the drinks and takeaway, and Mr EN bought me a present, a special hose which sort of  shrinks and coils itself up.  It’s absolutely fab when watering my plants, and apparently was very cheap from ebay.  He also didn’t tell me he was getting it.

Plant based diet has been ok (ish) as usual.

  • Breakfast – Bagels and vegan cream cheese
  • Snack – Nothing! :O
  • Lunch – Slice of home made vegan pizza, carrot and cucumber stick with delish jalepeno and pepper humus, and another  Green Smoothie with spinach, banana, peach, blueberries and coconut milk
  • Snack – Carrot and walnut muffin
  • Dinner – Veggie chilli (not vegan, couldn’t find any vegan quorn.  So far we’ve had it once, and it was superb, tasted just like normal quorn mince.  Since then, I can’t find it anywhere.  Where’s it gone?!)
  • Pudding – FAIL – mini choc ice 😦


Day 23 of Project Happiness – Pony maintenance & Carrot Muffins


  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 50

Today has been all about the horses.  My mare who is currently lame had a lovely equine physio out to see her at lunch time.  The physio really made my day by confirming that there are no apparent extra issues.  She’s to have an extra 2 weeks off from ridden work, then we try her again.  Fingers crossed.

Then later on the farrier came to trim and re-shoe.  Feet all ok, just the bank balance which isn’t!


This morning I made vegan carrot muffins, courtesy of the Thug Cookbook.  They were supposed to be carrot and apple muffins, but I realised at 5:15am when I started making them that I had no apples, and so just upped the carrots instead 🙂  The recipe had sugar in it, so I swapped that out for an equal amount of dextrose, and a squirt of rice malt syrup too.  I was very excited putting them in the oven as I haven’t had carrot cake for ages.  20 minutes later I eagerly tested them, to find they weren’t cooked.  Hmm.  Gave them another 3 minutes, then another 5, then another 2 and took them  out thinking they must be done!  By this point I’m running a bit late so went out to water the veg plants.  Came back in and eagerly tried one, only to find they definitely still weren’t cooked.  Gahhh!  They’d started to brown, so I put them back in on a fairly low heat, and went up to dress and get ready for work.  Came back down, still not ready so put the timer on for another 10 minutes(!) and left them to my daughter to sort  out.  Gutted that I had to go off without one as they smelled divine!!

However, the bonus was that when I got home, I had  gorgeous fresh carrot and walnut muffins awaiting me, and they do taste fab!! They had sunk due to all the ins and outs, but they taste mighty fine.  Will definitely be trying them again.  🙂

So my mainly plant based diet today was ok-ish :

  • Breakfast – Scrambled egg on muffin
  • Snack – Banana and satsuma
  • Snack 2 – Doritos
  • Lunch – Marmite sarnie
  • Snack – Carrot and walnut muffin
  • Dinner – Vegan pie,  jacket and runner beans.




Day 21 of Project Happiness – Vegan mugcake

Status – New week

  • Meditate for 2 Minutes – ✔
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – ✔
  • 5 random  acts of kindness per week  – 1/5
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 0/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 40

Today I waved goodbye to youngest EN, who is off on a residential with school for 5 days for the first time!  Mini EN was almost beside herself with excitement, and is probably still bouncing about in her  dorm even now. 🙂  I wrote her a note,  and got Mr EN and the 2 sisters to also write notes,  so she has one a day to open whilst  she’s away (I’ve counted that as a random act of kindness) 🙂

I’m really pleased with my henna hair.  It’s come out a lovely natural colour, great condition, shiny in the sun, and best of all, it doesn’t smell!!  RESULT!!

Had a lovely (if rather sedate) hack on the kids pony after work today.  He obviously doesn’t share my need for speed,  but that’s probably a good thing as he’s there to look after the kids, not an adrenaline junkie who should  know better 🙂  However, since my mare is lame, it was just nice to be able to get out, get some fresh air,  and admire the beautiful rainbow peeking out from the edge of the storm which was threatening to come get us.  It rumbled menacingly at us a few times,  but we managed to dodge it and come back dry.

After dinner I was still hungry, so googled for vegan mug cakes, and came across this one, which worked rather well!  I adapted it to be sugar (fructose) free, and reduced it, as I find 4 tablespoons is just too much for lil’ ol me 🙂

  • 2 tbsp self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp dextrose
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1.5 tbsp oil – I used rapeseed but will try vegetable next time.
  • 2.5 tbsp soy milk
  • 1/8 tbsp bicarb soda.

I think it needed to be a bit sweeter,  so may either add an extra 1/2 tbsp dextrose,  or maybe some rice malt syrup,  and will definitely add 0.5tsp vanilla next time.  I cooked it for 1.5 minutes on full in the microwave and it came out lovely and light and fluffy, and just needed that bit of extra sweetness I thought.

Had an interesting discussion today with a colleague who is very very eco aware, and he does not buy into the argument that being vegetarian/vegan is important to reducing climate change.  I need to do more research into this as I am  just not sure, there are so  many conflicting pieces of advice out there.  However,  whilst looking into it briefly I did come across some really interesting sites, including :


Anyway, my aspiring vegan/plant based diet, has been ok today.

  • Breakfast – HM vegan toast with marmite
  • Snack – Apple
  • Lunch – HM vegan bread, hummus with slow roasted cherry tomatos
  • Snack – Digestive
  • Dinner – Vegan burger,  chips,  onion rings,  sweetcorn.
  • Pudding – Vegan mug cake!!


Day 20 of Project Happiness – Confidence


  • Meditate for 2 minutes – 
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – 
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week – 0/5😦
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 2/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 40

Didn’t manage to blog yesterday, so suffice it to say I didn’t write something positive for 20 minutes, or do any of the other things I should  have done.  However,  had a very busy and satisfying day, picked up my landy which has had the head gasket replaced and is now running fairly smoothly again, did a couple of hours of karate,  including some doing some kata teaching,  a bit of shopping for the necessary items for the kids, and took middle EN sproglet to see the John Le Carre film, ‘Our kind of traitor‘.  Actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and sproglet thought it was great.  I was pleased to realise quite early on that the main character was ‘Bootstrap Bill Turner’ from Pirates of the Caribbean, as it’s so frustrating when you’re not able to place someone!  Added bonus was that I got  the tickets as part of my Vitality Life insurance 🙂

Today has been fairly chilled.  Took youngest sprog to a pony club rally and it was fantastic!  She has been very nervous in the past, especially after a particularly nasty experience with a different pony which rodeo’d her off and broke her arm, requiring an operation.  Today she was  like a different girl.  Lots of canter work and even some tiny jumps.  Yay!! I was very very proud of her, and the grin on her face was just super to see. Took eldest EN sprog for a driving lesson and am currently sat here with my henna in my hair and the whole caboodle wrapped in clingfilm (a super sexy look!)  I actually hate the smell of henna, so have added cinnamon, cloves, ginger and made it with camomile tea.  I smell rather  pungent atm, but not hugely like henna so fingers crossed.  I also have a loaf in the oven (made with local flour, brown rice syrup instead of sugar, and olive oil instead of butter) which is smelling divine 🙂

Some more good news has been that my plants are growing!!  My potatoes are really coming along strongly, I have basil and sage seeds sprouting, cabbage, spinach and cauliflower seedlings coming through, and some  peas!!  Sadly still no sign of any of my peppers and tomatoes though 😦  Not giving up on them though.

Vegan diet is back on track again now.  Still eating eggs (and some fish) for the time  being though.

  • Breakfast – Scrambled eggs on toast (made with sunflower spread and soy milk)
  • Lunch – Humus and slow roasted tomato sarnies (Nom nom)
  • Snack – Crisps
  • Dinner – Pasta with tomato sauce; red onions, mushrooms and tuna.


Day 15 of Project Happiness – Sleep!


  • Meditate for 2 minutes – 
  • Write about something positive for 20 minutes – 
  • 5 random acts of kindness per week – 0/5 😦
  • Take 3 x 30 minute walks per week – 1/3
  • Unnecessary items bought today – 0
  • Total car miles saved – 30

I am definitely operating on my reserves atm.  There has definitely not been enough sleeping happening lately, due to just the amount of  stuff I have been trying to fit in one day.  Therefore, this will be brief.

My positives for today have been :

Vegan Banana and walnut Muffins (from yesterday nights’ bake off session)

2016-05-17 00.10.39

Turned out goooood!

Very bready, but to be expected given my flour mix.  Am definitely going to try them again,  will use normal wholewheat flour next time instead of the bread flour, and will do more with walnuts next time (only did a few this time as mini EN isn’t keen) as I think they really finish them off nicely. They are just fantastic with a cup of tea, and I love the indulgent dark chocolate pieces in them. Definitely a keeper recipe 🙂

A wonderful dinner cooked  by Mr EN.  I really do owe him atm.

The children doing well in their GCSE’s so far.  Fingers crossed!

A positive health check

Had a health check done by Lloyds pharmacy for my life insurance points.  They confirmed I am a non-smoker, I have low blood sugar levels (is that to be expected given I try to avoid fructose?), low blood pressure, low BMI (18), but high cholesterol.  We discussed diet and she thought trying to move towards a vegan diet would help with the cholesterol, as I did have rather a penchant for cheese before, and would indulge at least once a day, used butter every single day,  and used cream in LOTS of my cooking.  Their computer  suggested I might consider trying to accumulate more muscle mass to help with putting on weight, but as I’m already fairly well off in that department for  a female of my stature, just through being active with horses and karate.  I don’t think I’ll be taking their  advice, lest  I turn into  something like  this!


(Attempted) vegan diet today :

  • Breakfast – Baked beans on homemade vegan bread,  vegan spread/.
  • Snack – Banana and grapes.
  • Lunch – Eggplant soba noodles from Eat like you give a f*ck
  • Snack – Vegan banana and walnut cupcake
  • Snack #3 – Bread and butter
  • Dinner – Pasta with salmon, chilli pesto,  spinach, and sun dried tomatos with french bread and vegan spread.  Heavenly.