Welcome to my world!

The reflections and comments of a resident in Southsea, Portsmouth, England.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Carpe diem!

First thing this morning, I heard of the death of a great aunt. I didn't know she had cancer and last night she collapsed, went into a coma and died.

Only yesterday I was pondering about death and how unexpected it can be. That singer Amber died while at the operating table, so unexpected to get a complication on a routine knee surgery. And the woman in Tenerife who was decapitated on entering a supermarket. Such a random chance.

I used to get depressed thinking about death and how I would go etc. Strange, I know, but at some point we all must have thought about it. I was only little and so my expectation of death was more scary. I think it was the fact that I might go somewhere strange without anyone I know.

Somehow now the thought that I won't be conscious of anything when I'm dead is rather comforting. Nothing to worry about.

What these deaths remindes me of is that we must take each day as it comes and cram it full of what you want to do. You don't know when the end is, so live life to the fullest!

I don't mean drink to death or take drugs, but I do mean do not be limited by your fears.

Seize the day! Carpe diem!

And may you have fun doing it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Negative self-talk

I've always wanted to do lots of things, but negative self-talk always talks me out of things! So today I declare war on negative self-talk. Given the chance, I know I'm charming and friendly and good at what I do. There; I feel better already!

Moving along the positivity vibe...I'm really enjoying this new doors to social media period I am having. I was preparing for my work 'performance development review'. There is a new form to fill and it has helped me looked back into the past twelve months and review what I have done.

I've done lots!

But the one thing I haven't done was to identify a social media training course! A quick work on-line to find those courses I've been dreaming of, I've now booked myself into a couple of amazing workshops to which I'm very much looking forward.

Give yourself a positive self-talk and see for yourself what joy it brings!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Fly to the land of writing

It's Friday and it has been an inspirational day for me. My team at work was discussing social media in the morning and their enthusiasm seemed like an encouragement that I'm not alone in this and should really embrace social media. This seems a very positive way forward.

I've always been wondering about my writing. Although I've always loved writing and wanting to write, it's always been in the more personal forms of letters and keeping a diary. Looks like I can't keep it that way for too long.

First of all, Andy Stanford-Clark, who came to give a talk at the Cafe Scientifique session I organised last month has now asked me twice whether I blog. I evaded the question once, but I think that's not the right attitude! So I've promised him I'll write.

Annabel Souter is another person I've met on Twitter who a few months ago, or maybe even a year ago, requested some writing from me which I managed to avoid. On reading her blog about her own writing I felt that I should be brave too and embrace this whole blogging thing.

So, if you are in the same shoes as me, click your heels twice and, just like Dorothy, let us fly to the land of super-writing. Just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and share your thoughts without fear.

On that note, I've also decided that Friday will be an Inspirational Friday for me. More of that later!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bring on the sun!

I'm buoyed by all the good weather so far and everything I do seems to be influenced by it. Like the starting of cooking of all sorts with salad and Spanish flavours this weekend.

According to my search, this sauce is either called 'samfaina' or 'sanfaina' - whichever way is the same, although there seems to be various versions of this vegetable sauce.

The one I made fits one of the descriptions I found and it says that people think of this dish as the ratatouille of Catalan. I have altered the recipe to suit ingredients that I have at home. Enjoy!

Chicken in Sanfaina Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
120g bacon pieces
1 tinned chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine
100ml water (or stock if you have)
1 medium bay leaf
1 tbsp chopped thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a casserole dish, brown the chicken and then remove. Add the onion and garlic into the dish and fry for 1 minute. Then add the peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Stir in the bacon, tomatoes, wine, water and herbs and bring to a boil. Then simmer gently. Add the chicken pieces back into the dish and make sure they are covered by the juices. Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook gently for 45 minutes.

Season well and serve with fluffly rice or couscous. Or, if you prefer, some lovely bread to mop up the sauce.

Carry on the Spanish theme by accompanying your dinner with a nice glass of rioja. Or if it's really hot out, a sangria.

Try also these recipes for sauces: