24 July 2014

Doing the blog hop

It’s time for some blog hopping. GALUMPH!

What’s a blog hop? Well I only found out myself three days ago thanks to my wonderful friend Sarah from Pearls of Willsdom (this is your cue to follow her as she’s down right hilarious, but at other times she’ll move you to tears. She’s also on Facebook here). A blog hop is similar to the good ol’ chain letter, but lucky for me, there’s no horrible impending disaster threatened to occur if I don’t do this one. Bonus!

This blog hop is about my writing, something that’s caused me great anxiety for years. Even though I was in communications/PR for 15 years. AND even though I write a blog. Go figure.

So here it goes:

How does my writing differ from others in its genre?

I must admit it’s pretty hard to stand out in the food blogging arena simply because there are SO many of us. I think mine has been better received ever since I started being honest about my own struggle with mental health. Suddenly I feel the blog is a wonderful outlet for me to share my daily struggles while adding in a good dose of therapy through my cooking.

Why do I write what I do?

It’s very simple - to build awareness about mental illness.

For quite sometime I’ve wanted to give my experience with poor mental health a purpose. That purpose is to break down stigma surrounding mental illness and maybe help some other people along the way realise they’re not alone.

How does my writing process work?

Depends on the post. Some are harder to write then others. Like the one on binge eating. That one was written, rewritten, rewritten again, and then left to sit for over a week. After that I did some more rewriting and realised I was so nervous about telling that story. Finally I hit publish and it’s been the most viewed post on my blog.

When it comes to writing the recipes they’ve all been tested by me. I try to make them as simple as possible, hence why a lot of them are modified from other recipes just so I can give it my own unique touch.

Why do I write?

Because I have to. It’s as simple as that. I have too many thoughts that go on in my head and by writing them down I can give them some sort of order and understanding.

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on a post, which will be a compassionate letter to myself. I’m also working on getting back into a working life and not letting my anxieties get the better of me. I’m not sure who’s winning that battle, yet.

Now I get to choose three blogs that I follow that get to do the blog hop next. But as I don’t follow many blogs, and one is the one I already mentioned, Pearls of Willsdom, I’m just choosing two blogs for you to enjoy.

Me and my 2 guys
Bree is a hooker, stitcher, cooker and an all round bonza chick. I love the amazing things she creates from quilts to shawls, beanies to bunting, all while bringing up two children. You can follow her on Facebook here.

Bizzy Lizzy’s good things
Now this woman can cook and write. I love Liz’s zest for the cooking life and the importance of cooking with local, seasonal produce. She has a long history of working in the food industry so she knows what she’s talking about. You can read more about her here.  

13 July 2014

#3 Vlog - Keep Going

In video #3, about being kinder to myself, I talk about how my 30 minutes a day of walking challenge went and the importance of keeping going when things don't go to plan.

08 July 2014

A serve of stubbornness with a side of veggies

I have a stubborn streak. A real stubborn streak. In fact my stubborn streak can get so bad I can refuse to do the simple things, like brush my teeth everyday or brush my hair, just because I’ve been told self-grooming (which goes out the window during a depressive stage) is important for my recovery. Phffft to self-grooming. Phffft to recovery. 

I know, childish, right?

My stubborn streak’s always been around, it’s just I didn’t realise how bad it was until I was chatting with my psychologist a few weeks ago. For example, I’ve never been one to go for anything mainstream: popular fiction, phffft; popular band, absolutely no way; popular television show, get real. In fact, if I do find myself loving something popular, like Game of Thrones, I’m shocked when I can understand all the references made about it. I’m so used to being one of those people that says, ‘what’s that?’, ‘who’s that?’, ‘never heard of them’. Stubborn? Slightly.

Then there’s the stubbornness I have when I’m given advice on getting ‘over’ my depression. I simply try to shut people down or tell them I’m already aware of whatever it is they’re telling me. Totally stubborn.

Or when a conversation turns to health and I take everything as a personal affront and so, first, get mad, and then ignore the conversation that’s taking place around me. Ignorance is, after all, bliss, right?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that much of a stubborn git to not abide by the law. Good girl, Fiona. I also follow the social conventions of friendship (I’ve watched too much Big Bang Theory with that statement. HA, which is popular…but had become too popular so I stopped watching it. Damn it!), which is partly why I have such wonderful friends around me (the other part is because I’m secretly slipping them illicit drugs to keep them thinking I’m a joy to be around).

However, finding more and more examples of being stubborn doesn’t shed any light on WHY I’m stubborn. So this week my psychologist and I did a little more digging into the life and times of Fiona Tristram. We spoke a bit more about stubbornness itself, and then touched on being compassionate to oneself, the feeling of empowerment and what happens when you lack control over your own life. She then steered me to two TED talks by BrenĂ© Brown, one on vulnerability the other on shame. (Btw both are fabulous talks.)

Mixing what I’ve learnt all together this is what I’ve come away with: Stubbornness can come from fear, which is simply a cover for shame – shame of failure, shame of rejection, shame of vulnerability. What I really need is to accept my vulnerabilities because it’s in these vulnerabilities that I’ll find honesty within and about myself.

Simply put, it’s about being kinder to myself and accepting who I am, imperfections and all.

Of course we’ve all heard this before. I need to love me for me…blah blah blah. But who really LISTENS to it? Who really BELIEVES they are okay EXACTLY AS THEY ARE? Not bigger, smaller, smarter, funnier, wiser, faster, prettier, more masculine, stronger, fitter, BETTER. Who?

Ladies and Gentlemen, we ALL have vulnerabilities. One of mine is my weight, but every time someone talks about their health around me doesn’t mean they’re trying to send me a coded message to lose weight. It’s not all about me, after all.

Maybe to release me of my stubbornness, which only holds me back, I need to understand my vulnerabilities more. I need to understand what scares the bejesus out of me and then, compassionately, I need to accept that fear. I have a feeling that by accepting it, it will no longer have such a strong hold on me.

In order to start being compassionate to my body I’ve made this easy vegetable soup recipe. It’s good for my health, good for my taste buds and good for my soul. I hope you enjoy it.

Are you stubborn? Do you think you know why? 

Vegetable soup with crumbled feta

Vegetable soup with crumbled feta
By The Self-Raising Kitchen

Serves 6

50g butter
2 leeks, finely sliced
1 carrot, diced
300g cauliflower, roughly chopped
600g sweet potato, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
6 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

In a saucepan melt the butter on a medium heat. Then add leeks, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks turn translucent.

Add cauliflower, sweet potato and stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer until vegetables are really soft. Take saucepan off the stove. With a stick blender puree the soup until a smooth consistency. Season to taste.

Serve in bowls topped with some crumbled feta and a small dash of extra virgin olive oil.

06 July 2014