Just Another Monthly #3

Something to think about:

It’s a question that has been posed many times before, but one I have never given much thought to. So, I asked myself, what celebrity guests would I invite to a dinner party. My dinner party is for celebrities that are still alive only (because otherwise, I’d probably only have a table full of dead people) and it’s a dinner party for 8 people (including myself), so I need to invite 7 celebrities. So, the celebrities that would be receiving this very exclusive invite would be:

Sir David Attenborough: ok yes, let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. I mean, who wouldn’t want Sir Dave at their dinner party? He would probably terrify me talking about how messed up our planet is now, BUT we all need that. We all need to be scared about our planet’s health right now.

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Rupaul: YASSSSSSSS queen. Of course. Obvs. He is incredibly interesting, wise and so much fun. Rupaul would be a definite at my dinner party.

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Sir Ken Robinson: Who? The very clever creativity expert, speaker and international educationalist. If you’ve ever watched his TED talk you’d understand why I’d want him at my dinner party. He’s incredibly charming and witty, but that aside he is fascinating. One of those people you could listen to all day. I bang on about my love for Sir Ken in my blog post about the importance of creativity for children HERE

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Michelle Obama: Major girl crush on our Shell here. I can just imagine it: Michelle lining up the sambucca shots at 2am, regaling us all with tales of the White House and slagging off Trump and I am 100% here for it.

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Danny Dyer: Why? Do I really need to explain? Because it’s DANNY FACKING DYER that’s why. He would also be sat next to me, so we can slag off David Cameron together. Twat.

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Rylan: Because, well……Rylan. Also, he would clearly be excellent company, a whole lot of fun and is actually a lot more intelligent than his TV persona portrays.

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Vanessa Feltz: Damn straight, I went there. Come on, she would be absolutely brilliant at a dinner party. I bloody LOVE mouthy, clever women, so Vanessa is right up my street. And if Vanessa can’t make it, I’d invite Kathy Burke.

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This now begs the question, who would you invite to your dinner party?

Something to be cheerful about:

  • Cheerful and delicious, a 64-metre-long “fatberg” in Sidmouth has finally been removed. Workers winched down a manhole wearing special breathing gear, chipped away at the mass of congealed oils and rubbish (mmmm) and filled 36 tankers. The fatberg will now be converted into energy to use at a sewage plant. Good work!
  • The Duchess of York has not only embarked on writing poetry, but her best pal Will.i.am. wants to set her poetic verses to music. Apparently, he refers to her as his “homegirl” and as the “real Fergie”, and the two of them regularly take tea together. Watch out for the music collaboration the world has probably not been waiting for.
  • A wildlife expert, Kate MacRae, has built an adorable bird box that looks like a miniature living room inside for the birds in her garden and has set up live cams inside. It is absolutely gorgeous. You can view this live cam and others that she has set up HERE.

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Something to buy:

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Black Floral Print Tie Sleeve Tea Dress, £28, from Miss Selfridge

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Rock & Pop Icons Tea Towels, £12, full range from Bold & Noble

Something to read:

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Half the Sky: How to Change the World by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn.

This is another one of those books that everyone should be forced to read (I really should do a post on that), it takes you around the world meeting amazing women who have survived or are still struggling in terrible circumstances. Here’s one fact that my mind is still reeling from in the book:

More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they are girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century combined.

It’s not a book to be taken lightly. It’s a difficult read, detailing female oppression across the world. What’s great about the book is that it talks about ways and initiatives that local women in these countries have been able to help themselves (and this seems to be the most effective way as opposed to the “white saviour” method). This book leaves you with a feeling of angry injustice, but also a feeling of respect, awe and hope for these women. Everyone should read this book and read it now. The website for the Half the Sky movement is HERE.

Something to watch:

I have been watching so many good programmes of late and these are the latest that I thoroughly recommend.

Derry Girls

Derry Girls Season 2

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Russian Doll

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After Life

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Fleabag Season 2

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Broad City Season 5 (last ever season whaaaa!)

Something to cook:

Goats Cheese & Walnut Gnocchi

Speedy and very easy dish that you can quickly cobble together for a fresh evening meal.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

1 pack of gnocchi

1 pack of green beans (or any greens you fancy)

Butter

Couple of fistfuls of walnuts

Garlic Clove

Goats cheese

Half a lemon

Salt & pepper

Method

  • Steam the greens for 6 minutes or so
  • Then fry the greens in a bit of butter along with the walnuts
  • Add the gnocchi to the water you used to steam the greens and boil for a couple of minutes
  • Add the garlic clove (crushed or chopped- whatever you prefer) to the greens & walnuts and fry for a minute
  • Juice the lemon half and chop the cheese
  • Drain the gnocchi
  • Mix the gnocchi, greens & walnuts together along with the goats cheese, lemon juice and seasoning
  • Shove in mouth
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Again, many apologies for the terrible food photography. It’s not my forte.

Something to help save the planet with:

Conscious

I’m bit of a Paperchase whore to be honest with you, so I was super pleased to hear that they have brought out their own Conscious Living stationary range. Everything is made from recycled and ethically resourced materials. They’ve used materials such as old coffee cups, recycled leather, bamboo fibre, sugar canes and old water bottles to make their products. You can view the full range HERE and read about the different materials they’ve used HERE. Prices range from 80p to £20. Well done Paperchase.

Something to enjoy from the Blogosphere:

I’ve mentioned this before, but Christine from I’m Sick and So Are You is a terrible writer and her blog is awful. This particular post of hers left me feeling absolutely nothing and definitely isn’t one of the most important blog posts I’ve ever read. If your body isn’t quite what it used to be, it might mean nothing to you too. Definitely don’t read this post called An Ode to a Broken Body HERE.

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Something to listen to:

Something to laugh at

Louis Theroux reviewing UK rap:

Just Another Monthly #4 will be back in one month’s time.

Don’t forget you can vote for Just Another Blog From a Woman to win a blogging award HERE in the Best Entertainment Blog category.

Just Another Monthly #2

Something to think about:

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My most hated word in the English language? Just.

“Why are you doing it like that? Just do it like this?”

Just do it”

Just don’t do it”

“It’s easy. Just…”

Just. Just. JUST

Why does such a seemingly inoffensive word rile me so much? It presumes so much. It presumes that the answer to your problem is simple and why haven’t you thought of it? It’s ok, the irony is not lost on me. The word just is in both my blog name and this post’s title. However, it’s the use of the word just when telling someone to do something that specifically gets my goat. Here’s an example:

Some years ago, when I was having terrible problems settling my baby in a cot for the first time, I had a little moan about it at the baby group I regularly attended.

“She won’t settle. She screams. She cries. She doesn’t like the cot at all and was much happier in her moses basket.”

“Ah,” interjected a fellow mum, “just put her in a sleeping bag in the cot”

“I’ve done that. It didn’t make a difference” was my reply

Just put her in the moses basket in the cot, to get her used to it”

“Yep, tried that too. Also didn’t work”

Just comfort her whilst she’s in the cot crying, so she knows there’s nothing to be scared of”

“I mean, I’ve definitely done that….”

Just leave her to cry it out”

“Sure, I’ve done that too, but she seems particularly unhappy…”

“Well, I don’t have any other suggestions. Sorry”

And that was the end of the conversation. The thing was, I wasn’t looking for advice. I merely wanted to have a moan. To get it off one’s chest as it were. And all I wanted in return was a “oh dear, that must be shit. It will be ok though” type response. Instead, I was left feeling even more frustrated than before the conversation.

Here’s the thing, it’s my theory that most of the time when someone is upset about something or having a moan about something, they rarely want or need advice. Chances are if they’re relatively intelligent, they’ve already tried all the obvious solutions. All they need is someone to listen and allow them to vent. We all need this outlet.

In a world where mental health is on the increase and we are encouraged to talk about our problems, we need as much encouragement to ensure people know how to listen and give people space to talk. It’s all very well giving advice and I’m sure people like the mum in my example have good intentions, but we should not underestimate the power of just listening and just letting people talk. Ha. Oh ok, perhaps I don’t dislike the word just all the time.

By the way, my baby got used to the cot. All she needed was a bit of time to get used to it. Nothing else.

Something to be cheerful about:

  • 5,000 people queued up in the rain to see if they were able to help save the life of one little 5-year old boy. Oscar Saxelby-Lee has a very rare form of blood cancer and needs a stem cell transplant in the next 3 months. After an appeal for potential donors, almost 5,000 people turned up at Oscar’s school to register for testing to see if they’re a match. This is over double the amount of people that have turned up for any other appeal for donors from the DKMS blood cancer charity- the previous record being 2,200. A further 1,000 people have since registered to be tested to see if they’re a match for Oscar.

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  • India has opened its first hospital for rescued and abused elephants. The hospital in Uttar Pradesh has already treated 26 elephants. The elephants have mainly been rescued from tourist attractions such as circuses, street-riding and also from private owners. Elephants held in these conditions results in them developing many health conditions and malnutrition. The hospital has plenty of sophisticated equipment such as ultrasound scans, radiology, laboratory testing and a hydrotherapy pool to help nurse the poor elephants back to health. Once they are healthy again, they are sent to elephant sanctuaries to spend their retirement in full health and happiness.

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Something to buy:

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Louche Jude Pooch Pyjama Shirt, £45, from Joy the Store

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Senora Ceramic Vase, £39.99, from Okla

Something to read:

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I’ve already talked about my love of food HERE and mentioned Ruby’s newsletter there, but I implore you to read this book by Ruby. It’s one long love song about food and reasons to enjoy it guilt free. Honestly, you won’t be able to read it without salivating. There’s also the odd recipe sewn in between all the chapters about why food matters and why we should enjoy it. It’s all about the pleasure.

Something to watch:

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Anybody that follows me on Instagram, will know that I’m currently obsessed with the Netflix reality makeover show Queer Eye. It’s so much more than a makeover show though. There’s more focus on making people feel happier with themselves and their lives. The Fab 5 (Karamo, Jonathan, Antoni, Tan and Bobby) spend a lot time sitting down with their heroes (as the participants are referred to as) talking to them and finding out about their lives and pasts. The show is engineered to be incredibly emotive,  but if you’re like me then you’re rather partial to a tearjerker. I’ve become obsessed with the show, binge watching the first two seasons, but for me the best thing about the show is the Fab 5. Their charisma and warmth is infectious. I am desperate for them to be my new best friends. And the good news is that the new season is on Netflix from today. So grab a box of tissues and get watching Queer Eye.

Something to cook:

Shakshouka

Okay so boiling an egg in a frying pan of tinned tomatoes, may not sound the most appealing, but trust me this recipe is delicious. It’s a very comforting and warming dish (and looking out of the window right now, we still need that comfort and warmth) plus the ingredients are usually always at hand. It’s traditionally a North African/Middle Eastern breakfast, but I have it for lunch.

Ingredients (serves 1)

Olive Oil

I garlic clove

Chilli flakes (as much as you like)

Paprika

1 egg (or 2 if you’re hungry)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Salt

Parmesan

Method

  • Fry the garlic in the oil with the chilli flakes for a minute
  • Chuck the tin of chopped tomatoes in and get them boiling
  • Crack the egg in the middle
  • Sprinkle parmesan on top (again, as much as you like)
  • Put a plate or lid over the frying pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 5 mins
  • Serve with a thick slice of buttered bread and more parmesan on top

Tip: you can pad this meal out with sliced peppers and/or onions. Fry them first before you add the tomatoes and egg. You can also add other spices to it that you might enjoy such as cumin and cayenne pepper.

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Sorry my food photos are pretty rubbish, but trust me- this is bloody lovely.

Something to help save the planet with:

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Natural Dental Floss £5

Plastic-free dental floss! I use this regularly (do I get a sticker?) and it’s as good as regular floss. It’s made from natural and sustainable silk, PETA certified cruelty free, 100% natural with no chemicals and it comes in a little reusable glass jar. When you finish the floss in this jar, you can buy refills, which in turns helps limit plastic waste. You can buy it in either mint or cardamon flavour. Oh and the floss is compostable. So what are you waiting for? Get flossing! You can get it HERE

Something to enjoy from the Blogosphere:

Please pop over to Angela’s blog and have a read of her candid and (as always) thoughtful post on co-parenting HERE. She always writes so well and this is an exceptional post on the difficulties of having to regularly wave goodbye to your child.

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Something to listen to:

Just Another Playlist #2- A weekly mix tape of an eclectic collection of tunes (maybe to listen to while you make the Shakshouka)

Something to laugh at:

Imma just gonna leave this here without comment:

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See you next week for the top The Cure songs and Just Another Monthly will be back in a month’s time!