First Mysore Ashtanga class

Attended my first Mysore Ashtanga class today at my local yoga studio – Yogajo’s – 90 minutes of no teacher guidance (save for this Ashtanga Primary series poster by Michael Gannon which studio-owner Jo gave me and fellow Mysore newbie Mhairi to share).

I’ve practised yoga at home before without a dvd or book but maybe only for 30-40 minutes. 90 minutes was something of a revelation – to have the time – uninterrupted by child/hubby/pets/phone/doorbell etc was great and i was a full-on sweaty mess by the end of class. I don’t know all the postures yet and there are some i’m just too stiff at present to master but they’ll come in time i’m sure.

http://michaelgannonyoga.com/dev/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/gannonsmall3.jpg

 

Have a New Year’s fitness/health/weight resolution?

If, like me, you’ve ever been a member of Weightwatchers/Slimming World/Jenny Craig/ANother of the million diet plans available, then it’s likely you are being email/facebook/twitter-spammed by them right now. Don;t give them your hard-earned cash but check out www.myfitnesspal.com instead. It’s free, has more comprehensive exercise and food databases than Weightwatchers (in my opinion..) and links up to various exercise apps such as Bodymedia Fit, Endomondo Sports Tracker, FITBIT, Mio, Striiv and a ton of others plus there are apps for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry , Android and Windows Phone. My Other Half found this as he’s looking to get fitter and as it’s free i’m giving it a shot too. Can’t hurt, right?

So 2013, whattchya got?

So it’s New Year’s Eve and tomorrow is a new day of a new year. I tend to get a bit maudlin on Hogmanay and don’t really make resolutions.
I was expecting to turn 40 next year but a friend (clearly better at maths than me – also, bloody Facebook birthdays adding a year onto my age!!…) Told me I was talking rubbish and of course wouldn’t be 40 until December 2014. This, aside from making me feel slightly ridiculous, also made me a feel like I’ve gained an extra year so I’m going to aim to commit to a few things I’ve been skirting round the edges of:

- Attend 3 classes a week at my local Ashtanga yoga centre
– Walk more, drink more water and (bit) less wine
– Get stuck in and complete the Philosophy course I signed up to on CourseraCoursera online education (more on this in January!)
– Be more positive (as I can be a miserable bint sometimes) and less insular
– Blog more regularly…

Happy New 2013 to you!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Books and films and stuff

I haven’t posted much recently (on blog anyway – am always on Twitter) but I’ve been busy taking Ashtanga yoga classes, reading books and watching a load of films ( a real love of mine). This evening I’ve finished Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. I’d seen the film several years ago but a friend read the book recently and recommended it. It’s frankly terrifying and it’s worth reading the book even if you have seen the film – Polanski’s film is wonderful but from reading the book, you’ll see that Mia Farrow was perfect for the role. Amazing to think Ira Levin wrote three of the most fascinating studies of modern America in the mid-late 20th Century: Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives and The Boys from Brazil. I have the latter on kindle which I’m now going to read – Chuck Palahnuik’s introductions are excellent too.
Also tonight I watched the film Jeff, Who Lives at Home – Jason Segel and the phenomenal Susan Sarandon – what’s not to love? I really enjoyed this film – more than just a lame stoner comedy. I’m now watching classic British horror The Night Of The Demon (1957) thanks to a ‘British Connections’ season by Digital/cable film channel Film4. Its a fabulously creepy British Cult/Satanist horror. Worth checking out.

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy (and Joe Wright)

I’m not sure if i decided i quite fancied reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy before or after seeing the sumptious adverts for Joe Wright’s new film version featuring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Kelly Macdonald and Aaron-Taylor Johnson. Doesn’t it look gorgeous?

Anna Karenina UK Release poster

Speaking of Gorgeous – Keira Knightley wore stunning Chanel at the UK Premiere – you can read and see more pictures here. I’ve loved Keira in the last few films i’ve seen here in (most recently A Dangerous Method) and she’s showing she has a wealth of talent beyond just looking amazing and pouting. I’m looking forward to seeing this (but wonder whether i’ll finish the book first…)

Keira Knightley Anna Karenina UK Premiere in Chanel

I have read some Russian literature in the past BUT it’s hard work – i read some Chekhov at University aswell as Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most depressing books you’ll ever read but Anna Karenina sounds like a great romp:

Anna Karenina is the tragedy of married aristocrat and socialite Anna Karenina and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother’s unbridled womanizing—something that prefigures her own later situation, though with less tolerance for her by others.” (Wikipedia)

Will let you know how i get on.

Athena dug

So, our German Shepherd dog Athena died just over a year ago (July 5 2011) but our daughter has been talking a lot about her recently and i think we’re finally coming around to the idea of getting another one. I came across some pictures on my laptop and thought it’d be quite nice to share some of them here.

Life getting in the way a bit

So i’m aware i haven’t blogged for a while but as the title says – Life’s been getting in the way a bit. In a good way though. Since moving house and in the last few weeks, i’ve read more, seen some great movies, discovered some great vintage shops/jumble sales/car boot sales in my new locale and have even picked up a crochet hook again (though less said about that, the better…). My daughter has also started School nursery a couple of afternoons which has given me time to write this.

So – recent media consumed includes:

Films -

The Descendants (Clooney, cried buckets)
Harry Potter and the last whatsit (you know, the last one – was pretty good)
A Dangerous Method (Cronenberg – Jung v Freud – Keira Knightley a revelation; Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen wonderful as always)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (recent prequel with James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow as well as rent-a-creature Andy Serkis. Was so much better than i thought it would be. Those Apes were ANGRY)
Disney’s Brave at the cinema with TheYoungLady (twice! – as i said to someone – possibly the first Disney heroine who didn’t make me want to puke. Lots of stuff about changing your fate and i cried at the mom/daughter bit. It was good)
Volcano – (not new i know but have never seen it. Great disaster movie and Tommy Lee Jones – whaddaguy!)

Books

We were the Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Oates. I found this a struggle as the pace is slow but it was a rewarding read.
The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins. Couldn’t quite believe these were kids books – glad i read them before seeing the film. Wonderful.
The Fifty Shades Trilogy – EL James. Amazingly badly written tripe. (nb – not me being prudish – there were definately some sexy bits but it was so badly written and Grey and Anastasia so unlikeable)
The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg. Now, i do normally love Scandi-crime but got a bit bored with this and didn’t finish it.
11.22.63 – Stephen King. Read even less of this. Time portal at the back of a diner where the protagonist can maybe chnge history and stop the assassination of JFK? Nah. Gave up.
Going to attempt some Leo Tolstoy next (War and Peace or Anna Karenina?)
I also quite like this new magazine http://www.thesimplethings.com/ and Mollie Makes Both of which are just too darned cute.

Recent thrift/bargains loot

Am heading to St Ives, Cornwall, UK for a week’s holiday soon where i’ll hopefully return from laden with all manner of artsy, hippy, surfy stuff. Looking forward to visiting Tate St Ives gallery and maybe the Barbara Hepworth museum - loads of small galleries and artists studios to visit too.

Pasta e fagioli – One New Recipe A Week

I’ve had a miserable cold this week so was hankering after soup today, whilst ask my 4-year old what she wants for tea and she inevitably says ‘pasta’ so this hearty pasta and bean soup from the Italian Puglia region totally hits the spot. This recipe replaces beans (and i’ve made similar soups before with Borlotti beans which work really well) with chickpeas which my daughter refers to as simply ‘yummy scrummy’. The recipe states that the pasta shapes traditionally used are ‘orecchiette’ or ‘little ears’ but any small-ish pasta shape works well. I actually only had fusilli (twists) in which were fine too.

The recipe is taken from ‘Easy Vegetarian one-pot’ - which is a very handy book including over 100 salads, frittatas, stews, tagines and so on. I amended the amounts from serves 4 down to 3 – it was just me and the 4 year-old this evening so there some left over for my work lunch tomorrow. The chilli flakes give this a lovely warmth and i’d probably add more if it was just for me and my OH. A tasty, filling, healthy and quick to make soup.

Ingredients:

250g/9oz dried chickpeas (i just used about 3/4 of a tin of chickpeas)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (i used half a medium sized onion)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (i just used one)
a sprig of fresh rosemary (didn’t have this so just used dried mixed herbs)
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli/hot pepper flakes
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree/paste
1.5 litres/6 cups vegetable stock (i cut this down to about half a litre but i like quite thick soups)
100g/3.5oz small pasta shapes such as orecchiete or conchigliette
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve (or veggie alternative. i used a Pecorino cheese)
extra virgin olive oil, to serve

(If not just using a tin of chickpeas…) Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight. Drain and put in a large saucepan with sufficient cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until very tender. Drain and set asaide.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and chilli/hot pepper flakes along with a pinch of salt and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until the onoin has softened.

Increase the heat to high. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree/paste, stock and the chickpeas and bring to the boil. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve sprinkled with cheese and drizzled with olive oil.

Ryan Gosling Colouring Book

I posted yesterday about a rather wonderful Bill Murray Colouring Book but i learnt via Stylist Magazine last night that there is a Ryan Gosling Colouring Book.

Ryan. Gosling.

RYAN. GOSLING!!!

The book shows him doing all manner of ‘handsome activities’ such as driving, eating and sitting with his dog.

You want one. You can buy the Colour Me Good Ryan Gosling colouring book from Maiden