A quick Christmas message

playingsmallnelsonmandelaI’ve just realised that it’s been 14 days since my last post and, as silly as it may seem, I’m not about to give up my at least one post a fortnight rule this close to a new year. So Happy Christmas everyone, and thanks for reading!

As the New Year approaches I know I need to keep reminding myself to keep motivated and stay focussed. I wish all the best to anyone else going through a period of transition – it’s tough working things out and I know I sometimes just feel like I’m going round in circles, but we’ll get there. After all, you can’t have a good story without a good struggle :)

A vegetarian Christmas

lisa_the_vegetarianI’m a vegetarian and have been now for around 7 years. I have a number of reasons for this choice – I don’t particularly like the taste or texture of meat, I don’t like the idea of eating something that was once alive and that I definitely wouldn’t want to kill myself, and we have so many other options of what to eat that I kind of just feel eating meat isn’t necessary.

There are also health benefits to not eating red meat, though fish and white meats could be argued to be pretty good for you. I guess it really depends on how much of an effort you make to eat the right other stuff (beans, pulses, wide range of fruit and veg, cheese, milk and other sources of protein etc.) as to whether or not being a vegetarian makes you healthier than being an omnivore.

Am I a vegetarian for ethical reasons? Sort of, but I realise that from an ethical standpoint vegan-ism is really the only way to go (apparently cows have to regularly give birth in order to keep producing milk and the calves are taken from their mothers at a very young age). Eating less meat is also a great way to reduce carbon emissions, and having a strong interest in environmental issues I do try to do my bit! Although I now hate the thought of eating meat, I have no problem at all with anyone else choosing to eat it. This is just my own lifestyle choice.

So obviously I won’t be having a typical Christmas dinner, and I thought I’d share a lovely nut roast recipe that I first tried last Christmas and will be making again for tomorrow. Nut roast has a bad reputation as being boring and dry, however this recipe from the Guardian’s website is delicious: Felicity Cloake’s perfect nut roast (scroll down past the discussion of the different aspects to find the perfect combination)

Happy Christmas!

The perfect gift

presentsI hate buying Christmas presents – or more I hate choosing them. Giving is great when you know the perfect gift that’s really going to be appreciated, but more often than not I find myself looking for presents for the sake of giving something, anything.

I genuinely don’t think I’d mind if no-one bought me a Christmas present, I’d be more than happy with Christmas good wishes, yet when you know you’re going to receive gifts you feel you have to give something back in return. This year we’re baking presents for our extended family, though I’m not wholly convinced they’ll all appreciate our efforts.

Maybe I’m selfish – I dislike shopping at the best of times and I have a tendency to leave gift buying until the last minute. I know that others really like to receive presents, I’m just not very good at selecting those elusive ‘perfect’ gifts. Maybe searching for ‘perfect’, rather than good enough, presents is where I’m going wrong. Will I appreciate gifts, well-chosen or not? Of course.

My grandma always asks for a completely honest answer when she asks: do you like this/will you use this? Offering to take back presents and replace them with something more useful or preferred in return if the answer is no. I appreciate this effort to make sure that everything she buys and gives is actually wanted and useful – it saves waste and unused gifts lying around the house. However this seems to be a maximising attitude, promoting discontent.

At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts, and even a generic gift shows that someone has thought of you. While I dislike the waste and materialism of Christmas, I’ll still be putting on my best ‘oh it’s what I’ve always wanted’ expression throughout the festive season.