After Monday’s rather sombre post I wanted to follow up with something a little cheerier. As is often the case when you are feeling a bit low it is nice to indulge in a few guilty pleasures. Since Sunday I have been enjoying a few of my favourite things and realised that while these are little treats, they aren’t altogether bad ones and even those with a slightly more negative slant still have a silver lining! I think so at least!
- Health and fitness magazines
On Monday I was working at our Windsor office and inexplicably (since I’d hardly looked at it all day at all) my phone battery decided to give up. With the knowledge I had a 45 minute train journey ahead and (unwisely) no book to hand, I treated myself to Women’s Fitness magazine and indulged in a journey of health and fitness news, exercise tips and delicious recipes.
Having not bought a fitness magazine in an age it was such a lovely treat and I picked up a few new exercises and foodie tips to boot! For example did you know turmeric is now being lauded as the next superfood? Or that a high-fibre meal can reduce the negative impact of sugar from fruit juices? And I also like the recommendation for threewordadvice.com – some favourites of mine: call your parents; remember the details; admit you’re wrong; turn everything off; wake up earlier; be less bothered; love your body.
- Abandoning my phone
That evening also reminded me of another guilty pleasure which I know my family and friends sometimes get annoyed with me for, which is ignoring, abandoning, or just altogether turning off my phone.
It’s nice not to be 100% reachable at all times and to be able to properly surrender yourself to activities without one eye on your phone just in case someone calls/texts/whatsapps/emails/tweets/facebooks etc. I think it helps you to focus your concentration and be fully in the moment and engaged in what you are doing. It’s also nice to be liberated from other people’s narratives and with them the nagging dissatisfaction that comes from the feeling that you should be exercising more, staying out later, traveling further, partying harder and forging a more successful career. My pet hate is sitting at a table in a bar or restaurant with friends all sat with their phone out. So sometimes, whether it’s because I want to listen to a podcast, read a book, cook, chat with my housemates, take a bath or just potter, I will ignore my phone (sorry to those who call me at these times!)
- Bubble baths
They are warm, cosy and relaxing. What more could you want?! They also give the perfect undisturbed opportunity to indulge in guilty pleasure number 4.
- Radio 4/podcasts/TED talks
My new podcast discovery is ‘Stuff You Should Know’, which is a 50minute show on every topic you can imagine from coffee to currency and interrogation to animal domestication. The two guys who host it, Josh and Chuck, chat in a really fun and accessible but really well-informed and researched sort of way.
It’s hard to explain so I recommend you give it a listen or have a look at their website www.stuffyoushouldknow.com. If it’s not SYSK, I’m forever listening to TED talks or my favourite Radio 4 shows – Saturday Review, Front Row, The Film Programme. I love learning for learning’s sake and feeling informed and updated on all of the latest cultural events. It’s also a great way to distract my brain from the stresses of the day while not letting it go to mush – active recovery for the brain!
- Getting off the train early to walk
Especially at the moment when coming home from work involves a beautiful sunset I can’t resist a stroll. After being inside all day being outside and stretching my legs while either listening to music or just hearing the world go by, I love taking time to myself to just walk and process the day. The benefits of walking are multifarious from keeping you fit, helping you to sleep better and boosting your energy levels to increasing your attention span and boosting your memory. Before you go on a walk give this article in the New Yorker on the link between walking and thinking a quick read, then get your walking shoes on!
- Running home from work
There is something about putting on my trainers and running away from work that I find a little bit sneaky! Plus it means I get to avoid the rush hour crush and feel a little bit smug when I arrive home having truly earned my supper.-
- Mishmash suppers
You’ve not had time to go food shopping, or you’re trying to use up the tailends of multiple meals from the week, either way you don’t want to waste any food and can’t face the corner shop. The result: the mishmash supper. This week I indulged in crumpets with tofu scrambled in a dash of sesame seed oil with salt, pepper and chilli, topped with grilled tomatoes, wilted spinach and beans, not bad for leftovers!
- Red wine
Now the seasons are on the change red wine has reaffirmed its place as my favourite drink. Something about darkening evenings and candlelit suppers demands a glass of red wine. While I know the disadvantages of this vice there are a few positives such as the antioxidant content. Everything in moderation!
- Eating my greens
I feel like this is a guilty pleasure because it’s meant to be virtuous but I actually really like it! I love broccoli, I put handfuls of spinach into anything and everything, I get through sugarsnap peas and edamame beans at a breakneck pace. Rocket with avocado, cabbage with black pepper, asparagus with cracked salt and chilli, mmmmmm!
10. Early nights
I’ve never been a night owl and while there are occasions when I surprise myself by staying up past 1am, as a rule I normally keep to Cinderella hours. Even more decadent however are the evenings a good supper, glass of red and bath send me spiralling into 10pm warm drowsiness and I sneak into bed with radio 4 and fall asleep before I’ve even heard the opening gambit. Bliss!