W.I.P. Wednesday : It’s Time For Holiday Decorations (à la pâte à sel) & Gifts

After our fun with modeling the pâte à sel we decided to make holiday decorations for our tree. We have a tiny little “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” that I picked up near the garbage bin just before Christmas when I was pregnant for Guppy. The little tree was in its cardboard box, and it looked as if it had been opened maybe once. I figured it was too good to be true, but the tree was inside, and in perfect condition (albeit tiny). I don’t think it’s a good idea to buy a plastic/synthetic tree, but a freebie on the side of the road, destined for a landfill, well, I call it a “rescue”!

Every holiday we’ve spent together married we’ve acquired a decoration here or there. Then, last year I decided that we should be making new decorations each year, a bit like making a memory of each holiday. This was my “crafty awakening”, and the first time I had the desire to make something with meaning for myself or my family. Hannah had some cute cupcake ornaments she’d made and I decided to make some, too. Six polyester felt cupcakes later, I started feeling like I was maybe enjoying this crafty thing.

dinos1

This year we opted to make salt dough ornaments, and we were sure to make enough to give as gifts as well. Perhaps a bit vieux jeu or old fashioned for some of you hip kids out there, but we had a wonderful afternoon painting together. I know I’ll enjoy comparing Guppy’s painting skills – and interest in different shapes and mediums – from year to year. (Note the dino, made with the cutter from Libby – thanks again Libby!).

cupcake

You could do so much to decorate these – gluing glitter or sequence would be great fun I think. We used some old (and a bit skanky) finger paints (though we used brushes) and once they were dry I have them a coat of mod podge. The paint got all crinkly and antique looking which I really liked.

Homemade Holiday Decorations

2 1/2 cups AP flour (you may need to add a little more, mix & see)
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cup hot tap water (you may need to add a little more, mix & see)
2 tsp vegetable oil

Cut your decorations using cookie cutters or whatever you like, then lay them on baking sheets and in the oven they go for around 40 minutes or until they’re hard, at about 100°c.

In more crafty W.I.P. endeavours, I made a few more stockings as gifts for my brother-in-law and his wife. We’re spending Christmas and New Year’s with them at their home near Toulouse. They are muy groovy, and I wanted to make them something special.

stockingplaid

The fun part of this project is that my sis-in-law gave me the beautiful Christmas plaid tissue last February when we came for a little visit. I didn’t yet have a sewing machine, but I told her that I was doing some hand sewing and I was hoping to score a machine in the near future. She gave me a few odds and ends from her stash, and I love that I was able to make her a gift using what she gave me. How “full circle” and all that. And they’re not at all wrinkly from our 6-hour car ride…

stockings

I’m wishing you all a most fabulous 2009! I hope you’re able to spend some wonderful moments with the people you love and make some beautiful memories of your own. I’ll see you next year!

Pâte à Sel : Salt Girl & Doughboy

Until 6 weeks ago, Guppy & I were a pretty active pair. Afternoons most often meant going for a walk or a bike ride, maybe exploring in the “Grand Parc” of the castle…but since I have been immobilized, she has also been grounded.

We have become rather adept with the pâte à sel or salt dough thanks to our forced “down-time”, and I must admit, it’s been much fun.

saltgirl
My only real complaint is that I have been without food coloring for a few months so things were very White Christmas, but Guppy didn’t seem to mind.

doughman

Here’s our little “Salt Dough” recipe. This stuff will last in the fridge in an air-tight container for about a week or so, depending on how much it gets used. I know you can make longer-lasting stuff, but for that you need cream of tartar, and that is a very special-order item here in France.

Pâte à sel

*by cup I mean a cup, mug, or glass – it’s the ratio of quantities here that matters.

1 cup of salt

1 cup warm water

2 cups flour

Directions : mix. Then play.

Seriously, just mix it up, adding either more flour or more water until it feels right. You can obviously add food coloring to make things more spiffy. I considered adding a few drops of essential oil so it would smell perdy, but since Guppy still does way too much tasting of everything, I opted not to do that. But you could if your kidlet is less apt to still put everything in their mouths.

We’ve had so much fun we’re planning on making some baked salt dough holiday ornaments later today – how Osmond’s Christmas is that? I know! But heck, it was even my idea to do it. I embrace the holiday schmaltz in all its glory, because we’re making memories here people!

Vegan MoFo Day 8 – Gratitude…and a secret family recipe to share my gratefulness with you!

There are days when I am overwhelmed by waves of gratitude. I am able to look beyond the artifice of the superficiality our consumerist-bulimia so often imposes upon us. This shallow egotism, to which we are unwittingly yoked, is so often subversive and hidden… just discreetly clouding to the corners all that is really who we are… our substance, our essence. Who we are is of course the decisions we make, the choices which delineate diets… our politics, really. The life we live is the best suited spokesperson for what we believe in, and there are moments of serendipity where we can feel that what we’re doing is in harmony with what we want to be.

I’m so grateful for …

twirling through the forest trails

the last of the summer berries

some of the last tomatoes I’ll be buying before next Spring

the amazing aroma of garlic frying in olive oil, just waiting for the above tomatoes…

Very gratefully feeling better, I was able to set aside some time to enjoy my family, make a few litres of what my family calls “Garlic Gravy”, which is just the most amazing and most simple tomato sauce. I’ve got a good amount in our deep-freezer for Winter cooking. I never buy jar sauce, ever. I do, however, during the winter months, buy canned tomatoes. But my great-grandmother Antonia’s “Garlic Gravy” needs fresh tomatoes to really shine. This is our family recipe, but it is so terribly basic that you might be thinking, “she’s got to be kidding, this isn’t a tomato sauce recipe…”. Oh yes, it is. Let me reassure you…

Great Grandmother Antonia’s Garlic Gravy

this is for just a normal amout of sauce, for lasagne or for a pasta dinner…

  • 2 to 3lbs vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 bulb of purple or pink garlic, or just normal if you can’t find them
  • fresh parsley
  • about 30cl or a 1/4 of homemade ketchup or a few tablespoons of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Now here’s the deal kids – cut up your garlic and tomatoes BEFORE you do anything else. Seriously. I have begun this thinking I could chop tomatoes like the wind, only to find that my garlic is burned and that my haste made nothing but waste.

So, once everything is all cut up & ready, cover the bottom of your pot with olive oil and heat it on high until it’s just terribly hot. Add your garlic, and while stirring it, *very* slowly begin lowering the temp, being very careful to not burn your garlic. If it looks even a little brown, get your pot of the burner NOW! Continue sautéing your garlic until you just know it’s about to brown on you and add your tomatoes. Now turn that heat back up until it begins boiling. Don’t forget to stir from time to time. Bring the sauce down to a simmer, and let it go, uncovered, for about a half an hour. Add your ketchup, parsley, and add your salt and pepper if you need, and let it go for a few more mintues. That’s it. Sometimes I leave it with the chunks of garlic and tomato, sometimes I blend it up and it looks just beautiful. The taste will bluff you, because you’ve done nothing incredible, but your sauce will taste as if you did.

I’ve never met my great-grandmother. She passed away before my parents were married – she was in her 80s, outside working in her garden (she chopped her own firewood until the end) when she suffered a what would prove fatal stroke. Despite all her talents, she never quite mastered English (she was Croatian), and she took coins from her pocket to communicate to the paramedics that my mum worked at “Penny’s” department store, and that’s how they knew to call her there. I feel very close to her despite never having seen her – genetic memory? – and feel so greatful that she shared this recipe with my mum, who shared it with me when I began making my own food, about two years ago.

What are you grateful for?

I’m so thankful to be a vegan, and to have wonderful, nutritious vegan foods to eat, and fabulous blogger pals like you!

The Incredible Mr. Fish

This is Mr. Fish. Isn’t he just too freakin’ sexy-cute? (I’m not used to the beard, but I think it’s pretty fun). Sadly, he was unable to come with the Guppy & myself on our North American adventure. I’m missing him something awful. So is the Guppy.

The above photo was taken of him playing this festival :

…which I totally missed out on because I’m out of the country! :(

When we met, Mr. Fish and I thought we’d do a lot of collaborating musically. I’ve been a singer (dancer, poet, papergirl) and he was singing and playing in a band when we met, and the logical “next step” was for us to start writing songs together. The universe laughs at you, though, when you start getting all arrogant and begin planning things… Mr. Fish’s former band broke up (don’t call me Yoko! I really had nothing to do with it.) and our lives took a very different direction.

We did manage one amazing collaboration though :

…and she’s the most beautiful song either of us has ever written!

Go check out Mr. Fish’s band Copernic# on their My Space page if you’d like to give them a little listen!

And here’s a little food p*rn, which has nothing to do with anything, but you know, just to keep the edge off:

This is my favourite way to serve left-over chili the following day – burritos! Just put a little on a tortilla with some soy yogurt (which is like my version of sour cream) and some chopped tomatoes and even for an exceptional treat – avocados! Yum!

Apron Love

This is an apron made by my great-grandmother Mary, my mum’s grandmother. She was undoubtedly one of the most important women in my mum’s life, and while I never was able to physically meet her (she died before my parents were married), I always felt her in our lives- not in some bizarre “Sixth Sense” meets X-Files way, rest assured. More in the way that many African societies divide people (here’s my Reader’s Digest version of a beautiful and complex theory) – the living, the sasha, and the zamani. The first category is obvious. The second, the sasha, are those who are indeed dead, but whose existence dovetailed with those still living, thus they are “alive” in the living memory of people. The zamani are our ancestors who are revered and remembered by the group, but there is no one left who was alive at the same time as the deceased.

My great-grandmother Mary was very much “alive” in the memories of my mother, my grandmother, and my great aunts and uncle. She is most definitely a member of the sasha. While my Grams often had rather humorous stories to tell, oft reflecting my great-grandmother’s sense of humor, duty and love, my mother often spoke of her in the present, and in flashes of detail rather than linear stories. The smell of parsley. Taboo. Pink flannel. Ice Box Cookies. Aprons. You see, my mother has but one memory of her grandmother sans apron, and this was when she was hospitalized. Great-Grandmother Mary wore an apron every day, as did many women at the time. Washing clothes being a royal chore, an apron served an obvious functional purpose, however, she made herself many aprons reflecting the seasons (lighter or darker colors), and special aprons for more momentous occasions such as holidays, family reunions, communions and baptisms.

Great-Grandmother Mary was a hard-working woman. She lived in a rural area, and at a time when all that needed to be done in the home – laundry, cooking, cleaning, clothes, canning, etc., was done at home. Her family made their own bread, their own maple syrup, wine (even when it wasn’t legal- rebel!) and my great-grandfather, a carpenter, carved their toys (one of our family’s prized possession is the chess board he made), even my gram’s crutches after injuring her foot when she was a little girl.

One of my prized possessions is my great-grandmother’s hand-written recipe book. Her bilingualism was often a handicap in the pre-depression era, leading to the family speaking English-only, but how I love to read her recipes which are often written in franglais. Until recently, the recipe book was all I had in the line of family heirlooms, but during her recent visit, my mother gave me this apron. It’s just beautiful, which I never thought I’d say about an apron, but it is. It must have been made for special occasions, the delicate rosebud fabric and the gold-threaded trim are rather fancy. It was perhaps only worn once or twice as it seems brand new, despite it’s being at least 50+ years old.

The acquisition of my great-grandmother’s apron inspired me to try my hand at my own. The above is my updated rendition, which I love. The pattern is from De Filles en Aiguilles by Céline Dupuy which I got in my Easter basket. It is also available in English as Simple Sewing With A French Twist. This was a super-easy project for the neophyte seamstress that I am. While I didn’t make the apron while my mum was here, she did come with me to purchase the materials, so in her own way was part of the process (not the mention that she gave me my sewing machine!).

There was a time during my youth when I felt rather envious of my friends whose mothers, grandmothers, even great-grandmothers were career women, often college educated. This was not the case of the women in my family, and I found myself sometimes feeling almost apologetic when talking about them. I’ve since seen the absolute ridiculousness in not recognizing all that they did. Silly Shellyfish. Any woman who dried her herbs, grew her own food in her garden, cooked and canned it, and on and on, without the things I take for granted from running water to kitchen gadgets, well, she kicked some serious buttercream.

Birthday! Anniversary! Meme!

It’s been a rather zippy few days here at the Fish residence! (That being said, it’s always speedy, just sometimes more than others…). Let’s see… to begin : Happy Birthday Mr. Fish!

Mr. Fish is one of those kids who really, I mean really has a difficult time with birthdays. I get rather excited because it means cake and presents and yummy food and people having to be extra nice to me :). He gets morose, melancholy and even down right cranky as the days tick away and his birthday approaches. I do understand. I had a much more difficult time watching the birthdays from 25 to 29 pass me by, but something sort of “clicked” when I hit 29, and I realized that dreading birthdays, or anything, really, just sort of spoiled the moments leading up to and after, but didn’t change anything, because, well, change is inevitable I guess.

To ease his birthday bitterness, I asked him what birthday treat he wanted, and he asked for the too-good-to -be-true Lemon Bars from VCon. This is the fourth time I’ve made them, and I still have no food p*rn to show you, because we just go through these things so fast it’s crazy & never have a chance to snap a pic. However, to satisfy your desire for eye-candy, here is a shot of the cupcakes I made for our 4th Wedding Anniversary, which is, or was, the day before Mr. Fish’s birthday :

This was the first time I’d made the marble cupcakes from VCTOTW, and they were really, really delicious. They were also very fun to make with the Guppy because they get a little messy at the end, and that means a lot of finger licking (we also observe the 5-second rule in our house. We’re dirty birdies.)

Next is a little Meme-love. Yoga Mum tagged anyone who’d had green tea a few mornings back. I ‘ve been swapping my morning espress for green tea in solidarity with Ricky who has been doing a cleanse. Maybe I’ll be able to knock it for good? Anyway…

Here’s the low down:

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

I’d just finished my Masters Degree in French Literature, was teaching French for a US University Summer Programme in Paris, and was preparing to begin working as an English language assistant for two years at a University in Paris. I was also about to meet the future Mr. Fish.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

1) Try to find some time to read “Millénium, Tomb 1: Les hommes qui n’aimaient pas les femmes” by Stieg Larsson. Great read.
2) The dishes (that’s just perpetual…)
3) Yoga & lifting w/free weights
4) Work a little on this bag which I am making as a messenger bag, not a diaper bag! (Thought I should clarify).
5) Write lesson plans for Wednesday’s & Thursday’s classes (last day of classes is the 23rd! Yippie!)

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1) Fresh fruit (not original, but true!)
2) Smoothies without too many seedy fruits
3) rice cakes with almond butter & molasses (an idea given me by our coolicious Ricky)
4) fresh baked cookies hot from the cooling rack
5) a homemade raw bar from the freezer all coldish, burrrr!

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

Okay, this says billionaire so I could come up will way more than 5, but here’s a few…

1) Pay off my student loans & my sib’s student loans/debt & my parent’s debts
2) Buy a home with extra bedrooms & bathrooms so my family could visit and stay as long as they liked (oh, the tickets would be my treat, too!)
3) Put money aside for the Guppy & my nieces’ & nephew’s education & set up a scholarship fund for young women at my high school in the U.S.
4) Invest enough that I could live off my fundage and devote my time to creating a non-profit organization for women- not sure how I’d organize it, but it would provide grants for education, training opportunities, quality, affordable child-care, small-business loans, as well as creative and moral support for women with goals, but who need help with the logistics of their path.
5) Create a quality health-care programme for all the school-aged children in the two U.S. cities I lived in (hey, I’m a billionaire…I have enough!)

What are five of your bad habits?

1) I’m too sensitive.
2) I take everything seriously.
3) I’m terribly hard on myself.
4) I stress about things I cannot change.
5) I try to do too much at the same time.

What are five places where you have lived?

In the U.S., two:

1) Michigan
2) Arizona

In France,

3) Paris
4) Versailles
5) near Tours

What are five jobs you’ve had?

1) Paper girl (when I was 9. Did I mention I lived on the Canadian boarder? Sub-zero temps, snow…oh, it was up hill, too! lol! )
2) Entertainment Listings Editor for an artsy weekly
3) Dance teacher
4) Waitress
5) Research assistant

Five people I tag:

Because I share her disdain for tagging, I am shamelessly stealing this idea from Yoga Mum over at Yoga Gumbo I tag you if:

1) You had a smoothie today.
2) You’ve never made your own seitan.
3) You have more than one tattoo.
4) You wish you were taller.
5) You’d like to take a nap.

Please let me know if you do this! I know some of you kids dread these puppies, but I like learning more about you! :)

“C” is for Cookie & “C” is for Céline!

There seems to be a bit of a cookie frenzy in the air, or at least on the vegan blogosphere, thanks in large part to the lovely, cookie-wielding Céline of Have Cake, Will Tavel. I’m all about cookies. Who isn’t? (No, seriously, who isn’t, I want to know as they should perhaps not be trusted…).

One of my faves is the Snickerdoodle. See, I haven’t had one in, uh, I don’t know…a million years, because usually they are full of butter or hydrogenated shortening and well, that’s just, you know, gross. I received a new cookbook over the holidays and I was all excited about a Snickerdoodle recipe in said book because I thought that after long last the Snickerdoodle and the Shellyfish would be reunited.

I tried the recipe. Twice. It was, well, nasty-gross.

I was oh-so-disappointed, as was the entire Fish household, because I had maybe gone on just a little bit too much about how scrumptious the Snickerdoodles are. Then super-chef-extraordinaire Céline posted her becoming-more-famous-by-the-minute Snickerdoodle recipe, and I knew it was time to recreate the doodle-magic.

Me: Hey Guppy, do you want another Snickerdoodle?

Guppy: (laughing) They’re not sticky-noodles, Mumma, they’re cookies!

What is great about Ms. C’s Vegetarian Times recipe-redoux is that she created the perfect sized recipe for a small little school of fish like ours- there are only 3 of us, and so either we a) pig out on cookies as they are cooling because they are so difficult to resist and swear off cookies for a few weeks… or b) see “a”. So it’s OK to eat them all! Really, you can, don’t worry. I got about 8 cookies the first time I made them, and the second time I doubled the batch, which still only made about 14ish cookies. Perfect!

Why are you still reading? Click on the above link to Céline’s recipe already! Go, go, go!

Sew Proud Of Myself & My Bad Pun!

I’m one of those people who gets bored rather easily. Let me clarify : I have a tendency to become rather bored if I’m not constantly re-inventing myself, trying new things, moving outside of the little comfort zone I am forever building and tearing down, like the tides on the sands of humanity, the reflection of the impermanence of all that is around us…

Woah…sorry kids…

Anyway, around the holidays I got all crafty-sewish-curious, and began to try to do things with needle and thread, very new waters for the Shellyfish. I even found myself ogling sewing machines on-line. Yeah, because that’s something cool people do, you just didn’t know it (neither did I, I must confess…).

My monster Mother-In-Law gave me her old machine in March. She told me straight up it wasn’t capable of much anymore, but would be a great way to see what that sewing thing was all about. I loved it, like a 16 year-old loves their first car, despite the lack of power-steering or breaks, or radio, or working heat, and the rusted-out holes which give it a cute Flintsones-esque feel…

My super-cute mom watched me try to parallel-park without a rear-view mirror so to speak with the old machine whilst visiting last month, and in a moment of pure benevolence and motherly-love, bought me the most amazing gift EVER (except for that Fender Avalon Acoustic when I was 14 which was frankly just freaking cool as hell).

With this here little “beginner” machine (it’s the most basic machine Singer has, and I’ll probably never need anything else), I have been (in my copious free time) having a blast! While I may not be able to completely escape the Capitalist Machine (shiver), if I can do it myself, I will.

I have managed to hem some pants (rather than paying 15E at the tailor’s down the street), and some other not very sexy things, but look at all this:

No, I didn’t sew the couch, but I did make some new throw-pillow covers all by myself! I rule! Okay, most seasoned stitchers could tell you it’s probably pretty easy, even without a pattern, but for me, damn, it was like cutting my first tooth! I just set the fabrics next to one another and did what I thought looked good.

And this little pencil-or-whatever-you-want case is for my good friend’s birthday. The Guppy calls her Tata Frog, and it is so decorated! If you recall, the Easter Bunny brought lots of these little cute felt critters, which came from one of the best little books ever, aptly named The Cute Book by Aranzi Aronzo. Holy freaking cute, Batman. I love this book which has got that whole tiny-Japanese-cute thing going on, and has really easy patterns to make little felt critters. I got the idea of adding the little froggie here from that book. Tata Frog is, like me, a teacher of languages, so she of course needs 1) little bags for pencils & red pens; 2) comic relief on the job. I’ve made some other things, but I don’t want to blow you all away with my amazing skills (note irony) , so I’ll reserve further show-and-telling for another day…

Mothers…

NB: I know that yesterday was Mother’s Day in North America, not today (don’t worry, Mum got her card on the right day!).

The idea of Mother’s Day is a rather complex one for me to actually write about, because it brings up many feelings and emotions rather difficult to articulate in the short space of a blog entry. I also couldn’t even contemplate the holiday without having zillions of images of my grams whizzing about my head and through my heart. This made me rather melancholy and waxing nostalgic, because, well, she’s gone and I miss her so, so much. Thus, I decided I would not blog about M day, having wished my mumma a happy day via telephone. Curiously, however, as day turned to evening, I found myself rummaging around for pictures of my mum, and specifically trying to find pictures of my grams with my mum, and becoming increasingly frustrated because the pictures I was looking for were not to be found.

Forgoing sadness, I opted to share a little mumma-love on the blogosphere, because I love my mumma to pieces, and really, moms rule, and IMum on left, Grams on Right, moi in the middle don’t think that I understood just how intense and complicated the job description was, until I myself became a mom. The above picture is of ma maman with Grams (her mom), on her right, and our Auntie Lorraine on her left. I’m fairly sure that the baby with all that hair is my sister Tam, latter half of the groovy 70s.

Here on the right is my still slim & sassy mum after her third kiddo (3 more to follow…). My Grams is on the far right with my Uncle who would kill me if he saw this but doesn’t read my blog, my sis Tam on Mum’s lap, and yours truly in the middle trying not to open my present until Dad has snapped the pic.

I love this picture, taken during my mum’s recent visit. The Guppy is blurry because she was cracking up laughing, not because she was being tickled, I think we were being silly, a hobby around here. I value the picture’s eloquence, so telling with the juxtaposition of the wild frenzy of love from the Guppy and the calm, loving smile of her Pamma.

The mother/daughter relationship is such an interesting one, often mirroring each other from one generation to the next. My contemplating a blog entry gave me pause to reflect on the similarities between Grams and Mum, and it didn’t take me long to find my answer : unconditional love and support. I announced I was becoming vegetarian at 16, mum bought more fresh fruit and veggies. When I got my nose pierced way back when I knew everything in 1990, my mom was less-than-thrilled, though she held her tongue. In tiny-town rural-ville, I blended about as well as Ziggy Stardust at a Rotary Club luncheon. A visiting Grams said without hesitation she’d pierce her nose, too, if it would help calm down the parents- and she was serious. When the first tattoo followed a month later, she swore she would also get a tattoo to show her solidarity if need be. Now that I see the dynamic between my own daughter and my mom, I can see the same sort of complicity between them, and while piercings and tattoos are rather passé, I am sure that whatever challenges the Guppy brings my way, her Pamma will be there to help balance things out.

Now that I’m the Mumma around here, I frequently find myself filled with doubt concerning my parenting: am I a good mom? Could I be doing this better? What would Xena do in this situation? (kidding). The crushing feelings of self-doubt are often harder than the actual mom-duty, and I know that both my mother, and hers, delt with it. To all you ladies out there (because biological mother or not, we women are the mothers to our students, neighbors, sisters, brothers, etc.) I hope you had a great day. My Mother’s Day is in 2 weeks…

à très bientôt, Pamma!

Hélas, my mum’s visit has come to a close. It was much more difficult for us to let her go this time, and the Guppy and I are still feeling rather blue (Mr. Fish may also be a bit out of sorts because Pamma was his partner in crime in the soda & pizza department…). We had a great time with her, and will hopefully work out a trip over to visit her this summer -actually, Guppy is convinced that we are going on a plane to fly and see Pamma and Grandpa this summer -and Auntie Tracy, and Auntie Amy, and Uncle Timmy…and she continues the long list of family members she hardly knows but who are much talked about), she tells me so multiple times a day!)

In other non-foodie news, I had to declare a forfeit on my half-marathon which was to be run Sunday last. It was a last-minute decision, and not one I felt at ease with, but I was struggling with a stomach issue, and decided it was better to deal with that in bed than in the medic’s tent. Still, I am disappointed (very), as I take my (non-professional athlete) training seriously, and peaked at 45-mile weeks plus cross training, which to me was an all-new high. I just need to find myself a new race and fast to take the edge off…

There will be plenty of Vegan-Foodie goodness coming very soon – promise! And now that I’m not off on a promenade or Napoléon sighting or chocolate buying adventure with Pamma & the Guppy, I’ll be back to blogging away…

This beautiful rose is for you Pamma. I love you! And the Guppy says “pintyhose”! (silly private joke)