I need to start this month’s round up with an apology for what was essentially a Big Fat Lie. In February, I said that spring was coming! In fact, it turned out to be the week before temperatures of -5C (23F), inches of snow, and biting winds even in our usually mild part of the UK, nicknamed by the press as ‘The Beast from the East‘. People were trapped in their cars for hours on end as roads closed, schools shut down and general chaos ensued. That is clearly not spring, is it?
So what better way to celebrate the coldest winter in the UK in 30 years than by going on holiday to even-colder Norway? No better way, as that’s where we went! Two days in beautiful Bergen, followed by four nights in a tiny log cabin on the island of Askøy overlooking a fjord in the North Sea (perfectly located for a cheeky but chilly dip), finished off with a visit to Norway’s first zero waste shop.
Holidays are a great time for catching up with reading, and spending some time with Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees whilst surrounded by pristine nature was perfect, although I do wonder if reading it in a cabin built from logs was entirely appropriate. It is beautifully written, and without too much sentimentality it ‘humanised’ trees as beings with social networks, who much like humans have the ability to suffer loss, make bad decisions, plan ahead, and look after each other. A brilliant combination of science, nature and wonder.
I’m going through a bit of a non-fiction renaissance at the moment, and next up is Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth. Nothing to do with actual doughnuts, but instead a rewrite of our ‘growth is good’ prevalent economic mindset, with Raworth setting out her proposal for building economies that balance social justice within environmental limits.
This month we have discovered the recipe to end all recipes…for broccoli. Broccoli? Slightly tasteless, hated by children, reluctantly finished off as the least-exciting part of a Sunday Roast, broccoli? Yes. It turns out if you roast it with some olive oil, chili flakes and lemon juice at 190C for 10-15 minutes, you can build up a two-giant-heads-a-week habit in no time at all. As a source of vitamin A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as phytochemicals and antioxidants, surely a recipe which means you’re literally sneaking snacks of it out the fridge as leftovers after eating it with lunch and dinner must be a good thing?
The recipe for this amazing stuff is available here, on Laura’s lovely blog, A Beautiful Plate. I save her suggested addition of cheese for special occasions, because as great as it is, I can’t really claim cheese as a health food.
I’ve been offline more than online this month, but a couple of great websites to share nonethless:
Tammy Strobel’s blog, Rowdy Kittens has really helped me remember to celebrate the joy in simple things and daily mini-adventures.
I’ve been working through the archives of Mr Money Mustache, who somehow manages to make saving money sound like fun. Whilst I’m not sure how I can retire 30 years early yet, as Mr M himself has done (and then some), it’s definitely helping me see my spending and the bigger financial picture in a new light, and is more fun than cutting out 2-4-1 coupons.
So, now it seems like the last of winter is behind us, what have you been up to? Leave me a comment, or blog, book or article recommendation in the comments!