It’s been a while, hasn’t it….?
I’ve missed writing but I definitely felt the need for a break from social media. Five months ago I deleted my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter account – my heart was heavy at the time and my head was cluttered from all the images I was relentlessly comparing myself too. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of positives to social media and I’m often inspired by the beautiful images that are posted – I just went through a difficult phase. It was hard to appreciate everything I had, while I was longing for the things I didn’t and it was even harder to be grateful for the chapter I was on, while wanting to be on someone else’s.
It’s currently November and I’m sitting in the Christmas decorated Starbucks in Richmond. Personally, I love getting ready for the festive period early and being reminded of family and the annual traditions I can look forward to. It’s time for knitted jumpers, wooly hats, cosy nights in and over sized cups of tea. I’ve also been thinking about the move I’ll be making back home in six weeks time. Well home(ish), I’m moving to Manchester – yay! I decided to accept a transfer with the company I work for – Explore Learning and move to a quirky town called Didsbury. I’ve enjoyed my time here and it’s been a worthwhile experience in many ways but I knew I’d never settle here….
Before I moved I was living rent free and buying clothes I had no space in my wardrobe to hang. Luckily the cost of living here soon squished that habit out of me and gave me a more responsible outlook on spending. I was also used to the convenience of a car and being able to pop round to a friend’s house whenever it suited. London can be a very lonely place, people are always rushing to wherever they are going and bad manners is somehow acceptable. Most of my friends lived an hour away which meant less catch ups and more growing comfortable in my own company (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). It also meant buying a limited pass to the cinema and going alone for the first time!
I also injured myself training for the London Marathon this year I delved deeper into the practise of yoga and enjoyed every minute of training each morning in the studio opposite my house. I made a friend for life whose sense of humour will always connect me to her. I have grown in skills as a manager, while identifying very clearly the areas I still need to work on. My dating life this year has left me with nothing but funny stories and a better understanding of what relationships are all about….
This year has gone tremendously fast but I love the hope that a New Year brings. I’ve been experimenting with Christmas themed recipes and this one is just beautiful. The combination of orange, vanilla and cinnamon with the crunchy oats and seeds makes this a definite option over the winter season.
400g rolled oats
1 cup/140g of almonds (roughly chopped)
1 cup/120g of pumpkin seeds
1 cup/80g of flaked almonds
1 cup/160g of maple syrup
3/4 cup/90g of coconut oil (not melted)
1 heaped tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla essence or vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup of orange juice (juice from two oranges)
1 cup/150g of raisins/sultanas
1/2 cup/30g of desiccated coconut
Pre heat the oven to 150C (fan oven) and 180C (gas/electric oven).
Heat the coconut oil and maple syrup in a pan over a low heat until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cinnamon, vanilla essence and juice from oranges. Stir well and set aside.
Roughly chop the almonds (if not brought this way) and mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl (excluding raisins and desiccated coconut). Pour over the melted coconut oil and maple syrup – at first it may seem as if you don’t have enough liquid to cover the granola but you will once it is mixed well.
Spread the mixture evenly on a baking tray and bake for 30-40minutes until golden brown. It is important that you stir the mixture every 5-10 minutes so the granola is cooked evenly.
Once baked, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. When the granola has reached room temperature you can mix in the sultanas and desiccated coconut. I often have this granola with coconut yoghurt or almond milk.