Posts tagged ‘cookbook swap’

June 6, 2013

It’s my birthday!

It’s my birthday today! By the time you read this, I shall hopefully be on my way for a day of glorious sunshine at one of my favourite places, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Usually, my birthday is a time of reflection for me, and this year proves no different. June feels like a good time to take stock of year so far, and to make plans for the rest of it. Having made a few resolutions in January, it’s now time to see how I’m getting on with them.

1 – Run as often and as far as possible

Hmm. Not a good resolution to start off with, this one. I’ve not been running at all in the past few months. On the upside, I’ve been cycling a lot more, which I’ve decided that I prefer at the moment. In fact, I have no plans to run at all in the near future, but lots of cycling plans. So, perhaps I shall change this to ‘cycle as often and as far as possible’ and see how I get on with that.

2 – Blog as I choose – in terms of subject and frequency

It’s not long since I wrote a post about my blogging frequency, and since I wrote it, I’ve felt a continued sense of relief and of being in a lot more control over my blog. I’m going to carry on with the Slow Blogging for the foreseeable future.

3 – Do my Walk Leader training.

This is something that I’d still like to do, but my priorities have changes a bit since I wrote this list of resolutions, so it might go by the wayside without regret.

4 – Say ‘yes’ to opportunities to learn

Learning is still my absolute favourite thing to do. Recently I’ve been enjoying listening to lots of podcasts and watching TED talks on loads of different, but always interesting, subjects. I’ve just taken up analogue photography again with a Canon EOS 30, and I’m learning so much already. What I’ve realised is that I’m getting better at learning through practice,  as opposed to my usual style of learning through reading theory. Photography seems to be a particularly good example of this, alongside the many craft, cookery and gardening activities that I have planned for the rest of the year. Very soon, I’m also going to put an Impossible Project film through my vintage Polaroid SX-70 and see what happens! I bought a book called ‘Instant Love’ the other day, and it’s inspired me to get playing with it and see what images I might end up with.

5 – Cook 52 new vegetarian dishes – one for every week of the year

I’m currently at 11 recipes. So, I’ve got a long way to go with this one, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t get there. This resolution was partly about learning to be more creative and confident with cooking vegetarian food, and making the most of locally grown vegetables, including those I’m growing myself, rather than any hard-and-fast ‘goal’. One of the things I’m learning is how to adapt and create new recipes too, rather than following every rule, which is a pleasant feeling and something that I shall be trying to do more of and share through Sage and Thrift too.

I’m recording my recipes on Springpad, which has been a great visual tool in  aiding my resolutions this year. I absolutely love using this App, both on my Macbook and on my iPhone; it’s an invaluable way of keeping track, using lists, photos and uploads from websites.

6 – Go on mini-adventures

My first mini-adventure this year was a few days in Paris in the Spring, which was wonderful. I’ve got a short visit to Edinburgh (all food recommendations welcome!) soon, followed by a week in Bivouac, which I’m very giddy about and a few days in Oxford planned for the summer. Oh, and I’m possibly going to swim outdoors on the dawn of Summer Solstice too … good grief.

Further adventures will arise later in the year, no doubt. I’m not going to plan everything, but just say yes to things as the opportunity arises. I love the idea of packing a bag and setting off to destinations unknown, so hopefully that might happen too.

7 – Record all my spending

I’ve created a spreadsheet to track my budget every month and, rather than feeling restricted by it, I feel so much more in control, which is rather lovely. Overall, it seems that the amount I spend on frivolous fripperies and fancy stuff – trying saying that after a pint – is very little. Possibly something to rectify? We’ll see …

8 – Host one Sage & Thrift event every month

This project is something that I’m really proud of starting. We’re growing, generating plenty of interest and have lots of wonderful plans. Our next event is a cookbook swap on 23rd June in Leeds, so if you’re around, do come and say hello!

9 – Reduce my possessions

This resolution has definitely happened, for a variety of reasons, to the extent that I could now fit all my possessions –  with the exception of my bike –  into my small car.  I’m still working on my wardrobe and book collections. Although minimalism and I are slightly uncomfortable with each other (due to my messy nature!) I’m aiming to simplify my belongings, to make any new purchases really thoughtfully and to choose the best available options for me each time.

10 – Read one decent book a month

I’ve read eight novels this year so far,  as well as a number of non-fiction titles so it really does feel as though I’ve read very little this year. I love to lose myself in a good book, and have a reading list as long as my arm. The longer days of summer might be just the time to spend more time reading – the ultimate Slow activity. Again, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t meet this goal. If there’s one thing I learned from my enormous GoodReads Challenge of 2012 it’s that quality definitely beats quantity when it comes to fiction. I’ve been recording my books on Springpad too – and creating a reading wish-list, so I remember all the great books that are recommended to me!

11 – Attend one cultural event each month

I’ve included everything from cinema to art gallery exhibitions for this goal, and I’ve actually surprised myself with what I’ve managed to do in the first half of the year. I’ve seen live music from David Ford, visited the National Gallery in London and the Musee du Luxumbourg in Paris, seen a stunning production of The Great Gatsby from Northern Ballet, attended Bettakulture, watched a wonderful new Sherlock Holmes play at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and visited several art exhibitions around the country. Recording this (again, on Springpad) has been a great eye-opener, and is a good reminder to myself that actually, I do lots of things and am really very lucky.

12 – Be kind to myself. 

This one rather underpins everything else. So often, I’m so keen to improve myself and to meet goals, that I get cross if things don’t go as planned, or if I don’t manage to be quite as brilliant as I think I should be. My beloved friend and Sage & Thrift partner, Jo, always says that we must ensure that we don’t use our plans as  ‘a stick to beat ourselves with’, which I love. It’s something that I’ve been trying to keep at the forefront of my mind this year. Life is challenging, and often doesn’t quite go as you thought it might. Plans don’t always work out, and it’s important to be adaptable, shrug your shoulders once in a while, and not get so caught up in the desire to achieve that you forget to have fun along the way.

With that in mind, I’m spending today having fun and with no aims other than to eat cake, sit in the sunshine and enjoy turning 37. Wishing you all a lovely day today. Even if it’s not your birthday …

Advertisements
April 10, 2013

Sage and Thrift Cookbook Swap.

On Sunday 21st April, Sage and Thrift  (a project that I dreamed up with my lovely friend Jo) will be holding its first Cookbook Swap!

Sharing is at the heart of all our plans for Sage and Thrift. We want to build a community of like-minded people to come together to share – whether that is food, skills, resources or time. Food is central to that thought, purely because nothing brings people together like filling our stomachs.

The idea for the Cookbook Swap stemmed from my enormous and ever-growing collection of cookbooks. Regular readers of this blog will know that I cannot resist them. The sheer beauty of them together with the promise of perfection lying within each one draws me in like no other kind of book. Even though I know that I don’t have the room for them, it’s only a matter of days since I bought my last one – Simon Hopkinson’s The Vegetarian Option, which is excellent – and I cannot be the only person with this kind of habit, yet without either the money to fund nor the space to house such a collection.

I’ve done Cookbook Challenges, and culled a few from my collection to the local charity shop, but most of them I can’t bear to part with forever. Having said that, I am always happy to lend them out, and know that I would love to try new books for a while in return. Hopefully, other folk will feel the same way.

Too many cookbooks ...

Too many cookbooks …

So, here it is the premise:

Come along to the Cookbook Swap – bring a book with you! One that you either love but have tired of, or one that you’ve never got on with. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a cookbook!

We’ll have a spreadsheet set up on the day, so we can take your details and the details of the book you’re leaving to swap. You need to be happy to lend the book out and know that it might come back a bit more spattered with cooking oil than it went out. If it’s too precious to you, leave it at home.

Then have a browse of the books available. Once you hopefully find one you like the look of, bring it back to us with our fancy spreadsheet and we’ll log that you’ve borrowed it. Take it home, cook up a storm, and bring it back to the next one. If you want to bring us some fabulous food you’ve cooked, so much the better …

One of the things we’re going to do is give out a little ‘passport’ with each cookbook. We’re hoping that people will write a little bit in them, just to say what they cooked and how things went. This will help us to build a record of how each book has been used and a bit of history of the swap.  Plus, we’re getting a stamp made with our logo on, so it’s rather a good excuse for us to get stamping crazy. The passport will stay with each book for as long as that book is part of the Cookbook Swap and then go home with the original owner as a memento of the project.

So, if you’re in Leeds on Sunday 21st April, between 2-3pm-ish and you’re interested, do come along. We’re very fortunate that the lovely folk at Brewbar Espresso (located just underneath Leeds Art Gallery) are letting us host the event there, so bring some pennies to buy yourself a cup of their fabulous coffee, and we hope to see you on the day!