5 things – Monday 18 May 2020

I have to admit to having a bit of a mini-meltdown last week. Nothing really prompted it but I imploded into one of those times where I was convinced, convinced I tell you, that I was failing at everything: the day job, the committee job, my writing. It happens periodically – the weight of things pile up and pile up until I can’t see past it. I explode and then start all over again.

It’s one of the reasons why I actively look for things to smile about or think about because if I can find joy in something – even something really small – I’m fine, but last week it just felt as though everything was tied up in commitment and duty and I wasn’t doing any of it properly. I’ve been stuck on this book that has taken me longer to edit than it did to write, and it too was feeling like just one more thing that had to be done.

Anyways, I indulged myself in a meltdown for a little while and gave myself a good hard kick up the backside. The hard facts are that I have commitments which I need to see through, so I will; I just need to find a way of setting some boundaries.

In any case, that was last week, and there was more than one day in last week, so let’s get into the Five.

1.Revisiting the classics

Last week I had a hankering to listen to Kate Bush – no, I don’t know why either. So I did. I started with the album Never For Ever which, if memory serves me correctly, I played until the cassette tape ran out #thosewerethedays. I’d actually forgotten just how good that album was and what a great storyteller she was. 

Speaking of great stories, I also re-read one of my absolute favourites: Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers

This was the last of Wharton’s books and was unfinished at the time of her death in 1937 and was published in that format. It was actually finished in the early 90’s and ties in with a BBC mini-series– I have it on DVD somewhere I think. Both the ending and the mini-series were criticised – largely because of the happy ending – but since when have I ever let a little detail like that get in the way of my enjoyment?

2. Listening

I’m listening to Claire Bowditch’s Your Own Kind of Girl at the moment. Oh my goodness I’m loving it. I’ve long been a fan of her music and her big-hearted business ideals, but this, I think, could just about be required listening for anyone (especially) any woman who hears and believes the body stories they’ve heard over the years.

3. These random gems

This one from Ireland:

In Ireland it’s said that you leave a little bit of your soul trapped in everything you crochet. To avoid this, you should always work in a hidden mistake so that your soul can escape.

This one from Japan:

There is a tradition in Japan called Kintsugi, where they highlight the broken parts of something with gold instead of trying to hide them. They make the cracks beautiful instead. 

This meme:

4. Writing progress

I’m not sure whether there’s any correlation in my inability to make progress on Escape To Curlew Cottage and the fact that I haven’t been able to get out to write, but last week I managed to get up to the park at the top of Buderim and actually made progress. I took a thermos of hot water and some tea bags and turned my hot spot off.

I also had an initial meeting to get some overdue proper branding work done on my mish-mash of an author site.

5. In the Kitchen

It was Destination Malaysia in the kitchen on Saturday. We had Nasi Lemak – essentially Hawker-style mixed rice – served with sambal, ikan bilis (little fried anchovies with peanuts) and a chicken curry.

I also made roti canai for the first time. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a flatbread that you find everywhere in Malaysia. It’s flaky and you dip it into curry gravy. They also serve it as sweets as well – although we went with the curry gravy option.

It was fun to make too – after resting for some hours the little balls of dough are stretched until they’re transparent, and then coiled, flattened and cooked on a hot pan. It’s a palaver, for sure, but I found it quite relaxing. I used this recipe and also googled some youtube videos to teach me how to do the stretching of the dough thing.

Also on the dough front I made this soda bread yesterday to eat with this pea, ham and mint soup last night. The perfect Sunday supper.

Recipe of the week

Has to be this one I made for lunch the other day. Just 10minutes to get it on the table. This quantity feeds 4 and I used spring onions (scallions) instead of the cucumber – mainly because they were in the house and the cucumber that I had in the fridge was ear-marked for a salad for dinner that night. Also, I scattered some sesame seeds because I didn’t have any peanuts.

Cold Sesame Noodles

  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (real peanut butter, not the one with sugar in it)
  • 2 tbsp tahini (I usually have the unhulled one in the house)
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • I tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 x 275g packs of wok-ready egg noodles (the ones that you pour boiling water over and leave for a few minutes)
  • ½ cucumber, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
  • Handful of roasted peanuts
  • Chilli oil to serve

Put the peanut butter, tahini, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, caster sugar and 50ml water into a large bowl and whisk.

Prepare the noodles as per the packet, drain them and then tip them into the bowl with the dressing and mix it all together.

Drizzle over some sesame oil and chilli oil to serve – along with the cucumber and peanuts (if using).

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

23 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – Your Malayasia dinner sounds divine! I am definitely adding Malaysia to our Decision Bowl.
    I’m sorry about the rough start to your week. Sending warm wishes for a much better week ahead!

    1. Malaysia absolutely should be in the bowl! The flavours are fabulous. I had such a list of things I wanted to cook, but Grant’s fave is Nasi Lemak so that’s what we went with.

  2. Weirdly I hate soup… and find it really unfulfilling, but love excess sauce in / on curries and the like so that looks amazing.

    Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling – you always seem to be so on top of things and you’re my hero. As I lie in bed and look at your dawn pictures I feel some twinge of envy, admiration and guilt! Of course because you get shit done people are more likely to give you more to do so take it easy if you can and don’t be hard on yourself.

    I’ve backed off a few things lately. Am trying to be more deliberate, more selective… or something. xxx

    1. I’d like to back off some things, but sadly, sigh. Such are commitments. I am ridiculously hard on myself and have found this year to be a real struggle – but then so have many others!

  3. I think there is something similar about leaving a cross stitch picture unfinished. Maybe leaving one X unstitched? Or maybe I am dreaming that?

    Interested in Your Own Kind of Girl. Have always had body image issues. Thank you for mentioning it.

    1. Actually I think I’ve heard that re cross-stitch. I think you’d like Your Own Kind of Girl. You won’t have heard of Clare Bowditch in the US, but I think the message is one too many of us are familiar with.

  4. Arghhh, the good old meltdown, it happens to the best of us. Helps to re-balance ourselves and our world. We are told to be kind to all, perhaps being kind to ourselves is what we should be doing first.

  5. Nothing like a meltdown to clear the cobwebs and help you decide what’s important and what needs to be re-jigged. Hope you feel more on top of things now. I’m always a little bemused by how much you fit into your life, so an occasional meltdown is to be expected I’m sure. And thanks so much for the Kate Bush reference – I now have “It’s me it’s Kathy…I’m so co-o-o-o-old” stuck in my head!

    1. Once i’d verbalised it and had a whinge and a whine I could see things a nit more clearly for sure.

  6. I like to say reboot instead of meltdown but whatever you call it, it’s always good to refresh and reset isn’t it? You’re certainly on top of the 5 Things – as usual it’s full of fantastic gems. I am especially pleased that you included the recipe for the noodle salad because I was salivating over that on Instagram and gee, those roti have got me drooling! You nailed it!

    1. Making teh roti was a lot of fun. Thank goodness for youtube! Give the noodles a go – they’re the perfect lunch.

  7. Sorry to hear about your meltdown; it’s crappy when it happens but yep, can also help after. Loving your food posts and your sunrise shots. Be kind to yourself xx

  8. Sorry to read about your meltdown. I admit to having more than one meltdown during this crisis. You had some good methods to pull yourself out of your funk. Thanks for sharing the recipe for the sesame noodles. They look absolutely delicious! I am going to v=give them a try.

    1. Thanks Suzanne. I’m trying to now picture the commitment that’s causing me the angst as something I can walk around and keep in its place.

  9. A good meltdown every so often helps me see that my thinking was a bit crap and I was being (funnily enough) over critical of self. Gosh who knew?

    Love that you can see what and why and can do what I try “a reboot” and a bit of time out. Always helpful too.

    I had only ever heard of Clare Bowditch as a name…and then I was convinced to listen via Audible. Oh my, how her words talked to me about her use of Dr Claire Weekes’ methods as these were some of the ones which helped me through the worst of my anxiety when it made no sense to me..late 2016 into 2017. Clare’s life is amazing in how she has bounced back. Sadly though,I hear her dear Mum is very unwell. Her dad is no longer alive either. Life, hey!

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week the optional prompt is 21/51 Self-Care Stories. #3. 25.5.2020 But I will take the chance to add another chapter in Telling My Story. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

  10. I love Claire Bowditch, her book is amazing! Buderim is a beautiful place to sit and get some work done. I have family there and hope to visit when the borders reopen. We have been enjoying lots of soup dishes lately. Good hearty food.

    1. I am walking so much longer just so I can listen some more. As for Buderim, I love where we live! Thanks for dropping by.

  11. I periodically have meltdowns too Jo, you are only human after all but glad to hear you are back up and at ’em! I loved those little gems and smiled while reading your post, so that’s a good start! All the best for your writing, you are fabulous, you know that don’t you?

  12. Hi Joanne, You little gems and memes often resonate with me. I love the one from Japan. Hilarious on the COVID Christmas. Yum, on the cold sesame noodles. Hope you have a better week.xx

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