These are a few of my favourite things…

blog, creative, festivals, lifestyle, nottingham, ramble, reviews, Uncategorized, wellbeing

I’m not going to say anything that will shatter the earth in this blog, because it’s all already been said. I think maybe my generation are starting to listen a little bit more too. I believe it’s so important to support independent business/creative ventures. I am lucky to have a bunch of friends that are INCREDIBLY talented.

My friend Karen is the owner of a papercut company – she makes the cutest art work, but there’s such an in depth process behind it. She uses card and a scalpel to cut out her designs – making greetings cards, prints and even the blog header at the top of this page. How she has any finger tips left, or any patience for that matter, I’ll never know. Her Gilmore Girls, Stars Hollow map was recently featured on a buzzfeed list of items every Gilly should own. Her stuff is intricate and so, so cool.

My friends Scott, Ben and Carl are in a band that satisfies every ounce of my endless desire to experience the beat era. Their band is called Lucille, named after BB King’s guitar, and if that isn’t the coolest thing in the world I don’t know what is. I first saw them play when my sister was bartending at an open mic night and she recommended them. Since then I haven’t left them alone, and have essentially forced them into being my buddies.  But it’s just that honestly, their music makes me SO happy. It takes me out of 2016, and into 1958, where I’m partying with Jack Kerouac, standing up against oppression and ‘fighting the good fight’. I struggle with the mundaneness of adult life sometimes. I try really hard to make it not mundane, but sometimes, in order to keep the bills paid and the wolf away from the door, it kind of is. Lucille’s live show isn’t a complete departure from the roots of reality, it’s more like an acknowledgement that it exists, and then says fuck it, let’s dance.

Since getting to know Lucille, Ben, their drummer has also joined a band called Cold Water Souls. CWS create music that is heavy but melodic, dark, moody and has these insanely powerful but beautiful vocals that will permeate your bones and sink in for days afterwards. Their live show is an atmospheric haze. Whilst Lucille allow you to dance your troubles away, CWS lift them out of you and burns them into a cloud of navy blue smoke that swirls into patterns above your head. Metaphorically, obviously. Please do not smoke indoors at CWS gigs, this has been a public service announcement.

Whilst I also love my iphone, starbucks and Beyonce, I just think if you want to really customise your life experience, you won’t find that richness at the bottom of a Christmas red cup which you specifically bought to pad out your instagram feed. For me at least, it’s found in those independent creators who haven’t been polished to the Nth degree, and don’t have a huge marketing team behind them.

Anyway, as I say, this isn’t really anything earth shattering. Partly I was just thinking about all the awesome things my friends are up to, but also I just think people expect creativity for free too often these days. If like me, you have attachments to independent creatives who enrich your life, show them some love. Support them. Don’t expect shit for free. They might do what they do for the love of it, but sacrificing time to create, when you’re a grown up, can be hard to manage, and they deserve mega praise for doing it.

And if you are purely a chain consumer, oh my god look around! Try an independent restaurant, watch an indie film, go to a local gig. Not saying this to preach, I just think it’ll make you happy 🙂

Anyway, go and check out what the guys I spoke about above are up to:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/OhCutItOut

http://www.facebook.com/thebandlucille

http://www.facebook.com/coldwatersouls

 

And in a directly opposing note, i got a new phone and a new lipstick today and i’m v pleased about this.

Peace.

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HonestlyLucy – Hitting the Market?

baking, blog, career, childline, cookies, cooking, cupcakes, doughnuts, festivals, lifestyle, naughtiness, naughty recipes, nottingham, wellbeing

Recently I’ve been having a think about my career, and whether or not I’m on the path I want to be on. Not headache inducing at all, she says, words dripping with the thickest sarcasm known to man. The thing is I do enjoy my job. I like the team I work with and I’m pretty lucky to be given some quite cool opportunities. I’ve been working in my role for about 2 years and I like to think I’m pretty damn good at it. It’s taught me an awful lot about working in an office and at events, the importance of details and the art of juggling professionalism with a ‘quirky’ personality; and I’m really grateful for all of that. The thing is, as much as all of those statements are true, my job is largely an admin role, and it’s not really what I did my degree for. At uni I studied Psychology with English Literature, whilst volunteering as a counsellor at Childline and an assistant at The Stroke Association’s weekly group meetings; whilst also being a programme rep for both the Psychology department and the English department. It was hectic but I really, really loved it. I’m used to having a billion and one things to juggle, and right now I only have a couple, and it’s starting to make me itch. So it’s time for a new challenge.

The idea of selling the things I bake has been loitering around the jumble sale that is the back of my mind for months now. I’ve even got a food standards agency certificate for my kitchen to prove it – 5 stars I’ll have you know! I just haven’t known where to start. The closest I’ve ever got to studying business is watching The Apprentice, and I’m fairly confident that Sir Alan has no interest in my cookie topped brownies. I’ve had fleeting thoughts about maybe applying for a stall at Summer food festivals, which I’ve then shooed away. I’ve attended enough of those to know that they get busy as all hell, and I don’t know that I’m quite ready for that yet.

I’ve worked enough manically hectic Christmases in a discount store to know how to handle a queue of customers – I ain’t scared! The retail side of things I can solidly say, I have down – references upon request. It’s more the production I’m concerned about. How much of everything do I need to bake? Do I buy boxes to put customer’s stuff in, or are bags better? Do I need an adapter for my phone so I can take card payments? I have been knocking around good old planet Earth for long enough now to know that these are the kinds of questions that can only be answered with experience. I’ve also picked up and dropped enough hobbies to know that it’s all too easy to end up severely out of pocket with not a great deal to show for it if you move too fast, too soon. And hello, I’m a broke millennial, I ain’t got time for that!

When I first moved to Nottingham, Andy discovered a company called Phat Doughnuts (which swiftly changed to The Nottingham Doughnut Company after a few name related legal implications). Their premise was essentially: doughnuts on delivery. We ordered from them for my birthday one year and fell in love. In addition to the delivery service, they traded at local markets. That company eventually grew into a pretty massive business success story. Within about 18 months, they went from delivering doughnuts by hand, to running a hugely successful store and having several employees. These days I am 100% convinced that they are the sole reason I will never be a size 8. Seriously. If you’re ever in Nottingham you absolutely NEED to track them down and try one. Anyway, I find their story really inspiring. They really did start from nothing and build what has the potential to be an empire. Far be it for me to assume that every story will be as successful as theirs – this much I have learned from Sir Alan. But it certainly gives me food for thought – no pun intended. Ok, pun definitely intended.

So I had a think about the local markets they used to trade at, and paid a visit to the vegan version of Sneinton market which takes place on the first Saturday every month. I imagine the vegan market is a bit smaller than the regular market, but visiting helped me to realise that it’s not out of my reach. With all of that in mind, I’ve just submitted my application to trade there, which feels very bizarre. I’ll have to wait to hear back of course – maybe they have no use for yet another baked goods stand? But if they do, I shall be sure to blog about it.

 

 

Emilio’s – Arnold, Nottingham

blog, depression, dinner, drinks, Fish, food, lifestyle, nottingham, restaurant reviews, reviews

During my day job, I work in an office

During my evenings and weekends, I desperately try to build my own identity using scraps of traits that I love, but are originally owned by Nigella Lawson, Rory Gilmore, Kristen Stewart and Hayley Williams.  But tales of my ongoing identity crisis are really besides the point.

Going back to the office day job: once upon a time a few months ago, I volunteered to be in charge of our social calendar. That’s right, I am the most insufferable human you have ever come across! As part of my role as ‘social secretary’ (nobody calls me that); I plan an office night out every other month.

This month, we went to Emilio’s in Arnold, Nottingham for a mezze night. I’m still relatively new to Nottingham, having lived here just over a year. Apparently Emilio’s is a long standing establishment, which has been described to me as ‘great for a cheesy night out’. The words Butlins and Hen Do were also thrown around with this description, so make of it what you will. To be honest I thought it sounded like a laugh, so I booked us in.

We’d ordered the set mezze in advance, which cost about £18 a head. Let’s get one thing straight, I fucking love mezze. I love Greek food and most days I have the appetite of a 6’10 rugby player. Mezze caters to all of this. We started with a Greek salad, pita, tzatziki, and taramasalata. As it turns out, I still hate taramasalata. It tricks me every time. I see a pink food in front of me, and it immediately reminds me of tubby custard from the Teletubbies and I feel compelled to eat it to reengage with my childhood. Take that adult life! The salad was awesome though. I mean granted, Greek salad will never be quite as good experienced in the midst of an October chill in Nottingham, as it would be sat, gazing out to the stars settling above the warm, softly lapping waves of the Mediterranean sea. (I genuinely just had to google to which sea borders Greece to check that was right. Jesus.) But yeah, this was still pretty bomb.

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Next up was calamari, and some garlicky prawns in a sort of tomatoey, caper type sauce. I’m not going to lie, neither of these were exactly to die for. The calamari was definitely not home made, which I thought was a shame, as it had that inevitable chewiness of frozen calimari. Weirdly, the best calamari I’ve ever had was at Ask Italian. Who knew? The prawns were definitely the kind of baby prawns you buy in the freezer section in Asda for about £3 a kilo, which would have been fine but sadly, they’d been a little bit overcooked. I will say though, that the sauce had a really lovely flavour to it.

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I swear, this was actually tastier than it looked!

Now from here on out the evening gets a bit blurry. After 2 years spent as a none drinker due to it exacerbating my depression to an unbearable level (mega lolz), I’ve recently started having the odd boozy night out again. I’m generally a bit happier these days and I thought I’d revisit my old frienemy, Merlot. In all honesty I’m not sure it’s a decision I’ll stick with because when I have one sip of alcohol, that’s it. Party Lucy is out to play. I recently watched all 3 of Iliza Shelsinger’s comedy sets that are on Netflix, and she refers to this as her Party Goblin. One sip of liquor and the Party Goblin takes over and bad decisions will be made all damn night. So at this point in the night I’m a glass and a half of red wine in and the Party Goblin is gearing up to do some dumb shit.

I know that the next things that came out were mini spanokopita – filo pastry parcels stuffed with spinach and feta. Mine was actually a bit burnt but I mean, come on. It’s feta and pastry, like I give a shit. There’s not much you could do to that combo to make it taste bad. There was also vine leaves stuffed with lamb and rice, meatballs which I really enjoyed, and a weird triangle of fried halloumi which was definitely reminiscent of a McDonalds hash brown. Again, I’m not complaining. I like halloumi, I like McDonalds hash browns, I see no problems here. Chorizo was the main player for me though. I bloody love chorizo and this one didn’t let me down. Typically, this is the one thing I didn’t photograph.

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To be honest, by the time we’d done with these I was 2 large glasses in and getting to the point of drunk where I wasn’t that bothered about food. Shockingly, that is occasionally something that happens to me. Weird things huh? I just seem to reach a level of buzz where I just get excited and want to exert some energy. Like when kids have been forced to sit through a car journey and then a tedious browse through the kids menu at pubs with play areas; and 1o minutes later they’re tearing around a ball pit with the look of the devil in their eyes. That’s me after a couple of drinks. So of course for some reason, myself and two other members of our party decided to have a plank off. Yes. A plank off. Because what goes well with drunkeness and an abundance of greek food? Ab exercises. I swear to God…

So at some point in the timeline, some chicken kebabs came out. I want to call them souvlaki, but I’m not sure if they technically have to be in a pita with salad to truly be called that? If any Greek’s happen to be reading, please alleviate my ignorance? It’s a shame I was so toasted by this point, because I reckon if I hadn’t been, the kebabs would have been the high point of the meal for me. They were (from what I remember) marinaded beautifully, juicy and tender.

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The photos on my phone suggest there was also a dish of rice with something that looks like chilli in a separate dish, but who can be sure? Not I, that’s for sure. I definitely didn’t try whatever it was, as by this point, I was stuffed to the brim and ready to get my dancing shoes on. Which I did. With gusto. And that my dears, is something nobody need hear about or mention from now until the rest of eternity.

Thank you and goodnight.

TFW – Past Half Way!

excercise, exercise, fitness, food, Health, health,, healthy, Life, life,, lifestyle, nottingham, ramble, running, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

I’m now over half way into my Training for Warriors programme! Ohhh it’s so sad. I don’t wanna say that I’ve love(d) the programme – past tense, because we do still have a couple of weeks to go. But I have loved it. Up to this point it has been such a great experience. I’ve pushed myself mentally and physically.

Actually, I want to talk a bit about that. People will often tell you that mental challenges are good, and that they help you to see how far you can push yourself. Don’t get me wrong, to some extent I agree with that. There’s a lot of truth hidden behind cliche phrases, and I think the phrase, ‘there’s no growth in the comfort zone’ is insanely applicable in life. But it comes with constraints. What happens when you push yourself to your limit, and you still aren’t good enough? Let’s not be naive here, it happens. Cliche number two: ‘be comfortably uncomfortable.’ I feel like the moment of positive change is a sweet spot on a sliding scale. At one end of the scale there’s your ultimate comfort zone – I dunno, eating Chinese whilst watching Gilmore Girls or whatever your equivalent is. At the other end, there’s the zone that is so uncomfortable  that it cripples you. Somewhere in the middle, is that sweet spot where you’re a long fucking way from any prawn crackers, but you aren’t so far away that the level of discomfort is preventing you from moving forward. For me, that was getting up on a Saturday morning to run 16 miles knowing full well I’d hate every minute that took place past mile 6, and give myself hell for a poor performance for the rest of the week, so by the time next Saturday came round I’d be just ever so slightly more miserable than before, and the cycle would repeat.

TFW has so far been pretty fucking sweet spot centric. I’ve done things I didn’t even think were possible for me, but because of the environment you’re in and the supportive nature of the group, it seems much more realistic. Like, the other day we did pull ups. I definitely had help, but fucking pull ups. Who knew? A couple of weeks ago I also learned how to get on a treadmill whilst it’s already running – and I didn’t break any limbs or anything!!!

TFW  has allowed me to become part of a group of people who just want to improve themselves. We’re a pretty diverse group of people and I guess we all have different things we want to achieve from the programme. I just wanted to feel confident again. I’m not going to lie and say I’m all the way there. I’m a long way away from slaying like one of Ru Paul’s drag queens, but I do feel better about myself.

I guess this post is pretty gushy and I’m not sure it has a real point other than to update on my progress so far. I’ve not had mid way measurements done or anything. I wanted to wait until the end and see the extent of my progress. I’m not sure it will be massive because it will only have been 8 weeks, and I’ve definitely had a couple of cheat meals here and there, but still. I feel like I’m turning a corner.

It’s about time.

 

LDN Marathon Training: Weeks 3 & 4

blog, depression, fitness, food, Health, health,, healthy, Life, lifestyle, london, london marathon, mental health, running, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

 

Week 3 of my marathon training is when I promised myself that I would never, ever run less than 3 hours after eating dinner again.  Tuesday was a 4 miler. I was working at an event in a different city on Tuesday, so I had no opportunity to run before work, which is always a bummer. I prefer running in the morning so much more. Apart from wanting an extra hour in bed, there aren’t really many excuses to not run at six in the morning. At 5pm however, you’re tired, you’ve had a long day, you’re hungry, you’ve got to get dinner started, you’ve got a tonne of chores to do, the dog needs walking, the hamster cage needs cleaning, you’ve got to dust the skirting boards, the silverware needs polishing, the cd collection needs alphabetising!! Ohhh the excuses are abundant! The problematic thing about marathon training though, is that you sort of have to just take those excuses and shove them away, because 26.2 miles don’t just happen out of nowhere. Or at least, not for me, Lucy, Penguin Runner.

On Tuesday afternoon I drove home from the event I’d been working at and was starving. I decided to try eating dinner and then run a bit later in the evening. I managed to have dinner cooked and eaten by about 5.30, and by 8pm I was in the gym. Within about 6 minutes I knew I’d end up throwing up before I reached the 4 mile mark. I tried changing my run-walk patter, I tried running at a slower but more consistent pace, I tried distracting myself by changing the treadmill TV screen to a New Zealand ‘run through’ setting. As it turns out, when you’re knackered and trying not to vomit, New Zealand’s surroundings are actually just really annoying. Why are there so many trees?! I think I made it to about the 2.5 mile mark before I tapped out. At that point, it wasn’t just feeling physically sick that was getting in the way, I was so hyper aware that I was having a terrible run that my mental toughness was about as sturdy as a birthday jelly. In fact, I was so frustrated that I ended up going home in a huff and having a massive cry, like a big ole’ sweaty baby.

Thank GOD the rest of the week’s training went to plan, and without any notable trauma. There were a couple of 3 milers and on Saturday, my long run was 6 miles. I did that at a 13 minute mile pace, so believe me, I’m no Mo Farrah, but I felt good. I mean, relatively good. I didn’t have to crawl to the car or anything, so that was nice.

Week 4 surprised me. I hadn’t really looked ahead at my training programme in detail, so I was very close to doing a cartwheel of joy when I realised week 4 was almost a ‘rest’ week. My longest run was 3.8 miles, and the shortest was 2, with a few 3 milers sprinkled into the midweek mix.  I was quite chuffed with how easy the 3 milers were starting to feel, so I used the shorter distances to try and improve my pace. As I said, I’m definitely not going to be breaking any records speed wise. I take walk breaks, because otherwise running just isn’t fun for me, and I won’t make the distances. I am noticing that the further I get into my training plan, the easier I’m finding it to reduce those walk breaks. I’m currently walking about 2-5 minutes every mile, and running/jogging the rest. It seems to be working alright.

As always, if you would like to sponsor me and help raise money for mental health charity, Mind, click through to the link below.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/Lucy-Titterton

Virgin London Marathon 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 25: Runners pass by the University of Greenwich during the 2010 Virgin London Marathon on April 25, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

 

Struggles

blog, career, food, Life, project

I’m struggling a bit at the minute. I seem to be stuck in this place of transition, but I’m not sure where/what I’m transitioning to. I find myself repeatedly struck with the thought that when I’m (hopefully) old and dying, I need to be able to confidently look back on my life and know that it wasn’t boring. I don’t know if there’s life after this one, so I want to make sure I make the most out of the existence I have right now. Carpe diem and all that.

Right now I feel like I’m not doing enough to inject excitement into my existence. I moved out of my parents house in April and I’ve been very cautiously finding my feet since then, not wanting to fuck it all up and find myself asking my parents for money for food two months into the journey. But it’s late July now and I feel like I’ve found my feet. I feel like I’ve found my feet, taken photographs of them from every angle, examined them for 18 hours a day and could teach a class on the structure and appearance of the sodding things. I think it might be time to lose my feet a little bit again.

This is why I’m starting a new project. Remember a few posts ago when I was talking about how much I wanted my foodie life to become more intertwined with my professional life? I want to try and lay some groundwork in that area. I know I’m not equipped to launch a business straight off the bat. I still don’t have enough know how or experience; and the last thing I want to do is naively sink a bunch of money into pro equipment, bulk ingredients, web design and a bunch of other overheads; when I really don’t have a clue. So I’m starting small, with a bit of ‘market research’. I’ve asked 3 of my closest friends to be taste testers for some of the treats I make on a semi regular basis. Once a month I’m going to send them a few different treats and ask them to evaluate how much they like them. I don’t know if this is exactly the right way to do it, but I assume that finding out what people enjoy isn’t a bad place to start.

This weekend is my first day of delivering goodies to people, so we’ll see what the initial collective verdict is. The plan for now, is to continue in this stage for about a year, and then see where I stand in terms of the products. I’m hoping that in that year, I’ll have picked up some skills from my professional life that I’ll be able to transfer when the time is right. I’ll probably talk a bit about the progression of the project here – because why not?

Aaaand if this project isn’t enough to help quench my thirst for excitement and learning, I guess I’ll just have to jump out of a plane or wrestle a gorilla or something.

Race for Life 10k

excercise, fitness, Health, healthy, Life, running, Uncategorized, weight loss, weightloss, wellbeing

Have you ever had one of those weeks at work where the best plan of action appears to be to quit, sell your belongings, buy a camper van and piss off to the arse end of nowhere? Well, that’s been my week. I am bloody knackered! However, work life aside I had a pretty awesome Sunday running the Race for Life 10k.

So if I start by explaining that I was a bit concerned about doing this race. For one thing, it was my first ever 10k race. For another, right before my Nike+ ‘peak weeks’ of my training plan, I had to rest my leg because I could feel it on the brink of injury. That took two weeks of rest to get back to full strength, which left me with one week before the race. Aaaaand in that week I somehow (seriously, God knows how) managed to hurt my collar bone doing the oh so strenuous task of…. getting in the car. Yup. You read that correctly. I don’t even have the excuse of having to climb into the back seat of a 3 door car, because I was driving. So I pretty much assumed the powers that be were not looking down fondly at the prospect of me owning this race. But, being a stubborn little shit, on Sunday morning I laced up my running shoes, donned the Lycra and headed off to Darley Park in Derby. 

Now.

Let me tell you a thing or two about Darley Park. It fucking sucks. There is zilch parking spaces so you have to walk a mile to the race site before you’ve even started, and then when you get there, there is scarecly a flat surface to be seen. I didn’t notice this at first. I’ll tell you when it did become acutely obvious though – when I was 2km into the race and had yet to stop gathering altitude. I suppose I perhaps should have thought about this when I signed up. After all, I have previously been sledging at this park….

As a lovely little ‘treat’, in addition to the mountainous terrain, Britain decided to have one of its nine hot days a year on Sunday. The sun beamed down and I could legitimately feel my usually translucent white skin sizzling like the skin of a rotisserie chicken as I ran. 

But you know what, in spite of those slight obstacles, I actually really enjoyed myself. Ok, so I didn’t manage to reach my target of 10k in under 60 minutes, but honestly I think given the break in training at a crucial time, the unfamiliar track and the heat, I did pretty darn well.

My favourite thing about these types of events is always the last 100m. The atmosphere is euphoric as music in earphones is drowned out by the sound of people cheering you on. I saw my lovely boyfriend waving his arms around like a loon to spur me on from about 300m away. I mean to be fair, he’s 6’6, it’d be difficult to miss him. But it made me smile so much. My mum managed to get out of work early to come and see me too, and I actually saw a girl I used to work with in a job at we both passionately hated, running the track as well, so that was awesome. 

The race has reactivated the bug in me. A lady at work who I really admire and look up to for about 100 different reasons has asked if I want to do something called Equinox with her and her sister. It’s basically a 24 hour relay, where a team of four take it in turns to run 10k, and see how many they can fit in over the course of 24 hours. It sounds pretty incredible, and I’m nervous as shit, but I think I’m gonna do it. It will keep me motivated and on course with my training.

Next mission: Go.