Saturday, 12 December 2015

Another rant about how I wish I was an early bird...

Last year at uni, I was fab at staying up all night. Whether it was for finishing off an essay, or trying to make myself extra tired to rejig my (usually atrocious) sleeping pattern (oh how cliche for a student), give me a few brews and a good Spotify playlist, and I could power right through. And I mean right through. If my sleeping pattern had got really bad, I'd stay up all night and then have a busy day the next day... it'd mean that I'd been awake for an obscene amount of hours, but then I'd be able to go to bed early, as I was actually tired at a reasonable time, and attempt to get back to normality. But, to my dismay, my all-nighter skills seem to have diminished. I can't power through. I manage until about 6am, then I crash and end up sleeping in late... and then I'm not tired until the early hours and it all happens again... vicious cycle or what?! 

What I would really love, but unfortunately can't see myself finding it easy to do, is to have a set bedtime and wake-up time - a proper, regular routine that my body would grow super-used to. Obviously it would fluctuate on weekends, but I'd try and keep that to a minimum. Ahhh yes, that idea of routine and structure and quality sleep sounds so great. But would I, a person who can be asleep by 10pm one day, and be up writing blog posts the next at 4am, realistically stick to such a routine? Either way though, I do really need to sort my body clock out, strict routine or not, it just needs to improve. 

Yes, I know exactly what you're thinking... "All students tweet 'I need to sort my sleeping pattern out #uniprobs' at least once a week"... but it's true! Uni has the ability to turn even the earliest of birds into an over-sleeper, what with its late lectures and lack of your mother's presence. Who else relied on their mom to violently bang on their door until you yelled "I'm up!" during high school? Maybe I should download one of those sleep cycle app thingys, or maybe I should rekindle my old skills and power though an all-nighter again and give my sleeping pattern a vigorous shake? 

The rare times that I am in a good routine when it comes to sleeping, I always realise how many of my personal gripes in life: feeling unproductive, not managing three proper meals a day, not doing enough exercise... are solves by the simple act of getting up earlier. It's like magic - and I want that magic back in my life. 


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My Cooking Conundrum

Food is fabulous, I love food a lot, it truly is one of the great pleasures in life. My mom is a brilliant cook who can whip up any traditional comfort food at the drop of a hat (or saucepan... haha), and my dad loves to experiment and spend his Saturday nights in concocting some kind of exotic, colourful dish. But, when it comes to me... well, to be honest, I just don't enjoy cooing. I know some people find the whole cooking process very relaxing, rewarding and pleasurable, but I don't. Most of the time, to put it bluntly, I just can't be arsed. I'll come home from uni, all flustered and battered from the wind and rain, and I just can't be bothered to get the pots and pans out and start peeling veg and marinating meat or whatever. I tend to just want food fast - something I can eat whilst curled up, watching Come Dine With Me (a cooking programme... how ironic) and so I turn to basic pasta sauces way too much. My favourite simple pasta sauce is made from a handful of cherry tomatoes, a clove of garlic, a splash of olive oil, squeeze of tomato puree and a twist of salt and pepper... very easy and quick, but unprocessed and pretty natural to. However, I'm ashamed to admit that I've been turning to Lloyd Grossman jars of sauce over my homemade one over the past few weeks. And to be truthful, it makes me feel kind of guilty. 

I was lucky enough to be brought up on good, healthy and diverse food. It's not that I don't know how to cook - a childhood of watching my parents whip up tasty meals and having a kitchen bookshelf greedy with recipe books, means I'm not lacking in culinary knowledge. I feel guilty for not utilising this knowledge enough! 

It can be difficult to cook meals from scratch when the six girls in my house are all trying to use the kitchen at the same time. But my housemate Penny has the right idea. The other Friday morning, I emerged from my room, and the glorious smell of rich spices and hearty vegetables wafted towards me. Penny was cooking up a huge batch of her speciality, throw-it-all-in veggie curry, whilst all the other girls were either in bed or at uni. Then she can feed the freezer with portions of her creation and have her own homemade, healthy ready meals. My dad makes a super tasty and filling pasta sauce with sausage that you can easily make in large quantities. My ready meal guilt would be eradicated if I took a leaf out of Penny's book and whipped up a big batch whilst the kitchen was clear. 

If I'm not in the mood for cooking en masse however (which for me is pretty likely), baked salmon is very quick and good for you. Whack it in the oven with some cherry tomatoes for twenty minutes and then serve with lots of rocket - voila! Move over Lloyd!! 

What I need to do is meal plan for the week like my mom does, and then do a big weekly shop, buying all the ingredients I need, rather than doing dribs and drabs of shopping here and there and succumbing to pre-made convenience meals. Cooking for one is hard and it really is so tempting to grab a few ready meals on the way home from uni. When I have tea with my boyfriend at his flat, we always cook from scratch (well most of the time anyway.. unless we have a cheeky Just Eat) and it does seem so much easier when there's two of you. There's more hands to help with the boring jobs like chopping, and someone to enjoy and appreciate the meal with. Oh, and Tom's kitchen, shared only with his one flatmate, gets a lot less crowded and cluttered than my typical student one... I always thought I'd be one of those really tidy students with a really tidy kitchen... how wrong I was. 

To put it simply, I've been unhappy with my eating habits at uni for a couple of months now, but putting pen to paper and getting to the bottom of the problem has proven that my dilemma is very straight forward and easy to resolve: stop being lazy and cook proper food! Fair enough that cooking isn't really my thing, but I do adore eating, and want to eat stuff that is good for me. With bulk making of pasta sauce and a couple of quick by homemade convenience meals in my repertoire (repertoire... how fancy), I'll be sorted! 

I'd love to know if you have any tips for making quick and healthy meals!