Saturday, 14 April 2012

My bucket was full, so I emptied it a bit..

I heard a great analogy a few years ago when I trained to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
Here is my take on it.*

Everyone has a metaphorical bucket inside them
Some people's bucket is small, some are large. 
Some are made from strong, durable material; some are pretty flimsy. 

Everything that comes up in our lives that is stressful starts to fill our bucket. 
Stress can be positive or negative.
Exams, break-ups, illness, deaths, are all examples of negative stress that add to your bucket starting to fill up. 
Positive things are stressful too, like holidays, a new relationship, a new job. 
As more stressful things happen, your bucket becomes fuller.

When someone experiences a mental illness, it is because their bucket is full and has started to spill over. 
Which mental illness (anxiety, depression, psychosis etc) you have is probably due to genetics, or other personal factors.
But why one person has a mental illness after a couple of stressful events, when the person next to them is fine, comes down to how big and strong your bucket is. 

So anyway, over the last couple of months I have been trying to become a successful Thermomix consultant. I have been trying to excel in studying Law. I have been trying to be a good friend. I have been trying to be a good daughter, and sister. I have been trying to be a perfect mother and wife.

I have not felt like I have been doing any of these things as well as I would like to be. I talked earlier this year about wanting my word of the year to be Joy. I haven't been feeling much Joy at all this year. I've just been too busy.

So I decided that something had to give, and that thing is Thermomix. I'm not giving up cooking with it, that I love and it feeds my soul (and my family!).
But I just didn't feel like I took to the sales aspect of it, and it was taking up precious space in my bucket.
I felt like my bucket was starting to drip, so I tipped out the sales.

It wasn't an easy choice, because I felt like I had given up, like I had failed.

But it was the right thing to do.

I feel lighter now.

How full is your 'bucket' right now? I'd love you to share....
x Sannah 

* Apologies to the owner if it is quite far from your initial description. Alternatively if you want to take credit for it, just drop me a line.
** And no, our poor little blue bucket didn't survive a couple of boys throwing bricks into it to make the splash. I hope no one ever throws a brick into my metaphorical bucket. 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Playing with Lightroom

This photo was taken in Bushy Park in England, not far from Hampton Court Palace.
I came across this photo recently, and quite like it, so I decided to play with it a bit in Lightroom

I decided to see what it looked like in black and white...

Then I decided to vignette it a bit

Then I decided to make it look a bit old with a sepia look
Then I decided to see what the sepia would look like without the vignette
Then I decided to see what it would look like cropped a bit closer and off-centre in black and white

And then I started liking the colour again and decided to crop it pretty close off-centred to the opposite side.
Still not sure what I like best.
I am playing with lightroom more at the moment because I miss my camera.
Do you use photo editing software? What do you use?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Cranberry Hot Cross Buns

Apart from a not so good attempt in Home Economics class when I was about 13, I have never made hot cross buns until this year.

I had no idea what I was missing out on.

The recipe I used is a recipe I adapted from the Thermomix Everyday cookbook. I love hot cross buns. I hate citrus peel, so I left it out. You could of course put some in, if you like that sort of thing.

Ingredients for Buns:
250g warm milk
500g bakers flour
2 tsp salt
90g butter
50g sugar
1 egg
2 sachets dry yeast (or about 4 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 ground cloves
90 g sultanas
80 g dried cranberries

Place milk in Tm Bowl and cook for 50 second speed 1 90 degrees C.
Place all other ingredients apart from dried fruit into the bowl and mix 6 seconds speed 7. Set lid to closed lid position and knead 3 minutes on dough setting.
Add dried fruit and mix 10 seconds speed 5.
Wrap in thermomat or silpat or place in bowl in warm place and cover. Let prove for about 90 minutes until dough is roughly double in size.
Cut and shape into dinner sized bun rolls - I did 12 rolls, which I found to be a really good size.
Place buns close to each other on lined baking tray and let prove for another 30 minutes, covered.
Pipe with crosses. Bake in pre-heated oven at 220 degrees C for around 15 minutes until golden. Brush with sugar syrup while still warm.

Ingredients for piping mixture:
80g plain flour
1 tsp olive oil
100g water
pinch salt

Place all ingredients into TM bowl and mix to combine for 30 seconds speed 4 to obtain a pancake consistency. Tip from a friend is to put piping mixture into an old sauce bottle to pipe the crosses on - works brilliantly.

Ingredients for Sugar Syrup:
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water

Place both ingredients in the bowl and cook for 2 minutes at 100 degrees C on speed 4.

Try them. 
You will thank me. 
Unless you decide to eat them all.
 In which case you may hate me. 
Don't eat them all. 
At least not all at once....

x Sannah