Book Review: The Mind Diet Maggie Moon

I have long been interested in healthy eating but also want to hang on to what remains of my marbles so when I saw this book it seemed ideal for me. It is easy to read and the science is well explained. There are recipes in the back.

It is basically a version of the Mediterranean diet. Meals are based around whole grains and vegetables. Nuts are encouraged as is a glass of red wine a day. Proteins come from fish and chicken and beans. Olive oil is used in copious amounts. Red meat and cheese is to be avoided.

I am going to have a go at a version of this. I don’t eat meat so I won’t be having the chicken. I am also not convinced that whole grains are right for me so I will be having only a little of these.

I will report back when I am eighty and see if I still have my mental faculties.

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney review

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I did not enjoy this book at all. Lisa McInerney can certainly write and she captures the language of her characters really well. It was just the subject matter. I have grown out of depressing books about the underclass. Irvine Welsh did it thirty years ago but today this work wins the Baileys Prize and is regarded as edgey. It was also billed as hilarious but I found no humour in it. The setting is Cork council estate. The characters are small time drug dealers and prostitutes. It is unrelentingly grim. The Catholic Church gets the usual de rigeur bashing as does fundamentalist Christianity. There is no light. I am way beyond books like this now.

Hotel Review: Relais il Cannalichio




We are just back from a very pleasant stay in this hotel. It has grown out from a mediaval castle on a hill top and now encompasses most of the village. The setting is outstanding and the views from all parts of the hotel were superb.
I was a little disappointed at first that we were not given a room in the old part of the hotel as that is what I thought we had booked. We were given a more modern apartment in a two storey block with its own pool. The apartment was built to look in keeping with the rest so was still charming. The apartment was well appointed with a living room, bedroom and bathroom with bidet and spa bath. The furniture was lovely as it was a painted country style. Though the apartment was fitted with air conditioning it wasn’t very effective so the nights were very hot. 
We had half board so this was buffet breakfast and a three course evening meal not including wine. The breakfast was very substantial with the usual options of continental items. The hot option was scrambled eggs and sausages. There was a range of traditional Italian tarts which were delicious. Coffee was self service from a machine. 

Dinner was either on the terrace or in the formal dining room. The view of the sun setting over the mountains made it feel very special. There were four courses on offer from which we could choose three. The food was simple Italian though not quite top notch. In spite of the formal setting it sometimes had an air of mass catering about it, arriving very fast as if it was all ready to go. This was the only slight damp squib for me but if you are not expecting haute cuisine it is fine. Wine was not included so we tended to plump for the house which was 12 euros and acceptable though not wonderful. Coffee was not served which I found slightly strange. We don’t eat meat but there was usually still plenty to choose from from the starters and antipasti. We usually took the remains of our wine to the terrace to watch the sun go down. We didn’t have lunch in the hotel but if you want it it is buffet style. 
Drinks were expensive as in all hotels so it’s worth keeping track of your bar bill as ours was pretty hefty at the end of the week. 
The staff were all very friendly and helpful and the room was clean. The pool was cleaned every night. I found the pool slightly cold as it is unheated but then I am not very hardy. 
We hired a car and went out on trips every day. This is essential if you don’t just want a pool holiday as the nearest shop is 4 km down the mountain. The village at the bottom was well appointed with a good supermarket which had a range of wine and beers at very reasonable prices. There are lots of delightful small towns nearby so we never got tired of exloring and we had some amazing lunches in little tavernas which were dotted everywhere. Everyone was friendly towards us and very tolerant of my terrible Italian.
A highlight of the trip for me was our trip to Assisi which is a very beatiful and spiritual place.
The other guests were mostly Brits with a sprinking of other nationalities. It was mostly couples with a few children in evidence. There was only entertainment on the Saturday evening but this was good for me.
The setting of the hotel was very peaceful with just the sound of birds for company. That’s just the way I like it.

Why I write this blog

Recently somebody shared one of my blog posts to their Facebook page. It was a family member. I had written the blog a while ago and forgotten all about it. I think it was shared with the intention of causing drama and upset. I don’t really care. I could see from the stats people were reading it for all the wrong reasons. I know they are people I am not even facebook friends with. I am not friends with them for good reason.

It got me thinking about why I write this blog. It is not widely read, certainly not by any of my friends or family. Some posts on particular subjects are popular, some are hardly read at all.

I write largely for myself. I express myself. I organise my thoughts. I examine my reactions and feelings. I am brutally honest about myself and others. I also hope the blog might help people. It might be read by someone who feels like me. It might make them feel better that they are not alone, that there is someone like them. I write about my tendency to depression and my attempts to conquer it. I hope this helps someone. They might find something in it of interest. I write about writing. I hope to encourage others to write. I write about what happens to me. I am an observer of people and situations. I write about books. I hope to encourage others to read the books I like. Sometimes I write about my buddhist  and bohmeian gifts business. I hope it might encourage someone to take an interest.  Somebody might even buy something so I can pay my bills.I write because it is my form of art. I watched an interview with Anthony Gormley who said art should make us uncomfortable. I agree. My blog post may not have been fluffy but it was honest. If it upsets people then so be it. It is my art, my take on the world. Take it or leave it. Nobody forces anyone to read it.

Some people love creating drama on Facebook. They have nothing else. That’s why I got bored of it long ago. It could be a brilliant medium of communication but somehow it just isn’t.  It is a privilege to be friends with me on facebook not a right. People who use it to criticise and needle me are blocked. I got wise to the head games a long time ago. I grew up. I moved on. Some people don’t. My focus is now not on the past but on the future. I stopped being an insecure girl hoping everyone would like me a long time ago. I don’t care if you don’t like me. I don’t care. Drip your poison elsewhere. Buddhism has taught me the importance of non-attachment. It is hard but there is great wisdom in it.

I write the truth as I see it. If you don’t want to be written about you should behave better. Beware of what you say to an author. You could end up in a book.

Notes from The Old Chapel – Spring

So Spring has finally arrived in Norfolk. I feel with its coming  a lifting of my mood. There is still a weight on me. I think of my depression as a heavy block of stone lying on top of me but it is lightened with the changing of the seasons though still there try as I might to shift it.

I have sought help for my chronic sinusitis and been to the doctor. I have a nasal spray to use which is some kind of steroid. The doctor said it may take up to six months or a year to work. Well that’s a pretty big time scale. So as I attempt to heal my physical ailments I hope to do more mental healing into the bargain.

The farms have geared up again and started ploughing and planting and fertilising. Tractors are up and down the lane in their noisy business. The fields are full of yellow rape. The yellow is so bright it almost hurts your eyes. It seems like one day it wasn’t there and the next it was in full bloom. I think I am allergic to it.

The garden burst into spring last month. There were lots of primroses and daffodils. I have no bluebells or snowdrops or tulips. I must plant more for next year. I have begun gardening: the endless tasks of weeding and pruning.  The garden is beautiful and gladdens the heart. The birds are busy nest building and are frequent visitors to the bird feeder. I have a solitary robin who dots around. I have seen a goldfinch hopping on the path. The dog killed a blue tit which made me cry.  He was so perfect and pretty in life and death. I like to feel nature. It calms me. I still have lots to do in the garden.

The weather has warmed up considerably. As always in England it is very changeable. We have had some days as perfect as summer and some as cold as February. There is much more sunlight. The conservatory becomes really warm as soon as the sun dares to peep out. It is lovely to sit in. Such a contrast to the ice I felt in there in winter.

My business selling Buddhist and bohemian things has improved. I have a steady trade though it is not really enough to live on. I need to write more. I need to find another source of income. The search continues. I have  a fear of being bullied again so I must choose carefully. Maybe one day the business will take off. Maybe one day my writing will take off. I have to hope.

I tried to be frugal in Lent and eat simply. I didn’t quite manage no alcohol though I did have simple meals and no eating out. Easter has passed and the privations of Lent are over. We are in the season of plenty and enjoyment. Easter was lovely. We had a side of salmon with pomegranate dressing. My dessert didn’t set which upset me. I am overly critical of myself. I must stop berating myself.

Spring is the season of hope. I hope I can be well again.  I am exploring Christianity and Buddhism as my spritual paths. I think they have much in common. I know I have a long way to go. My faults are legion. I am trying to improve. I have improved. I will improve.

 

Spring.

Hope springs eternal.