The Green Juice Hype

Today we’re gonna do my little tactic of writing a quick one cos I don’t have a lot of time/I’m lazy. First off, how fucking beautiful is the weather today? I mean, like where I am. I don’t know where you are. But here in Liverpool it is excellent. Endless blue skies, sun so bright I can barely open my eyes. Oh yeah, that’s a welcome change after all the cold and dreary weather we’ve had the last few months. Is this the start of summer? I totally hope so.

So I’m toying with the idea of readjusting my posting schedule. Self-care Fridays have been a thing on my blog for a surprising amount of time now. Yes, they’re not every week, sometimes months apart, but just calm yourself, we all know the situation. However, I often find myself doing things on Friday nights recently so all that means is my post is sacrificed. But I really enjoy the self-care posts because I think they’re super important. So I don’t want to lose them. My experiment for the next few weeks is to transform Self-care Fridays into Self-care Thursdays! Subtle difference, I know. But it means you can still do these activities or tasks during your relaxing weekends but now you have a day to prepare in case there’s needed supplies.

Funnily enough, today’s self-care activity does require supplies! Green Juice. Now I know a lot of people are weirdly intimidated my green juice and I’m here to address that. With the sun coming back out and the nights getting lighter, I’ve been whipping out my blender to get my daily fix. Green juice is so fucking tasty, and super simple to make. And also, you can put like whatever the heck you want in it. So there’s literally no wrong way to do it. Make it your own. I hear a lot of people saying ‘urgh spinach though? I don’t wanna drink that’. YOU CANNOT TASTE THE SPINACH. I’m not sure how many more people I can say that too without flipping the fuck out. The spinach gives the stunning bright green colour and all the good nutrients but what it does not give is taste. My main issue with this is that spinach actually tastes delicious anyway so I never know what people are even talking about. But for anyone hesitating about trying green juice because they don’t like spinach, or kale, or celery, or whatever then don’t worry. You can make a very vegetable-heavy green juice but most are going to focus on the fruit. They’re sweet and refreshing. That’s why they’re so perfect for summertime.

I also hear people saying it’s expensive. If you’re gonna buy ready-made green juice, then Christ yeah, that’s shit is gonna set you back a lot of pennies. But to make your own? Couldn’t be cheaper. There’s a misconception about what needs to go into a green juice. You do not need spirulina and flax seed and hemp seed and matcha powder and mulberries and goji berries and the elixir of the mythical mermaid plant Magenta. (I made that last one up.) Personally, I like to keep mine super simple. Frozen fruit, kids. That’s where the gold is. Frozen fruit is so cheap. I also use Tesco value orange juice and tap water as the liquids. I use the occasional banana. You’re more than welcome to use the luxury items but they’re definitely not necessary.

Price also comes into the tools used. I fully appreciate people don’t have a Vitamix just lying around. Neither do I, but I wouldn’t say no if anyone wanted to buy me one. I got myself a mid-range blender a few years ago because I knew I wanted to make juice regularly but also start making the thousands of vegan pasta sauce recipes I see online. So I’m all set there. But before that I had a thirty quid blender from Tesco or Argos or something. Before that I had a £5 emersion blender. But if none of that is in your price range just get a bowl and a potato masher and get that arm workout going. My top tip to anyone without a juicer (which I’m assuming is going to be most of us!) is to strain your juice! I often love just drinking it out the blender but when you start throwing in berries I find it a bit too seedy. So to stop that you simply have to strain the juice from the blender, ie. the step the juicer would also do for you. I’ve used nut milk bags in the past, they’re great but I found my hands get EXTREMELY cold because I tend to use a lot of frozen ingredients. So right now I’m using a fine mesh sieve. It works well enough. I find it also helps keep the juice fresh in the fridge for a couple of days. Unstrained, be prepared for the liquid to separate and look gross. Nothing a good shake can’t fix though!

Anyway, I said this would be a short post and now I’m still talking about green juice. So I’ll shut up now and leave you with my favourite recipe right now. I usually just eyeball the amounts, depends on the quantity of juice you want. I tend to just do relatively equal parts of my fruits and a giant amount of spinach pressed down at the bottom.

Sarah’s Green Juice

Spinach

Frozen Banana

Frozen Pineapple

Frozen Mango

Orange Juice

Water

And it’s literally that easy! That juice creates a beautiful green juice. Fair warning: if you start adding berries, it’ll taste amazing but it will turn a weird brown colour. So maybe don’t Instagram that one. Happy juicing!

I Wanna Know – Best Coast

February Wrap Up

Another solid month of reading. Also the most beautiful covers. Serendipity. Let’s get started.

The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell

I spoke about how much I’d enjoyed this duo in Art Matters with a friend and she told me she had this book! Don’t you just love swapping books with friends? The artwork in this illustrated story is beautifully gothic and incredibly detailed. Probably my favourite part of the book actually. The story is a twist on the well-known stories of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. I enjoyed Snow White ditching her wedding dress on the eve of her wedding for some chainmail and an adventure. Badass woman saving badass woman. But whilst it’s fun to see, I think it left a lot to be desired. I was told there could be an LGBT+ narrative to this book which did not materialise. I think that was a missed opportunity. The execution was just nothing mind-blowing but it was a nice, quick little read.

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

This was another one of those been-on-my-shelf-for-years-interested-in-it-but-just-getting-covered-in-dust-but-trying-to-change type situation. I’ve also wanted to watch the movie for years but I just cannot watch a movie first when I know a book exists. So it was high time I read this. I’m gonna be brief because I don’t want to give anything away. It’s mysterious, it’s enchanting, it’s captivating. I found it a beautiful exploration of youth and what it is to be human. Go and read.

The Terrible – Yrsa Daley-Ward

I simply can’t get through a month without reading a memoir. I loved Daley-Ward’s poetry collection so much (as you might remember from January, go and read it now!) that I immediately went out and bought this book. It was written equally as beautiful as the poems. She just has a natural flow about her writing that it sounds poetic even when framed as prose. She also uses some experimental formats throughout the book which really add to its uniqueness. Similar to her poetry, the themes of this memoir are not easy to read. The stories will make your heart ache

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

This was the first V. E. Schwab book I heard about on Booktube many years ago. I read A Darker Shade of Magic last year and really enjoyed it so when I saw this stunning edition of Vicious it had to be mine. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. There’s just something about Victor Vale, man. Like I know he’s an anti-hero at best and kind of just a criminal, but I think he’s a really intriguing character. The twist on the traditional superhero narrative was very dark but well executed. The ragtag gang of characters are very endearing if not odd. Made me excited to read more of this author.

The Incendiaries – R. O. Kwon

I saw this book first when it was Belletrist’s book of the month. It was a novel I devoured about a relationship between two college students from very different backgrounds. One thing I found intriguing about the novel is that it’s arguably primarily about Phoebe but it is narrated by Will. So we have this pretty good idea of who Phoebe is but then I realised, is that even how she sees herself? And is this narrator reliable? Is he a caring friend or actually weirdly obsessed after her disappearance? Either way, it’s very fractured. Aside from the love story, the plot actually follows a group of extremists. It was very interesting to get a snippet at a look into cult initiation. Very powerful novel.

Fan The Flames – Sheer Mag

Queer Eye

So I really wasn’t kidding about our Friday self-care posts coming back slowly. It’s been like two months since I said that.. But anyway! Beside the point. This week’s task is so enjoyable that you’ll forgive me instantly for keeping you waiting. Everyone drop whatever you’re doing right this second and go do it. Like right now. I don’t care if you’re at work. Say ‘peace out, guys, something I gotta do’. But no seriously, go and watch Queer Eye. If you haven’t seen any of the show then you’re in luck! You get three whole seasons to binge! If you already know about Queer Eye then I’m gonna assume you’ve actually already binged all of the new season. Oh well. Watch it again?

This show has been taking the world by storm since it started it’s reboot last year. And why? Because it is just so heart-warming. Don’t get me wrong, this show will break you. Completely crush you. You’ll be drowning in your own tears. Fair warning. But through all the pain and the discrimination and the lack of self-esteem you get to watch something beautiful. You witness real people completely reinvent themselves. Discover themselves. Learn to love themselves. They put their trust in the Fab 5 to transform them. They want change. They just don’t necessarily know how to do it for themselves. And it’s not just about physical change. A hair cut or a new wardrobe can give people an immediate visible confidence but it’s also about teaching them self-care and giving tips on how to treat themselves well. There’s also lots of focus on why and how they’ve got to where they are at the beginning of the episode and how they can alter their future going forward. God, I’m tearing up just thinking about it!

So who the heck are the Fab 5? They’re a team of guys who use their expertise in different areas to round together the transformation. Each episode features a physical makeover of body and clothes; a healthier look at your diet; a healthier look at your mental health; as well as a reinvention of your living space.

So who have we got?

On Food and Wine we’ve got Antoni. Now there is many memes across the internet that say Antoni can’t actually cook, he just knows how to chop up an avocado. Well, for one, you’re wrong, but also, who doesn’t like avocados? So what are we even moaning about people? Anyway, Antoni believes what you put in your body is a bold statement about what you think you deserve and how you plan to treat yourself. He also thinks cooking a good, wholesome meal for friends and family is a great way of connecting and I’d have to agree.

On Design we have Bobby. What that man can do with an interior space is incredible. Literally breath-taking. He suits it exactly to the person’s style as well as their needs and the spaces are always highly functional. Literally boss.

On Fashion we have Tan. Tan is the master of the French tuck, he also knows how to pronounce squirrel correctly. These are things you’ll understand once you’ve WATCHED THE SHOW. But really, it’s mad how many people are wearing clothes that are far too big for them just because they feel self-conscious or just don’t take the time to take care of themselves. He shows people what clothes fit their body shape and the smile on people’s faces when they look in that mirror is enough to set me off.

On Culture we’ve got Karamo. People are always asking ‘what even is culture? That’s not a thing’. Well I’m here to tell you to dropkick yourself in the face. I debate with friends all the time about who helps the person the most and it’s almost impossible to decide. But I think there’s a lot to be said for Karamo. He’s a trained social worker/psychiatrist so he knows what questions to ask. He knows how to get people to open up about what they’re avoiding. It’s in admitting that and exploring it that you often see the people smash out of their shell. It’s when they realise that they are enough. Exactly how they are.

On Grooming is the one and only JVN (Jonathan Van Ness). JVN is very extrovert and energetic and when I first committed to this journey I wondered if I’d find him annoying. Boy, was I wrong. There is something about that guy. He’s genuine. I completely believe he is always being entirely truthful to himself and that’s pretty inspiring. He is so ready with compliments, personalised to each individual that you just feel like you’re getting showered in them too. He makes me smile and you can see in his face that when someone he is transforming looks more confident in themselves then his job is done.

So basically, Queer Eye is just the greatest show to ever exist. People think it’s just this fluffy, reality, trashy show. And even if it was, why would that matter? But that’s just not actually accurate. It’s very socially conscious. It discusses very relevant topics such as religion, race, police brutality, homophobia and transphobia. It challenges social norms and yet it’s fun. That’s why it will remain popular.

In conclusion, (since this has turned into an essay) just go and watch this show so that we can talk about it! You seriously won’t regret it. I swear.

Peace.

All Things – Betty Who

no more excuses

So I was sat in work today thinking about how I wanted to write a blog post tonight. I was having a little ponder about what my topic should be. And then I remembered how I had thought earlier that I really wanted to do some yoga tonight too. I’ve been avoiding the mat for weeks now. So now I’m stressing about how I won’t have enough time for both and which will get bumped. And oh, I wanted to finish my book too. But that’s like a hundred fifty pages and I’m not a quick reader. I need to make tea as well. I need to prepare tomorrow’s lunch and snacks as well, which won’t take too long since I’ve been trying this meal prep malarkey recently, but it still needs to get done. I’ve been really trying to give meditation a go as well but each time I lose my streak on Calm it doesn’t encourage me to do better it disheartens me. And when am I actually going to write this novel? And what will the novel even be about? I’ve wanted to get a bath for months to try out some Lush bath bombs my mate got me at Christmas but that will require cleaning the bath out so who’s got the time? Also if the yoga is particularly vigorous then I’ll end up having to wash my hair anyway so shall I just shower? And like, where’s my mindless Netflix time too? I’m only two episodes into the new Queer Eye cos I’m just not emotionally ready. And now I’m trying to watch all of Game of Thrones before the new season so I can actually talk to my mates about it. Shall I just spend all night doing that instead? It doesn’t really require any brain power.

Then I fast forwarded to me closing my eyes tonight and spoiler: I did nothing but lie around watching GoT and stupid Youtube videos about what’s in my bag.

So I sat there, back in work, thinking two things. One, damn. I overthink things and also internally moan a lot. Two, I figure I can sit here and let this be my life, because believe me, it has been for years. OR I could get up off my ass and actually do something with my time. Yeah, maybe I won’t get all that done today. I have a bad habit of having an insanely productive evening but then burning out and not doing anything for a month. I don’t want to be me looking back a month from now thinking, what was the point in that post? You didn’t change. I want this to keep me accountable. I want to tell you in a month how I’ve been revolutionising my evenings.

Basically, we’re removing excuses from our lives. Join me. They aren’t our friend. They don’t want us to succeed or be happy or feel inspired. So they’ve got to go. I know you have dreams. We should try and make them a reality otherwise we’ll always be thinking of tomorrow. Live now. Take each day with a pinch of salt. If you stumble, dust yourself off and try again the next day. This is a journey, not really a concrete destination. We’ll always be growing and evolving and prioritising different goals and ambitions. But we have to get up and start somewhere. I want to lie down at the end of every night and think yeah, I’m pretty happy with my day. I worked on my self-care and my personal development and I had fun too. You won’t be able to do everything every day. Again, that’s definitely okay.

Just do what you can, right now. Just don’t do nothing.

So today, I’m gonna post this article and I’m gonna join Adriene on the mat. I’m also going to cosy up with my book.

You do your version.

Report back in a month!

When The Party’s Over – Kina Grannis

January Wrap Up

So we started January off pretty strong! For my standards anyway. I read six books. And after December’s somewhat cheeky tactics of reading very thin books (don’t get me wrong, I love a book under 200 pages, possibly my favourite), I was ready to get to some more weighty books. I loved everything I read and I just love when that happens.

Boy Erased – Garrard Conley

Having seen the movie trailer, I knew I wanted to read this book first. I purchased it at the end of last year with a gift card from a friend and I couldn’t wait to start it. This memoir tells the story of a young man who is outed to his very religious family and then must agree to conversion therapy or risk losing the only life he’s known. This book made my heart ache. The repeated imagery of disappearing due to isolation and confusion and oppression is explored really well. Conley speaks with conviction as he relives his brutal journey trying to find his place in his community and faith without losing who he is.

Weight – Jeanette Winterson

This is a retelling of Atlas and Heracles. The imagery in the book is stunning. I really enjoyed the mythology aspect of the narrative; it’s the old story but told again, still with similar problems we find in today’s world though. The themes of isolation and loneliness are beautifully explored. I found Atlas a really interesting guy. I rooted for him. I found Heracles to be a bit of a dick. Massively so. Oh well, can’t win them all. Definitely worth a read.

bone – Yrsa Daley-Ward

This poetry collection is bloody brilliant. Everyone needs to stop what they’re doing right now and go and buy this book. Daley-Ward’s writing is blunt, it’s raw, it’s poetic, it’s stunning. It hurts but it has to be read. The poems are autobiographical yet she can make you feel them even if they’ve not been your experience. She was a way with words. She explores themes of womanhood, race, abuse, religion, depression, grief and more.

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly – Jean Dominique Bauby

My brother gave me this book last year for my birthday. We’d never heard of it but he said it sounded interesting. It also had an iridescent cover so I was on board. This memoir is charming and unapologetic. Bauby found himself unable to move or speak after suffering a massive stroke in the prime of his life. He had locked-in syndrome which meant his mind was completely sound. He could, however, only communicate moving his left eyelid and so this book was spelt out letter by letter. He doesn’t hide how horrible his situation is yet he manages to write beautifully about what it is to be human. Read it.

Art Matters – Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell

This short book is a necessary read for any creative. It will inspire you to hone your craft and it will motivate you to lift that pen or paintbrush or microphone, whatever. Make good art. That’s all Gaiman is asking you to do. He tells you it’s okay to fail and it’s okay to not have a clue what you’re doing. Just keep trying. Keep making magic. Riddell’s illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to help convince you to conquer the world.

Astray – Emma Donoghue

I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and I’m making a conscious effort to minimise the old tbr. So I picked this up. Shows how much I knew about it, I assumed it was a novel, it’s actually a collection of short stories. I really enjoyed it. The stories are all based in reality. They are stories of journeys, of departures, of arrivals. They are stories about changing your circumstances and searching for something better. Each story has a page at the end that explains its real life origin, a newspaper clipping, a letter, etc., and I thought that was a nice touch!

Switzerland – Soccer Mommy

December Wrap Up

After slacking from July to November and reading only eight books I arrived in December miles behind my reading challenge for the year. And reading challenges are definitely not everything. They shouldn’t stop you from enjoying reading because what would be the point? But last year I just really wanted to complete mine. And I had can be unrealistically stubborn. I’ve said before I like to set these ridiculous challenges for myself because imagine if they actually happened. The feeling would be magic. And if it doesn’t? That’s okay. I’ll have had fun along the way. But in December? I did the impossible. I read seventeen books. At seven pm on New Year’s Eve I completed my yearly challenge. Easy.

 What did I read? I played fast and loose with the term ‘book’. I enjoyed reading the shortest books on my shelf. There were no other rules than to read the damn things so shush. These will be one line reviews so we don’t implode from boredom. Also, yeah, I’m aware it’s March. It’s fine. Let’s go!

Carpe Diem – Make The Most Of Life

Perfect little book of quotes to spark some inspiration in you.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

Jumped at this book after reading Little Fires Everywhere, whilst I didn’t prefer it as much the mysteries and family drama kept me turning those pages.

Quiet Girl In A Noisy World – Debbie Tung

One of my absolute favourite books of the year. This graphic novel was so acutely accurate to my life and those illustrations, man.

The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A reread from uni, this short book explores all kinds of themes from women and madness to postnatal depression and oppressive gender roles.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Need I say more. 

Devotion – Patti Smith

Really interestingly set up book: Smith tells us about what inspires her and how she researches/writes new material and then the actual story she’s referring to is slotted in at the end.

The Savage – David Almond and Dave McKean

A fantastical look at grief and family. 

Waiting For Godot – Samuel Beckett

I’m still not sure I understood what was going on.

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

An old story that I’ve seen in many reimagining. Was fun to finally read the original. Buddy read with Danny.

New Erotica For Feminists – Caitlin Kunkel, Carrie Wittmer, Brooke Preston and Fiona Taylor

Everyone needs to read this book. It’s fucking hilarious. And so on point.

Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill

First read this at uni in America, beautifully, non-bullshit look at the lifespan of a marriage.

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur

Who knows how many times I’ve read this now. If you still haven’t, I have no idea why.

Catcher – Kalyn Nicholson

A really cool first novel; Kalyn’s world building is really detailed and the themes of betrayal are explosive.

Must Try Harder English – A N Teacher

Hilarious little book about stupid answers kids have written in exams. Bit of a cheat book but still good.

Howl and Other Poems – Allen Ginsberg

Howl is a necessary read for any Beat lover. Also included is America which is an excellent look at the state of a nation.

Nina Is Not Ok – Shappi Khorsandi

This book began as a slog for me and I had a massive break. Second try made me see how excellent this book really is. I think I wasn’t liking it because the scenes were making me so uncomfortable but I think that was the point. A very raw look at grief, alcoholism, first love, sexual assault and just really trying to come of age. Not a sentence but oh well.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

Perfect, well-known little ghost story to end my year off with! I always love seeing how a classic (particularly gothic, Frankenstein, Dracula) is actually narrated when you already know the plot but little else.

And that’s twentyeighteen!

Peace.

December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!) – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons