I now know New Year Res’s are passé, because it’s all over instagram how people are not setting goals, intentions or words for the year. But here I am doing all three!!
For me, perhaps being Freelance, I get to the end of the year and I am on my knees. I am exhausted and there’s so much to cram into December, not just the flurry of last minute jobs, which as always I am so grateful for, but the school commitments, getting ready for Christmas and to top it off (or what pushes me straight over the edge) there’s two birthdays to plan one on Boxing Day and one on the 3rd January and because these days are so awkward there’s 2 parties each to plan on different days!! One family, one friends.
Did I mention December exhausts me?
The thing with being Freelance is that you are pretty much always working, I personally find it so hard to switch off, I can’t miss that email or turn down that job because who knows when the next offer will come in!! Or so it seems.
The only time the world stops for me is during Christmas, the only time I can put my OOO, stop Instagramming and put my phone away is Christmas Eve to January 3rd. This time for me is my time to reflect and recharge and regain my sanity because I tell you I feel very close to insanity come Christmas Eve. It just so happens to tie in with all the New Year stuff that is now so unpopular but for me there is no other time. No other time to scribble incessantly in notebooks, stay in my PJs, watch back to back movies, hang out with my kids so intensely we end up calling each other ‘shadow’. (I’m very much missing my shadows now they are back at school and nursery).
This time finally gave me permission to ‘put my oxygen mask on first’. I read that in Denmark (I think it’s Denmark) they live by this phrase. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. I’ve spent so long thinking this is so selfish, that of course everything and everyone comes first and over the last few years, the few things I did for myself that were, I see now, keeping me sane and happy, got eroded or eradicated as I should be working or doing things for the family. Exercising used to be like breathing, I’ve been sporty since I could walk, an athlete (100m sprinter don’t you know), gymnast and when I grew far too tall to be considered for any kind of gymnastic team, a passionate yogi. In 2018 I went to precisely 3 classes.
Mid December, Michael said to me I think you need to do yoga or something, I think him mentioning it made it finally click that it’s ok to do this! It’s not a weight thing for me but totally a mental one. It rea;;uy does make me happier.
By the end of December I’d joined this cheap, new no frills gym that’s 5 mins walk from home, that has early morning classes which is, I figured out, all I want, I actually don’t care what the class is, it just has to be under an hour, close by and be done before everyone else wakes up. What I need is the happy hormones that come from doing something/anything. Four classes in I already feel happier (and have beaten 2018s record!)
During this time the word Expand started to pop into my head and every time I think of it I take a deep breath, 2018 was good in many ways but looking back it felt like a lot of head down, running around or lurching from thing to thing. Not really thinking things through. Not really asking if this lurching was the right thing to be doing.
I want to Expand but slow down, think before doing. I want to Expand our horizons, be that travel further afield but also Expand our immediate world. I am happy in my own company but I realise too much isolation is not good for me or my guys. I often reply, when people ask what have you been up to? Oh all I do is work, so nothing.
So EXPAND is my word for the year. I’m going to prioritise my health and keep adding little things daily to continue feeling a little happier. Work is going to be more mindful, I don’t have to say yes to everything. Travel is a must, near and far, just keep broadening the horizons. Planning, I often become indecisive before something big is happening, then the details are all crammed into the last minute and are pretty stressful. I already have ideas how to do Christmas/Birthdays better this year and I feel relief already having a plan to follow!
I have other work and personal things I want to achieve and I may share them in a future post.
But for now, I’ll leave you with this pretty healthy new year pizza recipe. It’s Gluten Free, Sugar Free, topped with as many veggies as the base will hold, sure there’s cheese – you can swap it with a vegan alternative (you will also need a vegan egg replacement if you make the dough), top it with a low fat pesto or leave it out altogether. I’m going with all that veg cancels out the cheese!
I used the Panasonic Breadmaker I was gifted to make the Gluten Free Dough (this blog post isn’t an ad or sponsored by them) but here is the link https://www.theideaskitchen.co.uk/recipe/2441/ to the recipe if you have a breadmaker. Alternatively I’ve copied it below
GF Pizza with Roasted Vegetables | Recipe
For the Dough
90 ml water
60 ml olive oil
1 egg white
450g GF flour
1 tsp. salt
For the Sauce
1 tin of plum tomatoes
Fresh Basil, torn
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp. heaped, Sundried tomato paste
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
For the Toppings
2 peppers, deseeded and sliced
1 small Aubergine, sliced
½ Red Onion cut into wedges
1 Mozzarella ball, torn
50g Cheddar, grated
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Handful of Olives
Handful fresh basil to garnish
1. Make the dough according to the breadmaker instructions which are to place all the ingredients in the order written into the breadmaker. Set to the Pizza Dough Setting (mine is setting 17 for 45 mins)
2. Whilst the dough is being made, pre-heat the oven to 200C (Fan assisted) then start making the sauce as it needs about 45 mins to thicken and reduce. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes be careful not to burn it. Add the tin of tomatoes, sundried tomato paste and salt and pepper.
3. Keep on a low heat for about 45 mins, stir occasionally
4. Add the torn basil about 25 mins in.
5. When the sauce is taking care of it’s self get the veggies roasting. Add the peppers, aubergine and onion onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 mins turn once mid way. When done set aside.
6. Prepare 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. When the dough is ready, flour a surface and remove the dough with a floured hand. The dough will make two large pizzas, you can split it in two and freeze half or as we did split the dough into four and made four individual pizzas. Roll and shape your dough into rounds.
8. Place on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven, spread the base with the tomato sauce, add the torn mozzarella, then the roasted veg, olives and sprinkle over the cheddar cheese.
10. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the base is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Add the basil leaves, serve immediately.
If you got this far, thanks for reading and happy new year to you! xx