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Monday, 30 July 2012

Summer Sports Day

Last week for our work Summer party, we shut down the computers and headed off to the beautiful Dulwich College for a day of organised sporting fun. I must admit, when the email went around that we would be donning our running shoes and shorts, I did have a terrible High School flashback, but actually it was heaps of fun. 
The sun did a great job on the day, and armed with Pimms and an earful of jolly music from the fabulously eccentric band, we began the day's events. We got to choose from all sorts of races and sports from the sack race to volleyball. I opted to help my team in the tug of war and netball. I may have got a little competitive and accidentally smacked a poor girl in the face... honestly I'm not even sporty!



The food was surprisingly tasty - a huge buffet of vegetable kebabs, spicy chicken, creamy coleslaw, roasted asparagus, fresh salads and even strawberries and cheesecake to finish.



The afternoon was filled with lots more booze (for team building purposes of course), more games and even bouncy inflatable things and sumo suits. I think we all regressed back to children that day...


Late afternoon was a far more civilised affair, with an afternoon tea complete with exquisite cakes and bunting (need I say more?)




As the sun was setting, we were all feeling extremely merry and tuckered out from our day's exertions. After a very welcome cool shower, we slipped into our evening gear and partied the night away.



Friday, 27 July 2012

Club de Fromage

We are always on the look out for great, cheesy nights out where we can just go and have a good boogie, not feel like we are invading a teen party, and be within crawling distance from Islington. So, when we found "Club De Fromage" at the O2 Academy in Angel we were thrilled!
We put on some tunes, got dressed in our heels and chugged back the vodkas before jumping into a cab and heading for a long overdue girlie night! Our friend Charlotte borrowed some glad rags and got on it with us like a trooper - she only came over for a cup of tea!

We may have slipped a little bottle of something inside... just don't ask us how!

Kate is a ballad queen - and tonight was no exception!

Me and Kate looking a bit hot and sweaty dancing to the best pop hits from the 80's, 90's and noughties. You may see were missing a certain someone here... we had to put a drunken Charlotte in her cab before this was taken and carried on partying the night away before rolling in at 4am and hoovering up the last of our housemate's pizza. Oh the glamour...
Top night!

Job stress = munchies!

So it's been a while since I posted about emotional eating triggers... so here it is!

One thing which has been playing on my mind recently is job stress. Now, I've got a great job - I love the people, it's a great company and there's a lot of opportunities. But, with all that can come a wee bit of stress. 
Now, today I have been working from home because I'm ill, but I have found myself getting a bit worked into a tizzy. I've had my job for two years and I'm moving up to the next position (promotion!) Great! Yay!  It's so good because I've been wanting this for aaages. BUT now...eep... I have a lot to learn about this new position. Now I've already been doing bits of it, but this is the real deal now. 

I'm finding myself not knowing how to do certain things, and it's freaking me out a bit. I like to be in control of things, and being in a new role means there's obviously going to be shit I need to learn. 

So... why would this scenario make me want to eat? Well, Rodger Gould says that when we feel powerless in some way, we want to eat. We either feel powerless from a situation we are expecting to change (but can't so head for the doughnuts to make ourselves feel better), or we feel powerless (when we actually aren't powerless but just think we are, so head to the doughnuts anyway) Phew. Complex? Sounds it, but really is quite simple:

1. Either a situation is frustrating you, and you are expecting something which just isn't possible (i.e in my case I'm expecting myself in this situation to know everything about my new role when I just can't possibly yet) which, in turn leads us to eat.

2. And/or your self-doubts are getting in the way (that would be the part where you think you are powerless because you automatically assume you are the thing which is wrong, awful, disappointing etc) so in this case, my self doubts are also raised here by me saying I'm going to be crap at this job! Panic! Panic! Panic!

So... you have to say woah woah woah to yourself right now. 

The most important thing when you are thinking in this way is to BE REALISTIC. I shan't go into the details here about why we think negatively like this, but suffice to say, that if you are wanting to eat, like me, chances are you are feeling powerless because you either want to change something and can't, or powerless because you think you should be doing better in some way and are heaping a load of self blame onto yourself.

1. So, if you are frustrated, ask yourself if you have a realistic expectation of this situation which is making you want to munch?
Well, my frustration (i.e desire to eat) is coming because I am thinking I shouldn't have to learn anything at all and be fabulous straight away. Realistic? Non. Of course not. So if you sit yourself down and actually dialogue with yourself on this one, you'll probably find you're expecting everything to all fall into place straight away - bound to set us up for disappointment, right?? 

2. Self doubts - here, my self doubts would be me panicking saying something like "Oh my god oh my god I'm going to fail at this job, I can't do it, I'm going to be terrible." So... again, BE REALISTIC. Is it really that bad? Am I really that bad? Have I done okay at my previous jobs/degree/pursuits? Erm... maybe. 

It's all about understanding why we want to emotionally eat, then finding out what is going on in our heads to make us feel powerless. 
Then we need to either accept a more realistic view of a situation (i.e we can't change it, therefore we are challenged to accept that we can still get on with life and live with it) or we need a less self - abusive, kinder way of talking to ourselves so we don't beat ourselves up every time we encounter any obstacle and end up soothing with Nutella brownies (so again, we are challenged to think positively, and take action in that direction instead).

Let me show you:

So, Abby is stressed out from work. In her mind she is thinking all this stress is because she is new to her role, and is finding it difficult because it is unfamiliar. She expects herself to perform perfectly straight away, and if she doesn't know it all then it must mean she is a failure, awful and will never be able to do the job. She gets so overwhelmed with not only the stress, but now all her internal criticism that she runs to the fridge and eats a big slice of cake. 

Now, if Abby had stopped herself, realised a more realistic viewpoint of the situation it wouldn't have felt so terrible- where the only answer was cake. Instead she could say something such as - "you know what, this job is really stressing me out because it's a step up. Great! I'm stepping up, but I'm definitely going to need a bit of help here from more senior people as of course I can't possibly know it all now..."  

See the difference? The first scenario leaves you feeling helpless, alone and inferior, but the second option leads you to appreciate you need help, be kind to yourself about it, and to actually seek help. This first option is a safety seeking emotion-oriented coping strategy, whereas the second is action/task based coping. We always want the task based one. This not only reduces emotional eating, but it also improves your entire mental well-being (think about it, if you are getting help and looking things in a more realistic light, most things which seemed hopeless before suddenly seem a shit load better). 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Alwyne Castle, Islington

A perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday (or indeed lazy any day!) for me is always to sit relaxing in the beer garden of a lovely country pub, drinking and eating in the sun with good friends. Well, obviously living in London means the "country" bit is out the window, but we do love the Alwyne Castle (just the Alwyne to us). I think it's just gorgeous, with its warm, relaxed atmosphere, yet still keeping the edge of mystery and cool you'd expect in this borough.   
The Alwyne is always busy, but not so busy that you can't get a seat or that it takes an hour for your food to arrive. They do a fun quiz night which we sometimes go to (my round would be Sex and the City, Harry Potter or FOOD), and they're open 7 days a week - what could be better? All their food is seasonal and regionally sourced which is a bonus, plus last orders are 10pm so no need to rush!
Being in Highbury and Islington, it's just a 10 minute walk back home - perfect for digesting one of their delish steak burgers, topped with melted cheddar and oozy bacon. The only thing that can be a bugger is choosing what to eat! Their website is here - http://www.thealwynecastleislington.co.uk/ - have a look, and next time you are in our area come by and say hi - we will probably be there. 


Monday, 23 July 2012

Valparaiso

After a lazy brunch at the Golf Course on El Chaparral, and a final bake in the sun, we got dressed for our final night (sob!) of the holiday. 


We had heard of a little gem called Valparaiso, which is owned by the eccentric Raffaele Morelli and his brother. Raffaele is an absolute star, and hosting is clearly his calling in life. His olde worlde Italian charm oozes out of the restaurant - from the large opera singer and the bubbling fountain to the creeping vines and stone cherubs. The walls are covered in photos of Raffaele with every celebrity you can think of - a clear sign how popular the place is!




This beautiful little bottle is for oil and vinegar - so clever!

I began with smoked beef Carpaccio, fresh parmesan shavings and rocket. Tomasz had a monster red pepper filled with a rich, bubbling, cheesy, mince filling. 
 Dad had fresh asparagus spears covered in lashings of parmesan, olive oil and fresh ground black pepper.


To follow was a rich yet delicate meal of monkfish in a brandy cream with fluffy white rice. Quite delightful. I really do love monkfish, but seeing as supplies are dwindling it's probably better to keep it as the odd treat every now and then. 



As a lovely touch, every lady is given a long stemmed red rose as a parting gift to make us all feel extra special.


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