Vegan superfood salad

I’m not a foodie of any worthy note, in fact my lifelong enjoyment of vegan, vegetarian and raw food has often convinced me that I am the opposite of a foodie! But Summer is here and I have a recipe for a colourful and delicious salad that has only met with approval from friends and family, so here it is…

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 14.23.08Superfood salad – makes enough for two

Prepare and layer the ingredients as follows:

  • A generous handful of organic spinach leaves, tightly rolled up and cut into thin spiky slices
  • One medium organic carrot, peeled if necessary and finely diced
  • One organic avocado, gently cut into small cubes
  • Half an organic red pepper finely sliced
  • Three organic spring onions finely sliced
  • Two small organic celery stalks finely sliced
  • 200g smoked tofu, cut into small cubes
  • A dozen organic mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Three tablespoons of organic pomegranate seeds
  • Half a punnet of organic watercress sprouts, or if you grow your own, a good handful
  • Half a cup of raw organic almonds
  • One tablespoon of organic hemp seeds

Whisk the following ingredients in a small jug to make your dressing:

  • One tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
  • Two teaspoons organic date syrup (or you could use Manuka honey if you’re not vegan)
  • One tsp organic Dijon mustard
  • Three tablespoons organic oil – I use one called Omega Cool Oil which is a mixture of flax, hemp, evening primrose and pumpkin seed, or you could use any of those oils by themselves, or avocado oil, or walnut oil or your own combination of any of the above oils!!

Pour the dressing over the salad, mix gently to coat but not pulverize the avocado and serve into two large pasta bowls.

Grind a little black pepper on top, sprinkle half a dozen whole coriander leaves on each serve (optional) and enjoy… It takes a while to eat!

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 14.23.50


Adapted from my recipe originally published on diamondsanddaisychains.com

Giving up

I gave up Diet Coke, wine and smoking for my unborn children.

I gave up control of my body to mother nature as she masterfully constructed whole humans inside me.

I gave up fear as they came urgently pushing out, tiny curled bundles which completely salved the pain.

I gave up sleep, preferring to hear hungry calls, little toothless mouths at my breast and the intimacy of freshly-fed baby breath.

I gave up a career. I am too busy nurturing Nobel and Oscar prize winners, high court judges, Prime Ministers and future parents for money to be any lure.

I gave up on giving up wine.

I gave up waking up and walking out the door 10 minutes later and took up packing snacks, fitting fingers into gloves, and endlessly strapping babies into carseats… and therefore being late for pretty much everything.

I gave up being their one true love when they started school and discovered cool kids with names like Joey, Roxy and Huw.

I gave up kisses at the school gate but was asked to still come to Christmas Fayre and help on the door at the school play… and being on the parent committee was still ok.

I gave up Radio 4 when one of them discovered In The Heights and Hamilton and that’s all we could listen to in the kitchen.

I gave up and took up and gave up and took up feeding them things like quinoa, homemade almond milk, roast beetroot and chicken liver and equally things like white bread and lemonade.

I gave up on bikinis after four babies.

I gave up on my husband when Baby Six was two. I gave up trying to make him love me.

I gave up my dream of the family I had created and the future family I had imagined. We wouldn’t be all together forever, we wouldn’t share Christmases and weddings and grandchildren.

I took up believing that I was disappointing and undeserving of happiness, that I would be lonely and alone forever.

I gave up thinking I could have a say about where I live and where my children go to school. Divorce is ugly.

I gave up on being miserable and accepted a new reality. (Giving up gets easier the more you do it.)

I gave up worrying what my friends would think and decided to try online dating. They thought it was great anyway… why did I think they wouldn’t?

I gave up being awkward (with the help of wine) and met someone so startlingly wonderful I had to give him up too. I wasn’t possibly ready to be happy.

I gave up not being ready to be happy. Luckily, Mr Startlingly Wonderful was patient!

I took up bikinis again. Sod it.

I took up smoking again. Bad idea – definitely something to give up!!

I gave up that my family is eternally torn apart and had the most wonderful Christmas: our house filled with laughter, a constant doorbell, misteltoe, children, inlaws, dogs (5 of them on Christmas Day!) and of course a truly tasteful and terrible festive playlist.

Kate Adores writing

I do adore writing and I’ve missed it. Everything gets straightened out in my head when I write. The last 18 months have mostly seen me writing to my solicitor about the terms of my divorce instead of writing about ethical fashion, family and current events… so Kate Adores will be a fresh start!

No such thing as a free coffee

***This post was quoted in The Independent and Report UK… here’s Kate’s outraged post over the loss of her free Waitrose skim lattes…. (was meant to be a bit of a joke…) ‪#‎Waitrose‬ ‪#‎freecoffee‬

Oh Waitrose. I have loved you since I first moved to the UK, your wide, uncrowded shopping isles packed with lots of organic and Fairtrade and free range goodies – not to mention all the great quality Waitrose Essential items that are so far from actually being essential, but nonetheless right at the very core of our wholesome, middleclass, weekly menu plan. I have long considered myself smack-bang in the demographic of every cliche that must be said about Waitrose customers, and not for a moment have I ever felt bad about it. In fact it’s a relief to be so understood: You KNOW me, Waitrose.

Then, to top it all off you offered me a free coffee. Not just the one when I had my purse stolen in your store (though no thief was ever identified I was thoroughly assured, much to my relief, that it wasn’t a Waitrose customer who had perpetrated this crime). No, one of your lovely “Partners” (there are no staff at Waitrose, they’re all Partners… awwww) happily made me a free coffee every time I arrived at the concierge desk, my trolley loaded with reusable bags and squawking toddlers.

And it wasn’t just me you were plying with free coffee, it was everyone. Every day. Happiness is free coffee, right?

I guess you could say that one thing led to another and the Waitrose cafe has kind of become a popular meeting place for me and my fellow MyWaitrose loyalty card holders. Perhaps it’s part of our newly found Recession Chic. If I’m heading down that way for shopping purposes, it has become a habit to text a couple of friends and arrange to meet up over coffee before or after the shop… just a quick hello, catch up and then off to the isles. And with the remainder of my free skim latte in hand, it’s just so NICE.

It’s not just that it’s free – I’m quite capable of buying a coffee for myself – it’s just such a friendly gesture and one which I – and many other customers, I’m sure – have raved about to each other. I can’t tell you how many My Waitrose loyalty card forms I have handed out to friends and family, explaining that with their free card, those lovely, lovely Partners at Waitrose will give them a free coffee every single day of the year, just because you like to treat their customers well. More awwwww.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 13.01.57

Got my bags and my buddies, now all I need is my free coffee and we’re ready to shop!

But today I hear that our free coffees are going to be taken away and I’m worried. I understand that 1000’s of customers demanding their favourite brew each and every day must tot up to quite a big bean bill, but you must have realised that before you started..? And how are those poor, sweet Partners in their stripy grey shirts and shiny green ties ever going to confront us entitled customers when we try to sit in the cafe with our free coffee? How will they shoo us away, or explain as a spokesperson did in The Guardian that we have misunderstood the etiquette of the offer. The etiquette… ouch!

Why, just the other day I overheard someone asking what had happened to the free biscotti she used to get with her free coffee and the lovely Barista Partner had to explain that they weren’t giving them away anymore, but then quickly placed one on the side of the lady’s coffee with a wink and a smile. Imagine if he had given her a quick dressing down on her etiquette instead! (Can I suggest that you don’t include the word etiquette in your Partner training on how to deal with pesky free-coffee cafe goers.)

Well, good luck with this new strategy Waitrose. I can’t see you making many friends with it. Us Waitrose shoppers are a funny bunch and though we can in the main manage to splash out on coffee for ourselves if desired, it seems like a bit of a slap to be told we’re being punished for our rudeness in accepting your offer in the first place… It’s time I gave up coffee anyway.

x Kate

Back to boobs on Page 3 – so what?

It was a good thing that The Sun removed topless women from its page 3. Boobs aren’t news and they don’t belong in a so-called “family newspaper” for ogling purposes. The idea is as ridiculously out-of-date as pinching a good looking stranger on the bottom while winking and saying, “hey foxy lady”. No. You just don’t do it. It’s lecherous and quease-inducing and anyone who attempts to defend it will just end up embarrassing themselves. It seemed, for a happy couple of days, that David Dinsmore and Rupert Murdoch had finally pooled their social-insight to figure this out.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 13.09.52Yes, on Tuesday we had the much celebrated news that The Sun’s page 3 will now be a nipple free zone. But not actually boob free. No, those will still be there but from now on they will have a flimsy bra on to match the flimsy panties. And Page 3 Girls will still be there for no purpose other than to ogle.

I felt like someone over at The Sun had been kinda clever in that smug, self-congratulatory way that some people have to navigate situations which has them seeming to do “the right thing”. Sexy gals in bras and knickers instead of sexy gals just in knickers… a step in the right direction? Or a tactical move designed to take the wind out of the sails of the eternally positive and robust No More Page 3 (NMP3) campaigners?

Personally, I didn’t see how adding a bra to the situation had achieved what all the  campaigners – myself included – were hoping for. I can’t speak for others, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying I don’t mind nipples. In fact I don’t mind nudity of any body part in principal. What I mind is the objectification of women in a way that creeps into public spaces and family environments, in a way that normalises misogyny.

Printable posters by NMP3 campaigner Jo Harrison available from her website

Printable posters by NMP3 campaigner Jo Harrison available from her website

Misogyny isn’t ok. We want to normalise environments in which young people aren’t inappropriately sexualised: young women should be able to sit on a train without having the bloke next to them ogling Page 3. We want to normalise the recognition and celebration of women based on their achievements, and not judge them on their tittie phwoar-factor.

Yes, easy access to pornography is likely to shape the sexual identity of the upcoming generation. That’s hard to stop. But the end of mainstream soft-porn, presented as part of the regular news, is long overdue.

Some clueless fool commented on the NMP3 Facebook page that “all (us) feminists want to get (our) boobs out to breastfeed whenever and wherever (we) want but can’t stand seeing boobs on Page 3. It pretty much summed up the whole missing-the-point that seems to go on around this issue. It’s not breasts/nipples that bother us – not at all!! – it’s being constantly sexualised, constantly evaluated and commented on for the way we look, and the way that translates into inequality in almost every environment. In a world where that didn’t happen, half naked women would not be featured in mainstream media purely for titillation (I know!) and no one would imagine a woman nursing her baby was a desperate ploy for sexual attention from a third party.

So today we hear that page 3 is back in it’s original nudie format. So what? The bra-and-pants combo was no less objectifying than the bra-off-tits-out look.

I wholeheartedly applaud everyone involved in the No More Page 3 campaign. You guys are my heroes and the heroes of countless other individuals and esteemed organisations like Girlguiding UK, Mumsnet, The British Youth Council, Unison union and Breast Cancer UK to name just a few. You are powerful, proactive people who have inspired a new generation of feminists and generated a magnificent amount of interest and energy around this important conversation.

No one is saying that about Dinsmore or Murdoch. No, they are still a pair of dinosaurs who are failing to evolve, probably imagining themselves somehow champions in some pitiful battle to prove that soft porn does indeed belong in the mainstream news. It’s simply not a battle they can win.

Originally published on diamondsanddaisychains.com

Failure

Radio 4’s series, The Value of Failure, has really got me thinking. Apparently, failure is a good thing. Who knew??

Personally, I’ve experienced plenty of failure: failed friendships, failed pregnancies, failed romances, failed jobs… and my kitchen failures are verging on paranormal! (Which is why I post recipes here – I get so excited if something works out well that I need to photograph it and share it… and I like to think it works out well for my lovely readers too, because honestly, if I can make it, anyone can!) But that’s success. I’m fine with success.

Back to failure, and those moments of realisation that smacked me in the mouth, that held my face to the mirror until I opened my eyes and saw what was there: me.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 18.37.18Some of my earliest failures were sports-related. Despite picturing myself as a champion, I discovered early on that my legs didn’t move as fast as some people’s, nor did they jump as high or as far. I can still visualise being about six and lining up at the starting line for a sportsday sprint. I can see my unnecessarily large, trainer-clad feet poised to carry my little self to victory, and feel the adrenaline of certain glory as I waited to race. But when the starting gun went off, I was surprised to discover that my feet didn’t sprint, they clomped. And my arms didn’t slice through the air, propelling me ever faster down my lane, no, I looked to my sides to see my arms awkwardly punching along completely out of sync with whatever my feet were doing. The other thing I saw was everyone else’s back. I not only didn’t win, I came last. Puzzlingly, disappointingly last. (And note, dear English friends, I grew up in Australia where there’s no lovely sigh of encouragement for the well-intentioned losers on sportsday.)

It’s heartbreaking to look back and remember how I spent the rest of the day thinking that the next event would surely be the one I would win, throwing myself at each and every opportunity with commitment and enthusiasm only to come consistently last. Last, last, last, last, last. I went home without a single ribbon proudly pinned to my chest or even one of those happy little “I did my best” stickers that children get in the UK.

So, what did I learn from this early failure? Well, I learned I was slow and uncoordinated. But I didn’t give up. I determinedly continued to do my absolute best at many sportsdays to come. After leading my team to last place as primary school house captain, I carved a mildly successful niche as a distance runner in secondary school. If nothing else, I could count on my tenacity to force me through the many gasping, heart-pounding paces to a respectable third in the 1500m. Did failure teach me to adapt, teach me resilience, fuel my tenacity? Maybe.

I failed in the physics classroom, and when my mother came home upset that she had been approached by my physics teacher over the possibility of a D on my school report, I reassured her that it would go well with the D I intended to get for chemistry. Perhaps I should credit failure for my sublime skills in smart arsery?

I failed to be selected as a secondary school prefect. Then I failed to finish school altogether. I don’t think I even recognised those as failures at the time. I thought they were cool.

But I recognised my next monumental life failure: the dissolution of my relationship with my eldest child’s father. Wow. That was one heavy duty failure. Looking back it was kinda destined to fail. At 19, upon the startling discovery of two blue lines on a pregnancy test, I knew that I desperately wanted a child while my partner had perfectly understandable reservations. I had recently been named one of the city’s most photographed models, and he was a rising star in the advertising world. We had dreamed about owning Ferraris and living in New York.

Overnight I decided I wanted to throw it all away, settle down and have a baby. We put New York on the backburner for a homely little cottage in the suburbs of Adelaide and instead of a Ferrari, we made plans to buy a twelve year old Volvo stationwagon. But we just weren’t equipped to deal with the reality of family life together. He slogged out his working week as a junior ad man and came home to dirty nappies, and a tired, milky, emotional, distinctly un-modellike girlfriend while his workmates headed out for flaming Sambuccas with the media crowd.

We squabbled about money, spare time and domestic chores. We screamed about responsibility and friends. We forgot to have fun. We neglected our commitments. We fought about everything. Our time together became painful. I cried a lot and decided I wasn’t enough: my everything wasn’t enough. A relationship counsellor eventually recommended we split up.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 18.52.27At the same time I lost many of my oldest and most loved friends. Everything and everyone seemed to be caught up in the one big, disastrous failure that had been set in motion by yours truly. I scooped up my 10-month old son and walked out on my smouldering wreck of a life. 20 years on, my honest appraisal of the situation is that in respect of my eldest child’s father, I have failed to repair the damage of the relationship breakdown, failed to be a great co-parent, and failed in several attempts at friendship and communication.

But I did make a surprising discovery during the fallout of the whole miserable bust up which I have relied upon throughout the many subsequent failures: I can fail and be ok. I can’t tell you what a big surprise that was. It doesn’t mean I want to fail, it doesn’t mean I take a “who cares” approach to failure, it just means that if I’ve truly done my best and it isn’t enough, life goes on.

Over time I have become more familiar and less fearful of failure. It hasn’t killed me and it has made me stronger, just as some wise person told me it would. I’ve had all manner of failures, personal and professional and the thing is, I’m still here and I’m still happy.

But just as I was beginning to feel I had a handle on failure and its inability to create permanent havoc in my life, along comes a new kind of failure, one I feel poorly equipped to manage: my child’s failure. Yes, my daughter failed her grammar school entrance exam. My curious, independent, funny, ambitious, clever daughter went “all dreamy for a few minutes” during one of the three crucial papers. She was a sure thing. She was me at the starting line with too-big-feet, ready to race, ready to win. She was me with the confidence of youth and love and foreverness. She was smiling, happy, confident, successful me.

Sadly, she was also crumpled, defeated, sobbing me, trying to hear people explain that failure will make her better, make her stronger. And one of those voices was mine.

In attempting to console my daughter last night I found myself telling her about a recent proud moment. It was the day she found out she’d failed her exam and wouldn’t be going to the secondary school she – and many of her friends – had pinned their hopes on. After wiping her tears away and calming her breathing, she wanted to call her friends to see how they’d gone. As one after the other announced with jubilant excitement that they had passed with flying colours, she genuinely smiled and said “I’m so happy for you – congratulations.” And she was. I found her grace and courage in the face of failure profoundly moving.

However, dealing with failure isn’t the same as seeing it’s value. I’m not sure my daughter can see the up side of this experience just yet, and in fairness, I’m struggling to embrace it. Ahead of us we have a bureaucratic appeal process, lingering uncertainty, a potentially hurtful tribunal appearance and at the end, the possibility of another dose of failure.

But bouyed by The Value of Failure radio programme, and in recounting some of my own failures here I have managed to remind myself that whatever happens next she’s going to be alright. She’s going to be alright.

If you’re going though something similar, I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts on failure, what you’ve learned and whether it can indeed be a positive experience.

Also, I strongly recommend listening to The Value of Failure on the BBC radio iPlayer…


Post script: My daughter did indeed get a place at a grammar school on appeal. Her failure dented her confidence in a way I can still see two years later, but has also motivated her to be an even more attentive and committed student.

Oh Gary, how could you?

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 13.22.19This post was the Mumsnet Blog of the Day on May 14th, 2014… thanks for the support Mumsnet, we consider it an honour!

Oh Gary, how could you?

You were my favourite boy from a boyband… who turned into my favourite man from a manband… and then went on to be a lovely husband and dad who showed himself to be committed, loving and courageous in the face of personal tragedy. You espoused your dedication to family life, the wider community and your country no less.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 13.22.31You wrote Patience and we all wanted to wait. You wrote Rule The World and we wished you did. In The Flood you wrote that “no one understood” and although we had no idea what you were talking about (a rowing race?), we saw through all the misunderstanding to your inner – and outer – beauty.

Over the years you have become our lovable Mr Britain. You were kind and wise on the telly, expert, honest, funny… but you could still conjure up a smoulder in your lovely black and white music videos. You climbed mountains, organised concerts and sang all our favourite songs for sick and underprivileged kiddies everywhere.

In 2013 you wrote Sing and we wept with happiness and patriotism as all those beautiful children from all over the commonwealth joined with the Military Wives in our very own choral tribute to the Queen.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 13.22.41You were such a good chap that you got an OBE. Sir Gary. We thought it was lovely, and you were lovely, and your kids must have been so proud. Awwwwwwww……

And then the next thing we know, you’re exposed as a tax cheat!! Hoarding your own money away in some tax avoidance scheme while simultaneously asking us to reach into our own pockets (ones that aren’t lined with royalties from thirteen no 1 hits) to support Children in Need. Heck Gary, if people like you just paid your taxes maybe there wouldn’t be so many children in need in the first place.

Of course, there’s been a lot of media attention around your own donations to charity, but I have to say, even that is soured by this. What would happen if we all decided to pay the amount of tax we thought appropriate to whichever charity we thought appropriate and just tuck the rest away for posterity? Our whole society would fall apart, Gary, that’s what. You know, schools, roads and hospitals all depend on everyone paying their taxes, and you don’t get to pick and choose what your tax bill is spent on!

So what happens next? What do we do when our charitable and generous national treasure is revealed to be a greedy tax dodger who owes us several million pounds??? Demand he repays the tax he dodged and take away his OBE. Sorry Gary, your services to music still stand but your services to charity – except for helping make them a necessity – are questionable.

And of course we’ll have to boycott the X-factor and anything Take That-ish, which is a pity, but now that I think about it, I’ve grown out of this crush anyway.

Lily Allen tweeted: “Can’t get through to NHSDirect, no midwives in your area ? Well at least the Queen got a nice birthday party/jubilee , whatever @GaryBarlow.”

Ad endum: I’m giving the last word to Take VAT, with their comedy spoof Pay it back for good. For the record, Davie Quinn “adores Gary” and is “actually not bothered at all by what he did.” He even says he’d do the same. Sigh… eyeroll… He has however promised to pay tax on any profits made by this particular song in the event of it going viral as a direct result of its appearance here…

**Sadly, I can no longer upload the link that originally appeared on diamondsanddaisychains.com, but if you want a smile at Gazza’s expense, have a look at it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me0UydKq_ig

Published on May 20, 2014 – Comedy spoof cover about Gary Barlow’s tax Scandal.
Vocals, lyrics & video by Davie Quinn
Production by Alex McGowan @ SpaceEko Studios


Post originally published on diamondsanddaisychains.com