Photo of a slow cooker with pens and Javascript book inside
October 13th, 2017 by Suze

Since I have been back at the books I have tried to create pockets of time for study. While Mini Cooper 3 was in the teeny newborn stage, there seemed to be several opportunities for this. Studying while feeding, studying while she naps, studying as she sits in the bouncy chair. Now she is 9 months old and that’s a game changer…

While she hasn’t quite cracked crawling, she is shuffling her way around in that lightning quick way that they do. I put her in one place and a second later she is somehow across the room. This has changed my study spots somewhat for no sooner have I popped her down with her toys and grabbed the laptop, she is pulling at the fireguard or pulling herself up to stand by the sofa, needing me to come and ‘Reset’ her.

Time for change

Photo of my sofa study spaceSo study times have changed. As I knew they would. It means a change in expectations from me as I struggle to complete the next course unit. It seems that along with less time to study, motivation is also on a dip (read more here: This is the Wall). Not a great combination when I was trying to stick to such a tight schedule and complete this course by January.

I am now trying to create some extra time (wouldn’t we all like to do that!). By that I mean I am using Mummy Multi-Tasking to give me those precious extra moments. Suddenly by creating them, it seems only right I use them as they were intended, so they have a double use as they are helping to focus me on the task in hand.

Bye bye bland

Enter, my secret weapon, my slow-cooker. I have had the slow-cooker for about five years. Every Autumn I blow the dust off it and pop it on the side. I might make two or three lack-lustre dinners in it and then back in the cupboard it goes. Not this year. This year it needs to earn its place on the kitchen side.

Over the last few weeks I have tried to inject some flavour into the meals and last week I cracked it. Now this is going on the menu once a week giving me an extra hour of study time between the school run landing and dinner time. Now that is gold. The recipe is below.

Slowly does it

Graphic showing the length of time meals take to cook in the slow cookerWhile I am at it I have put together this quick cheat sheet. Every time I bung ingredients in the slow cooker I find myself scouring the internet (and ultimately texting my slow cooker guru sister) to ask how long to cook it for. This time when I found the info I decided I would not lose it again . So here that is too (and it’s Pin-able! Follow me on Pinterest and  I’m on Instagram too)

 

  • Is the slow cooker your friend? If you want to share any slow-cooker secrets or recipes then please do so in the comments.

 

 

Recipe

Slow Cooker Beef and Onion Stew

500g diced beef

3 small onions (red or white or a mix)

1 medium carrot

1 medium parsnip

Charlotte potatoes

1tbsp of tomato puree

2pints Bouillon

Bouquet Garnis

A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh coriander

 

METHOD

  1. Brown the meat (optional)
  2. Chop all vegetables (potatoes may need cutting in half to ensure they cook through – use as many as will fit!)
  3. Add tomato puree
  4. Add vegetable stock and bouquet garnis
  5. Stir to mix
  6. Pop on low for 8 hours
  7. Serve with fresh herbs to taste
  8. Enjoy with fresh crusty bread

 

*Made using a 3.5L slow cooker like this one…

(Please note I am now signed up to the Amazon Affiliates scheme which means I may benefit from anything you buy through this link)

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Posted in Learn Direct, Mini Coopers, Studying Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

A gif of an artist drawing a realistic lightbulb
October 6th, 2017 by Suze

The silence is deafening here. We are in the middle of a power cut. The lightbulb popped as it went out. The pitch black is now only interrupted by the glow of two laptop screens as me and DH race against the battery power to get things done.

Yet, somehow it’s quite soothing sat here without the background buzz and whine of every electrical item in the house. Sometimes it takes outside forces to make you stop. It feels a bit like the world is on hold in the darkness, as though someone has pressed pause somewhere. It is a haven, a little pocket of breathing space.

 Calm silence

The whirlwind of change is continuing at its usual pace. There is a new rhythm to our week as DH strides out each morning for a long day of learning, while I tackle the quite frankly raving mad school run, before debating whether I have the energy to do people or places while waiting for school pick-up.

Something has struck me powerfully this week and while it isn’t rocket science, it is yet an idea that has shifted my thinking. It is this…

'I choose what to do with my time' quote

How simple is that? I choose what to do with my time. The seconds, minutes and hours that I live, are mine. I am able to choose how I live them. I am able to decide where to put my energy in any given moment. It is a lightbulb moment for me. Particularly as I quite often do not have much energy to spare, owing to the 45 minute sleep cycle my children like to keep until they are at least 3 years old.

What time?

And if you are now sat there thinking ‘that’s all very well, but my time is not my own… I am governed by an over-demanding miniature version of me’ then I hear you. But there are still those golden moments. Maybe its 30 seconds while they are happy playing, maybe its half an hour as they nap; those moments are yours. Eat chocolate, read a book, have an uninterrupted wee. Claim that time. It is yours.

The world wakes

The doorbell is ringing, the printer has woken up and the monitors have kicked back in. The power is back. The world is awake again. Those precious darkened moments feel like stolen time. I am grateful for them and the choice I made to spend them mindfully, writing in the dark. I choose now to go into the light and inspire others as these women have inspired me.

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Coloured lightbulbs hanging in the dark

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Posted in Studying, Thoughts Tagged with: , , , ,