Thursday, 28 May 2015

Finding motivation when you work from home

If you work in an office you will probably feel jealous of those who work from home. The ability to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home, the lack of a commute, which often means you can sleep in, being able to work in your pjs... All those can be true, but depending on your personality, working from home can often be lonely, and the flexibility can work against your productivity at times. People who work from home regularly know and appreciate the perks of it, but they will also admit that there are days when motivation is hard to come by.

During the past year I have transitioned from a job that required me to be in the office every day to one where I work from home one to two days a week. Past the honeymoon period of rolling out of bed at 8.30am to have breakfast and start work without having even brushed my hair, I've picked up a few tricks that keep me motivated and productive on my home days.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

5 very special fragrances

Last weekend I went home to Valencia for a family celebration. It was brilliant to be able to pop home for three days, soak some sunshine, go to the beach and see the people I love most, my mum and brother. Both their birthdays are in May, and when I asked my brother a while ago what he wanted as a gift from me, I wasn't surprised he asked for a fragrance. In recent years he has developed a bit of an obsession with perfumes (or aftershaves, I am never sure what word to use!), including a few that are very niche and difficult to get hold of. This isn't about buying a nice perfume that you wear every day or for special occasions, but more of an interest and hobby. He is often reading up about them online and is even part of an online community where they discuss them and swap impressions. I guess it's no different from the beauty or lifestyle blogging community. It is huge.

I love listening to him talk about them and handing over a sample bottle to smell them. Some of them I really don't like because they're too strong, but some are beautiful, like nothing you've smelled before. Some are obnoxiously expensive and some not at all. One thing that surprised me is that quite a few of these niche fragrances are unisex, and I liked that, mostly because it means I can sneak into my brother's bathroom and spritz myself with one of his treasures!

Last weekend I asked him to tell me what his top 5 were, and he reeled them off without stopping to think for a second, so I thought I would share them here. Fragrances are notoriously difficult to describe, so I did a bit of research into the different components to avoid talking about fruity, sweet or floral scents, and in the process I learnt all about top, middle and base notes. The first are what you instantly notice when you spray it, the middle notes are revealed after 10 minutes or so, and then they both fade (but don't disappear), leaving you with the base notes.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Warm potato and green bean salad with chorizo

It has been a little while since I posted a recipe here, but now the evenings are lighter and longer I have been spending more time cooking. I know it doesn’t sound related at all, but when it’s dark and cold all I want to do is cuddle up under my blanket, whereas as soon as it gets warm and light I have so much more energy when I finish work!

My cooking style is a bit slap dash. There is a very small number of dishes that I make again and again in exactly the same way (like this vegetable tagine with couscous from my favourite food post), some recipes that I try out by following the exact instructions (lately they have been mostly from Deliciously Ella’s book), but the bulk of what I cook depends on what is in the fridge or cupboard and, let’s be honest, what is about to go off. This dish is one of those. The basis of it are the new potatoes and green beans, but everything else is negotiable. I cooked it last night and added olives, tomatoes, capers and tuna. Sometimes I add anchovies, cucumber, red onion, bread croutons,...

The version I am sharing with you is one I tried for the first time a month ago and which I really enjoyed. I hope you do too.
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