The next step on my journey


Although I didn’t expect to learn much through doing my fibro awareness posts, I have. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in contact and chatted to other sufferers and it’s been a bit of an eye opener. It’s made to realise and come to terms with the fact that part of the reason I always feel so rushed, panicked and like nothing is getting done properly is because I’m trying to live a life which would be very busy without any illnesses, let alone someone with CFS and fibromyalgia. It’s not giving up to admit that and neither is tailoring my life so I’m not stuck in a cycle of depravation- always over-doing it, paying the costs and then being frustrated because I can never sustain a schedule.

Things have got to change. Part of that was actually writing down my “ideal” schedule- exactly what I would want to achieve everyday or every week- it was ridiculous so I’ve put some stuff on the backburner for now instead of trying to do everything at once. In honesty, that wasn’t enough, even after I cut out as much as possible, it was still obvious that I would still be doing too much. I had to make some tough decisions in reducing my work load in EVERY area of my life, including this blog. I have never been able to post as much as I always planned to on this blog and by rushing posts, I have sometimes compromised quality (if I’m honest)- re-reading some of my earlier posts made that obvious to me. I am, therefore, cutting back the features on this blog to what I think are the best parts and you may be seeing a few less posts on here but I promise to make them really good. I really hope my readership doesn’t go down as a result of these choices, I love each and every comment and subscription. It is a great moment in every bloggers life when someone signs up to be notified when a new post is published. It’s even greater to look back over the first year of blogging and realise how much more successful your blog is than you’d hoped and how it has grown.

Part of being a good blogger/writer is knowing what works and what doesn’t so I won’t be posting any more film reviews or sports time posts regularly, I will, however, be leaving the pages up so you can access old posts and I won’t completely close the door on the possibility of the occasional post in these areas.

And, I will be adding a new feature- inspiration of the month. Every month I will be choosing a person who inspires me and I’ll write a post on them and why they inspire me. If you know someone inspirational who deserves to be honoured then please contact me on the email address below- I am open to all submissions.

As you read in an earlier post, I launched my own small business this summer (eek!) called Pandora’s Box. In brief, Pandora’s Box grew out of the home-made posts on this blog. More and more I’ve realised my passion for vintage/retro items and remaking old things into new is something I want to share. Vintage shops and markets can be really expensive and so can handmade products so part of what I do is making sure all my products are really affordable, meaning that my products are cheap but I don’t make a huge profit but I’m ok with that for now. I love individual things but my flat is small and I can’t fit it all in so I’m happy to pass on vintage finds and home-made treats to happy customers. You can find out more about it and view items on the page here. I will post updates here on my blog for you to see and if there is anything which you love in a home-made post but for whatever reason don’t make yourself, you can request me to make it for you in the comments section on the post or on the Pandora’s Box page.

Related to this, as part of the Etsy community, I come across other great and very talented sellers- look out for posts for my favourite Etsy finds.

Most of all, I’d really like to take on guest posts, I welcome any and every proposal so whatever you feel you might want to put on screen and have published here, you can get in touch with me by email: kate.bennett@live.com

Thank you loyal readers,

Katie x

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Happy 1st birthday


A year ago today I began this blog. To celebrate The Coffee House’s first birthday. I am re-blogging the very first post. It happens to follow on quite nicely from the spirit of Lottie’s interview (if you missed it, you can read it here). Here’s to another year of blogging- enjoy!

The glass is half full

Here’s a slice of optimism to start the new week:

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

– Lucille Ball (1911-1989)

I have always found that staying busy and helping others has always helped me get through crappy times. When you start helping others you realise that “everybody hurts sometimes” and that whatever is happening to you, there is something much worse happening to someone else- you gain perspective. It sounds cliched, probably because it is, but I find it works. If that doesn’t help, a nice dose of escapism* helps a lot, whether it be reading a good novel or watching your favourite film. Whatever horrible situation you might be dealing with, the world will keep turning and you have to get on with your life, that doesn’t mean ignoring the fact that you’re hurting, but no situation should stop you from the living the best life you could. I get ill a lot so I end up spending days, even weeks tucked up in bed but I like to start a new project. I have a zillion on the go at once, this blog is one in fact. I hope that doesn’t make me sound pious, there is so much negativity that surrounds us, there is always something or someone which will undermine our self confidence or make us feel as though our whole world has shattered, but happiness is not dependent on your life being perfect, but a state of mind, happiness is your ability to remain positive in spite of what you are dealing with. I’m lucky that I have a wonderful best friend and family who have shown me this.

Keep the faith,

K

*Editing note: I probably should have said a ‘healthy escapism’ like reading a book or chatting with a friend or watching a film.

Vive la France: my journey to the crepery


One of my new favourite things to do is read blogs. Since joining the WordPress community I have found some great bloggers, lots through the coveted ‘Freshly Pressed’. As an MECFS and Fibromyalgia sufferer, I have lots of days where I am too tired to even talk, WordPress provides a view to the outside world. Something to pass the time. BUT it has also become a great source for inspiration. Through reading blogs I have become much more in-tuned with my creative side.

One of the best things I have found on ‘Freshly Pressed’ is a blog named Carbonara’s Weblog. The author is an American, and having visited both France and Italy compared the two countries’ street crepe sellers. He also oozed about Nutella, a rich hazelnut spread, perfect to lather on hot crepes. This post gave me a huge craving for crepes covered in Nutella, but, being wheat-intolerant, I could dip in to the crepery in John Lewis. What I did get from there though, was a crepe maker. It didn’t take me long to pass my craving on to my boyfriend. A few days later we casually slipped in to John Lewis, just to have a look at the crepe maker. Having located the crepe maker, we stood there, both trying to think of a reason to justify buying one.Neither of us needed much convincing.

Since we brought it home we’ve had crepes nearly everyday. We spent a lot of time dreaming up different toppings. So far my favourite has been peanut butter, Nutella, and bananas. If this post has given you a craving then check out the recipe below, you can see how I adapted it to make gluten-free crepes and/or dairy and lactose crepes too. To find somewhere to purchase a very good but reasonably priced crepe maker or pan keep scrolling. Let me know if you think of any great toppings. Happy crepe-ing!

Basic crepe recipe: makes about 8 or 9 crepes

Ingredients

  • 250g plain flour or gluten-free flour, I buy Dove Farm which is available in most supermarkets, whole food stores and health shops
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g melted butter/soya butter works just as well if you’re lactose-intolerant
  • 500ml milk/dairy-free alternative, I use Lacto-free milk (available in most supermarkets too) but you could use rice, soya or oat milk too
  • 1tbs sugar

Method

Use a hand-blender to mix the flour, eggs, milk and sugar. Add  the melted butter and whisk until a fine, smooth mix is achieved. It’s best to let it the batter sit for an hour, but if you’re impatient (like me) then you can just make them straight away. Use a small amount of butter to grease the pan, you can use oil but they don’t taste as nice. Set you crepe maker to low (about 3 on mine) to make a light brown crepe, or higher if you prefer your crepe to be quite brown. Spoon the batter on the pan, starting from the centre and moving around to the crepes. Use the wooden T *see pictures* to evenly spread the batter. Use the wooden turn over to flip the crepe after about a minute (wet the turnover to prevent the crepe from sticking to them). The best thing about crepes, unlike pancakes, it’s pretty hard to mess up the turnover. Spread the filling inside the crepe, then fold over in half, repeat twice more and then enjoy!

I bought my crepe maker from John Lewis for £29.99

You can buy a crepe pan from Amazon for £7.75

Crepe pans and makers are also available on Amazon in  Europe and the USA, if you live outside of the UK, for reasonable price