After a dismally soggy May that gave us record levels of rainfall, we seem to be finally enjoying the start of what could be a long, hot summer…interspersed with the odd unsettled, wet day. After all, it wouldn’t be a British summer without a bit of weather uncertainty. Nevertheless, all the signs are here. Whether it’s the competing wafts of boho BBQs, the relentless tunes of circling ice cream vans or the sheer number of adults adopting flip flops as outerwear, the British public are truly embracing the summer with both arms. But while some are resolutely heading outdoors, many others have their eyes firmly fixed on their tvs watching the long-awaited Covidly postponed UEFA Euro 2020 competition. I have to say that while I am enjoying the chance to finally go for some runs in mostly decent weather I am also glued to the footie and the drama on and off the pitch. However, something that has also caught my attention while following the Euros happens to be a real bugbear of mine. Once again, we have a tournament showcasing some world class sportspeople that is sponsored by one of the world’s largest soft drinks company. But I’m not the only one who isn’t happy about it. Just ask Ronaldo.Continue reading
As the Covid restrictions ease further in the UK, many people have become practically obsessed with the all-important subject and First World problem of where to go on holiday. I’ve noticed, however, that most people seem to fall into one of two very distinct camps of thought. Up first are the holiday optimists, who have their eyes fixed firmly on the travel traffic light system like a personal beacon of hope. They grasp their passports while waiting on tenterhooks and praying out to anyone listening to get the green light to safely travel abroad to sunnier horizons. A fringe sub-set of this group will settle for amber. Then there are the holiday realists, who have taken a much more cautious and slightly pessimistic approach. They think that traffic lights systems should be left for the roads. They believe that the only safe and sensible option of any vacation is that it takes place within the confines of the temperamental British shores. End of. But no matter how divergent and contentious the opinions of these two camps are, they wholeheartedly agree in the essential need and indeed, urgency for a break from this Covid-shaped year.Continue reading
If there is one thing that you learn as a parent it is that children will always speak out when there is even the slightest whiff of unfairness in the air. And this is especially true when it comes to food. And when I say food, what I am really talking about is what many children (and some adults) think is the most important meal of the day, pudding. Warfare can break out in households over the dinner table, sparked by the conviction that someone else is having a sliver more of something delicious. But trying to avoid possible accusations about the discrepancy in portion sizes by employing a ‘one cuts, the other chooses’ the slice of [insert favourite cake etc; here] can also backfire. Children soon learn how to carry off the classic bluff and double bluff of ‘Thanks, this is the piece I actually wanted’ with a smirk or two. Annoying these greedy skirmishes are, learning to share, compromise and the concept of fairness are all important lessons to learn growing up. However, family arguments over who has the largest slice pale in comparison to the outrage and protest provoked when entire puddings are struck off a menu. Especially when those favourites are banished without warning for reasons that seem to be spurious at most. And at a primary school in Aberdeenshire, a change in menu caused some young students to take matters into their own hands.Continue reading
While reading the recent update of something I like to follow about all things running, I couldn’t help but notice the results from this year’s Barkley Marathons. The winner was…the Barkley Marathons. Yes, you read that right. The event beat the contenders. Again. Renowned as the toughest ultramarathon race around, the Barkley Marathons involves running 5 times around an unmarked course completely off piste through the mountains in the state of Tennessee. With nothing to guide you but a map, a compass and your wits, it is not for the faint-hearted. Since the course was made even more difficult and was stretched to the current ‘100 mile’ distance in 1989, there have only been 15 finishers and the most recent was in 2017.Continue reading
As we reach the end of this year’s Food Waste Action Week I thought I would add my two pence on the importance of reducing our food waste. Even the basic statistics sound pretty shocking and it can be difficult to get your head around the scale of the problem. According to the sustainability charity WRAP, around one third of food produced worldwide is unnecessarily wasted when it is unsold, unused or thrown out by supermarkets, restaurants and the public. That is simply mind blowing, but it gets worse. The natural resources that go into growing the food together with the production and transportation of it for sale are also contributing to climate change. Food production is now responsible for close to 10% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, globally.
But as someone who cares about the planet and loves to cook I didn’t think I had a problem with food waste in my own home. After all, my family happily hoovered up any leftovers they could get their hands on. However, I also knew that I was far from perfect even if food waste was a particular bugbear of mine. Which is why in trying to cut down further on my own food waste I wanted to help others avoid it in Spoiler alert and shared some more tips for using up neglected and forgotten foods in Waste not, want more. Although I have to come clean…I made a glaring oversight when it came to reducing my food waste which I only discovered once all of my children had left home for university.Continue reading