Pancake day

I am hungry AF at the moment but not in the mood to cook anything. I am tired from work and still have a lot to do so I decided to write this post.

As part of my choosing happiness and doing whatever it takes to make me happy extravaganza, I decided to partake in Pancake Day. I was also going to give up social media for Lent, but that’s neither here nor there. Unlike the past couple of years, I will not be fooling myself into giving anything up for Lent as it usually ends in failure (though I did actually manage to give up Instagram last year for Lent). Back to the story.

Pancake Day was looming: I was in a bit of a funk, as I often am these days, and was debating possibly making pancakes. I didn’t have any of the required ingredients at home and I was not looking to leave the house. As luck would have it, I had to return a dress I bought and the retailer offered to pick it up and sent over a postage stamp for me to print out. I don’t have a printer so that was annoying, but I quickly got over it and decided to wake up early the next day (the day of the supposed pick-up), and go into the office to print it out. That also covered my exercise requirements so it was a win win. On my way back I did what I always do and stopped by all the shops. Of course all the shops were celebrating Pancake Day and had the catchy displays and advertisements. I had the option of ready made pancakes and pancake mix and after a little delusion about trying to get plant based sugar free pancakes, I bought a pancake shaker mix and moved on. I didn’t have high hopes as I had used a shaker mix twice before and the pancakes were mushy rather than fluffy as I liked. Still, if at first (and second) you don’t succeed, try again. So I did.

On the plus side, I now knew that this pancake mix was more of a crepe consistency rather than a fluffy American type so there would be no disappointment. The first pancake turned out mushy as usual and I rolled it up into a ball and ate it like that- I really just love dough. I was ready to roll my eyes again but the second one turned out well, and the third, fourth and so on. I was quite pleased. At the last minute I decided to make some eggs to go with the pancakes, threw in some blueberries and even considered adding “ice-cream”. Ice cream is in quotes as it is vegan ice-cream which I usually like, and this one has three of my favourite things: cinnamon, toffee, and hazelnut so I expected this to be the most delicious thing ever. However, I only took two spoonfuls before I gave the tub away. It did not taste like ice-cream at all. I realise now that it is made with almond milk, whereas the vegan ones I’ve had have been soy based.

Some pictures:

There’s really no point to this post: Pancake day was two weeks ago on the 1st of March; and I did not really do anything special. However, it was a little act that made me happy that day, and I am for little acts of happiness these days. I have also been pushing myself to write more, so finishing this little post feels good too.

Got milk?

I’ve been meaning to post for ages but instead I sat and watched the days pass me by; valentines day, pancake day etc. I’m going to sum it all in this one post. Last year I wrote a post for Shrove Tuesday in which I discussed what I was giving up for lent. I’m reviewing the post and of course it all largely the same things that I intend to give up this year. Yay for consistency. Nay for never following through.

Anyway, apart from mopping and brooding over my life what else I have been up to? Nothing much, I’ve just been chilling, trying to form new habits and desist from bad ones. For Valentine’s Day, I did nothing but stay in bed and eat a grande bowl of pasta and slow cooked brisket ragu. I was happy and eagerly looking forward to Tuesday, this day being pancake day which really is my own Valentine’s Day. Last year I decided at the last minute to have some pancakes and I got some from the store on my way home. This year however, I was prepared and I got my supplies ahead of time. For breakfast I had fluffy American pancakes and eggs, and orange juice; and for dinner I had French crepes with chocolate, fruit, and ice cream. I was happy and bloated.

That was my last meal splurge and my last experience with dairy for a while. This is one of the main changes I have made in my life, and pretty much the last resort in resolving my skin issues. Even before Lent I had stopped consuming dairy and limited my sugar to help with my acne, and I found that my breakouts reduced drastically. The dark spots are still there of course but my face was not a pimple battlefield as it was before. I did relapse a few times-once when I bought a packet of Rich Tea, and then the next day when I bought a cake. What I realised is what I’ve always known: I have no self control when it comes to food. The biscuits were nice, but the cake was dry as hell yet I devoured it all in one go. The breakouts came back in full force, and they came back as well after my valentines day-pancake day binge fest. I accepted these pimples because all that food was an au revoir to my old life. I’m glad I did it because now I know for sure that diary is the devil’s liquid. It was actually interesting to see my skin change after consuming dairy; the angry pimples and angry red spots. It was a mess. The last of my pimples from the pancake fest are just clearing up. I do hope one day I can go back to consuming dairy in moderation but to be honest if I ever clear my skin I would never risk it by going near dairy again. Plus the dairy free life is alright, and all the dairy free alternatives are pretty good. Of course sugar is also another thing to give up but dairy seems to be the worst.

Without further ado, here are the things I am giving up for lent. I have copied out the things I tried to give up last year for Lent (in italics below) and added my current thoughts.

Reduce my screen-time: I aim to achieve this by reading a book instead, and avoiding mindless gossip. I’m taking this seriously this year. I’m trying to do this by putting my phone down more. The thing with living alone is that I have filled the void with sugar, television, and technology (my phone). I knew I was obsessed with my phone but it wasn’t until I spent Christmas with my friend that I realised just how bad it was. I am literally always holding my phone, even when I dash off to the toilet or downstairs to get my food. She called me out once for always holding my phone and while that ticked me off a bit I knew she was right. I spend so much time staring mindlessly at my phone, even as I am tired and my eyes are burning. There are times when it was past midnight and my brain was fried but I would continue scrolling through Instagram even though there was nothing to see. It was crazy. Anyway I deleted Instagram and I am now trying to wean myself off my phone. I also need to wean myself off of mindless gossip because I really don’t care about any of these things and they do not concern me.

Plan my meals and replace junk with fruits. I must understand that dinner is enough; there is no need to always have a snack. It’s also okay to say no thank you when offered a snack; it really is okay sweetie. Haha I have done a reasonably good job with this lately. Apart from the biscuit, cake and pancakes I have actually been pretty good. I went to the shop recently and there was a sale on Oreos biscuits so I instinctively picked it up. After completing my shopping I had a change of mind and put it back and got some carrots instead.

Fuck milk! I believe this is self explanatory.

Read more: I aim to read three books in this forty days. Back in the day I would have considered this to be rookie number. I will try to read but I’m too lazy and would rather watch television. That being said, three books this Lent seems doable. Let’s go!

Write for an hour everyday-Whew my restlessness is going to make this one hard! Not going to happen. Unless we count the writing I do for work. I will try to write more on the weekends. I actually need to because this is all I want to do. Every time I am doing something else I just want to be in bed writing. Yet when I get the time to write I watch television instead.

Talk to someone (family/friends) at least twice a week-I snuck this one in at the very last minute. I was going to write everyday but I chickened out. I do need to talk to people-other than myself. It cannot be healthy to go a whole week without any meaningful conversation. Hmmmmmmn I don’t know about this. I would rather text.

In short, this Lent I will cut out diary, reduce my reliance on my phone, and seek to be healthy in body and in mind. So help me God.

What’s pancakes got to do with it?

I am aware that there is a pancake day every year. There is a day for literally everything, it seems; World Happiness Day, World World Day, World this and that day. So I just thought hey, here is a day to celebrate pancakes, and why not? I would never have assumed the day had a religious significance.

Yesterday I got a notification that Today was Pancake Day, and I happily mentioned it to my colleagues who then remarked that they couldn’t believe it was almost Lent. My first thought was huh? what does Lent have to do with this? Thankfully I have learnt to google first, ask dumb questions later, so I googled it and turns out pancake day is actually Shrove Tuesday, which preceeds Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of Lent which is the 40 days culminating in Easter. I learn something everyday.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day which comes from the old English custom of using up all the fattening ingredients before Lent, so that people were ready to fast. The fattening ingredients that most people had in their houses were eggs and milk, hence why people began combining them with flour to make pancakes.

In case you were wondering what Lent is:

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.

In summary, Lent is a period of self reflection in which Christians abstain from certain foods and activities. Shrove Tuesday is the day before in which people historically indulged in the things they will be fasting from, more or less. Read more here.

It was also even more poignant to me because for the first time ever, I was actually looking forward to Lent this year. Lent is religiously significant as it is the period of 40 days before Easter, but for a lot of people it is also a period of abstinence from one thing or the other. Like everyone else, I made some New Year’s resolutions and 2020 was going to be my year! Then I promptly resumed my routine of watching Netflix and Youtube until my eyes bleed.

Sometime ago, I read somewhere that it takes about 40 days to form a new habit/drop a bad habit and I feel Lent could be a perfect period for me to try this out. There will be other people observing lent, and it is a relatively short period of time with an end.  When the going gets tough I can just count the days till the end.

Now that I have decided to change my life for Lent, I have to decide what exactly to give up. The most obvious thing will be to drastically reduce my screen-time, and I mean drastically. Ever since I got my Samsung phone with the wide screen, my brain has gone to mush. I stare at my screen for hours; from when I wake up to all day at work, on the way to and back from work, when making dinner, while eating, while doing my nighttime routine, in bed waiting to sleep, and first thing when I wake up. My phone makes it worse because now I can easily access YouTube and Netflix, and Amazon video, twitter, instagram without even getting out of bed, where in the past I would have needed to turn on my laptop which was less convenient. Sometimes I find myself just staring at my phone, clicking on random videos on YT, clicking the same random posts on instagram, reading random news headlines on google, just mundane uninspiring stuff. I truly believe that I could be leading a much more productive life if I just stayed off my phone more. I have at least ten books that I have not read, so many things I want to write, plans to make, places to go (okay that last one is a lie). I wake up on the weekends, full of optimism for the productive day to come, but oh let me just check my phone for a minute and before I know it the clock strikes midnight and it’s time to go back to sleep. There are literally days when I pause and look at myself and sigh at what has become of me; my laptop is open to Amazon video, Netflix on the TV,  youtube/instagram on my phone, news app on my work phone. What the forkkkkkk? How is my brain not fried? Spoiler: it is.

So yes, it would be nice to reduce my screen time, but how? I already put the timer warning on youtube but I just ignore it whenever it comes up. I was going to leave Instagram for the whole period but where will I post all my pictures of trees and sunsets? For sure I want to stop wasting my time on mindless gossip sites that do nothing but drain me of my will and soul.

I don’t just want to give up something however, I also want to form a new habit. With all the free time I get, I want to read more. I used to be a big reader (in my mind I still am), and I cannot stop myself from buying new books. But ever since ze internet took over my life, I have not read as much. I have only read one book this year (I started two others but they were so meh). It would be nice to read some of the many books I have,

I also want to write more, both on here and offline. The truth is that all I want to do is write. All day at work I fantasise about coming home to write. Then the moment I get home I am immediately glued to the screen.

I was also thinking of giving up junk food- this may require its own post. Long story short, I realised that I was maybe filling up the loneliness with food. Everyday on my way back from work I stop by the stores to get some junk for the evening. In my mind, I need something to eat after dinner. This may or may not be the cause of my skin problems but I really do not need to be eating nonsense everyday.

Now of course the whole purpose of Lent is to become closer to God and work on oneself. I am hoping that these new habits will help me in this regard, and I am looking forward to this. I don’t want to get all excited and make resolutions I cannot keep, and then feel bad when I inevitably break them. I have therefore tried to make it easy-ish for myself.

So in summary, for Lent 2020 (February 26th to April 9th) I am going to:

Reduce my screen-time: I aim to achieve this by reading a book instead, and avoiding mindless gossip.
Read more: I aim to read three books in this forty days. Back in the day I would have considered this to be rookie numbers.
Plan my meals and replace junk with fruits. I must understand that dinner is enough; there is no need to always have a snack. It’s also okay to say no thank you when offered a snack; it really is okay sweetie.
Write for an hour everyday-Whew my restlessness is going to make this one hard!
Talk to someone (family/friends) at least twice a week-I snuck this one in at the very last minute. I was going to write everyday but I chickened out. I do need to talk to people-other than myself. It cannot be healthy to go a whole week without any meaningful conversation.

So help me God.

Oh and yes I did have pancakes for dinner.