disability · home · Life · Recipies · Uncategorized

Easy Spaghetti Bolognese – No Chopping!*

Spaghetti Bolognese or… spag bol as we affectionately call it in the UK, is a classic dish. If you somehow don’t know what this is, it’s spaghetti with minced meat in a tomato sauce, with herbs and such. A lot of people throw in other things like onion, red wine, peppers, garlic or mushroom.

Because of my poor health and dexterity, cooking can be a challenge and the fewer ingredients I have to contend with, the better, but that comes at the sacrifice of flavour… or does it? It doesn’t have to, thanks to Schwartz seasoning mix. They have a bunch of different seasoning mixes as well as the herbs and spices and other seasonings they’re known for. I always have a bunch in my cupboard. So with the help of the Spaghetti Bolognese Seasoning Mix, I decided to try making spag bol with minimal ingredients and report back with how it went!

Ingredients (serves up to four persons)

Brown the mince in a frying pan for a few minutes. The great thing about mince is it’s really easy to see when it’s cooked!

Add the Schwartz sachet contents as well as the tomatoes and give it a good stir.

Cover the pan and allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes.

…Now, there are two ways you can serve up spag bol – all of it all mixed together, or a neat pile of saucy mince on top of your spaghetti. I used to prefer the latter; not sure why! I was a strange child. My partner prefers it all mixed in, which is apparently normal, so that’s what I opted for, it also means no cold spaghetti or portion measuring. So, add the spaghetti into the pan and stir it all together.

Dish up and serve, topped with parmesan cheese if you’d like! Yummy. 😀 As this recipe serves up to four, there were leftovers that I put into a container. Once it cooled, I put it in the freezer for another day. Perfect! I love it when I can make my meals go further.

I was really impressed by how much flavour the Schwartz Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe Mix added to the tomato, without the need for extra ingredients. Of course, you can add more in if you’d like to, but I’m all about that easy life, and chopping food is a hazard! So, I would definitely recommend giving it a go for a delicious, home-cooked meal. Both myself and my fussy partner really enjoyed it. I’ll be trying out their other mixes for sure! With supervision from my partner (because of using the stove), this was a nice and easy make, with plenty of flavour!

Schwartz have gifted me (this product), but all views are my own.

body · disability · Health · Life · self-care · Uncategorized

Have you heard of Flotation?

Have you heard of flotation? I don’t mean those big inflatable pool-floaty things or those foam pool noodles or rectangles you use to help you to learn how to swim. Turns out, floatation actually has nothing to do with swimming at all. Shows like Stranger Things brought a little more attention to floatation, but many people still haven’t heard of it or know what it does, so I had a chat with Mark Smethurst – The owner of a flotation therapy center in my little town of Stafford (the first one that opened in the West Midlands, actually!) to find out about the center and what flotation is actually all about. Spoiler alert: It’s fascinating, and I think everyone should give it a go!

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Time to Float‘s location was a little bit surreal to me, as it turns out, it’s actually in the building of an old radio station that I used to volunteer for. I’m good at getting lost, so thankfully, it means I know exactly where the place is! (Which is at 146 Marston Road, Stafford, ST16 3BT, if you decide you'[d like to give it a go!)

So what actually is flotation? It’s basically a less scary way of talking about a sensory deprivation pod. It doesn’t make you awaken latent crazy powers like TV may have you believe, but it can do a lot of other things for you; but I’ll go in to that shortly. First I’m going to tell you a little about this particular flotation center.

As I mentioned, Time to Float was the first flotation therapy location to open in the West Midlands. Flotation is gaining more traction in the world and when you understand what it can do, it’s easy to see why! The location is a small one in the Northern Quarter of Stafford county town (which has some lovely places to visit in general) and delightfully cosy with warm and welcome staff who are happy to have a good natter with you or just let you do your thing.

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So, what do you do, and what can it do for you?

Well, I won’t go in to too many details of what happens when you get there, but basically you fill out a health form, have a little tour and have the place explained to you and this introduction is tailored to you based on your responses to the health form if you have certain medical issues.

In the room is a flotation pod (it’s actually about the size of a Mercedes A Class) and a shower and a few other bits and bobs that will be explained to you before you start, and they’ll only leave you once you’re comfortable! You have a shower and get in this big-ass pod of water and literally sit back and float, thanks to the 800lbs of epsom salt! Now, its advised you close the pod and turn off the light but you can have the light on if you want or prop the pod open or whatever you like.

The water in the pod is heated to body temperature, as is the air, which is circulated to keep the flow of oxygen. Thanks to the 800lbs of epsom salt (which leave your skin feeling so soft, and you don’t look like a prune when you get out either!), you just float in the water effortlessly. (The pod water is filtered four times after each use and the room cleaned, plus the salts are a natural disinfectant too, if that concerns you at all!) Apparently, it’s so relaxing, many people simply fall asleep half way through, which is totally okay! In fact, sleeping for a short while in the pod can have the effect of several hours of really blissful sleep. The salt has a sort of anti-gravity effect, resulting in a feeling of weightlessness; this also helps muscles to get complete rest (and breakdown lactic acid) and for your skeleton to re-align in its natural position. This effect, combined with the high levels of magnesium thanks to the salt (which is also anti-inflammatory) mean floatation can actually help a huge variety of ailments and chronic illnesses, including chronic pain, sleep disorders, mental health issues, or even just being sore from a workout.

Music lulls you away and will also slowly bring you back to reality after your hour is up. You get out, shower to wash all the salt away and get changed and then there is a little recovery room with a hair dryer and mirrors and some skincare products if you wish to use them. Then it’s back through to the main area where they will give you all the water you can drink and let you chill for as long as you like. They’re happy to talk about your float or just leave you to it. Whatever you’d prefer to do basically.

Flotation

There’s way more I could go in to, but this post is already getting a little lengthy. However, chances are, if you suffer from any ailment, floatation can probably help as an alternative therapy – keep in mind though, it’s not a magic cure, nor does it claim to be! However, as someone with chronic illnesses, I couldn’t resist looking in to it and the science checks out. Though you’re welcome to do your own research or contact the center for a chat if you want to learn more. If you choose to book, they have a Float More program they can tell you about too. (that link will take you to referral by me, but if you go in person or talk on the phone or social media, be sure to give me a cheeky little mention)

Even if you feel pretty well in yourself, floatation can really have a great effect as it helps encourage production of endorphins and a reduction of cortisol, so it may just be good for some self-care or a slice of zen. I think that it’s certainly worth a go. If anything can help my pain without having to dose up on medication, that’s always good.

You can find out more via the Time to Float website or catch them on twitter @timetofloatuk. Have you ever tried floatation? Or do you want to give it a go now? I’m interested to hear what you think!

 

Bookish · disability · Health · Life · Uncategorized

Why Kindle is superior to the Paperback

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Ooo, that’s right, I said it, I went there! Kindle > Paperbacks.

For many moons, or well, just the one moon, technically, but, it’s been a while; people have argued that paperbacks are, and will always be superior when compared to the sinful e-book. Okay, so I’ll admit, I hands down prefer having a physical form of book, the delight of a paperback in my hands, over my e-reader. There’s the weight, the feel of the pages, the sound when you turn them, that book smell and just… there’s a beauty to it, I’m sure you know what I mean. However, my Kindle is far superior – for some reasons, you may not have even considered.

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There are some obvious perks to an e-reader. They save space, they allow you to take an entire library while traveling while occupying only a sliver of the space, e-books are often cheaper, have 99p/introductory offers or some are even free. There are also some less obvious perks. After discussing this with numerous friends, they admitted they’d not really thought about them.

One word. Accessibility. Yeah, paperbacks are great. When was the last time you saw a large print version of a new release by your favourite author? That’s right. Large print books are often more expensive and have far less variety and availability compared to a standard print edition. An e-reader eliminates this worry because not only can a kindle books font size be increased, but the font can be changed to one of a variety that a visually impaired person may find easier to view and at no further cost to them.

Speaking of fonts; what about Dyslexia? Some dyslexic people find it very difficult to try and read a book. An e-reader helps in many ways. As well as being able to adjust the font size, margins and line spacing can be adjusted to change the format of a page which someone with dyslexia, cognitive dysfunction, a learning disability or other impairment may find incredibly beneficial. As well as this, I can’t speak for other e-readers, but the newer versions of Kindle have a font available called OpenDyslexic. This is a special font that adds weight to the bottom of lettering in an attempt to help ease some of the difficulties someone with dyslexia may experience while trying to read.

All these options make reading more accessible to those who may not ordinarily be able to read, or experience great difficulty in doing so. I adore reading, there is nothing like diving in to a book and immersing yourself in an entirely different world, but when your brain isn’t keeping up, it can be really difficult. Okay, so it’s not traditional and it doesn’t have the same charm as a paperback, but what’s the point in all that charm if you can’t enjoy it?

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So, reconsider an e-reader. Users of e-readers may love books just as much as you do, maybe even more so. If you love books that much, surely you want as many people as possible to enjoy the books you love. If an e-reader helps them do that, then surely that’s a wonderful thing?

What do you think? Do you use an e-reader? Physical books only? Have I changed how you perceive e-readers? I’d love to hear your thoughts!