Full hearted life

Saying yes to new experiences and opportunites!

Archive for January, 2013

That was the year that was

procrastination waste so much time

I’ve spent the past week cleaning the house. This means that everything has been dusted, polished, scrubbed, vacuumed, mopped, laundered, ironed or just put away. It also means that drawers and cupboards are full to bursting and can’t be opened for fear of having items lunge out at you. I hope that I will be able to keep the place clean as I slowly go through every drawer, cupboard and box looking for things to “release”. It’s gonna be a big job; I’ve got 300kg to find.

Now that that’s all done, it feels like 2012 is really over. (Yes, I know it’s been a few days.) With that in mind, here’s my usual ruminations on the year that was.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Cooked asparagus, touched an elephant, made pasta, segmented an orange, made ice cream, dined at a Michelin starred restaurant, rowed on the Thames, made meatballs (so many, many meatballs) and cooked with buttermilk.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any last year. This year I plan to get 300 hours of exercise, throw away 300kg of stuff and have 30 “meetings”.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Naomi had a daughter.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, Eugene passed away. He still owed me a beer.

5. What countries did you visit?
The Maldives, Thailand and France.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A clean flat and a new job.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day before my birthday, wandering around Paris, window shopping, actually using my French and eating glorious food. Apart from the celery mousse for dessert.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing the Bikram 30 day challenge.

9. What event made you stronger?
Completing the Bikram 30 day challenge.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A sprained ankle, a few minor colds and one big one.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Flip flops, aviator sunglasses and a blender.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jenny Lawson’s

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Surprisingly, nobody’s.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Groceries and bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Touching an elephant!

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Gangnam Style.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting out of the house.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Watching TV and stressing about exams.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent it with my husband, cooking a goat and catching up on episodes of University Challenge.

21. How many one-night stands?
Zilch. I think I need a new question here…

22. What was your favorite TV program?
So hard to choose. I can’t decide between Community and Revenge.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Fiction – All quiet on the western front by Erich Maria Remarque
Non-Fiction – Let’s pretend this never happened by Jenny Lawson

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This YouTube video

26. What did you want and get?
Time to myself.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Probably The Avengers

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. I went to Paris and ate way too much food.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A bit more self-confidence.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Exactly the same as last year. I am still sorely in need of a makeover.

31. What kept you sane?
My husband.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Louis Smith was pretty nifty.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
I kept right out of politics.

33. Who did you miss?
My family and friends.

34. Who was the best new person you met?

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
Always have two feet on the floor before getting out of bed.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!”

Photo found here.




Lovely links

raindrops sirwiseowl 249288228_5d160ca871


Hello gorgeous people! How were your weeks? I spent mine learning a new computer program, cooking, trying out burlesque dancing and cleaning all the things.

Sarah Helpola has written on why having a bucket list may not necessarily be the best thing.

After all the indulgences over the festive period, I think I’ll be cooking up a big batch of Amy’s emergency soup this week!

The Dame has compiled a list of awesome and inspirational women bloggers you should totally check out.

Still haven’t made any resolutions yet? Nubby Twiglet wrote a great post on dreaming big, setting goals and doing what you love. OK, so it was written for 2012, but is still relevant to 2013!

I am loving the London Grumblr! So, so true.

How about you? What have you found interesting on the interwebz this week?

Photo courtesy Sirwiseowl.



Friday Fecundity – Chain maille jewellery



Last year, I was invited to a wedding in Thailand, which was an amazing experience. I was schooled quite vigorously on the various etiquette and customs, with my mother-in-law repeatedly telling me to wear lots of gold jewellery. I didn’t really have any gold jewellery so, for reasons that made perfect sense at the time, I decided to make some.

Armed with about £25 worth of materials, this YouTube video, and the back cover of this book, I set about making the above earrings, bracelet and necklace. The chain on the necklace and bracelet is not what I originally envisioned – I was looking for something a little more delicate and I went through a lot of patterns before finding one that actually worked with the sizes of jump rings that I had. Lesson learned from this experience: find out what size rings are needed *before* you buy them.

Despite it being my first attempt at making chain maille, I was pretty pleased with how it worked out. All the pieces survived the wedding and have been worn on numerous occasions since without falling apart.

Once I got started making the chains, it was pretty repetitive and actually quite therapeutic. I really enjoyed making these and definitely envision making more chain maille in my future. Now all I need are more invitations to fancy events…

Close up of earrings

Close up of earrings

Close up of necklace. I am loving the Venetian glass beads!

Close up of necklace. I am loving the Venetian glass beads!

Close up of bracelet. The same chain was used for both the necklace and the bracelet.

Close up of bracelet. The same chain was used for both the necklace and the bracelet.



In my kitchen – January 2013

Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial does these great posts every month showcasing all the wonderful food she’s made, grown or received as well as nifty foodie items she’s bought or been gifted.

Unlike Celia, there’s not usually a lot going on in my kitchen so this is likely to be my first and last “In my kitchen” post, but here’s a few random items currently sitting on my counter.

In my kitchen…

…are home-made mince pies. Yes, I made them myself from scratch. Yes, including the mincemeat. No, they weren’t completely inedible.


…is a box of Xocolat chocolates, a Christmas present from the husband. We stumbled across their shop tucked away in a small alley in Vienna a few years ago and bought a couple of boxes. The husband declares them the best chocolates ever and I have to say they are among my favourites.


…is a jar of Corsican honey, a gift from l’Abeille. I have no idea if Corsican honey is better than any other sort of honey, but I’m on the lookout for recipes that will showcase it, rather than just smearing it on toast. Any suggestions?


…is a box of chocolate from Rózsavölgyi Csokoládé in Hungary. I discovered this chocolatier a couple of years ago during the Chocolate Week exhibition and knew I wanted to try more of their wares. I decided to buy myself a box for Christmas. So far, I’m not disappointed.

hungary choc

…is a box of English Breakfast tea from New English Teas, a gift from my parents-in-law. I usually have a cup of Earl Grey in the mornings, but this stuff is so good I’m seriously considering switching to English Breakfast.

English tea

…is this fat separator from Oxo. I bought it before Christmas and have used it a few times. It does a wonderful job at separating the fat from the meat juices after cooking a roast, making gravy preparation so much easier. No, I am not being paid to say this.


So what’s going on in your kitchen at the moment?

All pictures my own, except those clearly taken from their respective company’s website. Those would be the decent, in focus photos.


Self love playlist

Dancer st33vo 557578954_a25b82748a

After reading Ashe’s self-love article, I immediately wanted to create my own playlist of songs that make me feel good. This was such a fun exercise! I spent far too much time on YouTube and realised that a lot of my favourite songs don’t actually make me feel happy. People use music in all sorts of ways, and often I turn to music for comfort, or when I’m upset and just want to wallow for a while. (This may become a whole other playlist.) Usually hearing any of the songs on the list below is a happy accident, I’ll hear them on the radio or in a club and immediately be perked up. Now that I’ve got the list, however, I’m going to start listening to them deliberately when I need to feel better. These are the songs I love love love, the ones that make me feel happy, boost my mood and get me dancing. These are the songs that contain many happy memories and make me feel good about myself.

Rather than just give you a list of songs (where would be the fun in that?), you get to guess the songs based on my not-so-cryptic clues. Try to at least have a go before clicking on the video link. Although if you are really stumped, can’t be bothered, or don’t have time to sit through the videos, there is a spoiler below; just highlight with your cursor. Ready? Here we go!

Kate’s Self-Love Playlist

  1. The duration of my time on this earth is mine to command.
  2. I propose a toast!
  3. The veil was lifted and I got the hint.
  4. Inconceivable!
  5. I will perambulate for 805 kilometres. And then do it again.
  6. Remove this burden.
  7. My affection is totally flawless.
  8. Adam’s ale.
  9. It’s copacetic.
  10. That was quite some nocturnal event.
  11. The manner in which she moves is perplexing.

For spoilers, highlight from here –

  1. It’s my life – Bon Jovi
  2. Raise your glass – Pink
  3. The Sign – Ace of Base
  4. Unbelievable – EMF
  5. I’m gonna be (500 miles) – The Proclaimers
  6. Pressure down – John Farnham
  7. 100% Pure love – Crystal Waters
  8. Water – Elitsa Todorova
  9. It’s alright – East 17
  10. December 1963 (Oh what a night) – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
  11. Mysterious ways – U2

to here.

How about you? What songs would you pick for your list?

Photo courtesy ST33VO.
This post previously appeared on my former WordPress blog.

Alors, ça commence

It's a metaphor, you guys

Ooooh, it’s a metaphor!

And so, like probably tens of thousands of other people, I am starting this year with a new blog. With my own domain, no less.

Last year was a quiet year for me; one of solitude, contemplation and reflection. And while that was just what I needed, I think I need a complete change for 2013.

Borrowing an idea from Meg, I’ve chosen three words that I hope will carry me through the year and remind me of my intentions at this point.


I’ve become somewhat disconnected from my body. The last several years have focused on studying and my body has just become something to carry my head around. With any luck, the studying will ease up this year and I can instead direct my energies towards getting my body moving and making it strong and flexible. With that in mind, my SMART target for the year is to get 300 hours of exercise.


In 2012 I met up with people fewer than ten times. Not great. I really want this year to be about connecting with people. Meeting new people, catching up with friends and family, making new friends, renewing old acquaintances, and discovering new family members. As an introvert, this is probably going to be very hard for me, but my SMART target for this year is to have 30 “meetings”. Odd choice of word, I know, but if you can come up with a single word that encompasses family get-togethers, morning tea with friends, cocktails with the girls, dinners with colleagues and networking events, then I’m all ears.


When I came to the UK, I had one suitcase and a backpack. Now I have an entire flat full of klumpf (my grandfather’s word) and a house move takes weeks. And like everyone else, I have my own emotional baggage. I really want this year to be about letting go of everything that is no longer needed in my life whether that’s grudges or ten year old gas bills. My SMART target for this year is to get rid of 300kg of “stuff” that I don’t need any more or serves no useful purpose. It will be donated, re-gifted, recycled, upcycled, used up, sold or just plain thrown out. Whatever, it just won’t be *here* cluttering my life any more.

Mostly, I’m planning to make some big changes in my life and hopefully, the above caterpillar will be a butterfly by the end of the year. Please wish me luck!

Photo courtesy Aussiegall