Rebuilding yourself during pandemic…

Pandemic has brought quite a few changes to us, for some of us more than others. How do you get through it? When it all started, I was fairly confused, overwhelmed and had few episodes of weird panic attacks. I had a period of overeating, a period of oversleeping and I even asked my manager to take few weeks off to just realise what is it going on. Because, without a pause, I did not know how one suppose to recollect yourself…

Now, we are in the midst of the second wave. But I do find myself in a very different place. Throughout past six month I literally rebuild myself, or in more honesty, I built, ruined, built again. I have done all sorts of things, starting with going fully alcohol free, picking up yoga ,followed by bodyweight, followed by walks, cooking, reading, breathing, trying different work routines, breaking new habits, starting again, rearranging furniture in the house, rearranging thoughts in my head, working through old guilt and weight on my shoulders…and finally, treating myself to time off away when we could to sum all these up and see where I am now.

A week now since we were back from our trip to warm Sicily, I had time to sit down and look back. We went to the same location we visited last year and oh, how much has changed just in 12 month. Travelling inevitably and always make me to change perspective, whether I want it or not – I change. Accepting that change would take a few days, I would need few new habits or some shaken up but I would feel freer…

Working in pandemic is hard, especially if you have a small space and if you do really care about what you do. It can really start eating you up a little. Since we moved to Lancaster, I realised I have not made any friends yet and as we went into lockdown, my best times of the day is meeting online for work or not but just seeing others and hearing their voice…

I learnt how much I need others and how much I need to be needed by others too, to offer my help, to feel that I can do something not just for myself…

I regained weird energy through working on myself so I can give more to others in my work. Meditation and breathing has been the most impactful but is the hardest because clarity of mind, mindfulness can force one to face things that are very raw, very real and sometimes it is really scary…However, on the positive side, being in the moment offers such peace. Worrying about future or past can be an endless cycle of thoughts putting us into stress and panic but in the present, we just have what we have and we trust.

I am growing to embrace it…and hope that I won’t slip from this…

This week I celebrated 125 days of gratitude. Every single day I write down few things I am grateful for from the day and I can tell now looking back, it does make such a difference. Every day is precious to me, good or bad. I do not want to press button ‘forward’ to pass through it at different speed. Days are suddenly becoming longer, weeks are more fulfilling… Yet, its a hard work of daily routine. Morning reading, yoga, mediation, breakfast with my husband – all of these can make one to start your work day way later but all of these are very important to have a good day. Whats once was a hard work becomes a beatuful habit but its important to give it a time…

If you are starting a similar journey to find yourself or rebuilding yourself in pandemic, closed doors environment, be kind to yourself – do not rush and enjoy the process as it is in the process where we find fulfilment now in the final outcome…Trust that it takes time to build something and keep going 😉

with love,

Ana

Italian dinner for a weekend and our Sicilian nostalgia…

This weekend is our first since we came back from our holiday in Sicily. Quite privileged to be able to runaway for a week, we enjoyed it fully with walks, swims and eating (as well as cooking!). For me, one of the best way to go back to a place is to eat the food I once eat there…

On our second visit to Sicily, we treat ourselves to a cooking class with Maria and learnt how to cook few very traditional dishes like panelle, homemade pasta alla Norma, Sicilian meatballs and Genovese.. We spent quite a few hours in the kitchen before we can eat these delicious bits and I could not wait to be back and recreate some of it in our home in Lancaster.

What’s more, I came across a mouth watering recipe from Parmigiana Whisperer and was convinced that the Italian dinner it is that I am cooking this Saturday!

Trattoria Buttitta - Picture of Trattoria Buttitta, Bagheria - Tripadvisor
Hidden gem of Bagheria (Sicily) beautiful food and peo

For the start, I made simple bruschetta, because why not 🙂 And for primo, I tried to recreate a very simple dish that we had in one of Bagheria’s trattorias which was light and delicious, namely Aglio e Olio.. Simply slice some garlic, and cook gently until soft with some olive oil. Add finely chopped parsley, a bit of chilli flakes to taste and mix with al dente spaghetti and add a little bit more of olive oil if you want… I made a little pan to leave some space for our secondo 🙂

One of the best if not the best pre-made tomato sauce…

And for secondo, we recreated the meatballs (polpette) with a little bit of a twist from Maria’s recipe, adding some pine-nut and raisins to the mix…

I then proceeded with beautiful recipe from Parmigiana Whisperer, using a tomato sauce that we brought from Italy…

And here there are, beautiful meatballs… Thank you so much Parmigiana Whisperer!

We thought we’d have some leftovers for Sunday but nope, we finished it all and accompanied it with red wine that we also brought from Sicily.

Highly recommended 🙂

We certainly felt like back to our travels. Important as well for me was to slow down after I finished cooking. I often rush to prepare table, eat so fast that I barely enjoy my own creation… Taking some time to finish off in the kitchen, lay out the table, sit down and talk makes such a difference…

In this colder days, creating a meal of few dishes felt like one of the best thing to do to warm up. I also really love the idea of primo and secondo and can say that meatballs taste so much better when presented as a separate dish.

Autumn’s cold and soups…

Autumn means rain, cold, soaked jumpers and shoes…but also for me, turns out, it means more enjoyable moments in the kitchen. In summer I pause for cooking adventures, its hot and I am not interested to heat myself up in the kitchen even further! … but, autumn…

I came across Nordic Soup recipe in the magazine I recently discovered called ‘Oh’. The magazine itself is made for women but I think it can be read by anyone really who wants a minute of calm to look after yourself, mind, tummy and appreciate life a little more… The soup is beautiful to appreciate all the seasonal harvest of root vegetables, potatoes and beautiful leaks. Smell of freshly cut leaks…mmm…for more authentic experience, the recipe recommends to cook a soup outdoors on a fire.

Lancaster in autumn can be quite wet but that is not an excuse I thought to miss a lovely walk outdoors followed by cooking of a warm bowl of soup afterwards.

I am yet to cook even more today recreating some Sicilian food we discovered on our last trip…

Williamson Park
Welcoming Autumn…