Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas Leftovers – Easy Vietnamese Salad


For the past couple of years, I’ve made these Vietnamese salad which I learnt from a friend from university. It’s really easy and quick to make and tastes just so good – what’s even better is that it uses some of those leftovers in the fridge and doesn’t require too many hard to find ingredients!

What at you’ll need for 4 people: (feel free to adjust to how much you like!)

4 suitable portion sizes of any leftover meat. (We used leftover goose from Christmas Day, turkey or chicken works well too)

3 carrots grated (We never use all the carrots for our Christmas lunch)

1/4 red cabbage chopped

1/4 white cabbage chopped

4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2tbsp fish sauce

1 lime (left over from all the gin and tonics 1tsp ginger (optional) 2 handfuls f peanuts and cashews Instructions:

1. Toast the nuts on a medium heat in a drying pan. Whilst these are toasting, grate the carrot and chop the cabbage.

2. Once the nuts are toasted, leave to the side, add the meat and ginger into the same pan and cook until hot through. Meanwhile, mix together the fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce and lime.

3. Add the sauce into the pan and once mixed through, add into a bowl with the salad ingredients. Give a final toss and you’re ready to eat!

This recipe can altered according to your tastes, here are some rough guidelines:

If you like a more tangy fresher salad then add more lime juice.

If you like it sweeter then add more carrot

if you don’t like white cabbage, then just use red cabbage or vica versa


Office working at Christmas time


For most of us, today will be the last day of work for 2014. Yippeeee – can’t contain my excitement! However, for some like me, who doesn’t have enough holiday left to spend the entire 2 weeks sitting in front of a fire, watching dire tv and eating more than I’ve consumed cumulatively all year, I’d thought I’d write what I plan to do to make sure I am still productive in this Christmas period. And here they are:

Set out a list of tasks that can be started and completed before everyone else comes back after Christmas. If you never finish anything – it probably won’t feel like you’ve not achieved much. It may be Christmas but my line manager is still expecting some serious output for when everything returns to normal. Focus on the tasks where it requires you and nobody else – I realise that this can be quite a challenge in some jobs.

Reflect: When we only have hours to go before the countdown of 2015, everyone will be thinking of their past year. What was good, what wasn’t so good and what do they want to do differently in the coming year. Take the same opportunity to do this with your work life. Evaluate what you are doing – something slightly easier to do when you don’t have people stopping at your desk asking you questions every 10 minutes.

Objectives: This really is an output of that ‘To reflect’ meeting you put in the diary with one attendee (yourself). If you realise that you’ve achieved some all of the objectives you set out, then add new ones! If you’ve realised that some are not achievable, can they be adjusted? Have a plan ready in your mind for when your line manager comes back and you can begin 2015 really on the right foot!

Training: Another one that may come out of your objectives, are there any areas that you could develop if you received training. I’ve found that everyone says they would like to attend training courses in that and the other but hardly ever get around to doing anything about it. Between the lull of Christmas and New Year is perfect, you have time to look around and see what’s on offer. Another reason for you to be straight back on it when everyone’s back in 2015.

Plan: When it gets hectic, my planning goes out the window. Set yourself up for success in the new year by planning your next actions, and get ready to send out those emails to colleagues that you need to speak to once they are in the office. You know they’re not going to reply during Christmas. Why let your email get lost in the jungle of emails they are going to come back to on their first day and just piss them off when they come back in the office. Instead, wait until you know their in the office, then it will go straight to the top of their pile and you weren’t that person sending them a billion emails in anticipation of them returning to work!

So there you have it – my plan for my christmas holidays and working from home days. A lot of reflection and a lot of planning so that you’re raring to go whilst everyone else is sharing their new found diet and exercise regime for the new year. Which one will have the most benefits I wonder?

Lights at Christmas – Picture Overload

This week, I thought I would keep the word count short and focus on all of the pretty pictures I’ve taken over the past week which also included visiting the Enchanted Woodland in Syon Park. photo 1 photo 2 photo 4

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3   photo 3 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Trying out Winterville!

Winterville at Victoria Park was one of the things I really wanted to investigate during the month of December to start feeling truly festive. I visited the Park yesterday after work and have to say it’s a bit of a mixed bag.


On first inspection, it seems to be a lot smaller than what I was expecting, considering the promises of all the events on the website (live music, pantomime, ice skating, arts and crafts. For anyone that loves the funfair, then you would really enjoy Winterville, it is mostly made up of rides. For those, like me that prefer to steer clear of the somewhat dubious rides, there are several bars to choose from, an ice skating rink, a roller disco and a Karaoke bar and of course, lots of food stalls!

The only disappointing thing is that it was very quiet when we went last night but considering it’s only been open for a few days and it not being the weekend, I suppose it will get a lot busier. But it only took us about half an hour to walk around all the stalls, I have a feeling that not all the stalls are open yet as there weren’t really any stalls selling crafts/gifts which was the primary reason why I was going! Plus there was a tent called the House of Fairy Tales which seemed very intriguing but wasn’t open yet! But reckon I shall be revisiting one weekend when it will be more atmospheric and a lot more people volunteering for the Karaoke! Which most definitely won’t be me!

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So in conclusion – Winterville is worth going to with friends and family but perhaps wait a week or two before going, and a weekend might be best!