Equal Marriage? Not really

Originally posted on yetanotherlefty:

Today I heard the news that Scotland has passed an amendment to their version of the Same Sex Marriage Bill that might finally make marriage something even approaching a possibility for me. They’re adding a gender-neutral option for wedding vows, allowing  couples (regardless of their respective genders) to declare themselves “partners in marriage” rather than “husband and wife”, “wife and wife” or “husband and husband”. If England had made such an amendment, the only things preventing me from getting married on March 29th 2014 would be the more usual obstacles of not being engaged to anyone and not being able to afford a wedding.

As things currently stand, I have one additional and very large impediment preventing me from marrying and it’s one that only trans and intersex people have. It’s also a problem that has been entirely and wilfully created by successive UK governments. 

My problem is that, in…

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1200 Calories

Snafflepuss:

Spot on.

Originally posted on Sophieologie:

I don’t know why “1200″ managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.

I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The…

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Review: Bar-B-Q Shack @ Worlds End Pub, Brighton

Bar-B-Q Shack Bacon Burrito

Sometime last year (I run a tight ship, me!) I happened to post this on Twitter. To my absolute, unadulterated glee Bar-B-Q Shack picked up the Tweet and got in touch to say that they would make one for me. Yep, my very own bacon burrito; the dream! Everyone who knows me on or offline is all too aware of my obsession with all things porcine (I have pork and piggie tattoos and EVERYTHING…it’s borderline pathological, and I’m probably downplaying it a touch).

So off I popped to Worlds End with the lovely Street Diner ladies for a jolly good night, set to the backdrop of the famous pub quiz, which even I daren’t enter. I barely knew a single answer..and I’m pretty smart! I’ve always been somewhat dubious about the venue, as it always seemed to be a den of drunks (it’s a pub you silly bint, I hear you scoff!), but it’s really rather lovely inside. A large space that manages to give off cosy, Brooklyn-esque vibe, full of colourful Brighton types without pretention.

I scuttled up to the bar behind my companions (I’ve always found the Twitter-”real life” crossover rather awkward despite having previously run a Tweetup for some time) and met John, the mind, body and soul behind Bar-B-Q Shack. WHAT. A. GUY. John is the guy you WANT cooking your meaty treats. A big hunk of culinary love, he instantly endeared himself to me (though he didn’t need to try, he’d already won me over on Twitter!). He regaled us with tales of his *incredibly* colourful life and his upcoming Berlin adventure (check his Twitter for details) as well as providing insightful information about how he runs his kitchen.

And then the magic happened. In my mouth. Oh yes (stop it you filthmongers!). Soft, squidgy, salty…I said stop it! The bacon weave burrito is truly magnificent. Housing egg, potato, sausage and cheese it was a blissful match, accompanied by a trio of mouth-watering dips (guacamole, sour cream and of course, BBQ sauce). It took A LOT of willpower to take a photo before devouring it. As a bonus, John also brought out some pulled pork spring rolls. I die. Seriously. Writing this, I’m actually getting the shakes. MUST. GO. BACK. 

Bar-B-Q Shack Pulled Pork Spring Rolls

If you don’t believe me, check out this review by Jay Rayner, he’s a big fan too. And of course, head down to The World’s End and thank me later. Preferably with some Bar-B-Q Shack treats…

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“Cure a Cold” Squash and Honey Soup

Last week I suffered the harshest cold I’ve had since my teens. You know – the sort that has you feeling like the invisible man is crushing your head and chest and poking you in the ear all at once…a real beast…in fact I am still a bit of a snot monster this week! Dosed up on cold and flu remedy last week I hit an energetic five minutes, so what better time to make some warming, healing soup?

I can’t take full credit for this one; I poached the recipe from a colleague, thanks KateHealing soup!

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash
4 smashed garlic cloves
2 small sweet potatoes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp turmeric
Oil for roasting
1 pint chicken stock
1 tbsp honey Greek yoghurt
Pinch coriander to garnish

Method

  • Roughly chop the squash and sweet potato into chunks and in a bowl toss with a couple of slugs of the oil of your choice, before adding the spices and garlic.
  • Turn out into a roasting tin, ensuring there is only one layer and space between each chunk so they don’t steam.
  • Cook at 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4 for 40 minutes, remove and let cool. Once cooled peel the skin off and discard. If you have a food processor you can whizz up the vegetables at this point, or alternatively use a hand blender at the next stage.
  • Make up the stock and meanwhile, mash the vegetables in a large saucepan over a medium heat, gradually adding half of the stock. Blend with a hand blender and add the remaining stock until you reach your preferred consistency.
  • Fill a bowl with the soup and stir in the yoghurt, add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with some torn coriander.
  • Enjoy!

How to talk to your daughter about her body

Originally posted on Hope Avenue:

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.

If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

“You look so healthy!” is a great one.

Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”

“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new…

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My brush with the Muscles from Brussels

So that was my top claim to fame as told in the Small Claims Court of BBC Radio 6 Music. Here’s the full story…

I met Jean Claude Van Damme in LA in 2001, back when I was just 20. He was living in the same apartment block as my friend’s Dad who we were staying with. On our last night we passed him on our way out. I had missed him so turned back under the guise of having left my purse back at the apartment. I’d only wished to sneak a glance at his face, but when I turned round one of his two dogs was following me so obviously I stopped to stroke the animal.

He came over and started chatting with me – he’d been walking his dogs with his son, Kris. Dressed in double denim and aviators I was really shocked by his somewhat diminutive stature. He waxed lyrical about how he’d rescued the dogs from the street and how smart they were, attempting to get them to perform small tricks for me. Does that impress a 20 year old British girl? No sir, no it does not. Anyhow, the dogs refused to perform, as if weary at this well-worn ruse for attention. After a few more minutes of small talk (boom) he whipped off his sunglasses with full on movie-style flamboyance, extended his arm and  introduced himself “Jean-Claude”. Stifling my laughter I shook his hand, mumbled a pleasantry, made my excuses and left.

On my return to the UK I learned he was desperately trying to make a come-back, and wondered if we should have acted starstruck instead of feigning ignorance (as one does in LA!). Admittedly, I’ve since watched every film he’s ever featured in – most of them in the ensuing weeks as I recuperated from an operation (special nod to JCVD which is a must-see). I must also confess to having a teeny weeny bit of a crush, but at the time he was just an embarrassing, ageing, has-been. Sorry JC, you truly are a star.

Update 29/10/13 >> have a bit of fun with this JCVD poll: http://theactionelite.com/2013/07/poll-who-is-jcvds-most-iconic-character/

 

Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies

Snafflepuss:

*I ate all the brownies (well nearly all of them!)*

Originally posted on Lip Smackin' Treats:

Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies

Totally over-the-top gluten-free bacon and peanut butter brownies

My friend Nicole LOVES bacon. She’s the Pork Princess. So when it came to baking some kind of birthday treat for her I really wanted to include bacon in the recipe; and if you’re going to be bold with your flavours you may as well go all out! That’s how I settled on these bacon and peanut butter brownies. The salty, savoury bacon and peanut butter make for a pretty intense brownie, but birthdays should be about indulgence. The bacon doesn’t really make the brownies taste meaty, you just get little chewy, salty-sweet nuggets in every few bites. I made these brownies gluten-free for Nicole, but if you’re not concerned about avoiding gluten you could make them with normal plain flour.

Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies

For the brownies:

  • About 100g streaky bacon (I used 5 rashers Oscar Meyer American bacon)

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