Monday, 3 March 2008

What could be cuter?

Matthew and I spent a nice Saturday wandering down Portobello Road looking at antiques and other tat. We got a good gift for his mum and went for a nice pint at the Fat Badger. What could be better, the sun was out and we were feeling fine.

I passed this little sweetie and thought that my life wouldn't be complete without a photo.

My first purchase

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I have always heard that you appreciate things more when you have to work hard to earn them. Unfortunately that's true. I recently started work as a part time nanny earning the British pound. I was so overjoyed when I received my first envelope full of cash. I could actually go shopping and things wouldn't cost me double. I have only had two pairs of shoes since I've been over here and I was ready for a new pair. A pair of shoes with a little flair. My Pumas had fared me well, but sometimes looked a bit out of place where I was required to dress up.

I went to Top Shop and bought my first pair and let me tell you I was over the moon with joy.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

If this works, it will make me happy

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My cats, although far away are always in my heart

The Pet Prescription: Is It for You?

Owning a pet can reduce stress and improve many aspects of your health. But not everyone is cut out for pet ownership.

By Leanna Skarnulis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD

For many pet owners, having a dog or cat fills their lives with companionship and affection. But having a pet may do much more. Evidence is mounting in support of a "pet prescription" for many things that ail you.

Research has shown that when dog or cat owners were asked to perform a stressful arithmetic task, they showed less stress in the company of their pets than in the company of a friend. Other studies have found that owning a pet relieves depression, reduces blood pressure and triglycerides, and improves exercise habits, all of which can lower the risk of heart attacks. Studies even suggest that having a pet might improve survival after a heart attack.

The Pet Prescription

Some studies linking health to animal companionship are very compelling. K.C. Cole, RN, MN, is director of UCLA's People-Animal Connection (PAC), whose volunteers take dogs to visit about 400 hospital patients each month. Besides having witnessed the therapeutic value of animals, Cole has reviewed studies of the human-animal bond and is convinced there are many social, psychological, and physiological benefits.

"Among other things, animals contribute to raising self-esteem, significantly lowering anxiety levels, improving attitude toward others and opening lines of communication," she says. "With geriatric patients we see a bridge of communication develop with staff and family when a dog visits."

Cole says the most credible studies of the health benefits relate to cardiovascular disease. Heart attack patients with pet companions survive longer than those without, according to several studies.

Karen Allen, PhD, a medical researcher at the University of Buffalo, conducted a 1999 study of 48 stockbrokers who had high blood pressure and concluded that owners of a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than those who had no pets. "When we told the group that didn't have pets about the findings, many went out and got them," she says.

In another study, elderly pet owners expressed more satisfaction with life than those without pets. Other studies have shown that pet ownership lessens the likelihood of depression in men with AIDS and can help people with Alzheimer's disease or those with orthopaedic disorders.

Should you get a pet? Before you trade pills for a pooch, consider whether you can make the commitment that owning a pet requires.

A happy find

I just started another MCAD online course, HTML. I had to remotely connect to my student server, something that I had never done before ,and I found that I had a bunch of old photos. I was so happy to see these pictures that I had stashed in my trusty documents folder. There were pictures from an two of my favorite vacations and just random memories. It made me feel so much better to see these pictures and to be able to show them to my boyfriend. I was able to show him a bit of my life and that was awesome.

This is a photo from Snuffy's malt shop over on Cleveland Ave in St. Paul. I miss that place so much. The food is awesome and they have really good chicken soup.

Happy happy Kraft dinner

I think we all can agree that food can make you happy. I have really missed certain foods while I've been living London. My good friend Angie came over for a visit and as per my request she brought three beautiful boxes of Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Oh, you can't imagine my delight. Shells and cheese was one of my favorite comfort foods. After a hectic day at MCAD I would be heading home feeling hungry and all it would take to cheer me up was a good bowl of shells and cheese and a few episodes of Freaks and Geeks.

No sooner had Angie taken the boxes out of her suitcase did I have a pot on the hob to boil some water for my favorite American comfort food. I also will admit that I cooked up another box for breakfast the very next day.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Books can always be a small pleasure

Unless you are like me and like really expensive books! Long live Half Price Books. There's nothing I loved- notice the past tense here- than spending a nice Sunday afternoon looking for gorgeous coffee table books at the Salvation Army or Half Price. Those days are sadly over for now. Living in London has reduced this once highly pleasurable and might I add educational hobby to well.....nothing. So sad. I think I've only purchased one book the entire time I have been here. Due to my deterministic spirit I have not let this get in my way completely. I've just had to get a bit creative and bit less picky about what I read.

There was one Sunday afternoon where I was feeling particularly homesick for my book purchasing ritual and decided to poke around my flat to see what I could find for a good read. The results were pretty dismal. Believe it or not I wasn't very interested in David Hasselholff's autobiography or a book about Cricket.

True confession... I ended up reading that David Hasselholff book in sheer desperation, but the book goes down easier once you've had a few bottles of wine and have decided that you just don't care anymore.

This leads me to a book that I would like to recommend. However I haven't read it and I can't say if it is any good and while I was searching for a bit of information about this book I came across another blogger who wrote about it much better than I could ever dream to- or want to. Check it out here at this other guy's blog.

I was leafing through the Economist, an excellent periodical and I highly suggest that you all get a subscription. It is one of those brilliant magazines that can make the big idiot look like they know what's going on in the world. Trust me I am living proof.

So, I was leafing through the Economist and I saw a little blurb about a book that was suggesting that all this hype about being happy and the art of happiness was maybe a bit rubbish. The book "
Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy" is the name, looks like a delightful read.

How is this a small pleasure, lest I forget to come full circle. It's pretty cheap, 13.00 dollars isn't bad for a book that has been mentioned in the Economist.