Thursday, 31 January 2013

The best leek and potato soup recipe in the world!

Following on from my popular soup series (okay, just one other post), I bring you.....


This recipe makes 3 large bowls and you will need:

2 leeks
3 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
1 veggie stock cube
2 cloves of garlic
1 healthy pinch of black pepper
1 good pinch of salt

This is a rough, ready and fast soup.

Peels what needs peeling and just chop it all up as rough as you like.

Put in a pan and put in enough water so that the vegetables are just covered.

Cook for 30 mins or so.

Whizz it up!


Healthy, hearty, low cal, no fat and super duper tasty. 

Don't forget to check out my Best Butternut Squash Soup Recipe in the world too!

Say Hi on twitter! @karenstrunks

Friday, 4 January 2013

Comment on BBC WM: Do we need to preserve our urban views.

I took a call from BBC WM yesterday asking me for a comment, as a photographer, on former heritage minister John Penrose's idea that the finest urban views in our cities and towns should be protected. Here's the article in The Telegraph.

It's still available on Listen Again for the next 5 days so tune in while you can! It starts 48:20 minutes in.

I think John Penrose's idea is certainly different but I'm not sure how it could be executed successfully in cities where the landscape is always changing.

I don't think views are always ruined by redevelopment. In fact, new buildings and architecture can enhance city's aspects.

Could preserving certain urban views have a detrimental effect on industry? If a business can't build, where will the jobs go and in turn the growth of towns and cities.

What would constitute a heritage view? How would it be decided?

John Madin's Central Library is due to be demolished. I was very fortunate that the Central Library gave permission for access to the building for the 4am Project.

Ben Waddington looks over Centenary Square
Photo by Mark Wilson

The urban view from the roof top of the library is wonderful, but that particular view won't be there much longer. Though as one building goes, another will appear on the horizon and perhaps offer an even better view of an urban landscape (which of course is all down to personal taste and opinion anyway).

On my 'Being a tourist in my own city' day I took to the 25th Floor of the fairly new The Cube. I was amazed by the views! Those views may not exist if redevelopment had been halted.

Watch on youtube.

I'm all for an ever-changing urban landscape. Unless you touch my favourite building of course!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year! Hello 2013

I'm trying to find some wise words to kick off my new year post.

I'm feeling my usual gung-ho-ness about a brand new year, and already it feels like 2013 is off to a flying start! I'm feeling really happy, optimistic and taking time to celebrate achievements, big and small.

In a conversation with a good friend I was reminded how we rarely pauses to enjoy the now. I know I don't. I'm always looking ahead; to the next goal, to the next adventure, to the next journey, to the next whatever. I think to myself, "I want this, that and that to happen" and "In my ideal life this and that will happen, and I'll be doing this". I keep looking ahead, always with the future in mind, and it's just dawned on me that "this, that and that" have happened, they do happen and I'm looking ahead so much I don't actually realise what I want is happening at the time!

So, this year I am going to try and be more mindful; to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. Sometimes peeps say "Oh, you are so lucky!", but I disagree. I'm not lucky at all; I don't believe in luck. I work really hard for the successes I have. I strive for more. Of course I love doing what I do and I'm grateful I have the wherewithal to make plans, set things in motion and get to my goals. I've just realised I sound a bit serious, I'm not, I'm just grateful and very appreciative, and being mindful!

So, onto this brand new year!

What are you going to do to keep being happy? What are you going to change to be even happier?! If we are not happy with something it's down to us to change our situation, or adjust our outlook and perception. 

About 15 years ago I read a book about the power of positive thinking. Unfortunately I can't remember the exact title or who it was by (it wasn't this popular book by Normal Vincent Peale though) but it had a huge effect on me and my attitude. Looking back I used to be fairly negative in my thinking; my glass was half empty. The biggest lesson I took from that book was that I could learn to be more positive. It was a very easy thing to do, much easier to do that I first anticipated; whenever a negative thought popped into my mind I would change it to a positive one, even if I didn't really believe it at the time. 

For example: 

Negative - Oh, I'm never going to be able to run a mile so what's the point in even trying. 

Positive - I can't wait to be able to run a mile! It will take some time and effort and I'm going to feel great when I am able to do it! 

Over a period of time I re-trained my brain by catching the negative self-talk as it happened and replacing it with something a lot more positive. And it worked! My outlook changed, I felt happier, I felt like I could do more and achieve more and my confidence grew. I went on to take a year long life coaching course and gained a qualification there, and also qualified as an NLP (neuro linguistic programming) practitioner. I never looked back. I got out of a job that I had done for far too long which was getting me down, went travelling around the USA, moved house and started the process of doing work that I love. 

It's important to surround yourself with positive people too! The company you keep has a huge influence on you. Spend time with people who make you feel great. Connect with people you admire. A goal for 2012 was to bannish negative people from my life, and doing that has made such a wonderful difference! I highly recommend it. 

This time last year I wanted to get my online profile in order, and I've done that. If you want to keep up to date with everything I am up to with work and play, then is the best place to be! It's my portfolio site and I update with all my blog posts from other areas. 

I also wanted to be braver and bolder, and push myself out of my comfort zone. I think I've done that to some degree but it's a work in progress and something I'm going to continue to do; saying yes, and seeking out adventures along the way. 

London! Having spent more time in the city last year I've got it in my sights and I'm very excited about new work opportunities in the Big Smoke!

Right! Time to get on and get going with 2013! :) 

Whatever you do with the brand new year, have a blast! Make it your sparkliest yet! 

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