Firstly I just want to take a second to say that the photo above is possibly one of my favourite photos of myself, ever. I actually look... nice.
I'm usually pretty skeptical/critical of my general appearance, something I'm trying to change through consciously trying to be kinder to myself in my thoughts.
This results in quite a weird cognitive dissonance though, as we are generally socialised to believe that we are not beautiful when compared with the completely unrealistic aesthetic standards that are dominant in popular culture.
As soon as I try to tell myself I'm looking pretty good, this seems to kick in and I find myself thinking that "I look OK to myself, but not OK externally to anyone else".
Aside from practicing some much needed self love, this week has been pretty standard. I've been working, eating, sleeping and all the other general human things. Here are some of the highlights!
Cooking: Valentine's Dinner
Whilst I am completely of the opinion that Valentine's day exists far more for the retail industry than for those in love, I will take any excuse to cook a slap up meal.
After impulse buying some sort of weird pineapple and almond encrusted cheese, I decided to bake homemade focaccia to serve alongside this and other various accompaniments.
Eating: Pierogi at Barbakan in York
We usually go to Barbakan, a wonderful Polish Bistro on Walmgate, for brunch or lunch. Despite going for a couple of years now, we recently realised we had never tried their dinner menu!
On Friday this all changed as we devoured our way through their evening offering. I was slightly unimaginative, going for my usual choice of pierogi. If it ain't broke...
Des was a bit more adventurous with a lovely pancetta wrapped rabbit dish, served with spiced red cabbage and potatoes. The house red was also excellent and great value!
Looking after: my new office plants from Ikea
I decided to spruce things up at work with the addition of a couple of plants on the windowsill, one being a very fragrant rosemary bush. These were a last minute purchase in Ikea after we initially went in to look for a new sofa (nope, I still haven't found one).
My job for the coming months now is to try and keep them alive.. Wish me luck...
Protecting: My Mac in Style with this pretty awesome galaxy inspired cover
I promise this purchasing descion was prompted by a utilitarian concern - I was worried about scratching my laptop. Especially as it ends up being carted to and fro a lot between work and home.
My thought process went that if I was to prevent scratches with a hard case, it might as well be done in style!
Nathaniel's Nutmeg: How One Man's Courage Changed the Course of History by Giles Milton
I loved this book from start to finish for its captivating account of the 17th century spice wars between the English, Dutch and Portuguese. Whilst I suspect it could be accused of being very pro-English, Milton explores the awful crimes committed by all sides in pursuit of trading rights in Indonesia.
If you love historical accounts, this is one of the best I have read in recent times!
Many articles on diversity in tech by Ashe Dryden
I came across Ashe's writing at work, as I will be attending AlterConf in April, a conference focused on supporting and promoting diversity in technology.
Ashe is a clear voice in this space and has many interesting things to say on a large variety of subjects. If you work in the industry or are at all interested in issues of diversity, I recommend having a look at her website!
"Is Finland’s basic universal income a solution to automation, fewer jobs and lower wages?" The Guardian
There's a lot of talk about Universal Basic Income at the moment in various political spheres. Whilst I agree with the basic concept, I'm still skeptical of the fact that it takes away the onus from businesses to provide better, more stable incomes and working practices.
If you want to find out more about the arguments for and against UBI, this article is a good place to start.