Craven The City

Month: May 2016

Fancy a nibble?

untitled

When it comes to food, I will eat just about anything!  But I am one who believes that food is best when it’s shared and even better when you make it into an experience. I will be delving into some of the different food experiences over the next few months… but to begin with, my favourite ‘eating experience’ of all…Tapas!

A lot of people (and by people I mean Australians), seem to get the meaning of tapas wrong. I’ve had people invite me out for Asian or Mexican Tapas.  Excuse me…if it’s Asian or Mexican, it isn’t tapas people!!  For starters, Tapas is a Spanish word! Spanish! And the official meaning: ‘A wide variety of appetizers in Spanish cuisine.’  So, if you say you want to have Asian Tapas, Mexican Tapas, Italian Tapas, or Whatever Tapas, it is no longer Tapas I’m afraid.

I myself have been to Barcelona in Spain and have eaten Tapas and drank Sangria after hours of shopping on Las Ramblas and I can tell you right now, the Tapas we make here will never be the same as over there! I can however, tell you about a few in Perth that come pretty damn close!

Duende, Leederville

This is by far the best Tapas restaurant I have been to in Perth and a restaurant I frequent often.  The food, wine list, ambiance, staff and the location are all close to perfection!

The décor also has a really warm and Spanish feel to it, which I love.

Must try: Ceviche and Doughnut balls

Rustico Tapas, Rockingham

I know what you’re thinking, why would you go to Rockingham to eat Tapas? In fact, why would you go to Rockingham full stop? Yes, it is not the ideal location, but the food is fantastic, the drinks are flowing, the service is good and they even have live music to accompany it all.

And better yet, they now have an additional location in the heart of Margaret River!

Must try: Fried Goats Cheese, Beef and Pork Meatballs

Andaluz Bar and Tapas, Perth CBD

In third place is one of the funkiest bars in the CBD.  It’s a little hidden, so you may not even know it’s there, but once you try their delicious food you won’t forget.

Must try: Belly Pork strips

I hope reading this has got you salivating as much as I did writing it – Happy Tapas! (And please don’t forget what it really means).

 

Why so restless?

restless leg

For the past three years (on and off), I have been restless.  I don’t mean unable to rest or relax due to boredom or anxiety, I mean my legs have been restless. I suffer from a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). It is characterised by a compelling urge to move the legs, particularly when in bed and trying to sleep. The cause is unknown, but it is thought to involve a malfunctioning of the nervous system.

If you have never experienced RLS, you can’t begin to imagine what it feels like. I’ve tried to paint a picture for you below to give you a better understanding of this little known disease.

This is a typical ‘restless leg’ night for me:

I’m really tired, so naturally I decide to go to bed to sleep.  I get to bed and after about 10 minutes of lying there and starting to slowly drift off to sleep… ”Shit! It’s started!” I begin to get a crawling/tingling sensation throughout my calves (some people ask me if it’s similar to a leg cramp – no it’s nothing like a leg cramp, I’ve had a leg cramp and it’s definitely not that!). It is almost like someone has poured caffeine into only your calves and there’s a party inside them. I like parties sure, but right now I want to go to sleep and I don’t feel like dancing! But no matter how hard you try, you cannot stop moving them.  Keeping them still and trying to relax is so unbelievably uncomfortable that you cannot possibly do it.  It’s like your brain knows it’s time for sleep and it just wants to mess with you!

So, next thing I do is get out of bed and go for my muscle relaxant tissue salts.  The recommended dose is to chew 1-2 tablets. I’m tired and desperate, so I chew 6. I go for a walk around my house, stomp on the floor, do some calf stretches and give them a massage, then I go back to bed.  An hour later, I’m still kicking and moving around in bed.  The muscle relaxants haven’t worked. I get up again and I drink double the dose of my Magnesium powder (maybe that will work), go for a walk around and jump up and down again, hoping my legs will begin to tire – no such luck.  Nevertheless, I go back to bed, as I have to get up early for work tomorrow!

Another couple of hours go by, I still haven’t slept because my legs are still having a party and it’s a late one.  My legs seem to be enjoying it, but I’m sure not! At this point I’m in tears, tears of exhaustion and frustration. I just want to sleep!  I kick my blankets off, bang my legs on the bed and scream, because I just don’t know what else to do.  At this point I would happily cut my legs off if I could ever bring myself to do so!  But I can’t do that…. so what else can I try?  “I know! A bath!” I run myself a bath with some Epsom salts (this has helped before). Whilst the bath is running, I walk around the house and chew on some more tissue salts (they’re all natural so they won’t kill me).  By this point it’s 2am, I can’t take a sleeping pill because then I won’t wake up at 6am when I need to (crap!).

The bath is relaxing and the salts seem to be doing a little bit of good, I begin to fall asleep in the bath. I jump out of the bath and quickly run to my bed barely dry, because I feel really sleepy again, so I must get to bed before this feeling goes away! Quick! The race is real. I’m worried that as soon as I go to bed the feeling may come back again (it usually does).  I feel nervous and I feel scared.  I get to bed and the feeling is back.  I begin to cry again.  Not knowing what else I can possibly do, I put on my mediation playlist and try to relax as best I can.  I toss and turn, kick and bang my legs around for a while longer, but eventually I am so tired and exhausted that I fall asleep, and thank God I manage to sleep until my alarm goes off at 6am.

I am exhausted.  I have to go to work on approximately 3.5 hours sleep, when my body is used to 7-9.  How am I going to do this? I have previously called in sick due to this very reason and my bosses never believe me.  They obviously think this ‘RLS thing’ is something I have made up.  So knowing this and not wanting to disappoint my boss nor feel guilty, I get up, push on, and go to work.  Work is difficult today, I get work done, but not as much as I usually would and not to the same standard.  How can I on half the amount of sleep I am used to?

Recently, after a lot of research late one sleepless night, I found a drug called Sifrol.  This drug is usually prescribed to people with Parkinson’s disease but can also be used for RLS because they are both types of Neurological Disorders, which are caused by faulty or lack of dopamine signals in certain areas of the brain. I went to my Doctor and asked for this medication.  He didn’t even know what it was and had to look it up! But I knew I wanted it and I wasn’t leaving without it! I got it of course, and have been taking it for a month now. I take it every evening, a couple of hours prior to going to bed.  I don’t like the thought of taking a regular medication, but I have to sleep right? It works sometimes, but unfortunately, there are still some nights when it doesn’t seem to.  Therefore, the struggle continues….

I am currently doing more research and am keeping a ‘leg diary’ of my symptoms, what I ate, drank and did that day to try and see if there is a pattern, so I can possibly find the cause!

I hope sharing my struggle may help people who have never experienced it understand, and help the other sufferers out there realise that they’re not alone.

If you have suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome, know someone who has, or would just like to ask me about it, I would love to hear from you.

 

 

The Power of Now

Here and now

Staying in the present, ‘the now’, being mindful, living in the moment – whichever way you choose to describe it, it is something I really struggle with.  My mind is often worrying and wondering; What if this awful thing happens tomorrow? What if this doesn’t work out? What if the meeting doesn’t go well at work tomorrow? What if I fail? And so on…

No matter how often I worry about the future or how often I dwell on the past, it doesn’t make any difference and it never will.  It doesn’t change the past and life never hands me a crystal ball to foresee my future with (as much as I would like it to).

So why do I do it? In fact, why do we all do it?  Maybe it’s because our minds don’t know the difference, or perhaps it’s our anxiety talking, who knows. All I know is, it definitely doesn’t help my life or anyone else’s for that matter.

Eckhart Tole spends a lot of his book, ‘The Power of Now’, talking about the fact that time is an illusion.  This was a lot to get my head around.  How can time be an illusion?  It’s 11.30am right now.  It is! I swear! My clock is telling me so! How can my clock be an illusion?  Perhaps Tole uses this theory to force our minds to forget about time altogether, as sort of an attempt to enable us to remain in the present moment.  However, I’m not sure how we would live without the concept of time? Did we not invent the concept for a reason? Or should we have never invented it in the first place? Or are we to simply pretend it’s not there until we’re in the next moment? I’m thinking too much again…

I suppose nothing does exist outside of the present moment and we should learn to remain within it.  I still can’t help but wonder…where do we draw the line? Does always remaining in the present mean that we can never discuss the future? Does it mean that we can never reminisce on past events? Does it mean that we should avoid making plans and be more spontaneous?

Why do we worry? What does this achieve? Absolutely nothing! Why do we dwell on the past, when we will never be able to go back and change it? And why do we worry about the future, when we will never have complete control over it?

The answer: It’s all in our minds and we are not our minds.  We do however, have the power to control our minds and one of the first and most powerful steps to doing so is to just be in the moment.

I am still not an expert at being in the moment by any means! But here are a few of the little things I’ve started to do, which seem to be helping me get there:

Turn your phone off at work

Of late, when I get to work in the morning I turn my phone off and put it in my handbag and then I don’t turn it on again until my lunch break. Then I can respond to text messages, check my Facebook, Instagram, whatever during my break time.  Then after lunch, I turn it off again until the end of the working day.  That way, the entire morning and afternoon I spend working, is actually spent working! Not working, then glancing at your phone every few minutes to see if you have a message is something we tend to do… and if we don’t have a message, we may feel disappointed, or if we do have a message we will respond to it. Next thing we know, we’ve just sent our best friend 10 text messages and just lost 15 minutes of valuable work time.  And most of important of all…we weren’t completely in the moment!

I know what you’re thinking.  Turn my phone off? What if there is an emergency?  Well, if you’re like me, your parents and close friends will know your direct line at work, so if it’s something urgent they can call you there.  So, unless you require your mobile for work purposes, then there is absolutely no reason why your phone needs to be on at work.

Cut down your Social Media time

I don’t know about you, but I was (and still am at times) a Facebook addict! I went through a stage where I checked Facebook every hour.  Every hour! I know – how sad was I?

I am gradually cutting down. I’m not cutting it out completely and I have my reasons for that.  However, I have cut down to checking it only once a day and I actually log out of the app once I’ve finished, so I don’t get any notifications popping up on my phone.  That way, when I’m doing something else with my time, I can be completely in the moment.

As weird as it may sound, I even recommend you have allocated social media days, or days where you just don’t check it at all.  Because when you’re not on social media you have a chance to just focus on yourself and what you are doing and nobody or nothing else matters during that time!  It really is freeing!

Yoga

I have only recently started the practice of Yoga, but I can already see the changes, not only in my body, but in my mind too.

If you have never tried yoga or don’t know much about it, the reason it’s such a wonderful tool for learning to be in the moment is because as well as being about stretching and toning your body, it’s also about your breath. Listening to, following and being in complete control of your breath.  So the whole session, you’re only focusing on your movements and your breath and once you get a lot of practice, you learn to completely shut off your mind.  Not only during the practice of yoga, but at other times to.

So whether you keep reading ‘The Power of Now’ over and over, turn your phone off at work, cut down on social media, practice Yoga, or all of the above, I ask you to join me in doing your best to live in the present moment, here and now.

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