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Monday, 10 July 2017

Why has it become socially acceptable to label women as 'basic bitches'?

Over the last few years, the term 'basic bitch' seems to have sprung up and somehow become a part of popular social media culture. I have seen it over and over again in various online clips and articles, even in my Facebook feed, even in articles in my favourite magazines. Can someone please explain to me how on earth is this massively insulting and derogatory term is regarded as appropriate in the media? Seriously?

So, what is a  'basic bitch' exactly? Wikipedia, interestingly, has filed 'basic bitch' in a similar category to 'airhead'  (of course!) and defines it as:

'middle class white women who predominantly like mainstream products, trends or music.'

So what does this mean? Any western woman who follows trends is somehow a bitch?   How is this acceptable?  Aren't we just consumers who are using our hard-earned wages to purchase products that have been designed, manufactured and marketed to our needs/interests?  Does that really make us 'bitches'? Honestly?

I decided to delve deeper so I tried to find out the typical habits/symptoms of a 'basic bitch'.  The Internet responded with: women who like pumpkin spiced latte, ugg boots, scented candles, reality TV, Sex and the City,  Zumba classes, sweatpants with words on the bum, star/astrological/feather tattoos, North Face clothing and Diet Coke.

Now, confession time, I can relate to some of these likes: I like Sex and the City; I think it  empowered women to be honest about their sexuality and encouraged people to be creative with fashion. I have enjoyed going to Zumba classes for over 5 years.  I have more than one tattoo with stars and I like the smell of some scented candles.  Am I 'basic'?

But here's the thing, I've never tried pumpkin spice, I don't watch TV on a regular basis or drink fizzy drinks.   However, I have a degree in two foreign languages,  I have learnt to play the violin and have taught myself piano, guitar and ukulele to varying degrees of success. I regularly enjoy a number of sports and have participated in several races and events for charity. I have been fortunate enough to travel to and live in other countries around the world.  I donate to charity and have been a vegetarian for around 11 years now.

The point I'm trying to make here is that my choices as a consumer do not completely define me, my intelligence or my creativity. I don't think I follow trends to the letter and I haven't caught myself using derogatory terms for women that do.  I would like to think that I understand that people are individuals and truly complex beings. I would hate to be labelled as just one thing when,  in reality, my skills and interests are constantly changing and evolving.

Furthermore, why is there no male equivalent? Or if there is, why is it not as prevalent in online articles? Why has it not become as popular as the term 'basic bitch'?   Let's just take a moment to address some of the choices the Internet has decided to criticise in women...

Feather tattoos (seen here on Dave Grohl, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer)
Image via Pinterest
Is he a 'basic bitch' then?

Star tattoos  (seen here on David Beckham; OBE, footballer, UNICEF Ambassador, first British footballer to play 100 UEFA Champions League games)

Image via Newsround

Sex and the City (Which, by the way, won 55 awards for costume design, acting, directing and comedy, including 7 Emmys and 8 Golden Globes.)

The series featured some notable male talents:

Mikhail Baryshnikov ( often named as one of the greatest male ballet dancers in history)
Image via Ikin Dance

Matthew McConnaughey (The actor went on to star in 'Dallas Buyers Club' many years later, a role which earnt him 18 acting awards, including the Oscar for best actor.)
Image via YouTube
Are these actors really basic/simple? So why are we labelling the women who enjoy watching them?

So let's buck the trend, let's not call women 'basic' for their lifestyle choices and purchases. Let's agree that women have the right to wear whatever clothes they like and buy whatever products they want with their own money. These choices may not echo our own but they don't necessarily make women dull or unimaginative. They are choices, that is all.  In addition, let's not label these women as 'bitches'. If we really need to stick a label on people  (I say people, not only women) who follow trends religiously and who spend a lot of their money on products which they perhaps don't need/use, let's go with materialistic.

But in all honesty, aren't we all consumers to some degree? Particularly in the 'developed' countries of the western world. Couldn't the money that we spend on mobile phones/tablets/ music/
computers/monthly subscriptions/ food/alcohol be better redistributed to developing countries?

I think we all have some way to go before we are well-informed, globally-considerate consumers. Or indeed from no longer being consumers and being entirely self-sufficient.  No-one I know (including myself), is perfect in this regard.

To conclude, after considering all the information that I found,  I'm inclined to agree with one of the definitions for 'basic bitch' that I found on Urban Dictionary:

'A socially accepted way to demean and denigrate women for the choices they make.'

In fact, I would dare to say: YET ANOTHER socially accepted way to demean and denigrate women....

I could rant on how we still seem to live in a patriarchal society where women are constantly victimised and criticised for their appearance and lifestyle choices. However, I feel like there's not going to be enough room in this post!


What can you do? Stop reading articles and quizzes about 'basic bitches' and don't let this vile terminology creep into your vocabulary. Ever. Let's respect each other more.



Peebreeks xxx





Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Anxiety Survival Kit

If you're reading this, the chances are that you, or someone special to you, suffer from anxiety.  Anxiety disorders take many forms and can be sometimes hard for non-sufferers to understand.  It can be incredibly difficult to watch people go through and often,  close relatives and friends are unsure of how best to support the anxiety sufferer.

With that in mind, I scribbled down some steps/tips that have helped me to write this: The Anxiety Survival Kit.


DISCLAIMER! Anxiety has varying degrees, experiences and symptoms so this is probably not a one-size fits all, but it is intended to be helpful to anxiety sufferers and those around them.

SETTLE THE MIND:

My anxiety often affects my sleep patterns, leaving me wide awake at 2am, despite feeling exhausted or as it was years ago, causing me to wake up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep.  Here are some things which may aid restful sleep:

  • having a bath/shower- sounds so simple but warming and relaxing the muscles often helps me feel more sleepy.
  • herbal sleeping tablets and teas- a warm drink and sleepy herbs can't do you any harm so I take valerian tablets and occasionally sleepy teas like camomile.
  • nature sounds- recently discovered the 'Nature Sound' app. I'm sure there will be many others, I personally like this one as it has the sound of 'Rain on a Tarp' which reminds me of camping!
  • notepad- keeping a notepad by my bed helps me unload a lot of worries before I go to sleep and when I wake up. I tend to stop thinking about them once I have written them down.
  • quiet clock- I had an extremely loud ticking clock which was distracting when already trying to get to sleep. Switching to an alarm clock with 'silent sweep' has made a huge difference. Having an alarm clock also means I'm not relying on my phone so I can switch it off.
CREATIVE:
  • A camera! Or a project to think about. I am very restless and just need to 'burn off' my anxiety. Suggesting a project to someone to start or joining them is a good way to ease their anxiety.
  • Keeping a notepad/notebook/blog- recording my thoughts/ideas helps me clear out my head space and feel calmer.
HEALTHY
  • Try to cut down on caffeine and sugar, I should do this more.
  • Eat more fruit and veg, give your body natural energy and keep it functioning well.
  • Maybe offer your friend a fitness pass/voucher, fitness can be expensive but is really beneficial to people with anxiety.
  • Accompany them on a walk, a cheaper way to get out of the house, get exercise and endorphins.  When anxiety is bad, you may not want to go out at all.  A friend who is keen to get outside and go with you is really great.
GETTING COSY/TREATING YOURSELF:

Anxiety is horrible, it can leave you in a horrible state, to a point where you don't even recognise yourself. It takes over and pushes your personality and feelings out. Give yourself a break. 
  • Go out for a cuppa with a friend/relative
  • Indulge in films/books/podcasts, ask/search for recommendations
  • Paint your nails/get a massage/your favourite shower gel or bath bubbles- trivial I know, but sometimes these little pamper moments help make you feel human again. Which brings me nicely onto my final category!
HUMAN:

At the end of the day, you're still a human being. People around you need to remember that you suffer from anxiety and  try to show their support.
  • Hugs- I am super tactile and love to hug. Hugs make everything better, it just shows you care.
  • Recognise the signs- if someone is not their usual selves,  perhaps seeming more irritable/sensitive/snappy/quiet etc. This is their anxiety showing. Don't hassle them or tell them what they're feeling. Listen and ask what you can do to help. This can be tough when a sufferer's emotions are running high, but they already feel low inside. Criticising them or telling them that they're over-reacting makes them feel even worse and isolated because it can seem like the world is against them. They are not in control of their emotions, it is how they feel at that moment.
  • Ease up- when I'm not anxious, I think I have a good sense of humour and don't take silly insults too seriously.  However, when I am suffering, jokes at my expense and jibes just put me down even lower. Consider what you're saying and whether the person is in the mood or not.
  • Compliments- as I said, hurtful words really can hit a nerve when you're anxious. The good news is that tiny compliments go a long, long way. If I have told myself a million and one bad things in a day, someone genuinely saying just one nice thing brightens up my mind and gives me hope that I'm not so bad after all.
I hope this is useful, it definitely gave me a lot to think about.

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Things I love Thursday #24!

Hope you are having a lovely December! Here's what I've been absorbing lately...yes, it's late I know.

Following on from my obsession with with Lynn Hirschberg's Screen Tests for the New York Times, I have recently been enjoying another of her projects: 'Casting Call' for W Magazine.

Copper fairy lights by Not On The High Street, sooooo pretty and cosy!
Copper micro fairy lights image via Not On the High Street


Third series of The Fall: Oh my goodness, what a series! Don't want to give away any spoilers. If you haven't watched the first two series, do it.
Image via BBC


70's baseball tops: I remember wearing these back in the noughties! Am glad they're back in again, super comfy.
Image via Urban Outfitters
What are you loving lately?

Peebreeks xxx



Friday, 5 August 2016

Packing for India!

This Sunday, I am flying to India to travel around Rajasthan for 3 weeks, so excited! After much research and deliberation, here's what I will take in my big rucksack.

My rucksack is a 45L Eurohike Pathfinder.
TOILETRIES/MEDS
(In clear zip bags)
Medications: pain gel, anti-diarrhoea tablets, rehydration etc
First aid kit: blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic cream etc
Toiletries: travel size shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste, razor, toothbrush, deodorant.
Hairbush
Large comb
Essential oils: peppermint, tea tree and citronella.
High strength mosquito repellant
2 x suncream (1 Sweat-resistant and 1 with repellant)
15 x handy packs of tissues (or as many as poss!)
1x large pack baby wipes
2x handy packs of wet wipes

CLOTHING:
5 x t-shirts
3 x vest tops
5 x pairs underwear
3 x sports bras
1 x large scarf (for covering shoulders and head)
1 x harem pants
1 x baggy harem pants
1 x long skirt
1 x long PJ bottoms
1 x thermal base layer
1 x lightweight raincoat
2x disposable poncho (1 for a friend!)
1x flip-flops
1 hiking sandals
1 or 2 pairs cosy socks (for flights)
1 x peaked hat

EQUIPMENT:
Microfibre quick-drying towel
Eye mask and ear plugs
Small umbrella
Mini washing line with pegs
Silk sleeping bag liner and pillowcase
Travel pillow
Double mosquito net
Passport and important documents (visa, bus ticket, flights, travel insurance)
A5 journal
Colouring pencils and pads (gifts for children)
Headtorch
Padlock
Mobile phone + charger
Lightweight daypack

I will probably take my Kindle tablet or Kindle reader for the coach and airport as well, I haven't decided which yet! Argghhh decisions!

OPTIONAL: (If desired and I have room!)
Robinsons squash squeeze pack
Books
1 x shorts
Water bottle? (I intend on buying and recycling bottled water)

Hope this is helpful, I can go into more detail about medications/toiletries if needed.

Peebreeks xxx



Thursday, 4 August 2016

Things I Love Thursday #23


Getting back in the swing of things, it's Thursday again!

The Little Princess Trust
Discovered this charity online recently and I think that the work they do is amazing. They provide free real-hair wigs to children who have lost their hair whilst undergoing cancer treatment. I'm seriously considering donating some of my hair. This video explains everything.



Bob haircuts

With a hair chop in mind, there are so many beautiful bobs out there for inspiration...
                       
Image via  Pinterest Hair

Image via  Pinterest Hair

Image via  Pinterest Hair
    Image via  Pinterest Hair
Iced coffee
Anyone who follows my instagram or twitter will know by now that (during the summer) I'm a massive iced coffee fan.  The sweeter the better, I love mocha/vanilla/caramel. This week I made my own using:  Instant coffee, hot chocolate powder, skimmed milk and ice. It was delicious!




Julia Roberts

Went on a bit of a Julia Roberts binge...Have watched Mystic Pizza and Erin Brockovich again on Netflix over the last couple of weeks.
I have seen them both before but had forgotten how good they are! I love Julia Roberts, she is one of my favourite actresses. She seems to act any part well and seems to bring genuine emotion and warmth to all her roles. She always has me convinced. I think she thoroughly deserved the oscar for Erin Brockovich. In fact, the internet tells me that she was the first person to win an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, National Board of Review and Screen Actors Guild Award for a single performance!
Also watched Eat Pray Love again, but I think that was more for Javier Bardem :)
Image via US Magazine
Image via The Telegraph
Image via ET Online

Emily Hartridge
Over the last few weeks, I discovered Emily Hartridge's YouTube channel. I find her really funny and I like the format of her videos (10 Reasons Why...).  She also seems really down-to-earth,


Hope you're all well and having a good week!

Peebreeks xx

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Things I love Thursday #22

Blimey, it's been a long time since I wrote one of these posts!


Summer Barbecues

Been lucky enough to enjoy some sunshine here in Brighton recently, so have been making the most of it, have been to 4 barbecues already and it's still only July!


Cute jumpers 

Saw these beauties (and others!) in H&M this week, definitely want them. I love the cutesy patterns :) Especially the sushi one.




Gilmore Girls
Image courtesy of Warner Bros via TVLine
As a teenager I loved this series. Well-written, funny, quick-witted, what's not to like?!  To my delight, I recently discovered it had appeared on Netflix.  Have been devouring Series One and reliving fashion from the year 2000.

Nakd banana bread bars 


Image via Nakd
These delicious bars are really sweet and tasty and pretty good for you. They have no added sugar or syrups. I found this information on their website:
Nakd Banana Bread is also:
  • Suitable for vegans
  • Wheat free
  • Free from added sugar
  • Dairy free
  • Kosher Approved
  • One of your 5 a day!
  • Deliciously simple! Made with Dates (37%), Bananas (23%), Oats (20%), Walnuts (8%), Raisins (7%),  Apple Juice concentrate (3%), Rice Flour, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and a hint of natural flavouring
They are really tasty and I have repurchased them more than once. I am trying to eat healthier in general and lose a little weight. These stop me reaching for unhealthy snacks! I'm loving lots of the Nakd range at the moment.


These 90's nostalgia tattoos by the very talented Sam Whitehead 
(Email: samwhiteheadtattoos@gmail.com or follow her on instagram:@samwhiteheadtattoos)
I love the sweet cartoons! 







The Girl On The Train

Have really enjoyed reading this on my Kindle lately.  I won't spoil the story but it is really gripping and hard to put down.  There's a film adaptation coming out on 7th October this year!





(Official Trailer via Youtube)

I think that's it for this week.  What have you been loving? Post me a comment!

Peebreeks xxx

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Do you suffer from FOMO?


Recently, when chatting to a friend, he described one of his work colleagues as having "chronic FOMO". I looked back at him with a puzzled look on my face. "Well you know,'' he replied matter-of-factly, ''Fear- Of- Missing- Out". After a swift bit of research, it would appear this phrase has been a part of modern parlance for the last few years. So what is "FOMO" and what can we do about it?

FOMO is defined as the feeling of anxiety of missing out on something, the notion that someone somewhere is having a better time than you and is consequently, happier.  This feeling can manifest in a social media addiction, a desperation to attend any gathering/event at whatever personal cost or (as in my friend's colleague's case) as an over-eagerness to be involved in every discussion or meeting. 

Think about it, how many times have you seen groups of people sat round a table in a bar or a restaurant, all staring incessantly at their phone screens?  Or been mid-conversation with someone when their phone pings so they stop to check it?  Technology has advanced incredibly over the past few decades, bringing around many positive changes, but the danger of 'over-connecting' to social media is ever more present.
                                             
Let's take a look at some basic social networks statistics.

  • Facebook has an estimated 1.4 billion users and 47% of internet users are on Facebook.
  • Twitter has 284 million active users, 88% of those users are through the mobile phone app. 500 million tweets are sent per day.
  • Instagram (which is in fact, owned by Facebook) has 300 million users and 70 million photos and videos are sent daily.
This is all without even including Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr and Google +. In addition to this, it is reported that 15-19 year olds spend an average of 3 hours each day on social media and 20-29 year olds spend 2 hours on their respective social media accounts. 28% of Iphone users check their Twitter feed before getting up in the morning. 

So why are we becoming so anxious about our social media accounts?

I think most people would recognise that social media can breed envy of other people's lives. At times, social networking can seem like a constant competition of who can appear the most happy. However, I have seen photos of friends and their boyfriends on Facebook, only to later discover that they are unhappy in the relationship or that their partner has been cheating on them. The same expectations vs reality applies to other photos of food, holidays, families etc.... 
Photos in all their filtered glory, do not tell the whole story.

Let's be honest, fear of missing out stems from our own insecurities and the misguided belief that other people are out there having happier, more fulfilling experiences.  This insecurity sadly means that people fail to recognise their personal worth and their individual achievements. The irony is that when people have this fear of missing out, the anxiety and low self-worth can stop them from actually achieving what they want, be that a more prominent position in their workplace or a dream holiday.

I recently watched a powerful talk by (UNC Chapel Hill student) Bobby Mook on the subject of FOMO and he had an interesting theory which resonated with me.  FOMO comes from our anxiety about our significance in life, we are attempting to answer one of life's big questions:  
Why are we here?
This can be broken down into:
Will I be remembered?
Will anything I accomplish be important to anyone?
Am I loved?  
Am I significant?

It is unlikely that we will overcome our fear of missing out, but we should try to recognise what this fear is really telling us.  Where is it coming from? Our fear can guide us to make better decisions which could lead us to our own personal happiness, whether that be in our relationships with friends, family or partners or our careers.

Don't let FOMO get the better of you, do what makes you happy :)

The TED talk I mentioned, which inspired me to write this article:

Peebreeks xx






 


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Getting older

This week I will turn thirty.  Thirty. I know.  To anyone under thirty, it sounds scary doesn't it?

A few months ago, someone started mentioning my birthday and asking me what I might like.  I hadn't given it any thought as at that point, in my head, my birthday was still months away. Suddenly, I became acutely aware of my impending birthday and it's fair to say that I began to freak out; the more I thought about my upcoming birthday, the more I wished that it wasn't happening. This is particularly unusual as I have always loved birthdays; a great day each year when you get to celebrate with loved ones and friends, doing your favourite things. What's not to like?!

I started to panic that I hadn't achieved a lot of the things that I had hoped to do by this age; relationships, marriage, children, houses, travel etc.  Milestones that, in all honesty, I had set for myself, in my own head. Okay, there may be certain societal expectations but who really dictates these? Who actually checks to see whether you've achieved these? It's scary to realise that the only person responsible for these feelings of insignificance or disappointment is actually oneself. Societal expectations and social norms are constantly evolving; how many articles have you seen recently talking about the impossibility of buying houses/people living at home/ people living together without being married etc?

We often read about the detrimental effects of social media and I think it's true that it's easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Frequently, we update photos, statuses and posts and inadvertently bombard ourselves with updates of other people's lives: where they have travelled, who has got engaged/married, who has children, who has bought a house.  It doesn't take much for a unconfident person to start wondering why those things aren't happening for them. I felt like I had wasted my twenties; wasted time in the wrong relationships, working in the wrong places, living with the wrong people.  This delightfully pessimistic attitude led me to foolishly overlook all the fantastic people I have met, wonderful places I have travelled to, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and numerous achievements I've had in my twenties. Furthermore, I'm ashamed to admit that this feeling consumed me for a number of weeks, until a number of things dawned on me.

Firstly, that it is extremely pointless to get hung up on age.  It sounds so simple, but age is something which is completely beyond our control. Everyone ages, no-one can avoid it or prevent it from happening, no matter how hard they try! Secondly, some people think I look younger than I am, so maybe (hopefully) I could ride out on at least appearing youthful for a few more years! 'Age is just a number' and all that. It struck me that when I wake up on Friday, I will feel the same way, look the same way and act the same way, so is a new number really all that bad??!

Lastly and most importantly, I started to really consider and value where I am in my life now; the incredible experiences and opportunities that I've had and the hard-hitting lessons that I've learnt along the way. I've been extremely fortunate in a lot of ways but I also remember the tougher times.  Unfortunately, a few of my friends didn't make it to their early twenties so I really should be thankful to still be here at all.

No-one has a perfect life and when you start to see the bigger picture and think about all the dreadful and unfortunate things that are happening to people all over the world every single day, you begin to realise that you actually shouldn't worry or complain about turning older.  It seems to me that most of us are pretty lucky. At the risk of sounding preachy, I think it's important to recognise how fortunate we really are to be alive.  So after a seemingly trivial mini-meltdown about the state of my life at this age, I came to realise that I have my health, family and friends, a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my back and a great job. To be quite truthful, I am privileged to be here, and every day (including the dreaded birthdays) that I spend on earth is more than some people get. When you take a step back and think about age that way, it's not worth complaining any more.  But we will, because we're only human after all...

I recently discovered this quote pinned on a noticeboard at work:

'If you woke up this morning healthy ... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the fear and loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pain of starvation ... you are better off than 500 million people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are more comfortable than 75% of the people in this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.'

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas Recipes: Roly Poly Mince Pies

I made two different versions of mince pies.  This recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food 'Christmas Made Easy' book. They taste the same as the usual mince pies but look a bit different!  Personally, I'm not a mince pie fan but they went down well with our visitors and were extremely easy to make :)

Makes 12 rounds

50g/2oz golden caster sugar
375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
411g jar traditional mincemeat
1 tbsp milk
25g/1oz flaked almonds


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees/fan oven 180 degrees/ Gas 6
2. Scatter the sugar over the worktop, unroll the pastry and put it on top of the sugar.
3. Roll out the pastry so it's a quarter bigger but still rectangular.
4. Spoon and spread the mincemeat evenly over the pastry leaving a 2cm border along the longest edges.

5. Fold over one of the longest edges over the mincemeat and then roll the pastry tightly into a sausage shape.
6. When you get to the other edge, brush the edges with milk and press down to seal in the mincemeat.
7. Press both ends in gently to plump up and chill the roll for at least 30 mins.
8. Cut the roll into 12 rounds, about 3cm thick.
9. Lay them evenly spaced on a baking tray and flatten them with your hands so they look like squashed Chelsea buns.

10. Scatter the flaked almonds on top and bake for 20-30 mins until golden brown.
11 .Leave them to cool for 5 minutes and keep them separate so they don't stick together!

Hope you like them!
 
Peebreeks xx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Recipes: Winter Vegetable Bake

So I arrived back home in Somerset on Saturday to discover that my mum and dad were both still unwell and were starting to worry that we wouldn't be ready for Christmas Day. I asked Mum for a list of what to make and the recipes so that I could crack on!

The dish for the vegetarians this year was a Winter Vegetable Bake with crumble topping.  I actually adapted three different recipes which I took from the December edition of 'BBC Vegetarian Christmas' magazine and the BBC Good Food 'Christmas Made Easy' recipe book.
Hope you like it!

You will need:
2kg/4lb mixed root vegetables (I used sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips)
300ml/1/2pt full-fat milk
85g butter
Black pepper and sage to taste

 For the topping:
50g/2oz butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
50g/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs (from about 4 slices bread)
25g/ 1 oz vegetarian-style Parmesan
3 tblsp pine nuts
a small handful of fresh thyme leaves.

1. Peel and dice all the vegetables.




2. Place vegetables in a large pan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25mins until veg. are soft enough to mash.

 
3. Drain the vegetables ,then add the milk and butter to the dry pan and heat until the butter has melted.
4. Tip the veg back into the pan, season with cracked black pepper and sage and mash over a low heat.

5. Remove from the heat and spoon into an ovenproof dish.
6.For the topping: Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes, until golden. 
7. Mix in the breadcrumbs and stir to brown and crisp a little.
8. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Take the pan off the heat and spoon mixture on top of the mashed vegetable mix.
10. Sprinkle on the  pine nuts.
 

11. Bake for 25-30 mins (longer if from chilled)  at 190 degrees, 170 degrees if fan oven or Gas mark 5 until golden and crisp on top.
12. Add a handful of thyme leaves on top before serving.
 
The end result was very tasty and a hit with all the vegetarians! What vegetarian recipes can you recommend for Christmas time??
 
Peebreeks xx