Hey gang! Another week, another Weekly Balance. Let’s have a look back at the past seven days in my life and what I’ve learnt from it.
What I’m thinking about…
Vaccination! Last week saw the announcement by the UK government that they, on advice from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), have approved the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for use. I know millions of us around the world have been watching closely and waiting all year for a vaccine to be available against Sars-CoV-2/COVID-19, so this news is certainly an exciting start ahead of 2021, and some good news that many have been in need of. I wrote an article on the very important public health issue of vaccine hesitancy for The Food Medic Educational Hub this week – I shared it on my Instagram Story and couldn’t believe how many people hit the link to read it! So I decided to share it here with you guys too – you can have a read by clicking here.
What I’m reading…
Last weekend I finished an absolutely wonderful memoir titled A Dutiful Boy, by Mohsin Zaidi. It was actually the first bit of non-fiction I’ve read in absolutely ages, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve wanted to read this book since hearing Zaidi interviewed on the How To Fail with Elizabeth Day podcast (which many of you will know is a favourite of mine!). Zaidi’s memoir is a beautiful and bravely honest book, beginning his story with his childhood growing up in East London, in a devout shia Muslim family. Zaidi struggled growing up – in particular, with the realisation that he was gay, having to grapple with this in the context of his faith and family, and also with relentlessly cruel bullying at school. The feelings of loneliness and isolation he describes experiencing as he tries to come to terms with being gay are so poignantly described and make for a really emotional read. In spite of the barriers he faced, Zaidi becomes the first from his school to go to Oxford University, where he studied law and began the rocky journey of acceptance with his sexuality, leading later on to opening up to his family about being gay. This for me was the most heart-rendering and inspiring parts of the book,. Zaidi also describes his journey to qualifying as a barrister, and his hard work and dedication to his career are so clear.
I absolutely loved reading A Dutiful Boy – I couldn’t put it down! It made me well up, it made me smile, and laugh. This book really highlighted the power of family bonds and love, and their triumph over race, religion and culture. I would highly recommend reading it. Thank you Mohsin for writing such an incredible memoir.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! My current read is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I recently finished After The Silence by Louise O’Neill and will review that next week!
What I’m listening to…
This week I’ve been enjoying Brené Brown’s podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare To Lead. The latest episodes of both were brilliant – on Unlocking Us, Brown regularly does what are called ‘On My Mind’ episodes, where she talks about what she has been reflecting on, enjoying and thinking about. This week, she spoke about the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit (which I LOVED), and the tiredness many of us are feeling mentally with this year. Better still was the new episode on Dare To Lead, which was an interview with former US president Barack Obama, talking about family, leadership and the first installment of his memoir, A Promised Land (it’s on my reading list!). I absolutely love listening to interviews with the Obamas and this was no different!
I recently finished A Keeper by Graham Norton, on Audible. It was the third of his novel’s that I had read, and honestly, although I really enjoyed Holding and Home Stretch, I just didn’t love this one at all. A Keeper is the story of two women – one, Elizabeth Keane, an Irish woman who has returned from her home in America to the small Irish village of her youth after her mother’s death, to begin clearing out her family home. As she sorts through the many belongings of her mother’s, she happens upon a set of letters written to her mother from the father she never met – Edward Foley. The second protagonist of this story is Elizabeth’s mother Patricia – the book toggles back and forth between the present with Elizabeth and the past with Patricia when she was a young woman, looking for love. She meets a young man called Edward Foley, and they begin a relationship that is definitely not all that it seems. What follows as the book moves forward is the unravelling dark and unexpected story of Patricia and Edward’s relationship, Edward’s mother’s involvement in it and ultimately, how Elizabeth came into the world to where she is today. The book has a serious plot twist, which I just didn’t find believable at all, and although I did enjoy the audio (Graham Norton is a great narrator), I really didn’t click with the story or the characters. I can’t say much more without serious spoiler alerts so I’d love to know if you read this book and what you thought!
Recipe of the Week
The recipe I’m loving this week is my Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry, a quick dinner recipe favourite for me, one I’ve been making for years and never get tired of – with a good few veggies in there too! You can find the recipe here.
And that’s a wrap for this week gang! If you want to get in touch, you can find me @theirishbalance on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I hope you have a lovely week ahead folks – remember, stay informed with the advice from your local health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and be kind!