Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Today I am thinking about home.

For a pathological homebody, I am notoriously, outrageously bad at ever visiting home - and by home I mean the house I was born and brought up in, where my parents, sister and dog still live and where, by virtue of my student status, I think I legally still live as well.

I tend to leave a long time between visits for a couple of reasons - one, my family drive me nuts if I spend too much time with them, and two, I have job commitments that require me to be in York pretty much all year round, with the same holiday entitlements as any job.

So it's a recent thing, really, the idea of not returning home every term for a month or more at a time, to the comforts of regular laundry and cooked meals and vegetables and curfews and rules.

I've kind of learnt to treasure it, because of that. As much as I love "my" life (my York life), there's still only one place I'll ever call home in the truest of senses.

As Gabrielle Aplin so nicely puts it, "home is where you go to rest your bones." And there's only one place I can visit and leave feeling genuinely rested.

I love this song - it really hits the nail on the head. "I'm a phoenix in the water/ A fish that's learnt to fly/ And I've always been a daughter/But feathers are meant for the sky." Like, I really quite like being a flying fish. But I might only be able to fully relax when I'm back in the oceans of home.

Or something.

"I'll always keep you with me/You'll be always on my mind/But there's a shining in the shadows/I'll never know unless I try."

Life's about chasing the shining in the shadows, apparently. I'm trying to interpret these lyrics in the least dramatic way possible, because they are just about the natural process of being away from home. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that home, real home, never really leaves you at all. And that's great.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Precious Things

One of the more bizarre aspects of my personality is my inability to function on gift-giving occasions. I know no-one's a big fan of opening presents in front of everyone, or being sung to, or having attention poured on them, but I hate it to an embarrassing extent. When I got to university I made it very clear I didn't like it, and after a few shaky "no really guys I actually can't be here" occasions they're now good with me sneaking off to another room when the gift exchange occurs so I can unwrap my presents in peace and potentially have a sneaky cry if necessary.

The scene is set: Christmas dinner 2012, and once again we've done a secret santa. I'm not worried because I know I'm good to leave. My best friend at uni hands me a box. It's a big ass box.

So I walk outside, locate myself in my friend's bedroom and unwrap the box.

Inside the box is a letter, and it's one of the single nicest things I've ever read, ever. It was an "I love you, never change" that struck the perfect chord between telling the truth and making me feel damn good about myself. It pointed out good parts of me that I never even noticed. It also made me weep like a CHILD. But it was crying in the good way.

I now consider that letter one of my most precious possessions; I really don't know what I'd do if I lost it somehow. Which brings me to the (mildly cliche) point of this blog entry: it really is the little things in life that are the most precious.

For me, on a physical front: that letter (of course), birthday cards, photos, the necklace my mom and I both wear every day, the tacky moon pendant I used to wear every day in my wiccan phase that felt at the time like the most special thing on earth, the notebooks I wrote all my stories in before laptops were a thing, my holey old school jumper.

On a less concrete front, there are a bunch of little things that are equally as special to me: every drunk word of love ever uttered, every first-hug I've ever given out, the way my hometown smells, the way my dog smells, the texts my grandmother sends me even though she's technologically incapable.

To conclude: life is good. Little things make it 2000% better. The end.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Slowly becoming a food blog...

It's pretty well known that I am a food addict. My tumblr regularly deteriorates into a food porn heaven/hell when I'm hungry, and I've been known to declare myself as "toast-sexual" when drunk.

Mmm, toast.

Anyway, I'm also a student, a definite carnivore and a devoted bargain hunter; an inconsistent triangle if I ever did see one! For that reason, the reduced section of the meat aisle at my local Morrisons turns me into a crazy lady, rifling through reduced lamb chops (too expensive) and nearly-off potato salad to find that holy grail of bargains, cheap meat.

70 of your finest British pence for these buggers, ladies and gentlemen. Admittedly pork cheeks don't sound like the most mouth-watering of delicacies, but my student mind figured hey! what the hell! out-of-date, weird cuts of meat are basically my speciality!

So I bought them, and holy hell. Slow-cooked and with the right seasoning, these things taste like...like a really good cut of lamb, or something. I don't even understand. For the ridiculous price of 35p per head (...well, unless you're greedy like me and ate all four) I felt like I was eating real meat for the first time in weeks!

I've also spent my day eating stilton with a spoon. White stilton with cranberries, golden raisins and amaretto. I'm drooling just thinking about it. Also found in the reduced section, btdubs.

TO CONCLUDE, everyone should shop reduced! Because it's the best. Okay good.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

It's December and I feel glorious.

Anybody else feeling gloriously, disgustingly festive now that December has finally unveiled its head? I've spent my day drinking hot chocolate, listening to christmas songs and now I'm watching Love Actually...only the best Christmas film of all time, am I right?

This particular song is relevant because I'm going home for Christmas in a mere 21 days and I'm excited! I'm blessed to love both my York life and my UK life but I'm so excited to be home for a while, especially with all the festivities that will undoubtedly line up in the time I'm at home. 

Fittingly, this week's blanks are Christmas themed! As usual I'm not filling them in on a Friday, but I'm sure you'll all be able to cope with this maverick side of me.

1. "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is...": lots and lots and lots of Christmas music. There's nothing more guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
2. The holiday season is: historically it's been a stressful anxious awkward time for me but I'm feeling more positive about that aspect of things than I ever have been before. So I'm ludicrously optimistic and so down for some cosy festive activities.
3. When it comes to holiday decorating...at number 22 we still have a lot of pirate decs up from my housemate's birthday...so in that sense, we're failing. Hoping to get some tinsel up soon. As far as I'm concerned, though, the tackier the better!
4. The thing I look forward to most about the holidays is: eating my weight in food, having the fire on, and the way town centres look when they're all lit up and lovely.
5. My favorite holiday tradition is: Boxing Day dog walks with family friends. Just lovely.
6. This year my Christmas plans include: York Christmas on the 8th, family get-together (groan) 23rd, Christmas 25th, home friends Christmas meal some time around then, and a boring-as-hell New Years at work. Huzzah!
7. My favorite holiday food is: has to be a classic roast dinner with all the trimmings. You really can't go far wrong with that.

Let's all go to Hogwarts for Christmas. Y/N?
Hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas thus far!

Emma xx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Winter warmer


The seasons are most definitely a-changing. I keep hearing the first strains of Christmas music floating through shops and adverts, and I braved my first attempt at Christmas shopping today.
Of course it was an utter failure - I'm notoriously bad at buying people presents, and in the end I came out with a bag of McDonalds' mozzarella sticks, a dress for my work experience this Easter, and absolutely no Christmas presents at all. 
However, I did go to the supermarket on the way home and invested in some Savers hot chocolate (a bargainous 62p) and a bottle of Carolans Irish Creme...like Baileys, but for poor students. And now I'm spending my evening curled up on the sofa with an Irish Hot Chocolate and some toast.

Winter? Can't complain really.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Fill In the Blank Not Really Friday At All

I was going to do these on Friday...but I was in the kind of foul mood where the question "what is your best quality?" was enough to make me want to throw my laptop out of the window. Now, however, I'm in a gap between lectures, catching up on a lecture I missed last week (thank God for digital recordings!) and whilst it's an interesting lecture, I need to multi-task in order to properly focus! Don't ask me why. So here we go!

1. My best quality is that: I like to think I'm quite a generous person: stupid things like offering to get 6 pints of milk from the supermarket for a friend even though they're heavy; not insisting that small amounts of money get paid back; stupid little things like that. It's not that big a deal and everyone does it but I like that aspect of myself.
Also I'm bloody punctual.
2. One of my less flattering qualities is that: I am most definitely not a morning person! Also I get a kind of sadistic pleasure in bitching about people behind their backs, which makes me sound like an awful human being but...it's only harmless gossip, really. I would do it if it was genuinely harmful. 
3. I'd rather be under my duvet with a takeaway, a bottle of wine and good company.
4. Something I have been challenged with lately is: social interactions. I'm kind of shit at making friends! Partly because I'm satisfied with the friends I have and I don't feel that need to have lots and loots of friends, but also because I'm far too lazy to make conversation. And when I do try I get a bit nervous and blustery and stuttery and embarrassing SO.
6. A super random factoid about me is: Today is the first day I've not worn my black jeans in 6 days. It's also the first day I haven't worn jeans all term.
7. I want to spend an entire weekend doing social things. We're all so busy at the moment with degree work and jobs and other miscellaneous things that my housemates have been like ships passing in the night this week, boooo :(

Happy not-Friday everyone! 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

I made a cake.

I make a cake on a fairly regular basis! But I made this one totally without a recipe, completely on the fly. I actually woke up this morning (afternoon, ahem) as my housemate looked in my room and just went "I'm making a cake."

Divine inspiration or what?

So I went to Freshways in my pyjamas, had bants with the gentleman in the queue behind me, bought some bananas and made this bizarre oaty banana cake with a cinnamon grossness on top. Recipe follows. I have taken a picture but it's on my phone and phone-laptop transfer is something I have yet to master...so here, have a webcam pic instead!

Mmm. Cake. Here's the recipe, more for me to remember than anything else!

(Also I'm old fashioned and I do my cooking in ounces. Sorry.)


3.5oz self-raising flour
0.5oz of porridge oats (optional - substitute for more flour if you like, the texture is kind of gritty otherwise.)
Pinch of salt
5g baking powder
3.7oz butter + some for greasing (let's go nuts and call it 4oz)
3 very small, ripe bananas. No green ones. A little bit of brown is okay but don't go ott.
2.5oz light brown soft sugar
1.5oz caster sugar
2 eggs
I'm really not sure if icing is the right word for this, but...
Approx. 1oz butter
Splash of milk
2oz sugar (I used light brown soft again but in hindsight I think a mix of icing sugar and lbs might have been nicer...the icing's kind of weird because I didn't melt it down properly...)

Step zero: get the butter out of the fridge to soften a bit. Preheat the oven to about Gas Mark 6. My oven is astronomically old and gas operated: if yours has taken that monumental leap into the 21st century, it's probably going to be about 180 degrees although don't quote me on that. Pre-grease a cake tin whilst you're doing preparative stuff - mine is probably about 14cm wide so that's probably a safe bet.
Step one: Throw all the dry stuff into a bowl - that's flour, salt, baking powder, oats and sugar. Stir it up.
Step two: Mash bananas. You can be an adult and use some form of mashing implement. Personally I like to squidge it through my fingers and pretend I'm mashing brains.
Step three: Throw bananas in bowl. Stir them in.
Step 4: Crack in your eggs, throw in your butter.
Step 5: Crack out your electric mixer (or a big ol' wooden spoon if you don't have electricity yet) and mix it all up.
Step 6: Put it in the oven until it's cooked - I usually test it by sticking the wrong end of a spoon in and if it comes out clean, it's not going to give you salmonella. This cake took about 25-30 minutes although my oven is by no means conventional.
Step 7: Allow to cool. Whilst allowing to cool, locate a saucepan.
Step 8: Put saucepan on hob. Turn heat on. Put butter in saucepan. Melt butter.
Step 9: Put sugar and cinnamon in saucepan. Cook until it starts looking scary (THIS WILL NOT TAKE LONG) then add a splash of milk and stir it all up.
Step 10: Keep cooking and stirring until everything combines and (hopefully) mixture thicens.
Step 11: Drizzle over cake. Allow to cool.

Then you may eat the cake.