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 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'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 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.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

(Elly if you still read this blog (unlikely) this is nothing to worry about x)

Bad news always takes you by surprise.
Like, there are always going to be bad things in life. And even if you've dealt with a very similar situation in the past it doesn't mean your hands are going to shake any less, or the silence is going to become any less oppressive, or you'll stop wanting to literally shrink into a tiny little ball of nothing so that the situation washes right over you.

Bad news traps you. It traps you right where you were when you heard it, and there's no way to escape from it.
It traps you so closely that eating the bowl of noodles on your lap feels like a violation. I can feel them there right now; they've stopped burning through my pyjamas because time has passed and they're cooling down.
Time passes.
You all pretend to be watching Daredevil.
Your hands shake less.

You still don't know what to do.
So you revert to what you used to do when you hated your work experience and you wanted time to pass. You switch off.

I should do something.

I've been here before.
I should do something.
It was different before.
I should still do something.
I shouldn't do something (much like last time it wasn't really my place) but someone should.

I guess we'll just watch Daredevil or something.

The waning of the year.

From here

It's not winter, yet. I know that. We are, however, solidly into the main days of Autumn and I feel kind of glorious. I love the second half of the year more than is normal: I love the smell of bonfires that lingers in the air, wrapping up warm against the absurdly cold northern weather, comfort food, fluffy socks, hot drinks.

I absolutely cannot be dealing with the clocks going back though - has anybody else had serious issues adjusting, or is it just me? I'm like a parrot - if it's dark, it's night-time. If it's light, it's day-time. Clearly my brain can't deal with any concept more complicated than that.

On the plus side, Christmas is coming! I'm already excited thinking about going Christmas shopping and eating Christmas food and listening to Christmas music and enduring awkward Christmas family occasions and yay! Call me premature, but I am SO ready for this time of year!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Winning the family.

You all are familiar with the concept of winning a break-up, right? Doing better out of the end of a relationship than your ex-other-half?
Today I'm going to try and Win the Family.

Whole family get-togethers in my family are relatively rare: usually there's some form of excruciatingly boring Christmas affair once a year and then we can move on. On my mom's side we're a relatively large family - there are four siblings, 3 spouses and 7 grandchildren; but my granddad is also one of 4 who also all have loads of kids and grandkids so it all gets a bit nuts sometimes. In approximately 7 hours time (gah) all of these people will converge on my grandparents' house and whilst on the surface it will be a veritable punchbowl of polite conversation and witty anecdotes, underneath it will be a nail-biting, chaotic whirlpool-esque FAMILY WAR.

Because you can't just catch up with the family, oh no.
You have to win the family.

So how's university, cousin A?
Great thanks, I'm averaging a 2:1 and really enjoying my course!
That's great, cousin A! Did I tell you about cousin B? They're averaging a super-first! That's right, they invented an entire new degree classifcation for them. And they have 3 years work experience prepared for the summer! The laws of time decided to make an exception for them. And they love their course so much that Aphrodite herself swooped down from the heavens, saw how much they loved their course and just went damn it, cousin B! I quit! I can never make anyone love like you do! 
Ah. Well. That's good, Auntie B. That's great.

Tomorrow, though, I'm ready to win the family. I have my two jobs, my supreme levels of organisation, my first in the end of year exam, my killer heels, and my Easter work experience lined up with which to wow the judges. And in the meantime, my cousins and I can sit back on our heels, collectively cringe when asked if we're "courting" at all, and lie through our teeth when quizzed about our alcohol habits.

Winning the family? I think so.

You guys all get this, right? As much as you love your family, there's always a war going on underneath? It cannot just be me...

Hey Friday Friends!

So I appreciate it's not Friday any more (actually I was going into this assuming it was the early hours of Sunday morning and it's actually Saturday morning, whoops!)
Either way, I figure you'd like some blanks! I'm currently pulling an all-nighter because a) I have an essay that I'd like to finish and b) I have to be up at 5 to get my train home to Birmingham for the day! I figure it's probably easier for me to just stay awake at this in the spirit of killing time, here are some blankity-blanks...

1. Something I swore I'd never do, but have ended up doing anyway: I'm not sure there's anything! I'm very much a never-say-never type person...
2. Something I've always wanted to do is: go on holiday on my own. I love holidaying with friends or family but the idea of going somewhere completely brand new, completely alone and having time to explore and think and relax...gah it would just be a really lovely time :)
3. Something I have absolutely no desire to ever do is space tourism. The idea of going out into space where there's no way out if things go drastically wrong is absolutely terrifying to me...and the idea of paying for it makes it even worse! Hopefully there'll be no apocalypse any time soon, so I won't have to evacuate the planet in a gigantic life-sustaining space shuttle. I would not be cool with that.
 4. The best thing I ever did was: mess up my Cambridge interview. I can't imagine ever having not come to York. Time of my life.
5. When it comes to trying new things: I'm a total wreck. If I'm going to do something new I need lots of time to mentally prepare, and I'll still be super twitchy when the day actually comes. Getting better at coping with change is definitely one of my life targets! I do think I'm improving though. Like, I came to uni (big big change!) and managed to not have an emotional breakdown, shut myself away and never speak to anyone ever. Which I think is a fair shout.
6. One thing I've never done: just one thing? There are so many things! Been in a committed relationship, had a full-time job, had children, owned a house, bought a sofa...all these juicy juicy things to look forward to...
7. My favorite thing to do: I like getting impromptu takeaways and watching a film with my buddies, spontaneous pub trips ("Pint?" "Pint."), getting paid, snuggling up under a duvet with a warm ribena and some toast, long train journeys, having long many things. Loving life 2k12 and all that...