Sunday, 31 March 2013

This Time Last Year...

Recently, I've been thinking about this time last year, and how different things were.


On 31st March 2012, I  lived in a city, in a house with three of my favourite people in the world, and was incredibly near to a lot of my other favourites. I was a full time student, just finishing up her dissertation on the Exode (the article gives a bit of an overview, but I actually disagree with Jackson on a lot of what he says here- but now is not the time to rewrite the historiographical section of my dissertation) and realising that it was double the word limit. Cue two weeks of massive stress after this.
I was in Paris with some wonderful course friends for what would be one of my favourite trips. And I was dreaming of a few days later, when I would be off to see the guy I was in a relationship with at the time. 
It was my baby nephew's first birthday, and I had made him his first birthday cake- because you know, I'm that sort of aunt. And it was no where near as cold as it is now.
And generally speaking, I was incredibly happy, incredibly sad, and incredibly stressed.



LOOK. No coat or tights!! (I am wearing a cardi. It's just as pale as I was) AND this was up the Eiffel Tower where it's often bloody freezing...


On 31st March 2013, I live back at home, with my mum and my brother, in the middle of the countryside where the nearest train station is a 30 minute drive away, and a hundred miles away from some of my closest friends. That said, I am very near to other favourite people.


And at home, I get to see sunrises like this.

It is my nephew's second birthday (oddly enough). I haven't seen him, or the rest of his family, in a very long time, and I do feel bad about this. But because I now work full time, there is precious little time for visits to far away friends and family. And also, compared to last year, I now live five times as far away.

I am very definitely single. Not unhappily, but not completely happily either. But then again, I know that I am not really in a relationship-y sort of place- I want a relationship, but right now, I don't think it's for the right reasons. And most importantly, I am bloody freezing, and have been for the past six months. And I am still happy, and sad, and stressed, just for a world of different reasons.


Admittedly, this was taken a few weeks ago but it's still that cold.

I struggle to comprehend how much has changed in the past year. To be honest, my life is pretty unrecognisable from where it was twelve months ago. I am a very, very different person to who I was then. I'm more me, I think, in a way which only comes with joining the real world, putting your big girl pants (or grown up lingerie) on, and just getting on with things. With realising that life is pretty damn shit sometimes, but also is completely wonderful and incredible. Realising that I can actually be happy completely by myself- living how I want to live, and doing what I want to do, not what I feel I should be doing because I was a girlfriend, or a student, or a twenty two year old.

Last night, I got into bed after a night out with friends. It was 2:25, but really only 1:25 because of the clock change. And I lay there, feeling both exhausted and exhilarated, tired and wide awake in a way that I think only really happens when we're this age, and our shit is both getting itself together and nowhere near sorted, and we don't have to feel guilty about staying out til silly-o- clock because there are no rules and no responsibilities and still two more days off before work begins again.

And it's moments like that which remind me that I am so much more in love with where I am right now, even if it's scary and still not perfect, than where I was twelve months ago.


So yeah. A lot has changed since this time last year, but I'm not entirely convinced it's for the worse.


Saturday, 30 March 2013

I Am NOT A Bath Person

I don't know when I decided, but I really don't like baths. 

This basically sums up how I feel about baths. From here

I remember in first year of uni, when despite the fact that in halls we all had en-suite bathrooms, a lot of my friends lamented the fact that we couldn't have baths, and longed for reading week and the Christmas holidays when they could go home and luxuriate in a big tub full of bubbles. 
I would keep quiet, thinking "Meh, I'm quite happy with the fact that I can shower three times a day when I'm bored [did anyone else do this in halls, or was it just me and my friends?] and no one yells at me for using all of the hot water."

But now that I have this little blog, and see a lot of posts reviewing bath-y bits and bobs, I thought "You know what, maybe I'll give this bathing malarkey a try again". So yesterday evening, home alone, I decided to run myself a bath.

Maybe I'd enjoy baths more if I had a bathroom like this? From here- apologies, I can't find the original source!

It started badly. Our bath is pretty deep- to the point that after my brother first took a bath in it after we had the bathroom done, he said to me "Alice, you'd better be careful if you have a bath- it's pretty deep, and you're quite little. You might drown."- so therefore takes an age to fill. But no matter, I thought, I had some paperwork to sort out, so did that while the tub filled. I even added some posh bubble bath my old boss gave me for Christmas and left it to do its thing. 

But then I went to check that it wasn't flooding the kitchen below, stuck my hand into the water and realised it was only warm. Sticking my hand below the faucet made me realise that, once again, I had used up all the hot water. But no matter, I thought, it was just about warm enough, so I carried through my laptop for music, an unread copy of Vogue, and a face mask. Which is also unusual for me, as, as I'm sure we've all noticed by now, I am not a beauty blogger and face masks aren't something I do very often.

From here

So on goes the music, on goes the face mask, and I hop into the tub, and lie back. 

About three seconds later, I decide I'm bored. Now I have a terrible habit of dropping things, but despite this, I bring Vogue into the bath with me. Bad move. Copy is now dripping wet and Cara Delevigne has hidden her face under the frame because her nose has gone all blotchy.* So I shave my legs. And then realised I'm bored again.

So I got out. 

I literally lasted all of two songs on my playlist- Amsterdam, by Coldplay, and Noah and the Whale's "First Day of Spring". As Jersey Girl (my favourite song ever) began to play, I hauled myself out of the bath, pulled on my dressing gown, removed the face mask, and returned to my bedroom.

I really don't understand baths. This is more or less exactly what happens every time I attempt to bathe. I feel like Chandler in Friends, when he tries to run a bath by himself and it goes horribly wrongIt will be months before I try that again.

Can someone please explain to me what I'm doing wrong here?! 



*Kudos to you if you got the Harry Potter reference there.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Re-Educating Myself

On Wednesday, I went down into deepest darkest Cornwall to meet up with AR and AC, two friends from university. One lives down that way, one was just visiting.

We had decided to cycle The Camel Trail from Wadebridge to Padstow, despite the fact that Mother Nature had decided snow drizzle at the end of March was a cracking idea, and a few of AR's friends from school joined us.

(Expect a full post on the Camel Trail soon)

So we pootled on down to Padstow, had a nice potter around, and grabbed some lunch at The Old Custom House (big fat burger for me, and it was delicious- I decided our cycle ride meant that I'd earned it).

But over lunch, and throughout the day, in fact, we had a couple of really interesting conversations. Like actual, almost intellecutal conversations, including some chatter on climate change, and a pretty friendly debate over religion for goodness sake- and they say there are three things you should never discuss: money, politics, and religion.

It was brilliant. It made me realise how much I have missed having conversations where you learn something. At the moment, a lot of my conversations involve little anecdotes, chatter about last night's TV, or other waffle. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this. I LOVE these sorts of conversations. 


Image from here

But at the same time, I adore learning new things- I found reading both of my brothers' dissertations so interesting, even though one was on the effect of music on performance in sport, and the other was on structural analysis, and I'm an historian. I love finding out people's points of view on a topic, and having a little discussion with them about it. And I feel that recently, I haven't been learning enough, particularly about things outside of my comfort zone. So I have decided I'm  going to.

I may not stray as far as taking one of Harvard or Stanford's free online courses (but what a fantastic idea!) but I will be making more of an effort to read interesting articles, learn about things I don't know, and possibly even dip into a bit of Steven Hawkins, as my brother has a copy of A Brief History of Time


This is the St Deniol's Library in Wales. OH MY GOD. Image from here

And if I find myself in a library like this in the process, then I will be very happy.

Sorry if you find yourself dragged into a conversation with me over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

When Was The Last Time I Actually Bought Clothes?!

I  think the title says it all really.

I  honestly can't remember the last time I bought clothes that weren't for work.

In some ways, this is a good thing- my bank balance is pretty pleased with this, and in fairness, I do have a LOT of clothes. But I tend to wear the same things over and over and over.

But the thing is, this isn't for want of trying. I went shopping on Saturday and came home empty handed save for a very expensive lingerie set. Hmm. 

Plymouth is not a great city for shopping. They closed down Zara for god's sake. (I nearly cried when I realised. I love Zara!) 

But to be honest, even browsing online isn't that much fun, because all of the clothes are things I WOULD NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS BUY OR WEAR. (Cheers Bella for making me realise I hadn't make that quite clear enough for skim readers!!!)

For example:


TopshopRiver IslandASOS/ WhistlesNew Look
Who is even buying this stuff?! 
(Admittedly I did pick some of the worst things I saw but they are relatively representative of what's about at the moment)

I don't really have a "personal style" (aside from wearing stripes as often as I can). But I do know what I like, and what I don't like, and the stuff that's in the shops at the moment is not what I want to be wearing.

I think part of the problem is the dichotomy between the weather retailers expect and the weather we actually have, but even still- if the weather was gorgeous, I still wouldn't be wearing half the stuff in the shops at the moment. It just isn't me.

So if anyone wants to suggest places I might be able to find nice, reasonably priced clothes which don't make me look like an idiot or an old woman, I'd be very grateful.

(that said, I probably will buy this quite soon)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Leibster Award

I don't really tend to win things.

Wait, you want me to answer questions about myself?!
I know you don't win a Liebster Award, but bear with me.

One time, in Year Three, I was the only person in my class of 30 who didn't come first, second, or third in a race at sports day. I was given stickers just for taking part. Which was kind of sad, when you think about it, but all of the other kids were jealous. I did much better at the swimming gala, but I've never really forgotten the pity prize. So whenever the word "prize" or "award" gets mentioned, I pull out the story to get the sympathy vote.

But as we said, you don't win this. Just get nominated for it. And the lovely Beeta from Fill My Little World nominated this little blog, bless her!!

So as I'm sure you're all aware, there are a few rules to the Liebster Award. 
(By the way, who is Mr/ Ms Liebster? Or where does the name come from? Any ideas?)

But in case you don't, they are as follows:
- Post 11 things about yourself
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you 
-Set 11 more questions for the blogs you nominate
- Nominate some other blogs, which must have less than 200 followers.
- Repeat ad nauseam 

So here we go... here are 11 things you probably didn't want to know about me anyway:

1. I have a mildly ridiculous family- in age order: older half sister, older full brother, me, younger full brother, oldest nephew, middle nephew, little half sister, youngest nephew. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

2. I read French far better than I can speak it. This is predominantly a confidence issue.

3. I quite frequently forget what I'm doing half way through doing it. For example, I had a totally different no. 3 in my head and now I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

4. I have only ever been in two proper relationships. Both were long distance. I'm sure a psychotherapist would go nuts over this.

5. I have been in counselling three times for self harm and suicidal tendencies. I do not believe that it works- I got past it completely by myself after a very long time. (I appreciate that this may be contentious, this is a purely personal opinion from my purely personal experience. I actually really hope it works for you). 
(Writing that down was really quite hard. It's a very personal thing, but if you have questions, or are going through something similar and would like to talk, please feel free to email me)

6. My first pet was a goldfish named Rebecca.

7. My most played song on iTunes is Carly Rae Jepson's Call Me Maybe, and I'm not ashamed of this at all. 

8. Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day. 

9. I will often start doing star jumps randomly in front of the TV. This works particularly well if you're feeling really full, by the way.

10. I play the piano, and managed to pass up to Grade 6 (the point at which I got bored of exams) without being able to sight read.

11. I hate white chocolate, other than in chocolate chunk cookies/ muffins.

I felt like we needed a picture. From a trip to North Wales in 2008.

My god this is going to be a long post. My apologies!! And now for my answers to Beeta's questions:

1. Which three things would you rescue from your burning house? Sans doute, all three items would be jewellery. Earrings which used to belong to my nanna, a pearl necklace which used to belong to my great grandmother, and her engagement ring, which I also own. And my phone (Shhh I know that's four)

2. What kind of music do you like? Literally everything. But I predominantly listen to folky/ country-ish/ acoustic-y stuff. Think Ben Howard, Taylor Swift, The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, James Vincent McMorrow, and Coldplay.

3. What would you do with £1 million? I would buy a new car for myself, and for mum, and pay off her mortgage. Buy myself a house, and a holiday somewhere incredible, and that'd be it!

4. Where is your favourite place and why? I have two: Guernsey, and Cardiff, because I have phenomenal memories in both of those places. And this incredibly beautiful video should go some way to explaining my love for the former.

5. Do you know any languages other than English? As I mentioned above, I speak French very well. I also know some Italian, and can say "My name is Alice" in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German, Dutch and Swahilli.

6. Would you rather have the arms of an octopus or the pincers of a crab? Oooh probably octopus arms. 

7. Feminism still has a place in society. Discuss. I agree, it does, it just takes a wider variety of forms than it did originally. 

8. Do you have a life motto? To be completely honest, no. I could lie and say "yeah, it's this!" but I really won't. However, I do appreciate the following quote, the source for which I have totally lost. Help a girl out and let me know?!


9. Where have you had your best meal? Umm The Braye Beach Hotel in Alderney was pretty damn good as an overall meal! But the most memorable was in Spain, watching the sun set over the sea. Lovely stuff.

10. What are your main hobbies? Umm baking, blogging, piano playing, reading. In no particular order.

11. Who do you admire and why? I admire anyone who knows what they want to do with their life. Anyone who is strong in the face of adversity. Anyone who faces challenges, overcomes them, and doesn't bang on about it at every opportunity- we all face shit, we all get over it. My mum. Myself, actually.

Wow. That's a lot of information to take in.

And here are my questions for the following lovely ladies: RhiannonLeonaMegFrankySophieSarahJenGeorgiaSuziLauraMaxine (I think that's her name?! So sorry if I'm wrong!!!)

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
2. What is your signature dish?
3. What is your biggest regret?
4. Who is your favourite fictional character (book/ film/ TV) and why?
5. Who are your dream dinner party guests?
6. Which would you rather do- skydive or bungee jump? Why?
7. If you could only eat fruit OR vegetables for the rest of your life, which would you pick?
8. Where is at the top of your to-visit list?
9. Which do you prefer- being too hot, or being too cold?
10. Do you believe in fate?
11. What is your favourite treat?

PHEW. Congratulations if you made it to the end of this. I'm not sure I would have. Obviously if I haven't tagged you and you want to play, GO AHEAD!! Make sure you leave me a comment with your link in it too!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Cheese Scones...

Now before I begin, for any Americans who may happen to be reading, these are scones, not biscuits.

Biscuits are what you call cookies. But to me, cookies can only have chocolate chips in them.

OK?

On Sunday afternoon, it got to around 3pm and I realised I hadn't eaten lunch. A quick scout around the kitchen made me realise that the only suitable food items were off limits, because they would all involve bread, which I'm still sort of giving up for Lent (and I didn't think of making an omelette). 

Soup would take too long to make from scratch (and really, that's the only sort of soup worth having) so I thought of the next best thing- cheese scones. Seriously, they take no time at all- I decided I wanted them at 3pm, and was tucking into one at 3:45pm. Not even exaggerating.



Now these are pretty basic cheese scones- at the end you'll find a few variations I only thought of when my poor little plain ones were in the oven, but hey ho.

You will need:

225g self-raising flour
50g salted butter
50g strong cheddar, grated (plus a little extra for sprinkling on top)
150ml milk (whole milk is best but whatever works fine)

Sift the flour into a big bowl. Make sure your butter is really cold, and rub it into the flour, as if you're making pastry. When it's all rubbed in, stir in your grated cheese, and pour your milk in. Stir with a spoon (or your hands if you fancy getting really messy) until it's all combined, then turn out onto a surface sprinkled with a bit more flour. Knead it A LITTLE BIT (if you play with scone mix too much they go all tough and gross), then pat out until it's about 2cm thick. Use a glass (NOT a fluted pastry cutter) to cut out around 8 scones. You'll need to bring it back together at least once, if not twice, and the last scone will probably be just a sort of ball from the last bits of dough.
Brush them with a little milk (I just pour a load into a mug, dip my fingers in and rub it all over the top), then sprinkle your extra cheese on top. Bake at 220C for around 12-15 minutes. They won't rise masses, but that's OK.

The mutant last-bit-of-dough one is always my favourite.

When they've cooled a little (but are still warm from the oven), spread with lots of butter and add more cheese and a little bit of local chutney. Delicious.

These are best the day you make them, but as I learnt yesterday, sitting one wrapped up in cling film on top of the radiator the day after works pretty well too. Or just microwave it for a few seconds.

Sorry about the slightly odd angle- it wouldn't rotate properly!!

Other alternatives would include adding cooked chopped smoked bacon to the mix, or chilli, or sundried tomatoes, or using goats cheese and rosemary instead of the cheddar (this is the one I'm most keen to try).

By the way, when you're making these try really hard NOT to let two Pyrex dishes fall out of the cupboard and smash on the floor. This is what I did, and I can safely say that it makes a lot of mess, scares the cat, and is a hassle to clean up.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Happiness Is... (vol. 8)

Moooorning!!

Lots of happy making things this week. Hopefully yours is happy too!

This week, happiness is...

... wearing ridiculously sexy lingerie just because. I'm a single lady, and after reading Amy's post on lingerie, realised that I haven't treated myself to nice underwear since I've been single. And why ever not!? Just because no one is going to see it, doesn't mean I can't have nice things. So I blew the budget and bought this Calvin Klein set, just because I wanted it (I justified it by saying that black underwear is always useful).
I don't know about you, but there's something about wearing really lovely lingerie that makes me feel amazing. Watch out boys!




... Having a two day week at work. I've taken Wednesday and Thursday off from work this week, maximising my time off with the minimum amount of days of leave used. Sorted!

... Lighter traffic. As in, on the road, not here. My workplace is near to three schools, meaning that in the mornings there is a LOT of traffic as apparently kids these days are incapable of either a) getting buses or b) walking to school, so parents have to drop them off. Easter holidays means no school, means no drop offs, means Alice gets to work in an hour instead of an hour and 15 minutes. Happy days!

... Time spent with Mum. My mum has been a busy bee recently, but this weekend she was around and it was lovely to spend some quality time with her, including supper out where we could have a good proper catch up.

... Impressing the boys at the pub quiz by keeping up with their conversation about the F1. They don't know that I gained all of my knowledge from Twitter and highlights on the news....

Hope you have a good Monday everyone! What's making you happy this week?

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Further To...

... this post, I just saw the following on Tulips and Lattes and just had to repost it.

“Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.”

From what I can work out, this originated here but if anyone knows better please tell me and I'll credit it properly!

Love love love to you all.

Weekend Playlist, Take 2

Given that my first Weekend Playlist was way back here, clearly this isn't going to be a regular thing. But never mind,  it's the thought that counts, right?!

I don't know about you, but this seriously LONG winter is now just getting a little bit ridiculous. Seriously, it's the end of March and there is STILL snow! I know there's been snow in June some years (please god not this year!) but come of Nature, get your act together?! It's making me miserable. And everyone else I've spoken to seems to feel the same.

And the fact that it's approaching the end of uni, and exams and deadlines are looming (not for me, but for a lot of you)  probably isn't helping matters. For one thing, it probably means you can't even play in the snow.

So I thought for this weekend playlist, I'd give you some of my favourite pieces of classical music which always serve to calm me down or just make me feel a bit better. They also make a cracking revision playlist, if you find classical music helps with that.

Jurassic Park Theme- John Williams


Like John Williams, my brother is a musical genius- he's one of those annoying people who can hear a piece of music, sit down at the piano, and work it out properly. Needless to say, he's worked this one out, and it is amazing. The original is pretty good too- my favourite bit is around the 50 second mark.

Clair de Lune- Debussy


I'm sure this one is on a lot of people's calming playlists already, but I had to include it because who doesn't love a bit of Debussy?! Girl with the Flaxen Hair is also amazing.
(I've also included this because it's one I can play and musical-genius doesn't/ can't/ won't)

Time- Hans Zimmer


My ex and I once got into an argument with a guy I knew at uni who tried to tell us that Hans Zimmer was rubbish. We played him this- come on, who can't accept that this is incredible?! 

Etude No. 3 in E Major (Tristesse)- Chopin


Have you ever seen Genova? I'm guessing it's unlikely as it was an arts-centre release, but honestly, it's amazing. One of the characters learns this piece during the film, and I had to sit and watch the credits the whole way through to try to find out what it was- and it's been firmly on my "calm" playlist ever since.

Rue's Farewell- James Newton Howard


Because it makes me cry. Which I'm guessing isn't what you want in the middle of the library (though I did a LOT of that last year- you could probably find me sobbing in the library at least once a week) but this is good anyways.

I Giorni- Ludovico Einaudi


This is just so beautiful. A friend without exams gave a group of us care packages last Spring, which included CDs with lots of calming music on- including this. It worked.


So there we have it! Trust me, these pieces work well- I find that if I whack some classical music on, time passes a lot quicker anyway, and I don't find myself singing along to Taylor Swift in the middle of the silent section.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Weekend-ness

I've literally just got in from a run. (as in, I'm sat on my bed waiting for the shower to become free so I can go and de-gross myself) This means I'm slightly hyperactive, so apologies for that.

I don't think this morning's run was as good as last week's- for one thing, for half of it I was running directly into the wind, which if you haven't tried, I wouldn't recommend. That said, I still feel awesome, so that's a win! 

This weekend is actually a bit busier than the last couple which can only be a good thing!

Last night I went for dinner at Seco Lounge at the Royal William Yard in Plymouth with people from my old work. I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed as much as I did last night- it was SO much fun, and such good food that I'm going to suggest it as a venue for my friend's birthday meal next weekend.



If you go here, get the tapas. I didn't, and had serious food envy.

I love doing things like that on a Friday night- makes the weekend feel a lot longer, don't you think!?

Today, I have to post a friend's birthday present (it's only like three weeks late, which isn't that bad, right!?), apply for a refund for my tax disk, sort out various other car-being-written-off forms (I promise I will stop talking about this soon!!), go car shopping, and go normal shopping (including buying a book for the book swap which I am so excited about!).

And I have to do all of this before 5pm, as Mama CupandSaucer and I are going for dinner at Prezzo before going to see Birdsong at the theatre. I haven't been to the theatre in a bloody age, and Birdsong is one of my favourite books, so I'm really excited about this. (though as a side note, I was so excited about going for dinner with my old work colleagues I forgot that we had tickets for the same night, and mum had to change them. Oops!!)


I also want to try to make hot cross buns from Bess' recipe. But that may have to wait for tomorrow.

Given that I've got a reasonable amount to do today, I'd best be off. 
What are your plans for today? 

PS- I've also been getting a lot more page views than normal the past couple days. Not sure why, but HELLO everyone!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Rain and Tiffin

Why is it that we are led to believe that the rain is romantic?

For example:

From here

From here
When I get caught in the rain, it is not romantic. I mostly look grumpy. 

That said, one of my favourite memories from 2011 was running home in the rain, with a boy I was just getting to know and one of my closest friends, screaming with laughter and kicking puddles at each other.

That does not mean I didn't look like a drowned rat though.

This weather is DISGUSTING. I heard on the radio that in some parts of the country, this time last year it was TWENTY DEGREES CENTIGRADE warmer. That is utterly ridiculous.

Anyway, last night I decided to ignore the fact that the weather is stupid and bake something.

Obviously- we all know that this is what I do when I'm unhappy.
(That said, when I was in the deepest depths of depression five years ago, I was too sad to bake- this is how my family knew something was deeply deeply wrong. But that's a story for another day)

Tiffin technically isn't baking, more making, but it's delicious and amazing and will make any boy love you- seriously forget Blueberry Boy Bait, tiffin is the way forward, and the way to any man's heart. It's also so easy you could do it with your eyes closed, and kids love helping with this- perfect for the Easter holidays if you have littlies around.

Once again, this is one of my mum's recipes, so it's in ounces. Sorry!

You will need:
5oz butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
16oz biscuits 
(I always use a mixture that includes ginger nuts and digestives, but honestly whatever you have will work wonders)
Couple handfuls sultanas/ other dried fruit (optional)
300g milk chocolate (though if you prefer dark, that works amazingly too)

In a large pan, melt together the butter, golden syrup and cocoa powder. While it's melting, crush up the biscuits but not completely- you don't want all tiny crumbs, you want some bigger chunks too. I put them all in a bowl and attack them with the end of a rolling pin, but a wine bottle works well too. Then chuck in a couple of handfuls of sultanas or whatever if you want. You could also add mini marshmallows if you wanted to make this more of a Rocky Road, but I actually never have. Maybe I will soon though.

When your syrup/ butter/ cocoa has all melted together, pour your biscuits etc into the pan and stir until it's all combined. It may look like there isn't enough chocolate mix but there will be. Then tip it all into a baking tray lined with tin foil or baking paper, press down really firmly (or it'll all fall apart when you cut it up), and pop it into the fridge for a while.

Then melt your chocolate- either in a bain marie or in the microwave- and then spread it all over the top of the tiffin. If you want a thicker layer of chocolate, just melt more (it isn't rocket science). Put back in the fridge to set for a few hours.

When it's all properly set, chop into pieces and try not to eat it all at once.




This is the perfect remedy for a rainy day when accompanied by any hot drink.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Cat


Oh Betsy, how I wish I was you...

That is an entirely gratuitous picture of the cat, because it's been a while since I last posted one, it's Thursday, work is being a pain, I'm exhausted, and my car-saga is both getting better and more annoying. Right now, I am wishing I was her and could just stay in bed all day.

I have just had one too many of "those days" now, and I'm a hairbreadth away from screaming. 

Sorry, I'll write something more interesting tomorrow. Right now, I just don't have the energy to do anything other than shout at people that love me. 
(This may be why there are very few of them left)

Easter weekend cannot come quickly enough, in my opinion.

Have a good day lovelies.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Nobody Puts Baby Where...?!

I have a confession for you all.

I am not a film buff in the slightest.

Image from here
I know this may come as shock (HA, as if. If you're shocked, I don't know where you got the impression that I was a film buff from,but it certainly wasn't from me), but it's true.

I haven't seen pretty much anything which is considered as a "must see". And by this I mean I haven't seen Skyfall (or any other than the most recent three Bond films), Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, and so on, and I can barely remember which way around the letters in IMDB go.

I HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN DIRTY DANCING.

Image from IMDB

Now before you all start unfollowing and telling me I'm not a real woman (this is the response I had once, yes), let me redeem myself slightly by saying that I have seen The Shawshank Redemption, Grease, and The Notebook (but I didn't cry).

It's just... I don't have the patience to watch films! Certainly not at home. I'd much rather be doing something else (read: baking), and if I do sit down to watch a film one of three things happens. 1) I fall asleep 2) I get distracted and wander off 3) I only half watch whilst doing something else (reading, blogging, online shopping...). And when it comes to seeing things in the cinema, people tend to go without me. Not in like a malicious way, I just forget to ask people to go see something with me, so they go with other people as most of my friends/ family know I'm not that into films.

But I think I've decided that this needs to be rectified.

Image from here
In my first year of university, two of my guy friends made me a list of films I had to see. We got as far as the Back to the Future films (loved) and Indiana Jones (hated) and it sort of tailed off.

But I want a new list. So I thought who better to ask than you lovely lot?! I have my fingers crossed that you'll have some suggestions for me, because if nothing else, not having seen "must see" films means I miss a lot of cultural references in things.

So yes. I am asking you to comment with a few must see films- and I mean proper must sees, not Twilight- so in these still ridiculously cold evenings, I can try to watch some of them.

Any ideas!?