11 June 2011

Happy 3rd Blog-a-versary!

Is it this blog's 3rd birthday already?! Wow! I've really not been treating her right. Yes, I have just decided my blog is female. Nice.

Or perhaps it is my followers who I have been mistreating! I'm sorry :( It seems like it really was the terrible two's. But she's a big girl now so hopefully there are better things to come from this blog.

Happy 3rd Blog-a-versary to Me!


11 January 2011

When life gives you lemons...

I suppose you make lemonade. :) Incidentally, it is one of the items on my 101 in 1,001 list. So, I can now tick this off!

And that's just what I did yesterday, along with a bit of banana loaf.

Waitrose Homemade Lemonade


You can find a copy of the recipe at Waitrose but for your convenience, I have typed it out.

Ingredients

  • 4 unwaxed lemons, washed
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 600ml boiling water

Method

  1. Using a vegetable peeler or grater, thinly peel the zest from the lemons, leaving as much white pith as possible. Squeeze the juice from the lemons. Place the zest, lemon juice and sugar in a large heatproof jug.
  2. Pour in the 600ml boiling water and stir until the sugar has totally dissolved. Cover, and leave to cool completely. 
  3. Now, strain the lemon mixture into a serving jug, and discard the zest. Dilute with 400ml chilled water and sweeten with extra sugar to taste. 
  4. Serve decorated with lemon slices, mint leaves and crushed ice (all optional).
Note: This was my second time making it, and this time I decided to use 400ml sparkling water instead of still. I do not recommend this, especially if you don't like sparkling water. Still water works just fine as the lemonade is zingy enough to be refreshing without needing any fizz.

09 January 2011

Dear Me...

Taking into account my love for Clear Your Heart, when I read her Dear Me letter sometime ago, I wanted to write my own. There is a book, where celebrities do the same, and at dearmebooks.com you can read others' letters to themselves. You can join in via Twitter using the #tweetyour16yearoldself hashtag.

Dear 16 year old me,

it's 2001 and you're in the last year of high school, the summation of some of the best and worst times of your life. You make the right choice to leave school and go to a college in another town, nearly 10 miles away. 6am starts will be the norm for 2 years and you'll have to work hard but you'll love it, and it will pay off. And don't worry about the A levels your dad is helping you 'choose', you will in fact love physics and it will be your life for the next 10 years.

That guy you're with now, he's not the one. He's not even good for you. He holds you back and tries to make you hate your family. You have a wonderful heart and beautiful body, please don't let his actions convince you otherwise; there is nothing wrong with you. And you do not struggle to make friends; that isn't the real reason he is segregating you from his friends. Eventually, he will shatter your heart into a million pieces, show no remorse, and still think you can be friends. I wish you would listen to your family about him but I know you won't even believe me. You will spend many years regretting how terribly you acted towards them but you'll get past it; at 25 (and now an auntie!), family is more important than life itself. It takes you some time but you do get over him and those 3 and a half years make you a strong little lady, but he destroys your trust in others and your faith in just how beautiful you are. Please try not to let this happen. You are so beautiful, inside and out.

Let go of the bullying and dismiss the memories of your school shirt down the toilet, repeatedly being shouted out of the girls changing room, the name-calling on the school coach, all the tears, and the rest. Life will get better. Listen to your mom when she tells you that girl did it simply because she was jealous of you. When you meet years later she won't have changed and you come to pity her. People do want to be friends with you, in fact, you make a great friend. Please believe me. You need to stop testing every friendship to the nth degree, and expecting it to fail. You lose a few friendships this way; being so reluctant to open up in fear of being let down, or them realising they don't like you. They will, and do, love you!

You flirt with different hair colours; blonde, brown, red, but you always go back. You get many compliments from people -- strangers included -- about how beautiful your hair is. And your mom really is right; people pay a shedload of money to have your hair colour. The name-calling will become insignificant and you will embrace being a redhead.

You take a huge leap towards independence in 2003 when you move to Manchester to study physics at university; you stay there for 8 years, learn to cook, and cook well, meet so many amazing people, drink/eat a little too much, teach physics, join the choir and become a halls tutor. You have an amazing time and you undergo quite a metamorphosis.

You will meet the love of your life there, but you don't realise or admit it for another 4 years. Ignore his reluctance in the beginning -- he's only human -- and power through; it'll be so worth it! You're still just as feisty so try to cut him some slack, after all, his imperfections are all part of who you fall in love with and he accepts all yours, so it's only fair. Try not to make the same mistake again; hold onto your friends, you'll regret it if you don't. Stop being so argumentative and learn to relax. He becomes your best friend and the best person you know, he knows you better than you'd like to admit and you love him more than words can say.

Edit: As of June 2011, not so much, as it turns out. But life is a work in progress and you're already well on your way to getting past it.
21st October 2011

Think long and hard about whether you really want to do a PhD. Don't listen to anyone else and ignore wanting to please others. I wish I could tell you that you make it through, but I'm still struggling with that myself. I hope and pray that you do. Please know that quitting is OK, and when that crosses your mind, oh and it will, consider it seriously; carpe diem. If you soldier on, work harder, much harder, and sooner! I know how much you hate to admit you need it, but if you need help, ask.

Take care of yourself little lady.

Love,

The future you x

All images from weheartit.com

08 January 2011

Going Bananas!

I am forever buying a bunch of bananas and forgetting all about them, and they end up looking like this...


My usual solution is to throw them in the bin. But for some time now, ever since my obsession with a beautiful version of it I used to buy at school from an independent sandwich shop, I have wanted to try and make banana loaf (it seems the word 'loaf' often confuses people; perhaps bread or cake will avoid that?). I knew that you had to have pretty damn ripe 'nanas for that.
So, I left a bunch of bananas on the shelf and 'forgot' about them; this time I wanted them to look like the above picture. In fact, the riper the better; the riper they are, the more banana-ery taste they will produce. And the result...


Just perfect. So moist and just the right amount of banana-ery-ness.

Fancy having a go? I used the BBC Good Food recipe, Banana Breakfast Loaf, but it can obviously be enjoyed at any time of the day. *wink* But I've typed the recipe out here, just for you.

Banana Breakfast Loaf


Ingredients

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 125g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 50 g pecans, each snapped in half (optional)
  • To finish: 1 lemon, juiced, mixed with 1 tbsp golden caster sugar (optional)
Note: I didn't have golden caster sugar or wholemeal flour, so used Demerar and plain flour, respectively.

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C / fan 170C / Gas mark 4.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, flours, baking powder, eggs and banana together.
  3. If applicable, stir in the nuts.
  4. Spoon into a lined and buttered 450g loaf tin.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. If using, spoon over the lemon sugar.

____________

Ripe bananas image credit: Jeremy BekerCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

07 January 2011

Au revoir 2010!

Another year, another... blog post? Yes, finally. Now that we have been ushered into 2011, I felt the need to wave goodbye to 2010. This post will be that figurative wave.

Oh and yes, I cheated a little and took inspiration from Clear Your Heart's post. But I heard imitation is the best form of flattery?


1) Was 2010 a good year for you?
If I'm honest, I can't remember all of it. Or, at least, I can't remember where 2009 ended and 2010 began. It wasn't the best but it has still had its fun times and laughs, and hopefully I learnt a few lessons, too.