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bear

Nightmare Ghost Town

Posted on 2011.08.21 at 18:02
Business as usual in my horrible brain- any time I am on the verge of moving house I have hideous dreams where every single thing that could possibley go wrong does. And, to top it off, the dreams are so lengthy and detailed that I actually end up believing it's all real and I have been living in horrible conditions for nigh on a month.
Last night I 'moved' to Oxford to find that not only was the house made of collapsable plastic, but that there was a storm, which made the house soggy so when inside, roof stuck to you. On top of that, I hadn't read the contract properly, so the previous owners got to leave all their books and furniture there so I couldnt unpack or move anything of my own in. And the fridge was tiny. OH THE HORROR. AND there was a metric ton of cat food left behind because while I wasnt allowed any pets, I was legally bound to look after the landlords many many aggressive cats.
Thanks brain, that was a lovely  evening.


I've been at work today, slogging my way through an accommodation survey. This means writings lots of little numbers down in a huge grid, and then reducing it down ton a six figure code which has to be put into an online database. This database hates me. It refuses everything I put in and flashing angry red messages at me. GAH.
It's going to a long quiet week as everyone in the world is either on holiday or working far away, including my paren ts, so Im home alone for the next six days. So far I've filled the time by getting mindbendingly drunk, watching lots of DVDS and baking stuff.
I might go on a picture adventure sometime soon as it's blue skies outside as far as the eye can see. Went for a nice walk yesterday- as soon as I left the house the sun sneaked off and the sky opened. I ended up walking in some fields with shoes that sounded like wet fish.

Plans for this evening: tidy the house, get rid of the empty gin bottle mocking me, make something with FISH, scour fashion blogs for summer outfit inspiration, make a gem stone necklace...

bear

Overindiedulgence

Posted on 2011.08.15 at 23:01
So....another long period of silence. Which can only mean one thing: a massive bullet point list is a-coming! and sure enough, here it is.
In the last 4 weeks the following has occurred:
  1. I started work at a hotel. My job description is ADMIN, but I tend to do anything that needs doing. I spend most of my time fixing silly mistakes that wouldn't exist if other people did their jobs with a little care. So that's a bit demoralising, but the money is okay, and I get to work odd hours so that breaks up the endless monotony a little.
  2. I got my first manicure (see previous post for shiney photo evidence). Apparently I have 'deep nail beds'. Is this good? Is this an insult? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
  3. I found a flat. I move in on the 9th September. I'm trying not to think about it too much because it doesnt seem real. It also means I'll have to think about OXFORD in general, and my course. A little scary.
  4. I've been sailing. Probably for the last time, as we've finally sold the boat. Bye bye Seagoon, hello New Bigger Future Boat.
  5. I saw Charliiii and spent about 7 hours drinking homemade mojitos and reminiscing.
  6. Kurt came to stay for about 4 days. It went by in a blink. I'm now trying to book a train to Torquay before I head to Oxford because I need a holiday away from Essex. Any holiday. Even camping in the field behind my house would be a nice holiday to be honest.
  7. I co-hosted a Greek party for my mums birthday. We ended up over-ordering baklava so now I'm going to be living on honey and pastry til 2012.
  8. I got drunk. A LOT
  9. I went to Norfolk for 48 hrs which was really lovely. Had a girls night out, with some fantastic drinks and dancing a-plenty. We also visited my grandpa, who has just got out of hospital. We had Tea and Cake.
  10. I knocked down a shed with an axe. Very thereputic.
  11. I then helped build a brand new shed.
  12. I perfected shortbread. After 3 different recipes.
  13. I started sleeping badly. And lost about 3 pints of blood to mosquitos.

And that about brings us up to today.
Wheeeee!

bear

One Month

Posted on 2011.08.14 at 00:45
It's been a BUSY month.

Among other things, I got to dress up in nice shiney black things (as opposed to the matte black I wear for work all the time) and go exploring with lovely people from Essex, Torquay AND Norfolk.
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I also got my first ever pedicure.

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I wanted nebula. This was a near as it got.

PROPER UPDATE AFTER TRUE BLOOD AIRS TOMORROW MORNING

(yes, a month may have elapsed but I'm still watching Mr Skargard's acting/ass)

bear

A Month of Quiet

Posted on 2011.07.11 at 17:44
.....and I'm back for an update. Obviously, a few things have happened since I last posted, so it's time for a list which I can elabourate on later (or more likely abandon) but at least it'll keep everything up to date for when I start blogging again on a regular basis. Since my last night in The Crescent (aka The House That Cold and Decay Built) the following shizz has gone down:
  1. I moved back in with my parents in Essex.
  2. I got a 2.1 for my degree and spent a good week crying before I told anyone.
  3. However, this means I have got into Oxford Brookes. yee haw
  4. I tried to get a job. I spent hours online looking for jobs, handed out my CV to loads of local places and even went crawling back to my old horrible workplace, but to no avail
  5. I begun the process of signing on for Job Seekers allowance since I have NO money at all and it's like 2 months until I have to move to Oxford
  6. I begun house hunting seriously. And panicking, because the average rent is 800 per month. UHHH NO.
  7. I've been sailing with my parents (and getting a sun tan- scary potatoes)
  8. My knee has gotten worse, to the point where walking is agony. Ergo, my BMI has doubled. Hence, the lack of portraits. I hate how I look at the moment and am slowly working on losing weight and building strength where I can.
  9. Kurt came and stayed with me while my parents were on holiday. Utter bliss.
  10. I started biking again and realised how much I have missed it. I can't wait to begin exploring places on it without having to worry about getting lifts from people/using the icky public transport system
  11. I bought an Oreo cupcake and it was AMAZING
  12. I went to the Spa and had a mudwrap done in preperation for Graduation (this Wednesday)
  13. I started making a folder for things I'm trying to teach myself.
  14. read One Day and was throughly unimpressed with it. Zipped through in about 5 hours and all I can say is that I really don't think it's going to be the next Titanic or Romeo and Juliet. It's not tragic or beautiful enough. Just very ordinary, which is why it probably speaks to a lot of people but I found myself often bored with it, and frankly depressed. WAY TO BUILD ME UP CULTURE REVIEWS.
  15. I've been reading lots of philosophy and war memoirs. I'm currently reading Robert Persig's follow up novel Lila (questions into morality) and Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Both are inspiring me and keeping my brain alive.
  16. I baked cupcakes for my brother's girlfriend. Because I'm awesome sometimes.
  17. I joined the gym here, only to break my knee even more on the machines. They also only have one lousy crosstrainer which is sticky and inefficient. I cannot wait to be able to buy my own one, like the ones I used in Wales. Those babies used to burn 1000 calories in 90 minutes. And I wonder why I had abs back then....
  18. It was my dad's birthday last week and I had a baking extravaganza: steak and kidney pie, with a treacle tart and lemon sorbet for pudding.
  19. I recieved some really lovely cards and presents from people for graduating.
  20. I did lots of gardening and housekeeping in general. I R DOMESTIC LADY
  21. I got utterly addicted to True Blood, maxed out the internet for the house and now am suffering bad withdrawl symptoms. WHY SEASON FOUR, WHY AREN'T YOU ALL OUT IN THE WORLD FOR ME TO VIEW NOW?
  22. In a totally unrelated note, I want to have babies with Alexander Skarsgard. And by babies I mean naked wrestling.
  23. I'm making a giant seed pod scultpure out of wire and Other Things...
  24. I also learnt how to gut squid. Lets just say that gutting squid does not make you want to eat them- it makes you want to roll around in a vat of bleach and never go near the sea ever again.
  25. I was so unemployed and lazy a few weeks ago, I didn't wear pants for 3 days. Personal record since I was a moody teenager.
And finally....

26. I have a job interview this week. YES YES YES!

So, tomorrow my parents and I are piling in the car to go look at properties in Oxford, before going to stay with a friend on the Welsh border. Then on Wednesday it's graduation time (holyshizzwazz) and then Thursday I come back home again. Wheeeeeeeeee.
Busy busy.
I haven't taken a huge many photos (due to oppressive ugliness) but those that I have will be updated soon (read:ONE DAY)

bear

Culinary Experiments

Posted on 2011.06.03 at 08:23
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
I've been quiet of late due to all the final preparations as I pack up to go back to Essex for summer. In between all this though, I have been cooking a lot of things that I have never tried before, as well as venturing into the world of Healthy Baking *wiggles fingers spookily for effect*.

It started with a decision to make Fridays into FISHdays; as a result, octopus  and mussel paella was born (nommy) and I've also become addicted to coley (exactly like cod, except half the price). Almost went insane and bought reduced monkfish yesterday but it was only just under £19/kg and thats still pretty extortianate.

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Last night was vegetarian (for me) but utterly deelish butternut squash, with cinnamon ,roasted garlic and paprika, stuffed with a mixture of charred peppers, cashew nuts, quinoa, grilled mushrooms and spinach. I mainly use butternut squash in place of potatoes in curries and roasts, but this was a bit special.

The next logical step on for me from eating fresh, healthy main meals was to try and convert my recreational (read:SUGARANDBUTTERFILLED) baking into something a bit more nutritional. This started out with lots of protein-powder based recipes (eg. protein pancakes with oats and honey, protein muffins with caramelised brown sugar, instant-protein bar in a bowl etc) until I remembered some cooking shows I had seen on TV that sneaked vegetables into cakes and that used substitues within baking to ensure that while not neccessarily guilt-free, the snacks produced had way more fibre/slow carbs than the original recipes.

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(updated cinnamon-flaxseed muffins- made with oats, flaxseeds and protein powder)


Yesterday was one of my first forays into this substitute based cooking: I whipped up a single serving, 100 calorie snickerdoodle cookie, with caramel chunks in it. And it was pretty darn tasty, although it had more of a cakey texture than the rich gooeyness one associates with cookies (although I am something of an expert, having suffered a truly debilitating addiction to cookies).
Today's project is a little more ambitious, since I have put the recipe together myself. I found a recipe online for bean-based blondies (wtf?was my first response, but then again, I've been reading about cakes made of tofu, courgette and beetroot, so this wasn't quite as mad as it sounds) which yeilded 20 cakes at 75 calories each. Well thats all fine and dandy, but what if you're me, and you want to eat ALL the blondies?
So I set about using my new found knowledge to try and tailor the recipe and get it down a bit.
Result?
I have created a recipe that produces blondies, with generous amounts of REAL chocolate chips, at 35 calories a square. Your average bar of Galaxy comes in at 22 calories per square, so I'm pretty pleased with this creation of mine. Instead of a measly 5 cube bar of Galaxy, I can get me 5 squares of chewy moist blondie. And these squares are BIGGER.
I'm testing the recipe today since I'm going to need something deelish to nom on while I spend 8 hours in the car on Sunday.The recipe as it stands is as follows:

Embly's Blondies

1 1/2 cups of butter beans
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup of natural sweetner (XYLITOL is good) or 1/2 agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of egg substitute (or a handful of oats)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F, bung all ingredients barring the chocolate chips in a blender and mush the hell out of them. Stir in chocolate gently, whack it into a lined 8X8 tray and cook for 35 mins.

OR AT LEAST, IN THEORY.
Will post results later today/tomorrow on the results...

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The pile of goodies I purchased yesterday. I'm esp. excited to see what I can do with the egg substitute as it can be used as a thickner, as well as egg replacement. The coconut is for a later experiment, where I'm hoping to make my own coconut butter....









bear

DSTSS#6

Posted on 2011.05.22 at 21:56
DSTSS #6 has a title so lame I’m not going to dignify it by copying it down here.
The gist is simple: don’t expect your to-do lists to ever go away. Because there’s ALWAYS stuff to do. For infinity and onwards. I know this because I am a compulsive to do list writer. I average about 2 a day, sometimes more. And it is rare day when I complete ALL the things on them. But that’s fine. I just bump the things that didn’t get done across to the next day. Quite frankly, I get worried if I don’t have a to do list. I get bored. And forget what the hell I’m meant to be doing.

here's a little list of what I've been up to in the last two days:

Bought a Russian dictionary. Today I've copied out the alphabet for me to try to get to grips with. I don't seem to have much luck learning languages so I thought I'd jump in the deep end. Fingers crossed.

Got jewellery for the ball (28th May). Lots of gold and blue. Still need to decide what I'm doing with my hair though so am going on a photo hunt later on this week.

Restarted the P90X weight training- knee is still giving me grief but my arms, back and shoulders are now all achey (in a good way). Hoping to restart my ab workouts too :)

Started packing in preparation for moving out on the 6th June. eeeee! Still not optimistic about being able to fit everything in the car. It's looking like we're going to have to tie a tonne of stuff to the roof to even have a hope in hell. On the plus side, have started sorting out stuff I can get rid of to make space. So far a necklace and a massive pile of books have been decided on.

Finally used to octopus I bought in Spain but have thus far been too afraid to taste. Made a seafood risotto with it and mussels- deelish.

Have decided I am def. buying rollerblades to keep myself occupied over the summer. Just trying to decide WHAT KIND to buy. there are lots of specifications etc that come up whenever I google them and it means BLANKEDY to me. hmmm.

bear

DSTSS #5

Posted on 2011.05.21 at 10:47
Develop Your Compassion
Eg. ‘lets look at this from someone else’s perspective’.
Apparently this takes a lot of practice. It’s not just a case of trying to see things from someone else’s POV, but also being sympathetic to that point of view, even if it sounds insane/stupid to you. Apparently, this is a big help with DSTSS #1- recognising what’s small and what’s big.

In terms of taking these nuggets of wisdom to heart, I actually had a moment of progress (or whatever you want to call it) the other day when I was walking around in Upper Bangor. A group of eight-year old chavs surrounded me on the high street (glad to know children only act aggressively in well-lit, public areas during daylight hours) and said something pretty appalling to me. In between being accosted by this gang of smoking, spitting barely-tall-as-my-knee yobbos and arriving at the shops, I started going into one of my usual reveries: 1. What a bunch of little shits, 2. At least I have manners, 3. OH GOD ITS BECAUSE IM FAT, 4. IM TOO FAT FOR LEGGINGS, 5.MELTDOWN LOSE FAITH IN HUMANITY+EAT CADBURYS TO DULL PAIN + IM NEVER LEAVING THE HOUSE AGAIN.
But after about 5 minutes of this I stopped and went ‘No Brain!’.
I stopped the little doom laden trail of thought and instead considered the following:
1. What in god’s name leads an eight year old to think it’s okay to stop strangers in the street to threaten and insult them? How bad must their life be? 2. In fact, roaming the streets in gangs is not something most good parents allow. 3. Those poor kids. This is how things are for them at 8. In ten years they could be heading for prison. 4. Do I dress to impress 8 year old chav babies?Answer: No.
By the time I got to the shops I’d even forgotten what they had said to me, because every time my brain started to think about it I stopped it in its tracks by counting ingredients and filling my brain with other stuff. It Does Work.
And it is GOOD 

bear

DSTSS #4

Posted on 2011.05.19 at 09:39
Be Aware of the Snowball Effect of Your Thinking
aka. how obsessing over shizz can lead to overwhelming spiralling depression where you end up going nuts over what started out as something quite small.
Solution? Thought policing yourself. As soon as you notice yourself getting wound up incrimentally, just cut off the thought. SNIPSNIP. can't get any bigger.
This is another one of those points where I think 'Ahhhhh yes. This is a good solution. I totally do this. And I can totally stop doing it' but it turns out to be slightly harder in practice.
Ho Hum.


Meloncholy this morning morning because Auntie Colin is officially moving out of the igloo house. From now on it's just me and the chap, until the beginning of June. Really weird thought.

bear

DSTSS #3

Posted on 2011.05.16 at 12:33
Let Go of The Idea that Gentle, Relaxed People Can't Be Superachievers
PFffffffftttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt. Whatever, happy little book. Superachievers dont grow on trees on fall out of the sky. They mug chuck norris and blow up mountains with their lazer vision.
I'm not going to examine this chapter in detail or sum it up because I do honestly think it is dribble. so THERE.

In other news, I am incredibly hungover and trying to not keel over because that is just not something a super achiever would do.

bear

DSTSS #2

Posted on 2011.05.16 at 12:22
Making Peace With Imperfection
Basically, stop beating yourself for not being totally amazing. Things may not be PERFECT but they're probably still pretty groovy regardless.

I'll give myself 4/10 in this field. Definite room for improvement. I am an utter control freak, and perfection is the bar I hold up to all aspects of my life. Ought to try and tone things down to just 'try hard, be proud with the results regardless'.
However, I disagree with getting sloppy and overlooking mistakes. That shit just ain't on.


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