Life Begins Again

Almost one year later and I’m back!

I’m writing this in that fuzzy Saturday morning cocoon; completely resembling Homer Simpson being a toasty cinnamon bun, and not feeling an ounce guilt for it. Until I get overheated or need a wee that is, and then the moment’s broken..

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So university happened. I finally graduated in June 2016 and spent a gorgeous few days in the Highlands afterwards. I consumed my body weight in whisky-cream porridge and homemade cakes, and it was a lovely last hurrah to my Scottish life.

I also found a job at the end of May in customer service, something I’m still working in, but isn’t quiiite the Job For Life we imagine in our younger years. It did however, introduce me to some really great people. My kinda people, and also not my kinda people, but it’s all a learning curve and I’ve made some brilliant memories.

I made a best friend. You know in your twenties, when you’ve done the school thing, the college, the university, and you’re blindly thinking you’ve met everyone under the sun and that this is it now? But something, or someone happens. You realise you’re in fact wrong; you Do carry on living, you Are continuously meeting new people, and you’ll Never stop growing as a person. Meeting someone I now refer to as my soul-sister and part-time wife has been the biggest blessing. We discuss the current political (crises?!), the newest memes, the latest boys and our religious views all in the same lunch hour.

She’s a good egg and has helped open my eyes to the fact that life doesn’t stop after university, and actually I think it’s once that hedonistic blur is over and done with, you can then truly begin to establish who you are and what you want from life. I don’t think that journey of self-discovery ever really ends though..

So I’m back and I’m bad as they say (bad at er, keeping regular on the ole blog), but better late than never.

I’m excited to get this up and running again, so watch this space…..

TTFN, P x

 

 

Slow Sundays

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I’m determined not to break my streak of publishing [at least one] blogpost each month. Unfortunately for February it remains just that. One. One day before the month comes to a close and a new one begins. Ooops..

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Being a leap year means we’re treated to an extra day in February. I’m using this wisely, and instead of taking tomorrow off, – because er, Uni – today is going to be stripped back and unashamedly UN-productive. I’ve caught what is absolutely professionally certified as ‘Library Head.’ The majority of students will eventually develop the condition where the brain succumbs to constant study by becoming a jelloid mess, and the eyes experience a kind of fizziness, followed by a major drooping of the lids. You then realise that if you spend another minute in the library, or staring at a Word document you might just combust. Or fall asleep.

Having said this, I did wake up this morning with all good intentions of scurrying off to the library. The alarm was set, the weather was checked, I’d even set a reminder to buy groceries on the way home. But my [new] study pal had said she was gonna spend the day at home today, and I remembered that thing called the Snooze Button, and all of a sudden I ended up dozing, eating biscuits at 9am, and sitting here typing this out, rather than my dissertation.

I don’t feel guilty though. The weather here in Glasgow has been breathtaking these past few days, where the rain has finally ceased and despite the nipping air, glorious sunshine and blue skies have blanketed the city. Right now, as I sit with the window open and duvet pulled up around me, the heat from the sun and the brightness of its rays are reminding me that Winter is slowly being pushed to the back of the airing cupboard, and Spring is  gradually being tugged out from the middle shelf, do excuse the pile of odd socks..

I slathered myself in oat, banana and maple scented body scrub, cleansed my insides with a big old cup of tea, [in my Christmas mug.. hm some things never change..], and have already whiled away many minutes on the Amazon website trying to decide what goodies to buy after winning a giftcard in a uni competition last week..

When life gets tough, or it feels like the obstinance will never surrender, it’s important to remember the little things. The things that take your day from being So Rubbish to Half-Alright. The tiny treats and little routines that might have been lost along the way, but when you do remember them again and the joy they bring to you, the impact they can make might actually be far bigger you had anticipated.

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Close the Word doc, flick the kettle on, inhale the fresh air and feel the sun’s hug on your skin. Go on, you’ve been treated with a whole 24 hours to do it 😉

TTFN, P x

 

Eat – Exercise – Pin – Read – Listen – Watch #2

I’m back and I’m bad. (At keeping the regular posts. I’m very sorry!) First thing’s first, I’ve moved over to the world of WordPress, so the theme is looking a little rudimental right now, bear with 😉 Bye for now Blogspot!

Thinking about what I wanted post, whilst taking (an extended) study break, I was flicking through my archive and found the first post of this series back in May. It’s now a new season, new food in my belly, new televisual goodness on the tv, and so I thought that I’d come back with round 2..

Eat – Coincidentally, I just bought a packet of leeks this morning – the same ingredient which I raved about in my first post, which was an additional ingredient to my homemade sweetcorn soup! Since getting back from the gorge-fest of Christmas, I’ve been back to eating really well, so plenty of fresh tomatoes, broccoli and greens have been going down a treat.

This month I’ve had several meals with buckwheat semolina from Lidl as my “carbohydrate,” which come in handy 100g boil-in-a-bag pouches. The first time I cooked with it I consumed the whole thing and was left bursting at the seams, but split in half and with a good helping of veg, your belly is kept satisfied. I also bought a bag of dates today as a *treat* and what I would do for a blob of peanut butter dolloped on top of those…

Exercise – Aaah exercise. My old friend. This time last year I was working out 4-5 times a week, this year it’s been slackened to about half that. I’d like it to blame it on early starts for the library and not wanting to wash my hair everyday, but of course that ole foe laziness plays a part too 😉 The workouts I have been doing however include the faithful FitnessBlender duo, and Joe Wicks’ TheBodyCoachTV. As well as still wanting to lose body fat in general, I’m really interested in core strength this time round, and can already see sliiight definition. When the lighting’s right… ..Before breakfast…

Pin – I’ve been really enjoying Pinning recently! As ever, there are plenty of foodie posts going up, a mix of the ultra healthy to don’t-feed-me-for-a-month heavenly creations. I keep stumbling across great websites, bloggers and Instagrammers who have created brilliant, simple recipes. I’m desperate to try this Unami Fennel Beef Ragu and this highly rated Butter Chicken recipe. 

I’m also pretty happy with how my Interiors Board is going. Lots of bright, airy spaces filled with foliage, wooden features and blue hues – are you an avid Pinner too?

Read – As mentioned in the first post, I don’t really read fiction/for-pleasure at uni, however, some nights I close the laptop early, and read just a few pages at a time of a free eBook I got ages ago on my Kindle. It’s the first in the Farseer trilogy; ‘Assassin’s Apprentice,’ something I probably wouldn’t read if I had picked it up in paper-form. I’m still in the early stages where Fitz is just a young boy, but am really enjoying it! The imagery is brilliant at whisking me away to a bustling coastal settlement that just makes me yearn for the sea and its scents, sights and sounds so badly.

Listen – I’m not a podcasts or audiobook kinda gal, but the songs that I keep hitting repeat on are Jasmine Thompson’s Like I’m Gonna Lose You, and Brandy’s Right Here (Departed). Both pretty emotional in different ways, but lovely listens that make even me sing ’em out loud and proud. – Sorry flatmates!

Watch – One word: Dickensian. Are you hooked too? I can’t really keep up with when the 30mins episodes are aired, but yesterday I consumed 3 episodes back-to-back. It’s a clever concept of intertwining characters from various Dickens’ stories such as The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, who all cross paths with Inspector Bucket’s investigation of who killed Jacob Marley (Scrooge’s partner.) You don’t have to be familiar with the plots of the books, and it isn’t overwhelming in terms of the amount of characters and subplots. Catch it on iPlayer now!

My beloved Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast is back in full swing too over on Channel 4, and in keeping with food, the hilarious The Great Sport Relief Bake Off. Television’s never been better. 

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So what has you glued to the screen? What song is constantly on loop in your head, and what are you making for your dinner tonight?!

TTFN, P x

 

Floundering

Happy New Year! I hope you indulged yourselves over the festive period, and that your days were as glittery as a Christmas bauble.

This is probably the first year of my life where the rest of it truly begins. The ominous black hole of uncertainty is lurking just around the corner, beginning promptly from June onwards once I have graduated.
2016 is the year four years of study comes to a close with an M.A. in English Language from the University of Glasgow, and I somehow need to decide what I’m going to do with my life post-university. And pronto – at least in the eyes of convention.
I won’t be prolix about it, I am quite terrified as I’m the worst decision maker ever when it comes to even the littlest things – coffee or tea? Teaa? Or coffeee? – but deciding what I want to do as a career, picking out which paths to take amongst an intertwined maze feels like an impossible and ever-so-slightly overwhelming task.
I have friends who have known from the get-go that they want to be lawyers and veterinarians, and are currently on their meticulously planned journeys to getting there. But me? Well let’s see.. Do I want to focus on job-hunting up in Glasgow, or keep tabs more on my home town and surrounding areas? Do I want to focus on looking at jobs in the vague marketing-creative-media field, despite having no real experience in it whatsoever, or just go for what becomes available that I would feel competent enough at, but that would still provide a challenge?
What factors help to carve my decisions anyway? Glasgow has far more job opportunities in terms of personal growth than back home, but do I really want to continue living there when I’ve never felt 100% settled? The only factors of course should be personal ones that come from what I want and what’s best for me in climbing the first rung of the career ladder, but I know living away from loved ones back home will be hard, as Glasgow would then become my permanent dwelling.
I’ve said similar in previous posts, but I don’t think it’s always a bad thing that we mightn’t have a concrete plan about how we should be spending our lives. That’s the beauty and slight terror of being part of Generation Y: where our parents and grandparents were expected to begin thinking and building upon a solid career early on, we’re lucky enough to divert without so much as a raised eyebrow from the standards and expectations that were once so firmly rooted in tradition. University isn’t the first choice for so many people, and those who have opted-out have still been able to be incredibly successful by other means. I am noticing more and more people my age taking a year or even more out after university to properly explore the world, and document it whilst doing so. It appears “convention” is slowly dissipating into something more like, “find what you enjoy doing, and make a living out of it.”
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2016 is the end of the beginning, and in a way the beginning of the end. The end of being a student and the bank balance of loans and grants. The beginning of a possible 9-5 and a proper pay cheque. The end of a luxurious life of months’ worth of holidays and the beginning of taxes, bills and maybe even mortgages. 
“The End” has negative and morbid connotations however, but it shouldn’t. It means the rest of our lives, where as the years pass by and the candles on the cake increase in number, we’ll continue to have more freedom, responsibilities and experiences, and surely that can only ever be a good thing..

TTFN, P x

Festive Drinks Delights

The meal plans are sorted, the list’s been written and rewritten 5 times over, the turkey’s been ordered and the sherry… The sherry. For many, this festive period isn’t complete until the booze has been brought in and settled nicely on the side table for all to admire in their glinting glory. 
Of course, non-alcoholic and mocktail recipes are also provided, hot and cold, because there are a plethora of things this time of year that can also give you that warm, fuzzy merriment.
In the same vein as the food posts here, and here I’ve collated a useful little list of all things thirst-quenching and merry-making. Enjoy!

Alcoholic Cocktails

Pomegranate Vanilla Sangria – HowSweetEats.com


[With Milk/Ice-Cream]

  • [Non-Alcoholic] 4 Chocolate Bar Milkshakes Malteser Milkshake, Salted Caramel Chocolate Milkshake, Peanut & Chocolate Milkshake and Vegan Chocolate Milkshake
  • Bourbon Chocolate Milkshake Let the kids enjoy the first recipe, whilst the adults sip away on this beauty.
Bourbon Chocolate Milkshake – imbibemagazine.com

  • Gingersnap Eggnog What’s Christmas without a tipple of eggnog?
  • White Dove If amaretto and ice-cream are your go-to flavours, this will be right up your alley.

Hot Drinks

Gingersnap Eggnog – SeriousEats.com

Drinks to Pair with Your Food:


..And For Something a Little Different:

White Russian – Byrdie.com

TTFN, P x

Remember: Drink responsibly, and may you have the loveliest of Christmases 🙂

Healthy* Festive Food Delights 2

Happy first day of Advent!
Ok, so you skimmed over my last post and want to go all out cholesterol-conscious this year instead. I get it, the health and fitness industry is booming, and we’re reminded everyday how sugar, meat, dairy, gluten are gradually ruining our bodies and the environment. To keep trim and ever so slightly smug over the Christmas period then, feel free to indulge in these healthy recipes that don’t scrimp on flavour and flamboyance:

Christmas Mains + Starters:

Herbed Wild Rice and Quinoa Stuffing – KitchenTreaty.Com

Vegan/Vegetarian Dinner Alternatives:

Root + Nut Traybake – Realfood.Tesco.com
Mushroom, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart – JamieOliver.com

Christmas Pudding:

  • GF, Vegetarian Christmas Pudding The perfect way to still enjoy the traditional Christmas tradition, catered to your dietary needs!
  • Lighter Christmas Pudding Not vegan, but a healthier alternative that doesn’t compromise on flavour or spectacle.
  • GF Apple Christmas Cake A lighter offering than the aforementioned Christmas puds, this should go down a dream.
  • Winter Pudding Bombe This is pictured below. Just look at it! The heavy stodge of its traditional sibling has been replaced by ice-cream, and that sounds just fine to me.
Winter Pudding Bombe – JamieOliver.com

[Vegan/Vegetarian/GF] Pudding Alternatives:

Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Blizzard – OhSheGlows.com

Will you be going for the healthier alternatives this year? Maybe it’ll mean you can devour a whole selection box for breakfast guilt free.. Or maybe not.

TTFN, P x

Festive Food Delights 1

I haven’t forgotten about you oh little blog! The pace and pressure of fourth year is well and truly under way, but I’ll always have time to squeeze in a post. 
If mentioning the C-word [Christmas] was frowned upon in previous weeks, I feel I can freely shout it from the rooftops now, as advent begins next Tuesday! My Christmas playlist is currently playing, I’ve just had a nosy at Paperchase’s divine decorations collection, and the temperature outside is plummeting, pronto.

All in all then, I feel my first festive themed post is due; a neat round-up of the recipes I’m wishing I was making, and dreaming I was eating. This week’s recipes have gone all out, rum-lit blazing, and are stupendously gluttonous. Put away the spiraliser til at least January 2nd, pop the chia seeds in the pantry, and treat yourself to some of these delights I’ve handily collated for you:

Breakfast


Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls – Bakingdom.com

Christmas Dinner

Stuffing

Christmas Pudding

  • Classic Christmas Pudding Only in the last two or three years have I truly enjoyed Christmas pudding. If you use a great recipe and good quality fruits, the dry mouth and overwhelming richness will be a thing of the past.
  • Celebrity Chefs’ Recipes Check out Eliza Acton’s and Nigel Slater’s for the 5/5 rated recipes.
pssst. Next week’s post includes healthier + vegetarian alternative pudding recipes

Classic Christmas Pudding – BBCGoodFood.com

Alternative Desserts


Mincemeat 


Soups

Leftovers


..And if in doubt, shovel everything into a large bap and have pop the dishes in the sink for soaking.

Roast Chicken With Maple Syrup, Figs and Farro – Telegraph.co.uk

Round-Up Lists:

Keep your eyes peeled for posts on healthy alternatives and beverages guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart..

TTFN, P x