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.”
*
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

To Autumn

A different blog post this evening, one that perfectly encapsulates the scent, the touch and the sight of this time of year. Tonight’s air is thick with woodsmoke, the frisson of fireworks and the burning embers of community beacons that drew the young and old together all across the country.
Today is November the 5th. Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes Night. Also my Granny’s 90th birthday. To her I’ll dedicate John Keats’ beautiful poem; To Autumn.

        To Autumn

    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
            To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
        And still more, later flowers for the bees,
        Until they think warm days will never cease,
            For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
                                            
    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
        Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
        Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
        Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
            Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
        Steady thy laden head across a brook;
        Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
            Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
                                           
    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
        Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
        And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
        Among the river sallows, borne aloft
            Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
        Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
        The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
           And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.



TTFN, P x

A Weekend At Home

I think if one is to indulge in a rare weekend at home, I would highly recommend it being an Autumn one.
Compared to the carpeted streets of Glasgow, the leaves are still very much on their trees here, but the gold and russet shades have definitely crept across the greenery. I can still feel the change in the air however, the whole atmosphere feels incredibly cosier than it did when I left for uni back in mid September. 



Coming home in Autumn means having a wholesome dinner cooked for you in the evening! Last night we had roasted garlic chicken, baked potato, sprouts and lashings of onion gravy. MMmmm. Tonight is a homemade curry, currently being prepared as I type. Even better 😉

It also means drawing all the curtains with your dad come 5pm, hooting away together about all sorts of nonsense, the living room getting prepared for everyone to sprawl out in afterwards, mugs of hot drinks at the ready. The dark, cold evening firmly shut away from view.

It means sleeping in absolute silence. There is no whir of traffic, no slamming of doors from flat mates, an abundance of pillows, and the gorgeous pleasure of waking up in a certain kind of cosy comfort that is hard to explain. You feel safe, warm, and so content knowing you’re sharing your living quarters with people you know inside out and who care about you a lot. That’s prittttty lovely stuff for an October Saturday morning!

It means padding about in super squishy, fleece lined pajamas, with not a scrap of makeup on and having a plethora of toppings available for your porridge come breakfast time.

It means seeing your friends in person! Catching up over sips of G&T and swipes of lipstick as you get ready for a good old night out in your home town.

It means the clocks go back! Tonight, British Summer Time in the UK ends and we are treated to an extra hour in bed.

It also means having to leave everybody and everything behind again for another few months. That’s always the worst part; waiting for your train back to uni on a gusty concrete platform, clutching your holdall and focusing on the good memories made in your whistle-stop visit, knowing that judging by the speed of the first half term, you’ll be back home in no time. 
And of course we all know what that means….
CHRISTMAS is just around the corner!

TTFN, P x


Unplugged

Blessings in disguise. The other side of the coin. When one door closes, another one opens. On the bright side…


I’m not sure how it happened, but a few of days ago both the music player and FM radio on my mobile phone simultaneously decided they’d buddy together and stop working. The radio no longer produces any sound whatsoever in earphone output or speaker. The music player’s volume is constantly at optimum level, so unless I want to be completely deafened by the sharp cymbal-clash to the opening of Haddaway’s What Is Love?, I’m afraid no in-ear entertainment is a go-go.


I was so used to plugging my ears each morning with a radio presenter’s idle chatter, or the oddly compiled music collection from various mobile phones over the years, that all of a sudden, I had nothing.

But it isn’t really nothing. In fact it’s a lot of something. I’ve found myself catching intriguing snippets of passer-bys’ conversations with their companions or children. I’ve anticipated the arrival of an emergency vehicle after clocking the siren pushing through the usual honks and engine roars of everyday-traffic several blocks away. I’ve heard the bark of a dog in a tower block above me, which was exactly the same pitch and length as that of the one featuring 16 seconds into Blur’s Parklife. 


I’ve also realised the visual and the auditory are intricately connected. I’ve always appreciated and been left in awe at the golden sunrises washing across the trees and city skyline as I strode along to Old Crow Medicine Show’s Wagon Wheel heading towards uni. But when you don’t have a soundtrack accompanying your journey, your mind becomes its own thought playlist. 

Instead of spotting something and vaguely pondering on it for all of a couple of seconds due to the music clouding over my thoughts, I can now properly take time to reflect on what I have seen, perhaps connecting it to an aspect of my life, or even making up my own imaginary scenario for the reason behind why something had happened that I had witnessed. 

I’m able to simply embrace life and breathe in my surroundings (if a little co2-polluted). I can roll an idea over in my mind which has begged for serious consideration and planning for some time, without the words and beat of a distraction stomping it out. 


Maybe soon I will get bored of my own thoughts, and begin to desperately crave a disturbance to my own conscious for the 15 minutes of my day where nothing else matters but from getting from A to B. 

For now though, I’m unplugged and unchanging.


TTFN, P x

p.s. Have a go and let me know. Could you go cold-turkey on technology?