Wednesday, 4 November 2009

My Favourite Recipes for Autumn

Wow! It took longer than I thought to get back to writing this blog entry. The recipes I promised you last time are below, and I have another update on whats happening in this crazy little world of mine coming soon. Eventually I might be able to get into a regular routine of writing instead of random updates once in a blue moon ;)

OK, here are the recipes. I wanted to get these up in time for Halloween, since its my yearly routine to make all of these on Halloween and share a nice meal with family or friends then sit and watch a few of my fave movies before doing whatever it is that I'm doing that evening, a few issues meant I could get these up in time though.
This year I sat with my wassail and a few movie goodies, and watched Practical Magick and The Craft (which I've watched so many times I need a new copy).
Just to quickly note. All my measurements are in the UK imperial/metric. I'm not sure how it differs to the US equivalents, but this website can be VERY useful for converting them.

Monday, 26 October 2009

What a weekend!

When I decided to go to university, I wasn't really prepared for how different a learning style it is. There are the lectures, but other than that, and the odd items which get put up onto our Web area, it becomes essentially a teach yourself thing. You do have to be very strict with yourself, and I'm finding that with midterm exams looming, I'm beginning to struggle.

As much as I am loving the university experience, I'm not the kind of person who finds it easy to sit down and do work under her own steam, especially after a pretty awful day, and I'm finding myself struggling to put in the necessary personal study time - I'm lucky if I find 2 hours a week of study.
This is probably going to become a big issue for me unless I really start to get to work on it, so this week I'm setting myself a target of at least re-reading and writing up my notes from my lectures. I've started a little glossary thing at the back of my notebook for anything I need to look up on my own - anything I don't understand from the lectures, so I'm hoping to be able to get that sorted out too.
Hopefully, if I start out reasonable, I'll be able to build it up enough to get a decent amount of study in, and hopefully pass my exams, be happy that I'm doing enough work, and maybe still have a bit of a social life.

Monday, 5 October 2009

I ♥ my food

I simply adore cooking, or baking - especially baking.

In the fairly limited student kitchen it can be a bit of a challenge for me to want to cook, and for me to eat the right things.
A lot of people say that it’s a good idea to cook up batches of one pot meals so that they can be frozen and reheated as and when you need them. My problem is that I have very little space in the freezer, and with only one shelf in the fridge and a tiny cupboard for any tins or packets etc, it becomes nigh impossible for me to do this.
I also don't have a great variety of pans. I even had to borrow a frying pan from someone tonight since I still haven't gotten around to buying on of my own yet (they're so expensive!) So making one pot meals in a small saucepan is less than easy.
I have an electric cooker here too. After learning to cook on a gas stove, and loving it, I am finding it a real struggle to see any good points in the electric one. But I have to grin and bear it I suppose.
Having said that, tonight I made a curry. My brother came over for his tea and to steal my TV for a while - I refused him access to the PC for the night.

He's a vegetarian, and usually I will just get a jarred korma sauce and Quorn pieces and leave it at that. Some microwave rice and I'm done. However, today I was feeling a little sick of my lack of vegetables and home cooking, so even though I still used a jarred sauce and Quorn pieces for some protein I decided to throw in some potatoes and broccoli, mushrooms and onions. I was quite impressed with the result. It had a homemade touch to it, had some veggie goodness (at least from a student point of view) and it managed to bulk it out a bit too. I have enough left for two more meals - usually the one jar just does the two of us.
I struggled to fit it all in the saucepan I have, but eventually managed it, and put it with the microwave rice. For a meal made in a student kitchenette I think I did pretty well. I even have enough mushrooms left to throw in with pasta next time I make it.

Bruv seemed to enjoy it - even if he said it tasted more like a Chinese curry than an Indian korma.

I have also managed to bring my baking goodies with me, so I have been baking a lot of cookies (which have been eaten as fast as they cooled - my flatmates love that I bake so often). In fact, one of them is so impressed he's asked me to teach him how to make a proper steak and ale pie. I figure since he wants it made from scratch that I'll make it with shortcrust pastry - its the one I know best, and there's no way I'm going to attempt any puff pastry any time soon.

I'll let you know how it goes - when he decides he can be bothered to buy the stuff for it lol.


(Image from

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Two weeks in...

Hey folks!

Well, I’ve been at University now for two weeks. It’s been fantastic so far. Fresher’s week was amazing and I think I’m just about settled in. I’m starting to get a little homesick, but I’m sure that will pass soon, as I still see my family a lot, and I purposely didn’t move more than half an hour away.

I’m living in a flat with 3 other people, and so far they all seem really nice. It’s a mixed flat, so I’m sharing with 2 guys and the other girl. We haven’t had any arguments yet, but we’re probably still a bit early for that, I can see a few arguments brewing though (the guys don’t really get on with each other very well). Probably mainly about football though.
Speaking of football, I’ve started watching Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports News. I’ve never been a big fan of football, and really, the only times I can say I keep up with it are when my brother and sister are arguing over the merits of their respective teams. So it came as a pretty big surprise to me that I actually enjoy this program. I don’t find myself going out of the room just so I don’t have to listen to it; I actually seem to be interested.
It probably has more to do with the actual program than the subject – often you will hear the different reporters shouting in the background as they watch the individual matches, and the main presenter seems to be able to keep it all fairly light hearted – less of a life and death thing than most. I still don’t think I could tell you even the basics about the game, never mind keep up with all the changes that go on. Neither could I ever explain the offside rule.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Big Day Tomorrow!!

Image courtesy of

I move to University tomorrow.

I'm so excited about the chance to gain some independance and move out of home, yet I'm going to miss my mum. I'm only going to the local university (which is still a big uni), and moving into Halls of Residence about 10 minutes away, but its a big thing - as I'm sure it is with everyone who moves out of home for the first time.

Its been just me and mum for a long time. My brother and sister moved in with my grandma about 5 years ago. We're very close, and although we argue, I know I can tell her anything. Even when she met her now fiance, we stayed very close.
So to leave her here is going to really upset me. Especially as she seems to be going through a bit of a rocky patch - she tells me I worry too much.

I am still so psyched about going though! I'll be sharing a flat with between 5 and 7 other people. I'll have my own bedroom and shower room, but anything else I will share.
I've got everything I think I'll need, packed it up, and I'll be packing my computer up tonight. I'm sure I have too much stuff, and that I'll have a really small room but I couldn't help going a bit overboard.

I haven't actually seen where I will be moving. I missed the tours of the Halls, and everything I know is from the University website. SO all I know is the exterior of the building as we drive past it on our way into town.

I've been speaking to some of the people who will be living in the same building on Facebook. It's helped me not to be so nervous about moving into a place where I don't know anyone, because they all seem like people I would get on with. For all I know I could have already spoken to my new flatmate(s).

Tomorrow is also my sister's birthday. She wants to go out for lunch and go bowling, but Grandma managed to reign her in to just a birthday dinner at her house. So I have to move in the morning, then go over to grans and give Sis a great birthday (need to buy a card on the way), then come back and unpack and meet everyone - and since there are two days of moving in, I'll probably have more people to meet on the Sunday. It's going to be hectic, but fun.

I'm going to sign off now and head for bed - it's my last night at home, and its already way past time I should be asleep.
If I can manage to get some sleep that is ;)


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Sad News

On my way into town today I was listening to BBC Radio 4.
This is fairly unusual for me, but mum was driving so she had the choice of radio station, and she likes listening to the news in the morning.
There were two very sad announcements today.

First, Patrick Swayze had passed age 57. I had known he was fighting Pancreatic cancer, but I was very sad to hear this news. I enjoy watching his films, and Dirty Dancing is one of my all time faves - along with Ghost, probably his most well known roles.
His most recent role was in a TV series called The Beast. I never watched this, but I have a friend who adores the show. I was surprised to hear he was working on the series while he was fighting his illness.

Cancer is a truly terrible illness, we don't know nearly enough to be able to fight it easily and effectively as we hope. I have had family affected by this awful disease, friends who have survived and I recently lost someone to cancer myself.
My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Swayze's family, especially his wife Lisa at this time, hoping they will find the strength to carry on, knowing that people all over the world will be thinking of them and praying for them.

The second announcement was that Keith Floyd had died from a heart attack aged 65. He had also been fighting Bowel cancer, but he had good chances of recovery. This was more sad news. I had grown up watching his cooking programs, and though I wasn't partial to his recipes (I'm not a big meat fan - and almost all of his recipes included meat or fish of some sort), I loved his carefree attitude, and the way nothing was measured out or weighed.
He constantly had a glass of wine with him when he was on screen, and I was impressed at the way it seemed he could cook something no matter where he was. Inside, or outside, he would manage to pull some fabulous recipe out and impress all around him.
His career was very impressive. Nearly 35 books and 18 television series, which I still see played fairly often, despite some of the shows being made 20 or so years ago. Just take a look at the list here.
Again, I find myself sending prayers for his family and all those who will miss him.

I'll be back soon, hopefully with a brighter post, but I couldn't let these two deaths pass without commenting.


Friday, 11 September 2009

A candle-less existence...

Image courtesy of
So today, after an email from the university about moving into the Halls of Residence, I decided I would sit down and thoroughly read through all of the rules and regulations and health and safety stuff they say I have to read before I arrive. Normally I'm really bad at reading T&Cs and stuff like that, but I thought I'd be a good student and endure the boredom.
I read the part about having to fill in an itinerary when I get to the flat, so I don't get blamed if anything is missing, and about having to go to a fire safety talk in my first two weeks and the other similar things. Then I read something which shocked me.
I'm not allowed candles! No open flames, so no candles or incense or any of my lovely relaxing stuff.
This is going to seriously hurt. If I can't bake, I light a candle or two. And my room and clothes are constantly smelling like whetever incense I have a fixation on that week (I picked up the habit after getting tired of constantly smelling like a smoker - living with two heavy smokers in the house has its drawbacks). Its my relaxation tool. I have a bath, light a few candles and get the incense out.
I joked with my mum that I'd be coming home for a candle fix....I was sort-of serious though.
She went out and bought me some fake electric candles (its not the same).
Think she's trying to tell me something?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

No H8 on SL

I just wanted to post quickly to share this with anyone who hasn't seen it yet.
NOH8 is a photo project and silent protest at Proposition 8 - the banning of same-sex marriages in California. Even though I do not live in the US, I feel pretty strongly about the campaign, so have taken some pictures and added it to the Flickr Pool.
Please show your support by adding your photos too.

You can find the free kit here. Follow the intructions and snap away.

Love is love, regardless of gender, race or religion.

(Thanks Seven for telling me about this)


Money Troubles

I got my letter from Student Finance this morning. It tells me how much money I can expect to get next year, both loans and any grants/bursaries.
I'd been worrying about this for a long while, because I sent off the application in May, and hadn't heard a thing from them, then I got a dodgy email claiming to be from the student finance company asking me to send information, I was suspicious (there were no customer ref numbers, or anything that is usually on emails from them) so checked it out and figured out it was fake.
So I've been worrying whether I'd get any confirmation before I moved to uni, or even whether they'd received my application form since I never got the usual 'Thanks for your application' letter.

When I woke up to find the letter - and the amounts, I immediately sat down to work out how much I would have after paying for my accomodation and tuition fees. I was so relieved that even the thought of having to live on just under £50 a week (google says thats about 80USD)didn't really phase me. I figured that with no utilities or travel expenses to pay, I could buy my food shopping, and save up for the treats like books or clothes.

I moved on to the rest of my mail with a grin - which soon fell into a frown....2 letters, both from The Bank.

Looking at how much I now owe The Bank (procrastination means it has spiralled out of control) it looks like I'm going to struggle to find £5 a week to live on. Bummer.

With no sign of a job in sight (I've applied everywhere I can think of and apart from one interview which led nowhere, I haven't heard a thing) its looking like my only other option is to let them take further legal action....which I really don't want to do :(

So, even before lunch-time, I'd been so happy I could cry, so depressed I could cry, and now I'm just numb. I wish I could stick my head in the sand and ignore it, but thats what got me into this mess in the first place. I think its time to make an appointment at the bank to see if anything can be arranged.

Don't you just hate money worries?


Celebrity look-alike?

You might have heard of this website before, I know I have, but I thought I'd share anyway, because it can be pretty fun.

Basically you upload a picture of you (or your avatar) and it will compare it to a collection of celebrity photos and tell you who you look most like. Now you do have to register for this, but its just an email address, and you don't get any spam from them.

I uploaded this picture for the celebrity collage:

The best picture would be facing the camera, with no facial piercings, and with any hair kept out of your eyes. No glasses either - it needs to be able to see the contours of your face clearly I guess.
The uploading stage seems to have a few problems, it took 2 tries before it worked for me.
So I uploaded, registered, and was given this:

I'm pretty happy with it - even with Jimmy in there lol. Since it only shows 8 celebs I also had the choice of switching for Jessica Simpson at 67% or Mena Suvari at 66%.
Uma Thurman...not bad :D

I had a go at the Celebrity morph too, but it didn't work too well lol.

Want to give it a go and see what you get?


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Exploring Bay City

I decided to go exploring today in SL. I have a big list of places to visit, which I'll get around to eventually, but today I decided I would visit Bay City.

 I've been meaning to explore the regions since they opened in May.
The sims were built by the Linden Lab Department of Public Works (or 'Moles') and then sold on to SL residents who built within a theme, which appears to be a 1930s/40s Art Deco style.
I'd asked on the forums where was the best place to start and got some good advice from Marianne McCann. I started in Bay City - Imaginario (where Mari has her store - You know, For Kids ), and wandered slowly through the streets heading East through Bay City - Falconmoon and Bay City - Argos.
I have to say, I was very impressed. I dont think I've seen any of the Moles' builds, or a build where the Lindens and Residents have worked so well together. Everything I saw fit the theme, and it was interesting walking around, seeing the stores which sell such different things, all still fitting together. Even with nobody around, you could tell that it was a community, and not just a place for people to put their stuff.

When I landed in Imaginario, the first thing I saw was a Mole build - an archeaological dig of some sort. It was a fun build, and I took a picture or two, and found my way through the labyrinth.

I wandered further and found a playground, which although nothing was scripted or had sits in there, I did like it, and there was a good view across to Falconmoon.
 I found Mari's store - and her big billboard, and decided to take a souvinir photo of me being a bit of a vandal, sitting on the top of it.

Walking across to Falconmoon, the first thing that struck me was the ginormic Eiffel Tower. I spotted a sign which seemed to say that it was only there temporarily, so I had to climb it just for the view and the picture opportunities.
Across from the Eiffel Tower was a statue of a mole. I'm not sure who he was supposed to be (I dont really keep up) but he seemed like a nice fellow so I took another picture.
By this time I was starting to lag a bit, and was running out of the time I'd given myself for exploring, so I continued on to Argos.
I didn't really see much of this sim as I got sidetracked by this:

Impressive isn't it? It was made by Argos Hawks, and is called the Bay City Ball Machine. the steel balls are lifted up the central spiral and then drop back via a number of different tubes and spinning windmills, creating a very interesting visual effect. It seemed to be all done by physics, and I just sat there for a while watching it do its thing.

My time was up so I decided to head to my home location before logging out - only my home sim was offline, meaning I had to log out where I stood.
So if you're wandering through Bay City - Argos sometime tomorrow and I pop in on your head, half rezzed, sorry - it means I forgot to log in at home again lol.


Monday, 7 September 2009

My Favourite Place in SL

Brenda Connolly kindly sent me a t-shirt for following her blog The Accidental Avatar. I took a picture of me in it at the Forum Cartel Hangout in Allana.
The hangout is a great place to go if you need advice on anything SL-related, or if you just want to hangout in a friendly environment. The people who frequent the place are a very kind and helpful bunch and though they are ever so slightly insane ;) I always end up laughing when I'm there. There are a few cool freebies on the shelves too.
Timing can be hit and miss though with the time-zones and stuff, but if you wait around, someone usually turns up soon.

First Blog Post!

Just to start off, I don't really have any plans for this blog, its not going to be a diary, or a soap box for me to complain about everything. I'm just going to post whatever I feel like and see how it evolves over time. Neither am I going to keep it strictly SL or RL related, just a blend of fun and randomness...

So, with less than 2 weeks until I move out of home for the first time to go to University, I thought it might be fun for me to start my very own blog. I can't wait to meet new people and am excited about the whole university experience. I've just finished a foundation year since I took a couple of years out from school, so I know how a few things already work, but its still going to be a totally new experience for me.

I'll leave it there for now, I don't want my first post to babble to much, really I just wanted to say Hi and Welcome.

Oh, and because pretty soon you'll realise I love posting pictures from Second Life, here's one to kick it off...

Pretty please feel free to leave comments or suggestions. I'd love knowing people will actually read this thing so that I'm not just babbling for no reason lol.