Monday, 25 May 2015

Euro-Trip!

I got a new phone a few days ago (Samsung A3) and it is amazing. When you go onto google search, it has all these notifications waiting for you which are linked to things that are in your gmail. Seeing as I'm flying to Rome tomorrow night to start my euro-trip (!!!), I got a notification of my trip to Rome and a little picture to go along with it, just to let me know what I was in for.


How exciting is that?!
I'm pretty much all packed for my trip, I just need to pack my toiletries tomorrow and go to the DHL pick up location near my flat to get the night-train tickets that I reserved for us to get from Venice to Ljubljana, seeing as I was away in London this weekend so missed the guy when he came to deliver them.

Just to give you a guide of where we're going on our 3 week long Euro-trip... we're going to:
 Rome > Florence > Venice > Ljubljana > Zagreb > Vienna > Salzburg > Munich > Prague
Very exciting! We're staying about 2.5/3 days in each place so we're going to have to pack a lot into a short amount of time so its going to be very busy and tiring but it'll be fun! I'm most looking forward to Italy and Prague so we'll see if they were my favourite places when I get back or whether somewhere else took my interest!

I'll have to write a lot of blog posts when I'm back about each of the different places I visit, so be prepared for an overload of Europe-related posts!

Ciao!


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Cottage Pie and Lamb Dhansak

I leave for Europe in 2 days! So excited!
As I said in my last post, I have to finish posting about a few meals before I get onto talking about all the places we visit in Europe.

Firstly, this Lamb Dhansank recipe by Mary Berry. I've gotten really into watching her programmes on tv and I saw her making both this and the cottage pie and they both looked so good that I had to make them.
It's a mild, sweet and rich dish, made with lamb, lentils and loads of different spices. It's also really easy to make. You basically just put everything into one pot and let it simmer for one and a half hours. Because of all the lentils, it also makes it feel like its a really healthy meal. 

The best meal that I think I've ever made though has to be her cottage pie with dauphinoise potatoes. It is literally the tastiest thing ever. Its so creamy and cheesy and the meat part is so rich and flavourful and its just the best combination. I definitely think it'll be my go-to meal from now on. It is amazing. Ashleigh loves it as well. Everyone will love it to be honest.




If anyone wants to try these meals, here are the links to the recipes:

Let me know if you try them and if you like them or not!



Saturday, 16 May 2015

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

I leave a week on Tuesday for my Euro-trip (so excited!!!) so I'm a bit addicted to travel blogs at the moment. I keep searching for posts about all the cities we're going to and all the pictures I see are so beautiful that I'm just getting more and more excited. I'm also insanely nervous but I'm trying not to focus on that.... 
Before I go on a complete travel-orientated blogging spree, I need to finish a few posts about meals that I've made recently.

Firstly, the insanely hot Chicken and Andouille Gumbo. Not even joking, this was the hottest thing I have ever tasted. I couldn't even manage to finish my bowl. Jordan somehow managed to eat two but he was actually crying. I ended up putting two cartons of natural yoghurt into the gumbo to try and cool it down but I couldn't even eat it after that. To be fair, I didn't have all of the spices that the recipe I used called for, so I mixed and matched different one's I had and I think I messed it up because I do not believe it should have been that hot. Beneath all the heat though it tasted really good. I'm going to have to make it again without putting as much spice into it because it would taste amazing if it was milder. 

I bought a cooked chicken from Morrisons for the gumbo which I didn't even know they sold but it was pretty handy. I used the rest of it to make chicken broth the next day (which did not work at all by the way). Also, I couldn't find andouille sausage so I used this pork and jalepeno sausage instead. Probably didn't help with the heat of the dish...


This was the end result! As I said, I'm going to make it again because it would be a really nice meal. I could taste it for a second before the heat hit and it was delicious.
If anyone wants to make this dish, here's the recipe: http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2014/12/chicken-andouille-gumbo/

If anyone makes it and gets the heat ratio right, let me know how it tastes!




Friday, 8 May 2015

How to Love Your Depressed Lover

Brace yourselves for a serious post guys!
 
About a week ago I was in a pretty rubbish mood. I don't get like this very often anymore and I don't know what triggered it this time, but I ended up retreating into myself. I can't really describe the mood... there's a sadness there and you feel like you could cry at the drop of a hat but then it's also like having an absence of feeling completely. You just feel empty inside and want to curl into a ball in your bed and stay there forever. Anyway, I got into this mood when I was with Jordan and I knew that he could tell something was wrong. The thing is, when I'm in this mood I completely go into myself and I go silent. I barely react to anything or say anything and I know thats really annoying for anyone who's around me, but I can't help it. Anyway, after he went home we were messaging and he said he hates it when I'm like that because he doesn't know what to do or what I'm feeling. Like he said, "you weren't acting angry or upset but I could feel it".

The point of this post is to sort of say how I would prefer people to react/think when I'm in one of my moods, which maybe will help other people who know someone who goes through this as well.

1) Don't take it personally. 
I know when I'm being all silent and reclusive, it seems like I'm mad at everyone and I don't want them to be there but thats not it at all. Its just how I automatically react, so don't take it personally. Also, a lot of people may end up feeling guilty/bad because they think its their fault. Like, 'she's depressed when she's around me so obviously I'm not making her happy, or I'm causing it''. Not true! Sometimes it just comes on randomly and its no one's fault. Actually, if someone is acting depressed around you it probably means that they feel comfortable around you and that they trust you, otherwise they'd be trying to cover it up, which is exhausting.

2) There isn't anything you can do to 'fix it'.
There are no magic words or actions that you can do or say to bring someone out of their depression. And it doesn't mean that you're bad at handling the situation, its just that its not as easy as that. You need to wait for the persons emotions to sort themselves out by themselves, so just be patient.

3) Ask what they need.
Sometimes I want to be left alone and sometimes I want to just sit in silence and cuddle or sit in silence whilst someone talks at me. Its not fair on anyone to be expected to automatically know what the other person needs, so just ask them what you can do to help. And don't be offended if they just want to be left alone. It doesn't mean they don't love you or they don't appreciate you trying to help, its just that sometimes being around other people is too exhausting. 

4) Don't pressure them.
Don't try and pressure them to get up and go do something because you think it will make them feel better. It'll probably just result in them shrinking into themselves even more. Just be prepared to stay in bed with them and do nothing, because doing anything else will probably be too exhausting.


I'm finishing off this post with this poem which inspired me to write all this (along with my experience with Jordan).


How to love your depressed lover.

Last night I thought I kissed the loneliness from out your belly button. I thought I did, but later you sat up, all bones and restless hands, and told me there is a knot in your body that I cannot undo. I never know what to say to these things. “It’s okay.” “Come back to bed.” “Please don’t go away again.” Sometimes you are gone for days at a time and it is all I can do not to call the police, file a missing person’s report, even though you are right there, still sleeping next to me in bed. But your eyes are like an empty house in winter: lights left on to scare away intruders. Except in this case I am the intruder and you are already locked up so tight that no one could possibly jimmy their way in. Last night I thought I gave you a reason not to be so sad when I held your body like a high note and we both trembled from the effort.
Some people, though, are sad against all reason, all sensibility, all love. I know better now. I know what to say to the things you admit to me in the dark, all bones and restless hands. “It’s okay.” “You can stay in bed.” “Please come back to me again."

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Break from revision with some yummy Peanut Butter Brownie Cheesecake

 I'm right in the middle of exam period at the moment (give me a shout if you're in the same position), so my average outfit each day looks like the one on the left. Sweatpants, cosy socks and the boyfriends jumper. I mean, there's no point in getting dressed in proper clothes just to drag yourself from your bed to your desk, so you might as well stay comfy... right?
I don't know about you, but I'm not one of those people who can go study in the library. There's just too many people around and I can't concentrate, so I have to stay in my room in order to revise. This results in me staying indoors 24.7. There's some days where Ashleigh and I go to lock the door at night before we go to sleep and realise that we haven't actually unlocked it that day at all i.e. we haven't stepped a foot outside of the flat. *Sigh* revision consumes us.







 There was a slight respite from the tortures of exam period just over a week ago however, seeing as it was Ashleigh's 21st!! Woo! Instead of starting my day off (and then continuing it) with a cup of tea, I added (multiple) glasses of champagne to the mix. Very extravagent, right?
It got even more extravagent, as we combined our bottle of pink champagne (and my cup of tea) with the peanut butter cheesecake I made for her. Look at how ridiculous that picture of our breakfast looks. It tasted just as ridiculous as well. It was so amazing but with every glorious bite, you couldn't help but think how many calories you were putting into your body. It was essentially a brownie crust with a filling of cream cheese, condensed milk, peanut butter and whipped cream, and then topped off with reese's pieces. I really want to make it again but I feel like I should maybe wait at least a month, otherwise I will balloon to the size of a whale if I keep on eating it. Pretty sure it was well over 5000 calories... oops! So worth it though.


Thanks to this blog for the recipe! http://recipesfoodandcooking.com/2015/04/05/peanut-butter-brownie-no-bake-cheesecake/ It talks about 'cool whip' in the ingredients but I just used canned whipped cream cause we don't get that in the UK. I feel like you could totally make it without that though. Was essentially just unnecessary calories. So if you're wanting to impress someone with a decedent dessert, you should definitely make this! Let me know if you do and if you like it or not! Also let me know if you're going through exams and revision as well and how its all going!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

21st!

Happy birthday to me! 
This post is actually really late, so its way past my birthday... but still! I'm now officially 21! Practically middle aged.

I was in Singapore for my birthday - happy times :) It was a great day and the family definitely went all out, as you can probably tell from the following photos.




I went out with my dad to pick up Faith from her friends leaving party and when I got back I was ushered upstairs to the living room quickly whilst everyone else stayed downstairs.
Faith and John came to collect me after a little while and donned me with a 'Birthday Girl' sash and badge, just so there was no mistake about who's birthday it was. They then got me to close my eyes and guided me downstairs and outside, where I was allowed to open my eyes and saw.......




This! Our outside area was all decorated with balloons and a banner and all my presents and cards were on the table waiting for me. I was a very lucky girl that day.
Colleen and Thom were so generous and gave me a cheque to go towards my Euro-trip (another post about that coming up soon). I got more money from other relatives so my Euro-trip is basically going to end up being paid for so I am very happy about that!
Faith and John got me a gorgeous Swarovski necklace which I absolutely adore.
My main present, however, was the one from my mum and dad. They got me the most beautiful sapphire ring and I have hardly taken it off since I first put it on! I only take it off when I go for a shower or go to sleep.


My mum also baked me the most extravagent birthday cake ever. It was 4 layers of chocolately goodness and it was unbelievably rich. I doubt if they ever managed to finish it after I left. It'll probably still be there when I next go back.





Instead of having a crazy, wild 21st, I just had a nice relaxed day with the family which I definitely preferred. We had a BBQ that night, courtesy of my dad and then we went to the Fullerton for brunch the following morning/afternoon. Needless to say, I was one spoilt girl!

The 5 biggies went to dinner the night before my birthday as well, but I'm going to write a separate post on that because I don't want the amazingness of the restaurant to be lost in amongst this birthday post.

I actually have a lot of posts to write, to catch up with the time that I've been M.I.A, so, watch out for those!