Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Last day of January

As it's the last day of January I thought it would be appropriate for an update on life in general and also to comment on new years resolutions.

First of all though, thank you to all of you who have been checking up on me and sending me well wishes - I'm shaking this virus off now and feeling so much better. I still feel a bit rough so taking this week steady but in comparison to what I was like, I'm now absolutely marvelous! I actually managed to lose my voice over the weekend which everyone thought was pretty funny - I talk to my Mum on the phone almost every single day so I had to text her to warn her I wouldn't be able to answer the phone if she rang. She commented "I bet Chris is loving the peace and quiet!" Actually no, she couldn't have been more wrong, he actually hated it because I didn't stop trying to talk to him. He is an avid gamer and has some pretty expensive electrical items, including a gaming headset that he wears all the time for talking to mates on Skype while playing games - because they're such good quality they block out most of the sound around him anyway, so he had to keep taking his headset off every five minutes so he could really listen to what I was desperately attempting to say to him. I didn't realise how much I actually used my voice until it disappeared and not being able to talk was horrendous! But it's back now so I'm definitely making up for it.

The new years resolutions are going pretty well - Chris weighed me this morning for the first time in a couple of weeks (I didn't bother worrying myself with it while unwell) and said "how many pounds are in a stone?" - I realised that must be a good sign and when I told him, he declared I had lost 4lbs since the last weigh in which takes my total to 11lbs since Christmas. Really, really happy with that! I was hoping to lose a stone before Valentines day which is looking very achievable. I also wanted to have something hand made to give to each of my close friends by next Christmas which is again, looking very achievable. I've been sitting in front of the telly and getting plenty of knitting done. I actually found loads of wool in all different corners of my flat in all different colours and I've decided that I must use some of it up before buying any more. That's really not as easy as it sounds! Whenever I see a pretty colour that I've not seen elsewhere I just have to buy it because I could use it one day! So at the moment I'm working on a project which uses up pink and cream wool which I have in mind for one particular friend. I'll take a picture and upload it once it's got a bit bigger. I only really do any of it when watching TV or a film, seeing as I have an entire year (well, 11 months now) to complete a few projects I'm pretty happy with the speed I'm going at.

I can't believe it's the end of the first month of 2012 already but things seem to be heading in the right direction. I got a couple more results from last semester back and I seem to be averaging on a B grade which I'm really pleased with as I didn't put too much effort in last semester due to problems I had. I assumed I would have to work hard and make up for it after Christmas but it seems there's no need to worry! I just need to continue to work hard and make sure that I finish my assignments to the best of my ability.

With regards to my last post about trying to get youngsters reading more, it seems that reading and writing to a decent standard isn't considered to be cool these days. It seems those of us who care about this issue need to think of ways to make reading cool. I also see young girls trying to dumb themselves down in order for them to seem more attractive. This worries me and I would love to find a way to show these girls that they're actually more attractive with a brain, this is something I'll be thinking of for a while it seems.

(I've yet again changed the way my blog looks... perhaps one day I'll be 100% happy with it and leave it alone!)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Illiterate Children

Being an English student, I believe that being able to read and write to a high standard is incredibly important. But what I'd like to know, is when did it stop being so? Unfortunately social networking sites allow me to see what my class mates are up to nowadays, and it's come to my attention that the majority can't even string simple sentences together correctly. There's a difference between using text language and not being able to use the language. While it really annoys me that people type as if they're texting all the time on social networking sites, I can forgive it. Being between the ages of 20 and 30 and being unable to use your own language properly is totally unforgivable.

What bothers me the most about this is that most of them are young mothers. Evidently the governments decision to hand people houses and money for having a baby isn't helping as people now realise they don't even need an education to get everything they want - all they need to do is spread their legs. While this sounds harsh I do respect young mothers but only those who put the effort in. I do know a handful of them who put in an awful lot of effort with their children and are also continuing to get an education but these are very few and far between. I do wonder myself why I should bother with uni because I could have a nice house and money thrown at me if I just had a baby. The fact is I want more than that, I want to get myself a job that I like and I want to have an education as back up. But seeing so many others does make me think why bother!

These young mothers (and sometime fathers) can't read or write properly and therefore, what can we expect from our future generations? I would suggest not much. By the time I was 9 or 10 years old I had read all the books available at my primary school and had to start reading books that my mum had at home - yes, I was reading adult books by the time I was 11 and I thought it was pretty normal until I went to secondary school and found kids couldn't read what I had been plowing through years ago. I know that reading doesn't always come as easy as it did for me, but I believe that it came so easy because I was brought up reading. I had a big bookshelf at home and the damn thing was full of all different types of books. I had to be good at reading because of all the effort that was put into getting me books. My mum still has a truckload of my books that she can't bring herself to get rid of because we managed to keep them in such good condition despite using them all the time.

I really believe that if children had a decent amount of books in their lives and were read to by parents on a regular basis, we wouldn't have people struggling to spell simple words or put easy sentences together by the time they're nearing the age of 25. But as far as I can see, what's done is done and I certainly don't expect to see the people who can't read or write to a decent standard attempting to read bed time stories to their children. I'm saddened to even consider what life will be like in 50 years time. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Knowing who your friends are

I will probably be posting a few reflective blog entries over this next week as I'll be resting and not really doing much. This is of course leading me to think about things, life, much more than I usually would. I feel like as I get older I am definitely learning a lot more about everything but particularly about people; family and friends. Unfortunately it seems like we really get to know what people are like when things go wrong. It's only then that we discover who truly puts the effort in with us. Perhaps it's down to rose tinted glasses, or perhaps we're just usually too busy to notice, I suppose everyone has a different situation.

A few months ago I went through quite a hard time in my life and there was a very small number of people who really genuinely cared and made sure to help me feel better. I love these people very much as it shows that even if you don't get to see these people very often, they will be there or on the end of the phone in minutes when you really need them. Unfortunately this can't be said for everyone who I would have previously considered to be one of my best friends. I have one friend in particular who had been phoning me (she lives quite a distance away) whenever there was a problem with her life, and I was helping her for however long she needed me for. But when the tables were turned and it was me who needed a friend, she was nowhere. Even when I tried to tell her what had happened, instead of asking me how I was she actually ignored it and changed the subject to something about how bad her life is - almost as if she was trying to beat me. It was only then that I realised that this friend hadn't done anything for me for years, while I carried on giving her all the support she needed. She is one of my oldest friends and I still love her to bits, and when we get together we really do have a blast together, but when it comes to needing a good, solid friend to depend on, it just wasn't her anymore. I did however have the other friends to take care of me so this isn't a sob story, I was just so shocked to realise that someone who I had put so much effort in with was giving me nothing in return.

It seems that as we get older and find our own lives we become a lot more distant with our good friends, but our true friends will always be there for you when you need them to be, no matter how little you see them. I have so much love and respect for these particular friends of mine and I will never forget the help they gave me. And the friends who don't put the effort in with me anymore? I don't bother with them either now; I have no intentions of letting someone use me as a punch bag when they can't even be supportive when I need it. It's quite simply not fair and I could use that time to do something for someone who would genuinely appreciate it.  

Do you know who your true friends are?

Virus!

So I went to the doctor yesterday and had things stuck down my throat and in my ears until they had decided that I do in fact have a virus - apparently they're sure I don't have an infection because my throat is simply red raw and "you don't have any puss down there". I've never felt less attractive in my life! Yesterday I woke up with such a fever that I literally couldn't stop sweating until I ran myself a cold bath, yes cold and it was only then that I started feeling vaguely normal temperature wise. Anyway the doctor that I go to is based at the uni so when they said "how is your workload at the moment" I wondered what difference it made. I said that I had handed in my last assignment last week and didn't have any more to be handing in for weeks yet, to which they said "good, this virus is highly contagious so you will have to take all of next week off at least, and make sure you relax and don't do any work!" Don't mind if I do! So I will be relaxing for over a week until I feel 100% better before attempting to get anything done.

Yesterday it was actually so cold that we had some snow - it only snowed for about 20 minutes but it was so thick and heavy we had a white blanket on the ground by the time it had stopped. It did however start raining about 30 minutes after that - strange weather. The roads probably aren't great to travel on today but as I won't be leaving the house and Chris works in walking distance, I don't have to worry about that. This very cold weather is actually helping me cope with my fever a bit better.

I have been feeling pretty miserable these past couple of days as I've been feeling so unwell, my voice almost completely disappeared amongst about 50 other things that's wrong with me so when I got up this morning and checked the blogs I'm following I was really surprised and excited to see that I have apparently won something! Jane is giving away a lovely book on her blog and apparently soon it'll be here with me. Just what I needed - something to smile about! If you haven't had a look at Jane's blog you can do so here - I must say this is one of my favourites; I enjoy every single post so if you like the same sort of things as I do it'll be a real treat for you. I hope you all have a lovely weekend whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Not well

I have really not been well these past couple of days and have barely managed to get myself out of bed. I thought I just had a cold but then throwing up all day and night was added to my sore throat and cough and now I just hurt all over. My mum seems to think that it might be a gastric flu ?? Never heard of that before but if I don't feel any better tomorrow I'm going to the doctor, which is a big thing for me as I have a bit of a fear of it. But I do have someone taking care of me and checking up on me every so often to make sure I'm alright, my Maximus just got into bed and kissed me all over my face then went to sleep on my chest. Made me feel so much better! And Chris will be home from work in a couple of hours to cook for me as today I'm hungry for the first time in 2 days. (please don't laugh at my "tasteful" duvet cover :P)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Excitement!

Tonight I am incredibly excited so I'm afraid this post is going to be me being all "eeek" and happy. I officially have the best partner in the whole world. Some of you may not be aware but for the first time in 20 years we now have a pair of Giant Pandas from China in the UK, in Edinburgh. It's been so long since they've been in zoos over here that both Chris and I have never seen one "in person" in our lifetimes. Today he came home from work with the announcement that he had booked us tickets to go see them and have a mini holiday to Edinburgh at the same time for Valentines day. As an animal lover this is definitely going to be one of the most exciting trips of my life so far. I don't think I've been so excited since he took me to Disneyland (yes, the two of us in our twenties went on our own, with no children as an excuse) because I had never been before and am one of the biggest Disney fans in the world. So in a few weeks I will not only be treated to a little holiday but will be meeting pandas for the first time in my life! There's much hope that this pair of Panda's will eventually breed in order to try and keep the Panda population from dying out. They really are such beautiful animals and I cannot wait to meet them in person!



If anyone's interested in the panda experience or if you fancy watching "panda cam" then click this link, although if you're interested in booking tickets I would suggest doing it sooner rather than later as everyone who I've spoken to about it (certainly those who are around my age bracket) are also dying to go and several of Chris' work mates have already booked themselves in too. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Start of new play

I've done a bit of writing for the possible start to my next play that I'm writing. All my writing tends to be a bit odd and I'm not entirely sure which direction I want to take this one in yet but I'm going to post up what I've done so far for anyone who's interested.

Here it is:



Dimly lit stage, various incomplete paintings and sketches lying on the floor and on some easels. VICTORIA and PETER enter, arguing.

                   VICTORIA.                        I knew you'd forget.
                   PETER.                               I didn't forget, it just slipped my mind, that's all.
                   VICTORIA.                        They'll be hungry.
                   PETER.                               Sweetheart, they're only chickens.
                   VICTORIA.                        Chickens need to eat, too.
                   PETER.                               Won't be long and we'll be home, I'll feed them then, I                                                                   promise.
                   VICTORIA.                        That's not the point. I asked you to do one thing for me and                                         it didn't get done.
                   PETER.                               But it will.
                   VICTORIA.                        Only because I asked if you had done it. If I hadn't said                                                 anything, those poor chickens would have gone without food for an entire day.
                   PETER.                               OK, I'm sorry, I won't do it again.
                   VICTORIA.                        That's all I wanted to hear.
PETER.                               Now let's go home.
 VICTORIA.                        You go get the car; I'm just going to pick up Justin's                                                                  prescription.

VICTORIA and PETER exit in opposite directions. A few moments pass before GERALDINE enters.

                        GERALDINE.    Calling back. I'll do it in a moment; just let me feed these                                            chickens first. I'll only be a few minutes. Sprinkles chicken                                                  feed over several of the sketches on the floor, exits. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Soups!

Here are some of the recipe's for the soups I've been enjoying over the past week. Firstly, I have found these recipes on BBC good food and adapted them slightly to make them as healthy as possible. Secondly, it's worth investing in one of these hand blenders if you don't already have one, I picked one up in my local grocery store for roughly £29 and there were other versions cheaper, too.



You can simply mash your soups down but we prefer ours smooth with no lumps. Basically, with any vegetable soup you make, you start off by taking a stock pot (we have been using a very large saucepan that my Mum gave me when we got our own place and it's been working just fine) and putting a small amount of oil in the bottom. A lot of the recipes I found tell you to use butter but of course there are healthier options. The options that I would suggest would be; Fry Light (oil in a spray can that really limits the amount of oil used), Flora Cuisine (a healthier option to oil - this is found next to the butter and spreads in supermarkets) or rapeseed oil (a healthier alternative to olive oil). It's entirely upto you which one you choose, they're all better for you than butter or olive oil so it's down to preference or whichever one you can get your hands on easiest. So here are the basic steps for making soup:

1. Put a dash of oil in the bottom of a stock pot
2. Peel and chop whatever vegetables you're using and throw them in the pot
3. Cook the vegetables until they start softening up on a high heat on the stove
4. Pour vegetable stock into the pot on top of the vegetables (until the stock covers the veggies) and cook on a high heat until it reduces slightly and until the vegetables are cooked through. If unsure test it out by taking one out and seeing if it's soft enough to mash.
5. Once all the vegetables are cooked, take off the heat and blend using your hand blender until you have the consistency you like.
6. Place over the heat for a few minutes while stirring then pour into bowls.


Sweet Potato & Chili


1 onion, chopped
1 red chili finely chopped
2 crushed garlic cloves
750g sweet potatoes peeled and chopped (they're very hard so chop them quite small otherwise they will take ages to cook)
500ml vegetable stock (we used a little more as the soup was quite thick)
A few sprinkles of Coriander (add just after the stock)


Leek & Potato


1 onion, chopped
225g white potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 medium leeks, sliced
1.2 litres vegetable stock
*75ml double cream (original recipe asks for 150ml but we halved it to keep it healthier)

* Add the cream after you've blended your soup then put back on the heat until warmed through.


These recipes are healthy enough to have for lunch, although we have been having them for dinner with some bread rolls to make it into a substantial meal. I have been having one or two small granary rolls with mine while Chris has been having his with bigger, white cheesy rolls to make more of a "man serving" and to keep him from getting hungry later in the evening.

What I love about making my own soup is I know that it's really healthy - after all, it's only vegetables, it's really easy to make and you can add whatever vegetable combinations you like, there's hardly anything to wash up, it's an incredibly cheap meal and it's easy to make ahead of time and store in the fridge until you want to warm it up.

One last thing I will say is regarding some of the tips I've found, including using rapeseed oil instead of olive oil, it has been down to Gizzi Erskine (a TV chef, does Cook Yourself Thin) on twitter. She very often tweets tips on how to make your food more healthy, so if you're on Twitter it's worth following her @gizzierskine.

Hope those of you who were interested in my soups finds this post helpful and if you decide to make some yourself please let me know so we can compare recipe ideas!

Friday, 20 January 2012

New Computer

So, Chris hasn't long finished building my new PC and it is officially amazing. I have no idea what the spec is but basically from what I gather it is pretty much invincible - The Old Republic is certainly a million times better on it than it was on my laptop - at least! So since I finished on the majority of my work and now only need to read small amounts for each lecture, I can have some relaxing and gaming time - hooray! I know for some it isn't the most exciting weekend plans but it is exactly what I need right now! I also plan on doing a bit of cooking, knitting and perhaps even baking some cupcakes, we'll see what I feel like when the time comes. I've just finished eating sweet potato and chili soup which we made together this time - Chris did most of it but I wanted to see how to make soup so that I can be making it for my lunches or getting a head start at making it while he's at work and we have a busy day. Eating homemade soup seems to be an amazing way to keep healthy; I don't think I've ever eaten so many vegetables before! I might even make my own roast dinner from scratch for the first time this weekend - we'll see! I haven't actually done any exercise this week yet but I will fix that tomorrow and Sunday - perhaps I'll go for a couple of extra long runs.

On the writing side of life, I now have to come up with an idea for a play for my next assignment and I'm really not sure what to do. I have a few ideas but sometime soon I'll have to pick one and get started. I always seem to leave it pretty late to decide so this time I want to get organised and get going as soon as possible. I really want to put as much effort as I can into this semester and see how many decent grades I can get under my belt ready for my exams and the excitement (and absolute fear) of my third and final year of Uni starting this September. Eeek! I cannot express in words how scared I am, I just want to finish with decent grades so bad! Lets hope that if I put the effort in I can turn these wishes into reality.

What are you doing this weekend? Anyone going to be relaxing like me?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Caught up with uni work

Just a quick post this evening before I get into bed. I have spent the past couple of days doing almost nothing apart from writing an essay that has to be in tomorrow and I have literally just finished. I have two pages in references alone - I hate referencing with a passion! Anyway, last night to cheer me up Chris took me out for a lovely italian meal - I had a beautiful lasagne with side salad and a lovely glass of wine, which for someone who drinks probably three or four times a year at the most, was very much enjoyed. I even treated myself to a pud - a chocolate melt in the middle cake type thing with a small scoop of icecream. I have managed to lose half a stone since Christmas by eating all fresh produce and making all our meals totally from scratch, and it was a bit of a treat to relax me as I have been stressing about this essay for days. I have spent almost all day writing it and finishing it off (I had an hours nap at 3pm) and finally, it is done! Yay! Now all I have to do is hand it in tomorrow. I almost fell off the wagon as I knew I didn't really have time to make a meal from scratch this evening and Chris offered to make dinner for me while I continued writing, and I am so glad he did. He made a leek and potato soup on his own which tasted absolutely delish! Not only is it a warming and filling meal, it's made up from all fresh veggies and literally nothing bad is going into your body but it seems like it's an incredibly cheap meal to make. There's enough left for another meal so I will be having it for my lunch tomorrow, I'm really looking forward to it!

It wasn't quite so yellowy/green in "person" and it tasted much better than it looked!

I feel really spoilt at the moment, he's really taking care of me and doing lots for me even when I'm not asking and he's actually building me a new computer, he didn't tell me it would be a proper gaming PC until he had ordered all the bits, which should turn up tomorrow, so I should be playing The Old Republic in a much smoother quality by tomorrow night - I certainly feel like I've earned a couple of days of relaxation! Oh and this semester I have fridays off of uni, which means I get a 3 day weekend! Very happy about that!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ebooks & More

So, I finished my essay that has to be handed in tomorrow and I'm actually rather pleased with it. I started off not knowing what to write about and as a result, sat in front of my laptop staring into space for hours at a time. I forced myself to start writing and now have ended up with a piece of work that I am happy with. I have another essay to do for Thursday but I'm taking the rest of today off as a bit of a rest and will resume the work first thing in the morning.

I can feel my life becoming a lot more organised, and as a result I'm getting more of the good things in life done. As soon as I finished my essay, I got changed and went for an evening run. A few weeks ago I would have not put so much effort into my essay for a start, and secondly instead of rewarding myself with a run it would have been more likely to be chocolate! I'm really liking this as it gives me 20-30 minutes of me time where I can think about anything I need to, and clear my thoughts as well as getting a good workout. Loving the feeling of getting life back on track. I have decided to start running again as I realised I have the time to fit it in and I used to be pretty good at it. My partner plays football twice a week and so I can take up whatever exercise I fancy - when we met I was a keen runner but that faded away a bit as he was never really into it.

I had a nice phone conversation with my Mum when I got home from my run and she was telling me all about her kindle. It was one of her christmas gifts and she absolutely loves it, she has always read all the time and she still manages to get through piles and piles of books in a week, around everything else she does. She said she had downloaded some free books and she is most the way through the first one, which she said she didn't hope for much from but as it has gone on she has really enjoyed it and got into it. She did say that there were an awful lot of spelling mistakes which I told her probably meant that the book was self published. It made me consider how the kindle is changing how we read; my Mum would have never picked up these books if they were on sale in a shop but having good books, downloadable in seconds for either free or incredibly cheap is meaning that more authors are getting read, and also readers are able to enjoy a bigger selection of books. I know a few people who are standing by the fact that "you can't beat going to the shop and buying a real book, smelling it etc..." but mostly, everyone seems to be loving the kindle. I know for me it's absolutely amazing. I can download a book for a reference for my uni work, or get a head start with my reading seeing as they only take seconds to appear in your kindle. But it did make me smile when my Mum said she's enjoying it so much, it made me think about the future for authors and reading enthusiasts alike, and it certainly looks bright to me.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

University can be very strange !

This is just going to be a really quick update today as I have a truck load of uni work to be getting through before Monday but basically, I was really, really terrified about checking what grade one of my assignments got. I wrote it while going through the worst week of my life so far and was literally sitting with the laptop on my lap, sobbing as I typed out absolutely anything in order to get up to the right word count. I had decided that writing anything would be better than writing nothing, and I should probably hand something in even if it is a pile of toss. After I handed it in and my life not only straightened out but actually became a million times better, I started thinking of how terrible that piece of work was and the more I thought about it, the more I worried as I came up with things in my mind that I hadn't done and things that I really should have put in. I didn't even think it would get a bare minimum pass. Anyway, my results have been up for a while but I only got the courage up to have a look at them yesterday and I was almost crying with happiness when I discovered that it had actually got a B! I honestly didn't think it would even get a pass which is a D and I was stressing so much about having to possibly retake the module. That is my best grade so far of my year 2 at university and now I'm starting to feel really confident about it. What would I be able to achieve if I really tried?? I'm really going to be putting the effort in this semester and trying my very best to see if I can manage to get an A or two, I'd be the happiest person alive!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Healthy Eating FREE GIVEAWAY

Yep that's right, it's time for me to give away my first freebie via my blog! As you are all very aware by now I'm using the new year to start getting myself healthy, and my lovely partner Chris told me that he had ordered me a graze box. His work mate had been given a code to have his first box free, and with that box comes with 4 free box codes. If you have never heard of graze and you're trying to get yourself eating healthily then you really, really need to have a look at their website. Click this link to go to their website and have a look at what they do.

Basically, you sign up to have a box of healthy snacks delivered to your door or work place every day, for you to "graze on" throughout the day. When getting your free box you do need to sign up to have it every day however you can cancel it at any time you wish, and can even cancel it straight after your free box arrives if you wish. It costs £3.49 with no extra delivery cost which actually is very good. My box arrived today and it's absolutely full to the brim of healthy bits to snack on, so much in fact that I'm not sure it's possible for me to eat it all in one day! It comes with 4 good sized boxes inside and has the cutest little booklets with it, one of them explaining the nutritional info for what's in your box. It is random what you get inside your box every day but if there's certain things you don't like you can filter it to make sure that everything you get you will actually eat. I'm looking at my box now and thinking how beautifully packaged it is and how, if I went to the shop and bought all the components individually it would come to way more than £3.49.

I worked in an office for 4 years before I went to uni and oh my goodness I would have loved to have this then. I can imagine getting it delivered to the office and just putting it on your desk and munching on it throughout the day - without needing to worry about whether or not it's healthy because you know that anything they send you will be.

So lets stop going on and on about how much I love it and get on to the important bit. I have 4 codes to give away and I am going to give them to the first 4 people who email me. You need to be following my blog, so if you're not already then hit the join this site button, although I do know that a lot of my lady followers are into their health and fitness so I assume they will be snapped up pretty quickly by them, so if you're interested in this freebie act quick! I do believe that you need to be in the UK to receive this as well.


So, send me an email to sarahflight@hotmail.co.uk with "graze" in the subject box and the first 4 followers who do this will receive an email back from me with your code that you simply enter into the gift code section on the graze website. If you are also a blogger then give me the link to your blog and if I'm not already following you, I will do so and also post your link on my blog. Please sign the email with the name you use on blogger (especially if you have a really random email address like randyblonde82@.... :P)

I think that's about it and I hope you all enjoy graze as much as I am!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Facebook fails

So this is why crazy people shouldn't be allowed on the internet. Because they do silly things on facebook, in front of their entire friends and family. Don't get me wrong, I do like to have a good laugh at these unfortunate people, mostly the kids from school who were never going to do anything with their lives. Yes this is harsh to put them into a category but when I said that I bet you all automatically knew what I meant and thought of a few names yourself. Anyway, one of these people on my friends list is now studying law and keeps putting details of cases up as her status updates - evidently she hasn't had the confidentiality lecture yet. Other people update their status' to tell you things that you clearly don't want to know. I wish people would stop doing this, and unfortunately the only reason they do it is to try to grab peoples attention. If you have to post stupid things to get peoples attention, then you really need to consider working on your personality or trying to make your life a bit more interesting. Others feel the need to entertain themselves by Making profiles for their pets. Admittedly I do use "Catbook" and "Rodentbook" to make profiles for my pets. But these are apps designed for this reason. People who don't use these apps and decide to make their pet a human facebook profile are just annoying. And why are they annoying? Because they make their friends' "people you may know" section look like this



I was casually looking through my facebook when I saw this suggestion on the side of the page. It's just plain annoying. There are a million other annoying things I could go into about facebook but I would be here all day and I have two assignments that I need to crack on and write. We shall save more for another day. This is why Twitter is so much better in my opinion - you don't have to follow all the people who follow you!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Christina Aguilera

Christina has always been my role model, pretty much from the very start of her career and probably even more so now. She has gained a fair amount of weight, but instead of hiding away trying not to let anyone see, she is appearing on TV and looking very happy with herself! She has even spoken out and said that she's very comfortable in her own skin and that as long as her son is happy and healthy that is all that matters to her. It's such a breath of fresh air to hear a celebrity feeling confident about their body changes and especially putting their children first.

We saw her sporting a very lean and slim body while starring in the film Burlesque with Cher, but she certainly didn't diet to do so, all the dancing while practicing and filming made it easy for her to achieve this body.

It's a massive contrast in comparison to the way she is looking now as she promotes "The Voice"

A far cry from being fat but this is certainly the biggest we have seen her look other than being pregnant. For me it's very refreshing for a celebrity to be so happy and content with their body changing in this way and I think we should see more of it. It has certainly made me feel better about gaining a bit of weight - after all we're only human and if we have more important things to do or deal with at the time, why worry yourself about gaining a few extra pounds? I am still, of course trying to lose a bit of weight and generally get fitter but knowing that it's normal for your body to change at certain times throughout your life certainly makes me feel 100% better about myself. I know that when I gained some weight I had better things to be worrying about and to me that is all that really matters. Thank you Christina for showing us women that we can still look glamorous even without being skinny.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

How to eat better on a budget

So in the past few days I've learned one valuable lesson that will help me in many ways. Not only to lose some weight but also to eat in a much healthier way. After reading through all the slimming world recipes I can find I have realised that the best way to get healthier and to lose some weight is to make everything you eat yourself, totally from scratch. This sounds pretty obvious but to a student like myself, when I hear this idea I automatically think "this is going to cost me a lot of money", but it actually doesn't have to. Chris got paid halfway through December due to Christmas and doesn't get paid again until the end of the month and we are trying to make every penny last until we get our student loans through in just over a week. This blog post is dedicated to the people who don't have the money to go on these crazy diets and buy all the expensive and latest fashionable detox ingredients.

The First tip would be to find a dish that you really like and buy all the fresh ingredients in for it. This could be expensive, for example I made a bolognese pasta bake this week and all of the ingredients like the tomato puree, veggies, cheese and beef stock etc all seemed to add up to quite a lot when I bought everything that was needed, however, apart from the mince, it would all last for 3-4 nights worth of dinners. Find a dish you really like and on the really hard weeks financially, eat it several times.

If you want something naughty like fish and chips, make it all yourself. Do not buy frozen fish in batter and buy a big pack of baking potatoes (they're very cheap!) and peel them yourself, making them into much healthier versions of chips.

If you're hungry between meals, buy fruit to snack on. Some fruits can get expensive but I like to eat bananas, of which I bought 3 and the total cost came to 40p. A decent snack and at that price the shops are practically giving them away as gifts.

If you want a sweet treat, don't give into temptation and make for the bakery for a cake, make something for yourself. Make cupcakes using the lowest fat ingredients that you can find such as the half calorie sugar and low fat spreads such as flora. It sounds like these cakes would be crap but I served them up to my other half and cousin and they were both totally none the wiser. Obviously cake is never healthy but if you really need something sweet, don't make yourself suffer, instead make it yourself. Making cupcakes is also a good idea as they are already the right portion size. You won't be tempted to cut a bigger slice of cake and over indulge. Again, buying everything like the sugar and spread will cost a bit to start off with but you should get weeks worth of treats out of one shopping trip. It will be cheaper in the long run. Other easy sweet treats involve yoghurt, jelly, and small amounts of chocolate drizzled over fruit. For a more intense chocolate hit use dark chocolate instead of using more chocolate.

Always check the offers, and which store is selling your favourite products cheaper. I went to Asda today and found a new type of lower fat cheese called "I can't believe it's not cheddar" made by I can't believe it's not butter. This cheese was cheaper than all the rest, including Asda's own and it was the perfect addition to my bolognese pasta bake. I also found other offers such as Chris' favourite crisps almost a whole pound cheaper than in Tesco. I do like Tesco for my clubcard points, especially as I get all my petrol from Tesco, it means that money I would spend in other places and get nothing in return for is actually used towards earning points and getting vouchers through in the post. Although in the weeks where I'm not receiving my vouchers for ages and money is getting tight, Asda seems to be a much better bet.

These are just a few tips that I have learned over the past few days, if and when I learn more I shall post them, but until then, good luck with your new years resolutions, and for those of you wondering, I am now feeling much better and am pretty much back to normal. I'm looking forward to getting my exercise that I've missed out on this week back on track tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The 1000 Miles Mummy

I don't often find people who truly inspire me, and by that I mean literally make me get off my ass and get stuff done because these people are so amazing. Well, this year I have found one. The 1000 Miles Mummy is a woman who is walking 3 miles every single day of the year - yes every single day of the year with her toddler to raise money for the charity Tommy's. You can follow her journey every day, find out about her chosen charity and even donate to help her raise as much money as possible by clicking here.

I don't care who or what you are; whether you're a writer, artist, baker, it doesn't matter. If this woman doesn't inspire you then there's something wrong with you! It really does make me think if she can find time to do this amongst everything else including looking after a little girl then there is no reason at all that I can't do my things that I want to do such as get my writing done and lose a bit of weight.

I have a couple of friends who have been affected by what this charity supports and it really is just heart shattering to see a person, or a couple, or family, go through this pain and I will certainly be donating to this fabulous cause once my student loans come in - until then I'm poor! I would urge you to donate but of course you have a year to do so - take a look at her blog for a few days and I'm sure you will be supporting her, as I will be, throughout the rest of 2012.

I wish the best of luck to the 1000 Miles Mummy!

Feeling pants!

So for some reason this month I'm suffering from extreme "lady pains" as I call them. I always used to have them this bad all the time but the right prescription sorted them out, however I do get a really bad one every so often and my body decided to choose the start of the new year. Good to get it out the way I guess. So for the past couple of days/nights I've been dosed up to the eyeballs in cocodamol which has just taken the edge off but still getting a decent nights sleep is proving to be hard. My other half is also suffering from it because he can't sleep due to all my tossing, turning and pathetic whimpering all night. Oh well, he can obviously tell I'm in a bad way because he's been looking after me and giving me sympathy so I can't complain too much! If other people haven't suffered from this kind of pain themselves they find it really hard to understand, but the best way I can  explain it is that when I'm in this sort of pain, it's a struggle to even stand up and even walking around Tesco while I buy bread and milk causes me to pass out or become incredily faint. There is a problem that I suffer with and sometimes it just likes to bite me in the ass! But anyway my point is that I've managed to keep my healthy eating going while I've been in this state which I'm really proud of. Usually when I'm in a slight bit of pain I'm automatically reaching for the carbs! Good old comfort food! But so far this week I have done pretty well, cooking us up slimming world recipes and today I even managed to get some light exercise done on the kinect. I'm planning on making up for sitting around for a couple of days by going for a couple of decent runs at the weekend when, hopefully, I will be feeling back to normal.

So, on the writing front, I've had a look at my uni assignments and I have a couple of crappy little 1500 word essays that I need to do in 2 weeks which is ages to write such small essays so I'm thinking I will start planning them within the next couple of days while I feel a little shaky and also I shall get some writing done on my little story that I'm working on. Not having much to do actually feels pretty good because I can get some things done for myself too. I've been knitting today which I haven't managed to do in ages and I find it so relaxing, it's really helpful when feeling crap. I have a massive ball of pink wool to use up and I plan on knitting a couple of scarves for friends for Christmas next year - little projects to keep me busy throughout the year on slightly less active days and with beautiful handmade gifts as a finished product. Sounds good to me.