Sunday, 2 November 2014

Update on what I've been doing lately.

So I've had yet another blog hiatus not because of anything bad or on purpose but mainly due to returning to work and being busy.

Since September I've returned to work 3 days a week, seen a few less films, started belly dancing again on a very occasional basis, read a couple of books, celebrated a friend's birthday in Leeds and watched a little roller derby.

This month I am taking on my annual writing marathon where I attempt to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. So far I'm on track although the idea is a loose one at best and may or may not transform into something else. My main aim is to get back into the habit of writing regularly even if I have to carve the time out of the rare instances I'm not actively looking after my son.

Wish me luck! (I obviously need it.)

Friday, 19 September 2014

A year of parenthood.

So a year ago today I became a mother to a healthy baby boy and the time seems to have run away from me!
First pram outing.
Slinging in Sunderland.
 I've taken hundreds of pictures of him for my family and me but try not to pop them on the internet for his privacy. I don't think he'd mind me sharing this picture of his first birthday cake though!
So it's been a giant learning curve as I learned how to hold a baby properly, change nappies and interpret growth centile charts as well as about ten million other things! Now my little baby is on the cusp of being a toddler there are bound to be more things to learn over the next year and I can't wait!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Movie Monday: The 100 Foot Journey.

I saw this film advertised when I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy and was pleased when I realised that it was being shown at Kino Bambino. The last Kino Bambino me and Dylan would be allowed to attend no less!

The 100 Foot Journey is about the fortunes of wannabe chef Hassan and his family, guided by their business minded father. They experience tragedy in India and flee hoping to restart their restaurant up elsewhere.  After deciding against settling in England they travel Europe and accidentally find the site of their new restaurant in France opposite an existing Michelin star restaurant. Obviously the owner of the established restaurant is not keen on this and a tit for tat campaign ensues between the restaurant owners, as Hassan learns how to cook French food from one of the other restaurant's sous chefs.

This is only half of the story the rest focuses on Hassan's career as an up and coming chef and how his friends and family feel about this.

When I saw the trailer for this film I expected a nice heart warming tale about French and Indian food so it didn't disappoint in that respect; however, I must admit I didn't enjoy the second half of the film as much. While it was good to see Hassan develop as a chef and character I couldn't derive as much enjoyment out of it as the action of the start but that is probably because I didn't really get chance to sit down and enjoy the end as I was chasing after my son and trying to stop him dismantling the cinema. (Did you know you can just lift the light bulbs out of the little lights on the stage in front of the screen?!? I do now...) It was a nice inoffensive film with a few chuckles but no great big belly laughs but not a bad way to end my days of taking my baby to the cinema on maternity leave though.

Friday, 12 September 2014

A little baking...

So I decided to make a few blueberry muffins last week because the baby likes blueberries and I like cake... what more excuse do I need?
Unfortunately I only thought to take a picture of them when I had already eaten most of them. So this was one of the last remaining ones which I've now eaten. It was good.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Monday Movie: Saftey Not Guaranteed.

After spending much of last week's screening of Kino Bambino either chasing my son or sat watching the film on the aisle floor of the cinema I decided against watching a Danish crime film this week... I'm sure it was a great film but subtitles and crawling around don't mix amazingly.  Instead I turned to my old friend Netflix and chose to watch a film called Saftey Not Guaranteed.
This film is about an intern Darius, a magazine writer Jeff and another intern Arnau investigating the man behind an intriguing classified advertisement.  The advertisement is requesting a companion to go time travelling with; however, upon finding the identity of this man Jeff approaches him to be rebuffed, as he is not right for the job. 

Jeff encourages Darius to approach instead and she manages to connect with Kenneth as she is more on his wave length.  Kenneth trains Darius on the combat skills she will need when time travelling as Jeff tries to reconnect with an old flame and Arnau avoids Jeff's insistence that he lives.

I quite liked this film as it wasn't an over the top comedy or extremely kooky rom-com just a film about flawed people opening up to each other and having faith in time travel.  It's not a laugh out loud comedy but it has daft moments to raise a smile like rubbish training montages and people pretending to not be in a car whilst driving. I would've liked a bit more time travelling but I don't think there was the budget for that. 

I don't think that this is a film I'd want to watch over and over again but it is definitely one of the nicer things to watch on a Monday afternoon.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Movie Monday: Two Days One Night.

This weeks film was another Kino Bambino film at the Showroom called Two Days One Night.
This was a French film with English subtitles about Sandra's up hill fight to keep her job by asking her colleagues to give up their bonuses, ensuring that their company has the budget for her salary.  The film follows her, as a colleague and her husband convince her to fight to try to change her other workmates minds about their bonuses after they have previously been convinced to vote against her by their foreman.

Along the way she encounters workmates ashamed to have voted against her, colleagues in similarly difficult situations to herself and others who are violently opposed to her request. This is not the most cheerful of films particularly if you have been through redundancy procedures in the past but it does have some more cheerful parts and shows the way people act when money is involved. This is not a laugh a minute film and in places it is quite slow paced and repetitive but it does make you think which is not a bad thing in a film in my eyes.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Life, the midlands and other things.

Recently I haven't managed to blog quite as much as I'd have liked to partly because I've been busy trying to sort aspects of my life out, which I won't bore you with the details of.  Suffice to say it took up a lot of my time.

I've also been lucky enough to get some time with my boyfriend to see a non art house film! Now I like art house films I really do but I also enjoy sci-fi, action hero films and good old fashioned explosion heavy blockbusters. What can I say? I have eclectic tastes. I've also got to be part of my friend's Mr & Mrs Goddard's wedding day, which was lovely! This was followed the next day by a trip to the midlands to see my sister in Nottingham, where I got treated to tea and then I reciprocated by accompanying her to an outdoor screening of Grease at Wollaton Hall.

Yes, of course we drank wine, ate luxury popcorn and sang along to every song.

This week has been slightly less busy; however, it has seen me and my son both fighting off a cold which I've had for over a week now. Unfortunately this has meant that whenever a writing opportunity has presented itself I've had to use it to sleep. I'm hoping to rectify this slovenly behaviour with a few more posts about films, baking and other topics that I find interesting.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Local Loves.

I've decided to write this week's local loves about my local park Richmond Park.

 It is not the biggest park or the most spectacular and it doesn't have any lakes or animal farms but it is just perfect for a stroll to get your thoughts together.
I've found these mysterious steps and wondered what they were the threshold to?
We've also begun to enjoy using the swings and playground so no doubt we'll have years more fun playing in Richmond park!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Monday Movie: Populaire.

I ended up not making it to Kino Bambino this week to watch Mood Indigo, instead I opted to watch Populaire on Netflix.

Populaire is a French film set in the fifties about a clumsy girl called Rose who goes for a job as Secretary and gets it on a trial basis.  At the end of the trial her boss asks her to take part in a speed typing competition and in order to keep her job she applies but doesn't win. Undeterred her boss decides to be her coach and moves her into his house to over see her practising.

Basically if you've seen My Fair Lady you will see slightly more modern parallels here with added training montages. I guess it could be seen as a cross between My Fair Lady and the Karate kid but really it's a rom com with rose tinted glasses on (excuse the pun!)

This is a nice film which although slow moving in parts is fun to watch with characters I actually like and empathise with an improvement on last week's film!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Tea and travels...

This week I've been a bit quieter on the blogging front than I had intended as I decided it was time to go for a little holiday.  So I ended up spending much of Tuesday planning my trip and doing a little bit of novel writing and tea drinking. This was followed by mad packing on Wednesday and heading to the north west to visit relatives before heading onwards to the wilds of Wales. (Well Flintshire at any rate!) On Thursday we decided to sample the delights of Llandudno and enjoyed ice cream on the beach.

Once we had done playing on the beach and strolling along the promanade (whilst avoiding thieving seagulls) we headed back to our travelodge before visiting more family members on the way back east on the Friday.

I also failed to blog yesterday as I was busy trying to stop sheep attacking eating the picnic me and my friends were having at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, going for a walk then returning home before enjoying yet more tea with Paul's family and my son.  It's a hard life being social isn't it! Now it's time to drink a tad more tea and get cracking on my novel again whilst the baby slumbers... adios for now!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday Movie: Arthur and Mike.

Arthur and Mike was another film shown as part of Kino Bambino which I went to see with my son this morning.

I missed the start of this film due to struggling after a fractured nights sleep... so when I got there the main characters Arthur and Mike had already met. The story is about middle aged Wallace who takes on the name Arthur and skips out on his mundane life to go on a road trip to take up a job as a golf teacher. He's accompanied by Mike also known as Charlotte who is trying to escape her worries as well.

They end up getting to know each other as they travel around and imitate others.  Yet while this is happening Wallace's loved ones try to come to terms with his disappearance and possibly death.

I found this film quite uncomfortable when I think it's supposed to be a comedy. I just thought Arthur and Mike were really selfish. Then again I think I'm not the target audience,  this is like a coming of age film for people going through mid-life crises. Maybe it's a gaining perspective sort of film? I think I enjoyed chasing my son around the cinema more... but at least it was short and followed by coffee!

Friday, 1 August 2014

This & that.

Today I've enjoyed a cuppa coffee in peace at the Steam Yard, a cafe in what used to be Jacks records. Then I had a meeting, browsed some shops, returned a book to the library, did tetrapack recycling, had lunch, fed & bathed the baby and went to my friend's wedding celebration.
So after all that I think I need a snooze! Night!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Bit of baking.

I've tried out a few new recipes recently but most of them have been from my Ella's Kitchen cookbook, as I try to introduce my son to real non pureed foods.  Unfortunately by the time I've cooked these meals I remember that it would be a good idea to blog about them but by this time the baby wants his tea and so do I!  Every so often recently I've had the chance to do a bit of baking when people have graciously watched my little boy for me.  The most recent thing I baked was some polenta and cranberry biscuits this evening.

I'd been thinking about making this recipe from my Homemade Baking cookbook for a while as I had the ingredients but not the time. Thankfully today my boyfriend finished work early so I got chance to relax and do some baking, just what I need!

The recipe was a bit fiddlier than what I would normally like but I actually found it quite therapeutic tonight to follow all most of the steps properly.

To make these you need:

80g cold unsalted butter cut into smallish pieces
100g fine polenta (as well as a bit extra for dusting)
115g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1 orange 2 teaspoons of orange juice with bits
100g sweetened cranberries

So can you tell what I changed? To start I turned on the oven to pre-heat then measured out my dry ingredients into my measuring bowl before adding the butter and rubbing them together into what I seem to remember breadcrumbs should look like.

Then I beat my egg, got the orange juice out of the fridge and added that as well as the egg to the dry ingredients before measuring out & popping the cranberries in. Then I got a wooden spoon out and started stirring only to realise that the recipe said to mix together well with your hands... so I scooped the mix off the spoon and kneaded it all together.

Once I'd got the mixture into a ball shape I put some polenta on my work top, tore bits off the ball of mixture and rolled/formed them into little mini cigar shapes before putting them onto lined baking trays.

When that was done I popped the trays in the oven and turned my oven down to 190c/375f/gas mark 5 and put a 10 minute timer on.  I checked on them after ten minutes but they seemed anaemic so I waited a few more  minutes and got the first batch out.  As I did this I then switched the tray that was in the centre of the oven to the top so that they would get browner faster then took those out a couple of minutes later.

After what seemed like forever the biscuits had become cool enough to not feel like molten lava in my mouth and I tried them. (It's not right to just try one...) They were nice but the polenta gave them a crunch texture which takes a little getting used to, the boyfriend isn't as sure. More for me then! Hehehe!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Local love.

I thought it might be nice to write a bit about local businesses that I am glad reside in this fine city with me and I've decided to start with Birds Yard Sheffield.

It is a business that I've mentioned before but one which I still think is great because it provides a home to a number of independent businesses like Handpicked Books and Poco Nido. Because of this Bird's Yard is a great place to pop in for gifts, clothes, books, jewellery and even baby clothes! Although you can't quite get everything there, it is the perfect place to get something a bit different and it seems there is a sale on at the moment before they move to new premises.

So I wish them all the best in the future and hope that they remain as varied and interesting in their new shop.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tuesday thoughts.

This Tuesday has been a very lazy one for me as I was up half the night feeding my teething son I was allowed a lie in by my lovely boyfriend. However, as a consequence of these things we missed my the opportunity to take our little one to swimming and ended up staying in for the day.So today I have been thinking about how good tea is when you have the opportunity to drink it and don't have to guard it from curious small people.

I have also been thinking about travelling beyond these four walls and reminiscing about my travels to Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and New York. (If only in my head...)

Chocolate obsessed me for a short while... until I procured some anyhow!

After that I let myself look forward to my friends upcoming wedding celebrations and my sister's extended 30th celebrations. As well as the return of the Great British Bake off and Doctor Who next month. Those are few things which I have been thinking about today as well as: books, how to stop my son destroying our Nintendo Wii/my Ukulele, food, mess, projects and the cats.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Monday movie: Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

This is another Netflix offering as I haven't been to the cinema as much as I'd like in recent years and this sounded fun after the Europa Report.
This film if you haven't already seen it  is about the trials and tribulations of wannabie scientist Flint Lockwood.  Flint has a creative mind which he sets to solving problems, often with a modicum of success but which tend to create as many problems as they solve. Despite his many set backs he doesn't give up and eventually stumbles upon an invention that people love, a way of making food rain from the sky. Unfortunately even this invention has it's problems...

In many ways it's a standard children's film complete with talking animals and wish fulfilment but in other ways it's great because it reminds adults of the insecure children many of us were. I also enjoyed the reverse make over of the weather girl from socially acceptable to nerd as the obsession with princesses and looking pretty is not one that does not sit well with me. 

This is a very silly film but I enjoyed it because the main character is not muscle bound or popular but a scientist and they are normally sidelined in place of action heros in most films.  Definitely one for the geeks and nerds.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Recent reads July 2014.

Unless you don't know me at all then you will realise that it is a miracle if I can find time to do anything other than survive most days what with chasing after the hunter of electrical wires... so when the diminutive terror is asleep I mainly attempt to contain the chaos. (As well as other mundane but sadly necessary activities.) In spite of all this I have managed to find some time to write a few blogs and even read a couple of books!

One of the books I managed to read was World War Z by Max Brooks which I got out of my local library whilst grabbing a few family/baby recipe books to help me feed my little monkey.
Now I guess I'm a bit weird because I'm a bit squeamish about the idea of death and dismemberment but I do enjoy a good zombie book.  I don't know why but I guess it's the idea of surviving insurmountable odds and impossible situations.  That and I find the status-quo of modern life a bit boring so I prefer the drama of dragons, space battles or just a load of reanimated corpses.

One of the things that I liked about this book is the narrative style as it is not just told from one point of view you end up finding out how people experienced the outbreak in China, America, Cuba, Japan and a lot of other places. Some stories seemed a bit boring where as others were a little close to home for me and made me sit up thinking what I would do with my little one in a crisis situation like a civil war. (My brain hates me and wants to think about all the things at the wrong times of night. Annoying brain!)

After I worked out how this book's narrative worked I ended up getting hooked and reading it in a few days which is a lot faster than I have managed to read anything recently.  I would recommend this book as it is interesting to look at the idea of a zombie apocalypse from a number of different perspectives and it's always good if a book makes you think. Probably not so good if it gives you nightmares but swings and roundabouts, eh?

The next book I read was The Long War by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett which is a sequel to their previous collaboration The Long Earth.

This story is set 25 years from the start of the previous novel and the events of step day are still being felt in the original or Datum Earth and across the stepwise Earths.

This book tells the story of the mistreatment of sapient natural steppers known as the Trolls, tensions between the Datum and the colonists who have stepped away to other Earths and the people exploring even further into the long Earth than has previously been managed. While I enjoyed this book I didn't find it quite as engrossing as World War Z but then again it is a different type of improbable/impossible scenario... none the less as the book follows at least four possibly more different characters it takes time for the situation to be explained.

I enjoyed the different ways the characters we follow saw the long Earth and how their adventures intertwined so I carried on reading despite it seeming like it was taking a long time for the war in the title to actually happen.  I felt like the main event which was foreshadowed was reserved for the last few chapters to get the readers hooked just like in the last book, so you will need patience if you're waiting for the action.  Despite the slow pace of this book I want to know what happens next and read The Long Mars! I wonder how long it will be until the library gets that in?

So whilst I wait for the library to get The Long Mars in I'm reading Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett which I could describe as a guilty pleasure but I'm not po faced.

I love Terry Pratchett's writing style even if it isn't considered literature. Then again James Joyce's Ulysses is still sitting on my bookshelf... I tell myself that I'll finish reading it one day.  So that's what I've been reading other than Tabby McTatt & What the Ladybird Heard x 100.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Movie Monday: Europa Report.

This week I didn't get to Kino Bambino at the showroom due to a sudden attack of hypochondria... but worry not I don't have scabies! So instead of heading to the cinema I switched to netflix and watched Europa Report instead.

Now the Europa Report is a film about the first manned trip to Jupiter's moon Europa in the search for water and life.  Obviously this isn't as straight forward as they first thought and the story is partially told in the aftermath of the mission from the point of view of the organisers and one of the astronauts.  It is mainly set in the rocket which is where we learn about the crew's roles and relationships with each other but it does venture outside of the rocket into space and onto Europa.

Now as a Doctor Who fan this story reminded me a bit of a story called The Waters on Mars; however, it was darker and less supernatural than that tale, it also does not include David Tennant.  If you want a quite realistic story about space travel in the near future then this might be for you but I will warn you it contains scenes of sadness and existential questioning.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Movie Monday: The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and dissapeared.

I decided that I wanted to watch this film because it had a catchy title... only kidding! It was shown at Kino Bambino and sounded a bit different so I thought that I'd give it ago.
I'll admit right away that I missed the beginning as I set off late, struggled parallel parking and was just generally a tad disorganised. Due to this I didn't see the moment that the main character Allan escaped the nursing home but came in at the moment that his disappearance was discovered. It turns out missing the start didn't spoil my enjoyment of this film.

The story is mainly set in Sweden and is about 100 year old Allan and his life. He tells of the central events of his life and his philosophy of not thinking too much which makes him seem a tad simple, it also shows the situations he finds himself in as he makes his escape.

It might sound like it might be a boring film the ramblings of an old man and his opting out of sheltered care but I found it quite funny, although much of the comedy is dark comedy. I must admit I loved the explosions and matter of fact way most of the deaths were handled but I realise that for this reason it won't be everyone's cup of tea. Then again some people don't even like tea so there's no accounting for tastes is there?

Thursday, 10 July 2014

National Trust Adventures!

This year for my birthday I decided that I don't need lots of new things and instead to ask for things that I could go to or do like tickets to shows, gym memberships and national trust memberships. So my Mum kindly obliged and bought me a year's National Trust Membership.
My membership card came with this exciting handbook and free parking sticker!)
For the first use of my card I headed down the M1 with Dylan to Hardwick Hall to look at the impressive architecture, friendly squirrels and metaphor riddled tapestries.
We had a lovely time and I'm now contemplating where to head next, any suggestions?

Monday, 30 June 2014

Movie Monday: Chinese Puzzle.

This week I went to another Kino Bambino film screening at the Showroom with my offspring. We went to see Chinese Puzzle which I guess is the French version of Chinese Whispers.
The film is about the complex life of writer Xavier, his family and friends. It starts off in New York then skips back in time to Paris and the end of Xavier's relationship with the mother of his children as he explains the situation he is in to his book editor.

While the film deals with the serious issue of Xavier's fight for access to his children it also has light hearted moments like when he is at a clinic donating sperm for his lesbian best friend.  This is one of the reasons I liked this film as you feel for the central character wanting to be able to see his children and have a say in their lives but it is not too heart warming and sentimental because of some of the more farcial elements of the films.  This is a film with a multitude of languages spoken so if you can't handle subtitles then this isn't for you but you'll be missing out. (I enjoyed it even if I spent half of the film watching from the cinema floor as I kept an eye on my crawling son...)

After watching this I found out that Chinese Puzzle is the last film in a trilogy by this director so I think I will be hunting these down to see if the previous films were as good or better as well.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Movie Monday: Dark Shadows.

We got this film just after we decided to cancel our Lovefilm subscription as we're finding it a tad harder to watch films these days... funny that! We popped this on the list as we quite like Tim Burton films and thought we'd give this ago.

This film is about Barnabas Collins a seventeenth century man who is cursed after rejecting the love of a witch and the ramifications of this curse. Obviously bad things happen to his family, then worse things and before he knows what's hit him he ends up as a vampire confined in a coffin. Fast forward a few centuries later he's released, feeds and tracks down his descendants who are also down on their luck. So he decides that he needs to help turn their run of luck around.

Dark Shadows is what happens when Tim Burton decides to venture into the cash rich vampire film genre and set the main part of the film in the seventies. There are a few laughs in this film mainly from Barnabas's archaic language but I did find the plot a bit forced and a few supernatural elements added in there with little foreshadowing. Maybe I missed some things as I was chasing my baby around the living room trying to stop him unplugging the tv aerial or turning off the dvd player.... I just didn't find it as enjoyable as Sleepy Hollow or Edward Scissor Hands.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Movie Monday: Frank.

So once more I decided to venture back to Kino Bambino with Dylan to see the film Frank and to be honest before seeing it I didn't know much about it.  Normally when I think about the name Frank I think about Frank the bunny from Donnie Darko.
It wasn't about some creepy person wearing a weird bunny suit and destiny though... this was about a man wearing a weird fake head and music.

Well it started off with a ginger guy trying to come up with songs and tweeting in a seaside town if I'm honest. You don't meet Frank until a bit later but it does help you to see the film through an outsiders eyes.  It goes from the mundane to the sublime/ridiculous and a few places in between.

I think that this is one of those films that everyone will interpret differently. I quite liked it in that it shows the struggles people face to create, I enjoyed some of the music and farcical elements but a few bits were quite uncomfortable. Dylan seemed to like the music and watching some of it but a baby isn't really the target audience here...

I would definitely recommend this if you've ever struggled to create whether it be music or writing as it explores the idea that creative people are all mentally ill pretty well.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Things I have been doing when I haven't been blogging...

Unfortunately I haven't managed to find half the time to blog, do or watch things to blog about as I had previously expected. I guess I had high hopes that my small fur-less overlord may have 3 hour naps in the middle of the day for me to get things done in. This mysteriously is not the case.

So in case you are wondering, these are a few things I've been doing when I haven't been blogging....

Baby wrangling/caring for/ entertaining. This has turned out to be quite time consuming and I've only managed to write with the small one strapped to me that one time. I managed over 200 words on the first novel. (I may finish it yet!)

Giving in to my social media addiction and spending far too much time on Facebook on my phone. Sometimes I enjoy it and other times it infuriates me, so I think that I need to spend a few days away from it.

Ferrying Tuxedo the cat to the vets and pet hospital. This is a recent one and an expensive way to spend time. I do not recommend it as he miaows very loudly!

Compiling a mental list of things I should do and then forgetting to do them...

Twiddling with the ending of my first novel attempt. This has happened roughly once but I still live in the hope that I might get to finish one or two novels I've started one day. Preferably before I return to work.

Dreaming of a proper night out with food and drinking... as well as a holiday abroad, going belly dancing or to a gig again. I think at least one of these should happen in the near future!

Getting acquainted with Mr Holmes, aka Sherlock Holmes through the television series and a paperback I picked up at Sharrowvale market a few weeks back. I've managed about three stories from the Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. These are a little different from Jeanette Winterson's book Stone Gods but interesting none the less.

Making a few more trips to the garage than I'd like to have my tire repaired... this is another work in progress.

I've also had a few trips to my home town to see my relatives, a visit to my sister in Nottingham, lunches with friends, my first trip to Our Cow Molly and my first beer festival experience as well.

All in all I guess I've been a tad busy but you know what they say... no rest for the wicked!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Banana biscuit attempt.

So a while back I wrote a list of 14 goals for 2014 and I've not been amazing at sticking to them but the year is still young. (Well young-ish!) One of the goals on this list was to try more new recipes and whilst I've tried to make a few new things recently I haven't generally followed recipes. Pureed butternut squash or sweet potato and carrot anyone???  I also didn't fancy blogging about that as this isn't intended to be a parenting blog.

I have finally found a recipe here to try that wouldn't take me hours when browsing Pinterest the other day. It was for banana cookies and if you know me you'll know that I like bananas but I prefer them not to be too ripe so I often have the issue of what to do with old bananas. In the past I've made them into banana bread and buns which are both nice but this appealed as it seemed quick and healthy.

The recipe called for:

2 large old Bananas
1 cup of quick Oats

The directions were to mash these together, then portion them into cookie sized amounts on a tray and bake for 15 minutes. (Well the photo directions suggested this.)  I decided to be lazy so I chucked my bananas and oats into my food processor.  I also added a tea spoon of baking powder, some rapeseed oil and the seeds of half a vanilla pod before blitzing the mixture.
I then started to put this mixture onto a greased baking tray before deciding they looked a bit bland so I added raisins to the last three quarters of the mix.  Once I filled the baking tray I popped the biscuits into the oven.  The original recipe said to cook at 350 degrees and I presume that's Fahrenheit but my oven works on Celsius so I cooked them at 200 degrees Celsius and checked on them every so often. After checking on them and thinking they looked a bit anaemic I turned the biscuits over and then got them out when they looked a bit more brown.

However, after trying them they tasted slightly over done so I had enough mix for three more biscuits and cooked them until they were just brown. I thought that adding some vanilla pod seeds may take a bit of the banana taste away but I still found that they mainly tasted of banana and Paul thought they were quite bland aka healthy. I gave my son one without any raisins to try and it looked giant in his little hands but he sucked away at it and chomped chunks of oat biscuit away so they seem to pass the baby test at least. I may make these again if/ when I end up with ripe bananas that need disposing of.  However, I should probably find a British recipe instead of winging it by freehand trying to interpret American recipes.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thursday Film: Josie and The Pussycats.

This is one of those films that I had not found time to watch.  This turned into a bit of a bad habit and there ended up being a pile of them...
This was why getting through these films was one of the tasks on my goals for this year.  It may have taken me a while but I've finally started by watching Josie and the Pussycats.
A strange choice you might think but I decided to watch this first as I borrowed it off my sister and her boyfriend at some point last year. At least I think it was last year... The name and the cover of it don't look like my normal sort of film but it came highly recommended so I put my reservations to one side and sat down. You know what? It was actually quite good! Alright it wasn't Amelie or Garden State but as a film about music, friendship and suspiciously good luck go it worked well.  There are some cheeky songs in there, a few knowing jokes and a plot you could probably guess a lot of but that's all a part of the charm. It was a nice way to spend a few hours escaping from reality watching as Josie and the Pussycats worked out what was suspect and who was actually their friend.

I think it appeals to me as I always dreamed of being in a rock band and having a song on the radio as a child. (I also dreamed of falling into a ravine but I blame watching Indiana Jones too much for that...) Anyway if you haven't seen this film and have previously written it off because of the cover I recommend giving it ago because although it doesn't reinvent the wheel it is good fun.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Monday Movie: Her.

I was a bit unsure about this movie when I saw that it listed in the Kino Bambino listings a few weeks ago and thought it maybe a bit surreal. Part of me thought there maybe creepy robots in it but that could have been because I knew the main character had a moustache... I can't really explain what made me think that.

However, I had a change of mind and I'm glad that I did as it turned out to be a very nice film. It was gorgeously filmed and the accompanying music was absolutely lush.  I also enjoyed the envisioning of the not too distant future with the advanced gaming that pervades your living space rather than being encased in a screen and the computers you could talk into to write.  The only trouble I had was that at times it was a quiet film, partly because people don't tend to spill their souls out loudly.  Sadly as I saw this at a baby screening with my son I did miss some of the dialogue so I may have to re-watch this film to fully appreciate it. (I keep missing crucial conversations/dialogue at the ends of films for this reason and imagining what transpired then hoping that I figured it out correctly.)

If you want a film about melancholia, artificial intelligence and the highs and lows of love in the future then this is the film for you.  If you can't stand the idea of spending a few hours observing the life of a sensitive middle aged naval gazing divorcee then steer well clear.

Monday, 20 January 2014

New hair colour.

So one of my goals for 2014 was to experiment with my hair a tad more. I enjoyed having blue hair but as I have a deadline for returning to my office job I thought it best to use my maternity leave as an opportunity to try a few different hair colours.

So I went to the hair dressers on Saturday and got them to dye my hair.

So this is the new look! It's not a million miles from the old colour and I had hoped for a brighter green but I only bought one tub of Apple Green dye and I needed two so we mixed a bit of blue in there.  It's now a kind of teal/peacock green colour which is still nice but took a little time for me to notice the difference in the colour. However, it did help that I was complimented on my hair within ten minutes of leaving the hairdressers though! So I'll stick with this for the next month or so I think before going for another change.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

14 goals for 2014.

It appears to be the norm to make a grand declaration of some vague desires that you resolve to stick to and then quietly despair as you have a human moment and break your self imposed vows. I've done this several times over the years and never quite managed to practise my instruments daily, lose weight or eat healthier. The thing is it seems quite counter intuitive declaring that you are going to eat healthier when there's chocolate everywhere the eye can see. (That's why I like to eat the chocolate then consider exercise and fruit...)

This year I've decided that resolutions are pointless wastes of breath and instead a list of 14 goals to do by the time 2014 is over seems like the way forward.  So here is my proposed list of goals for 2014.

1. Make a blog plan to help with writing You'll get what you're Given! I've been a sporadic blogger over the years but I'm slowly learning that if I don't organise nothing happens. (This is also true of a few other things such as meeting up with friends and getting anything done around cats/small children.)
A taster of what happens when I don't organise!

2. Bake birthday cakes for my loved ones. I didn't bake a cake for Paul last year, it would've probably made me sick but I think that this year me and the food processor can whip something up.

Something like this but a bit better hopefully!
3. Watch all the DVDs that I've got in my collection but haven't quite got around to watching yet... and return the ones that I've borrowed in the past. (Whoops!)

4. This one is about reading I started writing it but it got a bit long so to summarise don't just read quirk classics, Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde or The Walking Dead books and also read to my son as much as possible.

5. Try to make proper fudge again but it goes wrong remember that I can always make chocolate fudge.

6. Go to more parties and make an effort to see my friends and family more.

7. Dye my hair a few more colours before returning to work, blue is cool obviously but I may as well make the most of this freedom to try purple, green and red right?

My lovely blue locks... for now!
8. Have a bit of a CD purge.  Of course there are many CDs in the house from bands I know and love but there are also lots of old demos which I didn't like six or seven years ago and probably still don't like now.

Obviously the Belle and Sebastian & CSS cds are staying!
9. Stay silly. It's all well and good being a responsible adult but sometimes it's good to just be a bit silly and make up nonsense songs or talk in Gollum voices for no reason.

10. Travel a bit more and actually have a holiday rather than just a couple of nights in a London Travelodge. (This will probably turn out to be one of the hardest goals.)

11. See a few more live bands and acts as I count the number of gigs I went to last year on one hand. This makes me sad. (I also plan to award bonus points for each time I manage to take my son to a gig.)

12. Try out more new recipes from the many recipe books that have accumulated over the years.  Preferably one a month with a blog post but more if time/responsibilities allow.

13. Do at least ten active things this year, especially things I couldn't do last year. I plan to count walking and swimming in this so now I need to find eight more things...
I'd like to do a bit more skating this year for a start..

14. Don't get stressed about things I have no control over and formulate strategies for the things I can control.

I'm looking forward to seeing what I manage to achieve over the next year!