Sunday, 28 April 2013

Smiles of the week: Let's get up off the floor and use our feet for hands

This week has been one of those that's just ticked over without much to sing and dance about (although I did make a point of jumping ecstatically off my train earlier this evening after having to endure two hours of being squished into a tiny corner of the train by a group of loud, irritating, lager drinking women on their way back from a birthday weekend...). Despite this week being quieter than the last, there've still been lots of little moments that have brought a smile to my face. 

Buying myself a new notebook completely unnecessarily just because it has moustaches all over the cover. 

After buying said notebook, discovering that this week is National Stationary Week and so my purchase was entirely justified as an act of celebration. 

Spending ages in the steam room at the gym relaxing and inadvertently listening to strangers' gossip. I'd quite like to know how that girl's relationship dramas pan out...

Enjoying some quality time with my iPod on the train back to Liverpool and getting a bit too excited for a music filled few days at Live at Leeds next weekend.

Watching my Dad ceilidh dancing at my cousin's 40th. Literally the only time I can recall ever seeing him dancing. Voluntarily (and sober) too... not sure what had got into him!

Having a few families from work saying thank you for all of the help I've given them. I don't do my job to get thanked for it but its nice to know you're appreciated and have made a difference to somebody every once in a while! 

Being greeted by blue skies when I arrived back on the Wirral. It promptly turned to wind and rain as the weekend went on but at least I had a nice sunny welcoming.

Messaging a friend to ask how she's been and ending up organising a long-overdue meet up instead (I didn't actually end up finding out how she's doing since we got so overexcited at the prospect of seeing each other but at least I'll find out soon enough!).

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

But I'll never look you in the eyes again

Does anybody else ever get that feeling where you really want to do something a bit rebellious just because you're young? I go through occasional phases of thinking that getting a tattoo would be a really good idea but the sensible, grown up part of my brain (there does seem to be a grown up lurking in there somewhere it seems!) thinks I should probably give it a miss since it could affect me getting a teaching job in a few years time if the head teacher likes their staff to look squeaky clean. Plus there's the whole fact that I'm a MASSIVE wimp and am really scared of needles which doesn't really help me when I start thinking of tattoo ideas. Other days, I find myself thinking I should get my nose pierced or dye my hair a fun colour but always manage to convince myself otherwise again on the grounds that it might ruin first impressions in an interview. 

Gahhh, see, this is yet another reason why adult life is no fun! 

In the meantime, to satisfy my youthful, vaguely rebellious streak, I managed to find a less permanent way to be a bit expressive and creative with my general appearance. Hair chalk. I found this in Topshop a while ago and when I saw a girl on the make-up counter colouring a girl's hair in a brilliant shade of pink I just couldn't resist buying some myself. So, every now and then, if I'm beginning to get a bit twitchy and starting to look at tattoo designs or brightly coloured hair on Pinterest, I like to have a bit of a mess around and colour the blondest bits of my dip dye in to give my hair a bit of a rainbow-like boost. It literally is as simple as colouring your hair in and it comes out with no problems in the shower. Perfect for somebody like me who just wouldn't be taken seriously as a 'professional' in my line of work if I had multicoloured hair. 

It may not be permanent or particularly adventurous, but its better than nothing. And that's enough to keep me happy when I'm feeling a bit too grown up for my liking. 

Although, after saying all that, I'm thinking a tattoo on the back of my neck might not be a bad idea if I went along to any future job interviews with my hair down... sadly (or luckily, depending on which way you look at it) my ridiculous needlephobia will probably keep that idea at bay at least for a little while longer!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Smiles of the week- What's my age again?

This has been one of those weeks that has just got better and better. I've giggled almost constantly, gossiped so much I've started losing my voice (also partly to do with excessive screaming along to Blink 182 and Taylor Swift last night...), and just generally been wandering round with a big smile on my face. I've not done anything particularly blog-worthy, mostly just spending too much money and eating too much catching up with friends but weeks like this are what life is all about and are always worth celebrating. 

Since we've reached Sunday, I thought I'd round up this week into a nice little list of things that have made me smile. Who knows, it might even become a regular feature on my blog (although an average week for me will largely consist of zumba, sitting in front of the telly and yawning a lot at work). One f my favourite bloggers, Lisette, has a really popular Thankful Thursday feature which I really love reading as its all about appreciating what we all have and being grateful for the good things in life. And so, on a similar ebb, remembering the little things that have made me happy this week seemed like the perfect way to spend my Sunday evening. 

Exploring new restaurants and trying out new places in Leeds. The city is just getting better and better at the moment.

Spending quality time catching up with my lovely friends, even those I see all of the time.

Being able to leave the house in just a denim jacket without having to try and sneak approximately 500 layers underneath.

Learning new things at work and having the highly unusual experience of putting our boss in a headlock (we had some training days to learn how to safely restrain children who are trying to fight each other or us... not sure how many of the kids I work with in the hospital will ever get into that sort of situation but I learnt a lot all the same!)

Having all four of us old English Language friends together for a weekend for the first time since November and causing lots of mayhem together.
Managing to dance about 10 seconds worth of Saturday Night on stage in the club last night (at a rock night of all places...) before the bouncer came and spoilt our fun.

Laughing until I cried at the silly things the englangang do right in the middle of putting my make up on and making a big mess of my face.

Giggling about millions of ridiculous in-jokes and memories and creating about a hundred more in just one evening.

Feeling incredibly organised for once and starting the ball rolling with my plans to apply for a PGCE next year.

Wandering through Leeds and just gazing up at the fluffy white clouds dotted around the bright blue skies whilst getting excited for real summer days.

What has made you smile this week?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I've been waiting a lifetime to get back down

Some of you might remember the halloumi and sweet potato burgers I posted about a few weeks ago thanks to the incredible burger book I got as a birthday present. I continued my string of burger nights with a slightly more traditional offering this time around (I say this time around but it was actually nearly a week ago now... time is whizzing by too quickly for my liking at the moment!). 

My guest for last week's burger night was the lovely Charlie who is a little bit of a cheese fiend. I'm less of a cheeseaholic in that I'm not particularly adventurous and like to keep a safe distance from stinkier, mouldier varieties but I have a SERIOUS weak spot when it comes to real gooey, stringy, melted goodness. And so, combining Charlie's enthusiasm for cheese and my peculiar fascination with food that creates a bit of a Lady and the Tramp situation between me and my meal (some may say I've crossed a relationship boundary with food right there...) I decided I had no choice but to try out the cheese stuffed burgers from my bible burger book

Incredibly messy but pretty damn amazing. Who'd have thought that something as simple as adding a big chunk of cheese to the middle of a burger patty would be such genius. 

Cheese Stuffed Burgers
Makes 2

325g beef mince
2 fairly thick slices of cheese halved
seasoning (I tend to use a tiny bit of salt, a helluva lot of pepper and a few chilli flakes just to make things interesting)
one small onion (fried)
bread rolls (I bought those cheese-topped ones just in case our cheese quota was running a bit low...)
extra cheese for grating if you are that way inclined

Put the beef in a bowl with the seasoning and bind together to form four equal patties (about 1cm thick). 

Stack the squares of sliced cheese on top of two of your patties, then place the remaining patties on top of these and fairly press the edges together to stop the cheese from oozing out all over your oven. This would mean less cheese oozing out of your burger and into your mouth, and that's not a good thing.

Place the burgers underneath the grill and cook for about 6/7 minutes on each side. 

Meanwhile, fry your onions and prepare the salad to go inside the burger buns. 

Serve and enjoy with homemade potato wedges. Or if you forgot to make your wedges like I did, a bag of cheap tortilla chips to accompany your meal works surprisingly well too. Top quality hosting right there. 

Incredibly messy but pretty damn amazing. Who'd have thought that something as simple as adding a big chunk of cheese to the middle of a burger patty would be such complete and utter genius?!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Play another song here and then you can leave

This week has been a good one for me exercise-wise. However, I do feel the need to warn you all that exercise can be bad for you. Not in a "woe is me, my legs hurt" sort of way (although for the record, walking has become quite a challenge for me over the last few days), but because my head has been infiltrated with a playlist of Zumba tracks which I keep finding myself singing as I potter about the flat. 

Now, don't get me wrong, Zumba music is pretty damn awesome and absolutely perfect for shaking your hips to in the company of 30 other lycra-clad women, but in the comfort of my own home (and my own mind) I like to consider myself to have better taste in music than that. 

So, as a desperate measure to force the weird medley of banghra, latin and hip-hop out of my head, I thought I'd compile a little playlist of a few songs that I've been loving this week that I'd much prefer to have stuck in my head as I hoover the living room. 

Laura Palmer- Bastille

You know that feeling when you buy a new album and find a track on it that you love waaaaaay more than the singles that made you want to buy the album in the first place? For me, this is one of those songs. I'm very guilty of getting a bit put off songs that I have adored for ages when they become 'big' and played about 1000 times an hour on Radio 1, so was really pleased to find a song on the Bastille album that I loved more than Pompeii. I'm really pleased that Laura Palmer seems to have been picked as their next single release as its a bloody brilliant song that deserves a good bit of success, but at the same time I'm reluctant for it to reach a point that I have it forced upon me through the radio so often that I can't bring myself to listen to it in my own time any more. 

Sacrilege- Yeah Yeah Yeahs

When I first heard this new offering from Karen O's vocal chords, it took me right back to my hey day at Uni. Definitely a good thing as hearing new stuff from the band that's as fun as Zero fills me with excitement at the prospect of going mental to this soon when I've got a good bit of vodka in my belly. Although it'll have trouble having the same emotional significance as the stuff from their last album for me as I'd give my right arm to go back to 2009 and listen to it all again as something new. Sorry, going a bit off track and onto a moan about the pitfalls of post- University life again! 

Biblical- Biffy Clyro

I have so much love for Biffy Clyro. Mostly because anybody who sings in a Scottish accent is a winner for me. One of the few bands that made the Reading and Leeds line up have any sense of appeal to me this year (sadly there wasn't enough else to entice me so I'm going to miss out on seeing these bearded lovelies when they come up to Leeds in the summer). But still, the new album is brilliant so I'll just have to play that with the volume up on full instead. Plus it'll be a nice chance to get back on my neighbours who think that even just watching tv at tea time requires surround sound with a room-shaking amount of bass. 

My waffling about musical goodness seems to have done the trick in erasing the Zumba tunes from my head for tonight at least. 

Although I'm sure I'll be right back to square one tomorrow when I go to my next class. Somebody get me some new music pronto!

Friday, 12 April 2013

What's up with my heart when it skips a beat?

In case I haven't mentioned it enough already, I bloody love Liverpool.

 Even walking down what would be a pretty boring and non-descript through-road just off Bold Street is turned into an experience in my fair city. I've walked past this street hundreds of times as well as similar walls in other areas of town which form part of a set of installations called Visible Virals which were part of Liverpool's Capital of Culture year back in 2008. The walls all have questions like "Are you happy?" and "Do you worry about global climate change?" painted across them, and I think they're just incredible as a way of getting passers by thinking about some serious issues as they potter around town. I'm so glad that a few of these virals have lasted for so long after they were originally intended, as it just adds to the endless things to see in the city centre. 

Plus it makes for a good backdrop for photos... what more could you ask for really?!

jacket: Republic, top: Topshop, skirt: Topshop, boots: Topshop

Plus, on the other side of the road from the climate change viral, I found this little gem that made me smile.

So there you have it, another post which further reinforces my love for Liverpool and also my undying love for a good moustache.

I should probably try to get some other interests soon so I can stop boring you all with my incessant chatter about facial hair and my hometown.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

You're living a lie, baby you're flying too high

Today I'm going to share a strange concept with you. I have a friend who, when asked if she'd like to join in on a day trip to Chester Zoo, uttered the words "I really don't like the zoo, I just don't like animals and don't see the point"

Despite a huge amount of persuasion on our parts, she still refused. Luckily, she does enjoy days out with lots of shopping and food (see exhibit A as evidence of our most recent escapade last week) so I can still grant her permission to remain friends with me, plus she's a lovely person and one of my oldest friends too so I suppose I'll have to let her off for her lack of zoological enthusiasm. 

But seriously... take a look at how flipping beautiful these animals are and then try to explain how somebody couldn't enjoy a day in the sunshine watching chimpanzees causing more drama than an episode of Coronation Street and spying on the teeny-tiniest baby elephants.

(thought I'd throw in a token mug shot to demonstrate what a jolly old time I had. Now on to the better looking animals...)

See... Zoos are AWESOME. 
(As is the zoom lens I borrowed from my Dad for the day.)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Cos everybody says you never speak up, and never take a moment's rest

I've just reached the end of an absolutely blissful week and a bit off work. I've done a bit of a whistlestop tour visiting lots of lovely people, eating way too much food (a personal high/low was eating a massive burger from GBK and then heading to Wagamama for tea 3 hours later...) and having a few little day trips in between.

 I seemed to get massively lucky with the weather on my week off and got to experience a rare phenomenon called blue sky and sunshine, so I'm glad I got to spend plenty of time out enjoying it rather than just having to stare longingly out of my window in the office. Way back on Easter Sunday (I've been laptopless since leaving Leeds on Good Friday hence the trip down memory lane!) my parents and I took a trip into North Wales and had a wander round a snowy Errdig. We don't do big family Easter celebrations since there's only really the three of us in our immediate family so we like to actually get out and do something as otherwise we'd just drive each other to insanity with endless games of scabble (we did have a game one night over the holidays and it resulted in my extremely polite mama trying to play a series of rude word- any more games and we'd have had to wash her mouth out with soap to get her back to her usually squeaky clean self!). 

So, anyway... Errdig. My pictures looked really pretty with their dusting of snow, so much so that it made me forget my hatred of the white stuff that's been plaguing us for the last few months. Although, that's not an invitation for it to return by any means.