Microwave Miracles …

It came to my attention about a month a go that it is possibly to bake a cake in a mug, in a minute, in the microwave.  Me not being much of a cook myself this quite frankly, came as marvelous news!

How could any baked good taste good being cooked in the microwave I hear you ask?  I will admit its no delicate pastry from a little French patisserie, yet it certainly gets rid of the sweet cravings (and avoids having to go outside – bonus!)  I might also add that there is certain novelty aspect of cooking a cake in a mug.

Mug Brownie

Try the mug brownie, it can come out of the microwave a little over done and rock hard yet also comes out under done a lot of the time.  It’s all about striking a happy medium I personally prefer the later.  It tastes of slightly under done Aunt Bessie creation.  http://www.instructables.com/id/Mug-Brownie/

Or try my lemon (drizzle?) creation.  Not really drizzle I will admit, kind of just tastes like lemons:

4 tbls flour, 4 tbls sugar, 1 tbls lemon rind, 1 egg, 3 tbls milk, 1tbls oil

Mix it all together, put it in the microwave and voila – A microwave Miracle!

Follow me on Twitter @LucyBarclay1

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Next Year I Promise I Will NOT …

2013 is approaching and as I look back on the past year I find myself reflecting on what went well and what did not.  So the done thing is to make some new year’s resolutions.    The same time last year I promised myself I would start running, eat healthily, find my degree interesting and stop biting my finger nails.  By the 5th January I was sat in front of the TV in my newly purchased running gear, eating a 1 kilogram bar of dairy milk chocolate, in a deep state of denial about the large pile of books on the French Revolution lying on my desk, whilst intermittently biting my finger nails in a state of panic about my other three resolutions.  It is safe to say that this trend continued well into 2012.

It's safe to say this was not me!

It’s safe to say this was not me!

This year I’m not going to set myself resolutions in the traditional sense, I’m going to make a promise to myself about what I am NOT going to do!  I see it as channelling my inner whiner!  But these are definitely my top three.

Number 1 – I refuse to be inspired!

A hasty statement perhaps but I will explain.  I watched the Olympics, I enjoyed the Olympics, I believed with no training or commitment I could become the next Jess Ennis.  In short it is fair to say I felt the Olympics was inspiring, but my inspiration only went as far as buying some trainers!  So when I say I refuse to be inspired.  What I actually mean is I refuse to be inspired, spend money on my new inspiration and fail to commit to the cause.

Number 2 – I will NOT think up ridiculous money making schemes!

I say this as I have a penchant for believing, as exhibited by my Olympics example that I do not need to plan things.  In my wisdom I thought I could write a book in 2 weeks, send it to a publisher and be a millionaire before returning to university in October.  One small problem was that I didn’t actually have an idea for a story; but knew that 50 shades of Grey had been a big seller, so set about writing my own version.  It is safe to say that 50 shades of brown remains in a state of permanent incompleteness!

Number 3 – I will not embark upon DIY skin care projects!

Now when I say DIY skin care I mean, in essence homemade face masks.  Lidl at some point in 2012 had avocados for sale at about 30p each.  I thought ‘bargain!’ so bought 5.  Of course having not thought the process through I couldn’t think of anything to make with avocado except guacamole.  So they stayed in my fridge for 2 weeks before I hit upon the idea of making a facemask.  The face mask was a combination of avocado, natural yoghurt and honey – a recipe I wish I had never  found on the internet.  I mixed up as it said to do and applied to my face.  Unfortunately the avocado pieces were too heavy and gravity came into play.  I had pieces of avocado falling into my eyes, mouth, lap and covering the table I was working at with a thick unpleasant, lumpy, green paste.  And to top it all off when it was removed – my face was just sticky – Not a success!

Face mask take 2:  the turmeric disaster!  This one was truly the worst of all, I forget the other ingredients but I know there was turmeric.  I mixed it all together, applied to the face and left for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately upon removing the facemask I was made aware of the fact that turmeric stains.  I was yellow for a week!

Sigh!

New-Year-2013-Frog

Happy New Year Everyone!

Follow me on Twitter @LucyBarclay1

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Boobs, Bums and Lady Gardens AKA The Naked Calendar

We all remember calendar girls – back then the naked calendar was somewhat taboo.  Yet now everyone seems to be doing them. A great way to make money, especially as it gives everyone the chance to have a giggle – even if it is at your own expense.

So of course on Saturday morning I found myself walking in the torrential rain to the University Students Union to bare all for charity.  At about 10.22am I am beginning to question why I agreed to this, however at this point I was already there – so turning back was no longer an option.  Radio broadcast on the other hand was.

In my bag were two cuddly toys to cover my lady parts, thankfully they were large enough for the task despite my failure to check beforehand.  Before I knew what was going on the clothes were off and poses were being struck.  A fairly liberating experience yet intensely bizarre – one of those things to cross of the bucket list, even if like me, you’re not 100% sure it was on there in the first place. One more thing tried, one less thing to do, one more thing to be embarrassed about!

Schubert and Sergei used to cover my lady parts

Despite the embarrassing laugh I had at my own expense, talking to others I found that some people are certainly not keen on the naked calendar idea.  T would seem there are concerns that people would be intimidated by others bodies and perhaps bullying would occur.  In my mind this is not the case.  We’re not posing for page 3 after all – you can’t see anything, in my own experience two cuddly toys were covering my top half whilst Bridget Jones style knickers were covering everything else – so very far from sexy, I’m hardly going to be the centrefold of next weeks playboy magazine!

Concerns aside the naked calendar continues to be a money maker and popular fundraiser for charities.  If people will buy the calendars and people will take part in them – why not?

Has the naked calendar had its day?  Do they promote the wrong ideas about body image?  Or are they just a great fundraising idea and a bit of a laugh?

Follow me on twitter @LucyBarclay1 

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History Sucks, If History Were a Person I Would Knock Them OUT!

Its 20:26, I’m sat at my desk staring blankly at a pile of books I have to read for my dissertation, the culmination of three years at university: The dreaded project, that compulsory 10,000 word monster.  Unfortunately for me any interest I had in the subject prior to taking up a degree in it, has been bashed out of me and replaced by a feeling of contempt.  I look at that pile books and begin to feel physically sick.  Ok maybe that is an exaggeration, but a feeling of foreboding is mostly certainly coming over me!

Endless books

I do a history degree, I tell people this and the response often  is something along the lines of ‘so … are you going to become a teacher?’  My answer … ‘no, I’m bloody not!’  A weeks worth of work experience in school certainly scared me off for life – the children, the screaming, the chaos!  I just don’t have the patience.

The other question I frequently get asked is ‘you don’t like your course – A £30,000 debt at the end of it is a lot isn’t it?’  Yes of course it’s a lot, but even though History is NOT my cup of tea, nor is it my future career I wouldn’t change a thing.  University is a fantastic middle step, I’ve experienced my independence and I love it.  I’ve also had the chance to experience things, realistically I would have probably never experienced had I gone straight to work – Radio, Journalism and of course pole dancing (the fitness kind NOT the prancing around in no clothes kind!) And I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve had in my life.

So now that its 22:58 and I am no further with that pile of dissertation reading, but however much I don’t like history, reading or writing essays: I have gained so much from university, I’ve found out who I am.  Something I’m not sure I could have done not going.   So £30,000 debt I’ll take you (and try not to think about it until I have to pay it back)  You only live once after all, I’m not the next David Starkey or female historian (insert name here) but so what?  You have to try something first to find out whether you like it or not.

Now come on dissertation, its 23:23 … You don’t like me and I don’t like you but let’s crack on!

Follow me on twitter @LucyBarclay1 

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5 Reasons to Love the Run Up to Christmas … But not Christmas!

It may be cold, the temperature has most certainly taken a turn for the worse, and it may be raining.  But there are reasons to like the period before Christmas  however do not think this post has anything to do with Christmas.  The Christmas adverts have already begun to grace our television screens, the Christmas lights are up in the shopping centres everywhere and the Christmas gift sets (which of course you can only buy at Christmas time) have started making their way into every shop, even the exclusively Christmas shops are making their return to our high streets   Its just too early!  Maybe that’s because I’m not Christmas’ biggest fan, I don’t do my Christmas shopping in April and I prefer to write a standardized group Christmas email rather than personalised, individual cards.  Lets face it, I’ve just summed up who I am – Scrooge.

Scrooge

Despite this lack of Christmas cheer I seem to posses  I do get excited about somethings at this time of year (even if it does sadden me that the sun no longer seems to shine – nor will it until May!)

1.  Back to Education!  Why? For me its not necessarily the education aspect that excites me, more the moving back to my uni house.  I’ve had a taste of independence and I love it.

2. Halloween.  Why?  Halloween is great, I’m not a believer in sexy over scary at Halloween.  Scary or even funny is most certainly my choice.  This year myself and a friend donned the yellow body paint, and went as Despicable Me’s yellow minions.  Definitely got us a few laughs (even if people did think we were odd looking Simpsons characters)

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

3.  Bonfire Night – quite frankly I love the fireworks.  Every year without fail we will sit out dressed in our thermals in a vain attempt to keep warm.  Often our thermals will be accompanied by a large umbrella as the rain lashes down – what us humans will do to see pretty things eh?

4.  Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland – now I have to say the Christmas element I find less exciting but an open air ice rink, a hog roast tent and some kind of exciting fairground ride, what more do I need to say?

5.  Heating comes on! Summer is quite frankly never warm enough here in the UK, huddling next to a warm radiator with a hot chocolate is in all honestly, a heavenly experience (until you get the heating bill of course)

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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#cardiffhalf

10am this morning I can hear cheering, the runners from the Cardiff Half Marathon are making their way up my road.  These are the first of 18,000 to make their way round the 13 mile course laid out for them on the streets of Cardiff.   It was like the Olympics had come again – Just this time I had a front seat.

I was tired just watching them, its lucky my house was just there, I was able to cook my breakfast and brew a trusty cup of tea to keep me going!  We tried desperately to cheer on everyone, but people just kept on coming.  After a while we had to make the executive decision to start cheering for those in costumes, I can’t remember how many gorrillas, Batmen, Robins, Spidermen, Bannanas, Kermit the Frogs etc etc I’ve seen this morning. Just so many, but for so many good causes. Well done to  all who ran! Amazing achievement!

#cardiffhalf

Race entries for 2013 have opened http://www.cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk/

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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Twitter a Neverending Story (in 140 Characters or Less)

I have to say before getting twitter I wasn’t exactly sold!  Why would you want a Facebook without any of the good stuff, just why?  Even now having had twitter since December, I wouldn’t claim it was my greatest love, I’m not a twitterholic just yet.

While I will admit twitter is not my greatest love, neither is it my arch nemesis.  Twitter can be useful to you, but only (let’s face it) if you don’t constantly tweet instagrams of your dinner – Not cool!

Twitter, Facebook without the good stuff?

So why is twitter good?

  1. You can network with potential employers – even people you haven’t met in person.  Just remember you can tweet anyone.
  2. Improves your writing. Why?  Because twitter has a limited character count, you have to be concise!
  3. Use it to create traffic for your blog or website – tweet your posts!
  4. Building your personal brand
  5. Lets you see your own life as other people do – Gives you almost a new focus when you have to condense what you’re doing into 140 characters or less!

But why is twitter bad?

  1. Obsession – you can end up twitter stalking, just scrolling through page upon page of tweets
  2. Have you got a smart phone or push notifications?  If you have you won’t need this point explaining – the sheer number of noises your phone starts making is enough to drive anyone insane
  3. Tweeting an endless stream of photos of nothing – tweeting has to be of worth to your followers to use it to your own benefit
  4. One for the pretentious – there are claims that peoples use of twitter is damaging their ability to use real language – let’s face it with a maximum character count of 140 there is a tendency to be drawn into the use of slang!

As with everything there are good and bad sides to Twitter, we’ve all just got weigh up those pros and cons.  As I said before I neither love nor hate twitter – just don’t expect 100 tweets a day from me. I can’t even imagine I would have 100 things interesting enough for me to deem worthy of twitter everyday – I’m just not, nor will I ever be a living, breathing twitter machine.

Is your tweeting worthwhile?

Any thoughts on the use of twitter or any other social media for that matter?

Follow me on twitter: @LucyBarclay1

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