Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 31: One whole Month!

So I made it through! The main aim I set myself was not to miss a single day, which I managed (although sometimes it was a bit close) apart from one day when I had no internet. So that was an achievement! My writing hasn't been particularly amazing though, thanks to writing a lot of my posts around ten in the evening! But I'm definitely glad I attempted the challenge, thank you Elizabeth for creating it!


Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 30: Inspiration and Admiration

Who Inspires you? Who do you admire?

Hardly an exhaustive list but...

...The man with a camera and fairytale lens,
And the one with a brush that built a dreamland.
The woman that was brave enough to keep a son
The girl who spoke her mind and the one who isn't afraid to be herself.
Those who care more for others than themselves,
And those that will do what is right despite what people think.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Day 29: The Morning Routine

At the moment I’m in a sort of limbo, between finishing a course and the start of the summer, which means my mornings don’t really have much of a routine about them. My non-routine morning, consists of lying in bed until its no longer really acceptable to do so and then feeling bad the whole day because I've wasted it.

So I thought I'd recount the routine I normally adhere to when on a rather tighter agenda. 

6:00: My alarm rings. I fumble around the bed clothes for my phone and turn it back off. I used to set an alarm at Five, just so I could turn it off in the knowledge that I could have another hours sleep. Throughout the year my motivation deteriorates, till I reach the point when I just don't set them any more.

6:15: A second alarm rings. I turn it off.

6.30: My mum tells me to wake up. I wait until she goes away and shut my eyes again.

6:45: I check the time on my phone again...just five more minutes...

7:00: Acknowledge that I really should get up now and turn on Radio 1 as I reluctantly get out of bed.
                   '7:00 am the usual morning line up’ ...
                    For some reason I now have tangled in my head!
                    I  wish my mornings were that productive.

7:05ish: Grab whatever clothes I forgot to put back in my wardrobe and get dressed.

7:15: Go to the bathroom to clean my teeth, but my sister is already in there.
7:16: Try and do something with my hair, put on a bit of mascara if I look particularly awful.

7:25: Clean my teeth
7:28: Realise that my tights are laddered so try and find another pair
7:30: Get in the car
7: 35: Wait in car, someone always forget something...
7: 45: Finally leave.
7:10 Arrive at the station having just missed the quiet train.
7:11: Wait on the Platform, shivering, whilst waiting for the train to arrive.
7:12: Eat breakfast.

7:25: Get on the train.
7:26: Turn on my ipod to try and drown out the sniffy commuter sitting next to me, without it being too loud so I am that annoying person with the music that everyone else can hear!
7:30: ...

8:27: Arrive at my stop.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 27: My Secret Talent

My Secret talent...standing on my head! However it's been a while, so I'm not sure if I can still do it. Therefore its no longer secret, and possibly no longer a talent! Once upon a time, I was rather good at headstands. I would spend a lot of time in the garden, being upside down! This lead to some rather unfortunate incidents, such as when I did a head stand on a slug! I was not very happy about it, and I am sure neither was the slug!

Jenny and the Wall

What to do with a blank wall? Paint it of course!

Day 26: Dinner Party Time

No internet yesterday, so two posts today!

I find family trees fascinating. It is so frustrating that there are so many little pieces of life that get lost and forgotten over time. So I thought that it would be amazing to have a dinner party with all your ancestors. There would be lots of round tables, better for conversation, and people would rotate for every course so you got a chance to speak to everybody. Everyone would wear their favourite clothes and bring their favourite dishes. For entertainment, each generation would provide something. Be it a song or a dance. I don't know what my generation could provide, perhaps a film? I don't know how well Gangnam Style would go down! I also thought it would be interesting if everyone attended at the same age. It would be very interesting to see all the family likenesses.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Day 25: Top Five Albums

I always seem to have difficulties when answering questions that require you to choose something. I suppose because somewhere in my subconscious I feel I have to mention everything to reflect its worth. Although I don’t think that is particularly good way to describe the feeling! But I managed to limit myself to five!

I could have answered purely with musical soundtracks or with all four of Taylor swift’s albums. But I attempted a little self control and have limited myself to one Taylor album, and two musicals crept in. Perhaps not my ultimate list’ but I chose five albums that I listen over and over and that I have the physical CD of.
So here they are...


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Day 23: The Best Compliment Ever!

Question: What is the Best Compliment you have ever been given? ...why can I never think of a straight answer to these questions. Things never come to mind when you want them to. I was a little, and could think only of instances when people had said 'oh, I like your dress' or 'I like your shoes' which are always very lovely, but don't really have a life long lasting impact. So I asked my family members the same question. My Mum said my Dad asking her to marry him. My Dad wouldn't give a straight answer. One of my sisters was equally forgetful as I, but said that one of the most memorable compliments she'd been given was that she had a beautiful jawline. My other sister could not remember either but told me about how someone random had congratulated her on her performance in a play this evening. Which got me thinking, perhaps it's not the words that make a compliment memorable, but the people who say them. Perhaps it is the people who you don't know, yet still compliment you that stick in your head; they have to push themselves more out of their comfort zone to approach you so you value what they say more. I find it very awkward receiving compliments; you don't want to seem arrogant by accepting it, but I find it very frustrating when you compliment someone and they don't believe you. Now I have Bruno Mars in my head...I need sleep, night all!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Day 22: Dear Jenny-at-Thirteen


I don’t really think I should tell you too much about the future, or tell you things to do differently. There are some things we could change, but I you’ll learn a lot from the mistakes and without them I wouldn’t be me and it would be someone else writing to you. Then again, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing…who knows? I don’t at least, so think it best not to meddle. Goodness I’m such a rambler!

What I wanted to say, or write to be more accurate, was that I know life sucks right now…but hang in there, things goes up from here, I wish I could let you know that. And show you how the rubbishness at the moment will really shape who you become, I know that’s not a comfort right now, but trust me, it will be worth it. Right now, you might feel like you don’t have any friends, but next year you’ll meet two amazing people who will become your best friends! And there are books and dreams they will be  a huge comfort…just don’t get too lost in them, and don’t forget to live. (Dumbledore knew what he was talking about!) I know that Home feels like a long way away, but just try and appreciate the place you are in right now. You’ll be surprised to know that you’ll miss this one a little one day.

Have more confidence in yourself. Take every opportunity you are given, its cheesy, but the saying’s true that goes ‘you’ll regret more the things you didn’t do in life than the ones you did’ (or something like that). Try not to worry so much about what other people think, easier said than done I know (I’m still working on it) but in the future you’ll wish you’d spent more time making your own opinions than listening to what you thought other peoples were.

I wish I could give you all the answers, but right now I don’t feel that far away from you, I haven’t figured out life yet either. But we’ve got time! Hopefully Jenny-at-Twenty-Five will have some advice for the both of us! But thank you, for going through the rubbish that you did, it’s helped me a lot, just keep looking for the end of the tunnel, there is a light there!

And remember that you are not alone,

Yours, Jenny-at-Nineteen

'I never saw blue like that before..'

More yellow, actually, but I decided against misquoting the song. I went for a walk in the countryside. And was surprised by all the colours that had decided to throw themselves upon the fields and the woods where I live. (I haven't left the house a great deal recently!) I had Teddie on the lead with one hand, so the photos that didn't blur weren't a very good reflection of what I was seeing. But it was very beautiful. The swathes of yellow reminded me  of the yellow brick road!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Day 21: A Dream Job

When I was younger I went through wanting to be a vet, a ballerina, a nurse, a teacher, a police-woman and most other careers!

I don't really know what sort of job would be the perfect one for me. But here are some things that would be nice:

Challenging, but not all consuming
I could work from home if I wanted to
Well paid
Allowed me to see the world

That doesn't really help me much, only reinforces the sense for me that I have no clue what I want to achieve in life!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Day 20: Badgers

I was scrolling through the news pages this afternoon, looking for something to write about for today's BEDM and Brian May's 'Pledge' to protect Badgers caught my eye. I don't know enough of the eco system etc. to be able to impart an informed judgement on whether I think that a Badger a cull would have good or bad effects for the environment. But having been brought up on 'The Wind in the Willows' and the 'Foxwood Treasury Tales' there is a soft spot in my heart for the furry creatures. I'd hate to see any animal killed, but having lived in the country I have a better understanding of the nuisance rabbits can be, and of why a farmer might shoot a fox, that when I lived in a town. Yet I'd still rather this didn't need to be the case. So whilst I'm sure (at least I would hope) that those calling for a badger cull have good reasons, and perhaps I am just being sentimental but to me it just seems like a terribly destructive and cruel act and a really sad thing to do.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Day 19: Traditions

I think that the traditions in my family must be so deeply ingrained as 'accepted happenings' that I can’t for the life of me identify any of them. (Apart from Easter and Christmas, which are obvious!) For me, the hardest thing is coming to terms with the changes in your life that mean traditions evolve, change or come to an end. Different people become a part of them, others leave. Easter this year was a bit of a tough one; the first without my Grandpa. Every Easter we would go to stay with my Grandparents, go on egg hunts, walks on the beach, make Easter gardens. But even when you are doing those same things, they are different when someone is no longer there. So you make new traditions, but sometimes it's just hard to let go.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Day 18: Friends

I fear I lack time, to properly express

Or to tell of the friends with which I am blessed.

So I shall try in a rhyme

In this short space of time

To say something of friends

With whom I’ve travelled life’s bends,

And not be too nonsensical

Tho’ that seems preferential

To writing nothing at all?


A first friend, A best friend

Does absence make you less friends?

And a sun shining light

Who makes everything right

Some friends come in pairs

But tis happy to share.

A lost friend, now a found friend,

Brings a new friend and a true friend,

And though sisters with strife,

Made friends by life.


Some old, others new,

Like borrowed and blue,

Like long summer days

Some have gone separate ways

And that makes me sad

When I think of times we had

And of the time that we might

Have had if things had gone right

But then nothing went wrong

Its just life is a song

That goes up and goes down

And around and around,

And some paths they cross, whilst others diverge

Meaning some get lost when you both take a swerve.


But if friends are like flowers,

Like clear April showers

I have a lovely bunch,

Of friends.


Friday, 17 May 2013

Why is Easter Chocolate so darn Cute?

Yes, it is nearly June, and no I have not eaten my Easter 'egg' yet! But when you're given chocolate that looks like an adorable little creature, you just feel so bad about eating it. Clearly chocolate doesn't have feelings, but seriously, just look at it!


Day 17: 'Meet Me at St Pancras'

My morning journey, gets fairly repetitive; a drive, a train ride, a short walk. But if ever I get into London too early, my favourite detour is to go to St Pancras Station. It's such a beautiful old station, I wish there were still more like it!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Day 16: Time to Relax!

I love being driven through the countryside. Especially in hazy golden sunshine. For me, it is one of the most relaxing things to do. You can switch off your brain, relax and dream as you gaze out the window.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Day 15: Life's a Lesson

The single most important lesson that I ever learnt? That is a rather large question for today's BEDM! Life, in my view, is like a jigsaw puzzle. Built up of lessons, experiences, mistakes. Some parts of the puzzle get lost or broken, some are larger, other smaller, some more important, others less so. But what constitutes a lesson? A piece of wisdom or knowledge learnt? Or is it an experience gained through personal endeavour rather than something freely given to you? I still feel like very much an unfinished jigsaw puzzle. I don't feel that I have enough perspective to single out the most important piece. The greatest knowledge that I have been given or believe to be true is that God loves me, and Jesus died for me. That is the piece of my puzzle that all the other fit around, or try to. One of the greatest lessons I have learnt from life are the difficult ones to endure. Learning what it is to be lonely, left out, to fail. Because I suppose you learn more from when things go wrong than when things go right. The way I try to live my life is by treating other people how I would like to be treated. So by learning what it is to be alone for example, the more able you are to help people, or empathise with people in the same situation. So whilst I don't know if I could single distinguish a single most important lesson I have ever learnt, that is one that has really effected the way I live my life. Is there something you have learnt from life that has really altered the way you live it?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Day 14: Food Glorious Food or Cookies for the Incompetent

Whilst I am a fan of all things culinary (well perhaps not ‘all’ things) particularly pretty kitchen utensils and I have a gift for choosing the unhealthiest desserts in the supermarket, my own culinary expertise is not very extensive. So instead of writing about my favourite treat or recipe I was going to tell you about my best culinary experience. But have decided to do that some other time and be a little more adventurous. Well, maybe adventurous is not really a very accurate description, but more productive?

Everyone’s had those days when they just want to curl up in bed in their pyjamas, stuff their faces with chocolate and watch a sappy film, like Reese Witherspoon in ‘Legally Blonde’. My day started a little in that vein (minus chucking chocolates at the television, but drenched with the same sort of self pity!). This afternoon I was going to take Teddie for a walk, but the rain outside, as gloomy as I felt, rather dampened my enthusiasm for this plan. Spending the rest of my day in a similar way to my morning was an appealing prospect, but rather a pathetic one. So I decided to bake something. And simultaneously provide myself with something to blog about!

As I have already mentioned my culinary skills are nothing to boast of. My repertoire is very unimpressive; my ‘go to’ recipes being flapjacks and a Swedish ‘hasty cake’. So instead of sharing with you my favourite recipe, I thought I’d try out a new one and let you know how it goes. As I was contemplating what to do, taking into account my limited skills, I realised that I had never baked cookies before. Biscuits, yes, but proper homemade cookies with chocolate chips…never.

Thinking about it now, having made said cookies, I should have consulted my cousin, as he is a bit of an expert at the chocolate chip cookie. But I decided to find a recipe book and, to quote ‘Parent Trap’, ‘have a whack at it’.

The tome to which I retreated is rather unimpressive one, a ‘Twenty Five recipes that Kids can cook’. It was given to one of my sisters as a birthday present when we were younger. There were some very pleasant weeks when I was served all manner of treats due to their enthusiasm for making treats.  One of the perks of having siblings! But the book has been long out use. And feeling benevolent towards my sisters who still have to battle with the woes of schools and exams, thought it would be nice to return the favour! And despite being bookmarked, I don’t remember the chocolate chip cookie recipe ever being attempted.
So if you are an equally inexperienced baker of treats (I doubt there are many)read on! I hope this post may help. If not then by all means feel free to laugh at my ineptitude!

So, armed with a hot chocolate and Greg James on the radio I began. This probably wasn’t the best idea, as I soon felt a little queasy (because of the chocolate overload rather than Greg James!) when I’m cooking I can’t help but have a nibble!

Firstly the Utensils you will need:
And the  ingredients (I suggest measuring these out as a first step):


Pour the flour and baking powder into your medium mixing bowl (the one I used was a tad overly large).  The recipe says to do this after melting the chocolate, but you might as well do it now. The recipe also suggests using a whisk, but any stirring utensil will suffice.

The Sugar and eggs go into the large mixing bowl. Similarly, the recipe suggests doing this at a later stage, but it makes more sense to do this now. Using your wooden spoon, mix the eggs and the sugar together.

The first instruction was to chop the chocolate into small, even bits. A singularly unhelpful instruction if I am to be pernickety, for what constitutes a ‘small bit’. In the corresponding photo the pieces of chocolate were not even even. As it happens, the ‘small even bits’ instruction really doesn’t make any difference, if the pieces are vastly different in size then naturally some will melt faster than others, but other than that, it doesn’t matter.
Then cut the butter into chunks. Although if you are using spreadable butter like I did, this step is not just pointless, but rather impossible!

Once chopped, or not chopped as the case may be, put both the butter and the chocolate into your small saucepan. Then place it over the vague heat setting of ‘medium-low’. Doesn’t really matter, as long as the chocolate doesn’t burn. Or get ‘too hot’ as I guess this would cook your eggs or melt your chocolate chips, and scrambled egg cookies really don’t appeal!

Anyway, stir the mixture with your ‘heatproof spatula’ until you have a smooth mixture.

Then pour it into your large mixing bowl along with the eggs and flour and Stir!


Once this is all mixed together add half the flour mixture. Stir until blended. Then add the remainder of the flour mixture, and repeat! The reason behind he multiple stages is really only to make mixing the flour in easier.

Lastly add in the chocolate chips. Or like me, if you have no ready made chips, just chop up some chocolate bars. This results in larger chips any way, which is far more satisfying.


Then leave your dough mixture for an hour. By then it should be ‘firm enough to be scooped’. And naturally one has to taste the mixture. I always think that cakey things should be left uncooked anyway.

The hour to wait is rather convenient for setting the kitchen to rights, line the baking trays with paper and lay out the cooling trays.

I set the oven timer for half an hour. When it went off I started to pre-heat the oven. (180c) Then I set the timer for another half hour.

Now your cookie dough should be ready to put on the baking trays. Scoop rounded balls of dough. You are instructed to place them 5cm apart, which I did, but they joined together any way. Apparently pressing each cookie gently in its middle with slightly wet fingers helps them bake more evenly.

When one tray is full, place it in the oven and leave for fifteen minutes. Then take out of the oven and repeat with the next trays. Warning: They burn easily. I always think with cookies its better to undercook than over cook. But if too undercooked you can either place them back in the oven or in the fridge to harden a little.
 After taking them out of the oven separate any joined cookies gently using the end of your spatula. Wait for about ten minutes after taking the trays out of the oven before loading the contents on to the cooling rack.
And once cool enjoy!
Conclusion of Cookie baking experiment:

  1. I could never be a cook; I have no self restraint!
  2. Recipe books are very unhelpful; they tell you to do things, but not why! If you knew, you would change your behaviour accordingly.
  3. The cookies, whilst a little on the side of being undercooked, were very edible, and favourably received!
  4. But my culinary ineptitude is rather embarrassing!
As ever Teddie wanted to get involved, and waited patiently on the kitchen step, hoping some cookie would come her way. She was a bit disappointed!
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