Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hate to love you.

Cosmo: A load of crap.
Women's magazines, aren't they just full of crap? I'm talking about the likes of Now, OK, and Star, not those mad true life magazines with stories titles like: "I just wanted some pizza, now I have no arms and legs!" or the sex obsessed magazines like Cosmopolitan that will teach you "The dirty secret that will make him beg for more." More? A dirty secret to make HIM want more? You can keep your secret thanks very much. No, those mags are pretty crap in their own right but for now I have a huge gripe with women's "celebrity" magazines. The ones that know what every Hollywood actress weighs just by looking at a photo of them. The ones that speculate on the imminent break up of every famous marriage until it happens, and it will happen. And they will have seen it coming first; another exclusive for Closer magazine.  Well, if you speculate on every marriage you are bound to get it right some of the time, after all nearly 90% of showbiz marriages end in divorce.

Lady gaga with gimp mask. Now where's that KY jelly?
Of course my hatred of celebrity magazines does not mean that I don't buy them. Sure why would I do that, I'd have nothing to complain about. I can't stomach some of the most dumb downed magazines though; Now, OK, Star; instead I get the most intellectually stimulating ones like heat and eh... Well you get the picture, I confess; I am an avid reader of heat magazine. Well, maybe avid is the wrong word.  I wouldn't say I am enthusiastic about reading heat. In fact, reading it sends me into a frenzy. I get angry, worked up, upset even. For example, this week I bought heat so I had something to read while having a coffee in the local cafĂ©. I took the magazine out of my bag and straight away I'm pissed off. On the front cover is a few celebs looking a bit porky and the caption reads; "Stars REFUSE to diet!" Now, if you're a reader of this shit you will know that invariably heat will have celebrities on the front cover looking either too thin or too fat. I mean, every week it's the same story. "Britney's midnight MacDonalds binges" or "Posh Spice warned - put on weight or you won't get pregnant." Seriously, it gets so fucking boring. And then you flick open inside and they'll have pictures of celebrities on the beach with either massive muffin tops or washboard abs. This week they had the weight, height and dress size of each one printed beside them. I suppose you could guess someone's height, but how in the hell do these magazines know what these girls weigh? It's such a load of bollocks. One of the girls was 5 feet 7 inches, the same height as me and her weight was 9 st 7 lbs, they said she was a size 12. Now I am 5 feet 7 and my weight is 10st 5 lbs but I am not a size 12, I am a size 10.  So how the hell could a girl a stone lighter than me be a size BIGGER than me? Man, I was ready to rip the magazine to shreds when I read that. But I didn't. I skipped to the next page which had a picture of Kate Middleton in a supermarket getting her shopping. It revealed the contents of her trolley; each one had an exclamation mark beside them, as if they were outlandish purchases but come on; Basil! Rock Salt! Chicken! Kellogg's Start! Shocking stuff altogether. If you ask me, unless it's super thick condoms! KY jelly! Porno DVDs! And a gimp mask! It's really not worth the exclamation.

A crotch worth watching? 
Another thing I hate about heat is it's devotion to reality television. They make gods of the casts of shows such as The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore and Big Brother. People with little or no talent. People who just want to be famous. Not famous for any worthwhile reason, just "to be famous". They put them on a pedestal, praise them, give them interviews allowing them to believe they have something worth saying. Until the show ends or viewing figures drop and then heat demotes them, sends them to the skip. Before they know it they're the "Crap Spot of the Week" on the Spotted page; a regular slot where readers tell the mag what celebrites they saw around town that weekend and what they were doing; Will Young looking handsome in Starbucks, Max George having a wee at the Specsaver's awards or Prince William shaving his balls on the tube. Who cares? Really, who cares about this shite? Flick on through the magazine until I get to "Manwatch; your essential weekly perv on a page" which includes such delights as Prawn of the Week; they pick a celebrity with a fit body but butt ugly face, Reader's Boyfriend; usually a pic of some scrawny git with a shaved head, and the most disgusting; Crotch Watch; an image of some mystery male celebrity's crotch close up, very close, so we can see the outline of a flaccid penis; it's up to you to guess who's it is. Yuck! At this stage I'm pulling my hair out with rage, huffing and puffing, sighing with despondency and generally really annoyed.

Please forgive me heat! I love you really!
So why do I keep buying heat? I don't know if I can answer that. I see the cover sometimes and think: "Oh, there's Katie Price acting the gobshite again, better find out why so I can laugh at the state of her." Or maybe it's the Hoop of Horror; the section of the magazine that exposes Cameron Diaz's camel toe, or Rihanna's sweaty pits. Always good for a laugh. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I actually love heat. Truly, Madly, Deeply. With all of my heart. Could that be it? I hope not...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas cake

It is said that cooking is an art, baking a science.  And I'm crap at science.  But this year, for the first time, I felt an overwhelming urge to bake a Christmas cake. My Dad used to bake a Christmas cake every year when we were little. He always chose a heavy, rich, dark and dense cake recipe. My mother would end up doing the icing and marzipan.  As Dad poured his heart and soul into that cake, my Mother surely ripped it out.  If his style was Michelen, my Mother's was McDonalds. Packaged marzipan and roll out "Icing in a Box". Two weeks after Christmas the layer of icing and marzipan was always half gone, picked off and devoured by us kids on a sugar binge. The actual cake was left virtually untouched as the only ones who liked it were my parents.  It was too heavy and boozey for our undeveloped taste buds.  Eventually my mother would give in and wrap it up, store it in the press. It would be taken out at intervals throughout the year; Easter, birthdays etc.

Even though I'm pretty sure I'd have a greater appreciation for that type of cake as an adult, I can't quite chase the bad memories away and so chose a lighter recipe to make for myself.  No treacle, no currants, better variety of dried fruits and the addition of nuts all sounded like my kind of cake.  And so yesterday I added my brandy soaked apricots, cherries, sultanas, figs and mixed peel to the cake batter with whole roasted hazelnuts and almonds to make my perfect cake.  Seen as I was snubbing my Dad's classic recipe I felt I had to pay homage some other way.  I decided to use the same tin my Dad had back in the 80s. A little bout of nostalgia, an extra ingredient to add a bit of magic to the mix. I texted my mother in the evening, after I had soaked the fruits, to make sure it was still knocking about. She ensured me it was and said she'd have it pulled out of whatever black hole it may have fallen into by the next day. And true to her word, after much routing and rummaging, she found the tin.  She called to let us know, with a warning that it was on it's last legs and may not be much use. The tin arrived in the house, looking a bit battered, bruised and rusty but when lined with a bit of parchment, I knew it would be fine.  At this point I decided to check the size of the tin needed for the recipe.  I like to do things like that, wait until it's too late to check necessary details.  And of course I then see that the recipe calls for a 20 cm cake tin. Mine was 25 cm tin. Shit. Still, never mind all that exact science stuff, what's 5 cm between friends, eh?  Quite a lot it turns out.
What my cake would look like if I was not stupid
During the cooking, I constantly looked through the glass of the oven door. I knew the cake would be a bit thinner than it should be due to the tin but I hoped it wouldn't be too noticeable. When time was up I opened the door, took the cake out and yes, it did look a little undernourished.  In fact, if cakes were breasts, mine was screaming for a Wonderbra, superboost.  I was very upset. My cake was ruined.  No one would want to eat it.  And worse, my Dad would rip the piss out of me for years to come! Husband tried to console me, telling me the marzipan and icing would add at least another half inch. But I didn't believe him. I knew I had destroyed Christmas. I thought about making another cake.  I could make the same cake again and place it on top of this one! Or I could make a different cake, but use the right size tin and do it properly. Then again, I could scrap the cake and make some other dessert altogether, a pudding perhaps or one of those Christmas Yuletide log things? In the end I did none of these things. Instead we went to the pub and got drunk. And you know what I discovered? A hangover will relieve you of any grand ideas or great plans you had for the next day.  And that scrawny, pitiful, worthless cake you once looked upon with disdain becomes a kooky, alternative and unique creation  that you'll be proud to show to friends and family alike. And I also consoled myself with the thought that by the time they're eating my cake on the big day, they'll all be pissed anyway.

Please excuse the lack of pictures of my cake and my bag from the blog below but it turns out we don't actually have a camera or at least we lost the charger - d'oh! Hopefully getting my hands on one soon so all of the millions of you reading can see the pics for yourselves.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The green mile.

She's asking for them boots to be nicked
I love coming home to Dublin.  I love getting off the 41 and strolling down to my house.  I love looking around, taking in the surroundings and feeling comfortable and safe.  But what I don't love about the trip back is getting up at 3.30 am and walking through Derby City to get to the bus station.  My flight this morning was at half six.  So to get to the airport on time I had to get the Skylink bus at 4.20 am. Now, I don't have a problem with getting up early, that's easy peasy.  My problem is that Wednesday night in Derby is student night. So on Thursday morning the place is scattered with half cut teenagers, falling out of bars, trying to find their way home. When you're glaringly sober and have to zig zag your way through drunken mobs at four in the morning you tend to feel quite nervous and intimidated by it all. I try my best to avoid big crowds of people; cross the road when they're approaching or just keep my head down and walk as fast as I can.
This morning I legged it to the other side of the road when I saw a group of lads shouting and pushing each other around.  One of them had a dog and was threatening to set him on one of the blokes: "Get yer dog off me" " 'es not on ya mate, not yet."  Ah Derby, where being stabbed in the belly is all part of the student night experience.  Then I turned the corner to see two policemen struggle with a middle aged man who was shouting: "I've done nowt, get yer 'ands off me, I've done nowt." They pushed him against the wall and handcuffed him.  His friend stood by the whole time, trying to convince the cops that he had indeed: "done nowt." Then there's all these girls, dressed up like extras from TOWIE, looking preened and primped to page three perfection. I'm in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, head like Wurzel Gummidge on speed, thin layer of cheap makeup that's failing miserably in it's attempt to cover the splattering of acne on my chin. I stick out like a sore and slightly scabby thumb. Which brings me onto my last experience on the 4 am walk.
Me this morning; at least I put some eyeliner on

I was bombing it down the road, thinking I was gonna miss the bus cos I'd left the house a bit later than usual, and I pass this girl in a black mini, lace top and long, perfectly straightened hair. Fag in her mouth, no coat on (coats don't exist in England past 10.00 pm) The girl looks at me as I pass and says to her friend: "That's hideous."  I flinched, ouch! THAT'S hideous. As in, not SHE'S hideous, no cos that would imply that I am a woman or a girl or in the very least, human.  But, THAT, like I was some sort of animal; a mangy dog escaped from the pound, sniffing out discarded kebabs and chewing on unwanted pizza crusts .  I didn't say anything back to her, just kept walking. Cause let's face it, I was looking pretty rough. I couldn't blame her for thinking it and then it probably just slipped out, a case of: " Did I just say that out load?"  Still, I felt a bit down about it.  It was still on my mind when I reached the bus stop. I walked over to sit on the bench and took my bag off my back, plonked it beside me and that's when I realised my mistake.  She wasn't talking about me!  Well not my face or me as a person.  She was referring to my schoolbag. My old reliable, purple and not quite mint green, straps hanging down all over the shop, gigantic, Sporthouse schoolbag.  It belongs to my Mam and by jesus does it looks like it belongs to my Mam. This thing is monstrous; big, ugly and unashamedly proud of it. And on my back, clashing with my long red coat it looked even worse than usual.  I calmed down after that. Note to husband - buy me a new bag for Christmas, please!

Am getting husband to take a pic of it on my back with red coat and all for the full effect so will add it later to the post!

I think he means trousers
On another note - Fair play to the Irish students.  15,000 of them protested outside The Dail yesterday.  (They'd do anything to get out of a lecture, the lazy bastards!)  Not congratulating them on the protest mind; it's the clever banners and posters that I'm celebrating.  They ranged from the very serious and boring: "Stop fees and save the grant", to the mildly amusing: "Drug dealer or student; it's your choice", and the putting it bluntly: "Fuck the Fees", to the hilariously funny: "If we had €3000 we'd have decent signs" and my personal favourite: "Less Fees, More Gees."  Brilliant.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Come on Ireland!

Note to Trap - get teeth whitened.
Pissed as a fart and I still body brushed -  in your face! Come on the boys in green.  Very short post today due to intoxication. And yet it took me ages to write it properly -thank feck for spell check, wha?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Cellulite me arse!

Rihanna's arse is the spit of mine.
I have cellulite.  It's horrible.  It's on my arse and my thighs and I hate it. Well, I hate it when I think about it but luckily my days of wearing bum skimming skirts and tiny hotpants are over so I don't have to think about it too much.  But then there's always the bikini or the swim suit, whichever's your fancy, both of them are pretty unforgiving for those of us with arses that would make Neil Armstrong feel homesick.  So I was looking at my derrier there today and decided I am going to try and do something about it.  I have done this before I might add, one of my many missions for perfection. It might involve a dedicated skincare routine or vowing to use strengthening polish on my nails every day for a month. I usually give up after two days. Said cosmetic product ends up tossed in the bathroom basket with every other transforming  face mask, protein enriched hair repair oil or snake venom wrinkle busting eye cream that THIS time I was REALLY going to finish. It's not that the products don't work, sure I never use them long enough to know.  I just get bored doing it, I suppose, or I completely forget, or I realise that if it does actually work that I am going to have to go through this bullshit routine for the rest of my life. And that's a huge commitment. If I actually went through with all the tiny little promises I make to myself I'd end up spending three hours getting ready every morning and another three in the evening. Would ya be bothered? Anyways, I digress, back to the cellulite.  I looked up a few cures, treatments that sort of thing for the oul' jaffa jelly.  It seems body brushing comes out on top. Much better than all the exfoliating scrubs, firming creams and micro massage knickers out there. It's also very cheap which is always good. And even better again I actually have a body brush (never used) to hand having bought one for the exact same reason about six or seven years ago.  Now don't worry, I'm not going to stick pictures of my cottage cheese thighs up here for all to see. I'd be too afraid me Dad would stumble upon this site and die of shame.  Instead I'll just give you updates and you'll have to take my word for it.  I am hoping that if I make this promise on the blog then I'll keep doing it.  It'll definitely help me remember and more than that, will motivate me to get the brush out and go to war on that cellulite once and for all.  So  here goes; I promise here on my blog, to all of about 3 witnesses, (but hopefully more to come) that I will body brush every day for the next thirty days. I will also publish the results of my body brushing on the blog and let you know if it really does the magic. Wish me luck!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Come fly with me.

I hate flying.  It scares the shit out of me.  Unfortunately I have to fly home every weekend and then fly back. It is causing me no end of stress. I think about flying all the time now.  And even when I am not thinking about it, I am really.  I think about the plane crashing into the sea, the cabin filling up with water and me there with the inflatable life preserver around me shoulders.  I'd be gripping the string, ready to pull it and inflate the jacket, the words of the air steward "never inflate your life jacket inside the cabin" echoing through my head.  But in the panic I'd pull it and then drown and have no one to blame but me self. Sometimes I imagine the plane blowing up, this happens just after take off. It spontaneously combusts and we are all blown to bits. I see the pieces flying around; blood, guts and body parts.
Every time I get on the plane I am convinced that it's the last; this time I will die, the plane will crash. I once went to text my husband while I was waiting for the other passengers to alight.  I was about to press send when I realised what a death sentence that would be.  You don't send texts saying: "see you shortly" just before a flight.  You're tempting fate, asking for an accident.  See you shortly - yeah right, see you in hell more like. Phone goes back in pocket.  Everyone's on now, plane's about to take off, rumbling down the runway, does it feel a bit more bumpy then it did last time? Did the air steward's voice sound strained when she told yer man over there to turn off his iPod? Is she feeling a little stressed? Maybe she's a little distracted today and not fulfilling the safety procedures? I pull the belt pull tighter around my waist.  Then it's lift off, my heart leaps.  My fingers dramatically grip the handles and tears start to pour down my cheeks.  The person beside me squirms in their seat, uncomfortable with my outward display of emotion.
Told ya to put the arm rest up.
Eventually I calm down, we're in the air now about ten minutes. I can start my in-flight distraction ritual.  I take out my magazine and the bowl of salad I bought in Boots. I start reading an article on Tom Cruise.  Then have a fork full of Salmon, mmm tasty. The author talks about meeting with Cruise and what a presence he is, how he can work a room and make everyone feel important and loved.  I picture myself meeting Tom Cruise. Wow! That would be amazing. I don't even like Tom Cruise, who does any more?  But I am enjoying my little fantasy all the same. Tom shakes my hand, I start to cry.  And I am crying.  In real life now. Uncontrollably. What's wrong with me? The plane shakes and I grip the handles of the seat again. Like that's going to save my life: "It's ok! She's holding onto the seat, sure you may as well give her life jacket to someone else, this girl's invincible."  I love landing. That bit doesn't scare me.  Sometimes I think about the plane skidding on the run way and splitting in two.  But it doesn't bother me so much. I reckon I'd survive that. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

If it sounds too good to be true...

Ronaldo's 70 percent off haircut
So I got this voucher on one of those websites. You know the ones; sites that offer amazing deals that you just can't resist!  My voucher is for a full head of highlights.  But I know I won't get a full head; they'll fob me off with a half and I'll be none the wiser til me sister points it out to me when I get home.  Worse than that; the cut will be awful cos it'll be done by a trainee who doesn't know a scissors from a meat cleaver.  And that weekend away in the five star hotel in Cork will be the same disappointment. "Sorry, those vouchers can only be used Monday to Friday, and not during school holidays, or close to Christmas, and certainly not in the Spring, also not for use during months ending in the letters e and r."  That skin cream you bought, the one you got at an 80% discount.  You remember; the postage cost €20 cos you live outside the UK.  Ah yes, that cream.  The cream that didn't "smooth out fine lines", "zap ugly bags" or "erase deep wrinkles."  The only reason you bought it was cos the "original" price was €120 - with a price tag like that it MUST work, right?  Wrong.  And don't forget that course of laser hair removal you invested in; three sessions for €30 - bargain!  But not when you're informed that you need twice that to fade the Ronnie you've been growing specially for the occasion.  And extra treatments work out at €60 a pop! Ouch, nearly smarts as much as the treatment itself. Back to the trusty ol' jar of bleach so.  Wait a minute, what's that; lip threading voucher 50% off.  But they only do half the lip?  Sure I'll buy two so.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Jaysis aren't we a great bunch, the Irish?

There he is now; oul' Jimmy
Walked into the classroom today in college and the lecturer had a clip from youtube ready to show us.  It was Ed Byrne slagging off Alanis Morrisette for that song "Ironic" and it's actual lack of irony.  And immediately the thing that comes into my mind is; "he's from Swords." And I wanted everyone to know that; cos I live in Swords too. And you all know that if you live in the same town, city or country as someone famous that means you are partly responsible for their fame or in some way great because they are great. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think Ed Byrne is great, in fact I think he's a bit of a twat and not half as funny as he seems to think he is.  But he's Irish ye know, and he's famous and we were watching a clip of him so I felt I should let everyone know that we shared something.  Like that entitled me to some sort of kudos.  Somehow their celebrity status rubs off on you and you are in actuality famous too.  Not unlike the time we were discussing James Joyce's Ulysses; I felt like I had dibs on it cos I was the Irish student.  Or that I deserved a pat on the back: "well done, what an achievement.  Born in the same city, you say? Truly an amazing feat!"  Sure I knew more about it than the lecturer cos it's about Dublin, yeah, and that's me home town, sure what would he know about being a Dub or a strayed Catholic; that's my territory.  Never mind that I have never actually read Ulysses or any of Joyce's works, sure why would I need to do that, it's in me blood, like.  When reading Molly Bloom's soliloquy aloud he mispronounced Howth and I let out a satisfied snigger.  Me and James Joyce, wha', sure me Granda used to drink pints with him in the Bleeding Horse.  Genius by association, even if that association is rather dubious, or in fact, completely fabricated.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Food n Film

So last night I made a delicious dinner for me and husband and just thought I'd share yis the recipe.  I made it up myself from the ingredients in the fridge and we both agreed it was really tasty.  I love to cook tons of vegetables as I don't really eat carb high foods like pasta and rice - they leave me too bloated.  So if you think the Aubergine is too much just leave it out.

Creamy, Spicey Chicken with Aubergine & Mashed Parsnip

So delicious, it was gone before I'd the chance to take a pic!

2 Chicken fillets, sliced into thin strips
1 Red onion peeled and chopped
80g Chorizo sausage chopped into thin semi circles
1 or 2 Aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
1 large Parsnip, peeled and chopped loosely
A large handful of Mangetout
80ml single cream

For the marinade:

Juice of half a lemon
2 Cloves garlic, peeled then crushed or grated
1 Chili, chopped finely - you may take the seeds out if you like it less spicey
1 small handful of oregano, basil and coriander, chopped loosely
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil


1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together.  Put half of the marinade on the Aubergine and mix the other half with the chicken and mangetout; cover and leave for at least an hour.
2. When the hours up; turn the grill onto medium heat and start grilling the marinated Aubergine.  You can also put the parsnip on now - I use a steamer but you can boil it in some salty water if you wish.  Around 15 - 20 mins should do it.
3. Heat up a large frying pan and add the chorizo.  Let the chorizo soften and release all those delicious spicey oils before adding the chicken and the mangetout with the marinade.  When it starts to take colour add the onion and reduce the heat to low - medium.  Fry for a few minuted before adding the cream.
4. All the time you are keeping an eye on  the Aubergine which will need to be turned half way through.  When they are done, leave them under a very low grill to keep them warm.
5. The parsnip should be done so take them out and mash them up with a little bit of the olive oil - just a teaspoon should do it.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve the creamy chicken & mangetout over a few large spoons of the mashed parsnip, with the grilled aubergine on the side.  

Enjoy x x

Also wanted to recommend a film me and husband saw recently - Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. A beautiful, fun flick that left us feeling very inspired and in love with a city we've never even visited!  

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Never shit on your own doorstep... they say.  Should have told the dogs round our way though, they seem to have missed that memo.  But then again they ain't shitttin' on their own doorsteps, they're shitting on mine!
So, I was home for the weekend, a short two day visit and as we left the house yesterday morning we were met with a great, big, steaming pile of dog shit just outside our door. Right there; like it had rang the doorbell and was waiting patiently for us to answer. I say steaming but it was actually quite cold, freezing in fact. Husband told me that after he nominated himself to pick it up with a plastic bag from JC's. Still, it didn't stop me from checking to see if the culprit was knocking about. I searched high and low, throwing more than a few filthy glances at anyone carrying a lead or indeed, a dog. But what was the use? According to my husband's detective work the dog and it's owner were long gone. We were left feeling astounded, appalled and frustrated. As we strolled up the road together we tried to be optimistic and, initially, made excuses for the voiceless offender: "Maybe their dog had escaped?", "Perhaps the owner had walked on ahead and didn't notice his dog's dirty deed?", "Perhaps it wasn't a dog but a giant cat?" Leaving the estate we passed a grass verge and the sight of another abandoned dog dump unleashed our underlying rage. We discussed what we would do if we found out where the cheeky fecker lived; "Shit on his doorstep, the bastard!", "Shove it through his letterbox'", "Make him eat it", "Kick his head in."  You get the idea. In the end I decided to write a passive-aggressive blog about it. That'll show 'em!

Friday, 4 November 2011

To boldy go...

What happens at halls when you leave the immersion on...
So this is it, I'm starting a blog.  I don't have a set topic to talk about - this is just gonna be daily moans and groans from a narky old wife with too much time on her hands.  Yes - too much time! You don't hear that much now, do you?  You see I don't live at home with my husband like a normal wife would.  No, I chose to leggit over to England "get myself a education" so I'm living in Derby in student halls on my own.  Well not entirely on my own, I ain't that lucky. I have to share the place with a bunch of students, shudder!  Students like to play crap music, did ya know that?  They especially like to play it at two in the morning, while discussing which bloke they'd like to shag; the one in the kitchen going through the contents of the fridge or the one waiting downstairs, ringing the bell shouting: "I've got cans AND vodka."  Lucky for me I get to go home most weekends.