June 30, 2014

Savant's Series - Joss Stirling

Okay, for a start, I'm not entirely sure what this series is called. If anyone has a clarifying answer, please help me! But for now, I'm calling it the Savant Series. 

Secondly, unbeknown to me, the author, Joss Stirling, has three pen names. And I have previously read books from each of her other two persona's before I read Finding Sky. Julia Golding, whom I know from reading Dragonfly and The Glass Swallow, is a multi-award winning author who has sold over half a million copies across the world in multiple languages. As Eve Edwards, she has written historical novels including The Other Countess.

Thirdly, I can't remember how to write a book review. And all the "how to write a book review" articles on the Internet either seem to be at either primary school level, or university level. I just want to write a general review, and so I'm winging it here people.

Fourthly, I don't actually own these books. They are borrowed from the library. I did own Stealing Phoenix at one point, but I have had to seriously cut down my book ownership, and so it had to go. Not because it wasn't great or anything, but I just didn't have room for it. But it doesn't really matter if I don't actually own the books does it? As long as I have actually read them?

Okay, so here goes:

Um... I'm stuck.

Okay, so here goes attempt two:

These stories are about the trials and tribulations of being a Savant, most notably those that go hand-in-hand with finding your Soulfinder; your predestined other half, which completes you in a way that no other partner can. Your one true love times a gazillion, in a nutshell.

Yeah, that intense.

The series follows the stories of the Benedict brothers, Trace, Uriel, Victor, Will, Xav, Yves and Zed. Well, if you're gonna have seven children, it might be a good idea to name them alphabetically. But most people would start with A. You know- Arthur, Ben, Callum, Doug, Ed, Fred and Gus. But hey ho.

The first book, Finding Sky, starts of the series off with a bang. As with the following books, the story is written from the point of view of the Soulfinders, in this case 17 year old Sky Bright. Who has some issues. Yeah, big issues. Think being abandoned on a service station and then not talking for years. Oh, yeah, and she used to see peoples 'colours'. Which is a perfectly normal thing to do, right? In their infinite wisdom, her adoptive parents decide to uproot her and move away from all Sky's friends in Richmond, England, and spend a year in the snow capped Rocky's of the USA. Culture shock or what? You don't have to answer that one, btw. And I mean, if that wasn't enough, she gets tortured by the cheerleader teacher, oh, and there's this boy. Like, the most annoying boy this side of Justin Beiber. And she can hear his voice in her head. The whole town is telling her that getting together with bad boy Zed is a bad idea, and it turns out true when they get into gun wielding, mind mugging trouble, but is love that strong worth it, or does it just lead to disaster?

The Community, lead by bad guy The Seer, is not a place that you want to be. However, that is where life has lead to Phoenix ending up. A Olympic grade thief, Phoenix is given a mark. But that mark fights back. And then turns out to be her Soulfinder. Life just got complicated. For a start, is this Soulfinder thing really true, or is it just a load of baloney? Then, it's not that easy to leave the Community. Even worse, it's not that easy to bring the bad guys of the Community down. Especially, when the Seer can literally, tell you to kill yourself. And you would do it. Phoenix can't go back to the Community, but how can she be with Yves without hurting anyone?

When dud savant Crystal's big sister falls head over heals for Trace Benedict, Crystal gets stuck with the most annoying brother, Xav, the healer with the worst bedside manner. He just never stops. She's trying to find her own way outside of the savant community, and he always puts a damper on things. And if that isn't enough, she's trying to organise her sisters hen party. But when an evil savant tries to get her revenge on the Benedict's buy kidnapping their Soulfinders; well, what help can a dud savant be? And do people really believe that annoying Xav could really be the one?

As a girl who's concentration is next to nill, these books are engaging. Actually and really engaging. I've read them a few times now, and I still find them page turning. The core theme of the stories is something most teenagers can relate to - boyfriends/girlfriends. Okay, it's blown out of realistic proportions by the whole 'special gift' thing, but the base of it is something familiar. And then there's the whole 'fitting in' thing that the Soulfinder's face in the books. Most people are familiar with that.

Relate-able, with page turning storyline's? Hmmm... what else? Well, the core characters remain consistently present in each book, and their characters gently unfold and develop. They each in turn step forward to take the limelight and then recede to let another brother have a go, depending on which Soulfinder is the centre of the book. But each book has a new Soulfinder, and each wanders into the Benedict's life and has their own journey of discovery/journey of trying to stay alive despite the best efforts of evil Savants. And so, you don't really have to read them in order. Because Phoenix doesn't know what happened between Sky and Zed, you don't have to know either. So if you see one of these books on the shelf, and you haven't read any of the others, don't worry, go for it!!!! (Although it might involve some spoilers).

These are all written in the first person, of Sky, Phoenix, and you guessed it, Crystal. Coincidentally, they are all brought up in England. Whereas the Benedict's are all American born and bred. I mean, isn't it good to have a book that crosses international boundaries.

I like how these books are written in the first person, as well as generally liking books written in the first person, because I feel that there is so much more emotion! You have a real insight into what the character is feeling, and I feel that this draws you into the books, as you have a deeper 'relationship' with the characters. I mean, there are millions of good books written in the third person, but I do think that the first has been used very successfully here.

In a nutshell, I like these books for lots of reasons. They storyline's are great, the characters fully developed and have clear emotions that you can relate to, you can read them as a series or just pick one up. They are very well written. And they're different. They're not just another bit of vampire fiction (sorry Twilight) nor are they another 'girl meets heart breaker but it all works out in the end' kind of book. Yes, they have aspects of both, but with the Savant series, I feel like they have been written because this is what the author wants to write about, and not just what she thinks the market wants. Which, I think, makes them grate. Oh, and it isn't just 'I think', Finding Sky has got 4.5 stars on Amazon UK.

And if that isn't enough for you, a) Challenging Zed is a free ebook available for Amazon Kindle (and you don't have to have a Kindle, you just need to download the app) which tells the first part of the Finding Sky story from Zeds point of view and b) Misty Falls, the next book in the series, is coming this October. Yippee!!! Christmas? Please Santa Claus if your listening? If I can wait that long, of course. Here, I can't wait to 'meet' Misty, Crystals cousin, (What is it with Savants and big families? Anyone?) a perpetual truth teller, at a time when young savants are in danger.... Ooohh... October, please come soon, please!

Nice Nails #10

Anyone up for a bumper issue of my poorly photographed, okay-ly photographed nails? 

Why is it so hard to photograph your own nails? Apart from the fact that it leaves just one hand to both hold the camera(phone) steady and press shoot? Yeah, it's a mystery. Plus, I can never work out which position to put my hands in so that they look pretty. 

This, is a very VERY very posh nail polish. Yeah, very posh. It's a Clinique one that I got given as a present. I'm not trying to be a brand snob here, but it was a very nice nail polish to use. Not to thick and gloopy, and not to runny. And it lasted for like, ever. Until I got bored one time and started picking it off. Then it still lasted for like, ever, until I got bored and tired of chipped nails and redid them. But it was a lovely set of nails. And due to no fault of anybodies except possibly mine, that little finger? It was a third time lucky attempt. And I got very frustrated, pulled some silly faces, and so Mom had to lend a hand. See, her Brownie instincts are still strong. 

The chipped nails were replaced by these. And, news flash: I AM CURRENTLY WEARING THESE NAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM UP TO DATE WITH THE "NICE NAILS" POSTS!!!!!! To be honest, I thought that the day would never come! I am going though a Frozen kick (I am literally listening to 'Let it Go' as we 'speak'), and so these nails are Frozen inspired. Loosely, you wouldn't really be able to tell. I did think about putting a glitter coat over the top, but it's hard to take off afterwards. I used two Barry M Gelly polishes (Prickly Pear and Watermelon/Guava, I can't remember), and one Clinique polish (the silver one).  Yeah, not very Frozen-y, but hey, I've got a load of compliments on them, so they can't be that bad! 


June 25, 2014

Nature's Path Munch and ChocoMunch Cereal

Okay people. Think Golden Nuggets and Nesquick but with an ingredient list that doesn't sound so scary. Whereas Golden Nuggets contain 14 ingredients, as well as a whole load of vitamins and minerals, Munch only contains 4. And I know what they all are.

So you probably like them already. I might just go away and not bother writing anything else because seriously- why bother?

Well... I should probably bother because there will be some skeptics out there who aren't convinced yet! I know, it's unbelievable! But there will be some, and so I will continue. 

Munch is a corn based cereal in the shape of golden yellow (or chocolate brown) balls. It has a pleasant crunch- and doesn't turn to cereal mush on immediate contact with milk. Way beating cornflakes and wheat biscuits on the 'lengh of time till soggy cereal yuck' contest. Unless you like soggy ceraeal of course... Although it does become softer when it's been in the milk for a while, it still has a nice bite to it. 

Look how good this photo is compared to the one above (which was taken ages ago)
The plain Munch cereal tastes pleasently sweet. Not overly, sugary sweet in a similar way to many cereals aimed at children are, but a subtle sweet. The corn-y taste is alowed to shine through and be the star player, supported by the sweet taste. That, by the way, is the closest I am going to get to talking about the world cup at all this year. The fact that they don't taste all that sweet is slightly supprising because they contain about as much sugar per 100g as their processed counterparts. I will atribute that to the fact that they contain only natural sugar instead of high-whatever-whatever-syrup. They are still a high sugar cereal, so maybe keep them for a Saturday treat? Or just go for it. 

The fun you can have with two boxes of cereal!!!

The ChocoMunch tastes kinda like Coco Pops with more oomph. Possibly because they are not hollow, but I do think they have got the balance right there. (There is only one person I know who doesn't like Coco Pops). They don't quite taste as natural as the plain ones, but then, they taste like a childrens chocolate cereal. Which is what they are. 

The ChocoMunch does have this tendency to clump up. However, never fear, the ChocoMunch clusters are here! It's really not the end of the world, just bear in mind that if clumping really annoys you, then you may wish to spend a minute breaking them up BEFORE pouring the milk over them (unless you like soggy hands, of course).

What's more, they are organic, gluten free, and vegan (so no milk or eggs). Its practically all good. And it tastes great, unlike some other free from cereals which don't taste that great. Even the ones which claim they taste great.

Unlike the majority of boxed cereals on the UK market, these are not fortified. I guess that's what makes them vegan and organic. If it is essential to you that your cereal is fortified, then don't go for these. If it doesn't matter much to you, then go for it. Don't forget, one of the "healthiest" cereals going, oats for porridge/muesli isn't fortified either. And as a once in a while treat, it shouldn't matter about the lack of extra added nutrition.

Now, when I was in bed being ill, I asked my Dad if he could get me some Gorilla Munch cereal. This caused a whole lotta confusion. Despite the fact that my parents (my Dad) brought me this cereal when I was younger, they deny all knowledge of remembrance of this product. So he went up and down the cereal isle looking for a box with a gorilla on the front. And came home empty handed. So I explained to him, it's not called Gorilla Munch any more, it's just called Munch, and has a picture of a hedgehog on the front (I preferred it when it was called gorilla munch.) ("Well why didn't you say just Munch then?")  He then when up and down the cereal isle looking for Munch cereal, with a hedgehog on the front. Mom hadn't passed on the "Its in the gluten free section bit". Eventually, we got there. By this time, Dad now hated Gorilla Munch.

It may have changed it's name, but Munch has stayed true to it's gorilla roots. 1% of the sales of the Munch and ChocoMunch go to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, to help combat the problems that we humans are causing to the planet's largest primate. And unlike most "We give dada% to charity", this isn't for a limited time only. This is an ongoing all time kind of thing. And who doesn't like a heartfelt donation to charity?

Look, see. The box does have a gorilla on it!

One box (9/10 servings) costs about £3. Which works out at about 30-33p per bowl. Which is kind of expensive. 1 box of 'normal' cereal of similar weight generally costs about £1-£2.50 depending. So yes it is expensive. A box of free from cereal is more like £1.50-£3.50. So, it's still expensive. But the things we want generally are. 

There is just something about Munch that I like. Who knows what it is, I just like it. Its one of my favourite cereals. Really, and I like a lot of cereals. This is definitely one of my favourites. And I mean it. Sure it has it's shortcomings (i.e. price, sugar), but for a treat (which this type of cereal should be) it's one of my favourites. And if you ever have spare money to spend on cereal, go for it, you won't be disappointed, I promise!

In Other, Less Interesting News... #4

1. I found some UK based vegan blogs, here and here. Although I am not vegan, I do like reading vegan food blogs, because I like vegan food. The trouble usually is, they are all American and have a tendency to talk about/use ingredients that you just cant get over here. Which is a bit rubbish. But with these blogs, this should happen a lot less often. Although the second one does include a lot of baby food, which I'm not into all that much!

2.  I got a Rainbows bear. It is soooo cool. So cool, I had to take so many pictures of him. (Actually, that probably should be her!)

3. My parcel arrived! (Please tell me that it isn't just me who get excited when they get a parcel?) I got a dino sandwich cutter (which also conveniently cuts the crusts off), a new water bottle, and Nutritional Yeast Flakes! Nutritional Yeast Flakes are a bit like flakes of marmite, with a slightly cheesy flavour. Well, they are not really, but that's the best way that I can think to describe them. Well, anyway, they are what I was waiting for to make my omelet - but the only place I could find them was Amazon. And boy, do they come in a BIG container!

4. I gotto go to Pizza Hut! And I gotto go to the salad bar!!!!! (Yeah to no chemo restrictions). I am so having a salad bar for my 21st. Or my wedding. Or just for whatever. The pizza may be okay/good (deep pan girl in an Italian thin crust house = not good) but I only really go for the salad. But I was told to restrain myself so I would actually eat some of the paid for pizza. :( And the best bit, btw, the tomato pasta salad, is hiding under there somewhere. 

Yes, I did ask for my pizza with like, quarter cheese. And yes, I left half of it. The salad was more important!

5. I have started working on Girlguiding UK's Look Wider programme. Mainly because I was bored. But also because its fun. But mainly because I was bored. 

6. Mom made my try on all my old shoes. Yes, I am keeping the heels. No, I can't walk in them. Yes, Mom did make me try. Yes, I am keeping the jelly's. Why? Because I was a jelly deprived girl as a child.  I need to make up for lost time

7. I got a new pen and calculator for college. THEY ARE PINK! (Yes, I know that is not the right calculator to get for maths, but its PINK and I DON'T CARE!) 

8. I got given a Be-Ro cookbook, the epitome of all baking books. Its not as good as Moms though. Stupid 41st edition. 

9. I used my Ikea loaf pan to make cornbread (or corn-crumbs really). Look peoples, it makes a pretty pattern on the base of the loaf! Thank you friend who gave it to me. 

10. Due to no. 5, I have been working on an about me page for the blog. Hence, I've not posted anything in too long. That, and really, my life just ain't that interesting. 

11. Oreo's are now vegatarian!!!! Me a happy bunny. Still working on the Twist, Lick, Dunk thing without the cookie braking. Me a slightly less happy bunny. 

12. Morrison's had a black/purple pepper and icicle radishes in!! Now I'm just waiting for them to get purple cauliflower in. Please, people, please!

13. It rained. A lot. And that white stuff you can see? Hail. And the thunder and lightning you can't here because its a photograph, duh? Intense. And that black and white stripy bit? Mom's reflection, not some weird weather phenomenon. The Big Bang Theory fanatics, no, she is not dressed as the Doppler effect. 

14. I got my wig. I am a bald fluffy penguin no more. 

15. Dad doesn't know when Mom will get back. My brother really, didn't need to ask that one. 

16. Mom's friend brought fancy macaroons for us in a fancy a** (sorry) department store. I didn't like them. They were kinda disgusting to me. Damn chemo. 

17. I had a soy coconut mocha frappachino. (I know Starbucks didn't pay there taxes, but we end up getting a drink where we end up getting a drink.) It was nice. And cold. And I even drank most of it. I am so proud of me! (Compared to another time, when I took one sip of my coffee, and resigned to just having the froth). 

18. I followed my friends advice, and tried veggie sushi. It looks so pretty. Look at the little bottle of soya sauce! I will admit that I gave up using the chopsticks on the bigger ones, but hey, I was brave and tried something new and scary. You cant have everything in life! It was a bit weird and a bit strange, and very very new, but I think we may be having a repeat of sushi lunch some time! ;) 

19. My friends have all finished their exams!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!! I have friends again!!!!!!!! (Being friends with enforced hermits has it's disadvantages!) Well done to them, and anyone else who just did exams. 

20. I have three Greenland's. Anyone want a Greenland bear card? Please?

21. I went shopping for new clothes. For college. I'm liking my new look. I even bought a purple dress, I just hope it isn't too short? 

22. Wow, there has been a lot of less interesting news since #3.

23. This, my friends, is what we call a multi spooned plate lollipop. Or a kitchen mishap. You choose. 


June 07, 2014

The Bumper Student Cookbook - Good Housekeeping

My Mom told me to get this book from the library. 

I really don't know why. 

Well, I do. She thinks that I need to read some student cookbooks. You know, I'm going away in a year, and I'll be in self catered accommodation, and you know, I'll need a stockpile of cheap, EASY (consider that, at the moment, I am physically unable to make myself ANYTHING) vegetarian meals that serve one. It would be a bonus if these didn't rely to heavily on eggs or cheese. Cause I'm not picky or anything (and I'm even worse at the moment, I'm still waiting for my tastes to go back to normal post chemo. It took Moms friend over two years... oh dear). And I'm going two find recipes that fit these criteria in a student cookbook. 

Not if all student cookbooks are like this one. 

If all student cookbooks are like this one, I now know why students are notorious for living on beans on toast. 

For the short, here's the review I posted on Amazon:

"For a start, there are very few recipes in this book which serve 1, and as all the students I know are cooking for themselves, a recipe which serves 4 is no good, especially a lot aren't recipes that freeze/make good leftovers. They have a 'Food for Friends' section - keep these meals for there! Also- how many students have £15+ to spend on beef FOR ONE RECIPE? (although it does serve 4 - not freezable). That may be the worst example, but a lot of the ingredients are just not budget friendly. Fresh herbs, pine nuts, jarred antipasti, creme fresh... It would be fine if they were one offs, but you're looking at maybe 2/3/4 a recipe sometimes!!!!

The front of the book has some very good - but pretty basic information on food hygiene/shopping/meal planning/storing fresh produce and some very good advice on things like how to prepare each ingredient - like individual instructions on how to cut up each vegetable, and how to cook eggs. They looked like clear, concise instructions, and I'd imagine that they would be very helpful if you didn't already know how to prepare food.

Overall, if you are completely new to cooking, this is a good resource with pretty much everything you need to know in one handy place presented in a helpful way, however, you will be left with a book full of recipes that are good - but they're not student recipes. Recipes to cook at home when you're parents are buying the food and helping you eat it, but not for when you're on your own and on a budget!"

Now that we've got the short version out the way, I will warn you, you are subject to the long versions of my ramblings in the long version. 


Here goes. 

I do know some students who are feeding a family of four. My Mom has been one such person. However, these students are all OLDER, MATURE students who learnt to cook a while ago, when they left home at 18 or so, and so have no need for a new, student cookbook. All the students I do know that would have use of a student cookbook are not serving a family of four people. Occasionally, they may cook for their friends, and if it's something like chili or bolognaise sauce, which freezes well, then making a big batch and freezing in individual portions is a good, cheaper and easy alternative to expensive convenience foods. However, there were just far too many recipes that fed four people and weren't suitable for freezing, and no were near enough recipes for 1 person. 

The book did contain a 'Food for Friends' section. In my opinion, at least 75% of the recipes in the book belonged in that section. Which would make it a very overlarge section. Maybe I'm the only one, but I imagine that when I'm a student (assuming I will be physically able to cook) I will, for the most part, want quick, cheap, and easy meals that I can 'whip up' when in between lectures, studying, and doing whatever else a student has to do. As a student in college, a step down from university, when I was cooking for myself (which I did regularly), it was food that was prepared in under ten minutes, from store cupboard staples and whatever fresh produce we had, and that weren't necessarily 'sit down' food. I was busy. Surely, a step up at university, it will be no different? I wasn't interested in cooking for others very often, I was more interested in feeding myself at whatever odd time I need to, which probably doesn't coincide with everyone else. (One day last summer, I ate lunch at 11, and didn't have dinner until after I got in at 8. Yes, I had eaten a snack in between.)

Yes, you can always quarter a recipe, but really, for almost every recipe in the book, who can be bothered? Its quicker and easier to just pour yourself a bowl of cereal! and not all recipes work when they have been scaled down. For example, what do you do with the 3/4 of a can of chopped tomatoes left? and is it really worth chopping an onion for 1 tablespoon? and will a quarter of a tablespoon of oil be enough to coat the frying pan to stir fry your veg? 

So, would it be a good cookbook if you were a 'grown up person' and looking to make some cheaper meals for your family- you know, saving money by living on a notoriously small budget? Er... no. Just no. Why? They are just not budget friendly. 

I wasn't joking in the Amazon review I wrote. The Beef Stroganoff recipe calls for 700g of trimmed rump or fillet steak, which Dad (I'm really no expert in meat prices) says would be at the very least £15 worth of meat. Now, that's almost a weeks worth of food blown in one recipe; and that's before you add the other ingredients! And it's not just this recipe, most of the recipes include ingredients that are not what I call 'budget friendly ingrediants'. If you are trying to eat as cheaply as possible, do you want expensive fresh herbs or relatively cheap dried ones? Do you want to be buying relatively expensive ingredients, 'posh' ingredients, only to use a few tablespoons and the rest left to be wasted? No, you want to be frugal, you don't want to spend more than you need to! So a lot of these recipes don't belong in a 'student' cookbook because they're too expensive!!! And many of the money saving tips included wont save you a whole lot of money!

The recipes in themselves are, as far as I could tell, good recipes. It is a good all-round cookbook. If you are a complete cooking novice, but want to start cooking your own foods instead of buying convenience foods, this is a good book. There is nothing wrong with the recipes themselves, they're just not what I was expecting to find in a student cookbook!!!!!!!

One last gripe is that a constantly reoccurring 'Top Tip' is to use a stock cube mixed with boiling water - and use that as the stock called for in a recipe. That is not a top tip. I cannot imagine very many (notoriously lazy) students could be bothered to cook stock from scratch (and other people need to use the kitchen to - stock is not quick to make) neither can they afford to buy those tubs of fresh stock!!!!

Okay, so the good bit of the cookbook.

The first bit of the cookbook is dedicated to teaching students how to cook - and this is not just how to do  the actual cooking, but how to shop, how to store items, how to meal plan and how to eat healthily. All very useful information if you are a complete novice; however, I would expect that at the very least some of this would be familiar to most 18 year olds. Though I may be wrong, I do believe we're a bit past 'eat lots of fruit and vegetables'. But it is, on the whole, its useful information

They also have lots of instructions on how to prepare and cook many different 'staples' - like how to cook an egg and how to chop an onion. The instructions here (and I admit in the recipes themselves) are very clear and very easy to follow. If you don't know how to boil an egg or saute a pepper, this is a good book for you.

If you could buy this section on its own, it would be worth it.

They do however, assume that you probably buy your chicken in a way other than prepackaged from the supermarket. I may be a dumb vegetarian- but really? Or is just the omnivores I know who buy it in a package? Just wondering.

It may be very stereotypical and slightly unfair... but when someone said that this was a "cookbook for students with rich parents"... yeah, I kinda get what they mean. 

June 04, 2014

Happy New Years... I've missed the Glitterball

Yeah I've missed the glitter ball.
But you know that all the greatest bloggers post their "Happy New Years" post in...

Girl looks at (coincidentally imaginary) watch, and realizes that watches tell time in little bits (hours and minutes and seconds) rather than big bits (weeks and months)...

Girls sighs and looks on calendar...

May. Everyone posts their best "Happy New Years" post in June. Its what makes them the best. Cause if you've had to wait this long for it... you know it's gonna be good. Right peoples?

I did try for Chinese New Years people. I really really did. Like R.E.A.L.L.Y. really. Sometimes things just don't work out. Until June. 

One good thing about doing this in June is I can ask... 

Has any one really kept them? Hands up people (and comments down... come on... it only takes a moment). Who's still revising more/eating less junk/going to the gym more/being more organised? And who's let theirs go by the wayside? Don't worry... you know that they were halfhearted anyway. 

Who'd forgotten about them till now, has just remembered they should be doing an extra half hour of homework a day and decided 'sod it, I'll just try again next year'.

I made two New Years Resolutions. Plus a sort of New Years Bucket List.

You see, the trouble is, it's kind of hard doing chemo + anything else. Chemo is very time consuming guys. We can be talking 5/6 days solid in hospital here. Plus, it makes you sleep. Like constantly. You know how baby's can sleep for 18/20 hours a day sometimes. Forget it. That's nothing. (At least us chemo-ers don't cry and want feeding the rest of the time. Well... sometimes we want feeding, but not in the same way). So spend more time in the gym just ain't an option for me. Plus, I can't walk yet, so gym? Forget it. (Not that I ever went to the gym even when I could walk. I went once. And fell backwards of the treadmill)

So these resolutions had to be something that didn't require any effort/thought unless I was ready for it. I.e. reading the newspaper everyday was out. So is washing our (imaginary) car every Sunday morning. It had to be something that, if I needed to, I could forget about till like, April. Or just until I wake up (possibly the year 2273). But it's a New Year's Resolution people, it had to be something that on New Years Eve, I could look back and say... yeah... I did that. I'm quite proud that I sticked to that... I think I achieved something in that area of my life this year.

Or, "well shucks! That didn't work now did it? Maybe I'll try again next year" (and quite probably fail again.)

My New Year's Resolutions:

1. Learn to use chopsticks ... As in actually learn how to use them properly, not just find a way to make them get food from plate to mouth. 
2. Try as many recipes as possible from my new cookbook Peas and Thankyou by Sarah Matheny. 

I like Chinese food. I've had very little Thai food, and for arguments sake, I've had no Vietnamese/Japanese/other East Asian cuisine. And pretty much all of what I have had, I've eaten with a fork. I like noodles and rice, with their assorted trimmings, and fully intend to eat more (especially the noodles) in the future - quick, easy to adapt for 1 (no trying to quarter a can of chopped tomatoes) and very versatile.

So I should probably learn to eat them 'properly'.

Know, I know 'properly' is probably not using chopsticks in many cases. I'm thinking about Sheldon's lecture on Thailand and the fork from The Big Bang Theory as I say this. I'm also a firm believer that eating 'properly' is eating however you feel comfortable, as long as it's not offencive. That's my excuse for ditching my knife, holding my fork in my right hand and ditching the implements all together when eating potato wedges and chicken nuggets.

And eating with chopsticks is a perfect way to eat 'properly'. I'm SUPPOSED to be holding them in my right hand (Dad) and you're not supposed to use a knife (Dad). It's a perfect solution to my bad (ish) eating habits.

Plus, the really cool plastic coloured ones work just as well as the 'proper' ones. Which can very rarely be said for knifes and forks. Even if they are a bit slippy.

(This is what my plate looks like before and after I eat a meal with chopsticks. Messy- but I did it)

And as for doing as many recipes as possible from my new cookbook...

How many cookbooks have you had where you flick through it, go, "ooh, that looks nice!" and "we'll try that one next week" and "I'll pick up some soy sauce so we can have a go at that one", pick up the soy sauce and then never use it. Not for that recipe anyway.

Yeah well I didn't want this to happen this time. This is a cookbook by one of my favourite bloggers (although she stopped blogging about a year ago). I have been wanting to get my hands on it for ages, and then I get it for Christmas. (Thanks Nana). How cool is that? And this book is so full of some amazing looking recipes, that I don't want it to become another one of those cookbooks which is for display purposes only. I want it to be used in the way that it deserves to be used. Even if that means spraying it with lemon juice and giving it a fine dusting of coco powder.

Apparently, a girl gotta peel a can of chickpeas. 

Yeah, I know. Some might say that it's destruction of an otherwise pristine book. Some might say I need a cookbook stand (me included- but to keep it open on the right page). Some might say I'm just sad, trying to do EVERY SINGLE recipe out of one book. But hey ho. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

But a girls not sure what shes gonna do when a recipe calls for mango. A girl ain't liking no mango. And a girls not sure what shes gonna do when a recipe calls for a waffle maker. Anyone got a waffle maker they can lend a girl?

My New Years Bucket List:

1. Go to Ikea
2. Get a Balti dish (they are so cute)
3. Eat many dinosaur sandwiches
4. Make popcorn (a must on anybodies bucket list - to different extremes)
5. Go to Lakeland plastics
6. Spend some money in Lakeland plastics
7. Make an omelet (without cracking any eggs)
8. Go back to college
9. Get an A* on a piece of maths homework
10. Watch Frozen again

Do we need updates on my bucket list people? I think we do. Yes, I know that you all screamed no at your computer screens when I asked that question, but chemo has caused some hearing loss.

Actually, it has, but only in the upper registers where a bit of hearing loss wont make much of a difference according to the man who did it. Unless someone is playing sounds in your ears and asking which ones you can hear. Oh, and I can't hear that annoying mosquito sound outside of some shops. However that will be no loss.

So yeah, get ready for updates people.

Just pray that they get posted this century. You know what I'm like :D