Sunday, 3 November 2013

Rainbow Cake

Unemployment + Surgery = Boredom = Baking*.

Sometimes I'll just get a sudden need to do lots of baking.  I will then bake numerous things at once.  (This is followed by months of no desire to bake at all.)  This was one of those times.  I made chocolate crackles, Mars Bar slice, and this, the wonderous rainbow cake.

I found the idea on Pinterest, thought it looked awesome and was utterly bored, so off I went.  It was pretty lazy, I used boxes of cake mix, but I'm sure it tastes better than if I had've made it from scratch.
 Then I split the mixture up (I used 2 boxes for a bigger cake) into 7 bowls and made each of them a different colour using food colouring.  I then poured them one at a time, on top of each other, into the cake tin.  Then I spilled the bottle of yellow food colouring all over the bench, and on my new top (not recommended).

  I baked it for the recommended time on the box (it took the same amount of time as if I had only used one box, I thought it would've taken longer).

  Then I iced it and, as you can see, decorated it with M&Ms and Kit-Kats.  Simple, but it looks awesome!

I was actually pretty impressed with how it turned out, I hadn't done it before so it was a bit of an experiment.  It was also pretty tasty :)

*Also equals much internet time and many tv series finished.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A New Countdown

When I got back from my North America trip last year I thought there's no way I can wait another year to go overseas again, but here I am 13 months after I returned and still waiting for my next trip.  Realistically, it's actually fantastic that I get to go overseas twice in two years, even if the dream would be to travel more often, but unfortunately it isn't usually financially possible.

2013 for me, while not involving much travel, have been reasonably interesting regardless.  I have moved to the other side of the country, met someone amazing, spent quality time with my cousin/best friend who I haven't been able to spend large amounts of time with before, had an adorable kitten come in to my life and made many plans, including my upcoming trip.

This trip will be taking me to two continents that I have yet to explore, Europe and Africa.  Starting with a two week tour of Morocco with Intrepid, we will then be spending a week in Paris followed by a road trip around the south of France.  We are then spending a whole day in Dubai on the way home, which I'm interested to see.  I am really excited to have a mix of independent travel and touring, and especially about the road trip.  I have wanted to go to France for as long as I can remember, even studying French all through high school (despite which, I think the most important phrase I know is 'Parlez-vous Anglais?').  Morocco is a more recent source of fascination for me.  I'm not quite sure where it began, but I am utterly excited to see a place so different to where I've been before, somewhere that is exotic with beautiful architecture and interesting culture.  

As usual, while being excited about the upcoming trip, I'm still thinking of the future and what I'm going to do afterwards.  I'm not quite sure what that's going to be yet but I think it's going to be something amazing.  For now though, 20 days and counting!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 in review, and what comes next

As we bid good riddance to 2012 and place all our hopes and dreams onto 2013, I wanted to look back at 2012 and some of my favourite (and least favourite) things.

Song- I love it- Hilltop Hoods ft. Sia
Runner up- Sweet Nothing-Calvin Harris and Florence Welsh
Dishonourable mention- We are never ever getting back together-Taylor Swift. I actually didn't mind this song when it first came out, but then I heard it ten times a day everyday and now I can't stand it. Especially the talking parts in the middle. (eye twitches)

Album- Drinking from the sun-Hilltop Hoods

Artist- I can't pick just one, so here is a list, in no particular order:

  • Hilltop Hoods
  • 360
  • Florence and the machine
  • The xx
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Of Monsters and Men
  • Birdy
  • The Wombats
I pretty much had all of those on rotation all year.

Music video- Give me love- Ed Sheeran. I love this video.
Runner up-Shredding the balloon-Hilltop Hoods

Movie- Pitch Perfect.  I didn't see a lot of movies this year, there was Breaking Dawn part 2, Magic Mike, The Dark Knight Rises, none of them really thrilled me but I loved Pitch Perfect, it was funny and it had good music and good actors, I'd definitely see it again.

TV show- How I Met Your Mother, as always, is my favourite and I anticipate the new episodes every week. WHERE IS TED'S WIFE ALREADY? 
Runner up- The Big Bang Theory.

Mini-series- Fry's Planet Word.  (2011, but we only got it here this year). Really interesting series about language. I thought it was amazing and everyone should watch it.  I also got the book but haven't read it as of yet.

I also half-loved the Gossip Girl finale. It was good to find out who Gossip Girl is (I want to rewatch the series now that I know!) but some of the details at the end I didn't really like.  I've also picked up where I left off watching One Tree Hill, so I've got just over a season to go until the end.

Book- The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's not new, but unfortunately I haven't had a chance to read many new books, my to-be-read pile is still teetering precariously on my shelf, I really need to get through it so I can get to some new stuff.

Runner up-The Hunger Games series (I'm yet to read the third book though). 

Dishonourable mention-Fifty Shades of Grey. Sometimes the majority doesn't rule. For something that so many people went crazy for I just did not understand why. Badly written, over-use of ellipsis, creepy storyline, just not for me. It's not that I had a problem with the subject matter either, it was just the characters and the writing that I couldn't get past. I didn't feel the need to read the second or third books in the trilogy.  

Meme- Grumpy cat. Hilarious. 
Runner up-Bad Luck Brian/First World Problems

My cousin and I have been making our private jokes into memes (with So much fun. 

Personal best- Finally going overseas, seeing some of America and Canada, meeting some awesome people and having an amazing time, spending quality time with my wonderful cousin, meeting an amazing boy who is very sweet to me, realising how amazing my best friends are, spending time with my great family, moving across the other side of the country for a complete change of my life.

Personal worst- Ending a long-term relationship and dealing with the fallout, being rejected, having people disappoint me, being completely wrong about people and feeling like I'm in high school again (which I did not enjoy the first time), feeling completely alone, losing my job and having my car die.

So 2012 could have been a lot better but there was definitely some good things in there. Hopefully 2013 is an improvement and brings some amazing experiences.

What next?  For 2013 I would love to get into a career that I want to pursue, I definitely want to travel (there are so many places I want to go I don't even know where to begin), I want to spend more time with my amazing friends and most of all just start enjoying the present and not worry about the future too much.  

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The power of negative thought

I haven't done a new post in awhile, there's been a lot of things going on with me, none of which are good. In keeping with this theme, today's post is all about the power of negative thought. If you came here for a laugh you may be out of luck today, my apologies.

The embarrassing moments, the cringe-worthy, the painful, the regrets. These are, to me at least, the things that seem to suddenly pop into your mind when you least expect it.  They are the emotional equivalent to a punch in the stomach and they seem to happen fairly regularly.  My question is, why is it always the negative things that seep into your mind and contaminate your thoughts?

I can probably tell you the last ten times that someone said something or did something to upset me, but ask me to tell you the last few times someone made me happy and I would struggle. Not to say that it doesn't happen, because it does.  It just doesn't seem to have the same effect.

 I can remember a time in high school when I was answering someone's questions except they weren't even speaking to me, it was a small thing but embarrassing, and it is taking up precious memory space along with many other similar incidents.  If you ask me to tell you the nicest thing someone ever said to me, I would have trouble finding something.  If you ask me about all the good times that I had with my ex-boyfriend it would take me awhile to even think of some, but I can tell you about so many fights we had, and so many mean things that people have said to me.

I would have to say that there's been an almost equal amount of positive and negative things in my life, but for some reason the negative things stick out more.  They are the things that torture you as you try to fall asleep, the things you are reminded of at the slightest prompt.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's because we expect things to be good.  I think we feel like we deserve to have everything in our lives be perfect.  We expect a good job, car, house, relationships.  Our lives are spent trying to perfect these things and ensure we have everything we want, when in reality it is unlikely that everything will be up to our standards all the time.

If we think about our conversations with our friends they seem to revolve around the negative.  We focus on our problems, fights with boyfriends, searching for jobs.  Being happy isn't news, contentment doesn't evoke discussion.  That being said, we do also focus on excitement, travel, holidays, parties, events, it's not all bad of course.

I find that one negative thing in my life, for example being unemployed, seeps into my brain and infects other areas of my life.  It seems to put a dark cloud over other areas of my life.  My friendships, hobbies and other things I love are kind of tainted by the negativity of one thing.  I don't think that positive occurrences have the same power.  If, for example, I had an amazing date, while it would make me happy and yes, to an extent, spread that through the rest of my thoughts, I still don't think it has the same effect that negative things do.

I am of course wondering if it's just my messed up mind that has this debilitating feature, or if it's something we all must fight against.  I just hope that negative thoughts assault my mind less often, and positive ones can find a way to surprise me when I least expect it.

Friday, 28 September 2012

A quarter of a century later...

I turned 25 this week. I don't know if I feel 25. Depending on which day you ask I either feel 100 or 15. This year has been both amazing and horrible and I think I've learnt more in the past three months than I have in the past three years. When I was younger 25 was my 'grown-up age', I envisioned having an awesome job, being married, living in a cool apartment, generally having my shit together. I currently have none of those things but I am realising that that is okay.

This time last year I was just about to finish uni, I was in a long-term relationship, I had just booked my first overseas trip and was feeling utterly restless and impatient waiting to leave.

A year later and I am currently not using my uni degree and can't picture doing so in the near future, I am single for the first time since I was sixteen, and having been overseas I can't wait to get the hell out of here again.

In the last year I have changed jobs twice, been disappointed by people, been surprised by people, been incredibly happy and been in the depths of darkness. I've done things that scared me, taken risks, become more independent and most importantly done things for myself and learnt to choose what I want. I have met the most amazing people and seen amazing places.
Niagra Falls. Amazing.

I have also recently learnt a lot about myself. I am selfish. I am stubborn. I always say the wrong thing. To be honest, I probably already knew these things, but they are true now more than ever.

I don't think being 25 is going to thrill me. There is the lovely bonus of getting cheaper car insurance, as people keep telling me, but I don't think this is going to be an exciting year for me. What I am excited about is this time next year when, if all goes to plan, I will be travelling around Europe, and then hopefully moving overseas.

I will use this year to plan. To save. To recover from the hard times of last year. To have fun with new friends. To learn to be alone and happy. To get excited again.

I don't think that this year will be an exciting year. I think it will be a transitional year, and that's okay. I am of course prepared to be wrong, if something amazing wants to happen then bring it on. I am learning that everything will happen in its own good time though. For now I shall plan for Europe and until then, well if nothing else at least my car insurance will be cheaper.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

With a Spring in my step

Today when I walked out of the gym I actually smiled, because it smelt like Spring.  Spring to me is warmer weather, my birthday and, this year, a time further away from being unhappy.

The last month has been really hard and not fun for me.  August saw me dealing with the end of a long-term relationship, the aftermath of my first overseas trip ( and the pain of rejection.  It wasn't all bad, I got a new job, made some new friends and bonded with old ones, but it definitely ranks up there as one of the worst months of my life.  Which is pretty lucky, really, when you look at the bigger picture. 

I am feeling more optimistic, I am excited about things and bouncing around again.  I am feeling more like myself and I'm really happy about that. 

So, now comes Spring.  I'm going to Sydney on the weekend and I can't wait (is it still only Tuesday? Sigh.) Then less than 2 weeks later is my birthday and after that I have my Western Australia trip to look forward to.  Good stuff. 

It's still hard going from thinking you're going to marry someone to being single.  It's a big transition but I'll get there.  It's 2 steps forward, 1 step back at the moment but I'm getting there. 

For now I shall await the warmer weather.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Free-pour and tiny straws: drinking in North America

A couple of weeks ago I went out in Melbourne. I spent $39 on four drinks: one Long Island iced tea, a Bacardi breezer and two shots. In America, or Canada, $39 would probably buy you about ten drinks of basic spirits. Not everywhere of course, but most of the places we went to had drinks for three dollars. Vodka and Cranberry? Three dollars. Bourbon and coke? Three dollars. This was amazing to people who are used to paying at least six dollars for a drink at home. One of the places we went, in Montreal, the drinks were actually $2.50 each. We ended up just buying a few at a time so that we wouldn't have to line up. Even with a tip it's just so much cheaper than at home.

The best thing about this is you get even better value because unlike here, where alcohol is measured with a shot glass, in North America they use the free-pour method. They get, for example, vodka in one hand, cranberry juice in the other, and just pour them both in the glass. This makes for some very strong drinks and some very happy customers who definitely feel like they got their three dollars worth.

It obviously depends on where you go and what you order, but like most things you will find drinks cheaper in North America. Some places we went we found that the drinks were closer to home prices, so we were paying about six dollars, and then if you want cocktails (which of course I always do) you'll probably be paying about twelve dollars, which isn't too bad. 

Something strange I found, to amuse my simple mind, is that the straws in America are TINY! They're small, very thin ones that they give you, which I had never seen before. And a lot of times when getting a drink, mostly just for soft drinks (or soda, if you will), they will give you a straw but with a paper cap on it. Like when you get straws in a paper wrapper, but with three quarters of it ripped off. Also, if you go to America and want lemonade, ask for Sprite because their version of lemonade is more like a sweet lemon juice.

My favourite part of drinking and going out in America wasn't the cheap drinks or the free-pour. It was everyone sharing their cocktails around the table at dinner so we could taste them all, seeing a real-life game of beer pong, seeing the looks on the local's faces as our group of about thirty took over their venue, and getting kicked out of a karaoke bar. But that's a story for next time...