Monthly Archives: January 2012

A New Beginning

Today is the day I decided that I don’t need a fancy fashion school to give me an education.

I have plenty of books and I have the world at my fingertips (via the internet, of course!)

So as of today, I am a student again! Only this time, I’m home schooled – by myself!



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Miniature Apple Pies

We have this lovely elderly neighbour who has apple trees in his garden. He regularly brings ’round a bag full of apples for us, since he asked me whether my Mum bakes, to which I politely replied with, “yes, she does sometimes”. The truth is, she doesn’t really bake all that much any more. I love baking but haven’t made a fruit pie or crumble since I was in secondary school, probably over ten years ago!

So he brought a bag of apples yesterday, that fell off the tree (may I remind you that it’s January, in England!) and I felt awful that we never got around to using any of the last ones he brought so I decided to make an apple pie for him and his wife. I didn’t want him to think that we didn’t want the apples, though, so I made a load of mini apple pies and crumbles, some for our house and some for theirs.

I completely forgot how to make apple pie pastry and my step-dad, who is a chef, told me that the recipe is just the same as for crumble, but with a little water – so that’s what I did. Including the brown sugar which is apparently not typical in shortcrust pastry. I softened the apples he’d brought, along with two red Gala apples and two Bramley apples and some soft light brown sugar in the microwave (step-dad’s tip) and then sprinkled a little ground cinnamon in, halved the mixture and mixed sultanas into one half and blackberries into the other.

Now, I’m not a fan of fruit pie, unless it’s cherry pie, which I adore, and I’m especially not fond of apple pies, but I have to say that I actually quite enjoyed it. The only criticism was that I overworked the pastry a little and it was slightly short and crisp.

I took the pies to their house this morning and he was so thankful and couldn’t believe my thoughtfulness. That in itself made it worth my while!

It doesn’t cost much to be kind, does it?


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Three Years, Baby!

So it was our three year anniversary onĀ  Tuesday and so I thought I’d share with you our little story…

We knew each other at school. I must have been around 13 and he was around 15. We were kind of friends but not really – My best friend was going out with one of his friends so we were kind of in the same friendship circle but at opposite ends, if that makes sense.

Anyway, he disappeared after Christmas of his final year but to be honest, and this is pretty bad, I don’t think I actually realised – he never really hung out with us that much anyway, he was a bit too aloof. It was only after we re-met that I discovered he’d moved to America for a while.

Fast forward seven years and I saw him on a train and texted my friend, the same one from school, to say something along the lines of, “Guess who’s sat in front of me on the train…” – just a blast from the past kind of thing; I didn’t even speak to him.

A couple of months later I was chatting to the friend on Facebook, and she casually mentioned that she was chatting to him online too. I sent him a friend request, and she even had to tell me his name as I only knew him by his nickname! I sent a message with my request, something like, “Hey, remember me? I always said that you and [the friend] ought to have babies! :)” That was a bit of an in-joke between me and her, which he didn’t have a clue about – I’m surprised he accepted me, I must have seemed a right wierdo!

Now, I’m a bit of a loser and I’m not too scared to say what I think, so when he wasn’t accepting my friend request right away, even though I knew he was online because she was chatting to him, I told my friend to tell him to accept it, dammit! And when he did, I said, “Well it’s about time!” – apparently he was playing online poker with some friends.

I had just come out of a terrible relationship and wasn’t looking to fall in love, but that’s exactly what happened! We chatted on Facebook for a little while before moving over to MSN, which was just more user-friendly, and then, after a few hours of easy conversation, he called me and we were on the phone for a few more hours. He asked if he could take me out sometime and a couple of days later we were debating over which movie we should go see.

I had never even been on a date before and was terrified. This wasn’t just a date either, this was a reunion of sorts and now, we fondly recall how we “re-met”. We had an amazing first date and after the movie (a horror, obviously, so I could hide in his chest!) we stayed to chat before going for the last train. When we reached his stop, we weren’t quite ready to end the date so we carried on to the next town and just walked around, chatting. My friends were at home worried about me as I forgot to keep them updated – they’d never met him and were looking on his Facebook profile to see if he looked like a mad axe mudererer!

Our second date was a movie night at his place – we watched The Little Rascals, a children’s movie and it was great! We’ve been inseparable ever since and I joke that we’ve probably been together for seven years in normal dating patterns, where couples might see each other once or twice a week to begin with!

So that’s the story of me and Mr R&R!

I hope you enjoyed it! Maybe someday I’ll continue…


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Crappy Skin Alert!

Well, today I went to the dermatologist for the check-up on my skin conditions (the various tags they’ve given me include: severe atopic eczema, chronic hand eczema, pompholyx and contact allergic dermatitis).

Today, my hands are just about as perfect as they’re ever going to be, there’s a couple of little blisters (vesicles) on my fingers and a couple of little dry bits around the bottom of my palms into my wrists but generally, it’s pretty good and I’d be happy for it to be like this forever! Except for when I have a dermatology appointment and I need my doctor to see how bad it gets so he’ll give me the magic pills he has!

Last month my hands were in a bit of a state, and this is why I was encouraged to withdraw from my nursing degree. I’ve taken photographs of the eczema when it gets bad and the doctors have seen it occasionally when it’s been quite severe on an appointment day. A year ago, when I was first referred to this dermatologist, he told me about these seemingly magical pills, Toctino, and gave me lots of information to read and a form to sign. They were as close to a cure as I could hope for. He was all set to prescribe them to me and then stopped himself, asking whether I had tried a different, non-steroid ointment, Protopic. I had not tried it and so he prescribed the ointment and told me to give it a try.

So this was a year ago, and it doesn’t work. If anything, I think that the ointment makes it worse and I try not to use it unless the skin is broken and infected – for some reason they tell you not to use it then but that’s the only time it actually works for me! Anyway, needless to say, they’re still reluctant to give me the Toctino pills and I don’t understand why. I must have “qualified” for it when they did the scoring system otherwise they wouldn’t have dangled it in front of me, would they?

I guarantee that next week they’ll flare up again and my hands will become all bleedy and infected, but by my next appointment in July, they’ll be perfect again!

On a good note,the rest of my skin is pretty much OK, my feet are a bit dry and blistery but I can control that and it’s not really as much of a big deal on my feet because people can’t see it and I don’t have to look at it all day every day! I still get rashy around my body when I’ve been exposed to an allergen or irritant but it’s generally OK.

I guess my fate still lies in the hands of the dermatologist. Will I go back to nursing? Or will I return to my favourite past job as a barista? Or will I realise my dream of becoming a fashion designer, without worrying about snagging the silk fabrics on my dry, flaky, rough skin?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see!


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I love science!

I know that’s too much of a random, broad statement but it’s true!

I always knew that I loved biology. I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with human biology in particular, just the way that our bodies work and the intricacies within each of us. It’s mind-boggling!

When I was at school, taking my GCSEs, I was good at biology. Not so much chemistry or physics but in honesty, I didn’t really apply myself. I assumed that I could get by if I tried really hard in one of the classes.

When it came to choosing my A Level subjects, I desperately wanted to take biology but I guess I didn’t believe in myself – I assumed that I wasn’t smart enough or that I wouldn’t be able to do it. My excuse to this day is one of two: “It clashed with drama in timetabling” or “I like human biology and thought it’d focus more on plants or animals”. When in actual fact, I was just too scared that maybe I’d be the odd one out in class – my classmates would be studying the three sciences, perhaps maths or history or geography (what I call the really clever, academic subjects) and then there’s me, with drama, psychology and English lit.

So that’s why I didn’t choose biology at A Level and I’ve regretted it ever since. I think that’s where my downward spiral really started – I went on to do a “Mickey Mouse” degree and only just graduated with Third Class honours because I didn’t think I was capable of any better. Maybe that says something about me or maybe it says more about my school and the teachers not nurturing an interest. I don’t know – it happened and now I have to live with it!

So anyway, I always said I wasn’t really interested in chemistry or physics but during the science classes in my Nursing degree, we had to do basic biology, microbiology and biochemistry. I have to say that revisiting atoms and the periodic table of elements really pleased me. I enjoyed it and I realised that actually, some of it must have permeated through my thick skull when I learned it the first time! I discovered an even bigger hunger for science, and couldn’t wait for science class each week! So I guess I kind of like chemistry, too!

Physics – I always struggled with physics but I think a lot of that had to do with my GCSE physics teacher – he was a big meanie and made classed seem really boring – I assumed it was all about cars and engineering or something and basically couldn’t forge an interest or make any kind of connection with it. It’s only recently that I’ve realised that astonomy is in fact, physics.

I love astronomy, and it’s a long-standing interest, starting from Primary School, year 5 I think, when we learned about planets and outer space. I made an amazing drawing of our galaxy (even if I do say so myself!) and really enjoyed learning about it. It’s something that I’ve carried on but in a very amateur way – I’ve gone along to a local astronomical society event where we saw the space shuttle and looked through a mega telescope to another galaxy – again, I was awestruck and loved every minute of it! So I guess I like some aspects of physics, too!

Like I said, I love science, and if that makes me a nerd, then I’m a nerd!


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The Prodigal Returns

So the brother moved back in yesterday… Into the dining room, which, in honesty, has caused me great annoyance:

1. I lived in the small room for years. Me and Mr R&R managed in a single bed in the box room and we never complained. He moves back in and even though his girlfriend lives on the other side of the country and only comes up every few months, he decides he needs his double bed and comes up with some STUPID idea that he can just knock out the built-in cupboard and have a raised double bed (like bunk-bed height) with his computer and fridge underneath… WTH!??!
2. My step-dad loves darts and he isn’t allowed his dart board in the dining room in case he ruins the flooring or wallpaper – My brother is the dirtiest person in the world, with no regard for anything!
3. There’s old furniture in there, such as a mega old bookcase and table and grandfather’s clock etc, which according to Mum, can’t ever be moved because they’ve always been there… so when we suggested moving them into storage when a childminding business idea came floating by, we were promptly knocked back!
4. When it was suggested that the separating wall should be knocked down to make a big kitchen/dining room, Mum stated that she likes having a dining room…
5. He’s the Golden Boy and we know that he complained about the space or something so everything that’s been said and done over the last 6 months since he moved out has gone down the gutter. He gets whatever he wants, regardless.

So he moved everything into the dining room and the “not-to-be-moved” furniture was taken upstairs to the box room… this morning, he comes out and has decided he wants the small room after all – the dining room is too cold and he’s not allowed to put a lock on the door and it’s too loud… Oh, and his internet connection is too far away and he’d have to pay for Sky to be installed, whereas we’d already paid for installation and internet access in the little bedroom! All things we told him before and now, after all the hard work and effort, which he didn’t even help with, he changes his mind.

Does Mum oblige? Of course she does! In fact, she’s taken him shopping to get a corner desk and has ordered him a custom-made slightly shorter three quarter sized bed…

To be honest, we were always very close growing up. But then he got this strange desire to be “different” and constantly talks about how “random” he is. Conversation always turns to himself, I mean, I could be saying, “Oh, I have really bad menstrual cramps” and he’d cut me off with, “Oh, that’s nohing, you should have felt the headache I had 6 months ago!” He’s just really difficult to live with – he’s 24 and he’s still very immature. I struggle to like him sometimes unless he’s on his own…

I’ve got loads of rants about him stored away, including a highly charged one about university, but I think I’ll save it for now!

Welcome home, Golden Boy!


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