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Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Good Life

You lucky people get two posts today!

The rest of the week spent with my friends was very fun. We had a lie in on Wednesday morning and then just before lunchtime we headed to Guildford Spectrum. We went bowling which was great fun! I won in our lane but Steph won overall and it was very tight at the top. For lunch we went to Wimpy chicken and ate whilst watching all the kids playing in the pool and on the slides. As you might be able to imagine that lunch was a little challenging for em because anorexics and fast foods don't tend to mix well. I managed to have some fish finger type things but had to pick off the coating because I just couldn't face it. However, I still think it was a big achievement for me because I ate out with my friends, I was quite spontaneous and I managed to choose something off a menu when I hadn't seen it in advance. After lunch we headed downstairs and went ice skating. We had some varying levels of ability/comfort on the ice but after a couple of minutes of finding my feet I was feeling pretty happy shooting around. I did fall over twice but as we say when we are skiing: "If you didn't fall, you weren't trying hard enough!"

I came home Wednesday night because the next day my parents were taking us all to Henley and I had to help my mum do some preparations for what was probably the largest picnic we've ever had. In the morning Mum and Dad finished off preparing the lavish feast and loaded everything in the car, whilst my friends arrived. We all compared our fascinators and hats and twirled around in our lovely below-the-knee dresses. My parents set off in the car and we all piled into a minibus. We had quite a long journey up to Henley, hitting some big roadworks but we got there around 11.30. We were dropped off a little walk from the entrance to the Stewards' Enclosure and by the time we got there had already had several compliments on how lovely we looked. At the entrance we proudly flashed our badges and were let straight in. We headed to one of the bars to await my parents and enjoyed a ridiculously overpriced but delicious jug of cold Pimms...just what was needed. We sat back and chilled, reveling in the poshness of it all. Everywhere we looked there were beautiful hats and the hugest range of different blazers we had ever seen-some of them were rather more colourful than others! My Dad was in his Cambridge blue one. My parents arrived and Dad told us a little about how the racing worked. We then went off on our own and found some stools right in front of the water. We had great fun watching some races and devised a new game. As each boat came past we had to yell out the position of the  rower that we found most attractive-childish and yet very entertaining. We discovered that we all share a rather similar taste in men.

At 1.00 we headed off to the car park where Mum and Dad had been busy, laying out picnic rugs and setting up a table with the feast. Dad popped open the champagne and we all layed down to bask in the unexpected but very welcome sunshine. We started off with vegetables and dips before keenly moving onto the main. Dad had prepared some gourmet sandwiches; smoked salmon and dill, and a three bread-slice chicken and avocado. We also had several different salads (green, potato, rice) and six different quiches. For pudding we had loads of gorgeous British strawberries and cream. It was really nice, just sitting in the sun, chilling and chatting together.

After lunch we headed back to the Stewards' Enclosure. We had just finished experiencing the most luxurious event toilets you have ever seen when I got a message from my dad telling us to meet him by the bandstand for a surprise. We all rushed over intrigued and Dad introduced us to a man called Lynton, who he knew very well through work and who just happened to be an umpire. Lynton gave us all a pass that apparently entitled us to go onto the Committee Lawn. We were still not quite sure what this meant but he led the way and we entered a fenced off area right in front of the finish line. It is an area normally only open to people with high rank. Lynton bought us all a drink (iced coffee-yum) and then explained to us where we now had access to. We could sit in the floating grandstand and walk all the way up the path to the boat house. Several of us decided to wander down there, flashing our badges excitedly as we passed the security guards. Once down there we discovered lots of different crews, moving their boats around and getting ready to race. It was a rather pretty sight (some of the men were taking their tops off to pull up their rowing outfits!) but we were immediately distracted by a very lavish red and gold boat- The Gloriana! As we had seen her just weeks earlier, leading the Jubilee Pageant down the Thames, this was extremely exciting for us Royalty lovers! We took our pictures with her and even, sneakily, touched her! We spent the rest of our afternoon watching races from the floating grandstand (picking out teams to cheer for), listening to the military band, sunbathing in the deckchairs and dangling our feet in the river. We had a group photo and were asked by the women taking it if we had just rowed. We played with them for a bit, letting them believe we had. 

All too soon, it was 6.00 and we had to go back to our minibus. We had a fun trip home, joking with our bus driver and spent the evening going in the hottub, watching movies and giggling. We had a big sleepover on my lounge floor and woke up late to a breakfast of sausages and many varieties of fruit juice.

On Friday, a few headed back to school while a few of us went pottery painting in Ripley. People painted a shark, a cupcake pot, a mug and saucer and bowls. I painted what I like to call a "recovery bowl". It is a bowl with encouraging messages on it for me when I'm eating and once I have finished eating I will have revealed the Well Done written in the bottom! I thought it was rather funny. After we finished I had to rush off because I had a job interview at Starbucks. All went well and I got the job! I start in August which will give me time to get trained up before the term starts (it's on the University campus so get's super busy in term time). I will hopefully be able to do that full time from September!

Sharon Fruit and Banana Oat Crumble

I made this last weekend and have only just put the picture on my computer so here is the promised recipe. This crumble is rich, crunchy and relatively healthy! We once again served it warm with a scoop of vanilla pod ice cream-delicious!

Sharon Fruit and Banana Oat Crumble
Topping Ingredients
150g Rolled Oats
75g Wholemeal Flour
1-2 teaspoons Cinnamon
50mls Light Sunflower Oil
25mls Milk
25g Golden Caster Sugar

Filling Ingredients
4 Sharon Fruit, cut into small chunks
3 Ripe Bananas, sliced

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a 9-inch, deep baking dish. Layer half the Sharon Fruit in the dish. Layer all of the banana slices on this and then top with the remaining Sharon Fruit.
  3. In a bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon and flour. Mix the sunflower oil and milk and gradually add to the dry ingredients, mixing them together. The mixture should be moist and gently clump together.
  4. Layer the mixture on top on the fruit, spreading it evenly before sprinkling the caster sugar over the top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden  brown.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Freedom

Let me tell you, freedom is fun.

I came back to school on Monday at lunchtime after my appointments with my dietitian and occupational therapist-hard but eye-opening and rewarding sessions. I drove myself here, which I love. There is just something so liberating about being independent. I think it's just the thought that I now have the ability to go anywhere whenever I want to.

Monday afternoon was spent with friends, sewing badges onto my camp blanket and reading. After dinner we kicked off with our cliched sleepover. We painted nails and got henna whilst watching Pretty In Pink and The History Boys. It was lots of fun and full of laughter, something we haven't heard much of in a while.

Tuesday we got up early and took a road trip to Guildford station to catch a train to London. We hit up Oxford Street, browsing through the racks in Topshop, Miss Selfridge, H&M, Forever 21 and (how could we resist) The Disney Store! We had a great time and by 12.30 our purses were lighter and stomachs were rumbling! We went to a little place called Ed's Diner. It is a really cute little New-York style diner with some great food and an even greater atmosphere. After lunch we got the tube to Covent Garden and wandered around the market and some of the little stores. We went on a long trip to try and find the Canada Store so that Mandy could buy her precious Tim Horton's coffee mix and also had fun looking at all the cute slogan attire in David and Goliath. We sat down for a little bit, watching a guy set up his street show before heading back to Waterloo and home again. Before dinner we all chilled, I watched some Gilmore Girls, and then after dinner we started watching Freaky Friday as I had never seen it before. What a hilarious movie! Totally over-dramatic and right up my street! We then headed off to the boarders' preview of the Lower 6ths' musical Cabaret. It was their dress rehearsal and, despite a couple of hitches, they pulled off a great show and it was a really nice evening with a bit of culture thrown in.

I promised you a recipe of the Sharon Fruit and Banana Oat Crumble that I made at the weekend but I left the memory card with the picture on at home so you'll just have to wait until I go home tonight!


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Survival

Well, the exams have finished and I am still alive. Battered, worn down, exhausted but very much alive. And I'll tell you a funny thing. I spent the whole exam period, and much of the lead up to it, thinking about all the things I was going to do when I had finished exams. I had so much planned but yesterday evening found me wondering what on earth to do with myself. It would seem that after such a long time of being pretty stressed, it takes the mind a while to get used to not having to do anything. I thought there would be no end to my love of having nothing to do. I do love it, don't get me wrong. I just feel rather unproductive!

I say that but I have done some rather useful things today, they just happen to be completely unwork-related. My Dad and I went to the Fishmonger's and Sainsbury's. My aunt and cousin came over and I managed to book myself a week of child-minding her (my cousin, not my aunt!) during the school holidays (good news seeing as I got another job rejection yesterday-it was waiting for me straight after my exam but I was so elated at having finished that I didn't really mind!) I also made a Sharon Fruit and Banana Oat Crumble- pictures and a recipe shall come soon, I promise because, if I say so myself, it looks rather good! And now I am settled down, watching the Grand Prix Qualifying.

Hopefully now the blog can become a proper project and shall be well updated. It should get a bit more interesting now that my life does not revolve around school. I have lots of activities planned that I want to share with everyone!

Just one thing to leave you with:

The struggles end, you get through them, new adventures await!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Fruit Crush

I want to introduce you to my current fruit crush...
Meet the humble Persimmon (aka Sharon Fruit)
I first discovered these babies on a street in South Africa and fell in love! Recently my Mum and I were in Guildford when the market was on and they had great boxes of these. We asked how much they were, assuming we might buy 3 or 4, only to be told we had to buy a whole box (around 25!)...So we did and we have been eating them since, on their own and in a cake as pudding. You might not have heard of them before so here's a little info:

They originally come from China and are very popular in Asia. In the 1990s they started being cultivated in South Africa which is now one of the major producers of Sharon Fruit. They can be eaten hard or soft-I prefer them soft. I would describe them as being similar to a cross between a mango and a peach. They have no stone or seeds, the entire fruit can be eaten.

And if you want to do something with them but aren't sure what...this recipe for Persimmon Cookies is divine!

Persimmon Cookies Recipe
Persimmon Cookies II Recipe
Yields 36 cookies

Ingredients
2 ripe persimmons, pureed
200 g white sugar
115 g butter
1 egg
250 g all-purpose flour
5 g baking soda
2 g ground cinnamon
1 g ground cloves
2 g ground nutmeg
3 g salt
115 g chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease or line one baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. 
  3. Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar. Beat in the egg and persimmons. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, stir in the chopped nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheet. 
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
They are really moist and sweet! Enjoy!

Lolly xoxo

Monday, 18 June 2012

Not the be-all-and-end-all

I've been given some wise words from several people on several different occasions recently telling me that if my exams don't go well, it's not the end of the world- you can still make your life a successful one. Each time I was told this, I nodded along but inside all I could think was "It would be the end for me!" And it's true that if I completely failed my A-Levels (which I know wont happen) I wouldn't be able to continue on the path I'm wanting to follow at the moment. To study medicine at university you need pretty darn good A-Levels. I couldn't get it into my head that following another path if things don't work out wouldn't really be a failure at all, just another route through life. I am now starting to realise that there are plenty of career options out there that I would love and enjoy that don't require 4 A*s or a top university degree. So to keep in the right mind frame, I came up with a list of people that inspire me who either haven't been to university or have dropped out.

1. Richard Branson- One of the richest men in the world, he left school at 16 and built up the Virgin brand, making him worth billions. While I don't see myself coming up with a multi-billion brand he is without a doubt, very successful. And he has absolutely no A-Levels!

2. Adele- the world-famous multiplatinum singer left school at 16

3. David Karp- Invented Tumblr after leaving school at 15. He is the inventor of the world's biggest procrastination website ever (at least for me!)

4. Ralph Lauren- Dropped out of college after two years and went on to develop the Polo Ralph Lauren brand

5. Julie Andrews- the queen of musicals dropped out of school to pursue her dream

6. Steve Jobs- the founder and CEO of Apple Inc. attended college for one semester before dropping out.

There are so many more hugely successful people who didn't get a degree but these are just a few who have made a difference in my life.

I'm just lucky that the one job I want above all others requires absolutely no qualifications- a heck of a lot of hard work, yes, but no A-Levels. Can you guess what I want to be when I grow up?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Screw it

I was going to abstain but...then I realised I had promised an account of my jubilee celebrations!

So my celebrations were interspersed with work but I did manage to have a good time nonetheless.

Sunday-Whilst working I watched the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. I thought it was a marvellous sight, I loved all the grandeur. And I would just like to say how in awe I am of the hundreds if not thousands of people who rowed their boats in horrible conditions for several hours. Now that is some impressive stamina and I wouldn't mind a piece of that in my half-marathon training!

Monday- In the morning I headed down to Send in my Guiding uniform to process with the Brownies in the parade. The central road was closed and we all followed the Sea Cadets Band and a wagon. The turnout was much less than expected but it was still a good atmosphere and a nice memory for the girls. In the evening I tuned in for the Jubilee Concert which I thought was a great success, although my favourite moment has to be HRH Prince Charles' "Mummy". Google it if you're not sure what I'm harping on about.

Tuesday- Well, firstly, it was my little cousin's 10th birthday! I cant believe she is this old, really I can't. I still remember her at 6 months...it's scary how kids grow. In the evening we went to a "Neighbours Only" event at Clandon Park, which was just open to West Clandon residents. My, parents, grandparents, aunt, the birthday girl and I went and had a very interesting tour of the usually closed attic rooms. We had planned on a picnic but the rain was horrendous so we had an indoor picnic down in the basement.

That pretty much sums it up although whilst we're on the Jubilee topic (and I think it's about time to put it to bed-it was a little while ago now) I have to mention a little treat my Mum bought me.


It is a gorgeous Jubilee tin from Marks and Spencer with the most divine rounds of shortbread inside. Me and the parents have been enjoying them tremendously. A few weeks ago I wouldn't have dreamed of deviating from the standard cereal bar that I have as part of my morning and afternoon snacks but I took the plunge and was surprised to be able to appreciate the biscuits. So thank you M&S.

Now I MUST get back to my revision. I have had my blogging fix for now and hope you have had your reading fix.

Just a quickie...

I know I've been boring and this blog has seen no action but bear with me. I am in the middle of my two weeks of exams right now, so as soon as they are finished my posting will get a lot more frequent (and hopefully a little more inspired).

I think exams are going as well as can be expected given my circumstances. I know that I've tried my best for all of them so at least I wont regret wasted time on results day.

On that note, I am going to love and leave you.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Knock knock?

Who's there? Is anyone there? Yes I am still here and yes I have been updating my blog far less frequently than I would like but to be honest a)I don't have time to update it more at the moment and b)if I did you'd be incredibly bored by the lack of interesting stuff in my life right now. I can't wait till after exams (only 18 more days-now that's scary!) when I will have time to do whatever I want and time left over!

So a round up of recent life (minus those boring bits I mentioned):

1. With some of my birthday money I bought myself a Kindle 4 and it is AMAZING. I permitted myself to buy (and read) one eBook before exams- I chose to reread the Hunger Games- but no more. That is one reward waiting at the end of exams. Whilst buying my Kindle,  I was pondering what to get my friend Louise for her birthday and I came up with the idea that some friends and I could all chip in and buy her a kindle. She named him Cicero.

2. We went out to dinner for Louise's birthday at TGI Friday's. It is the first time I've been out to a restaurant with my friends since I got anorexia and was a big step for me. It was stressful and scary at points but I managed it and I managed to really enjoy spending the evening with friends. Laura-1 Anorexia-0 Woohoo

3. I went to see my sister playing her French Horn in the Royal Albert Hall. She played with Surrey Advanced Brass and the Surrey County Youth Wind Orchestra and was absolutely fantastic. It was so great to see my sister up there in such a famous venue playing like she was born to do. Sooooo proud.

4. I saw my surgeon and have an operation scheduled for early August to get the plate taken out of my foot. He's not sure if it's actually the plate causing the pain but if we did an MRI now the plate would shine and block out anything useful so we'll see how it is after the op (fingers crossed it will be sorted) and take it from there.

5. Half-marathon training has not been going too badly. Right now I am focusing on building up my stamina because 5 months sitting in a hospital doing nothing makes a simple jog pretty hard work. I'm increasing th distances slowly and it sure helps that my running partner is my Dad! The only minor setback is the weather-we don't much like running in the rain!

Jubilee celebrations are in full swing and I shall do a post on how I spent the long weekend shortly.

Lolly xxx