Monthly Archives: December 2010

Confess Your Sins : Oh Fuck… It’s Nearly January…


 

J-J-J-January!

Well it’s that time of year. You know what I mean. It’s that when we all pretend we will “change” and make conscious decisions to do so (even though it’s all baloney anyway). Well, I have never ever written any “New Years Resolutions”, but maybe this year is finally the year to do it after all. You are probably asking why at the tender age of twenty one (nearly twenty two I might add!) I have made this decision. Well, after much consideration I shall tell you.

Because for a longest time, I don’t think I really knew what it was to truly be happy. Well I am happy now. Practically every element of my life is under control, and… in nearly every  aspect of my life (I stress the nearly part, those who know me well know what that actually means) is as I want it. In any case, sometimes it is a good opportunity to see what you can improve in your life, and give you goals… that said, I don’t think it necessarily has to be in January that decisions should be made to reorganise ones life, but I suppose it’s a good start. So here goes :

1 ) Do the best I can, and stop procrastinating,

2 ) Drink less coffee (probably shouldn’t have bought a Nespresso machine should I? Mmmm…)

3 ) Go running more often, and not just once a week,

4 ) Be more patient and expect less from people in order not to be disappointed,

5 ) Talk it out and not to bottle things in,

6 ) Dress more feminine and stop wearing “rock” clothing,

7 ) Eat fish (apparently it’s good for you and has Omega 3… still tastes like shit though),

8 ) Stop mixing different types of alcohol (should have done things years ago!),

9 ) Try (come on Roxy TRY!) and really this time, not to be “critical” with the way people act, they can do what the hell they want, it’s not your problem if they act like jackasses (which leads to my next point),

10 ) Stop wearing your heart on your sleeve, be “mysterious”…

11 ) Work harder, better, faster!

12 ) … (I’ll probably find more things I’m useless at doing!)

 

I would ask for your input but I’m afraid to ask… 😉 what about you guys, what are you going to try to do this year?

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“L’homme est fait pour donner, la femme pour recevoir” – [ Giacomo Casanova ] – Extrait de Histoire de ma vie


Yes, yes I know the title in in French. I’m french that’s why, and also because the original source material is in French and I think that quotes are always better in their native language. But because I am a nice person (those who dislike me would probably beg to differ) and well I am pretty good at translating stuff. So here goes nothing :

“L’homme est fait pour donner, la femme pour recevoir”
“A man is created to give, a women to receive”

Now, what do you all think that means? It had more than one significance, but the most important part is where this excerpt comes from. It is an extract from a book called “The Story of my Life” which, let’s be honest here, doesn’t say much… but if you read it (and you won’t unless you are me because it is actually really long! But in any case,  it obviously means more to some people, and less to others.

Obviously it has sexual undertones, but there is another way of looking at this quotation. Are men (or were men?) perceive as the one who was supposed to give himself to the woman ? In other words, was he the one to give everything up ? Sacrifice everything ? Or is it more basic : financial aid ?

In any case, it is far more than just some macho phallic comment. It maybe shows the generous nature a man should be with a woman. Maybe this is archaic in a world where it is now expected for women to pay 50/50, and this in the name of equality. That said, it doesn’t mean that some of our old values are not welcome anymore. Sometimes a stereotypical gesture is welcome. I like it when a guy buys me a drink, or picks me up in his car to take me somewhere. Or even when he takes me home because I’ve drunk too much !

Men should give love, and women should receive… but in this case, it works both ways. Ponder what this phrase means…

 

 

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Filed under Culture, Europe, France, Italy, Love, Men vs. Women, Politics, Sex

Sometimes a Magic-8-Ball is all you Need!



So ?

Ok well for a long time I’ve been looking for guidance through my friends… to no avail ! Now don’t worry, I am not saying that they are useless… but being my friends, they aren’t exactly biased and well, their advice isn’t always helpful (which is a real shame). Most of the time I go to my friends for advice on guys… and well they aren’t that great. I know this is an extremely girly subject, but I can’t help it. I mean, it’s been on my mind for a long time. When you’re on an Erasmus, it’s basically one giant orgie with most guys thinking they are amazing lovers and sexy beasts (when in fact I’ve seen better looking animals at the zoo !). In any case, sometimes a completely impartial opinion is needed… such as a magic-8-ball !

I know, it’s an arbitrary way of getting a response, but how else am I going to get one ? This is the whole “should I shouldn’t I” idea that makes most people tremble with fear. If the last five months have taught me anything, is to seize the day… but also to know when you have lost (thus to “shut the fuck up”!)

 

The magic-8-ball is also a great strategy to do homework… aka :

– Me : Dear Magic-8-ball, shall I go get drunk?

– Magic-8-ball : Ask again

– Me : Shall I go get drunk (thus not do my paper?)

– Magic-8-ball : Most likely !

– Me : Alrighty then… let’s go !

 

In other words, the Magic-8-Ball gives you the reply you want. That said, is there ever a right decision anyway ? I mean… when do we ever know what the right thing to do is ? Life is full of missed opportunities. The most disappointing thing is that most things in the world are always “Lost in Translation”. I can’t tell you the number of times I think I am being clear and pretty obvious about how I feel and the guy is thinking “wow, she sure stares a lot/she’s pretty tactile” etc… and they leave it at that… but in fact there’s more than just “friendlyness” under that smiley face… and yet no one sees it ! Sometimes it can be the total opposite, a guy you dislike but for reasons unknown you are forced to see/be in contact with said person, obliges you to be nice… and he understands it as genuine friendship… and he finishes by “liking” you. This “Lost in Translation” problem is extremely irritating, but in all honestly it’s impossible in our society to just “say things”. Even though it would simplify everything so much more… but people in general LOVE the chase. They sometimes “pretend” they care about the outcome… but in reality is far more fun to them.

I have noticed through the years of dating, that most guys I have rejected, then become obsessed with conquering me once again… and why may you wonder ?  It’s easy. Because everyone wants what they can’t have, and the minute they have it… they don’t want it again! Easy peasy.

 

So for all you guys/girls out there, start the hunt, enjoy the chase… but make sure you want the outcome !

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Filed under Culture, Friends, Happiness, Hate!, Love, Men vs. Women, Politics

Snow and Why it Sucks


As usual when the christmas season arrives, most people take this as an opportunity to praise the amazingness of snow. These people are utter idiots and here is why. Snow is a wet, cold substance that when it comes into contact with heat, melts. It falls from the sky at exactly 0° annnnnd is rumoured to make children very happy. It is also useful when enjoying so called “winter sports” and various “snow like activities”. It also is a figure that is deemed “christmassy” and is a common theme found in cards during the holiday season. This is how this “substance” is perceived by the public.

THEY ARE MISTAKEN.

Snow is neither a “happy” outcome of the bad and cold weather. It is a pain in the arse. Snow only appeals to those who never have any where they live… or to those who live sufficiently far away to not be obliged to have to live with it on a daily basis, ie: a person who lives in Toulouse may LOVE the snow and enjoy going snowboarding… and yet doesn’t live in a place which say, like living in the Pyrenees mountains, would have much snow, (thus not having to live with the disadvantages of snow). This person may enjoy snowboarding… but doesn’t realise that there is such thing as having “too much snow”.

I know what it means (now at least) to have “too much snow”.

– Too much snow is… not being able to drive from A to B because between these two spaces… a tree has fallen down and no one has moved it.

– Too much snow is… being too cold (and thus too lazy) to go out and get food at the shop (so you eat very random meals such as pasta with tikka masala sauce (really not that tasty), tinned peaches with stale bread (also not that great) and tea with out milk (and to all British people the world over, this is a travesty).

– Too much snow is… having to dress up like the Michelin man every time you leave your dingy (yes… snow = winter THUS = less sunlight, and in my situation also means light-bulbs have also given up hope and I being lazy (cf: example 2) have not bought any new ones.

– Too much snow is… annoying when you have to wear boots that are not always that good when coming into contact with a wet, slippery surface (and thus falling down, to the amusement I have now discovered of the Swedish population).

– Too much snow… is spending your evenings cooped up inside because there is sweet F-A to do (because of example 2 again).

– Too much snow… is having to clear a path everywhere and also having to hold on to railings when walking down stairs in case you might DIE because of the risk of said “neck braking” incidents.

– Too much snow… is just an average pain in the arse because people seem to think its not “ok” to through balls of this horrible substance at you, and this in the name of “good old fashioned (and now deemed “wholesome”) fun”. No… you can keep you snow and it’s clichĂ©d vision of winter. Snow is great when you’re inside, warm and eating mince pies and looking out of a window. Preferable with the lingering idea of never having to leave said “house” for a long period of time (i’d recommened the whole winter season to be on the safe side).

Not to mention the risk of ILLNESS when coming in contact with this wet, cold and slippery substance. People don’t warn people enough on the dangers of snow. When mummies little darlings are outside rolling around in the snow making snow angels and what not… they don’t realise in their innocence that they are in fact rolling in a danger zone for insects, excrement, bacteria… and of course the cold (which brings deceases that KILL (cf: the flu! Ok well maybe not as much any more… but it still kills old people and weaklings!).

I will concede that this rant has taken the form of a sort of soliloquy BUT in my defence… I am in Sweden where it is undoubtably cold, wet and snowing and I can’t say this is reminiscent of any “happy memories” concerning snow (apart from the occasional seasonal card with “snow” on it). That said, I have joined in on the “snow fun” on wordpress by making my blog “snow” (but only until January 4th that is). Why do I hear you saying at your computer? Well, because THIS snow is digital. It does not bring me any of the disadvantages of real snow, and yet it keeps what the lamen call  “a Christmassy feel” etc.

Having grown up in London, where “snow” (if you can call it that) is a sludgy greyish substance that you see maybe once or twice every two to three years, I didn’t generally associate snow with christmas and the winter season. Now, living in Sweden (but having may I add the same problem in the Pyrenees mountains) snow is an occupational hasard I could gladly live without. The extreme cold I can live with… snow… not so much. I neither snowboard, ski, or play in the snow. I merely look at it through my window with disdain while I see people trudge to university or to the shops for milk.

Does everyone enjoy snow really? Are those who enjoy snow those who never have it or those who in fact come into contact with it often?

A friend from India once said that she was “jealous” that I was surrounded by snow… I on the other hand was more objective saying that I didn’t mind snow in small quantities… but neither did I envy the heat she was accustomed to in India. Are we ever satisfied with what we have? Which leads me to wonder if some people will “enjoy” the change in temperature that the world is coming into contact with due to climat change. Of course the outcome is much different. The reheating of the planet melts more icebergs… which raises the sea levels… which then return floods certains very large areas (like the shores of Bangladesh for example). Thus giving us less living space for an increasingly large population (and thus less growing space for food and meat) and there are even more ecological aspects to take into account such as the inevitable loss of certain plant, animal species for example.

This is undoubtably another subjects… which leads me to say… (and I hate to admit it)… let’s leave the snow in Sweden (and where it’s meant to be) and instead find better ways to deal with the discomfort (at least for moi!) of having to live with it… all the while not polluting (would be good too).

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Filed under Asia, Bangladesh, Cold, Environment, Europe, France, Hate!, India, Politics, Sadness, Sweden, Travel, UK

Lollipops : Because Who Doesn’t Want to Suck on Something Sweet on a Stick?


Just because… Well why not? Lollipops… that’s all you need to say! Enjoy!

Fruity lollipops

Yummy!

Ingredients

  • 450 g caster sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 tbsp undiluted fruit cordial, such as blackcurrant, orange or lime

Method

1. Arrange 30–35 lollipop sticks spaced apart on several large, non-stick baking sheets.

2. Place the sugar, cream of tartar and 150ml water in a heavy-based saucepan on a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil while stirring all the time. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20–25 minutes without stirring, until the temperature on a sugar thermometer dipped into the mixture reads 143°C.

3. Stir in the cordial just before the syrup reaches this temperature (after 15–20 minutes). The mixture will bubble up, so be careful as it is very hot.

4. Once the correct temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and, working quickly, spoon small pools of the syrup onto one end of each lollipop stick and allow to set for about 5 minutes, until hardened.

5. If you wish, wrap the lollipops in cellophane and tie with string as soon as they have cooled and hardened, to prevent them from absorbing moisture. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a week.

Dark Chocolate Lollipops with Cinder Toffee

Chocolate Deliciousness!

Ingredients

For the cinder toffee

  • 75 g honey
  • 140 g liquid glucose
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 20 g bicarbonate of soda, sifted

For the lollipops

  • 300 g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
  • 12 lollipop sticks

Method

1. For the cinder toffee: place the honey, glucose, sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan, stir well and heat to 148C (check using a sugar thermometer). Meanwhile, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Once the temperature is reached, remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the bicarbonate of soda (be careful as the mixture may froth up suddenly). Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and set aside to cool.

3. When the toffee has cooled completely, use a rolling pin to bash it into small pieces and set aside.

4. For the lollipops: put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Leave until the chocolate has melted.

5. Take a non-stick baking tray or silicone sheet and pour about 2 tablespoons of the melted chocolate onto it in the shape of a circle. Set a lollipop stick in the centre of the chocolate circle then sprinkle over some of the cinder toffee pieces. Repeat with the remaining chocolate, lollipop sticks and cinder toffee.

6. Leave the lollipops in a cool, dry place until the chocolate has set. Finally, carefully lift them from the tray or silicone and serve.

Damson lollipops

Chocolate Heaven

Ingredients

  • 700 g damsons
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 125 g eggs, (about 2)
  • 150 g egg yolks, (about 8)
  • 4 g gelatine, leaves (about 2 sheets)
  • 180 g butter, cubed
  • 100 g dark chocolate, 80% cocoa solids
  • 50 g dark chocolate, 60% cocoa solids
  • 50 g milk chocolate
  • 100 ml clarified butter

Method

1. Put the damsons in a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water and simmer for about 10 minutes until pulpy. Press the pulp through a sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. Set aside.

2. Tip the sugar, eggs and egg yolks into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Soak the gelatine leaves in water.

3. Re-heat the damson puree and gently pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the soaked gelatine and butter, whisking all the time until everything has melted.

4. Pour the mixture into a deep plastic container and put it into the freezer.

5. Meanwhile, melt all the chocolate and clarified butter together over a bowl of gently simmering water. Mix well and keep at room temperature.

6. Once the damson mixture is frozen, use a melon baller to cut out small balls (cut them into small squares if you prefer). Pop a lolly stick into each one, arrange them all on a tray and put them back into the freezer to set again for 20 minutes.

7. Dip each lollipop one by one into the chocolate and rest on a very cold baking tray. Put them back into the freezer to set and serve ice cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christmas, Desserts, Food & Cooking, Holidays

The disadvantage for men not knowing the past, is that they do not know the present – G.K. Chesterton (1933)


 

Delacroix - La Liberte Guidan le Peuple

You are all probably asking yourselves why my blog has suddenly taken a more serious note. Well… all good things come to those who are patient.

So who is Gilbert Keith Chesterton? I don’t know. Go look on wikipedia! No I’m joking! He is a very well known writer (well he is well known if you happen to read a book once in a while, to all those lazy people out there, grab a book once and a while, you might learn something new!) Anyhow, I’m not here to write about him per say… but what this particular quote really means.

You all know I study history… which among other things, is a great passion. A lot of people ask me why I study history. Why would someone care about the past, when the future is what most subjects strive to make better? Well, because the past is like a never ending example, one that enables us (hopefully!) to learn from our mistakes, and sadly through trail and error. But the main idea, for me is that we try and make our present (and our future) a better place. The human race has existed for so long now, that I can’t help but feel that we no longer have the excuse that we do not know what is happening next. A leap into the unknown now is practically impossible. We discover less and less new things (well I can’t help but feel) every day… and yet more and more of our world is being destroyed.

Anyhow, what does this quote mean? For me it proves that most people don’t know the past : their own personal history or collective. I was once told that you can only know who you are by looking to the people who preceded you. Well… sadly I don’t exactly agree. I know some bits about my family, but not a crazy amount, and nor do I feel less of a person because I don’t know enough. I am who I am through my interactions with the people I mean, my small circle of family, my environment, society, where I was born in the world and finally through my own experience. I am who I am because who I decided to make myself. That said, even now… what religion, skin colour or where you live (and how much money you earn) is a large factor into creating the “who you are”. You may disregard many other aspects, but these three things influence our lives enormously. Some people are born with more at their disposal, some people call it luck… I prefer to call it circumstance. We aren’t all born with silver spoons in our mouths… but sometimes being born in a certain country can guarantee you certain things that being born in a country a mere 100km away can’t. It is up to us to face reality, to accept the cards we are dealt and do our best to make our life better.

Sacrifice is a word which has been used throughout history, but most of us are selfish and are not willing to give anything up in order to improve the lives of others. I don’t want to be of the latter. Which is why I chose history. I wanted to learn more about who everyone on this earth was about. I wanted to understand people in order to help and improve our present situation. It may be a unobtainable dream, but I was always told that you should always dream big. I dare to dream that everything can get better, and for everyone.

Our past however we choose to view it, influences who we are, respective if we believe it or not. The influence of the past is undeniable. That said, the reason why this quotation is so true is because on a personal level… maybe our friend G.K. Chesterton is wrong… at least for me, but on a collective way he is right. Our collective past is everyone, in the way our towns are set up and organised… economically… commercially… sociologically… anthropologically… (and in every domaine, may it be food, sex, religious practices etc.)… If we don’t know why the world is like it is, or how we got to this particular point in time… then we are lost in our reality. How can you continue and live through life if you haven’t understood the past? Otherwise all our lives would be cyclical… we would continue to repeat old errors… forever in our own bubble.

I want to look into the past and understand my future. The motto for the past should be the one in the title. The motto for the present should be “Carpe Diem”. The Motto for the future should be “Amor Vincit Omnia”.

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