Monday, January 24, 2011

Things I Like: #1 Cute Animal Pictures

There’s so many things I like in this world but seeing as I lean more on the pessimistic side of life, I sometimes forget them. So I want to make some posts of things that make me warm and fuzzy inside!

I’m not the world’s biggest animal lover but I’m a total sucker for cute animal pictures. This post is for cute ones, I also love funny LOL Cats but I’ll leave that for another day! If I ever want a fix of cute animals, I go straight to Cute Overload and within minutes, I’m melting from all the adorable pictures. Though some make me giggle too. Here’s a tiny selection of ones that I like.

All from Cuteoverload.com

Saturday, January 22, 2011

30 Day Music Meme: Day Twenty Eight

Day 28- A song that makes you feel guilty

So first off, this would have been finished on time if it wasn’t for the internet switching off and not being fixed until five days later. I could rant about how the person in the call centre insulted me by saying I couldn’t fix it myself and that I should wait until my husband got home. But I won’t, that’s another story.

So anyway, I don’t think there’s any song that makes me feel guilty. If you look through the list of songs I’ve already posted you’d see that! I don’t feel guilty about liking any songs. Nor does any song make me feel guilty, for not talking to someone in ages for example. I had to think about songs I should feel guilty about liking and thought that maybe this would do.

I love Disney songs. I grew up on Disney, I know all the words to songs and have no shame in admitting it! I used to work in a children’s playzone and Disney would be blasted it all the time. People used to say ‘Does it not wreck your head?’. Nope, because I love it!

Disney songs is a broad topic, there are a few I don’t like of course. But I can’t pick my favourite. I will pick one I used to listen to outside of work, Chim Chim Cher Ee from Mary Poppins. Am I the only person who likes Dick Van Dyke’s accent in this?! Probably.

 

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I did in 2010

So I thought I was finished harping on about 2010 and resolutions and stuff, but I saw this at something that speaks and I wanted to do (even though it’s a New Year Challenge and January is almost over). I suppose I just need to remind myself that 2010 wasn’t that crap!

1.

  • Graduated from college
  • Passed my driving test
  • Went to London and Oxford for a weekend away to meet some friends. And did a ghost tour!
  • Went to my first college ball in January. And then went to my boyfriend’s in February
  • Saw the hilarious Dara O Brian live
  • Went for a weekend away with my boyfriend to Waterford and meet up with some college friends
  • Met the awesome Ms. Cakes (otherwise known as my friend Katie), a girl I knew from online, when she came to study in Ireland. And became instant friends
  • Also met Sophie of The Cupcake Life and her boyfriend Joe
  • Went to some amazing nights out, various 21st parties, Halloween, Christmas Jumper pub crawl, Eurovision Fancy Dress Party and my first UV Party
  • Explored the area around me by going on adventures (Cliffs of Moher boat tour, Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, Crawford Art Gallery, Mahon Falls, Burren Perfumery)

2.

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snowman

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3.

Well, not so much plans but what I actually did. I spent it alone at home, which is pretty much how I like spending New Year’s Eve (well bar the countdown when I went downstairs to my Dad).

4.

I wish we didn’t drift apart, it happened for no real reason. I don’t know whether to try and salvage things or just them settle as they are. I guess time will tell.

5.

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6.

My overall attitude really.

7.

My siblings, my bf, K + S, Ms Cakes, my aunt G

8.

Resolutions post from the beginning of the year can be found HERE!

Foodie Friday: Asian Chicken Noodle Broth

 

So I recently rediscovered my local library. As a child, I used to LOVE going to the library. I’d go every week, maybe twice a week. I had to beg my Mum to let me go on my own. I used to use other family members’ library cards to get out extra books (like my Dad’s to get books for the adult section). And I just couldn’t wait to be able to get my own adult card, so I could get more books out. It was at the library where I started using the internet as well. This changed when I moved out to the country and while I wasn’t far at all from the library, I got distracted with school, friends, boyfriends, college, well you get the drift.

So just before Christmas I decided to join again. And I’m glad I did. Mainly cos I can now read all the cook books I wanted to read! One of the first ones I took out was Jamie Oliver’s Ministry Of Food. And the recipe for Asian Chicken Noodle Broth jumped out, it looked just like something I had at Wagamama in Cork. So I was dying to try it. I changed it a bit, not too much really, mainly because I didn’t some things on hand (such as ginger!). It’s quick and easy to make too.

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Asian Chicken Noodle Broth

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 tablespoon mixed seeds (I used pumpkin and sunflower)

1 handful of cashew nuts

1 litre of chicken stock

2 pieces of chicken breasts

2 teaspoons of mild chilli powder

1 cloves of garlic

1 sweet pepper

100g noodles

Mixed veg of choice (I used sugar snap peas, baby corn, baby carrots. Asparagus is suggested in original recipe)

Soy Sauce

Salt and pepper

 

1. Put frying pan on medium heat and while it’s heating up, add nuts and seeds. Put a large pan on high heat and add stock.

2. While nuts are heating through, slice the chicken breasts into 3 long strips and put into a bowl. Add chilli powder (or Five-Spice powder), salt and pepper and stir.

3. Once seeds and nuts are done, remove from heat and set aside. Replace pan on medium heat, add some cooking oil and cook chicken for 5 minutes or so, until brown.

4. While chicken is cooking, crush, peel and dice garlic and slice up sweet pepper. Remove lid from the chicken stock and add half the sweet pepper, garlic, noodles, vegetables and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. By the time the veg and noodles are finished, the chicken should be ready.

5. Check chicken is done by slice on piece lengthways. If cooked all the way through, remove all chicken from pan and cut in half length ways.

6. To serve, pour broth mixture into bowls and add the chicken to each bowl. Scatter with seeds, nuts and remaining sweet pepper.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 Homemade Pay It Forward

 

I saw this going around on Facebook the other day. Basically it was status pledging to send something homemade to the first five people to reply to status, though only on the condition that they repost the status and promise to send to five of their friends. The only conditions are that it’s homemade by you and that it’s sent some time in 2011.

I love this idea! I had four people reply to it and I’m having a great time trying to decide what to make for each of them. So far I have one idea I want to try for one of the people, it’s more what I want to incorporate into the craft, but I’m not sure how I’m going to make it yet. I don’t want to give away too much but I’m pretty excited about it.

I also wanted to do this here, so I’ll do this for the first 3 people to leave a comment here saying they want something sent to them. Ideally they will have to pass this on, but if they don’t that’s cool. I’m just excited to do some more crafting. Don’t be shy in posting a comment either!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream Icing

 

So, seeing as January is usually a month of dieting and ‘being good’, I should be posting a healthy recipe. But in my books, January is a month of debt, depression, damp darkness and general gloominess and there’s no way people should be depriving themselves! Life is too short and miserable to be doing that. So my Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream Icing is the perfect way to indulge yourself.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream Icing

Makes: About 12

Ingredients:

100g sugar

100g butter, room temperature

125g self raising flour

25g cocoa powder

1 large egg, beaten

Zest of one orange/few drops orange essence

75g butter, room temperature

150g icing sugar

1 teaspoon Baileys Irish Cream

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Cream butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy

2. Add half the flour and cocoa and half the egg. Mix together.

3. Add remaining egg and orange zest (or essence) and mix.

4. Fold in remaining flour. If mixture if a bit too dry for you, add a dash of milk. Spoon mixture into bun cases.

5. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until a knife stuck into the centre of cake comes out clean.

6. To make buttercream icing, cream icing sugar and butter together until smooth. Add in Baileys (you can add more for taste if you wish) and mix together.

I decorated mine with a Haribo orange sweet and some chocolate sprinkles but you can do it anyway you want. Let me know what you think of them!

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Favourite Songs of 2010: Part 3

 

So I did decide to split it into 3 parts. Just because Part 2 was getting pretty long.

These last 5 songs were ones I only started getting into around November and December. Despite all but one being released before December!

Kelis’ Acapella was actually released in February! But I hadn’t heard it until after I heard Scream and went looking for other recent songs by her. It’s a song all about how her life was in acapella until she had her son and he became the music of her life. It’s a beautiful song lyrically; musically it manages to be soft but electric and makes you want to dance. Next time I get a chance I’m going to buy her album!

 

Rihanna’s another artist, along with Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, who seemed to be all over the place 2010. Rude Boy was a catchy song but I never fully warmed to it. But I loved Only Girl in the World more, which although it didn’t feature on my radar til mid December, was actually released in September. I love when the chorus kicks in, makes me want to sing it out loud!

 

To further prove I’ve been living under a rock for half of this year, Taio Cruz’s Dynamite only gained my attention in December, despite being released in July! And the main reason I heard it was because my 12 year old brother was going around singing it constantly. And I was pretty excited as I thought the lyrics were ‘I throw my hands up in the air sometimes/Singing Ayo, Galileo’. And I thought ‘Wow, I can’t believe someone is singing about the Father of Modern Day Science, how cool!’. Unfortunately, when I listened to the real version of the song, the lyrics are ‘Singing Ayo, Gotta let go’. And this story just goes to prove how nerdy I can be. I still sing it my way though.

 

Imelda May is one of my favourite acts. I love her rockabilly sound and the amazing retro clothes she wears. I bought her first album Love Tattoo in 2009 and played it loads. My mother also stole it off me and played it on repeat. I won a pair of tickets to see her live that year and never got a chance to go and I kick my for not going as she would have been amazing. 2010 was a great year for Imelda, she played at the Grammys, which is a fantastic achievement and released her third album, Mayhem. Which is also the name of the second single released off it. It’s toe tappingly good, up there with Johnny Got A Boom Boom.

 

The last song was released at the beginning of December and still is a big song here in Ireland. Horse Outside is a song about the merits of having a horse over a car, sang by The Rubberbandits. The video, which is a fantastic parody of certain Irish life, is half the fun of the song in my opinion, but it came on while ice skating a few days ago and everyone was shouting the ‘I’ve a horse outside’ part to the song. I have yet to be a club when it’s played but I can only imagine how popular it is there. The video and song can be a bit crude, so watch on your own accord! The song has garnered a lot of controversy, due to it’s bad language, how it portrays Limerick City in a bad light and the drug references. Personally I don’t see why people are taking it so seriously, it’s clearly a joke, as outlined by The Rubberbandits on The Joe Duffy Show (radio show for people to whiny about the most mundane of things).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Foodie Friday: My 2010 Resolution Dishes

 

So part of my New Year’s Resolutions last year was to cook 12 new dishes and to bake or make 12 new sweet dishes. I picked 12 as there was one for each month, even though it didn’t really pan out that way! I thought to ease me into more food related blog posts, I’d start by showing the lists from last year!

So when it came to cooking the more savoury dishes, some of them are mains, some of them soups and some of them more side dishes. I thought it would be good to mix them up a bit. Not all worked, most did though!

1. Spanish Tortilla (fell apart a bit but still tasted nice)

2. Round Roast of Beef with Yorkshire Puddings

3. Vegetable and pulse soup (so filling and lovely!)

4. Steak with fried mushrooms and fried onions

5. Veggie Burgers and tomato salsa (like to retry, veggie burgers were a bit gummy)

6. Spaghetti and Meatballs

7. Roast Vegetable soup

8. French Onion Soup

9. Butternut Squash and Chicken Risotto

10. Mushroom Soup

11. Chicken and Roast Veg Cous Cous

12. Cheese and Bacon stuffed Chicken Breast

13. Cheesy Broccoli Gratin

14. Potato Bake

15. Chicken and Mushroom Vol Au Vents

For the baking and sweet dishes, it was a lot more hit and nice. Though some of them I’d definitely like to retry and some have become baking staples.

1. Czech Honey Cake (didn’t work out, so yummy when I tried it in Prague though!).

2. Yoghurt cakes and yoghurt muffins (great way to use up just gone off yoghurt).

3. Honey Granola

4. Chocolate Eclairs (pastry came out well, didn’t like the chocolate topping though).

5. Raspberry and Blackberry Sorbet

6. Apple Tart

7. Apple Crumble

8. Apple Caramel Cake (we had boxes of picked apples at mine!)

9. Tres Leche Cake (from The Pioneer Woman, turned out too soggy!).

10. Tiramisu (chocolate flavoured instead of coffee).

11. Pizza dough.

12. Red Onion, Garlic and Mozzarella Foccaia.

13. Turkish Delight.

 

I’m going to do the challenge again this year, so any suggestions on what to make would be great! I’d love to hear your ideas.

Favourite Songs of 2010: Part 2

 

I was going to originally have all the songs in one post but as I went through them, I kept remembering more and more! I probably have enough to make a third part to this but we’ll see how it goes!

X Factor has influence on people whether they like to admit it or not! Adele’s Make You Feel My Love was actually released in 2008 but the first time I heard it was when it was used as a song choice during the knock out stages in X Factor. It’s popularity on X Factor caused the song to re-enter into the charts, which I’m glad it did, otherwise I might never have heard this beautiful version of the song (which was originally a Bob Dylan song fact lovers!).

 

While on the subject of X Factor, the next song was featured on there too. Diva Fever covered Barbra Streisand, but 24 hours previously I had just heard the Duck Sauce version. And it was stuck in my head. After X Factor it was everywhere and permanently stuck in my head. Duck Sauce is a collaboration between DJs Armand Van Halen (who I have heard of, most recently due to Bonkers with Dizzee Rascal) and A-Trak (who I had never heard of, but he’s worked with, amongst others, Kanye West). Still a catchy tune!

 

Another person who was all over the place this year was Katy Perry. In 2010 she released California Gurls, Teenage Dream and Firework, all songs that have been popular and relatively catchy. My favourite was probably California Gurls, mainly because I enjoyed all the spoofs on YouTube about it. That and the awesome suit Snoop Dogg wears in the video. I want one.

 

Dance crazed of 2010 was whipping your hair. To Willow Smith’s aptly named Whip My Hair. There’s been a lot of comments on this song but you have to admit she has star quality for a 9/10 year old! And a mature quality to her voice, a lot of people thought it was Rihanna. I hope she does well in the future. Also, seeing as I’m all about the spoofs these days, there’s an awesome Sesame Street and Willow mash up, check it out here.

 

Scream by Kelis is the first Kelis song. I’ve loved Kelis since her first song Caught Out There and bought her album Tasty after hearing Milkshake just once. I was flicking through the music channels once day when I saw Scream come on and then forgot about it! Not because it’s a bad song but because I got carried away by the rest of the day and just forgot. When I finally remembered and looked it up, I listened on repeat. The music is produced by David Guetta, which usually means I like it! And there’s something about the lyrics during the quiet piano part that just speaks to me. There’s two versions of the video. Both are actually the same, the second was made to work with old school blue and red 3D glasses, something I can't wait to watch once I get my hand on a pair of them!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Favourite Songs of 2010: Part 1

I have a feeling quite a lot of my posts for the next week or so will centre around 2010!

I’m going to start with my favourite song for the year. The rest then will be in no particular order. Some aren’t that amazing, they were just so darn catchy that I couldn’t help but love it!

My favourite was Tightrope by Janelle Monáe. I saw her on Ellen in May for the first time and fell in love with her and her music. It’s like James Brown, crossed with Outkast, mixed a bit with Lauryn Hill and a dash of Prince. Incredible vocals, with jazzy funky soulful sounds that make you want to get up and dance. Which I often do. Her album The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), which was released last year, is a mixed bag of different sounds but Tightrope is definitely my favourite. Sounds like the love child of James Brown and Andre 3000 and makes me get up and dance, clap my hands and slide along the floor. If you haven’t heard it, you should definitely listen!

 

I stumbled across Lights On by Katy B at the beginning of November when I saw it on a friend’s Facebook page. I don’t often listen to songs that others post, as I can be quite fussy when it comes to music but for some reason I was compelled to do so. I love the song! It kinda reminds me of UK Garage music from the early 2000s, mixed with some R&B. It features Ms Dynamite, which is, despite all the moaning on Youtube about her contribution to the track, an added bonus for me as I love her first album. This song was just released a week ago and Katy’s tipped to be the next big thing for 2011.

 

Starry Eyed by Ellie Goulding was one of the first songs I liked last year. It has a dreamy quality to it but the chorus also makes me want to dance. It’s not usually a song I’d like. I love the video as well.

 

Speaking of making me want to dance, that’s what Usher’s OMG makes me do when I hear it. Not the best lyrically, probably not my favourite Usher song either but it’s damn catchy!

 

It wouldn’t be 2010 without Lady Gaga! While I loved Bad Romance and probably preferred it over her other songs released, Telephone definitely stands out. For the amazingly crazy video and how catchy and dancey it is.I also love all the spoofs, covers and mixes. I like The Key Of Awesome and the office version spoofs. I like the classical instrumental version Aston do as well as the Lady Gaga vs Metallica bootleg.

 

Probably THE song for the summer was We No Speak Americano by Yolanda Be Cool Vrs DCup. It took a few plays to grow on me but when it did I listened to it for days. Everyone went wild when it was played in clubs. It’s short, catchy and a fun tune. Video is pretty funny too.

 

The last two songs for this post are ones I’ve already blogged about. Hollywood by Michael Bublé and Fuck You by Cee-lo Green. Click the links above to read about them!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions!

So until last year, I never really ‘did’ New Year’s Resolutions. I thought they were lame. Why promise to change something just at the being of the year? Why not make resolutions throughout the year, try better yourself all the time? I used to bite my fingernails and one day just decided to stop. And it worked. I think if I had made it a resolution though, I would have failed.

I don’t know what changed last year, but I decided to make some resolutions. I supposed I needed some focus, something to work towards. And that’s important more this year than ever before. I suppose they were more goals that resolutions, I was trying to achieve something instead of just change something. These are the ones I did manage to achieve:

1. Cook 12 new meal dishes

2. Make 12 new dessert dishes

3. Watch 50 films I’ve never seen before

4. Start a blog!

The other stuff I didn’t get around to completing, like read 50 books (I got as far as finishing 14, plus starting another 10. I like to have several books on the go), my weight loss goal (though I gave it a good try) and visit 3 new countries (money restrictions prevented this unfortunately, otherwise I would have).

For this year, I think I’ll stick to similar enough goals, but I might modify them a bit. So here they are!

1. Cook 12 new savoury/dinner dishes

2. Make 12 new sweet dishes

3. Read 25 books

4. Watch 50 films I’ve never seen before

5. Eat more fruit and veg

6. Lose weight and exercise more (I do have a more specific goal than this, but I don’t want to talk about it just yet)

7. Write more on the blog

8. Get a job

I also want to learn a new skill, I haven’t decided what yet but I might start that a few months later, I don’t want to load too much on at one time.

Hope 2011 and is going well for all of you so far. What are your resolutions? Do you make them? Do you stick to them? Let me know!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! (& some secrets and explanations)

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! It is currently after midnight here, so 2011 is well on it’s way on the Emerald Isle. I hope 2011 brings happiness and joy to everyone.

And apologizes! It’s been over a month since I’ve had a chance to post. I didn’t even get to finish my music meme, which is disappointing. My internet went for 5 days just before I finished it and by the time it came back on, I was in the whirlwind of Christmas preparations and never got the chance to sit down and type. Sorry! I will finish the meme soon though.

My lovely friend Wini at winipedia tagged me to reveal seven secrets about myself. So here I go!

1. I collect pairs of tights. But rarely wear them. I love tights and dresses but I feel strange in them and don’t think I have the best figure for them. And I’m most comfortable in runners (trainers, sports shoes, whatever you call them) but they don’t go with dresses and I hate wearing flats. Yet I still buy pairs and pairs of tights!

2. While I can not stand bus and train stations, I LOVE the London Underground! I’m a uber nerd about it, learning about it’s history and the pop culture around it. I also like being in airports, I love the atmosphere there!

3. I love trashy day time telly, though I don’t watch it that often. Usually the trashier, the better. And even though I’m often grossed out by it, I love How Clean is Your House.

4. I’m a HUGE hoarder, I can’t barely to through things out. I could easily cut the amount of stuff I own in half if I let my ruthless sister at my room. But at least I’m not as bad as those people shown on How Clean is Your House! At least I hope I’m not!

5. I love fancy dress parties. I’d have at least 3 a year if I could get away with it. But most people I know aren’t as enthused by them as me. Party poopers

6. Just like the whole tights thing, I buy DVDs that I’ve heard are good but instead of watching them, I watch an old favourite of mine. I do get around to watching them eventually though!

7. Laughing Cow cheese and salt and vinegar crisps are awesome together,

I’m supposed to tag seven other people. I’ll give it a go!

1. Kat at http://gaintheday.wordpress.com/

2. Amanda at http://skin-carebyamanda.blogspot.com/

3. Lizzie at http://www.elizabethdang.blogspot.com/

4. Knarls at http://knarlyknarls.blogspot.com/

5. Babaduck at http://babaduckbabbles.blogspot.com/

6. The Glutton at http://gluttonyforbeginners.wordpress.com/

7. The wonderful Bride to Be at http://flowersandfoundations.wordpress.com/

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