Wasn’t There Supposed to Be Cake?

Hey Hey Guys!!

Cake is a curious thing.

It’s something that is expected in certain situations, can have strong connotations and memories associated with it, the taste, the texture, the scent, the colour. Where you had a certain piece and how it made you feel.

Then there is cake in a general sense. It appears in certain situations; birthdays, weddings, anniversaries… funerals.

10307220_944531608892215_5531516514768362686_n 20140812_195423

Have you ever noticed (well, you will have, even if you don’t immediately realise it) that cake is often present to sweeten the pill in horrible situations?

mood cookies

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg...

Fancy Shmancy little Battenberg…

Now, I’m going togeneralise here and cast the same net over certain biscuits as well as cakes. In fancy waiting rooms, there is often a sweet “treat”. You might be offered a slice of battenburgh with a beverage, or a very British, Victoria Sponge, if you are particularly fortunate (and so help you god if you mention the fact that you recognise that cheap, dry sponge and overly sweet, grainy filling as the £1 round you get from the co-op when you are absolutely desperate for a favour to take to the neighbours’ BBQ).

homemade cupcakes

homemade cupcakes

**As a wee aside, I actually hate Battenberg cake and am always bitterly disappointed to see it in a selection. Marzipan is the devil. It is always a bad omen.**

I absolutely HATE Battenberg...

I absolutely HATE Battenberg…

The thing is, there are some situations where cake is a terrible omen. Whether you are presented with a stale selection of sponges that might be the same ones you declined from your elderly neighbour, or strike gold with one of those pick ‘n mix boxes of biscuits, the result is always the same and always two-fold; the custard creams, jammy ones, cookies and anything containing chocolate are snapped up as soon as the seal is broken and the Garibaldis’ and those weird little wrinkly edged ones that taste like cardboard and aren’t quite a tea biscuit, nor a shortbread, are always left neglected. And you are in for some serious news. Generally, bad.

Snapshot_20120514_12

See, these are the sweets and semi-sweets that are broken in places like hospitals, doctors surgeries, lawyers offices. Places where there is a 50/50 chance you were to nervous to have lunch before you went there so just swigged from the open wine bottle in the fridge, put on you best “I’m totally in control” mask and walk in there like you’re heading to the gallows. Those who run these establishments know this and it means all sort of paper work for them if they have a client pass out on them, so they try to gently pump you full of sugar.

But when I got my bad news today, it was over the phone. I was on my way back to my (soon to be vacated) flat. I was outside. So I ask you;

Wasn’t there supposed to be cake?

20150415_190353

SSDD

Advertisements

Blame It On The Weather. No, Seriously, Blame It On The Weather #depression

Hey Hey Guys!!

ed9e2128b52ca879a60d1aa6d651125a

Depression is something that can change like the weather. Think I’m joking?

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a genuine illness. Not gonna lie, I’m not an expert, so I’m not sure if you would class it as a mental illness or a mood disorder, but it is classified as a varied form of depression.

So what actually is it. Well, the NHS UK website says this:

Sunlight can affect some of the brain’s chemicals and hormones. However, it’s not clear what this effect is. One theory is that light stimulates a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls mood, appetite and sleep. These things can affect how you feel.

In people with SAD, a lack of sunlight and a problem with certain brain chemicals stops the hypothalamus working properly. The lack of light is thought to affect the:

  • production of the hormone melatonin

  • production of the hormone serotonin

  • body’s circadian rhythm (its internal clock, which regulates several biological processes during a 24-hour period)

It affects an estimated 2 million people in the UK, commonly affecting people between the ages of 18-30 and, like other forms of depression, is more common in women than in men. There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the condition, mainly because it can be difficult to understand how someone can feel depressed simply because of the weather. It’s one thing to say that you change your mind like the wind, another to say that you can’t face getting out of bed because it’s raining.

Symptoms include lethargy, insomnia, poor concentration, negative thoughts and mood, unwillingness to socialise, decreased libido and weight gain.

seasonal-affective-disorder-bed-flirting-ecards-someecards

This is what 12 million people across Europe are facing. Again, I’m not an expert, but as a sufferer, there are a few words I can impart on the subject.

There are days when the thought of having to choose one pair of socks over another seems like an insurmountable problem. Can you imagine the implications of going outside when it is anything less than radiant out there? As if were not bad enough that the world already seems like one of the blackest corners of hell; what if it’s raining as well!? The fact that the weather reflects damp, cold in your soul, preventing you from feeling the glow of all the good things in around you is just confirmation to the depressed side of your brain that there is nothing good out there to admire. That everything really is as horrible and out to get you as you suspect.

But if the sun is out…

Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-Infographic

I’m a total fire baby. I was predisposed, being a Leo (m’on the August-born troops!!) and if it is anything short of swelteringly roasty toasty, then I am inconsolably miserable. I’m talking, in tears, shaking, terrified of even the slightest baby’s breath of a draft. Lemme put this into context for you; I was in Ibiza during a heatwave and wore a cardigan. Yeah. So the fact that I live in BLOODY SCOTLAND, one of the coldest places South of the Arctic, is a hellish situation to be in. I don’t think people realise quite how many layers I wear on a daily basis. Maybe it’s a useful thing that I’m so skinny; all those layers don’t look so thick on a skelatal frame.

The past few days we have been experiencing a random heat wave and I know several people with varying forms of depression and anxiety who have (seemingly inexplicably) seen a lift in their mood. I swear, Blame It On the Weather! Being in the sun can literally feel like bands are being removed from your chest and you can breathe and in hail the sweet scent of real oxygen. Not just tolerate the stale air you’ve tasted recently.

98a7922d9642d79d9c7dffb2a8c0d0c9

However you want to call it, Sunny Side Up, Everything’s Better on the Other Side, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow, Mr Sunshine, Light of My Life, Build Me Up Buttercup, Mr Golden Sun; attribute any cheesy song lyric you like, the summary is still the same – EVERYTHING IS BETTER IN THE GODDAMN SUNSHINE!!!!!

The irritating thing, is that it has not been sunny all day. It comes and goes. The problem with this is that my mood has been going up and down as well. Literally, the sun being out one minute means I’m relatively happy, not too bad, occasionally I’ll giggle. Then it goes behind a cloud. Maybe there is a smattering of rain. And suddenly that cloud burst seems more like hell is spitting like icy shards of glass at me, determined to extinguish that ember of happiness fighting to burn hot enough to light so much as a candle. It’s exhausting.

Here is a link to treatment advice on SAD as well as some lovely handy dandy websites for mental health issues. Seriously, i have used some of them and even the info you can get online these days isn’t half bad.

images

Remember though; the sun can be thought of in the same was as those middle aged women/students think of booze – if it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, it’s mid day somewhere else! The sun is always up somewhere, even if it isn’t where you are. If you are a sufferer of depression or SAD, do the daytime version of what Oscar Wilde liked to do; instead of looking at the stars, look to the sky. See the sun, love the light, feel the glow.

Mind.org

NHS treatment of SAD

Samaritans

SSDD

Quote

“The Perfect Ch…

“The Perfect Christmas Moment Cannot Be Created; It Happens When You Least Expect IT. Let It Happen…”

This is something I am taking to heart.

For the past, oh, I dunno, maybe 14 or 15 years, I have absolutely hated Christmas. Every year my disdain for the entire ordeal intensifies, with reason upon reason layering on top of each other until I got to the point where I would routinely say how much I wished I could go to sleep on the last day of November and wake-up in the New Year.

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s joyful spirit at this time of year… so I won’t!

Because this year is different!

This year I am all about the festive spirit! The holiday joys, the buzz of getting prepared, celebrating and spending time doing ridiculously family orientated things that you would never ordinarily do with people you normally can’t stand purely because it is that time of year.

For the first time in years I am actually so looking forward to Christmas Day. I have been making my own decorations, preparing the house with a plethora of homemade decorations and nick-nacks oozing glitter.

My tree is FABULOUS, a confectionery coloured contraption covered from fairy lit base to tinsel topped tip, in decorations that have to be about a decade old – and I wouldn’t change a thing. His name is Percy.

Every year we indulge in the one Christmas tradition I have always, always loved. Even at my deepest levels of BAH-HUMBUG, decorating the tree has always been my absolute favourite thing to do at Christmas and the only thing I actually participate in full-heartedly. Mum and I basically fling decorations at the poor plastic tree until there is very little of the trees actually colour visible, stringing swathes of tinsel, lines of lights and bundles of baubles at it in a dangerously haphazard manner. I then balance precariously on the arm of the couch and bestow that highest of honour on top – the sparkly purple star!

All this while dad sits despondently in the farthest away corner of the living room, sulking at how dis-organised we are making the tree and trying to give precise directions as to which individual bauble should go on which specific branch. Mum and I pointedly ignore him and wind him up by flinging things at the tree with renewed fervour. Usually the result is dad yelling things like a lion that’s been slapped in the arse with a burning branch, but mum and I find that hilarious and use it as an excuse to wrap him in tinsel. Poor man. He really deserves more organised little helpers. Maybe he can ask the real Santa for some for Christmas next year or trade is back in the post Christmas sales.

There is one key reason I’m so happy for a change this year. For th first time in living memory I am getting to have Christmas at home. I have never been able to spend it at home and I’ve always wanted to know what that was like. There are lots of other reasons, but honestly, I think I’ll keep those to myself. For now, I think I will just bask in the cold, freezing glory that is mulled wine fueled Christmas.

SSDD

Mid-Week Mayhem in Glasgow’s City Centre

Bottoms up!

“Three Pink Pussys, three Cock Sucking Cowboys, two Fanny Bombs, a Camel Toe, a Kermet the Frog and a Bushtucker Trail, please”.

Nope, that’s not the directors notes for a bad porno. That is an example of what your order might be at Tingle.

Tingle is a Shooter Bar and café located on 33 Mitchell Street in Glasgow. Fantastic pre-club venue – better as a place to find drinks with legendary names.

Don’t let its size put you off – it may be tiny on the inside – roughly equivalent to the cupboard Harry Potter spent his formative years living in – but the sheer entertainment value of their shot titles coupled with their student-friendly prices more than make up for it.

“Down in one!” is pretty much the only chant you will hear from this place. Forget your football teams; what matters in Glasgows hottest shooters bar is the colour of your poison.

And it is poison; their drinks menu is something to behold, if you have the nerve to try one of their more adventurous concoctions. Their signature drink is a Bushtucker Trial. A brutally punishing shot of pure Tequila, no lime or salt and complete with booze soaked Mezcal Algae Worm (and yes, you do have to drink the worm or be forever labelled a pussy by your mates).

But one of the best things about Tingle is wobbling up to the bar after your third Bubble Gum Drop (Banana liqueur and Midori) and asking in earnest for a Kermet the Frog (Midori and Peach Schnappes). Priceless. Or rather, cheap – all shots cost £1.50.

But that’s just taster, a warm up for the drinking muscles if you will (or a complete break down of them, depending on how literally you took the term “shots”). From there, it might be recommended that you take a trip down to Firewater, on Sauchiehall Street.

Just 15 minutes walk or £3.50 in a taxi when bribed with Haribo, Firewater is a stylish bar set underground in the centre of Glasgows’ busiest clubbing street.

Whether you start here or stumble in on your travels, one of the best features is not it’s chic, minimalist urban décor, with both booths and open floor space, nor the good looking bar staff. Not the cheap ass cocktail pitchers that come with questionable titles such as Tennessee Tea, which sounds ridiculous but taste delicious. It’s not even the hazy glow, that disguises how drunk everyone really is therefore making your own level of inebriation acceptable even to the most picky of punter.

Nope, what makes Firewater truely great as a mid-week, low budget hang out, is… 90p vodka mixers! That’s right, 90 pence! You can’t even buy water for that number of coppers!

So if you are looking for a laugh, try ­Tingle. If you can stagger out of there with some shred of dignity, Firewater is an acceptable location for a casual drink, pre-party venue, or stage for the main event. Ever filled with Glasgows best combination of girls in short skirts and guys in t-shirts, the dress code is “go with what you feel”, to a background of indie rock tunes.

Feel like moving on to some where a little livelier? Well, you are on Sauchiehall Street, so go explore!

So that was a brief run down on what i did on my 20th Birthday night out 🙂 follow as I have lead my lovelies! 😀

20130815_205444 20130815_225815 20130816_000925 20130816_003136 20130816_001050

TINGLE_DRINKS_MENU_FRONT

 

SSDD

Times Flies When Distance Parts You…

How did they get so old??

This year, a lot of my family are reaching age-related milestones, not to mention an first wedding anniversary and a new engagement so far already. So far we have have had twins turning 16… a 17th (Higher exam age in Scotland)… Most recently, on 9th May, an 18th… coming up a 21st… my own 20th…

So my question is – when did we all get so old!?

It’s like these milestones just snuck up on us and it irkes me, because I’m missing them! My little cousins turned two of the ages socially dictated to be the most prevalent in terms of a persons maturity (16 and 18) and because we live approximately 443 miles away from each other, I had no idea that was how old they were becoming until, in February  my mum informed me that in January this was how old the twins had become. The second instance was not quite so shameful; I was asked to sign the card for the 18 year old the week before we sent it, which was a bit of a hint.

As for my older cousin, who is turning 21 this July, he is going to be at sea in San Francisco working and will consequently miss both his own coming of age in America (while actually being in America, which is ironic considering he’s Scottish and had never been to America before this trip) but will also miss my 20th, or, as I am beginning to consider it, my termination-of-my-teenage-and-therefore-able-to-get-away-with-things-I-wouldn’t-otherwise-be-able-to years. This puts him in a similar situation as the one I am in with  my other younger cousins.

Now, if you are still following after this rather convoluted explanation of my family’s aging population, I think you to be a very intelligent person, because I am even struggling to keep all that crap in check.

I suppose my point is really that, while I have always thought myself very close to my younger cousins, despite the massive distance between us (equal to almost a return journey between here and the moon!! … Well, you might be able to pull and Apollo 13 and use the gravitational pull of the Earth to get you all the way back, but I wouldn’t put my money on that working a second time… that one seemed like kinda the luckiest, smartest fluke in the world…) but the fact that their graduating to these pivotal ages of development seems to have almost completely bypassed me gives me the sad feeling that perhaps this distance really is making more of a difference than I noticed.

I mean, that kind of makes sense; we see each other once a year, if we’re lucky. But I still always saw myself as the cool(ish) older cuz, who had wisdom and knowledge beyond their youthful years… Forgetting entirely that they are, in fact only two and 4 years younger than me. Hm.

Ok, I can still pull the “experienced and knowledgeable beyond anything you can perhaps imagine, though I wouldn’t put it past you to already be well informed as the internet is not the friend of children’s innocence these days” thing as far s the 16 year olds go, but with the 18 year old – not so much.

I would say that at 18 I was not so much more well informed in the deep dark ways of the world as I was this time last year. A lot can happen in 12 months, that’s all I’m saying.

As much as we can say, “distance will never come between us”, that can, in effect, become horse shit when the fact is, facebook and text messaging just do not instill the same level of intimacy as face to face conversing. Human contact cannot be replaced by technology, as wonderful as Skype is. Science says that your body cannot tell the arms of your mum from your own arms, it only knows you are being embraced, meaning that you can effectively stave off your own loneliness. You can convince yourself you are being hugged by a loved one while really just wrapping your own arms around yourself. However, the fact remains that if you admit it even for one moment, the illusion is broken, and you know you are just standing being a bit awkward and touchy feely with yourself.

I would say it’s “old age” that’s making me so sentimental, were I not so sure of being told that 19-nearly-20 is no age to be making such claims, but for sure, my missing of these dates are laying heavily on me. They come about only once in a lifetime, and I would rather not miss them so entirely. I really do feel so detached from them as if one of us really were on the moon, sometimes, and it makes me disappointed that, for all our technology and all our good intentions, staying in touch is not always as simple as it seems.

I hope to see them later this year, for our semi-annual catch-up, but there are no guarentees in life. Perhaps I’ll catch them on their 20th, 21st… wedding…

Ponderously wishing I were as indifferent to the passage of time as I was at my cousins age… oh right… they aren’t 12 any more…

 

SSDD

Aside

Is 20 Years Old, Old?

Is 20 years old, old?

I am approaching my 20th year on this here planet and I have got to thinking – is 20 old, or young?

Reaching your second decade means you are no longer a teenager. But what does that actually mean? Does it mean you must leave the land of youth and frivolity, depart with silly decisions and “it seemed like a good idea at the time” moments? Are these things which should be left behind, remnants of a carefree past and a life lead with empty-headed trust in the sureness of your own future, to be replaced with the trudging tread of maturity?

In today’s society there is the argument that “children” stop being children much earlier than before. When once someone might be considered a child right up to their late teens, we are seeing 13 and 14 year olds parading about like their elder peers, in a way I certainly wouldn’t have had to the nerve to at that age. Even now, as I prepare to leave my adolescence behind, I still often feel like half my actual age!

So is it a generation thing or a personal state of mind? Scottish Parliament passed a bill just a couple of days ago to give 16 year olds the vote. Now, at just 16, we can vote, get married, smoke, enlist in the armed forces. By 18 we can drive and drink too (preferably not at the same time), so where, then, do we draw the line under childhood?

My friend today turns 20, but I doubt he woke up this morning thinking, right, time to dig out the tie and get in the sensible car to join the production line heading to the 9-5 office job. He will have woken up thinking yas, party time! Just because we are older does not necessarily mean we are any wiser, nor that we have to give up our childhood hopes and dreams. But it does make me wonder if, or when, we should.

When I finally abdicate me teenage throne, I hope I ascend to a similarly intriguing adult one. And I hope too that I feel mature enough to hold it’s mantle. This past year has aged me past my 19 years in many ways, and made me appreciate my youth. It always irked me when people older than me said “savour your youth, your only young once!” Now I realise, they are right. But you are only old once too. Immaturity is the blissful ignorance of adulthood, and adulthood the learned weariness of experience. To alleviate some of that languor, perhaps we should remember what it is to be young again?

Take a leaf out of that lazily filled in diary from your youth and add it to your senior memoir.

387698_333168143374475_952150834_n

SSDD

There is a Thief on Quality Street…

Picture the scene.

It’s 11th August, the eve of my 19th birthday… I, like most teenagers on a slow, Saturday afternoon, am sitting before my laptop, my thoughts torn between my next mission in Tuscany in Assassins Creed II and what shoes would best match my jeans for a party I was going to that night…

When a tentative knock on my front door disturbs my reverie!

Who should make waves in my proverbial pond of ponderings??…

Picture next, me, rising from my throne (kitchen chair) alighting to the grand entrance (front porch) with all the good grace of an arthritic penguin (a teenager in a penguin onesie being made to move when they would rather stay seated). But instead of some visitor, what should i find on my doorstep –

A TIN OF QUALITY STREET!!

That’s right; a tin of Quality Street, complete with blue ribbon and a beautiful birthday card from my 80-something year old neighbour, as a one-day-early birthday present.

Now, kind reader, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a happy tale. It is not.

Because when I sat down to peruse the chocolately box of faux-gems, I noticed something peculiar – the distracting lack of colour to be seen…

Of all the yummies contained within that attractively rich looking tin, there were two colours that were noticeable mainly by their absence – the iconic, Big Purple One and the Big Green Triangle; where on earth were they!?

I searched that entire box and in all of it, only found one Big Green Triangle and only two Big Purple Ones!!

Considering the purple ones are my mums favourite, you can imagine the disappointment… And that Green One I had (before I realised it was the only one!!) was one of the yummiest pralines I think I have ever had.

And so this regaling tale ends. With me, a 19 year old unable to provide my mum with her favourite sweets through a saddening and distinctly random shortfall from ™. Luckily my dad’s favourite is the Toffee Finger or else we’d really be having problems…

Then again, I do love the Strawberry Creme ones… and those Orange Cremes, too… and the Caramel Cups are delicious… and so are…

Ok, so the tin is not a total loss, but c’mon! They are two of the iconic chocs, the ones that are instantly recognizable! And some little sweetie thief has gone and hand-picked them away from me! Tis a lamentable tale, to be sure.

Nestlé, take better care in your delivering of treats, to avoid disappointing a poor, innocent 19 year old on her birthday, and shattering her dreams of a rainbow-foil-filled field crunching under her, as she sits, surrounded by empty wrappers. Because a rainbow-foil-filled field is not a rainbow foil-filled field if it is missing purple and green. In fact, it’s hardly a field at all. More just a bit of a mess, really.

Ah well. It was my birthday, so I’ll be damned if I’m the one clearing up that particular mess!!

As for the empty cider bottles…

😉 😛

SSDD

What do you call this, Nestle??