Monday, 14 April 2014

Monday Music: Hello Goodbye

I'm doing a theme week again this week.  This week is my last week working in my old job.  I have my new contract. I've done my last day.  My office has nothing in it that speaks to me having been there, bar the neon push pins in the noticeboard (and the well ordered files and so on)

So that is me GONE from there and I realised that even though I don't feel like someone who gets attached to places as much as the people in them, I am going to miss my office, my bookcase of shoes, my corridor, my building, the campus, even New Cross as a whole.  I am so sad to be saying goodbye, but sometimes you have to let new exciting things in.  My time there will keep in my heart but that time has come to an end.

Time to Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli  

The Power of Goodbye - Madonna

Goodbye - Spice Girls

Hello Goodbye - The Beatles

Friday, 11 April 2014

Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread
No preamble - just tasty, chocolatey banana bread


75g melted butter
3 mashed bananas
175g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
200g sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g chocolate chunks (dark chocolate 80% cocoa solids)


1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line a loaf tin (seriously line it, the melted chocolate will make it stick otherwise)

2. Add the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract to a bowl and stir, then slowly sift in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda until you have a smooth, dark mixture.

3. Stir in the chunks of chocolate and then pout into the prepared loaf tin.

4. Bake at 180C for 1 hour or until it springs up when you touch it.  Leave to cool in the tin first and then turn out.  If you forget to line the tin you will then have the option of eating the warm chocolatey banana bread that stick out of the tin with spoons.  This is not so bad.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Books I read in March 2014

This month I started by asking for suggestions of what to read from the above three books.  And then I set about reading!

The Secret History - Donna Tartt
After asking for suggestions out of the three books M and I selected as options to read and discovering that all three were "disturbing" I decided to start with The Secret History as this is the one most people said I should try.  I loved it, practically devoured it in one sitting.  It was compulsive reading and yes, dark.  I read a review on GoodReads that kind of felt like it missed the point.  These are not likeable characters, they are deliberately anachronistic in how they present themselves and live their lives.  They are selfish, flawed and they do horrible things, and you want to know more and more.  This is a story you can lose yourself to for a few hours (I think it took me about 8) and come out like you've been lost in a dream.

Adam, One Afternoon - Italo Calvino
As I'd expected to take a bit longer to read the Secret History I took no other novels with me on my trip.  I borrowed this collection of short stories from my sister and I really enjoyed it.  A lot feel like very dark fairy tales with war and poverty always in the background.  This is a collection of stories that really made me think a lot and consider a lot of things.  I would really recommend it.

Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
I do not normally read Young Adult fiction, not for any principled reason or anything, I just do not normally read it.  I think I had read that someone else I knew liked this recently, and on top of that I had been discussing mix-tapes and making them for people you like with a colleague on the Tuesday which may explain why on Wednesday I picked up Eleanor and Park.  It took me back to being 14/15 and making mix tapes for my boyfriend, mixtapes I slogged over for hours.  It reminded me of photocopying (never cutting up) my comics to make covers and Valentine's Day cards.  I could totally relate to the world they were in and got a total crush on Park even though he is short and 16 (as I read it I was 15 again so I think that was okay).  There are flaws here, of course there are and I did find it annoying more often than not, but I enhjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Of Love and Other Wars - Sophie Hardach
To be honest I bought this for the cover.  I'd recently watched my first ever episode of Call the Midwife and cried a lot and the retro feel of this cover got me interested.  Well you know what they say about books and covers...this was hard to get into (it took about 100 pages) but once I got interested I found it hard to put down. It was a really interesting subject and though the breadth of area it tried to cover (both geographically and historically) made it feel like it could have done more, I think keeping to the stories of a few people gave it more power and poignancy.

Ideopathy - Sam Byers
Another booked picked for its cover (what can I say? It had been a long day and I felt a wee bit lost in the book shop)I found it deeply annoying at first as it seemed so keen to let me know how clever it was, but as it got going I got interested and ended up enjoying it, though it wont be one I come back to time and time again.

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