I was dozing off last night when I realised it’s been almost a fortnight since I was snapchatting about the dinner I made for my friends, and I forgot to share with you how to make it. This is one of my favourite meals for at this time of year. Considering I’m not a fan of stews, Mum always made this for me and Rachel as an alternative and it has now become a top dinner in the flat. Just realised I haven’t shared what it is with you! Chicken, chorizo and chickpea casserole. It’s simple to make and you can change things up if you want.
2 tbsp oil
500g chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
glass of red wine
275g chorizo, chopped
1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g)
200ml chicken stock
400g can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Heat half the oil in a large pan. Lightly brown the chicken thighs before removing them from the pan and keeping them warm somewhere – I tend to put them in the oven at the lowest temperature possible.
Add a bit more oil to the pan, before adding the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and chilli. Cook this for approximately 5 minutes. Add a splash of your red wine (but not all of it!) and simmer until reduced by a half.
While doing this, in another pan heat the rest of the oil and fry the chorizo for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the rest of the glass of wine and cook until the chorizo is crisped.
Pour the chopped tomatoes into pan containing the vegetables and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Add in the chicken stock and return to the boil.
Now add your chicken, chickpeas and chorizo and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
Serve with chopped parsley and crusty bread!
The ingredients above serve for 4 people. It’s really easy to cook, and can appear so impressive!
Let me know if you make it and what you think of it! Have a great weekend!
Whether you’re currently stressed, or you’re relaxed and ready to take on the week, stress is something that comes for us all at some point and likes to play havoc with our lives – mentally and physically.
Right now, while writing this, I feel a tiny bit stressed. I know I have 6 posts to write up today and this is the first of those, so I want to do the best I can with each of them. It’s not like I can just write them, schedule them, and forget about them again! But overall, I’m not too stressed at the minute. If I stop and think about hosting the GRLPOWR chat on Thursday, then yes I will be quite stressed but we’re trying not to think about that right now. My questions are written up and all I can do now is hope you all come join in.
Normally, I get stressed over very trivial things. They may seem trivial to you, or even to me now while I’m reasonably relaxed, but in those moments I get so wound up about the tiniest things. For example, and one my friends won’t let me forget for a long time, we barbecued for 24 people and it reached a stage I just wanted food. Dad sent through the freshly cooked sausages and a few minutes later no one had moved but it was one of those situations where family were waiting to let friends go first and friends were waiting to let family go first, and I just didn’t want to be the first to go. So I waited a few minutes and then went through and told everyone that sausages were ready and they should go get them. Except I may have been rather forceful in how I said it… whoops… Ah well, it meant I could eat!
I get stressed if I’m running late for something, if I’m travelling, if I’m organising things, and if people don’t do what they were meant to do when they were meant to do it. Normal things like exams stress me out. I got so worked up when I had to go to my first LGBTQ+ event on my own last year that I ended up crying in Nuala’s room before going. Loud noises, big crowds, tight enclosed spaces… Wow I get stressed over quite a lot!
I try not to let these things affect my day-to-day life but sometimes it does get the better of me, and I end up a quivering mess feeling paranoid and struggling to breathe normally. Either that, or I just get angry and/or cry. If you remember back in August during my resits? I was so stressed I cried for 3 hours without stopping – not great! Normally during exams I get stressed because I feel I know nothing so spend all day inside revising and doing nothing else, and then when it comes to bedtime I can’t sleep because I feel guilty for not being up and revising. So I get up and continue revision, and start the next day exhausted. And so the new day brings about revision with very little going in due to the lack of sleep and so the endless cycle begins.
However, I know I have at least 3 people who can calm me down when I reach that level of stress. Nuala is great at supporting you and being there for you when you need her, even if the rest of the time she doesn’t give off that impression. The number of times I’ve been stressed and ended up going straight to Nuala to help me calm down and gain some perspective. Jason is also pretty good at calming me down, simply because of the number of times he’s had to in the past! The third actually isn’t in the flat (and this is nothing against Mary – she’s great but I haven’t gone to her when I’m properly stressed yet. But yes, Pablo (again, he asked for this name on the blog so you won’t know him) has a calming quality that I am drawn to when stressed. I don’t know what it is but he would actually be my first point of call if he wasn’t so flipping busy all the time.
So, as you may have noticed, those three are all based in Scotland and it very much depends on if they’re around for me to talk to, so what do I do to destress without them? Well, any form of exercise is good. Even if it’s just a walk, getting into a completely different state of mind is good. Either a hot shower or bath also helps, especially if I can play my music as loud as I want and sing along. Of course, I frequently turn to blogging when I’m stressed – I suppose that makes you a part of my ‘who calms me’ part! Reading, knitting, colouring, anything creative just distracts me and I eventually feel better. Surprisingly, watching TV and films doesn’t actually help me unwind – I do them, but they don’t give me that feeling of clarity that the others do. Funny, considering how much time they take out of my day.
How about you? What stresses you out and how do you deal with it? Let me know!
For so many of us, there’s that constant choice between university stuff and taking time out for our blog. I mean, I planned to have this post written on Sunday so I could focus on university this week, but I spent so long doing university work that I ended up not getting to spend as much time blogging as I would’ve liked. Sound familiar?
Everyone makes promises to themselves that as of the new academic year we will do our best with our workload, and try and keep to the blogging pattern we’ve fallen into over the summer. In fact, it may take me another 3 months to figure out how frequently to post! Honestly. Did a blogging challenge last month and had amazing stats (well, amazing for me anyway, I’m no big blogger) and then this week hits and I’ve noticed a decrease. Is it because everyone’s back to university and school now? Or has my writing actually just gone downhill recently? By the way, these are rhetorical questions.
Also, I must apologise, my wifi is misbehaving tonight and the GRLPOWR girls and I are trying to organise Christmas on the account – exciting times ahead so make sure you’re following us on @GRLPOWRCHAT!
But yes, I’m getting distracted. As is often the case when blogging. It’s a hobby, somewhere to relax and something to do to pass time, which is why – for me – it’s important to keep it up while back at university. But the struggle of balance is hard.
It’s important to find that balance. You don’t want to risk grades dropping, nor do you want to lose any followers or stats. I mean, here I am on my 5th day in a row posting and I’ve got a planned break tomorrow, but I couldn’t not post today otherwise I’d have ruined my posting streak. See what I mean?
It’s for this reason that blogging is now what I do just before sleep. I’m really trying this year with university, doing all the extra work and making sure I know everything I’m being told. We’ll see if it’s made any difference come Christmas exams. Even today, hungover as I was from the GULGBTQ+ Launch Night last night, I dragged my rather sleepy and nauseous backside to my lectures and I actually felt better having been to them. I wasn’t lying moping in bed. Instead, I got a good walk, I saw friends who really should’ve been equally as hungover as me, and I felt if I had achieved that then I could achieve anything today!
So, while this isn’t a great post on how to juggle the two (yet), I hope you understand now why I may disappear every now and again, and if I don’t make a 9am post I will try and get one up asap.
But yes, advice. All I can advise is have a bit of a routine when it comes to how many hours of university work you have to do before you can blog, and keep a diary or planner of what’s happening when so that you can try and move things around better if you need to change plans last minute. I also find it helpful to always have one spare post saved as a draft for if I’ve forgotten to write one or haven’t had time to write the planned one for that day.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are several blogmas posts needing written!
Hello again everyone! Four days in a row of blogging? I’m getting back on track it would seem!
Yesterday, I had a guest post on Jade’s blog (http://www.simplyjadey.co.uk/) entitled ‘My Anti-Bucket List’ and so I wanted to link to it here, and also post it where you can find it easily, with a little bit of editting and extension.
This was an idea I got from the girls over at Birds on the Blog so check them out if you have a minute! Next week, I’ll post my bucket list so feel free to pop in and give it a read. For anyone who’s wondering, an anti-bucket list is exactly what it sounds like – a list of things I never hope to do or see. Some things I won’t put on the list, as hopefully there are quite a few things that we all mutually don’t want to do – who would want to bite off their own finger, for example? – so these are the less obvious.
Touch a big spider. I’m sure we’ve all had those baby spiders crawl over us and while we may shudder we tend to let them be. I never ever want to touch one any bigger than that. Have you noticed how many massive spiders have been in our houses recently? Thank goodness for cats that can chase and kill them!
Go Skydiving. Yeah, not being one for heights, this certainly does not appeal to me. To be honest, anything involving heights doesn’t appeal to me so…
Sing in front of people. I used to love the idea of being a famous singer – so much so that I actually auditioned for and attended a stage school for the guts of two years! However, I turned 15 and was all too suddenly aware of the fact that not many people liked me and singing in public was just another excuse for them to tease me.
Inter-rail. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s a fantastic experience, but it just doesn’t sound like my idea of a holiday. When I go abroad, I love to be able to relax at a good hotel, explore the city/country in my own time, and know that my flight home is the most travelling I will do. I adore travelling and experiencing new countries and cultures, but I would much rather do it over a prolonged period of time when I can enjoy it to the full.
Attend a festival. Similar to above, the dirt, crowds and general camping part of festivals just does not appeal to me at all. But go, be free and enjoy them! I just know they aren’t my sort of thing.
Stay in Ibiza Town or San Antonio when visiting Ibiza. Anyone who knows me is aware of how much I adore Ibiza. It’s my all-time favourite holiday destination and not only because of its reputation. I go to Ibiza to see friends and stay in the quiet parts of the island. If I wanted to go clubbing, I’d stay in Glasgow for free entry and cheap drinks!
Drink instant coffee. Okay, yes, this one is me being a snob but hear me out. When I was first introduced to coffee, my friend poured me a long espresso, forbid me from adding milk, and gave me some dark chocolate to have with it. Since then, I’ve been hooked. There’s nothing better than proper coffee and now I won’t drink instant.
Put on any more weight (unless pregnant). I’m not saying I’m a good weight, I know I could do with losing some weight, but I’m not unhappy. My confidence is slowly building, I finally am beginning to like myself, and my weight has played a major part in that.
Smoke. Each to their own, but this is one thing I’m always tempted to do but manage to resist – long may that continue to be the case! My health isn’t the best anyway so why aggravate it?
Eat rabbit. I can eat most other meats but for some reason, rabbit crosses the line. They’re just too cute to eat!
Fail my university course again. I need to actually pass this year if I ever want to be a teacher!
Play beer pong. I don’t know why but actually playing beer pong has never appealed to me. I’m happy to sit and watch a game though!
Become famous. Now don’t get me wrong, I had that little girl’s dream of becoming a famous singer and/or princess but I quickly got over that when I turned 8 and started to have my confidence issues. Even now, the lack of privacy has me shuddering in fear.
Climb Mount Everest. Again, I’m sure this is something that’s actually quite high on other peoples’ lists. However, it’s just not my thing.
Work at the cinema. I don’t know, is this something people want to do? I used to think it would be great because of all the free films but just imagine working the food stand during a busy shift…
Hope you’ve enjoyed my list of things I don’t ever want to do! Do you agree with them or is there anything you would add? Let us know!
Yes, it’s that time of year again – hope you’ve all started thinking about what you’re wearing for all those Halloween parties you’ve been invited to! If you haven’t, fear not – I’m here today with my top costumes that don’t require too much thought or money.
Now, as you all know, I’m not the best at hair or makeup so I can’t really give much advice on these parts of your costume… but I’m great at spending money and/or finding deals. For example, this year I’m going to dress up as a zombie Snow White! So I’m still trying to figure out how to make my hair look big and zombie-ish, I’ve managed to get the majority of my costume all for under £20!
Now you have your stereotypical witch costumes – stick on a black dress, a cape/cloak, carry round a cat/owl/toad and a broomstick, and maybe splash out on a £1 witch’s hat from Poundland.
A vampire is quite similar – a black or red dress (or a suit for men) and a cape, some white face-paint or pale foundation, a lot of black eyeliner, and red lips, maybe with a bit of fake blood dribbling down your chin.
One student fail-safe costume is that of a cowboy or cowgirl. Throw on that checked shirt you have hiding in the back or your wardrobe, skinny jeans or a denim skirt, a pair of boots, and again pick up a hat from your nearest pound shop!
Of course, you can’t forget the onesie craze that gripped the nation – dig out your onesie and wear it – I’m sure you can pull it off!
The devil is another easy option. In most pound shops, you can now get horns and either a tail or pitch-fork in a set so splash out on this! The, girls, wear either a red dress or black dress, or you can wear black trousers and a top or whatever you feel is devilish enough! Men, again either go for the suit or a big oversized red thing. A bit of eyeliner and you’re set!
The thing to remember is that anything can be made into a zombie. A little creative thinking and you’ll be able to source your costume from your own wardrobe without having to buy much!
Hope this post helps some of you this Halloween, tweet me a picture of your costumes or leave a picture in the comments below if you use any of these ideas!
Hello lovelies! It’s been a while since we had one of my more traditional posts and so here I am! What did you think of the gratitude challenge? I personally loved doing it, even if I didn’t get posting daily the way I was meant to.
This will probably be a shorter post tonight as I’m slightly distracted planning Blogmas… can never be too prepared! But after my trip to Edinburgh yesterday, see tomorrow’s post for how it went, I decided to do a little look into my handbag!
The things I always have with me include
My keys – otherwise how would I get back into the flat?
My purse – holding money, loyalty cards, student ID and my driving license.
A pen and paper, just in case inspiration hits randomly!
Tissues. Got a cold? No toilet roll in the toilets? Spilt a drink? A small pack of tissues never goes amiss and you’ll never be caught short.
A hairbrush. I hate leaving without a spare brush in my bag.
Top up of make up – there’s always some sort of lipstick in the bottom of my bag!
Phone. Of course I never leave without it!
Earphones! Who can travel without them?
So what else do you carry in your bag? I can’t remember if I’ve got everything listed!
Okay so firstly I’m going to apologise because I wrote this actually on the 24th but for whatever reason it never saved as either scheduled or published so now it’s late and I have to try and remember what I put here. Actually, anyone who has me on snapchat (which of course you all should – lifewktkinnes) will have seen me starting work on this post the other day!
Picking a favourite season is hard! I have different reasons for loving all four seasons and so I’m going to list them all below. Isn’t that what the gratitude challenge was about, taking time out to be grateful for things? So without further delay, may I present ‘The Four Seasons, and Why I Love Them’.
Spring. The birds start arriving home again, there’s a freshness in the air as everything begins to come back to life, trees begin to bud again and the weather, generally, is getting warmer. Days start getting slightly longer, Easter holidays and all the chocolate that comes with that! I say the weather is generally getting warmer as those two pictures are of the same part of Lisburn Train Station, taken just one week apart in March a few years back. Everyone starts to look towards summer and plan holidays, and lectures end to make way for exams then the summer holidays so there’s always plenty of time to sleep! As long as you revise when you aren’t sleeping of course. I’m particularly looking forward to spring 2017 because Rachel and I are flying off to Lanzarote for a few nights away together!
Ah summer… the hottest time of the year! Unless you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Then summer is essentially just one or two days, and if the temperature goes above 17 degrees for 3 consecutive days we call it a heat wave. But this is the time of the year that we all go crazy for the sun and heat! Girls can walk around in shorts or dresses without worrying about tights, beachwear in your back garden becomes totally acceptable, you can lie around all day and no one will judge you if there’s sun in the sky! Family barbecues and road trips to the coast take up a lot of the holiday, and there’s plenty of time to relax, given that for most university students, summer is 16 weeks long! Unless of course you have resits… but even then it’s a chance to see your university friends any time! The days are long, people generally feel happier anyway, there seems to be a never ending supply of ice cream and ice lollies around, and of course the cocktails come out! Can never say no to a mojito, especially during the summer.
Ah Autumn… What isn’t there to love? I’ve actually seen quite a few posts over the last week on why people love autumn and the trend seems to be the same.
The colours begin to change to that of a warm fire. Trees everywhere become even more majestic in this stage, before shedding their leaves for us to jump in. There’s a slightly colder feel to the air, you know winter’s coming. Out come the comfy jumpers, the boots, and the jeans. Girls everywhere seem to embrace the fact that legs are now to be hidden for the next few months and the razor can have a bit of a break! Starbucks brings in the autumnal drinks – please don’t hate me but I’m not actually a fan of Starbucks – and everyone everywhere starts carrying a thermos of coffee or tea around. Our thick fluffy scarves make an appearance once again and we embrace our darker eye shadow and lipsticks. All this is before you take into account that schools and universities start back and so it’s the return of routine! An excuse to see your friends daily, what more could you ask for? Well I suppose it does help that my birthday is also in autumn! October hits and the shops fill with a mix of halloween and christmas decorations – what more do you need for a shopping spree? Halloween arrives with the excuse to welcome back your inner child and dress up with as much or as little makeup you want – whatever is scarier! Only a few days later and there’s Bonfire Night – a night that I both love and hate. While the loud bangs and whizzes of the fireworks terrifies me, I adore watching their bright lights illuminate the dark sky. The smell of the toffee apples and candyfloss, as well as writing your name in the air with sparklers… There’s nothing I love more than wrapping up in my thermals, hat, scarf and gloves, and going with friends to watch these spectacular lights, surrounded by little children with faces lit up in wonder. And as November draws to an end, we approach the most wonderful time of the year…
Winter kicks off with the best celebration of the year. Yes there are exams to contend with, but they don’t overshadow the excitement of Christmas. December 1st, the tree goes up and all the decorations come out of there boxes. Roads and houses are lit up in technicolor and children everywhere begin writing their letters to Santa. Everywhere is playing Christmas music, the air is cold, and there’s a general sense of excitement in shopping centres – hidden well behind the aggravated faces of parents who just want to get their shopping done and get home. Mulled wine and hot chocolates, Christmas Markets attract people of all ages and nationalities as we all prepare to celebrate together. Fires are lit, and families make an effort to see each other and spend time together, even if just to watch Home Alone for the umpteenth time as it’s shown on TV. Children everywhere begin to listen out for Santa and have their eyes peeled for any sign of snow. Christmas day arrives and families around the world try to put any arguments on hold until we all celebrate this time of year – some for religious reasons, others just because of the symbolism of peace, love and giving. Once Christmas ends, we all welcome in the new year with resolutions and parties! Once these are done, however, there’s the realisation that there’s another 358 days until the celebreations come around again and we have two of the longest, darkest, coldest months in our year. While February is technically the shortest month, it does seem to drag a little.
In conclusion, I would have to say that Autumn is my favourite season! Only because Christmas isn’t a season… Only 87 sleeps!
What are the reasons you want to say thank you to your body and why you accept it as it is.
Hmmm so I suppose I have to think about the things I like about my body for this post, don’t I? This may be slightly hard so please be patient!
I’m beginning to love and accept my hair – the weird colour it is naturally, the way half of it wants to be wavy and the rest sits poker straight. Yes, it’s always frizzy, but when I take time and effort over it, it actually looks okay.
I’ve actually always really liked my eyes, when they aren’t hidden behind my glasses, and when I’m not too tired to wear my contact lenses. They’re so blue and I love them.
….and that’s it…. whoops…. sorry this isn’t a longer post!
Oh dear, this is a tough one. I actually remember so many different things and yet I can never remember which was my favourite or why. I mean, there are so many different reasons for something to be your favourite, so how can you only pick one?
One of my favourite memories is actually from last December. My granny was turning 75 and everyone was going to there to celebrate except me. She was told she would just be going to my house for a dinner, mainly because she didn’t want a fuss. What she didn’t realised was that my aunt was flying over from Dundee to visit, and my granny’s sister and brother-in-law would be there for dinner too. So the day started out with her getting her birthday present from me and Rachel – couldn’t tell you now what it was we bought her. The first surprise came when I had a bunch of flowers delivered to her. She phoned me to tell me off and thank me. Her husband used to always buy her flowers on her birthday, and when he died my mum took over the tradition but I knew she’d forgotten to buy them that year.
I then phoned Mum to let her know that I’d spoken to Granny, and she asked me to phone Rachel and Dad who were at home preparing for dinner to make sure everything was going according to plan. It was then that I heard that my aunt’s flight was delayed and so I was to phone Granny’s sister and ask her to delay going to Granny’s for lunch (that was the cover so that Granny would be in over lunch when my aunt got there) and she had heard of the delay so we chatted a little bit before I went to my lecture.
After the lecture, I went straight to the airport and got on a flight to Belfast. I was there that early, they offered to swap me to an earlier flight but I declined as I knew I had a taxi booked from the airport to the house. Thankfully I didn’t get that flight, as one of the engines had a problem and they ended up having to divert to a different airport! Unfortunately, this resulted in my flight running late. I got to the airport to find my taxi had left without me and I had to wait for another one to show up. When I got in and explained to the driver what was happening, he was great about it. We chatted happily until we got to the nursing home opposite the back of my house – I wanted to be dropped off somewhere they wouldn’t notice me. He only charged me half of what the fair actually was, so I gave him three quarters of the fair and told him to keep the quarter as a Christmas tip.
As I started to creep up the front steps, being careful not to set off the motion detection singing Christmas Tree at the front door, my neighbour walked out of his front door and went to call out to me so I quickly shushed him and waved before sneakily opening the door and set down my bag in the hall.
I could hear everyone talking and laughing. From the sounds of things, Mum and Rachel were in the kitchen fussing over the starters and how they were taking longer than they expected them to. As I started up the hall, Mum came out of the kitchen so I made a quick dive onto the stairs to avoid being seen. She was standing telling everyone that dinner would be another 5 minutes, when I appeared behind her and simply said ‘Have you enough for one more?’
Everyone started shouting and talking at once, and there were hugs all around. I’d been speaking to them all at some stage in the day and they were all astounded that I was actually standing there in front of them! To be honest, I’m smiling just thinking about it. As all the adults calmed down, and started to ask what I was doing there, Rachel came in looking baffled, asking why she could hear my voice, and when she saw me she hit me with a tea towel – apparently I wasn’t allowed to surprise everyone without warning her first!
It was a great night, with plenty of food and drink for everyone. Let’s just say, it’s a 75th birthday Granny won’t forget any time soon!
Why are life lessons necessary and what are the good lessons you’ve learnt?
Life lessons are necessary to help us grow as people. There are so many things that have happened in my 21 years on this planet that have helped me become the person I am today, and it’s my opinion that you never stop learning and changing from the lessons you learn.
I’ve learnt that you don’t need to be good at everything to succeed. I mean, look at my blog. My English teacher liked to tell me he would be surprised if I actually passed either English Language or English Literature at GCSE – look at me now! Yes, okay, I’m studying a science subject at university, but the majority of my good marks come from my essay writing. I got As in my English GCSEs, and here I am writing a blog that over 200 people follow! Maybe 200 isn’t something to be overly proud of but its 199 people more than I ever expected to read it!
That brings me to another lesson I learnt – if someone doesn’t believe in you, work as hard as you possibly can to prove them wrong. If your hardest efforts still result in them being right, have a look at the previous lesson.
One lesson I’m still learning is to accept myself but we’ve heard enough of that recently. You don’t want to hear about that all again!
Be the friend you want someone else to be to you. This is one of the most important lessons to learn. If your friends don’t treat you with the respect you deserve, ask if it’s because of how you treat them, or if it’s time to leave those toxic people behind. It took me a long time but I managed it and now I’ve got some of the best friends I could ever imagine.