Friday 29 April 2011

Wedding Ahoy!

I'm not going to lie, I can't wait for the Royal Wedding.

Mainly because, once it's over and done with, people will hopefully stop talking about it.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Rebel without a prospect

I was talking to the Rebel Sister the other day. She's currently at university in her first year, doing English Language and Creative Writing. I'd phoned her to see how she was, since she seemed to be fed up with university the last time I'd spoken to her.

Rebel: I don't know why I even took English Language! I was always better at English Literature.
Me: Mmm.
Rebel: My course is stupidly hard and I have so many assignments and people who've done my course before never seem to be getting any jobs.
Me: Mmm.
Rebel: - It's like, most of the people I know who've done my course are just doing crappy jobs and not writing like they want to. And they're really good!
Me: Mmmm.
Rebel:...Well? Don't you have any sagely advice for me?
Me: Err....
Rebel: You're my big sister, you always have something to say.
Me: Well, what do you want to do?
Rebel: I want to be a writer!
Me: Well, you need to work towards it -
Rebel: *groans*
Me: What? It's true! You could get an ordinary job and write independently. Write at home in your spare time and send it off to publishers by yourself and hope you get lucky I guess.
Rebel: But there are no jobs anywhere! Nobody's taking on any interns in the big publishing companies.
Me:  I wasn't talking about writing jobs, but whatever...)
Rebel: I can't use my degree for anything other than writing.
Me: Your degree doesn't need to be specific to your job. You just need a degree to get a good job.
Rebel: *groans again*
Me: *sigh* Well, why don't you aim a little lower? And then work your way up. Like, have you looked at any local newspapers?
Rebel: *groans again* There aren't any good newspapers around here.
Me: They don't need to be good, just willing to take you on.
Rebel: Yeah, well, no offence, but I don't really like those kind of newspapers, you know? The gossiping and stuff - yeah, I'm not into all that fluffy stuff. I want something serious.

Do you ever feel sometimes you're talking to someone...and they're hearing a COMPLETELY different conversation?
The problem is that the Rebel Sister has always been brilliant at whatever she applies herself to, and sometimes manages to get by on pure charisma alone, whereas I'm not as quick on the uptake and have had to constantly work my way up to achieve a mediocre standard.

Plus, the way everyone is talking about graduates and jobs makes me think that in a few years my poor mama will have more to worry about the fact the Rebel Sister has shaved off half her hair.

Monday 25 April 2011

"No Such Thing as a Nigerian Vegetarian!"

Being pescetarian for 40 days was not incredibly difficult overall.

However, there were a few times when it got a bit sticky:

1. Eating out: 

Especially if it's a place you go regularly and order the same thing off every time. Having to re-assess a menu you haven't read in about 8 months is creepy.

It's even worse if the menu's limited. As someone who isn't fond of raw cheese (bleeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrghhhhhhh), when the vegetarian section consists of Cheese, Cheese and Pickle or Cheese and Mature Cheese sandwiches, I wasn't exactly spoilt for choice.

Thus meant I ended up eating chips a lot when I was in a rush and wanted something inexpensive, quick and meat free.

2. Eating socially:

Usually, every Friday night, Lady V, the Faerie and I get together at each other's houses, and let them wait on us hand and food.

And the Faerie really likes meat, but felt guilty about it even being in the kitchen with me, so it kind of felt like I was depriving them as well.

Though being in the student bubble meant I'd forgotten when Lent had started and I hadn't sorted out my shopping list/timetable properly, so ending up cooking a meal for them that I couldn't eat, because it had meatballs in it.

Apparently, it was delicious.

It's okay, I'm not bitter *sniff*


3. Coming home: 

Cooking for myself gives me a lot more freedom and ease when it comes to dodging meat and getting inventive in the kitchen, whilst still getting the protein and iron I needed from food.

But when I'm at home?

In a Nigerian home?

Dodging meat is near impossible.

Here's a conversation snippet from when I was fourteen:

Mum: Why aren't you eating any stew?

Me: It's got meat in it, Mummy.

Mum: So? What's wrong with meat?

Me: *In an appropriately dramatic manner* Mummy, I'm a vegetarian!

(Pregnant pause)
Mummy: There's no such thing as a Nigerian vegetarian. Hurry up, eat it quickly!

And then she sat there and made sure I ate it.

Even though I'd been vegetarian for nearly 6 months by then, that was the end of that.

Basically, apart from chicken, there's no other form of protein in my house (apart from baked beans, which isn't exactly the most nutritious of options with all the sugar and salt). As well as that, I think my blood iron levels are a bit low, because I've been feeling really tired since I've gotten home.

Plus my mum puts chicken stock in EVERYTHING. Lots of Nigerian dishes would actually be great vegetarian/vegan meals if there wasn't so much chicken stock in it.

So I've had to compromise - even though I wasn't eating any meat by-products either, to avoid starving to death, or eating too much pre-packaged food, or seriously offending my mum, I've been eating the jellof rice.

Even though I saw my mum put chicken stock in it.

Even though I pleaded with her not to.

Mum: If I don't put chicken stock in it, it won't have any flavour. It's not just you eating out of this pot, you know.
Think of your brother and sisters.

So I'm not sure if this Lent was a fail or not.

Also, the weather's been good, so everyone is my house is like "Fried Chicken! Barbequed chicken! Stewed chicken!"

With the smell permeating through the house on what feels like a continuous basis, I've been like this for the past two weeks:

But all in all, I've enjoyed the experience! I got some really good meals out of it (like an incredibly delicious fried mushroom quesadilla that the Wonder Thing whipped up for me - yum!) and I've learnt how to be more inventive. 

Another fact was that my meals became really vegetable orientated when I skipped out on meat, so I guess in a way they got healthier. 

I changed my way of cooking - there was less meat, and more baking and roasting and general usage of the oven, and things went a bit slower, so I planned it ahead.

Planning food ahead meant that I got really excited about it - and I generally get excited about food, but this was something else.

When you're in a seminar and suddenly remember you're making butternut squash soup for dinner that evening and start rubbing your hands together and squeaking in glee, earning you the concerned and wary glances from your classmate...well, if that's not excitement, I don't know what is. 

Well, maybe a little bit of greed, maybe. But it's excited greed, so it still counts.

Friday 22 April 2011

End of a Ban

So my buying ban finished the day I got my student loan. Worked out how much rent I needed to pay, how much food I was going to eat (a lot) and then got to buying.

At first, I was going to get mental and get EVERYTHING that had been on my wishlist for the last year. That would have cost me just shy of £100.

My mind said yes....but my pockets said HELL NO!

So I decided to approach this carefully: What products did I *need*? And would not forget about in a hurry?

I took advantage of the 20% off at to get some Giovanni Direct Leave-In...and it was free shipping for orders  over £ I got two.

I'd wanted to get a Creamy Café Latte for Lady V to try on the ends of her hair, so that if she liked it, I could get her the big one as part of her birthday present. I got some strengthening herbs as well from Anita Grant, since  they're around £2 each and she has free shipping. 

I really hate shipping costs.

However, all of that still had to be posted to me and that meant I had to wait for it, so for some instant gratification and to try and strengthen my hair, I got some Cassia as well for £2.40. 

Hollands and Barretts were having a buy one get one for a penny sale so I stocked up on the essentials - Aloe Vera Gel and Coconut Oil. 

The Faerie also picked up some Aloe Vera Gel and Manuka Honey (a teaspoon of which we put into our next body butter concoction. We didn't want to put too much in so that we confused the bees, who are having a hard enough time as it is). 

In total:

Giovanni Direct Leave In x2 (500ml): £12.78
Irish Moss (25g): £2.45
Coltsfoot: (25g): £1.95
Marshmallow Root: (25g): £1.95
Burdock Root (25g): £1.95
Creamy Café Latte (15g): £1.90
Discount Code: - £1.50
Cassia (90g): £2.40
Coconut Oil x 2 (906g): £12.96
Aloe Vera Gel (400ml): £6.00

Total: £42.86

I know it looks like a lot, but the coconut oil and aloe vera gel also double up in my body butter and face moisturiser and all of this stuff will literally last me a year, if not more. It works out at £3.58 per month for an entire year, which is actually under my budget of £5 per month. Also, I know I can get coconut oil for cheaper in my Indian stores, for about £2 instead of £12 but...I don't know. I've used it before and I prefer the H&B version. In my opinion, it doesn't melt as easy and smells better.

Yes, I know I blatantly disregard my frugal roots.

Allow me my snobbery!

Wednesday 20 April 2011

The Twistout of Doom!

Kinda suits the title, what with me looming out of the darkness...rollers sticking ominously out of my hair....

So. A couple of weeks ago, I had a dance performance, and I decided I wanted BIG, massive hair that was within my (very) limited skills to do.

So I thought, "Hey! How about a twist out a la the Christmas Meal?" I'd done it before and I know it worked.

However, my timing was atrocious. I'd been too exhausted to do it the night before, so on the actual day of my performance I simply rinsed my hair and decided to use flaxseed gel to stick the twists together while they set and then put rollers on the end and seal with some Vatika Oil.
"Whee! Look at me! I'm PURPLE!"
"Hush up in the front!"

You can see the large amount of Flaxseed Gel that I used. Ew.

This is also the same day that my family were coming up. The idea of me as a student not having a laptop was not sitting well with them, so they bought me a laptop and then took on the 3 hour journey to come see me.

Can I just have a moment of silence to appreciate how awesome my family are?


Despite being awesome as heck, they are only human, so the sight of me in my lovely pastel bright rollers sent them into peals of laughter, even though it was under a scarf and hat.

Don't think Dorothy Perkins had this in mind when she designed this hat...
Plus, the blasted things kept falling off, even mid-photo!
 Basically, they were annoying me.

 I took them out, reckoning that the effects would not be so bad. Took them out, and fluffed and noticed that my hair was still damp. And not just a little damp or even on-the-verge-of-drying damp.

Like 65% damp (is that even quanitfiable? Pffft, let's pretend it is!)


WRONG. Not only did I suffer the oddest and flattest twist out thanks to my dousing my head in flaxseed gel (which is too good at its job of gluing my hair strands together), my hair shrunk. And there were knots.

Knots + fine hair = Breakage *Insert horror film scream here*

But, on the other hand, the performance was awesome despite me wearing grand dad ankle socks whilst dancing, a fact that is now forever preserved on Facebook.

In my defence... it was cold.

Monday 18 April 2011

A Blessed Simple Thing

Upon receiving a phone call from me where I was slightly upset (potentially on the verge of tears, let's not talk about that) about my loss, The Wonder Thing came straight over...

and he even bought me flowers.

Truly, he lives up to his name! 

Which didn't exactly help stem the (extremely mild) flow of tears.

And then, upon finding out that I was going to have to catch up on a few thousand words of my dissertation because I am a numpty who does not know the word 'back-up', as well as completing the entire thing, he made me a delicious Victoria sponge cake (sandwiched together with delectable globs of butter cream and jam) to keep me going ('cos I loooove the cake!).

It was the size of a dinner plate.

Would have taken a better picture if I hadn't been so eager to start on it...

Om, nom nom nom nompfh!

That was what it  looked like after the first day.

I don't have any pictures for the second day because, if I remember correctly, it was gone.

And my family came up with a new laptop, which I am currently typing on now, and removed the empty husk that used to be previous work companion.

Two words describe my life: Joyful and Blessed

And some blessings you've got to work for so like many of my peers, I'll be away from my blog hitting the books once again, but I've got some scheduled posts will to be going up, and I'll be popping back every now and then to see how it's going.

And commenting on other blogs in random, yet predictable moments of procrastination.

Monday 4 April 2011

Bee Mine Winner!

Okay. I have to admit that when I logged on and saw the final comment number, I thought it was a mistake and my dashboard was glitching.

After pressing refresh several  times, I realised it was due to the incredible kindness of JC from The Natural Haven by linking to this little giveaway! So I want to give a massive thank you to JC and a massive thank you to everyone who left comments - obviously, we are a bit giveaway starved over on this side of the pond. So I'm thinking there will definitely be more giveaways (probably after I graduate) so please look out for them!

I didn't know how to choose because I wasn't really expecting any interest. >.< I literally considered buying a sample for everyone who commented.
However, instead I copped out and went to and randomised a number.

The 18th eligible person on the comments list was : Rynae!

Thank you for taking part! Please e-mail your address to asimplething[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk by Wednesday so I can send off your prize!

See you guys next time!