Very spooky, trippy movie trailer from Finnish/Canadian Imaginaerum – a must see to watch at the movies on a massive screen I think! Not for the faint hearted though.
Not sure of release dates and such – looks like Germany and Finland so far, so keep an eye out.
All images from: Official site for Imaginaerum
I love Easter. Cool autumn nights so full of luxurious chocolate, toasted, cosy hot cross buns with butter, drinks and fun, yet it doesn’t have the high expectations Christmas has.
Have a wonderful and safe long weekend all ~ I hope you get to spend it with fun and lovely people, delicious food and lots of sunshine, or at the very least, put your feet up and forget about work and your troubles for a while xx
I didn’t realise that chocolate oats were a thing until I searched recently and found quite a few recipes. I think it’s inspired! This cacao flavoured, nutty, creamy breakfast dish is also very timely considering Easter’s just about upon us.
I love hearty, healthy oats and will always try something a bit different with them. Inspired by this recipe, these luxuriously flavoured oats are a wholesome and delicious treat for breakfast and will give you loads of energy throughout the long weekend.
The cacao powder brings the oat mixture to a silky texture, similar to custard and I really enjoyed the dark chocolate flavour combined with the subtle coconut.
So try them, I really can’t imagine any chocolate lovers turning this down and, as someone who finds it very challenging to even go a day without something sweet, I can honestly say I already felt like I’d had dessert and didn’t crave any more sugar that day.
It’s a bit sacrilegious I know, changing hot cross buns but … I always buy the fruit spice ones and they’re lovely, in fact I usually stock up around this time of year so I can have a few stored in the freezer. However, I wanted to bake some buns myself so thought I’d throw in a couple of different flavours, flavours I usually enjoy in a cookie.
They look a bit messy … how do people make super neat looking buns because I never seem to?! Respect. They taste lovely though so don’t let the appearance put you off, the cakey softness of these buns combined with sweet, chewy cranberries, creamy white chocolate and a hint of orange is wonderful.
I iced the crosses on instead of using the traditional flour and water mixture; I tried that once and ended up with huge thick crosses which ran into the dough and had a really chewy texture. A bit of a fail, so I copped out and made icing sugar crosses instead, which worked out really well because the orange flavoured icing is gorgeous. For something even more special, you could make sticky buns by increasing the amount of the icing and covering the whole top of the bun, instead of just the crosses.
I’m far from being any expert on baking bread however with my experiences re: kneading: go by the feel of the dough rather than the timing – this is better done by hand-kneading (and anyway, you get a good workout!). I’ve over-kneaded dough before, to the point where it felt hard and tight (this can happen using the hook attachment on a stand mixer). You’ve gone too far if this happens and the bread turns out dry and less tender once baked. I’ve never really under-kneaded dough but as I understand it, the dough feels too soft, the gluten hasn’t been developed enough and can turn out a flatter bread. An ideal dough should be smooth and spring back when pressed, but still be on the soft and warm side.
I’ll be doing some baking this warm weekend (cranberry and white chocolate hot cross buns hopefully! If they work out, I’ll post them soon).
Hope you all have a good one.
I spotted the Animal Print Shop via Nest Designs and A Cup of Jo recently. These delightful prints by talented photographer Sharon Montrose are so whimsical yet realistic looking, I immediately wanted one for myself, even though they’re ideal for nurseries and children’s rooms (although I love that it states ‘animal art for all ages’ in the blog header and I’m seriously considering buying one; which one though? So hard to choose).
And what is it about zebras?! I saw some on David Attenborough’s Africa recently and they fascinated me; they have sort of a mythical unicorn quality.
And I love that there’s a roo!
There’s nothing like baby animals, or any animals really, to bring out the warm and fuzzies is there? One of these prints would be wonderful for a gift, so if you have anybody in mind, have a closer look by clicking on the images to take you directly to the link (and they ship internationally).
(edit: I just purchased two – the zebra and the goose, can hardly wait to receive them!).
Use of images with kind permission from the Animal Print Shop.
As I discussed in my previous post for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, I’ve completed my first book and review.
At first, this book reminded me very much of the years straight after uni; old rental homes in disrepair, post uni friendships, having too little money, the death of a parent from a debilitating illness and my first live in relationship. Reading about the character’s journeys to work brought rushing back to me that summer after graduating from university in my first professional job, walking to the PA Hospital from the train station, feeling hot and anxious at the day ahead.
Brief summary and pros:
Easy to read
Dealing with loss
The life of a 20 something uni grad in a capital city confronting the realities of a challenging job
Realising the weight of responsibilities not had at university
Feelings of failure, both real and imagined
Idealism of university giving way to cynical, defeated acceptance of how things really are
Not seeing your crew as much, people growing apart after halcyon days of uni where there were endless possibilities and intense closeness with friends
The sudden impact of being confronted with your own mortality while looking after a frail, elderly person; I remember this so well from my early nursing days
However, despite many good reviews, I didn’t really enjoy this novel as much as I’d have liked, apart from a fairly fleeting moment at the start where it felt relatable. The protagonist was self absorbed and seemingly brimming with confidence – it’s difficult to feel much for a character who doesn’t appear to have any unmanageable problems.
Also, a couple of things stood out to me in a jarring way, an example being a description of Holly’s appearance as a ”size 8 body with DD breasts”. Really?! There are other, less judgmental ways of describing a person’s appearance – slight, thin, petite, large breasted come to mind, it’s bad enough we continue flogging that dead horse of describing women by their fashion size in the media (and socially, for that matter) but now it’s reached youth oriented literature. While we’re on that subject, this book is classified in the fairly recent ‘new adult’ genre – is it that necessary to have a different label for novels which focus on such a small demographic? 18-25 year olds are adults after all, who can appreciate any novel and while I understand the unique experience of leaving uni or high school and starting work and life in the real world, there’s not really enough there for a whole new label; clearly a marketing tactic.
It’s not that I can’t appreciate movies/novels about younger people and their life experiences (as I myself have experienced them in the not-t00-distant, ok well maybe a little bit distant, past), even teenagers. Two fantastic examples with flawed yet likeable characters (and in fact two of my favourite Australian novels), are Looking for Alibrandi and Queen Kat, Carmel & St. Jude Get A Life, however Holier than Thou was difficult to take seriously as there was no real substance or depth and … I just didn’t like the main character. Yes, she was supposed to be holier than thou and is described that way various times throughout the book, but I really feel there needs to be something relatable, sympathetic and appealing about a character and I wasn’t feeling it with Holly.
I just couldn’t empathise with Holly’s journey. I think this is one of those novels which would appeal only to that particular youth-oriented demographic; in spite of (or more likely because of) that, I’ll be expecting a movie adaptation down the track.
Book cover: Holier than Thou, Laura Buzo, 2012, Australia
To celebrate this year’s St Paddy’s Day, I thought I’d make a hearty beef stew with Guinness. It doesn’t get more Irish than that hey?!
I’ve never made one with a soda bread crust before (although I’ve made soda bread and am mad for it) and thought it looked really interesting. It was super easy but I did change quite a lot; I don’t eat lamb for example, so used beef and thought I’d throw in a bit of Parmesan for the soda bread and a couple of other things.
I loved using Guinness in this recipe as it’s wonderful for slow cooking. I actually prefer it to red wine for beef casseroles, as it’s slightly thicker, darker and the flavour isn’t as strong as red wine but still makes for a rich casserole. The crusty, savoury bread was delicious as an accompaniment baked on top of the flavoursome beef and as you eat it, it soaks up the thick sauce.
However …. we seem to have misplaced Autumn this year in Australia so it was a bit warm for slow cooking and bread baking. Still, it was well worth it.
I have my hair coloured and foils placed in every few months or so to lighten it, which is sort of normal and boring. I always wanted to try a more unusual colour but like most people, my work got in the way of that. I envy those free spirits like my mother and aunt, who do what they like, not what’s expected of them.
When I first started nursing in the late 90s, I remember quite a few fellow nurses and friends with visible tattoos and piercings (hey, it was the 90s), which were considered quite controversial by admin, although the patients didn’t seem to mind. I never knew why it was a problem because they were wonderful people with good personal hygiene, common sense and most importantly, skilled professionals who looked after people’s health and wellbeing who just happened to like a bit of ink and whatnot. Working in the corporate sector in more recent years, I’ve found coworkers are far more conformist and … not as much fun actually.
Like it or not, our appearance puts out certain messages which affects others’ perceptions of us. When I was a nurse I used to wear Doc Martens to work, sometimes trainers, which never failed to inspire an eye roll from a passing manager and I was even told point-blank not to wear them sometimes (I took no notice, hurrah for trade union occupations).
I’ve often wondered why we go along with the social rules regarding appearance (or any socially deemed law for that matter). I read somewhere (and find this fascinating) that we’re three meals away from anarchy - judging how some people behaved in our recent worldwide natural disasters, I can’t say I disagree. Although it’s interesting that most of the time (natural disasters included), people do the right thing.
Maybe the world might be a bit happier if more of us felt we were able to express ourselves in a genuine way?! If your doctor or accountant had a shaved head and a visible tattoo would you think less of their skills?
Anyway, on that long winded note, have a lovely weekend!
I heard the Daniel Johnston Life in Vain cover at the end of Girls the other day and really liked it.
Image from: Album cover Set Sail Towards Hell, 2012, Cameron Boucher