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Category Archives: Day to Day Life

Just some general like hacks.

How to Win at Brownies

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Now, as much as I love talking about emotions and shit, this post is purely about some delicious chocolate goo. Even if you don’t really cook, just try this. Random baking that involves chocolate rarely goes wrong and it is a good little break off the computer and doesn’t take much time.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a terrible cook, but when it comes to brownies, I know what I’m doing, trust me. Now… I know this is going to seem like an exaggeration but…..I am in possession of the most glorious of brownie recipes that I am willing to share. I have (to this day) never come across brownies as good as mine. And I mean that. The problem is Brownies (at least over here) are too cake-y, this easy recipe gives time after time delicious chewy brownies with a crunchy crust.

So, here’s the list of ingredients:

2oz cocoa powder

4oz butter

1lb sugar

4oz flour

3 eggs

2tsp vanilla

See? Very simple recipe, it’s all about the ratios. Preheat over to 160C and leave for precisely 50 minutes. Make sure you put butter or something to stop it sticking to the pan. Allow to cool before cutting… Actually… You don’t really have to do that if you don’t have the patience (come to think about it I rarely do) it just means it will cut into proper squares, but so long as you don’t care about presentation or burning your mouth, once it’s out of the oven do as you’re pleased.

You can have two separate mixing bowls, one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry ingredients and mix them together at the end. You’re also meant to use a sieve… But I never do because I’m lazy. It works fine if you just plonk it all in a mixing bowl and attack it with an electric whisk. You can add what ever fun bits and bobs you like such as walnuts, chocolate chips, weed or even crack cocaine; the possibility are endless.

This recipe is one myself and my mother spent years trying to get right, every ingredient listed is listed because it works. Don’t forget to enjoy your brownies with a nice lovely pint of milk to get the best TBO (taste-bud orgasm) possible.

Happy Baking.

How To Win at Hot Chocolate

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The art of making hot chocolate is one that I do not take lightly. You may be out for lunch, or at a friend’s house and foolishly accept a cup of chocolately joy. “What’s the worst that could happen” you think, “Hot chocolate’s hot chocolate I’ll be happy with what ever I get” and then it comes to you; this watery brown mess of artificial sugar that was, you guessed it, made only on water. The shame, the horror. Hot chocolate made on water.

I am something of a hot chocolate snob. I was raised with hot chocolate of a very high standard from a very young age and have spent years experimenting and testing out various cocoa beverages around the globe.  All hot chocolates are different and people have different tastes, but there are a few things you should try and a few things you should absolutely never do.

I feel the first is obvious, don’t make water based hot chocolate. This is only acceptable if you are a fan of dark chocolate to begin with. A bock of 100% good quality cocoa grated into boiling water with a hint of chili powder can be amazing, but this is not the sweet chocolaty beverage most people associate with hot chocolate but it is still amazing. In conclusion, water based hot chocolates shouldn’t only be done with good quality and un-sweet ingredients.

The ratios when making hot chocolate with unsweetened cocoa powder is close to impossible to get correct so I eventually caved and resorted to using ready mix hot chocolates to avoid having to add sugar, sometimes it feels like cheating but then I taste that sweet beautiful drink and I know its not in vain. Green & Blacks do a really nice hot chocolate range (the orange one is yummy!) but Cadburys is your standard faithful drinking chocolate mix. Try and stay away from the ridiculously gimmicky ones (Of course there’s no shame in trying that new Wisp hot chocolate!) they tend to taste overly artificial.

I find the best is one-third water, one-third milk and one-third cream, this way it’s nice and creamy without being too sickening. If making for loads of people you’re best doing it the only fashioned way (on a stove) but sometimes you may have to resort to using a microwave because… well… it’s easier (even if it may give you a tail and other mutations), either way, you watch that bad boy like a hawk! NOTHING is worse than having your hot chocolate explode and having to wash the crevices of the microwave (ok… maybe a few things are worse but it’s still pretty nasty).

Experiment with your own secret ingredients (Mine’s hazelnut syrup), maybe mint? Vanilla? GO CRAZY! And, if you want something extra special, melt a square of your favorite chocolate bar in at the end. Simply delicious.

Hot Chocolate is probably one of the more complex of the hot beverages. Yes, tea and coffee follow certain rules, but they are task drinks that can be easily done if the basic instructions are followed (e.g. never ever microwave tea) but hot chocolate is different, making hot chocolate isn’t a skill, it’s an art form. Never make hot chocolate if you are not in the correct state of mind, love and care need to go in to each cup. Take your time making and drinking it and understand the care that must go in when others are making it more you and be patient.

So go out and experiment yourself! Come up with your own secret touches to making mouth-watering amazing drinks. Have you’re friends pupils dilate as they taste all the love you put into their drink, after all, the only way to really win at hot chocolate is to really care.

Words to Sound Intelligent (A collection of my favorite)

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Do you ever feel that people consider you foolish and uneducated? Well never fear! I have provided a list of words to help you seem intelligent.

Coruscate – To Sparkle (Verb)

Peruse – Read Carefully (Verb)

Cavort – Play in a lively way (verb)

Enshroud – To cover (verb)

Deliquesce – To melt away (verb)

Moil – To work hard/slave away (Verb)

Cynosure – Focal point of attention (noun)

Oenophile – a wine liker (noun)

Neonate – Baby under 28days (Noun)

Throng – Large group of people clustered together (noun)

Firmament – Heavens/sky (noun)

Derision – Mockery (noun)

Buccaneer – Pirate (noun)

Abecedarian – Someone learning the alphabet  (noun)

Numismatics – study/collection of coins and metals (noun)

Ailurophile – A cat person (noun)

Rime – Coating of frost (noun)

Brume – Fog or Mist

Avarice – Greed (noun)

Bauble –  cheap flashy jewelery (noun)

Exultation – Joy from victory (noun)

Pugilist – Boxer (noun)

Plethora – Abundance (noun)

Umbrage – Resentment (noun)

Ebullience –  Great Enthusiasm (noun)

Libation – Alcoholic Drink (noun)

Emollient – Something the softens (noun)

Idiosyncrasy – Characteristic particular in an individual (noun)

Fulingious – Smoky (adj)

Oneric – To do with dreams (adj)

Obstrepuous – Noisy, boisterous (adj)

Hoary – White or grey with age (Adj)

Minatory – Threatening/menacing (adj)

Tenebrous – Dark/gloomy (adj)

Temerarious – Foolishly Reckless (adj)

Vitreous – Made of glass (adj)

Crepuscular – Of/like twilight (adj)

Fugacious – Shout lived (adj)

Resplendent – dazzling (adj)

Sedentary – Characterized by a lot of sitting (adj)

Antiquated – To old to be useful (adj)

Indelible – Unable to be erased

Androgynous – Male and female charactistics (adj)

Loqacious – Talkative (adj)

Gossamer – Light/Flimsy (adj)

Livid – Enraged (adj)

Raconteur – Skilled story teller (adj)

Sumptuous – Luxurious (adj)

Desiccated – Dryed up (adj)

Impudent – Rude (adj)

Recumbent – lying down (adj)

Injudicious – Unwise (Adj)

Bacchanalian – loud, drunkenness (adj)

Torpid – Sluggish (adj)

Somnolent – Sleepy (adj)

Circumscribed – enclosed (adj)

Debonair – Sophisticated Charm (adj)

Munificent – Generous (adj)

Inundated – Flooded (adj)

Impecunious – Broke (adj)

Convivial – Friendly/Social (adj)

Hirsute – Hairy/shaggy (adj)

Egregious – Very bad (adj)

Opulent – Rich (adj)

Blithe – Carefree (adj)

Perturbed – Uneasy (adj)

Intractable – Stubborn (adj)

Evanescent – Fleeting (adj)

Virile – Energetic in a manly way (adj)

Puerile – Childish (adj)

Effervescent – Bubbly (adj)

Salient – Prominent (adj)

Plaintive – Mournful (adj)

Lackadaisical – without interest (adj)

Despondent – Showing Hopelessness (adj)        

Macabre – Gruesome (adj)

Slip these words into conversation and the impressed look on peoples faces is guaranteed!

 

How to win social networks (mainly facebook)

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Right so, after I post this I am going to do the brave, the unspeakable; I am going to share my blog on my Facebook. Why? Why would I open myself up to obvious embarrassment and potential ridicule? Well, I guess the simple version of why is as follows: for the craic. This blog is still extremely new but honestly I’ve loved writing all these random little posts so far. Trying to construct wide complex opinions into concise amusing little articles is what I find to be quite an enjoyable challenge.

The thing is though, I’m not really very good, but I thought; if writing has brought so much enjoyment to my life I may as well take the risk and share this joy with others. Share this joy with you. So go on, tease me, at least I know I’m being laughed at for being 100%  me. I guess I didn’t want to be one of those people who use the internet as a veil from society, So that’s why I took the brave step in sharing this on my facebook page, opening up to the 400 people who have a general idea of who I am as a person (and possibly the occasional stalker) as apposed to using a fake name and hoping the occasional stranger would have a look.

Facebook is actually insane if you think about it. In real-life people have a filter, they try and show themselves in the best light possible until they feel comfortable, you’d think that by having control of their own personal profile people would in turn try and do the same, by using select status’s and stuff like that. However, this is not the case. The majority of people truly are themselves online, perhaps too much of themselves; we often see a darker version of people as they feel safer to fully express themselves behind a screen.

When I was younger I used to think about how cool it would be to go to school reunions, but now with social networking the way it is it seems completely pointless. It’s crazy, I know more about people I don’t care about than I ever thought I would. People share too much on facebook, myself included, and why? The answer is simple – attention. I feel people constantly update their statuses to quench that ever-present thirst for attention and sense of importance we just can’t seem to shake. I know personally that if I’m going through a hard time I’ll end up posting more than when I’m happy, not necessarily sad things either, just- well, anything, something to feel I’ve gained approval I guess. I find the psychology behind social networking truly amazing and it’s honestly something I could study for months on end without getting bored.

Facebook has completely changed the world of dating. The whole getting to know you phase is gone and although this saves a lot of time (e.g. Oh… You like Black Veil Brides in a non-ironic way? I don’t think this will go anywhere….) I do think it’s kind of sad. The mystery and enigma of the human brain is broken down into a single web page. Technology is basically fast-forwarding human relationships; whether this is good or bad I just feel people should be aware of it.

Also, it makes falling outs and break-ups impossible. You can’t get away, even if you un-friend there’s still photos, it’s still available for viewing (because let’s face it; you’re going to facebook stalk them). Seeing all these photos of friends on a night out, when you weren’t invited, it’s upsetting and leads you to feel excluded and unloved, but we look through the album anyway. It’s as if our curiosity has beaten our desire to be mentally sane. The more time you spend looking at photos of people enjoying themselves, the more alone you will feel.

I think having a lot of “Friends” on facebook is a lot like hoarding. You know you don’t really know about 75% of those people, but you like having them there… just in case, at least that’s what it’s like with me. You don’t really care about your cousin’s ex girlfriend and her new puppy, but you keep her there in your friends list, in case she posts a status about free concert tickets, or you end up becoming co-workers and actually becoming friends, you don’t want to have to do that whole awkward “re-adding” thing.

So… That was a ludicrously long introduction, but here are a few things to help you win at social networks.

  1.  If you have all your networks linked, make it so they don’t post on your behalf, I’m sick of seeing constant Instagram updates on facebook, and tumblr things on twitter. You liking a photo on an app I don’t have should not be included in my newsfeed. That is all.
  2. Think very carefully about what you post, on facebook especially. So what if you are listening to a great song, does the world really need to know you have good taste in music? Leave a little mystery; leave something to talk about to newcomers. The amount of times I was about to post a status, realized how pointless it was and deleted it is actually kind of humorous. Filtering is key, if you can’t do that than get a twitter. (We all know that’s Twitters real purpose, to make people less annoying on Facebook.)
  3. Don’t change your relationship status without informing your family and close friends first. Seriously, I hate finding out about stuff like that online (okay, fair enough if I barely know the person…)
  4. Your, you’re, their, there, they’re. It’s not that hard.
  5. Stop sending invites to pointless things…
  6. If you’re good-looking try and have at least one decent picture available for public view to avoid the “I promise they’re better looking in person” sentence…
  7. No more vague I’m upset status’s. If you’re upset bloody talk to someone about it, don’t post some bullshit wish-y wash-y status hoping someone will ask what’s wrong. You’re more likely to get decent conversation with those who care by just being honest, without the use of social media.
  8. Only use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. What’s up with hashtags on Facebook now? I WILL NEVER ACCEPT CHANGE!
  9. Stop being ashamed of stalking people online. It’s fine, we all do it.
  10. Be weary and cautious that the facts you see on tumblr, twitter, 9gag, whatever, are not exactly coming from the most reliable source.
  11. Make sure you have a profile picture of you enjoying yourself with friends. You are 90% more likely to get asked out on a date if your profile picture is of you and your friends.  That’s not true; I just made that up, see above. Anyone can just do that. This isn’t a tip; I just wanted to make a point. Ignore 11 entirely, I don’t give a damn what your profile picture is, as long as there’s no genitalia it’s all good.

We live in a constantly updating world, one that we need to accept as normal (otherwise we’ll go insane), the best way to win online is to try your best to be careful with what you put out there. Every now and again go through your various profiles and delete what could be potentially embarrassing. Before posting anything think “would it be the end of the world if my employers/girlfriend/boyfriend/parent/whatever were to see this?” (Note: Being slightly embarrassed is different to being the end of the world.) I know all this is rich coming from me; the girl who has a blog, the girl who when upset will tweet it to the world, but I could be worse and, like in most areas of my life, it’s a topic in which I think a lot about and am trying to improve in.

Basically, you win online by not being a complete stupid annoying little shit (which I guess sometimes is harder than it sounds).

How to Win at Drinking

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Anyone who drinks has had at least one of those nights. You know what type of night I’m discussing here; the one where you drink too fast and too much, the one where you wake up in all your clothes with the feeling of scratchy vomit tickling the back of your throat, the one where you have that disgusting after-taste of smoke in your mouth (When you don’t smoke). Yes we’ve all been there and if you haven’t; give it time. Who knows though, maybe you can be one of those rare individuals who manages to go their entire life drinking while at the same time managing to never have a night where you throw your shame out the window like it’s a moldy banana at the bottom of your bag.

Perhaps it’s where I live why these nights are so common amongst the youth. I live in Ireland. People drink. A lot. Is it good? Probably not, but every country has it’s flaws, I’d rather live in a country that goes a bit over board on the celebratory drinking than one that decides to drug up anyone for any reason (*Cough* America *Cough*)

The concept of winning at drinking is really quite simple. Don’t make a complete fool of yourself, don’t get yourself in any harmful situation, don’t end up depressed and start crying to that person who rejected your advances (or something along those lines…), don’t throw up and most importantly – avoid having that hangover.

Of course these things are a lot easier said than done. I guess the only real way to win at drinking is to be able to go out and have a good night without the whooshing side effects that alcohol contributes. In fact I’d be all in favor for that! Go out, don’t drink, but have fun! Personally I’m not much of a drinker, when I do I have fun, and when I don’t I also have fun. Have I sometimes gone a tad overboard? Of course I have, I’ve been a teenager in the Irish city centre. Living in Ireland means the advice of abstinence goes down as well as a glass of UCT milk.

 If you want to get drunk, here are some tips to get drunk, the right way, where you still do fun silly things, but nothing to completely tear down people’s moral opinions of you. Where it’s still a slight hazy blur, but you remember (and didn’t throw up or pass out! WIN) and most importantly where you get absolutely locked but have the most minimalistic hangover possible.

 Inconceivable! You say (because you may have recently watched ‘The Princess Bride’) but there are ways, a few tricks I have learnt over the years and some that have been passed down by relatives.

 We’ll start from the beginning (which I hear is a very good place to start), before you even begin drinking. This is a phase many people over look, or do automatically without even realizing it. You’ve got to psyche yourself out for the night. Alcohol will intense whatever mood you’re in, if you go out kind of “meh, we’ll see where the night goes” you’ll end up in danger of being that depressed drunk (nay fun). Instead, no matter where you’re going, get your mind super pumped “I’m going to go out! And I’m going to get drunk! Not too drunk though, good drunk and I’m going to have so much fun!” you most likely will have a fantastic evening; I know personally this has never failed for me. Also, pro-tip, think of all the stupid things you could do (e.g., desperately talking to your ex, slapping and yelling at that girl you hate, kissing someone you shouldn’t etc etc), I mean all of them. Mentally preparing yourself isn’t just about getting yourself in a good mood and excited for the evening, its about understanding what social situation you are entering and what you should not do, before you start drinking say to yourself all the thing’s you are NOT going to do, with emphasis on the word not.

 Oh, and eat, I’m sick of people refusing to eat much before they go out because they won’t have to spend as much to get tipsy. Yeah you’ll get drunk quicker, but you are also more likely to get ill. Eat your carbohydrates like, don’t be a dope.

 So, now what? You’re pumped up, you smell like some luscious Arabian princess/prince and you have just the right amount of gel in your hair. You’re ready to go out. But drinks! From experimentation in the past you should be aware what alcohol agrees with your more than others so I’m not going to go in on the details about all that, I’m not going to tell your what to drink, but I do have two rules for you.

 One, don’t drink beer and cider. I learnt this the hard way and then the concept of a snakebite (half beer half cider with some black current on top) was explained to me, and it all made sense. These two drinks ferment in your stomach getting you drunker throughout the night without you even being aware of it. Some people can handle the snakebite, and it’s a good way to be a cheap date, but in my opinion just have beer and cider as far away from each other as possible on a night out.

 And two, beer and whiskey, pretty risky. Whiskey and beer never fear. A little rhyme my mother said to me with basic principals; start off with the drinks with the highest alcohol content and end with the weaker ones. After you already have alcohol in your system, you are not as able to determine the amount of alcohol consumed contrasted with tolerance. Wean down, don’t wean up. Trust me on this.

 Water, water water water water! Water is your best friend on a night out, don’t neglect water, water wants to love you, water cares about you, alcohol is just a cheap one night stand compared to water, but water understands, water cares, water will forgive you and be right there to fix the wounds that alcohol has caused on your poor dehydrated body. For every unit of alcohol consumed force (no matter what, force) yourself to drink at least a pint of water. “But won’t that make me have to pee a lot?” Yes. Most definitely, but I feel you’d find a few dozen trips to the bathroom is the much better option than hours of crippling pain the following day. Every time I have not done this are all the times I have ended up with a hangover. Also, in the morning, before you do anything else, the first thing you should do is consume as much water as humanly possible.

 Don’t get too drunk. Just have fun. Find out what type of drunk you are; if you are an aggressive/depressive/plain awful drunk then don’t drink. There are a good few people who just shouldn’t drink, you need to find out if you are one of these people early on and well… don’t drink. Sometimes to win at drinking is to acknowledge that you can’t win, and you beat alcohol by avoiding it, by not letting it beat you.

So, to paraphrase this as much as possible: Know your limits and drink water like it’s oxygen and you’re in a fish tank.

Ahhhhh, let’s just sit here for a moment and think about how much we all love H2O shall we? I don’t think people drink enough water these days as it is. Even if you’re not drinking alcohol you should try and boost your water intake. Basically, water’s great.