It’s been a while…

So in my first post I actually admitted that I was awful at keeping up to date with blogs, so here’s the first example. I don’t know exactly how long it’s been, but it feels like it’s been forever since I actually last updated my blog. I guess I’ve just been really busy with my work, and just obsessing about certain pieces that i’m working on for uni. It all seems really crazy to me. Like, one week I’m like I hate this whole thing, and then the next week I just can’t sleep for 3 days because I’m up all night writing.

As usual I have no idea where I’m going to go with this post so I’m just going to start with this… I went out of the house today. I mean, not just to uni, but I actually left the house and went into town. I bought some brownies, and took myself out for lunch, and generally just spent way too many hours in second hand book and record shops trying to work out what I wanted to buy. It was just so refreshing. Normally I just sit at home and sleep, or write, but today I did something else! I actually surprised myself for once. Going out is never really a thing that I do, but I have to admit, it shocked me how much I enjoyed it. It was just so nice to spend time with myself outside of my bedroom.

You see, if I do go out it’s normally because I’ve made plans with other people, and then I feel like I have to. Today, it was just so different, because it was me who decided that I would go out. Don’t judge me, but friends outside of my housemates aren’t really things that I know how to deal with. I mean, I love spending time with them, but I am one of those people who would rather just spend time alone, and so today was the perfect time to spend some me time. It made me re-realise just how fun it was to spend time outside of the house. I might even do it again some time soon.

Part 2 of this post.

So I’ve called this part two, because it’s completely separate from the first part. I just wanted to say that I’m still working on my fantasy piece (GO ME!) It’s really surprised me that I’m still into it, as normally a week tops is how long my mind actually carries on caring about something. It’s really rare that an idea sticks with me longer than that, and yet I’m still getting more and more excited about it by the day. It’s just so nice to still know that I can become absorbed in something over a ‘long’ time frame.

Part 3…

I’m just going to put this here. I was going to submit it to see if I could write some articles for EliteDaily or something, but I found it hard to right on anything original as everything seemed to have already been dealt with on the website. Here we go…

10 Signs that You’re the Child of Your Uni House

So you’ve found yourself somewhere between the beginning and the end of your uni career and your sitting downstairs watching Netflix yet again while your flatmates are hiding away doing the work for tomorrow which you really should have already started. You’ve probably not moved for a couple of hours so they decide that it’s time for an intervention. They turn off the internet and you go stumping into the next room: ‘WTH was that for!’ They look at you for just a second, a demented smile crossing their face – ‘Just go and get on with your work, or else it will stay off all night!’

‘You’re not my mother,’ you scream as you leave the room.

‘Am I not?’ they reply with mock sarcasm. ‘Then why does it always feel like I am!?’

 

Here are just 13 signs that you are the child of your uni house.

  1. You are constantly behind with your studies, but never really understand why.

I mean, it’s not like everybody else actually has more time than you – they’ve just learnt how to manage it better.

 

  1. You spend about 80% of your money on pizza within the first month, and then expect the other housemates to just ‘lend’ you the money until next student finance.

 

Why is pizza so expensive anyway?

  1. You have the biggest room. That was just expected. I mean, why should you have the smallest room? Nobody even seemed to put up a fight – it just so wasn’t worth the tantrum you would have pulled if you didn’t get the best room!

You have the most things anyway, so hey, they can just deal with the cupboard under the stairs or whatever…

  1. Despite having the biggest room you’re belongings are just everywhere. They’re in the bathroom, they’re in the front room – there’s just not enough floor space in your room to contain everything so why even bother…

I mean, nobody notices anyway, sooo……

  1. Sometimes you feel that you should tidy up, but then you just get distracted by that new episode of some show that you forgot about like 3 months ago, so you just don’t have time!

I’m just going to live in my own filth, and if anybody moans they can just go away.

  1. You constantly get told of for saying stupid or insensitive things…

“But it was important bitch!”

  1. You’re still waiting for the ‘adult’ switch to turn on in your brain, and you just have to make sure that everybody completely understands that this is the reason why you haven’t ‘grown up’ yet.

I HAVE A REASON FOR ACTING THIS WAY.

‘Yes, we’re both 20, and yes, you did the dishes yesterday, but I just don’t feel like being an adult today.’

  1. You find yourself constantly reading children’s and young adult fiction, because everything else is just too complicated for you to understand.

I don’t really care that you want me to have read Phineas Finn by Monday, I’m still reading about Mr Majeika, so I won’t have time.

  1. Sometimes you just really can’t deal, so hide in your duvet fort and wait for the day to end already!

If I can’t see them, they can’t see me…

10. You often find yourself buying all the things that your mummy wouldn’t let you buy before, just because she said you couldn’t when you were younger – ‘I AM AN ADULT!’

I’m a full grown adult and I can chose whatever I want for dinner.

11. People who don’t really know you get constantly surprised when it turns out that you’re actually quite clever.

‘Shut up idiot. We got into the same uni, so obviously I’m not completely stupid!

12. You constantly distract your other housemates from their work by telling them every single thing that did or thought that day…

‘So today I caught a taxi to ASDA, and I was like where is the handle, and then he was like… some girl just pulled it off…’

‘Funny. Just so funny that I can’t even contain my excitement.’

  1. Despite all of this you know that your housemates all love you because you remind them of the fun they decided to throw away when they decided to grow up!

I mean, who else would want to dress up as elephants and re-enact Hufflalumps and Woozles at two in the morning?! You are just too awesome to grow up, and everybody knows it!

-x-x-

So in the original post there were pictures, and it was funnier, but yeah, I hope you enjoy! And yes, it did seem funnier when I first wrote it…

Sarah

 

 

 

It’s been a while.. and by that I mean about a week…

I’ve been ridiculously busy this week, and I just wanted to post a kind of update. I am so excited at the moment. I have just started writing a fantasy novel, and although I’m so worried about how I’m actually going to make it work, I am so ready to try and work it all out. I’m so excited about this world, and the depth of the politics etc.

I just thought I’d pop up and just mention this, and just say that I’m actually so preoccupied with the whole concept right now that if this continues then I probably will just be in a complete other world for several months to come…

Anyway, I’m so happy that I’m suddenly so into a certain genre we’re doing at uni. I mean, it feels so great to kind of have that ‘omg this is so brilliant’ moment again, because I kind of lost it for a while.

Sarah

 

P.s. Does this even count as an update?

So… Uni Work…

I spoke to one of my uni friends today about this blog, and she said that I should add some of my own work as well… So here we go. This is the beginning of a piece I worked on in children’s writing about refugees.

-x-x-

It was nighttime when we came off the plane. Mumia smiled at me, holding my hand so that I didn’t get lost amongst the crowds of people returning to their Mumias and Babas.

“New beginnings,” she whispered quietly.  I looked at her, and saw sadness mixed into her smile. The truth seemed ‘to hit her like a bus’. There was only us. I had lost my own Baba somewhere on the journey, and so we were left here alone to start this new life. I was scared, but I felt that I couldn’t show this even to her. I had to be strong. That had always been what people called me: the strong one.

As I think about all my old friends, I really want to cry. I probably won’t ever see them again. Many of them left at the same time as us, but one by one they seemed to disappear into the night. Mumia says that I’ll make new friends, but I’m not too sure. It took me all my life to make my old ones, so how can I find people to replace them just like that. As I look up at Mumia I see that she’s looking around for something. Not knowing exactly what I’m supposed to be looking for I start to stare around the airport as well. Somehow copying her makes me feel a little bit calmer. My eyes wonder towards a sign: ‘L-E-E-D-S B-R-A-D-F-O-R-D AIRPORT.’ I can’t help but smile. Mumia has told me that we’re safe now. That they’ll be no more running. No more hiding.

She looks down at me, squishing my hand slightly to try to comfort me. ‘I’m fine,’ I say, trying to reassure her that everything is going to be okay. I don’t know whether I sound very convincing, but it’s the best I can do. She leans down to kiss me on the forehead before looking me in the eyes:‘We’re the lucky ones. Everythings going to be okay.’ I can’t tell whether she believes it or not quite now, but soon we’re walking towards the ‘departure lounge.’ ‘They’ll be waiting for us,’ she smiled. I have no idea how she can put so much faith in these people. We’ve never met them before. I was always told not to talk to strangers, but now I’m just supposed to follow her into a car with a whole group of them? I can’t help but smile up at her. She laughs nervously like she knows exactly what I’m thinking.‘Things have changed my airtafae.’

As we walk hand in hand through the departure gate there are even more crowds of people. Some are doing exactly what we’re doing, just standing still – trying to take everything in. We don’t have long to do this though – no time to readjust to all the different sounds and faces.

‘Almasi,’ a voice much louder than the crowds of people shouts across the lounge. ‘Almasi family,’ he repeats again.  He’s even holding a card with our name on it. I looked up at Mumia and can see her happiness. For the first time I realize that she had never really believed that somebody would meet us at the airport. That was something that we had learned on our travels to here: you can’t trust anybody.

We walk up to the man quickly, still holding each other closely. Most of our fears seemed to disappear for a second, but I’m still thinking about Baba. Almasi family didn’t quite describe us anymore. Maybe he should have just said… well I don’t know what he should have said, but really there was only me and mumia. We’re only a part of the Almasi family.

But anyway, that doesn’t really matter now. We approached the man, and soon we were in this car. Then we were going down this street, and then this street, and it was dark so I couldn’t see where we were exactly going. I somehow felt safe though, even though I had no idea where I was going. ‘We’re going to our new home,’ mumia said as she brushed the hair away from my face. It always amazes me how she always knows what’s on my mind. I can’t think of anyone better to start this new life with, I just wish Baba was still here.

Suddenly the car stops, and this is where it will really begin. The man leaves the car, opening the doors for us. It’s starting to get a little bit lighter now, so I can see the general outline of a house in front of us. This is it. This is where we’re going to live now.

We follow the man up the little step towards the house, and then the door is unlocked and we’re inside. The lights switch on, and suddenly the whole house seems so bright that I can’t see anything.

My eyes quickly adjust to the light, and then I can see everything. We’re in a small sitting room. One sofa, one chair and a t.v. I look up at my mumia, and I can see everything that she’s thinking. It’s not exactly what we had had at home, but at least it was ours. We had somewhere to stay, and to be safe. As the man left we sat not on the sofa but on the floor, holding each other closely. We both cried, and I don’t think either of us knew whether it was happiness and relief, or sadness for those we had left behind.

This was it, our new start. In a few days I would start school, and mumia would have to start looking for a job. Right now though we pushed those thoughts to the back of our minds, and just concentrated on the fact that we were safe and together.

-x-x-

Obviously this is a first draft of a first idea, but I hope you can see what I was trying to do. I’m actually interested in trying to extend it for my coursework, but as usual I’ve got so many ideas flashing through my brain that I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, for now until next time.

Sarah

The Big Scary F Word…

Well now I’m in third year I’m constantly thinking about the same thing over and over again. By this, I’m talking about the future. That word that people in the first and second year kind of always talk about, but we never really expected to come around so fast. I thought I had it all sorted out, that I would just wait this degree out and then go and teach at a primary school. Then uni happened, and I suddenly understood that that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I suddenly refound my love for writing etc, that I had constantly pushed aside out of fear. I really wanted to do my own thing.

In reality my dreams of being a teacher had probably been mainly down to looking back at the people I had admired when I was younger, and how I wanted to be like them when I grew up. Well, that and the fact that I just wanted to go back to school, and just play heads down thumbs up with all the children. The whole idea of actually being the grown up in the room terrified me, and when I asked lots of people, they just couldn’t imagine me being a teacher. It was about then that I decided to try and work out what else I would do with my life. This is an issue that I’m still trying to face now, and it’s getting to a point where in my head I need to decide like right this minute, and actually stick to it. I swear it shouldn’t be this hard. I speak to all my friends, and they’re just like ‘I’ll think about it later” but that just doesn’t work for me. If I don’t have a long-time/mid-term plan it stresses me to the point where I can sleep at night, and I just turn into a zombie.

I mean, I kind of have the idea that I can do anything I put my mind to, but at the same time I worry about this continuously. I mean, I’m very good at starting things, but I’m never really good at finishing them. I mean, I mentioned in an earlier post that I would love to do music or writing YA for a living, but really I’m worried that I won’t actually be able to ever do this, as I still doubt myself so much. It’s like there’s this devil continuously on my shoulder just telling me that I won’t ever be able to do that. I mean, I have stories to tell, I just find the sitting down and actually writing it all a very difficult thing to do, because of the whingy spoilt brat which my brain has turned into. It wants to know how this is exactly going to help me with my life, and just continuously asks for proof that it will do what I’m hoping it will. Unless I can do both of those things, it just won’t go away.

I worry constantly that I’m not as good as everybody else, and peer review just stresses me out even more, as I can clearly see that I’m not as good as everybody else. Anyway, that’s not really where I’m going with this.

I just wish I could have a clear idea of what I will do in the future, or to just forget about the fact that the future even exists. Grr… I might as well try to get to sleep, because it’s not like I’m actually going to find the answer writing things on this blog.

Sarah…

Cooking Book Recipe

So for one of my seminars today I was supposed to write an introduction and a recipe for a ‘new cooking book.’ I went with the whole cooking should be fun idea, and wrote a recipe which I cook often myself. I was actually really proud of it, and for once was actually looking forward to peer review. Well, I would have been looking forward to it, but then I got an email from our teacher. Our seminar was cancelled. I’m just going to put it up here, and then at least somebody might see it.

-x-x-

I know what you’re thinking. This is just going to be the same as all those other cookbooks which have been left untouched upon your shelves. They’ve got it all, the pretty covers, the delicious food, the household names which we all admire, but they all seem to have forgotten some critical facts: cooking can actually just take up too much time, or money, or to be frank, who eats duck d’orange on a regular basis? It can just get so boring looking through recipe books of food which looks delicious, but also in a way seems like something you would never actually eat, or even attempt to cook! This book is nothing like those other cookbooks, and when you read it you will instantly see why!

We’re injecting the fun right back into your relationship with cooking! This book is the jam that makes the donut, the chocolate that tops the eclair!

I’m not asking you to read this book, I’m just telling you that you should.

It will literally change your attitude to cooking, and to take the first steps in improving your entire life!

It goes back to those childhood days where many of us would get excited about cooking. We’re bringing back those feelings of joy when the only thing you ever had to cook was brownies and cakes. For us now though, there’s an added bonus: we’re all adults around here, so there’s no need to get a grown-up to look over our shoulders anymore! We can cook whatever we want, and with this books help, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing!

Recipes that you want, and that you will eat. Cooking shouldn’t just be a necessity, it should be fun!

 

P.S. Just a quick warning for those ‘it’s got to be completely home-made’ people out there – this is not only a fun cookbook – it’s also a quick-meal cookbook! I am warning you there are many cheats included in this book. Why make everything from scratch when it’s so much easier, and quite often cheaper to cheat? The meals are just as delicious as completely homemade, and can be whipped up in half of the time! Now I don’t think you ever thought that you would find a cookbook like this!

 

 Bottomless Chicken Puffer Pie

Serves 4

 

I know you’re probably going to be quite astonished when you see this. Who ever heard of a chicken pie being a quick meal? You’ll be surprised just how quickly you can whip this up, and as soon as the pies in the oven you can just go and sit down with a glass of wine, or a pint, and relax until it comes out all beautiful and crispy!

Prep Time: 15mins tops!

Cooking Time: 15mins

Total Time: 30mins tops

Oven Heat: 200c

Equipment:

Medium Saucepan

Pie Dish

Rolling Pin

Knife

Pastry Brush

Essential Ingredients

250g Chicken (If precooked even quicker!!)

1 Standard Can Chicken/ Mushroom Soup

1 pack Puff Pastry (if rolled yet again even quicker!)

1 egg/water

1tsp Oil

Small Handful Flour

Optional Ingredients

Pick any 2 or more to bulk up the pie (no weighing even required!)

Mushrooms

Peas

Sweetcorn

Cooked Ham

Onion

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Add oil to saucepan, before adding chicken.
  3. Cook chicken until white, then add soup and your optional ingredients.
  4. Mix all the soup, chicken and optional ingredients in together. Leave simmering.
  5. Put a small handful of flour on the top, and smoosh it around. Place pastry block on top of floured surface.
  6. Roll out the pastry to the right size for your pie dish.
  7. After rolling the pastry, pour the chicken mixture into the bottom of the pie dish.
  8. Cover pie filling with the pastry, cutting any excess off – you can always reroll this extra pastry and make pretty decorations for the top.
  9. Whisk the egg, and brush it over the top of the pastry with the pastry brush.
  10. Pop the pie in the oven, and go sit down and pour yourself a glass of wine/grab plates and cutlery.
  11. After the 15mins (or when the pastry is golden) remove the pie from the oven.
  12. Serve, and enjoy the look on your guests/family’s faces as they taste your amazing pie!

Added note: This recipe is even better if not serving anybody else, as this meal is delicious cold the next day, or can just be warmed up in the microwave! Go on, treat yourself!

 -x-x-

So yeah, that was the work which I would have submitted if the lesson hadn’t be cancelled. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you do fancy cooking the pie, it is delicious, and is really quick and easy to cook.

Sarah

Coping Methods: ADD and Uni

So, in my first post I mentioned that I would probably end up speaking about how my own personal ‘mental health’ has affected my time at uni, and so I thought I would explain a little bit more about exactly what I ‘have’, or rather one of things which I ‘have.’

I have no way to word it other than ‘have,’ but really I wish I did, as it’s not so much something I have, but a part of me.  If anything, it’s something that I own, that each and everyday I think I might have paid a little bit too much for, but still couldn’t imagine living without, as its so intrinsically a part of me. I love it and hate it at the same time. It’s always been there, and although it apparently makes my life harder than the ‘neurotypical person’ I honestly wouldn’t wish to be ‘normal.’ I mean, what does normal even mean?? This is me we’re talking about, so why would I wish to change the person I know and love the most in the world.

Btw, sorry for the repetition of ‘have’ in that last section. It’s ridiculously early and my brain just isn’t working yet!

I’ve just realised that I’m yet to mention exactly what I’m talking about, so here we go. I have (and have had for the whole of my life) Attention Deficit Disorder. If you’re not quite sure what it is imagine ADHD but a little bit calmer. I know that most people associate it with ‘naughty’ children, but really it’s way more than that. I’m not a scientist so I can’t explain exactly why it happens but my brain just can’t seem to concentrate on many things as much as other people can.

It’s like a switch just turns off in my brain. It could be 15 minutes into a lecture, or even a minute into a conversation, but after that switch has gone I just can’t pay attention – no matter how much I try. It can be so frustrating, and it only seems to have gotten marginally better since growing up. My brain literally seems to just have the attention levels of a young child.

It can be so frustrating, but since my formal diagnosis last year I’ve found it so much easier. The uni is aware and I have been provided with a dictaphone, which records all lectures, so that if I zone out I can listen back at a later date.

Even better is that it has helped me fully understand why I acted in certain ways, as before I just thought that I was ‘stupid’ or ‘lazy’ or just plain annoying. If you have ADD or ADHD you might recognize the kind of things I’m saying, so for me my formal diagnosis didn’t mean that I was being labelled, it just meant that I had the explanations for certain behaviours in my earlier years. By that I mean I was that child that you just wouldn’t be friends with. When explaining what I was like at school my housemates have actually told me that in so many words 😉 But anyway, I suddenly understood why I had been so disruptive – put simply I couldn’t concentrate. This would lead to me getting bored and ‘playing up.’ I’ve also been told extra things about ‘high intelligence’ and the work being to easy for me, but I’m not going to blow my own trumpet 😉 haha. That’s just not the type of person I am.

I said at the beginning of this post that I had come up with coping methods for uni, so I thought that I might share them, in a hope that it might help somebody else. Be aware though that everybody works differently, so although they work for me, they might not work for you. That’s one of the great things about life: our minds all work in different ways. (Sorry for the cliche!)

Coping Methods:

  1. Dictaphone

I mentioned it earlier, but I was given a dictaphone by my uni to help, and this has been a wonderful tool. I mean, another way that my ADD effects me is that I’m totally disorganised, and I keep on forgetting it, but for the lectures I have recorded this has helped me soooo much. I mean, I might not have actually listened back to them, but the fact that my lectures are recorded if I feel the need to go back over them really helps.

2. Detailed Essay Plans

My brain gets distracted easily, so although I understand what I need to write I always find this so hard to do. When I got to uni it became clear to me that my essays would always start off okay, but then end up going off on tangents (much  like my brain.) I found that the easiest way to deal with this was to write the most detailed essay plans ever. Like, they start out by me just bullet pointing 3 things that I want to include, and then I add the sources which I want to use.

It means that when I actually go to write the real essay that I have a clear and quite rigid structure which I need to stay within, so means that I don’t just go off on a tangent that has nothing to do with the essay question. My grades at uni went up from a 3rd in first year to a 2:1 in my second year when I started doing this.

3. Explaining to Friends and Course Mates

Now, I’m at a point in my life where I feel comfortable with telling people that I have ADD, but if you are not at that point thats okay. It’s not so much of a warning, but I kind of put it across as one (apparently…) but anyway, I’ve found that explaining my ‘condition’ to my friends has really helped them understand why I can’t concentrate on a whole lecture. It has meant that they don’t get offended when I suddenly switch topics in conversation, because they understand why I do it. It also means that they are more likely to let me borrow their notes, as they know I am not just being lazy. Being able to borrow notes for lessons I’ve zoned out in helps a lot.

4. Timetable of Work Hand-Ins and Reading

So I mentioned my lack of organisation earlier, so last year I found that writing up a massive weekly timetable of all work set for the semester help me immensely. I have these really brightly coloured pieces of paper, which list all the books and sources I need to read from Week One – Week Ten, so that I can double check on this when I feel like I’ve finished my reading for the week ahead. It also has deadlines on it, so I know when everything is due in. Again this has really helped me, as I often ended up forgetting what I was supposed to read, and then spend ages trying to work out exactly what it was that I was supposed to be doing, and then giving up and going on BuzzFeed or something…

5. Doing the Work I Feel Like Doing When I Feel Like It

So this is kind of a really important thing for me. I don’t know how to explain it really, but there will be times when one piece for uni seems so much more important/interesting for me than other things. I’ll obsess about these things, and can spend hours and hours on that one thing. It’s like that switch I was talking about has been stuck down with sticky tape. When I’m obsessed about a certain task I can’t concentrate on anything other than that task, and I even get annoyed if my boyfriend speaks to me in the middle of it. That is what I am doing right now, and nothing can get in the way. It literally feels like my whole life depends on that one task.

I’ve found that the only way to deal with this is to just get on with it. The task will end at some point, or I will eventually get bored of it, so there’s no point even trying to do something else, as I won’t really do that other thing anyway. I mean, at least I’m doing work, so I don’t think it really matters that I’m obsessing over this one thing way more than I obsessed about that other piece. Of course this is just personal opinion, when explaining this to other people they quite often can be like ‘but why. Can’t you just do something else?’ I’m like no, I honestly can’t.

Anyway, so I know this has been a really long post, which is kind of ironic as I’m talking about my ADD, but right now I am obsessing about this blog post. It’s kind of funny really, because when reading other peoples posts I normally switch off within the first couple of minutes unless it’s really interesting. Anyway, I hope this clears up a little bit about myself, and that it might eve help somebody out there.

Sarah

WordPress can be so confusing… (Quick and Really Nothing)

So a while ago I started a blog on this account that I never really added anything to, and then when I decided to do this blog I tried to hide it, but it didn’t really work. After going through all the settings I couldn’t find any way to delete that blog without deleting this one, so I’ve had to transfer it to another account, and then delete the whole of that account.

I literally have never been so confused before. Anyway, as I said that this is a short post, it will be. I’m just letting everybody know that this is now my only blog, so if you followed the other one by accident (and I have no reason how as it was hidden, but apparently people were following it) then please just refollow me on this account.

Sorry for the confusion. I still don’t know if I’ve done this right….

Sarah…

UPDATE: I THINK I’VE MANAGED TO WORK IT OUT!!