Archive for November, 2012

A Quick and Tasty Distraction!

So, now that the year is slowly coming to an end, most people like myself (poor unfortunate students) are starting to freak out about exams and assignment deadlines.

Here’s another thing to completely add to the stress of not being able to finish on time!!

Recently, I have been taken to cooking and baking in general. And a bad habit of mine is that whenever I don’t want to go back into my dingy cave (room) to look at the computer screen and go over yet another journal article, I roll up my sleeves and bake mini apple pies.

This is great if you have puff pastry and apples lying around (which for some weird reason, I always do).

I got the recipe from Just One Cookbook. On top of what is added, I also added cinnamon (cause what’s apple pie without cinnamon? ANARCHY, that’s what).

I’m definitely a puff pastry fan now and will always have some lying around for one of those days when I realise that the apples sitting on the window sill are starting to go bad.



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It is pretty much a universal truth that receiving a package makes a person happy. It is very much like Christmas but at any time throughout the year. Even if that package is a package that you’ve been expecting. It is strange how much a small brown package in the mailbox elicits so much excitement and joy.

But that was not initially my reaction today when I slogged back from a 9am class, which I spent squinting at the projector screen (because that would magically somehow make me understand the nuances of the RDA cataloguing rules… ignoring the fact that if I squint too much, I am basically blind). I have taken a habit to open the mailbox every time I come back from class because the postman arrives ridiculously early in the mornings, much to the annoyance of most of my flatmates.

But that’s another digression that I will elaborate on on a later date.

I opened the small grey mailbox and aside from a couple of confidential letters for my flatmate, out popped a small, DVD-sized brown packet from Amazon with my name and address on it.

And I froze… and stared at it.

Now, I am guilty of online shopping. It is quite a bit of an addiction and the only thing that prevents me from going crazy on it is the fact that I don’t have a lot of money… nor do I currently need a lot of clothes (because what I have I’m happy with, not because I’m secretly a nudist. It’s not practical to be a nudist up here in Aberdeen). But I’m usually very aware of what I have ordered and at what kind of time frame I expect it to arrive. An anonymous Amazon package addressed to me?? Something I didn’t order??

The alarm bells went off in my head.

I’m not paranoid or silly or anything. I know it doesn’t contain anthrax… or any kind of biochemical terrorist type weaponry (cause why the hell would Aberdeen be on the target list…?) but what went through my head was ‘Oh shit, they sent me something by mistake. I’m going to have to go through lots of crap to see what happened. They’re probably gonna try and take money from me and I’m not in the mood to yell at some poor call girl on the phone about something that she can’t control or fix… This sucks.’ 

So… once I delivered the other letters to my flatmate, I went into my room and opened the rather plain, inoffensive box.


First thing I read on the spine of the DVD case is “Downton Abbey”. Now I know I definitely didn’t order anything of that nature because I don’t even watch that show.

And then the little message fell out.

It was an early surprise birthday gift from a close friend back in Vancouver.


It’s great to be remembered, even half the world away. And that completely made my Friday.

A pub quiz will finish it off but that brown package kick-started my weekend.



But I guess that means I now no longer have an excuse not to watch it.



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This post is a couple of days behind… but better late than never!

The month of November is here and it is quite possibly, my favourite month of the year. And no, not just because it is the month of my birth. Despite it also being the month of mid-terms and assignments leading up to the exam period in December, great things just tend to happen to me around this time of the year.

This year, the month started off with a really really good impromptu dinner. What started as a trip down to Saintsbury’s to get some bread turned into a great dinner when we discovered cheese. Or as my flatmate would call it, real cheese. She was ecstatic when she found the comté cheese and a block of brie soon followed after.  A couple of nice sirloin steaks, crackers, chocolate vanilla cheesecakes, and a bottle of wine in our baskets later, we had planned ourselves a massive three course dinner.

And so, we went home and a few hours later, started making an epic dinner for ourselves.

Brie, comté, and a bottle of merlot

Two sirloin steaks rubbed down and ready for the pan

Steak with a side of ratatouille


Then, come Monday, the City of Aberdeen has a fireworks show planned for the 5th of November bonfire celebration. For those who are not aware, the 5th of November is the celebratory anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ unsuccessful attempt to blow up parliament in 1605 (a more contemporary version that is probably more recognised is Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta). At first, we weren’t sure if we’ll go because of the trek out to the beach but when 6pm rolled around, our neighbour who had a car burst into our flat and asked if we were going. A flurried ten minutes later, we were all dressed for the cold and ready to leave.

The traffic was horrendous and we finally managed to find parking in a small lot near the beach (which was a miracle considering all the road were shut down). We trekked through the cold towards the large field beside the beach where the fireworks were going to be set off. And there, we found a space to stand and waited… and waited… and waited…

It was a good half an hour before the fireworks were to start and long before then, we were practically frozen to our places. Our feet were numb from the seeping wet and cold of the grass and we all promised each other to get thicker socks and better shoes over the coming weekend. And we continued to shiver all the way until a man announced the beginning of the fireworks. We counted down and the first firework display went off followed by several different renditions and popular tunes from the James Bond movie franchise to celebrate the release of the new movie.

It was, in one word, spectacular. I had to crane my neck up and my head back at some points since some of it went almost directly above us. The fireworks in Vancouver were big and spectacular but as it was always fired from the water, it always seemed much further. This was the closest I have ever been to a fireworks display and it was fantastic!

But the half an hour came and went and like the thousands of others who had shown up, we trudged our way through the crowd back to the car and sat shivering within in as we tried to coax some feeling into our frozen fingers and toes.

All in all, it was a great start to the month and I hope that the rest of the month is equally as spectacular to distract me from the growing pile of readings and assignments I have to get started on.




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