Tag Archives: food

Have your cake and eat it too

Dear T

I hope you had a great summer. I’m finally back in London for good after a summer away; I was lucky enough to spend a week in Lake Como, followed by a week in Amsterdam, followed by five weeks in America! It was amazing but it’s good to be home, with my earl grey tea and three pronged sockets and of course the Great British drizzle.

Speaking of which, while I was away I was absolutely distraught to realise that I couldn’t watch the first two episodes of the most quintessentially British series on television there has EVER been, that is, The Great British Bake Off (#GBBO). I love it with all my heart, but even so I am still genuinely stumped as to why this programme is so popular. Last year’s final pulled in around 15 million viewers, as many as the World Cup final! 15 million people watching a baking show?! A show where normal people – not even celebs – make bread and cake for a little old lady and a random scouse to nibble on. (This reminds me – check out my favourite Tumblr of all time)It’s more than a tv programme. It’s a way of life.

Anyway, yesterday I was a little depressed to learn that BBC have lost the rights to GBBO. Sources have said that the beeb were £10million short of keeping the most BBC-y programme there has ever been. That’s greed if ever I saw it (and I am an avid watcher of a baking show).

First we lose David Bowie, then Brexit happens, NOW THIS. 2016 has been a shocker for our little island.

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I know how u feel Mary

I wonder what percentage of the people crying this week about BBC losing GBBO also whined and moaned about the licence fee last week. And so we examine the gloriousness of the love/hate relationship between the people and the beeb.. I’m talking about the people who want to watch the programmes and use iPlayer with NO adverts, but find it absolutely outrageous that they are asked for a contribution. Because of course, everyone knows BBC have a giant money tree behind Broadcasting House that they use to pay for everything. They only ask for the licence fee to test how dumb the nation are so that they can eventually put their new reality tv show, Britian’s Got Talent Stupid into production. Funny how no-one makes a peep when Netflix or Sky ask for dollar, but when BBC food is taken down because the money tree is drying up, everyone is up in arms.

I’m hopeful it will be revealed that Boris Johnson is the chairman of Love Productions. It will explain the ridiculousness of the decision and we can all get on with our lives. But for now we are to accept that BBC haven’t been able to cough up the dough (tehe) and Channel 4 has gained the rights to GBBO. When I think of C4, I think of a middle-aged lady trying to be hip and ‘down with the kids’. I think of reality tv, nudity, and Hollyoaks. I can’t wait for the first C4 episode:


Previousy on GBBO…

Mel+Sue: Hello and welcome to GBBO. We have a sick show for you today.

Ad Break.

Mel+Sue: Welcome back. Here are some huns makin cakes using only ingredients they foraged yesterday.

Clip of cake. Product placement.

Ad Break.

Mel+Sue: Call in to vote for your favourite contestant. Here are the bakers and the numbers you need to call.

Ad break.

Mel+Sue: The votes are in. The person leaving the tent is……………..(long pause for tension building purposes)…… Simon. See u next week.

End Titles.


There hasn’t been a GBBO scandal like this since Deborah stole Howard’s custard and #BinGate. The icing on the cake (lol) is that now there are rumours flying around that Mary and Paul won’t return to the show. WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS END. I know it’s just a baking show. But for many of us it’s the best thing about bleak September, especially after the crumby year this country has had (sorry). I desperately knead to squeeze in some more baking puns, it’s the yeast I could do (so sorry).

What do you think? Am I being overdramatic?*

(ans: yes.)

Hopefully see you soon!

Alex xoxo

UPDATE: minutes after posting this Sue and Mel have QUIT Bake Off. My heart really cannot cope with anything else. I’m going to go and comfort eat some jaffa cakes.

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Hello again.

Dear Alex,

I’m back. Please don’t take my blogging absence as anything to do with your last blog; I thought it was absolutely fantastic:

“Who runs the world? Not girls, but the media and gender frameworks”

What a line. JUST FAB.

In fact, it got me thinking quite a lot. Enough to write two blogs myself, promptly decide I didn’t like them, and resume my social media silence. The truth is I’ve wanted to comment on quite a lot of what’s going on in the world, internationally, politically, interesting marketing and communications news at the moment. I mean, where do you even start? Over the last few weeks, ideas for blogs have come thick and fast – Taylor Swift’s latest addition to her campaign for Apple Music (wrote this one, may tweak it and post it in due course) the American presidential race, Hostelworld’s new campaign (again written, may post it later), Brexit issues and my internal rage over my own student loan and the state of them for future generations of students.

These have all remained ideas in my head or written in notes on my phone, and not appeared in the blogger sphere for several reasons. However, the main reason is that I have just been having too much fun exploring the place I have called home for six months.

The gorgeous Northern Spanish coast

It seems a cliché to say ‘time flies’ but for me this couldn’t be closer to the truth. How it is already June is beyond me. So this blog is an ode to everything I have discovered and done in Asturias and Northern Spain over the last month or so: a semi tourist guide of ‘musts’ to do if you ever come here. Whilst I am acutely aware of all that is happening in our world today, for the next two weeks at least, this is my world and I couldn’t feel any luckier that it is.

A true highlight of living in Northern Spain is the food. They champion the long lunch here and I’ve never paid more than 16 euros for a three-course meal with drinks and bread. I feel like I’m going to be in for such a shock when I get back to the U.K and have to pay £7 for a churro at Glastonbury. Plus as a general rule here, the grimier the place looks, the more incredible the food is – a rule that typically cannot be applied to places in the U.K.

A few weekends ago I went hiking with some friends along a trail called ‘Ruta de las Xanas’ (Xanas being the merpeople that supposedly live in the lakes in Asturias).

But at the end of the trail was an incredible view and a run-down restaurant where a little grandma asked us what we wanted to eat from the daily menu options, shuffled away and came back bearing giant cauldrons of food that was the best I’ve tasted. My friend’s Spanish boyfriend validated this by saying if the waitress is an old grandma, the food will be incredible. Evidently he wasn’t wrong.

In addition to the hiking I’ve had a pretty activity packed couple of months. I’ve been paddle boarding in the Pico de Europas (a mountain range) and kayaking and cycling in the most gorgeous scenery. I didn’t fall in once paddle boarding but did fall off my bike in spectacular fashion – classic me.


Plus my parents finally came for a visit last week and we spent every minute that they were here visiting the parts of this beautiful region that I’ve not been able to easily without a car.

The weekend before the last, we went to Bilbao and San Sebastian, stopping in little villages on the way and the way back, all along the Northern Spanish coast.
 It was beautiful.

Turns out, after having to persuade my Mum that we should stop in Bilbao before San Sebastian, that it was actually the preferred city of us both. The Guggenheim, ‘pastel de arroz’, the old buildings and the general feeling of life you get from a city, were all well worth the trip.

San Sebastian was a tourist haven, and this fact let it down for me. It’s saving graces were the beach, the view from the mountains that bookend the city and the incredible and imaginative ‘pinchos’ it boasts. Thank goodness I was with my parents because the ‘take your plate and help yourself’ attitude that most of the pincho bars have is dangerous for my waistline and my wallet.

Pincho highlights including croquetas and a chorizo cupcake 🙂

Now I’m down to my final 10 days here I can say that my bucket list of things to do is shrinking and my collection of unforgettable experiences mounting, with every one my spectrum of feelings about leaving point moving closer towards gutted.

Stay tuned for appearances of the written yet never seen blogs and most likely an emotional ‘Don’t make me leave Spain’ one too.

Lots of love as always, and can’t wait to hear about all your news too 🙂

T xxx

An Italian adventure and some big lemons

Dear T

Your Easter break sounded so fun – I hope you’ve had time to recover. We’ve both been lucky enough to enjoy a nice European holiday this Easter. I spent ten days in Italy, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go but never had the opportunity. Until now.

Where better to start the Italian tour than Rome. It felt to me like a city of a different era. In a good way. What I mean is that it didn’t particularly have the same modern, major, industrial city feels like say London or New York. I can’t recall a single time in those four days where a piece of Roman ruin or ancient architecture wasn’t rearing its old head just meters away from me. SO much to see so little time. We got as much in as physically possible without staying up all night. I’m talking the Colosseum, Forum, Jewish Ghetto, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s, Santa Priscilla catacombs, Villa d’Este, Hadrian’s villa, and what felt like 20,000 churches. And of course, I ate as much as I could stomach without exploding (when in Rome).

Here’s a nice photo montage so you get the idea.

From Rome we drove through Naples and onto the winding mountain roads of the Amalfi Coast. Our first stop was Positano where we stayed in the most magical surreal amazing dreamy place in the entire universe. Villa Treville, all I have done since the plane landed is dream about you. My life will never be the same again.

Villa Treville is made up of a number of little villas, all with stunning views of stunning things. You told someone what you wanted to eat and they made it for you. One of the showers was literally a huge room with water pouring from the ceiling. There were tunnels to the lobby that made me feel like I was in a James Bond movie. The sea changed colour every time you looked at it. There were chickens. I’m weeping a bit because I think maybe that this was the peak of my life.

Anyway, enough gushing about long lost loves hotels and back to the whirlwind tour. We spent a day exploring the buried city of Pompeii, as well as Herculaneum and Oplontis. I still cannot understand how well these remains have been preserved seeing as they were buried by Vesuvius in 79AD… The world really blows my mind sometimes.

I also spent two days lying on a yacht. I know. It. was. the best. I sang the Lonely Island all day long. We explored little caves and nooks and docked at Amalfi for some pizza and gelato on our first day, and sailed off to Capri on our second. A highlight was definitely the blue grotto. The entrance is so tiny you have to go in via a little rowing boat and lie down. I was terrified but once inside… there are no words. It’s totally worth cramming yourself in/giving oneself a mild heart attack. Google it!

I spent the last two nights in Ravello which is further up the mountain than Positano with, as you’d imagine, rather impressive views. There was an infinity pool at the hotel. Enough said really.

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So that’s it! I’m exhausted after writing that. And craving carbonara.

So after we’ve spent the last two blog posts exploring the world I’m a little reluctant to see what our next letters have to offer. Hopefully they won’t be too anticlimactic now reality has ensued with an almighty, harsh bang.

Here’s a picture of some big Italian lemons to kickstart us back into normality.

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Love from Alex xoxo

Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home

Dear Alex,

All it seems I do is apologise for the delay of my blogs. At first my delay was because I had very little to write about apart from my burning desire for it to hurry up and be the Easter holidays. Then just before said Easter holidays I found myself with a million blog ideas and no time at all. What with frantically trying to finish all my work and achieve everything I wanted before the holidays.

Which to be honest was a bit of a shame because I have re-found my love of TED talks and one of my blogs was about this. I downloaded lots for the many long journeys I took over Easter and loved every one of them. I feel instantly more knowledgeable, intelligent and reinvigorated with how fascinating the world is. TED satisfies my innate curiosity that sometimes lays slightly neglected and dormant when life gets rushed. The good news is that this curiosity is being placated far more recently thanks to the TED app – on the go genius at my fingertips.

This is just as well because I have been very ‘on the go’ lately. A jam-packed holiday seemed exciting when I was last minute planning it before the break. A little bit less so now that I am back at work feeling pretty exhausted. Although I do have some fantastic memories and for that reason I wouldn’t change it.

So it all began with a fleeting visit back to the U.K. Just enough time for eat all of my favourite foods and spend time with one of my favourite people (shout out to my Mum there). Then it was back on plane to Spain, this time joined by Helen – think you’ve met her before, she is at Cardiff, one of my ‘rowing friends’ as I remember you and Meg always called them :).


We started in Valencia where one of the first things we did was go on a walking tour around the city. I love walking tours – the guide could be telling you pretty inaccurate information but I like to believe the majority is the truth and they are always good showmen, so if nothing else it is always an entertaining experience.

We also went to the beach for a couple of hours every day. There is almost nothing better than staring out to sea, I kind of wish I lived a bit closer to a beach, they make me really happy. We also got bikes and cycled along once of Valencia’s main features – there used to be river, now dried up and an amazing park, ate paella and ‘fartons’ and drank ‘Horchata’ and ‘Agua de Valencia’.



Then onto Madrid, which is almost colossal status. According to my good friend Google it in fact has a smaller population density than London, but it doesn’t feel like it. Cue three days of the coolest hostel I’ve ever stayed in (loads of cool messages on the walls) museums, churros and tapas eating, a lot of walking on another highly entertaining walking tour, a couple of sunsets, more churros, a picnic in the park and a general good time in what according to our hostel is the sunniest capital in Europe.


Then all that was left yesterday was to part with one of my besties and get on over a 5-hour bus back to Asturias in preparation for work today feeling like I’ve doubled my body weight in amazing Spanish food, and a bit dejected to go back to reality after a pretty great Easter holidays. But then the old woman next to me insisted on sharing her sandwich with me as if she knew that all I needed was some Jamón Ibérico and I would feel better. To tell the truth, she wasn’t wrong.


Can’t wait to hear about your Easter in Italy.

Love T xxx

When two become one

Dear Alex,

I will forgive your blogging absence if not only because those photos are stunning and I’m proud of you for facing your fears 😉

In your absence I actually wrote 3 blogs! Of course I posted zero of them and I thought it would be a bit too much to post all three so I have combined two out of the three into one. That is why it is a bit lengthy this week and explains my blog title – borrowed from the title of the song by the oh so talented Spice Girls.

What have I been up to? Well, I have spent the last few weekends experiencing more of Spain. Two weeks ago I went quad biking with some of the teachers here. The views were amazing and I LOVED riding a quad bike. I’m really getting a taste of Asturias too as we had traditional Asturian food for lunch in front of this Roman bridge and glorious sunny weather. I had Fabada (like a bean stew) and ‘Escallopines con Cabrales’ which is meat with an Asturian cheese sauce – it’s lush.

  
Plus, this weekend I learned how to make ‘Churros’ which made the fat kid inside me jump for joy. I will have to make them for you when I return.

  
In other news, being the massive movie buff I am, have been avidly following the recent film awards including of course, most recently, the Oscars. I look forward to this time every year. I have always believed films trigger a particularly cathartic response, transport you to another place, visually astound you and have the power to make you think about larger issues. For these reasons, I love movies and of course why not celebrate it? Biggest news of the Oscars is of course Leo – after waiting almost the length we have been on this planet, he won the most coveted award among actors. Being a huge fan of Leo, this made me very happy and I also fully enjoyed the amount of Memes that littered the Internet following his win. I also loved that Brie Larson won, I have not seen her performance in ‘Room’ but I love that an independent film can trigger an Academy Award win. I’m also pleased for Alicia Vikander, who I just think is an amazing actress.

However, the extravagance of the Oscars and Leo’s, slightly short sighted, although carefully worded, speech made me pause for thought. As much as I love film, and Leo, I wonder if he considered the amount of energy it takes to make a movie when planning to address climate change in his speech. That in order to find snow for his latest film, they had to fly to Argentina, moving the whole production there, or that they had to drive 5 hours each day to location. That the Oscars as a production, including all the after parties use a huge amount of energy in lighting, sound, and electricity. That he flies on private planes and charters luxury yachts and I would bet good money he didn’t car share to the Oscars. He is right in that it is of course prudent that we listen to leaders who support humanity, but I couldn’t help feeling the innuendo of his speech was ‘Don’t do as I do, but do as I say’.

Although, I perhaps considered his speech more because I have been thinking a lot recently about the environment, my time in Fiji and natural disasters after the devastation of Cyclone Winston. A company very close to my heart, Think Pacific, have been raising money and delivering aid to all the islands they have a connection with and helping them deal with the aftermath. I learnt that only four houses stand in their entirety in Daku, the village where I lived, and the kindergarten we built is completely destroyed.
 I feel so sorry for the Fijian people who are so lovely and generous and have to deal with the destruction. Although I am wholly glad that bighearted companies like ‘Think Pacific’ exist to help in tough times. It is their kind of charity that makes me consider whether we are praising actors too much and the people that really deserve it too little.

Love T xx

(I have attached the link to this blog post in the hope that you or some of our readers may be interested in finding out more about the aid they are trying to provide and may want to help)

http://fijicyclone.thinkpacific.com

 

‘A Penis please – Oh no sorry, I mean snack’

  
Dear Alex,

I loved your last blog post and the very poetic way you used changes as a mirror of your life. I have listened to endless Bowie since his death; I had almost forgotten how great his music was. My favourite is ‘Heroes’, I always thought it was a wonderful message that anyone can be a hero if not ‘just for one day’.

I am far from heroic. However, being the only young English native teacher at school I have somehow adopted a kind of hero status for the younger pupils, mostly girls I must admit. They shout my name in the corridors and hug me whenever they see me. A teacher told me her class of four year olds asked where I was one lesson and one girl said ‘Oh no she won’t be here yet because she flies to school’. So apparently I have super powers too.

One super power I do not possess is the ability to speak in a different language. It’s not a classic super power like invisibility or super sonic hearing. However, my daily struggle of communicating in a different language leads me to believe people who speak more than one, especially if that one is English which I now realise is grammatically impossible, are super. Hence the title of my post, which is an exhibit of my daily struggle. Here the word for a snack and penis are strikingly similar sounding to me as a foreigner, however, needless to say I will not be making that mistake again.

In my defence I was exhausted. Which is my current state. I am exhausted when I wake up, exhausted at school and exhausted consistently. I have learnt my apparently pea-sized brain struggles to translate if I am tired. Plus, I know from our days working at a children’s camp, that the feeling of tiredness you get from working in a normal job is nothing compared to what you feel when working with kids. Today the struggle was real. TGIF.

I’m trying to try something different every week – last week it was wine tasting. I had a great time but to be honest I could not decipher which was meant to be ‘fruity’ or ‘full-bodied’ – all I knew was if I liked it or not. The Tapas that go with it were excellent – you would have appreciated it, a lot of cheese and Chorizo.

  
Tomorrow it’s another cultural adventure. Football is a major deal here and I’m going to a match tomorrow – I know very few rules, don’t know the team and don’t know the language. Despite these struggles and feeling pretty steadily out of my depth, life is definitely exciting here.

I hope the next chapter for you is just as exciting 🙂

Lots of love,

T xxxx

Hello, it’s us.

Hello and welcome to the first post of TwentyWise!

This has been a long time coming.

Alex and I first mooted the idea of starting a blog together way back in second year. But deadlines, sport, student media and life got in the way. Blog ideas faded into general conversations over cups of tea in our grimy student house. But as sad as it is that we are no longer housemates, we are still friends. Whenever I have a frustrating day of job searching, done something exciting at work, or contemplated how different life is as a graduate (and not a student) Alex is the person I want to tell. We have found conveying any sort of mood or emotion is lost via text and so we decided to set up a page of modern letter writing. What better way to do it than share it with you too, readers (hopefully!), who also have the same issues and joys?

With any luck you will decide to let a little slice of my and Alex’s musings into your life. Stay tuned!