Amy Louise. 21. British.
The life of a University student as she tumbles down the rabbit hole, while living in the Wonderland of Oxford.
A third-year publishing student, still at University, but already has a job in the industry? Unheard of. Not quite! Last night I had the pleasure of attending my very first Christmas Work Party, and it happened to be at the Kassam Stadium, in Oxford. It was Alice in Wonderland themed, of course, and the props were rather impressive. First came the invite in the form of a playing card, which was soon followed by a very decorated stadium.
Once we had arrived, there were actors dressed as the characters, crazy golf, a sweet stall, bars, fairground games, and jenga! The hall for the three course meal was fully fledged in Mad Hatter Tea Party glamour, and there was a balloon competition that Team Brian (my team) came 2nd place in! There was plenty of wine, a bottle of presecco for the runners up, everyone was dressed in their finest black-tie attire, and the evening really was quite wonderful!
“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here.”
- Eve Ensler
If I were to say that balancing a job at Taylor & Francis, and completing my third year of University was ‘a bit manic’ - it would be quite the understatement. Nonetheless, even if I haven’t had too much time to keep up-to-date with this blog, I did manage to celebrate my 21st successfully this November! I now hold an abundance of happy memories, and lovely gifts to forever remind me of such a special birthday. The first was off my parents, a week or two early while I was at home:
My parents treated me to a box full of ‘21 things’ and ‘21 messages’, this included: champagne, truffles, flowers, after eights, marbles, cake, candles, party poppers, crayons, celebrations, a keyring, a mirror, a bouncy ball, a candy watch, starburst, chocolate wishes, a smiley face badge, money, highlighters - and many more. The flowers were a bunch of beautifully handcrafted paper roses, made from book, and sheet music.
I really didn’t expect any of this after my parents had already spoilt me with a trip to London in the summer, in order to purchase a Tiffany & Co. necklace for my birthday. The celebrations didn’t stop there though, as on the day itself I went for an intimate meal with my closest and dearest, at the Italian restaurant Zizzi. The food was great, and so was the company. Additionally, the day after, a flat party transpired which was also a lot of fun!
However, this all happened after my colleagues had sweetly surprised me at work the day before my birthday! When I arrived at the office, I was greeted with a signed card, a 21st Birthday balloon, banners, streamers, and hobnobs! Not to mention, everyone wondering, who on earth was still 21 in the office?!? And if this wasn’t enough, my flatmates also surprised me on the day itself by pimping out our kitchen with further balloons and streamers. I was definitely a lucky girl!
“It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Banana’s seem to be my number one craving at the moment. Currently, if it was healthy to live off of purely banana’s - I would. Due to my present obsession, I have been looking into different ways in which I can consume banana’s so that I do in fact avoid living off of them in an unhealthy manner. I’ve come across pancake, and oatmeal recipes, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned banana bread. I haven’t made it for a while, therefore lately I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients, and have subsequently stumbled upon what I believe to be the perfect concoction!
Ingredients: 1 banana, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, 1 tbsp of baking powder, 1 tbsp of egg replacer, and 1 tsp of nutmeg.
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Mash up the banana until it is as smooth as possible. Gradually add in the flour, sugar, egg replacer, and baking powder until you are left with an almost cookie-dough type mixture - it will be hard to stir at this point. Therefore, gradually add the almond milk to loosen the mixture, and then add the vegetable oil. Finally, sprinkle in the nutmeg for some extra flavour, and then bake for 20 minutes.
“But people want to help. So they try harder to make you feel hopeful and positive about the situation. You explain it again, hoping they’ll try a less hope-centric approach, but re-explaining your total inability to experience joy inevitably sounds kind of negative; like maybe you WANT to be depressed. The positivity starts coming out in a spray — a giant, desperate happiness sprinkler pointed directly at your face. And it keeps going like that until you’re having this weird argument where you’re trying to convince the person that you are far too hopeless for hope just so that they’ll give up on their optimism crusade and let you go back to feeling bored and lonely by yourself. And that’s the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn’t always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn’t even something — it’s nothing. And you can’t combat nothing. You can’t fill it up. You can’t cover it. It’s just there, pulling the meaning out of everything.”
- Hyperbole and A Half
Being vegan can be a lot of fun, as it can get you excited about food again, by introducing you to new and exciting ways of cooking seemingly monotonous dishes. This week, my flatmates have been agonizingly tempting me with their endless orders of Domino’s pizza (I miss Texas BBQ). Therefore, I decided to try out a cauliflower crust pizza, as I have been researching quite a few cauliflower related recipes, as of late. I’m always looking for ways to replace traditional ingredients, while also cutting down on carbs, so this was a great start!
Ingredients: For the crust: Half a head of cauliflower, 2 flax eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp garlic salt, and 1 tbsp herbs of your choice. For the topping, I personally used: tomato puree, nutritional yeast, mixed peppers, veggie mince, and Italian herbs.
Method: Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Cut the cauliflower head half into smaller piece’s, and cook in the microwave for 8 minutes. Once cooked, transfer to a blender, and blend until it looks like small grains. Once blended, pour into a mixing bowl, add the flour, nutritional yeast, flax egg, garlic salt, and herbs, and mix together. Then, line a baking tray, or cake tin, with baking paper, and transfer the mixture, then shape the mixture with your hands into a pizza base shape. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping of your choice, and cook for a further 10 minutes.
"The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one, which increased the prejudice against him and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical defects. Which in turn increased his sense of being alien and alone. A chronic fear of being slighted made him avoid his equals, made him stand, where his inferiors were concerned, self-consciously on his dignity."
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Friday night was Kasia’s 20th Birthday, so in order to celebrate, we had pre-drinks, and food, at our flat before we went out to Lava Ignite in Oxford town center for a night of fun (and free entry)! Therefore, here are some obligatory group pictures from the night…
“To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ‘tis Nobler in the mind to suffer, the Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, and by opposing end them: to die, to sleep. No more; and by a sleep, to say we end, the Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks, that Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation, devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep, to sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub.”
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet