There's a reason I'm not a poet

Best day of the yearrrrr

Turns out I’ve had this blog going for over two years now. Flip.

MORE IMPORTANTLY next Saturday is gonna be like the best day ever.

Why?

Cause me and some friends are gonna treat ourselves.

M

Hello. Long while since I’ve blogged, trying to get back in the habit. Life has been good recently, work going well and time off work obviously going better. I was over in London at the weekend seeing a few people and the weekend basically involved drinking from like 11am and stuffing my face constantly in between uni-people catch-ups. Which was ideal.

Also had a nice time with the family the week before where we all went to my granddad’s old pub. He owned it during the Troubles so there were kind of mixed emotions with some of the generation above me, but obviously managing to get a large group of people together is a positive.

What I’m watching- Attack on Titan, The Walking Dead

What I’m playing- Ni No Kuni

What I’m reading- Twig, Clariel, Worm

What I’m hearing- The Corrs, Wild Nothing, Crystal Fighters

Need to step up my game in planning China. Tourist visas last for three months so I’ll likely go for that length of time, and am thinking of actually starting off in Japan for a bit! When in Rome, why not visit Sorrento. Exact plans will be confirmed a bit closer to the time, for now it’s about converting the pipe dream into some semblance of a pipe.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, as I will be seeing THE CORRS. They were the first band I really listened to, albeit I was eight and had no choice in the matter of which casette was being played in the car. They’re doing a comeback tour and have released a new album; while it’s not amazing it has grown on me and I’ll happily hear new songs alongside the classics. That is if me screaming the words doesn’t drown out their singing. The only thing less cool than going to see The Corrs is going to see The Corrs with my parents. So I’m ticking that box.

Peace out bluds

M

In other news…

IT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAAAAASSS

I have burned a Sufjan Stevens Christmas shaped hole in my eardrums

Bit of a catch-up post here, as I sit in my on-call room during my night shift. This new haematology job is clearly very stressful.

That’s right, I’ve finished my rotation in A&E. Seen about 600-700 patients, witnessing gunshot wounds, major incident trauma teams, things I thought I’d only ever read about in textbooks, and assessing plenty of drunk/crazy/unlucky/heartbreaking (delete as appropriate) people throughout the four months.

While it’s not something I want to do as a career, it really was a great fun rotation. It was exciting, always interesting and once I got past (some of) the blinding fear of people threatening to drop dead on you, it was good fun. The nurses and doctors worked as more of a team than I’ve seen before, and the sense of camaraderie was brilliant. I ended up going on two staff nights out, and seeing consultants break dancing and nurses winning dance competitions is something I won’t soon forget.

But all things must pass. And thankfully that includes the 2 out of 3 weekends rota. That’s right ladies and gentlemen- I have a life again. I’ve moved to the regional centre for haematology (lymphoma, leukaemia and haemophilia are the patients) and I think it will be a good job. At the start it was obviously daunting, what with not knowing what the acronyms mean/where the wards with your 22 patients are/what your consultant said their name was again. But I think I’ll get there.

The main downside of the job is that unlike as a consultant in clinic, the majority of people I see aren’t the success stories of Disease-Free for ten years, it’s the heartbreaking ones who just want to get better enough to be home in time for Christmas. But in many cases that’s not feasible. So there will be a few less-than-cheery times ahead. One of the paths I’m thinking of is cancer care, so these few months will be quite useful in seeing if it’s something I’m interested in/able to deal with.

Right, I’m off to either do some work or catch some sleep. My nights so far have been surprisingly calm, so I figure make the most of any sleep opportunities while I can!

M

So I’ll start off with a picture of Mournes scenery

And now some shots from Halloween!  

R.I.P in peace

I’ve been on nights the past few weeks, and off this week- hence not many blog posts coming this way. But I’m finally having a lazy day and so am working my way through my to-do list.

Unsurprisingly, my week off has been a welcome change! Was down seeing the Mourne mountains on Wednesday for a trek around Bloody Bridge and saw some fantastic scenery. Spent the next two days in a fair bit of leg pain so obviously did something wrong along the way mind you. I’d never actually been round the Mournes before, despite my housemate constantly singing their praises, but some of the views were fantastic, and again there were those wee brown signs labelling them as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. Well-deserved.

Headed to London on Thursday, as it was The Wife’s birthday on Friday, and she was having us all out for a karaoke night! Being the reserved and shy wallflower that I am I obviously wasn’t very excited about this event. At all. And obviously it came as a complete surprise to myself and all my friends when I lost my voice after about half an hour from all the high-volume “singing” I was doing. Initially when my friend told me she had booked the room for five hours, I thought “Isn’t five hours a bit long for karaoke?”

Rest assured I soon saw the error of my ways.

Hey, I’m just proud I managed to resist showing up with a cape or something ridiculous.

The night was brilliant fun, and I managed to get chatting to people for decent lengths of time in between renditions of Marvin Gaye and Maroon 5. The Wife seemed to enjoy her night too, and was much more composed with her singing. She took a tactical approach, avoiding the unexpected high notes I fell victim to by sticking to 90s boy bands and Emma Bunting, or as she labelled them “people who can’t actually really sing”.

Unfortunately I had to head off the next morning, and so didn’t get to stick around to see people on the Sunday, when another meet-up was planned to celebrate the engagement do of Yum and Miss Swoon, two of my friends from uni. It’s a bit of a shame that I booked my flights so far in advance and made Halloween plans, as obviously it’s a bit of a big deal. But that’s life living on another island, and sure I’ll be at the wedding come hell/high water/foot splinters.

It was a bit of a quick turnaround when I got back to NI- grabbed some food in a bus in a car park (happiest people in the world, highly recommended) and got a few things sorted for our Halloween party! I’ll post some photos shortly but rest assured there were plenty of creepy things in sight. We had hands floating in punch, giant spiders crawling up the walls, the token dead baby, a popcorn brain and a prize for the sexiest costume. Naturally this went to the priest. Not a bad housewarming! I decided to go as Professor Plum from Cluedo, and was fairly happy with my waistcoat and candlestick as things that are totally reusable for everyday life. Just need to wipe off some of the fake blood and you’ve got yourself a lovely Christmas centrepiece.

Last development in my life is Josh Ritter’s new album which is an absolute cracker. It’s got some of his classic bootslapper songs as well as some others like the brilliant Homecoming, which is filled with such yearning and eagerness. So yes give it a listen and bring yourself some joy.

I’m off to go tick off my next box. Only one more month of A&E before I get my life back..!

M

Bake Off

So in case you’re not a food-obsessed greedbag like I am, it was the finale of the Great British Bake Off last night, and so we all got together to celebrate with our very own Geektown Bake Off!

We did this last year for the final, and again at the start of this season. It’s always a fantastic opportunity to challenge your pancreas to make enough insulin, and to challenge your stomach to fit that last piece of cake in. 

  

We hosted it in the new flat and it was great fun. I was happy to see Nadiya take the crown, as the whole series had kinda been about her #journey. 

I ended up making a tiered cheesecake- seeing as it was the final I decided to push myself and go for a showstopper! 

The flavours I went for were white chocolate, honeycomb and ginger and maaaan thankfully it turned out being delicious. Here follows my recipe!

  
I used 13cm and 20cm springform cake tins, and have included recipe quantities for both. The smaller cheesecake would serve about six, and the bigger about ten. 
Total ingredients

Decorations

  • Gold dust
  • Cake dowels or other support system
  • Washed and dried non poisonous leaves- try to pick ones with good veins
  • Icing sugar to dust

Base

  • 4 or 5 digestive
  • 6 or 8 ginger snaps
  • 75g butter 125g

Cheesecake Mix

  • 180mL double cream 240mL
  • 280g white choc 400g
  • 360g Philidelphia or other cream cheese 480g
  • 100g icing sugar 130g
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ginger
  • 50g honeycomb

Blitz the biscuits (3:2 ginger snaps:digestives) in a food processor, then add about 50-100g melted butter to bind the base together.

  
Put in cake tin (lined with paper if not springform) and chill in fridge while making the rest of the cheesecake

Mix the cream cheese and double cream mixture together, add in the ginger (>1 tsp ginger in big, half a tsp in small) and vanilla. Stir well. 
It’s likely you will need some icing sugar to thicken the mixture and allow it to set but be aware this will sweeten it, especially as the white chocolate is still to come. This is where the ginger comes in handy so add some to taste 

  
Melt the chocolate in a water bath saving some for the leaves. Be careful not to burn the chocolate, and most importantly don’t forget to lick the bowl when you’re done. 
  
Slowly add in the chocolate, after allowing it to cool somewhat but not harden. 

Once it’s all mixed together and you’re happy with the taste, gently stir in some of the honeycomb (leaving enough to decorate the cake after) 

It’s important to put in the honeycomb last as otherwise it dissipates. You want a bit of crunch left over but also when it dissolves it leaves a delicious pool of caramel which is brilliant to get on the end of your fork. 

Pour the mixtures into your cake tin(s) onto your now hardened base and if you’re making tiers this is the point when you should cut your dowels to size and pop them in your bottom tier

  

Put your cheesecake into the fridge to chill for a few hours, or the freezer if it’s particularly runny. 

Rub your gold dust over the washed and dried leaves then brush them with melted white chocolate. Refrigerate or freeze while you wait for the rest of the cheesecake to set. When ready, peel them from the leaves. 
  
Decorate the cake as desired with your white chocolate leaves, chunks of honeycomb and goldust, and finally dust with icing sugar as desired. 

When the cheesecake has been refrigerated and has set (you should expect a bit of a wobble when you shake the tin) take them out of the tins and set them up where you’ll be displaying it. 

  
Try to delay setting the cake out and putting the honeycomb on for as long as possible, as otherwise it may melt a bit at room temperature
Enjoy your feast! I managed to take home the title of star baker so will soon be putting the victory oven mits to good use!

M

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