Dilly’s Sunday Brunch

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Today for the first time I made soda bread. I’ve never had it before and it basically tasted like a large salty scone. Not sure if that was how it was supposed to taste, but it was nice enough nonetheless. I also made banana pancakes, which interestingly are very similar to the soda bread in terms of ingredients, flour, baking powder, buttermilk (I use natural yoghurt mixed with milk). The pancakes also have eggs and mashed banana, and are delicious (and not too bananary). This carb fest was randomly accompanied by sausages and chopped banana, maple syrup and ketchup, though not all together!

So, big news in the Dilly household: I have definitely decided to do my MSc Occupational Psychology and I start (assuming the accept me) in January! This is going to mean a huge amount of work on top of an already busy life. Somethings will have to take a back seat. I’m hoping blogging won’t be one of them. I will still need some down time, and I think it will make an interesting evolution to my blog to discuss managing life as a part time student, and to explore aspects of the course. I am going to have to be scrupulous about time management though. The course should take me two years to complete, then I hope to embark on a new career.

One of the things I want to continue to stay true to are my feminist principles, and in the spirit of that I direct you to this interview with Jessica Ennis in today’s Observer. It’s only been to and a half months an already the Olympics feel like a age away. Let’s not forget the incredible achievement of the British athletes, especially the women. Jessica was the poster girl for the events and in the interview she discusses the pressure she was under to perform. My only disappointment is the resignation with which she accepts the objectification of her and her contemporaries; “I think it happens in every walk of life, doesn’t it?” She says in the interview. Even in 2012 a massively successful, strong woman believes that lewd videos of herself splashed all over the Internet are just part of life, so pervasive are the messages that women can be treated like objects, and indeed invite such treatment.

Jessica is a still young, and maybe it is just one more fight she doesn’t want to have. Hopefully we can bring up the next generation of women with the strength and confidence to know that they don’t have to accept such treatment as inevitable and even deserved. Examples of such young women can be seen writing in Jump Magazine, an online magazine for girls, which eschews pink and fluffy and stereotypical girl’s stuff, and promotes aspiration and confidence, with content from girls and women of all ages. A recent writing competition saw young writers such as Eden (aged 10) discuss what it is like to be a girl. Do check them out; these are our women of tomorrow and they should be nurtured and supported in their beliefs that their body is their own and the world is their oyster.

That’s all from me today, have a lovely week people 🙂

Dilly’s Sunday Brunch

For new readers to this blog I should probably explain that this is part of a recurring post, detailing my regular family Sunday brunch and mulling over events/news/excitement from the week.

Another chaotic affair for brunch today. I offered to look after my friend’s 5 and 3 year old boys while she caught up on work. The brunch menu was a basic scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon, except he boys don’t like scrambled eggs so I made them (and Betty who jumped on the bandwagon) boiled eggs.  I don’t usually offer choices for eggs as I am not a short order cook, however guests, especially little ones, get special treatment. Sadly my usually fab egg timer has given up the ghost so they were rather well done, bu the visitors seemed happy enough.

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So, I really hate it when people say “oh I don’t read the papers/watch the news” it’s too depressing”. I instantly put a mental black mark against their name. Wilful ignorance in those who should know better is inexcusable.

There are some self help books that insist that you stop watching the news so it doesn’t drag you down on your road to positivity.

Yes, the news can be depressing, but without knowing what is going on in the world how can we try to make it better. Even when things happen in seemingly far flung places like Syria or Somalia, where most of us can’t possibly do anything that can make a difference, I feel that we owe it to the people of these countries to acknowledge the horrors of their lives.

However, this is the first week where I have really started to feel worn down by all that I read in the papers or on the web. The awful allegations against Jimmy Savile, made worse by the people excusing the behaviours with arguments like “it was different back then”. The anguish of the parents of 5 year old April Jones, who has yet to be found after nearly two weeks. And the entitled, classist nonsense coming from the Conservative conference, spelling more cuts for the poorest, and no let up in our battle with rising costs and falling wages. All these and more leave me with the feeling of helplessness and despair, and the beginnings of the attitude of sometimes it’s just best not to know these things.

So in the spirit of denial, after depressing you with that introduction, today’s brunch post is going to be a frivolous affair!

I’ll start with my new necklace. I had some belated birthday money given to me recently and decided to splash out on some handmade jewellery. ‘Splash out’ is a bit of an overstatement really as this was a bargain. It’s a wooden necklace spelling out the word “hello” on a gold plated chain. It’s by Rock Cakes at Etsy and cost just under £14. It came in a lovely little box which made it feel even more special. I shall be wearing it to Mumsnet Blogfest so even if no one remembers my name I can be “the woman with the ‘hello’ necklace”!

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We made a trip to Ikea yesterday. Since Iris is such a light sleeper and Betty has a persistent cough every winter we have had to accept that it will be a while before they can share a room. This also means accepting that we can no longer call the spare room the spare room or the office. After 2 years it has now been officially designated Iris’s room. So DH has taken down his big desk and we have moved some toys into her room, but we wanted to create a small home office space downstairs and managed to find some suitable furniture in Ikea. I might post more on that later but you know how when you go to Ikea you inevitably come out with a load of crap you don’t really need, chopping board? Check. Tea lights? Check. Weird shaped soft toy to keep the kids happy? Check. Well, one of my pointless purchases was this:

Heart shaped cactus from Ikea
I heart my cactus

Isn’t it lovely? I just thought it was something nice to brighten my day.

Finally, back to the topic of Iris’s room. In an effort to make it seem a bit more like her room rather than somewhere we squeezed her in between chucking her out of our room and offloading her onto her sister, we bought some wall stickers to brighten the place up. There are loads online but these butterfly stickers from Dotty Frog were the nicest I found. They are theoretically reusable. We’ll see how well that works out when Iris tries to peel them off. But for now she thinks they are ‘bootiful’.

Dotty Frog Butterfly wall stickers

There now, it is much easier to digest the depressing news when you have a heart cactus and a very cute two year old to look at. We should still watch the news and yell at politicians and cry at people’s pain. That is what makes us human and humane. But it’s good to balance it out with a bit of frivolity and a novelty succulent, because we are lucky we can.

Dilly’s Sunday Brunch (Disaster)

Apologies for lack of brunch post last Sunday. I was at Center Parcs with no signal. In case you are interested brunch last week was Coco Pops for the kids and scrambled eggs for me. We know how to live.

So today’s brunch was a bit of a disaster. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for cinnamon buns for ages now. You can taste them now can’t you? Buttery, cinnamony; soft sticky buns, perfect for brunch. I made the dough, rolled the filling into it. These babies require a coronary inducing amount of butter. Covered the buns in goo and put them in the fridge overnight. I took them out this morning and they looked good. After letting them stand for an hour or so out of the fridge, I cooked them as stated in the recipe. I didn’t check that they weren’t browning too much. I didn’t have time; I was tidying up. I’d invited friends over to partake in the cinnamony goodness. I’d built up a whole brunch around these buns. Well, as the well known saying goes, don’t put all your cinnamon buns in one baking tray:

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Hmmm, bit of a disaster no? But I always promised on this blog that I would show you warts and all, none of this smug perfect life crap. So instead I dispatched DH to the Co Op for bacon and the finest pastries the shop had to offer:

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So, what’s hit my radar this week? Well, I signed the No More Page 3 campaign petition. How can it be that in this day and age a national newspaper, one of the most widely read in the country, can have a page dedicated to exposing women for men’s titillation? I’m not great on arguing the theory so I urge to read this great blog by Week Woman who delves into it a bit more.

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On a more frivolous note, I spotted this necklace on Twitter and I have rather fallen in love with it. Rock Cakes has some other rather weird and wonderful pieces in her Etsy shop so you should definitely check it out.

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Even more frivolously, next thing on my wish list is an ice cream maker. Wait a minute, that’s not frivolous. Ice cream is absolutely essential in life. And my favourite is the rather expensive Hagan Daaz. I’ve never really coveted an ice cream maker before, assuming them to be an expensive and under used appliance but this one is really cheap! I was flicking through Which? magazine which happened to be in my local library this week and found a review of ice cream makers. This Nuo ice cream maker from Robert Dyas gets excellent reviews, and is just a couple of points of being one of their Best Buys. Just looking at the website now it is reduced to £14.99! Now that is a best buy. Even if you only use it a few times, for the price of 3 tubs of Hagan Daaz you can have gorgeous, homemade, additive free ice cream in about 20 minutes.

Finally, on this rather chilly Sunday, I want to share with you a blog I’ve discovered. Lakota at Faith, Hope and Charity Shopping is crafty, thrifty very funny. Her take on Mollie Makes is hilarious, you should definitely give it a read.

So that’s Sunday nearly over. The Sunday night work anxiety kicks in, so I’m going to numb it with a cup of tea and The Gilmore Girls. Have a good week!

Dilly’s Sunday Brunch

Caitlin Moran Moranthology
Can’t wait to get my hands on this book

Morning all, I promised a Sunday brunch post, and to everyone’s surprise, including mine, I’ve managed to pull one together. As I just said to someone on Twitter, I tend to over commit and under deliver. This brunch post is great idea. When I usually write posts for my blog I like them to be coherent, well thought out articles, I often do a bit of research (well, I google a few facts…) and I plan them in my head for ages. This is why I don’t blog as much as I would like, as it is time consuming. Well, these brunch posts are unashamed opinion and blather, lacking in coherence and structure, much like a normal brunch time conversation, just without the other person’s opinion. Just how I like it.

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Anyway, on the menu today is bacon and eggs. Thick cut smoked bacon, half price in the Co-op, and farm eggs from the village green grocer, on wholemeal toast, slathered in ketchup! Sorry for the crappy picture, food is notoriously difficult to photograph, erm, especially if you forget till halfway through…

So, what’s been happening in my world this week? Well, I spent a happy hour taking part in the Mumsnet webchat with Caitlin Moran. Caitlin, if you don’t know her, is a writer for the times, previously a music journo, and top Twitterer. Her book How To Be A Woman is an excellent treatise on real life feminism. Some of her points are contentious, but her frank discussion of her abortion experience was excellent. When Caitlin had her abortion she was a grown up, married with two children, financially solvent. Having a baby just wasn’t the right choice for her or her family. Her response on Mumsnet about it was

The thing about abortion laws is that, if you were some right wing guy, you might very well think it would be okay to change them. After all, you NEVER hear women going on about their abortions. You’d think no-one normal was having them. This is why we have to normalise talking about it. You know – one in three women will have an abortion, but they’ll never talk about it. As a consequence, access to abortion could easily disappear, or be curtailed, because it just looks like no-one’s using those useful laws. When they were having that debate in the US, I wanted every woman in America who’s had an abortion to go on strike for one day – just so America could see, in one dazzling moment, how common this is for women. it’s not a marginal event. it’s absolutely part of our society. America would have ground to a halt on that day. And it would have been incredibly apt and symbolic, because if you curtail women’s access to abortion, their lives grind to a halt, too.

which I absolutely concur with.

Caitlin has a new book coming out Moranthology which is basically just her blathering about all kinds of crap and just how we like her best. I for one can’t wait to read it (and don’t yet have a copy hint hint to any publishers or just friends who want to buy it for me).

I have been listening to BBC 6 Music a lot this past week. Now I am completely not a muso, I mean, I like music, but I like, you know, Take My Breathe Away by Berlin and The Best of 70’s Disco. It safe to say I’m not schooled in the art of cool music. God, do people even use the word ‘cool’ anymore? Am I supposed to say ‘sick music’? Anyway, in the past few weeks I have been listening to 6 Music to alleviate the boredom at work, and I’m developing quite a taste for it. When I hear a song that I really like I write it down in my diary so I can check it out when I get home and the two songs I wrote down this week were Hail Bop by Django Django and Something Good by Alt J.

Turns out these two artists (bands? They might be bands, I’ve no idea) have been short listed (and are way up the list) for the Mercury Music Prize. Check me out, into music. And the final album I want to buy this month is Push and Shove by No Doubt. I feel like a teenager again, waiting for payday so I can go and buy a CD. It’s their first album in years and I have always loved them, since I used to listen to Don’t Speak when I broke up with my first love; sobbing while singing “I really feeeeeel like I’m losing my best friend…” Good times.

The news has been dominated more than was necessary by the subject of the breasts of the Duchess of Cambridgeshire. I’ve been trying to muster up an opinion on the matter and struggling, mainly because it’s not news. But here’s the crux of it, the French magazine was wrong to print the pictures of Kate. Tits out or not she was on private property trying to enjoy a holiday in peace. And taxpayer funded or not NO ONE has the right to take and publish pictures of someone half naked without their consent. It’s exploitation and an abuse of privacy.

But here’s the other side, the Duchess of Cambridgeshire should not get any special treatment just for being a member of royalty. The Royals are not special. They have got where they are by accident of birth or marriage. They live an exorbitantly luxurious lifestyle which they in the main don’t pay for, for which they give up about half their time doing light ceremonial work. Kate should not have had her privacy invaded. But let’s remember there are enormous number of other woman being exploited who do not have the weight of the Royal Family or the indignity of the righteous British public behind them. This should not be news. And let us remember that these publications publish these sort of pictures because they know we the public buy them. No British outlet has published them (so far) but that is because Kate is held up a some sort of Madonna figure by the British media. They are not short of other young women to exploit, women seeking validation and money in the way they have been conditioned to think is acceptable. When we buy these magazines and papers we are complicit in their exploitation. We can call for as much regulation of the press as we like but far better just to cut off their power and circulation by boycotting them.

Anyway, enough of my diatribe. Hope you are having a happy Sunday. What’s been going on in your week? I do wonder if there is mileage in making this into a blog hop. Blogging is so one-sides, it would be good to share other people’s thoughts and posts too. Tell me what you think. Oh and how to do it would be good too!