Sunday, 4 March 2018

On Uncertainty

Where shall I go?
I knew it before, I knew it for years and now I'm here
Doing what I said I'd always do but somehow it does not satisfy me
Because only some of it is true, not all,
For I am here as I am but who am I?
I know these people, these new friends
These old friends, these girls I never knew but still know
I know these walls and now these buildings 
And yet I seek something else, but what?
My life is oddly similar to before,
I thought it would be more different
But it's still so known and yet I've been torn from what I know
Are mere walls all that restrain me from my past?
I wish for all my life that the future could tell me something
Tell me the worth of the wait
The way that not knowing what you do know is better.
When will I stop wishing my life away?
When will the present be all I need?
When will holidays and dates and plans stop being the things I look forward to?
When will I settle down in this life?
When will I stop trying to make decisions for myself, that don't need to be made?
Not yet, I suppose.
Not yet.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese for One


Mac & Cheese is just one of those dishes that everyone seems to love. It's creamy, tasty comfort food based around two beautiful things: pasta and cheese. However, it can be kind of heavy, and what's more it isn't vegan-friendly. So, with this recipe that I've crafted, all the vegans out there can hopefully once more enjoy the goodness of mac & cheese without any unusual substitutes and the rest of us can be a little bit kinder to our bodies.


I N G R E D I E N T S

100g dry pasta
1 tablespoon flavourless oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
75ml unsweetened almond milk
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon nutritious yeast flakes
salt & pepper to taste


M E T H O D

1. cook pasta as per the bag's instructions
2. whilst the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a separate pot over medium heat and stir in flour until smooth
3. gradually add the almond milk in until well combined and silky
4. stir in the mustard and yeast flakes, then season heavily with pepper and salt.
5. once the pasta is ready (usually about 10 minutes), your cheesy sauce will be too.
6. combine and serve

serves 1
time: 15 minutes 


this is how your roux/sauce should look once you've added the milk. feel free to add more if you want a thinner sauce!

 
What I love about this recipe is it's so easily customized. You can change the type of oil or milk you use, you can add more mustard powder for a stronger taste, skip the yeast flakes if you can't find any, or use the whole thing as a base and dress it up with extra vegetables. You can even add turmeric in for a more yellow-coloured sauce. And what's not to love about healthier choices? It really does taste like it's made with dairy.

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it turns out for you!

Love, Anna

Monday, 5 February 2018

Heidellberg: Schloss und Philosophenweg

When most people think of Heidelberg, they probably think of the castle (Schloss) and the Philosophenweg, which is a walking trail that gives you a brilliant view of the city and also allows you to explore the history of the place as a whole. During my trip there, I managed to visit of these things. This is what I saw:

H E I D E L B E R G E R  S C H L O S S


As you can see, the castle was pretty cool. I would have liked to have gotten a tour of the ruins, but we didn't have much time and so only wandered around the castle grounds. The views were stunning despite the low light. It's also quite a steep climb, so getting to rest up there was a good reward.

P H I L O S O P H E N W E G



The Philosophenweg- uphill, exhausting, worth it. The trail is adorned with trees, monastic and Roman ruins and beautiful views of the city. We had to stop quite a few times to catch our breath, but it was really good to see, and we were proud of ourselves once we'd managed the whole thing.



Possibly the most shocking discovery made on our hike/walk on the Philosphenweg was an amphitheater known as "Thingstätte". We had been walking for about an hour and a half, and that high up you wouldn't expect to find such a structure. What made it even more haunting was the fact that it was built and used by Nazis. I don't know what for, exactly, but it made the experience all the more uncomfortable. It was a fascinating structure, deserted but for tourists like ourselves.


So Heidelberg - it was a good trip. I'm a total lover of Germany, I love seeing new cities and towns. I love to see history and the present intertwined in unexpected ways. I definitely got to learn more about life in the country from this trip. I got to see some of the university, which I didn't photograph. It was a really good way to start off my year. And Heidelberg is so pretty and unique yet so in keeping with the German spirit.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope this month goes really well for each of you!

Anna x

Monday, 29 January 2018

so I decided I was going to have a really good week...

...and here's how it went.

Sunday night, before my second week back at uni after the christmas holidays. I was feeling good, better than I'd felt in a long time. I was looking forward to lectures and meeting up with my friends and eating delicious food, and to be honest, I hadn't been feeling the best about myself nor my reality for the weeks previous. I'm not sure what it was, maybe the iron supplements I'd started taking (again) or the feeling of being back in a place of security or the new modules in college- but I felt almost back to myself again. And I decided I was going to do my utmost to make the week ahead the best week ever, because I deserved it, you know?

So what were my criteria? I decided that a good week was a mysterious balance of seeing friends, keeping up with my uni work, relaxing, eating good food and doing things I wouldn't normally do, like visiting galleries, going to the cinema, going for walks or to the gym (lol). And I would follow my instincts and do what I felt like. That was the plan.


On Monday morning I made a good start on some reading for my degree, had lunch at home and then headed in for my one and only lecture. Afterwards, I went to the gym for the first time this year, and also the first time in a long time. I've never had a gym routine, and it's definitely something I want to get into, so even though my workout was all over the place, I was glad to have gone. I rewarded myself with a protein bar. Overall, it was a good day- not the best, far from the worst. The best thing about it was the feeling of productivity.


Tuesday is always the busiest day of the week for me in terms of class. This week I had four lectures/tutorials spread between 9am and 5pm. It didn't give me a lot of time to treat myself, nor do any extra studying for my then upcoming German exam! However, I was determined that I'd do it all somehow. I had 4 hours off in total, and spent the first catching up with one of my new friends. By the time my next break came around, I decided to grab myself some lunch. Seeing as I was alone, I decided that I'd grab something to go rather than sit in a café. So I discovered Marks and Spencers' new vegan range, and got a vegan protein salad which was actually pretty tasty. I finished it off with some pineapple, which was delicious up until the last couple of bites before my tongue started stinging a little bit. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.


So I calculated that if I went all the way to the Hugh Lane Gallery, I'd have between 15 and 20 minutes to look at a painting (there was one in particular I wanted to see). It sounds kind of daft to pay for public transport and do a fair bit of speed walking for fifteen minutes in a gallery, but I wanted to treat myself, and one of my favourite paintings ever is in that gallery. I visited it once last year, and wanted to make sure to see it at least once more before it moves back to the National Gallery of London. I don't know when that will be, but it was on my mind as something I'd like to do, and so, I did it.

Honestly, it was so worth it. The painting in question is Les Parapluies by Renoir, a section of which is the second photo. The painting is an impressionist one, and almost looks unfinished in parts. But the subject matter, which is umbrellas, the predominant colour, blue, and the little girl in the bottom right corner have been the object of my fascination ever since I w as a child and saw a reproduction of it in a story book. When I went to see it last year, I was a bit underwhelmed as the colours aren't as vibrant as I expected. Going back to it, however, was a different story. I really felt like I could appreciate it properly, and just wanted to look and look. I also looked at some other pieces from the collection. The first photo is of Monet's Waterloo Bridge. I really hadn't the time to stay, which was a pity, but I'll find another time to go back soon I hope!

Tuesday was a really good day. I checked off a lot of things off the list, even if there were challenging/boring classes and early starts and pineapple burns. But that's kind of what life is. I knew it would be impossible to fully control a week to be amazing, but some amazing things happened that day, and for that much, I'm happy.


Wednesday was possibly the least fun day. And by least fun I mean it wasn't very fun at all. My classes were interesting- they weren't the issue, but I had a stomach ache that bothered me all day, meaning I couldn't enjoy good food(!!) nor go to the gym as I had hoped. I knew my next couple of days would be really busy, so I wasn't sure when I'd be able to go to the gym again, but I decided to forget about it and take a quick walk for the fresh air. Then I journeyed home, ignored the studying I should have done, and watched an episode of Black Mirror instead. Oh well!


Where can I begin with Thursday? I went for lunch in Yumo with my best friend and it was amazing. I got a free ice-cream sample, she bought me a Lindor truffle. My three-in-a-row classes that I wasn't looking forward to went really well and really quickly. Funny things happened in each of them that we talked about for the rest of the day. Just before our German exam, myself and two of my new friends went and actually got ice cream. We spent the whole time laughing and having pure fun. I felt so so lucky to have made friends of those girls. My exam was difficult as I expected but in ways it wasn't as bad. I don't necessarily know how it went, but I was so relieved to get it out of the way.

But then night fell. I was supposed to spend some time with my mum in the evening, but when I met her she told me that my grandmother was in hospital. I cursed myself for deciding to have the best week ever- some higher power was surely laughing in my face. We went to visit her and it broke my heart to see her so unwell. We got takeaway chips and a veggie burger on the way home and I drank two glasses of white wine with it.

Thursday was an amazing day in that I spent time with so many of the people that I love and care for, and I had a lot of fun with friends and ate a lot of delicious food. It was also a bad day because it ended with a really massive challenge for me, one outside of my control.

To have a really good week is to enjoy yourself despite any difficulties you might face along the way. I couldn't enjoy the nighttime because it was tough. But I won't let the unknown worry and sadness take away from the gratitude I felt.

Friday was a bit of a chill day for me as a result. I had plans half made to meet up with a friend but decided to postpone them so I could take care of my self a bit. I only had one class, and it wasn't until the late afternoon. So I went for my first run of the year to clear my head, and it went really well honestly. I felt more fit than I realised and enjoyed being out in the fresh air. I also treated myself to an episode of Black Mirror (USS Callister for those of you interested) and grabbed a really nice lemonade and sandwich for late lunch. Class was unfortunately tedious as we were going through the test and none of us really wanted to know about it.


On Saturday I made the spontaneous plan to meet up with my best friend and get crêpes. This was a big deal in that a. I don't do spontaneous and b. I'm a massive introvert and I wasn't even sure I wanted to see anyone that day. I'm so glad I decided to be spontaneous though, because we ended up having a nice time together, and it was definitely much more exciting than anything I would have otherwise done. I don't like to admit it, but it's true that I rarely look forward to plans because  the thought socialising when I'm tired or not in the best mood ever makes me even more tired. However, I usually end up having a lot of fun when I meet up with my friends because I love love love people and hearing what they have to say. I'm a walking contradiction. I know.


Sunday was a pretty chill day. It's the day that I usually do homework and reading for the week ahead, and so that's what I did for a couple of hours in the morning. Before that, I slept in until 10:45 and made banana nice-cream for breakfast. Which I balanced with a doughnut. Oops. I didn't get dressed until the late afternoon, but then went out to the shops and made a really nice dinner of falafel wraps. A good day by any measure, as it felt good to get stuff done as well as to take things at a slow sunday pace.

In conclusion, did I have a really good week like I intended? I'm not sure. I think the extra effort I put in to do productive things as well as fun things made it a much more interesting week than it might otherwise have been. Visiting the gallery, spending way too much on food (I'm so sorry wallet, so so sorry), seeing some of my friends- all of that made for a week of variety and fun. I confirmed that things happen that are out of my control. I learned that sometimes there really isn't anything you can do to make yourself okay with that. Some things simply suck, and having a positive attitude about them hardly makes a difference. However other tiny mishaps or inconveniences truly are made into a bigger or smaller deal by how you act.

Will I try to have a really good week again? Sure I will. I should probably try to have a great week every week and not let my life feel like it's falling into monotony. One should be kind to oneself always, and we should never forget that.

So tell me, how did your week go? I hope you enjoyed reading about mine!

Love, Anna x

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Heidelberg, Germany


I'd like to preface this post by saying that I feel like an absolute hypocrite. I know I said I don't travel as much as it may seem, and usually it's true! Last year I only left the country once. However this year, 2018, it's likely that I'll be doing a good bit more travel. And none of it will be very costly. The flights I got to Germany were inexpensive, as was the bus trip from Stuttgart to Heidelberg. Can I also just add that the food and general prices of things were so much more reasonable (is that fair to say?) in Germany. When I came home, I was kind of shocked at how expensive it is to buy lunch here (I daresay it's standard to pay ten quid) when I was getting delicious freshly made rolls in Heidelberg for an average of three euros. Anyway, I digress. I'm very excited to travel more this year, and am glad that I already have a trip to share with you!

After getting over the flu, and then hurriedly writing essays for college that I needed desperately to get in before I went away, I boarded my first flight of 2018. As may be obvious to you from the title of this blog, I adore German and Germany. The last time I was there, I was 16 years old and my German wasn't as polished, and my accent was quite frankly terrible. That experience taught me so much about the language and the culture, and introduced me to foods, brands and shops that you can only get in Germany. Being back, 19-going-on-20, felt so wonderful. If I haven't already said so, I'm studying German in university as part of my degree, and it's possible that I'll spend some portion of my time in a German university. Heidelberg is on the cards, so I really wanted to see it, and I was far from disappointed.


One of my favourite places was the Jesuit church you see above. Wherever I go, I visit the church regardless of denomination, just to see the architecture and enjoy the environment. I went in twice, once with a group and then again on a quiet morning by myself. When I went the second time, there were only one or two others there and the organist was filling the church with really powerful music. As I lit a candle, I felt really terribly fortunate to be there. The church itself is modern and unfinished, but it really appealed to me.


I expected Heidelberg to be an incredibly quaint place- some small pastel-coloured city, but it was in fact far larger than I expected. While you can easily walk through the whole town in half an hour, it has tendrils which extend beyond it with much more to explore and different vibes. Seeing as I was only there for a few days, I didn't get to see everything in as much detail as I'd have liked to, but I think that's a good sign in a place.


How cute is this giant lego figure of Martin Luther? This church was a lot darker, but still cool to see. And to see all the Christmas trees still up was endearing. The stained-glass windows were modern and offset the other classical elements of the building.


So apparently I took way too many pictures of the river. I'm sorry. I should know better, but I can never help myself when I see luscious bodies of water. It's the River Neckar, and it's lovely. I love it when water is integral to a place (that feels like a weird sentence). There's just something so refreshing about the water. You could just stand and look at it for ages. Not to mention all the beautiful and unique houses that lined the river.

In typical Anna fashion, I was not able to condense all I want to say into one post. So I'll conclude my dreamy Heidelberg thoughts in a couple of weeks' time when I show you the Philosophenweg and the castle.

Have you ever been to Heidelberg? If not, would you like to go?

Anna x

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