31/31 Blogging gives me a voice

31. Why do you blog?

That’s like asking why do I eat…

I really enjoy writing and love being able to improve on it through practice and feedback. When it comes to taking part in blogging challenges, I love finding out other peoples perspective to the same prompt and see how it compares to my own. One of the other big reasons I blog is that I love looking at the stats. Finding out that someone from Australia or Croatia has visited my blog (and hopefully enjoyed it) is an incredible feeling.

Within the blogging community, I can be myself. Here, you are not judged or bullied, you are encouraged. You aren’t told that you’re doing it wrong as there is no right answer. Blogging gives people the creative freedom to post whatever they like as there is an audience for everyone. As RuPaul once said…

“It’s important to know thyself, and for people who don’t feel they fit in, it’s important to find your tribe. I remember the first time, when I was a kid in San Diego, California, I felt so alone and I felt I’d been dropped here by aliens from another planet. I remember when I saw Monty Python’s Flying Circus on television, people with this irreverent sense of humour and these ideas towards identity and drag and everything, I felt like, ‘That’s my tribe’. After that, I set out to go and find my people, and I eventually did. So the truth is, your tribe is out there waiting for you. You have to be willing to leave your village or leave your place and go find them, because they’re looking for you too.”

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30/31 That’s not how I’d like to spend my time

30. What’s in your makeup bag?

Is it just me or is this an insanely daft question to which there is only one answer?!

I’m not going to write a list containing each individual product I have in my makeup bag as it would be ridiculously boring. Both to write and to read.

Instead I’ll share this quote that (sort of) relates to the above…

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29/31 Enter the cave of wonders…

29. Where have you travelled?

That’s a bit of an open-ended question… is that travelled today, this year or travelled in my lifetime? We’d be here for a while if I opted for the later that’s for sure…

So instead I’ll write about the last press trip I went on before I left NG Kids last year. I was sent to Slovenia in October to check out Postojna Cave and the mysterious olm that live there.

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Postojna Cave was discovered in 1818 by a local caver, called Luka ČeČ. This vast underground kingdom boasts extraordinary natural sculptures that sprout from more or less every surface. It’s so huge that you have to take a train to get into the main part of the cave! The stalactites and stalagmites here begun forming as far as two million years ago, by the water seeping through from the Pivka River. An easy way of remembering which formation was a stalactite and which was a stalagmite, was all thanks to one letter. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites form on the ground. Clever right?!

Then there’s this little guy, which are thought to live up to 100 years old! Nicknamed the human fish, it was once thought that they were the offspring of dragons. These cave-dwelling salamander have adapted to life in the darkness in the most peculiar of ways. Although born with eyes, they soon stop developing. By the time they are four months old, skin begins to grow over them. They are still sensitive to light though, which is why it’s so tricky to get a decent picture of them. To combat the loss of vision, their hearing and sense of smell is highly developed. They’ve even got electroreceptors in their heads to help them hunt for food!

Talking about food… that’s one thing I did thoroughly enjoy – even though we were given way too much of it! Each day we were given a four course meal for both lunch and dinner, and each course came with a different wine. Needless to say, I was severely ill the second day of the trip because my body just wasn’t used to that much food – I felt I had to clear the plate each time otherwise I was given a disapproving look and asked if I didn’t like it. No pressure! However, here are some of my favourite dishes… I can’t remember exactly what was in each of them now but I just remember how amazing they tasted – especially the desserts!

On the trip, we also took part in extreme caving, visited Predjama Castle and even was given a tour of the caves underneath the castle, where there were loads of bats!

 

 

28/31 Marching two by two

28. What are you looking forward to?

This week I was asked by one of my bestest friends if I wanted to march for Macmillan in this years London Pride Parade on the 25th June… my answer was of course YES!

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I’ve not been to any Pride celebrations before so this is going to be a huge experience for me. I’m looking forward to being among all the jubilation, the party atmosphere and surrounded by the most accepting people in all of London. They’re all my family! and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

I’m hoping that even though the parade doesn’t finish until 4pm, I’ll still get to see some of the Pride in Trafalgar gig… although they still haven’t announced who’s going to be performing which is super exciting!

So to anyone who may be heading to London to enjoy the day… HAPPY PRIDE!

 

27/31 Best pudding in the world

27. Post your favourite recipe

My most favourite recipe at the moment can be found on page 140 of Jordan and Jessica Bourke’s book, The Guilt-free Gourmet, for their sticky toffee pudding. My flatmates and I made it this Sunday, and were not disappointed in the slightest. It’s a really simple recipe with incredible results, so I highly recommend that EVERYONE gives it a go!

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For the pudding

  • 225g/8oz dates pitted and chopped
  • 200ml/7fl oz boiling water
  • 100ml/3½oz rice milk
  • 90g/3¼oz dairy-free butter (such as sunflower spread)
  • 150g/5½oz coconut palm sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp date syrup
  • 180g/6oz gluten-free flour or rice flour, plus extra for flouring the moulds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the toffee sauce

  • 100g/3½oz dairy-free butter (such as sunflower spread)
  • 175g/6oz coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 100ml/3½oz maple syrup
  • 230ml/8oz soy cream, plus extra to serve
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

26/31 A day to remember

26. An old photo of you

Well this took a while as the photos I have available only go back as far as 2008 and who likes their University pics?! So instead I’ve gone for a fairly obvious snap…

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As you can probably guess, this was taken four years ago at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I figured that I’d only see the Olympics here in London once in my lifetime so thought I’d go all out and cover myself with Union Jacks. There was no doubt about which team I was cheering for! I just hope spectators get behind all the athletes at the Rio Olympics this summer despite Zika…

25/31 Why we gotta have favourites?

25. Your five favourite blogs

Since I’ve only recently come back to WordPress, I haven’t had a chance to fully explore all of the new content new bloggers have to offer. So, to make it fair, I’ll simply list the last five blogs I’ve followed…

1) Tifness

I’ve only just taken a look at Latifa’s blog in the last couple of days and I’m not disappointed. I love to travel and I love food, so this is the perfect combination! My flatmate cannot eat wheat so we are often making gluten-free recipes when we have meals together. For example, this Sunday we made deep-fried, stuffed courgette flowers; gluten free pea and asparagus ravioli with parmesan; and sticky toffee pudding with Madagascan vanilla custard… the custard is the only part of the feast we hadn’t made from scratch. So it’s safe to say, we are serious about our food! I’m looking forward to making some of Latifa’s recipes in future 🙂

2) Wilson Reviews

Jake is someone I work with at The Week Junior and it was only last week, at our 25th issue anniversary/we won Launch of the Year at the British Media Awards drinks, that I found out he was also on WordPress. He writes about the latest and greatest movies out there, as well as recommending titles that people may not already be familiar with. Just be sure not to read too many in one go, as it’ll leave you struggling to decide which film to watch first!

3) Cooking with a Wallflower

Andrea has so many amazing recipes… all of which I would like to make. Well, I should be more specific – eat! Every time the pictures manage to make my mouth water. I don’t even have to know what it is, I just want to take a bite.

4) We Love Food

I see a trend here… I clearly love food, too! What I like about Saff and Ade is that they not only write about what they eat, they also describe the atmosphere and overall experience all the while injecting humour into each post. I may or may not be using their reviews as more of a to do list since they’re mostly London based.

5) Second blog to the right

And if you don’t get this reference… what planet do you live on?! One of my other great loves is theatre. I found this blog because of their Cirque du Soleil reviews and it was only when I took a look at what they had previously reviewed, that I discovered they also love Disney and had seen the Toddlerz Ball. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

 

24/31 Through the wardrobe

24. Your favourite childhood book

The one I seem to remember the most is a gorgeous hardback, embossed edition of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I used to love reading it because it was just so full of magic. I mean think about it… who wouldn’t want to step into their wardrobe to find a whole new land on the other side?!

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If I go back even further, like pre-ten year old, I’d say my favourite books were probably and by Nick Butterworth that involved Percy the Park Keeper because his stories and illustrations were just so cute. I think I still have all of them somewhere…

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23/31 The possibilities are endless

23. Your dream job

If skill had no boundaries (an make believe was in fact possible)… my dream job would be a professional mermaid that trains dolphins underwater. But back to the real world…

If I didn’t get stressed easily, it would have to be a wedding planner. I absolutely LOVE organising things and am a hopeless romantic, so feel like arranging two peoples happy day and ensuring that everything was done to perfection would be a dream job.

If I could earn a regular income from it (or if such a role even existed), I would be a full-time junket interviewer. Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to interview film character designers and creators, glacier experts and even a robot cockatoo, and every single time I’ve loved it.

Again… back to the real world…

Luckily, even though I am a little stress pot at times, I am already doing my dream job. I get to write for kids every day, which (I’m hoping) is making me a better writer feature by feature. I’ve already learnt so much in the seven months I’ve been working there and can’t wait to see else the the future has in store for me!

22/31 Let’s hit the slopes

22. The best thing to happen this year

Going skiing for the first time on my first proper group holiday.

My flatmate had been invited to go skiing with her friends group of friends, and asked if I’d wanted to go, too. The closest I’d come to skiing was tobogganing on an outdoor dry slope when I was like ten… But I accepted the invite none the less and it turned out to be the greatest decision. We went to Andorra for a week and had a blast. I now can’t wait to go skiing again and would love for it to be turned into an annual event as it was such a liberating feeling zooming down the slopes…