Thursday, 29 November 2012

In praise of praise: How to be happier and more positive

pic from
Recently a thought occurred to me. And, being one of my better thoughts, I obviously tweeted it: I have realised that I'm one of those people who are happy a good 95% of the time. And this in itself makes me happier still.

Here's a classic exchange in my daily life...
Friend: How are you, Rachel?
Me: Oh great thanks, I'm actually in a really good mood.
Friends: When are you not in a good mood!?
Me: Fair point.

I know I'm a naturally jolly person who's more optimistic than most, but one of my twitter friends replied to the aforementioned tweet asking "How do you do that?" And the thing is, I couldn't really give an answer. I don't feel I have control over being happy, I just am.

I think some people just naturally have a more positive outlook than others, and I feel blessed to be one of the lucky few. I hope this isn't just the naivety of my youth... I always tell my pessimistic parents (one of which describes herself as a realist, but she's in denial) that I don't want to end up jaded by age and thus lose my inner optimism and zest for life. I've seen it happen. Sad times.

However, I do think anyone can change their mindset and become happier. It's all about appreciating what you've got. Guys, I'm just going to put it out there: LIFE IS GREAT! Sure, it's not a perfect romcom all the time (now wouldn't that be amazing!? Preferably a musical one if I'm being picky), but in the scheme of things, we all have so many blessings for which to be thankful.

I know everyone has their problems, but the fact that you're reading my little blog tells me that your life can't be too bad - not because my blog is that great, just because you're obviously not dying of famine in a third world country. Well, it's unlikely that you are anyway. If you are, I'm really sorry. I never waste food, I swear!

One of the things I think people don't do enough is to give praise. How GREAT do you feel when you get a bit of praise or a compliment? From something like a friend casually saying "Love your shoes", to your professor saying "I was very impressed with your dissertation that basically counts for your whole degree and thus your whole life."

If you like something, SHARE IT! If I really like a zumba class, I tell the teacher at the end! He or she may have been wondering if anyone was actually enjoying their routines, and can then go home reassured (and more likely to do more great ones in the future. Win-win!) If I think a classmate has given a really interesting presentation, I'll let them know. They could have been worrying that everyone was bored to tears. And if I think one of my friends looks pretty in her new profile picture on facebook, I'll comment and probably" like" it too - I'm a bit of a "like" slut on facebook. I can't help it, I just like so much stuff! I remember a friend at school a couple of years ago telling me "Rachel! Stop loving everything!"

So the point is that by saying nice things to people, not only only will you make them feel great, but you will feel better too. Trust me. I don't mean you should go round doing a Regina George and give compliments when you don't actually mean them:

"Regina: Oh my God, I love your skirt! Where did you get it?
Girl: It was my mom's in the '80s.
Regina: Vintage, so adorable.
Girl: Thanks.
Regina: [after girl walks away] That is the ugliest f-ing skirt I've ever seen."

Oh, Mean Girls, you cannot be beaten.

But anyway, I just don't understand why if you're thinking something nice, you don't just say it? It could make someone else's day. And karma comes back around, you know? (Or so Justin Timberlake once said, anyway.) It's like that classic mum line: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Well, I'm going to twist this and say "If you can say something nice, say it!"

It's the little things that often make my day, so why not spread some joy yourself, and you might just make someone else's? I really think this might be one of the reasons why I'm so happy most of the time. I'm very rarely in a bad mood because I just love life! (As cringe as that sounds...) YAY LET'S ALL BE HAPPY, OK!? Good.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Guys' style and my fave looks on a man

A good sense of style (along with an equally good sense of humour) is extremely attractive in a man. I know I'm not the only girl who's spotted a potential male in the wild, only to be put off instantly by a dodgy earring or pair of shoes.

Although men's fashion doesn't get as much attention as women's, I think it deserves to. There's a lot men can do with their look, and this seems to finally be getting a bit more recognition thanks to a new generation of stylish men, such as my friend Nathan Beesley (whose fabulous blog you can read here). It seems that it's much more acceptable for guys my age to show an interest style and their appearance than it was for my dad's generation. This is definitely a good thing in my eyes.

As a single lady, I do often think it would be nice to have a guy for whom to choose the odd nice item of clothing - as hard as I try, there's only so much a girl can do to get her man-styling kicks out (my dad and brother suffer/benefit from this at every Christmas and birthday).

I recently wrote a post about my style 'no-no's for girls, so here are my style 'yes-yes's for guys:

1. Pointy shoes. Preferably in tan leather, but I'm not picky. (Yet picky enough that I couldn't find the perfect picture of what I mean online.)

2. Swishy hair. (I am powerless to resist)

Could it be any swishier? (pic from

3. Blazers.

Oh Look Harry Styles is illustrating my point perfectly again. (from
4. Colourful trousers - boldness in general really.

Definitely NOT a member of One Direction (pic from
5. Breton striped tops.

See? I like other 1D members too. Here's Louis Tomlinson. (from

Thinking about it, I really like these styles on girls too. In fact, it's basically my style. But on a man. Hmm. That's odd. I know it may also seem like I have just described Harry Styles, but I assure you that is purely a coincidence. He just happens to illustrate my points nicely. I think. Moving on... Here are my 'no-no's:

1. Skinny jeans. Just no. Even Harry Styles wears these some times. Not ideal. (I do love wearing these myself though.)

Frankie Cocozza. Pic from
2. Piercings. Hate them.

not even David Beckham makes an earring look good. (from
3. Jewellery in general (unless you're a sun-kissed Australian surfer dude. Yes, I just said dude.)

4. Football shirts. You are not a professional footballer. And even they look stupid.

5. Long hair. Leave it to us girls, please.

I just don't think this looks good. (from
Got it? Good. Please do not offend my eyes with such atrocities in future. Do you agree with my opinions?

UPDATE: The aforementioned stylish male Nathan Beesley has written a cracking response to this blog post which you can read here. Although he may not share my love of Harry Styles, it's refreshing and amusing as ever to hear his view.

Tricks to slip exercise into your daily life - my studentbeans article

This guy is not only ironing and getting fit, but he's clearly having a ball
The party season is upon us. We're all rushing around like lunatics trying to get everything ready for Christmas, keep on top of our work and go to all the festive social engagements possible. How is there possibly time to exercise? You must be thinking.

Well, my latest article for has come at the perfect time to solve your dilemma. I've found 9 easy peasy ways of fitting exercise into your daily routine - they're so simple you won't even realise you're doing them! And here's an extract for all my lovely blog readers:

"Whether it’s a lack of time, motivation or money that’s preventing you hitting the gym, don’t despair at your squidgy cheeks and dive into the Malteasers for comfort!

Try these simple ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine – you’ll barely notice you’re doing anything different, and could be in your best shape yet come Christmas (mince pie, anyone?)

1. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator

Going up two extra flights of stairs every day could result in losing 6lbs in a year. You'll also be toning up your legs and bum without realising. Could there be a simpler way to shift the puppy fat?

2. Walk instead of getting the bus

...and if it really is too far, just get off a couple of stops early. Regular walking reduces your risk of all sorts of health problems, from strokes to coronary heart disease. Plus, it’s free, so you'll be saving money and getting fit at the same time.

3. While watching TV, get up at every advert break

...and do a few squats/sit-ups/press-ups. If you’re watching X Factor , you’ll be as toned as Nicole Scherzinger herself by the finals*!


4. Have a catch up stroll with friends

...rather than meeting in a café. Or at least go for a stroll first… Nowadays, we all spend far too much time on our backsides - whether at your desk, in a lecture, or just on the sofa - but purely by standing up your body burns three times as many calories as when sedentary."

If you liked those four, do be a babe and click on through to read another five super handy hints! Thanks. Oh, and click the "like" button to if you, er, like it. I know, I'm not exactly promoting myself subtly, am I? But a wannabe journo has to do what she can, and I appreciate everyone and anyone who reads what I write. Seriously. You, reading my blog, right now. Thanks.

PS How funny is the picture I found for this article? I swear I laughed for a good ten minutes when I first found it. Ha ha ha - oh god, here I go again... #easilyamused

Monday, 19 November 2012

Men’s Style: The Five Commandments, by Nathan Beesley

I would like to introduce you to someone who I know is one to watch in the world of fashion journalism, my ever stylish friend, Nathan Beesley. Yes, he's male and yes, he's into fashion. No, he's not gay.

Nathan has a wonderful blog called The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, where he shares all sorts of interesting musings in an oh-so-witty fashion, and today (in response to my last article "My ultimate style and beauty 'no-no's for girls") he has written a brilliant post entitled "Men’s Style: The Five Commandments".

Now this is a man who knows how to dress, so I suggest you listen up and follow his wise words. (Although, one point which I'm willing to debate is that of the gilet, but hey.)

You can read Nathan's full post on his blog, but here's a little taster of said Commandments to whet your appetite:

"1)       Thou Shalt Not Wear Drop-Crotch Jeans

The whole purpose of clothes in the first place is to create an appealing silhouette and flatter your figure, so why would you wear jeans that make you look like you’ve emptied the contents of your bowels into the base of your trousers.

2)       Black and Brown Doth Make a Frown

This is mainly concerned with suiting and other formal wear: Black shoes with black trousers. Brown shoes with navy or grey trousers. Capiche? Moving on.

3)       Thou Shalt Not Wear Garish Branding

Walking around looking like Hollister mannequin? Plastered with the word ‘Superdry’? You’re a human being, not Lewis Hamilton’s Formula One Car. Burn it all.

4)       Thou Shalt Only Dress for the Gym Whence Going to the Gym

Joggers are not for going to lectures. Joggers are for…do I really have to spell it out?

5)       Thou Shalt Not Wear a Gilet

No need to elaborate on this, simply read my post Rah, Rah Black Sheep: Escaping the Clifton Cliché."

So go on, what are you waiting for!? Go and discover Nathan's hilarious and insightful blog. When he's a big star you'll be able to say you knew about him aaaaages ago, dahling. You're welcome.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

My ultimate style and beauty 'no-no's for girls.

Whilst in no way, shape or form am I claiming to be an effortlessly on-trend fashionista who never puts a sartorial foot wrong and always looks immaculately styled; there are certain "looks", shall we say, that really rile me. These are things that I see and I just think "WHYYYY, LADY, WHYYY? It does NOT look good." Obviously, style is a subjective thing, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder and whatnot, so maybe you'll disagree with me.

Oh, and if any of my friends are reading this and realise they frequently commit any of the following faux-pas (in my eyes, that is), don't be offended. We can still be friends. You'll just know that I'd like you better in another way. JOKES. I love you all for who you are on the inside. (Phew, just about saved myself there, I hope...)

pic from
1. Leggings as trousers

I'm sorry, but why oh why do so many girls wear leggings without a top long enough to cover their crotch? I believe leggings should be thought of as more like tights than trousers. I mean HELLO, have you heard of the camel-toe!?

pic from
2. Shorts as underwear

Oh, I didn't realise that underwear came in denim. Sadly I cannot take credit for this humourous line, however it is a page that I - along with 136,177 other people - like on Facebook. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about here: shorts so short that you can see the line where butt meets leg. It's not a good look, girls. Luckily for us in England at the moment, we should be protected from said horror for a good few months until the weather warms up again. Thank God.

pic from
3. Super chipped nails

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that nail varnish chips very easily, and am a victim of such an annoying occurrence all too frequently myself. Sometimes, you leave the house in the morning with a freshly-painted mani, and by lunchtime, there's a chip. #firstworldproblems, right? There's nothing you can do about it. However, what I don't understand is when girls literally have a scratching of nail varnish in the centre of each nail, with unpainted nail all around. I just think it looks horrible. The whole point of nail varnish is to elongate your fingers and make you look glamourous/funky/classy. Come on, ladies, when your nail varnish starts to chip, TAKE IT OFF! It only takes a few minutes, and you can do it whilst watching TV. No excuses.

She must've run out of dry shampoo - pic from
4. Super greasy hair

Two words: dry shampoo. Of course, sometimes we don't have time to wash our hair, but thanks to the wondrous invention of dry shampoo, the "someone just poured a chip pan over my head" look is completely avoidable. So avoid it. Please.

pic from
5. Tatty shoes

Didn't someone famous once say that if you're shoes aren't in good condition there's no point in the rest of the outfit? Or was that just my mum? Either way, they knew what they were talking about. I'm partial to a pair of Primark shoes as much as the next student, but when they're frayed, holey and worn down, it's time for your beloved, trusty footwear to meet the bin. I know, it's hard. I'm sorry to have to be the one to break the bad news to you.

pic from
6. Toe overhang in sandals

Speaking of shoes, why do so many women buy sandals that are just outright too small, thus resulting in their toes falling off the front!? As a girl with big feet (thanks a lot for that gene, Dad), I know full-well that it's not always easy to find shoes that fit, but no matter how much you try to convince yourself in the shop that those gorgeous embellished heeled sandals are big enough, and you're feet are probably just hot and swollen from shopping all day, if they don't fit, don't buy them. It's for your own good.

I realise that now I have set myself up for a backlash if I ever have a slightly chipped nail or slightly less-than-fresh hair, but what can ya do? Obviously, this is just my personal view, so don't go leaving me irate comments, please. Do you agree with my choices?

Friday, 16 November 2012

A Message to Freshers

Happy Freshers (pic from
Dear all first year university students out there - Freshers, as you're commonly known,

I write to you today with an important message from the oh-so-wiser-than-thou position of being a few weeks into my second year of uni. It's probably one you've heard before, but maybe you never really thought much of it, or ever bothered to change your ways as a result, so I'm going to take the liberty of reiterating the point: MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FIRST YEAR!

Every time you move up a level in the world of education, those who've been there and done that will tell you "Oh, it's a lot harder now. The work will really step up" etc, but to be honest with you, I've found it all pretty manageable thus far. From GCSEs to A-Levels, and then AS to A2, sure it got a little harder each time, but it's meant to, isn't it? I never felt "Woah! OMG! Ahh! Suddenly so much work that is so difficult!" *Cries into beautifully organised, colour-coded folders*

However, unfortunately this time - going from first to second year of uni - the people who warned us actually had some truth to their cautionary tales. And yes, there has indeed been some crying into my work. German, natürlich, because it's a stupidly difficult language, but that's by the by.

Last year, I thought I worked pretty hard, compared to most freshers anyway, because despite only having to pass my first year and it not counting towards my final degree, I wanted to do well, and I didn't want to have a huge shock to the system when I moved into second year. That said, I rarely worked past 9.30pm at night. Not because I was off out clubbing and being a crazy Fresher, but because I had Glee/Gossip Girl/90210 to catch up on, obvs. This year I've been going to bed later and later purely in order to get my work done... Oh, to have time to watch all the TV I'd like to this year! Woe is me, I know.

The thing is, I genuinely would have time to watch plenty of TV this year if I didn't do so many other jobs and extra-curricular stuff. I know, I bring the stress upon myself, so shouldn't complain. And I don't (not too much) as I do love being busy.

Last year, I thought I was busy. I was. But compared to this year, I barely knew what busy was. And I imagine if there are any final year students or graduates reading this you'll all be thinking "Pah! Second year! What do you know about work and being busy!? Just you wait till final year..." And yes, perhaps when I'm in their position I'll blog again explaining that realistically I didn't know what I was on about when I wrote this. Meh.

So, my advice to freshers isn't actually what you might usually hear - recommending you don't bother trying with your uni work when it doesn't count, and going out partying the year away (do it if you want. Whatevs.) Instead, I want to encourage all first year students to make the most of having the time to get involved with uni life. Start a student radio show, audition for a production, play for an intramural sports team, join the Scottish dancing society... There is SO much going on at uni, and it's unlikely that we'll have so many great organised activities at our fingertips at any other point in our lives.

Don't regret not getting involved. First year is the time to try out all these new things, because now as a second year student, it really pains me that I don't have time to do them all again. I'm really glad I auditioned for and performed in the musical last year, as I don't think I'll be able to do another one unfortunately (which wasn't something I even thought about at the time.) Unless I stop doing all my other jobs, but realistically we all know I can't say no to work. What a weirdo, I know.

So, go forth and get involved with everything while you still can.

As for me, I really shouldn't have written this blog post (have you noticed an unfortunate decline in blogging from me since coming back to uni? Sad times) as I have far too much work, but hey.

Lots of second year love,

Rachel xxx

Saturday, 10 November 2012

RECIPE: Apple and pear crumble cake

Apple and pear crumble cake
This evening I'm going to a dinner party with a group of my fellow German student girlfriends, and to make it a student-friendly affair, we're each bringing a dish. Obviously, I was charged with cake (before I could even volunteer myself!) For a wintery dinner party pudding, a crumble is a classic choice, so I decided to merge a crumble and a cake to make this lovely crumble cake with a streusel topping (appropriate for German students, don'tcha think?)

A rather sizeable slice
As I said in my recipe for apple, cinnamon, raisin and walnut cupcakes, I'm a huge fan of the apple/cinnamon combo, especially come autumn. Adding the pears works brilliantly too. And of course you don't have to stick to apples and pears - at this time of year blackberries and plums would be yummy too. I used tinned fruit to guarantee the moistness, as unripe fresh fruit wouldn't soften enough. I may also have used tinned because they're a lot cheaper and I'm a poor little student, but that's by the by. The beauty of this cake is that you can serve it up as it is for afternoon tea, but then warm it up (and add a cheeky bit of ice cream on the side) for an evening dessert.

My quantities made two cakes in 20cm sandwich tins, as they're quite shallow. My housemates are all very pleased about this as it means there's one cake for them (which is being devoured as I type) and one for the dinner party. However, if you had a deep springform tin you could use that and make one big cake, but do bear in mind that it would take a lot longer to bake. If you only want to make one sandwich tin's worth, just halve the quantities. As always, remember to take your eggs and 175g butter out of the fridge well in advance.


Crumble topping

85g plain flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
50g unsalted butter, chilled
50g caster sugar


175g unsalted butter, softened
175g light brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
550g tinned apples and pears
1 tbsp caster sugar

Wooo. All my ingredients and utensils out and ready to bake!


1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line two 20cm round sandwich cake tins.

2. Make the topping: Place the flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into little pieces and rub into the flour using the tips of your fingers until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and set aside.

3. Make the cake: Using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugar together until light, pale and creamy - this may take a while, but keep going and it will get smooth - then gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder. The mix will be quite thick.

The crumble and fruit mixes set aside
4. Toss the fruit in a separate bowl with the caster sugar, then fold it into the cake mix. it will seem like there is a lot of fruit compared to cake, but the cake will rise up whilst baking. Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared tins and smooth the tops.

Ready for baking!
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes (if the tops get too dark, cover loosely with foil), then sprinkle half the crumble topping on to each cake as quickly as possible and bake for a further 25 minutes or so. The cakes are done when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, although it will be slightly wet because of the fruit. The crumble topping should be golden and crisp, but don't worry if it still looks like crumbs.

Just out of the oven
6. Once out of the oven, go round the outside of each cake with a spatula knife to make sure they don't stick to the walls of the tin. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 45 minutes (they will be very fragile) before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Or, do what I did and dig in while still warm. If some of the loose crumbs fall off while you're manoeuvring and transferring the cakes, don't worry, just sprinkle them back on top afterwards. Yum! Here's hoping it goes down a treat at the dinner party tonight...

Friday, 9 November 2012

Easy food swaps to save you money - my studentbeans article

Yup, I've got another article up on the fab student website, Yay! I've learnt a lot about how to be a savvy supermarket shopper, and with a bit of research, found out the best ways to cut back on your food shopping costs without compromising too much on quality. It's an essential skill, not just for students. Here's a taster of my article, but for the full list of TEN simple swaps, click through to my article here. Please.

"We all know that beans doesn't actually always means Heinz (Sainsbury's Basics will do just fine, thanks), but if you want to be really thrifty, there's more to savvy supermarket shopping than just choosing budget brands.

These food swaps will help you save a little bit here and there and it really will all add up, leaving you more money for the important things in student life. Like textbooks, of course.

1. Swap fresh fruit for tinned

Granted, it’s much easier to grab an apple than a tin of fruit to munch on your way to a lecture, but tinned fruit is a lot cheaper than fresh. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about finding a mouldy tin of peach slices at the back of your cupboard like you may do with a sad, forgotten banana.
Tinned fruit keeps for ages and is really delicious with custard or yoghurt. If you like making smoothies, it’s definitely not worth wasting expensive fresh fruit, so use tinned, frozen or even dried instead. All cheaper, with just as much nutritional goodness. Now you have no excuse not to get your five a day!
A punnet of four fresh peaches (about 440g) costs £3 in Sainsbury’s, whereas a 213g tin of peach slices in fruit juice is 38p, or £1.78 per kg.

2. Swap refrigerated pizzas for frozen

Freezer food is nearly always cheaper than their refrigerated equivalents, so if you can get from the supermarket to your freezer without your food defrosting, it’s definitely worth hitting up the freezer section. You may be surprised by what you find as well – frozen broccoli, anyone? There’s more to freezers than ice cream.
A Sainsbury’s cheese & tomato thin & crispy pizza from the fridge sections costs £2.19, whereas their thin & crispy margherita pizza from the freezer costs £1.60.

3. Swap snack packs and buy in bulk
The bigger the packet, the cheaper the price. Simple. So why spend more than you need to if you can manage to carry heavier shopping bags back home? Snack-sized products are ridiculously over-priced, so it’s best to buy large quantities and then decant into a little Tupperware for when you’re on the go.
A 1kg bag of Sainsbury’s Californian seedless raisins cost £2.85, whereas Whitworths 35g snack packs of juicy raisins cost 45p each or £12.86/kg."

So What are you waiting for? Reading the full article could just save you enough money for that green velvet skater skirt from ASOS that you've had your eye on for so long (just me?)


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Student Cooking

My honey roast veg and sausages
In my fresher year of uni, much to my initial dismay, I was put in a catered hall, so there was no need to cook more than a microwaved bowl of tinned soup. And even this posed difficulties: on my first day of freshers' week I tried to warm up a bowl of soup for lunch, only to discover our microwave was extremely temperamental. The soup exploded, burnt my face, and now I'm literally scarred for life. Brill.

This year, however, all is different. I am living in an (uncharacteristically beautiful) student house, with a perfectly functioning kitchen and free reign to let my inner culinary goddess out. Yes, that's right. I have an inner culinary goddess. To be fair, I didn't realise this until recently myself. I've known for a while that I get a lot of joy out of baking (newsflash, I know), and I like to think I have a bit of a knack for it. But actual cooking? Oh no no no!

My chicken, leek and chick-pea stew
Well, I have really got very into cooking. By no means am I claiming to be the next Nigella, and my repertoire is still rather limited, but I am really enjoying trying new dishes and the like. I haven't been making anything fancy schmancy, but I've surprised myself by not living off pasta/baked beans/toast. I really take pleasure in fixing up a good, hearty, home-cooked meal, and am really looking forward to going home to my family at the end of term with some well-honed and new-found culinary skills.

I'm also taking a real pride in my cooking, probably just because it's all still a bit new to me. I know what you're thinking: that sounds ridiculous. It's just that living at home throughout my childhood, there was never really any need for me to do much cooking. What a spoilt brat, eh? But it wasn't really like that. I would cook the odd thing here and there, and would help out mum a lot of the time.

So what have I made? Well, I've got quite into honey-roast root veg and sausages; I've made a yummy meatball dish, bulked up with red peppers, peas, broccoli and other veg; an almondy chicken korma with sweetcorn and raisins; a hearty chicken, leek and chick-pea stew; a twist on a classic bolognese with courgettes and red peppers. Nothing that'll blow your mind, but yummy all the same. Tonight I'm going to whip up a chicken, sweet potato and coconut curry, and am rather looking forward to it.

My coronation chicken and veg curry
When I (well, my parents) were buying kitchen bits and bobs for my first solo expedition into the culinary world (AKA uni this year), we thought I'd need miniature pans that would be the perfect size for one portion. I've now realised that that was completely the wrong approach. Student cooking is all about the freezer: you make a few portions worth of each dish, eat one, put some in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. It's more cost-effective, more practical when following recipes, and really convenient for those days when you don't have time to cook properly. Speaking of freezers, frozen peas are your best friend as a student. Seriously, I add them to everything. Love the peas.

Another thing: it's really nice to have control over your meals. I don't mean that in a food-obsessed way (although I know I am a bit obsessed), but I'm just enjoying being able to choose what I eat and when. I like browsing recipes and picking what I want in the supermarket, within the confines of a student budget, obvs. I genuinely love supermarkets. There are so many great foods. See what I mean about food-obsessed? Meh.

Cooking is fun. Who knew? And despite what people say, it's really not that hard. People always complain about having to cook (I'm looking at you, mum), but I'm really enjoying it. On that note, I think it's time for me to go and make myself some dinner. Mmmm dinner.

UPDATE: Here's how tonight's dinner turned out. It was my first time cooking with coconut milk and went down an absolute treat, if I do say so myself. It had all the flavour one would expect from an Indian takeaway, but with lots of extra veggies to make it healthier. I sure I'm glad I've got a few more portions for the freezer!

Colourful coconutty chicken korma with sweet potato, peas, peppers, pineapple and green beans.
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