Today I made fudge…

I can ‘cook’ pasta, noodles, rice, chicken and one pan rice dishes (chicken and rice together). So basically I can boil water and turn the oven on. Isn’t George super lucky?

What I lack in range I make up for in consistency; I consistently make noodles for dinner every night for two weeks.

But from time to time I push the boat out and try to make something a bit more than a boil-able carbohydrate. A jazzy cheesecake (that ended up more like angel delight on a digestive biscuit), chocolate brownies (that didn’t cook in the middle) and a jacket potato (that, like the brownie, didn’t cook in the middle).

Long story short it always ends in me looking at the fruits of my labour and saying “but I did exactly what the recipe said…
… why is the middle liquid?”
… why is it that colour?”
… why does it look like something from Lord of the Rings?”

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that I shouldn’t be left unsupervised in the kitchen but over excited about the bank holiday weekend, I decided that I was going to make fudge and distribute it to everyone – I’m nice like that – however, if I distributed this fudge I could cause some serious oesophagus damage, and that wouldn’t be nice at all.

Fudge consists of sugar, golden syrup, clotted cream and vanilla extract.

When you’re lacking cooking skills to the extent that I am, a four ingredient recipe (where one ingredient is vanilla extract so basically doesn’t count) where you put everything in a pan and mix it is the dream.

But somehow I even managed to cock that up.

The measuring and mixing was fine if you exclude the golden syrup spillage. So far, so good – I can successfully pour sugar and pour vanilla extract onto a teaspoon.

Then you’ve got to let it boil and then take it off the heat when it reaches 116 degrees. How am I supposed to know what 116 degree fudge is when I don’t have any jazzy equipment?

I concluded it was bubbling so it must be hot – right?

Wrong.

As I poured it into the tray I presumed the sticky, syrup like texture would suddenly become light and fluffy when setting.

Unfortunately that was not the case.

I’ve been left with a clotted cream flavoured, rock hard block of toffee that I can’t even get out of the baking tray.

If anyone needs a tooth removing but doesn’t want to pay a dentist give me a shout.

So once again, I’m left asking myself  “but I did exactly what the recipe said…”

 

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People watching at the gym

Gym culture absolutely fascinates me. Whenever I go to the gym I go on the treadmill and then I leave ASAP (usually because I’m so sweaty people probably think I’ve been swimming) and get in my car that is parked as close as possible to the door, but whilst I’m there, what a fantastic place to people watch.

Last Sunday morning (devoted, just saying) and as it was fairly empty I decided to venture into the weights section of the gym.

Anyone that has ever encountered me knows that I am incredibly weak, I can barely lift the bag of sugar to pour into my tea – it’s not good, so I wasn’t about to start swinging weights around like I knew what I was doing. However, I do know how to use the leg press so I set up camp there and proceeded to workout/people watch.

As my thunder thighs are burning away, there is three other people in the gym.

One of them is stood on a machine on his phone. Apparently he was really popular or perhaps he was constructing a wonderful blog about people watchers at the gym, but he did not use the machine for the whole 15 minutes I was sat there.

WHAT IS THE POINT?

He didn’t even pretend to attempt to use it. I think he mistook it for a bench.

He could have really benefited from those machines so he should have really got cracking.

Whilst tutting and rolling my eyes, I noticed someone else watching themselves in the mirror.

Just to set the scene, he was wearing a really thin backed, low arm hole vest (I could see nip) a net-backed cap and had a straightened, obviously bleached fringe.

Quite frankly, I am usually the gym mong. I don’t wear any make up, my hair resembles the Weetos man and just walking through the door makes me incredibly red and incredibly sweaty. You can imagine how many heads I’m turning.

Apart from looking like a Backstreet Boy, he wasn’t really doing an awful lot. He was very slowly lifting a small weight whilst maintaining contact with himself in the mirror. He was gazing into his own eyes.

It was the slow nature of the lifting and the super stare that was weirding me out. It was strange. I felt like I’d walked in on him in a, let’s call it ‘intimate moment’.

The other guy was actually using the gym equipment properly like a normal human being. Bor-ing.

My week with Ollie

It was been one week since my family left me for an exotic holiday to Norfolk. Not content with excluding me from the family holiday, they also left me to look after the dog.

This is Ollie.

Anyone that knows me is more than aware of the fact that me and Ollie are not pals. I only like him to take photos of. So faced with the prospect of being stuck with him for seven days did not fill me with joy. However, as the golden child I was obliged to look after him.

As head honcho Carol (aka. Mother Cooper, who is actually called Samantha but called Controlling Carol due to her OCD tendencies) had left the building, Ollie knew I had no authority what so ever and played on this all week. Whenever I tried to put him away so I could go to work he would sprint up the stairs and stare at me with those big, wonky eyes with an expression that said, “try it. Bitch” and when I would give up and leave him to do as he pleased he would cock his head to the side with a triumphant expression that said, “keep walking. I run this town now”. I am ashamed to admit that I accepted defeat on several occasions.

I arrived home from work to a phone call from my dad asking me to retrieve something from the loft. Something, may I add, that he had put in the furthest corner of the loft but had not boarded so I had to leap from beam to beam or risk falling through my newly painted ceiling. Wonderful.

After I had wrestled with the ladder and clambered into the loft, I came back down to a suspiciously quiet hallway and Ollie was not hovering in close range as usual. I searched the house to find that Ollie had set up camp in Mum and Dad’s bed. Not just on it, he had actually pulled back the cover and got inside it. Five minute debate with the dog, he decided of his own accord to vacate the bed. As many people are aware it has rained ridiculous amounts this week. Despite my lack of friendship with the dog, I have still walked him because I am a good person. So I thought I would jazz up the walking process by taking a tennis ball. He loves to play fetch (with anything he can scoop up with his under bite) so I thought this would be a good idea.

We entered the dog field, I removed his lead and threw the tennis ball. He took one step before plonking himself down on the floor and looking at me as if to say “Honey boo, what makes you think for one second I am trekking across this shit infested field to retrieve that tennis ball?” so I pointed as the tennis ball and said “Ollie! Fetch!” like he even knows and/or cares what I was saying. He looked to where I was pointing and looked back at me. “You’d better get walking, it isn’t going to fetch itself”.

So muggins over here went to get the ball and he came running over with his tale wagging before squatting and leaving me a lovely present to clear up. Fantastic.


In addition to the rainy walks I have had to endure, he won’t go out in the garden on his own so I too had to stand in the garden, in the rain whilst he sniffs out his latest piss patch. Since we got him ‘done’ he doesn’t lift his leg but instead squats like a girl. Usually this isn’t an issue, but recently – I say recently, in the seven days I have been looking after him – he has decided to stop bothering with a squat and instead just stands and pisses all up his own stomach. Are you kidding me?

  
So what have I learnt from my week with Ollie?

  1. I have little to no patience with both people and animals.
  2. Despite this lack of patience, my previous decisions are overruled by puppy dog eyes.
  3. I like animals to look at and like on Instagram, but not to pick up their crap.

Thank God my parents are back.

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Planning a party for a control freak…

This year my mum had a ‘big’ birthday and as a result we decided to throw her a party to show her how much we appreciate everything she does for us.

It was initially planned as a surprise until my Nan innocently asked my Mum what she was doing for her birthday and she replied, “I guess I’ll have to plan my own party as these lot haven’t done anything”. Cover blown, I had to reveal that we are in fact not the world’s worst, uncaring children and that we had begun preparations for a birthday BBQ (always risky with British weather but what can I say, we live life on the edge).

From that point onward, Mother became a Barbe-zilla. Like a Bride-zilla but without the attitude leeway from family members and more BBQ meat.

My Mum, my dear, military clean Mum, then started:

“When are you going to clean the banisters?”

“When are you going to sweep grass?”

“Will you have relaid the patio by Saturday?”

As a result of her constant interference – the above was not at all exaggerated – she was due to be shipped off to my Nan’s house Friday night.

The Thursday before the party the cleaning regime had to begin. This was when my Dad decided to drop a gigantic wooden beam on his foot and spend three hours in A&E. Long story short, the head BBQ-er was now on crutches and Mum was insisting she couldn’t stay away Friday night as she needed to look after him.

You can imagine my response.

Grumpy Cat

She went. And called us to monitor progress.

As President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Head Decorator and Head of Catering within the Party Committee, I was just a tiny bit stressed. It isn’t easy organizing chairs, decorations, food for 60 people and making sure all the balloon ribbons looked nice. But someone has to do it and that person was me.

For some reason, and I have no idea why, a handful of people say that I have borderline OCD tendencies such as wanting everything to be perfect and therefore being unrealistic with what can be achieved in a back garden with a BBQ. Consequently, I may become a massive pain in the backside for everyone involved. Except myself because I was loving life sorting out sweet jars and so on, whilst George hoovered the curtains and swept the ceilings.

Among the chaos of last minute cleaning, food assembly and the transportation of 70 burgers, 90 sausages and about 80 pieces of chicken, Barbe-zilla arrived back at the house only to be exiled to her bedroom whilst we finished setting up.

However, it was impossible to forget she was there as she reminded us of her presence every five minutes.

“Can I come down yet?”

“When can I come downstairs?”

“It’s my party and I’m not even there”. 

Luckily there was alcohol involved so Mum is still alive and I am not a convicted criminal.

All joking and personality critiquing aside, Mum had a good time, I think, and woke up the next day with a delightful hangover. Bonus points for Mum as despite this she had tidied the majority of things up before I had woken up. This allows me to forgive her crazy ways. Until next time.

MSN Memories

I remember BEGGING my mum to let me have MSN. Everyone had it and I wanted it so badly. She was convinced that I would end up talking to random strangers from foreign lands (and don’t worry Mum, no 30-year-old Turkish men ever randomly got hold of my e-mail address…) but eventually after persuading her, and assuring her that my best friend’s mum had said she could have it, I got MSN and I loved life.

For hours I would talk to my friends that I had left at school five minutes ago, swap jazzy emoticons and construct the perfect Piczo site. Then for some reason, I just stopped using it. I don’t remember when or why; I just stopped. But recently I saw a Facebook argument and it made me think of MSN arguments and all of the other good times MSN gave us.

Just to recap, because let’s face facts no one has used MSN for at least 6 years, here is some MSN terminology:

“Wuu2?”
What are you up to?

“BRB”
Be right back aka. I’m still here but I don’t want to talk to you anymore (only works when you aren’t on webcam, learnt that the hard way…)

“Put me in your PM”
Put my name in your Personal Message so everyone can see we are BFF/ separate school allegiances/possessive

“Put me in your DP”
Put me in your display picture. My name isn’t enough, everyone must see my face.

“Who u luvin”
I fancy you and this is my sly, pre-pubescent way of putting a feeler out about whether I have any sort of chance. Or, I fancy your mate and haven’t got the balls to message them.
The PM…

Constructing the perfect PM in such limited characters is what has made us a generation of perfect Tweeters. We have been training for this our whole tween lives.

The point of a personal message was basically to:

  1. Show the importance of the people in your life via order of names and emoticons.
  2. Put the names of new friends, aka people you had spoken to once, from other schools to show you run in wider social circles.
  3. Display deep song lyrics or meaningful quotes to convey your mood to all of your contacts in hope of a wave of responses only to reply “I don’t want to talk about it”.

Or alternatively putting on the “What I’m listening to” to show your cool taste in music and forgetting you’re listening to AvAnT i WaNa Be and now look like a mega creep.

The mentioning of someone with a heart in your name was essentially the sending of a relationship request on Facebook. If you put someone in your msn name with a heart you were going all in. Married. 4 lyf.

The DP…

I used to have the BIGGEST collection of icons from my Piczo obsession. A variety of film quotes, sassy quotes, inspirational quotes, “blonde girls are sxc” quotes, all ready to correspond with my deep 13 year old problems.

Alternatively, the original selfies taken by a grainy webcam or digital camera with half of your fringe covering your face with one eye glaring in a ‘sultry’ fashion into the webcam did the trick if words weren’t doing it for you.

Photos with friends were also used, but only ones where your friends looked like mongs whilst you were super modelling it at the front so the person you fancied wouldn’t ask for your friends ‘addy’.

The situations…

Blocking and unblocking a contact to get their attention. By doing this you popped up in the right hand corner of the screen appearing as if you had just come online. Obviously you wouldn’t have been on MSN for two hours already waiting for them to come online.  Or worse, they too had been online for ages and hadn’t spoken to you. So rude.

Printing out an MSN argument you had had with someone to show everyone at school the next day. Clearly w-a-y before the days of screen shots.

The one prick who would add ALL of their contacts into one giant conversation and then left.

The random person that added you, and for some reason you accepted, and then would ask you to go on webcam but they didn’t have one. Block.

The creepy person that would always talk to you. You would give them the BRB but they would send a NUDGE (the world’s most irritating invention) to shake the wholescreen or that giant hand that knocked on the screen. Come on people. Not cool.

Asking people to send you their best emoticons so that you could have the biggest, flashiest LOL sign ever.

Spending a good five/ten minutes copy and pasting the fancy letters from people’s msn names into your own. The ones that looked like shorter, fatter lord of the rings style text and had some of the letters back to front. So cool.

Or wRiTiNg A wHoLe NaMe LiKe ThIs only to discover that the I is capital, not little, so it looks crap and having to redo it until you’re happy.

Having such a normal name (aka. Hannah Cooper – there is thousands of us) that you have to create the longest, craziest e-mail address that you now look back on and DIE with embarrassment.

Oh MSN, such good times we had together.

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Today I was held hostage by a mouse

You know in the cartoon Tom and Jerry, there is a random pair of legs that appear every so often screaming “THOMAS” and waving a broom around as Jerry runs riot around the house? That was my real life situation. I was the legs with a broom screaming at my cat to catch the mouse that’s set up survival camp under the fridge.

I hate mice. And rats. And wet squirrels. Anything with a thin wormy tail makes me die inside. So you can imagine how much I was loving life when there was a mouse in the house.

The cat had been sat in front of the fridge for a long time. I’d gone out, come back and she was still there. Emailed my mum to say the cat was being weird, went upstairs, came down and she was still there.

So there was nothing left to do but face my fear and defeat the mouse!

So I rung Muma Coops.

After telling me she wasn’t coming home and I would have to deal with it myself. Crap. So whilst my mum was on the phone I slowly pulled out the fridge as I balanced on two chairs.

Then the screaming began as I saw a furry behind and a wormy tail wriggle back under the fridge. So on advice from the Madre, I fetched the broom to sweep it out. Obviously the broom did not fit under the fridge, the screaming continued and Mum promptly arrived home to set me free from my chair prison.

Needless to say, 10 minutes later Mum had captured the mouse and set it free in the field and peace was restored in the Cooper Household.

Mum doesn’t like mice, rats or wet squirrels either so really how we were going to deal with the situation was anyone’s guess. But alas she out her fears aside, yanked the fridge out and then left the floor as I screamed (again) ‘THE MOUSE’ because I had seem the demon’s face pop out from under the fridge inches from her foot.

The cat leisurely strolled over as the tail flicked out from under the fridge and did nothing. Useless. Absolutely useless.

X amount of time later the mouse darted out. Cue more screaming from me, more jumping from mum and the cat running out in to the garden with a tail hanging from her mouth.

Unfortunately children, that is the way of the food chain.

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5 types of people that annoy me…

1. The people who have learnt to play Jeremy Kyle
I think it goes without saying that I do not idolise the people on the Jeremy Kyle Show, I just like to watch it because I genuinely cannot believe that some of these people exist. However, as the series are progressing, even the ‘less intellectually stimulated and motivated’ participants have twigged that the best way to get Jezza to stop screaming at you is to use on of his favourite lines:
A. “It’s not about us it is about our baby”
B. “If I’m such a rubbish parent then why have you let me look after our child for such a long time”
C. “I know we should have put something on the end of it”
And this annoys me. They don’t mean it, they won’t change. I just don’t like to see Jeremy played like that.

2. People that always have to have one better
We all know one person that when you tell a story about anything, the same thing has happened to them but much better than your simple story. For example:
“I went to the zoo”
“I went to the zoo too! In Africa where lions roam free and I cuddled one whilst riding an elephant that could talk”
Of course you did.

3. People with no manners
You hold the door open for someone, nothing. You let a car pull out , nothing. You let someone have the last cake, nothing. And then I just want to kick them because I don’t understand how people can be SO DANG RUDE. How hard is it to say thank you? And you know, older people are the worst. They just expect things because they are old. I’m all for respecting your elders but having more life experience than me would suggest that they would have heard of please or thank you perhaps once or twice in their life time. Some of the people I have encountered [particularly in retail] suggest not.

4. People who cannot follow simple social rules
Queuing. Lord above, why can people not queue properly? It is one of the most simple things ever created. The process of standing one behind the other in the order in which you arrived. Not cutting in the middle, not starting your own new queue, but just joining the back of the line or starting a line at the point in which a queue would logically form. Is it so hard to ask the person who appears to be randomly stood by a till whether they are in the queue rather than just shoving past them [yes you woman in Pret]? Or would that just be to easy? PEOPLE PLEASE, it is the simplest of things.

5. People who only bother with you some of the time
Not even people that are necessarily your friends but people that you just know. Acquaintances if you will. When things happen and they pop up like ‘hey, we haven’t spoken since you passed me a crayon when we were 5 but if you need to talk about it I’m here for you’

Please, let us take a second to evaluate this situation. If I haven’t spoken to you in 100 years, please tell me why I would go and discuss my issues with you in depth. Oh yes, I remember, because I want you to discuss me with other people! I can’t believe I forgot that… I am so silly.

Deep breaths people. Deep breaths.

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Today I experienced delays…

So the plan is to ramble and type until some sort of genius approaches me. I’ve done this before when I have had writers block and usually something happens.

Today will not be that day at the rate it is going.

I got up at the crack of dawn because George was going to work and I was going to uni so the nice 6.30 start was only made more pleasant by the howling wind and torrential rain.

So because of all the horrific weather warnings I checked for train delays. They said there were a few delays but everything was still running.

Less than 30 minutes later all trains had been cancelled and I had missed my first lecture. The trains continued to be cancelled and thus I also missed the accompanying seminar.

Panic had started to descend as I had an exam at 1pm. I was contemplating buses, driving (although realistically I would never drive in central London, I can barely cross the road as a pedestrian, let alone try and drive among these mad people) anything to get me in for the exam.

So we (we being my parents and I because despite the fact that I am 20 my mum and dad still know best) decided that going to the station and waiting was the best option.

I wanted to cry when at 9.45 the next train to Euston was 11.25. Other trains kept appearing on the departures board and then being taken off again so I decided to just go and wait on the platform. Then, a ray of light beamed down on Milton Keynes Central Station as a London Midland train approached AND I got a seat on the train.

Now just before we get to ahead of ourselves, let us remember that it is ME on this journey and therefore nothing can run smoothly.

Sat next to me is a guy who not only thinks he is entitled to half of my chair as well as his own but is also wearing damp, wet dog like smelling, fleecy jogging bottoms. As you can imagine I was loving life.

So I checked the usual, Instagram, Twitter, ASOS etc. and then come across a message that has been posted on my course wall on Facebook stating that the exam has in fact been postponed because of the weather.

Of course it has.

The best part is, is that rocking in to Uni at about 12, I had an hour to kill before my tutorial which lasted 2 hours and now I can’t even go home and bask in the shite-ness of my day whilst laying in the middle of the floor with my cat because I am going to a jewellery launch in Piccadilly at 7pm. So now, at 3.30 I have over 3 hours to kill before the event starts.

So nothing genius entered my brain but I am happy to have got that off of my chest. I am well and truly baffled that a predicted storm can cause so much chaos. Heaven forbid if we ever got the same amount of snow as Canada or hurricanes like America. I’m just hoping that after all of this I can get home otherwise I will probably just stand at the station and cry until someone takes pity on me and feeds me weatherspoons.

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Last night I watched a Midwife documentary…

I don’t really do scary films. I pretend I do and then proceed to watch a large percentage of the film studying my palm or the pattern of my scarf. I was not prepared for the horrors that unfolded before my very eyes whilst watching a documentary about the labour ward at a hospital and the worst part? That everything on the screen is actually REAL.

When I watch these documentaries about the life of a midwife I have the same reaction – yet continue to watch every variation of the same type of programme – my vahanhan* closes up and all of my organs ache. I don’t even particularly mind the blood it is the thought of essentially trying to push a melon through a keyhole. Even typing this now is making my vahanhan hurt.

I was not prepared to actually see the c-section being performed for triplets. Not prepared at all. There is a reason they are called internal organs. As soon as I saw them slice open and then pull apart her stomach I dived into the cushions and did not surface until the whole process was over.

I really do commend anyone that has had their vahoo** stretched to 10cm to push a small human out and anyone that has been sliced open and had their internal organs rummaged around in order to give birth. They are incredibly brave but I just don’t understand how they cope with the pain. Even when the birth is over, the women lay there looking exhausted and then they can’t have any sleep for the next 2 years as children have no idea about sleeping through the night so how do they ever recover?!

And then there is the heart wrenching moment when the baby comes out and doesn’t cry and I know the baby will be ok because otherwise they wouldn’t put it on TV but I’m still near tears every time until the baby cries and then I love life again. Well I say love life, I am restored to loving life in the sense that I just an aching vahan rather than an aching vahan and a broken heart.

So as I’m doubled up on the sofa about to pass out on behalf of the pain of these women my Mum always says “yes but after that pain you then have your baby” which I suppose is the silver lining in the situation.

I’ve already informed my mother that at current she is relying on my younger sister for Grandchildren.

*vahanhan = my personal vahoo

**vahoo = the collective term for a vagina. Your individual vahoo name is created by having ‘va’ and then adding a part of your name twice. For example, my name is Hannah hence vahanhan or I could potentially have a vacoopcoop. Other examples include; vachlochlo, vajojo, valulu, vafluflu – you get the gist.

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Encounters with Charity Workers

I haven’t blogged in a really, really long time. I just haven’t got an awful lot of insightful things to say so I’m just going to ramble – as if I don’t usually – about some of the charity workers I have had the pleasure to meet in the past month or so.

Encounter #1
Charity Worker: “Can I have just 5 minutes of your time Madam?”
Now at this point, every other person on the planet walks away and ignores them, but like a mug I respond. This is a rookie mistake as even if you respond to tell them you are busy, you have given them enough attention that they latch on for the next 30 minutes.
Me: “I’m really sorry I’m running late for work”
C.W: “oh really where do you work?”
Me: “New Look”
So then he continues to question me about my life which he evidently does not actually care about. And eventually he says “so how old are you?”
Me: “I’m 19”
C.W: “Really? You look much older!”
Oh good. That will help with both the quarter life crisis and the persuasion of me to give you money every month.
Me: “Yes really. I really have to go to work now”
C.W: “So when is your break?”
Oh God. This has escalated quickly.
Me: “I’m not sure until I get there”
C.W: “Well come back on your break and we can go and do something. I am in charge so I can come and go as I like”
Brilliant. Very dedicated to the cause I see. At this point I didn’t have a boyfriend but my answer was still my always favourite line; “I don’t think my boyfriend would be very happy with that”
C.W: “Have a good shift at work”

Encounter #2
The same stand returns a couple of weeks later. This time my newly acquired friend was unfortunately not there. I was crushed. However, I battled on and was then cornered by another worker.
C.W: “Hi there, can I talk to you for 5 minutes?”
Me: “I actually spoke to someone the other week, I’m not old enough to donate”
C.W: “Oh ok, what are you up to?”
I’M BUSY
Me: “Just going to work”
C.W: “Where do you work?”
Me: “New Look.”
C.W: “At least that is inside”
Me: “Yes it is warm in there”
He did not sense the tone.
C.W: “I don’t mind being out in the cold when I get to talk to beautiful girls like you.”
Oh for the love of God.
Me: “You know another member of your team used a very similar line on me, you lot are clearly hard at work all the time”
C.W: “Was he ginger and Irish?”
He was and clearly a serial perv.
Me: “Yes. He wasn’t too happy when I told him I couldn’t meet him because of my boyfriend”
C.W: “I will let you get off to work then”
Yes, Good Day Sir.

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