Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wednesday’s Got Issues : Coachella Hipsters Are a Nice Distraction

There are a lot of unsettling stories floating around this week and there’s not much that I can add to make a full blog post worthwhile, so instead I’m going to refer back to a fail safe coping mechanism for bad news : funny YouTube videos! In between reading about unemployment, collapsed buildings and the after effects of terrorism, it’s nice to know that one can always rely on a hipster to provide some comic relief. See below for a segment on Jimmy Kimmel in which Coachella attendees are asked for their opinions on non-existent bands

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Telly Tuesdays : Broadchurch

I’ve decided to make a change to my categories, as writing about travelling just made it more clear to me that I’m not going on holiday anytime soon. So instead I’ve decided to switch to another major interest of mine, television. Yes, the majority of the programmes that I watch are via iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube or Sidereel, but it still counts as TV, plus I work unsociable hours so the only other option is to turn off my brain and make do with Jeremy Kyle.

For the past 8 weeks I’ve been ever so slightly obsessed with an ITV crime thriller called Broadchurch, a detective series in which Olivia Colman and David Tennant investigate a small community after a young boy is murdered. The best elements of it were the dual allegiance of Colman’s character, who is an active member of the community and mother of the dead child’s best friend. At first she refuses to believe that anyone within her community could commit a murder, yet over the course of the series she begins to doubt herself. I have loved watching Olivia Colman since I saw her playing the scatterbrained mother Harriet Schulenburg, and I still don’t feel like I’ve recovered from Tyrannosaur – arguably the best film I’ve ever seen that I never want to see again. She is perfection, so I knew I wanted to watch Broadchurch as soon as I saw that she was in it.
Then there’s David Tennant as the distant and blunt detective with the failures of a previous case and as well as a serious illness weighing heavily on his mind. Plus he’s my favourite Doctor Who, so enough said really.

But the series did have its problems. At times it felt like I was watching some sort of sequel to Hot Fuzz, complete with comedy accents, a token outsider and Colman back in the police station. And by the end it seemed that the writers were fixated on creating every character into a paedophile (not so much like Hot Fuzz). But either way I love a good puzzle, so was immensely proud that I correctly guessed the killer from the first episode, even if everyone else did too.

That was the main failing of the programme, in such a small community there are only a certain number of people that you can paint as a suspect before the one person that no one suspects becomes glaringly obvious. I won’t spoil the reveal for anyone who has yet to watch, but the reasons behind the child’s murder are equally dubious, and many elements of the investigation are left unresolved (WHY was Danny arguing with the postman!?). However it has been announced that there will be a series 2, so it will be interesting to see how the writers work around the complete lack of serious crime in rural Dorset coastal towns, unless the people of Broadchurch are just very, very unlucky. The closing moments of the series seem to suggest that the two detectives, who were the only three dimensional characters anyway, will move on to pastures new to escape the demons that Danny Latimer’s murder unearthed.

It wasn’t perfect, but it kept me hooked.

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Monday Pick Me Up : Cloths in Space

This video isn’t so much funny as mind blowing. I had to watch it a few times because it took me so long to get over the fact that the Canadian astronaut is in zero gravity, but what it boils down to is the ways in which water acts and reacts in space. Very simple experiment, very simple explanation. But nonetheless I found it amazing. If the everyday act of straining the water out of a washcloth can be so beautiful, just imagine the other possibilities. Needless to say, I am profoundly jealous and in awe of those people lucky enough to experience that kind of environment. So if Starfleet could just hurry up and exist I would be very grateful.

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Sunday Cook Off : Nutella Crispies and Mint Cornflake Treats

I have taken to asking for suggestions from my colleagues for new baking inspiration, this week they wanted rice crispy and cornflake treats. I remember making these as a six year old, so I wasn’t exactly enthused about making something so easy – I do love a challenge. But after some extensive googling I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman that completed half of my order. You can find details on the rice crispy treats here: Pioneer Woman

For the second half of the bake I decided to make it up as I went along, so forgive the somewhat sketchy measurements/instructions:

Chocolate Mint Cornflake Bar

125g butter
300g dark chocolate
3 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 a box of cornflakes (basically slowly add as many as desired)
100g white chocolate
1 tsp mint extract
A dash of milk (optional)

1. Put the butter, golden syrup and dark chocolate in saucepan, stirring frequently over a low heat.

2. Once it’s all melted, pour in the cornflakes and mix it all together.

3. Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet.

4. Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.

5. Add the mint extract, adding in the milk if required to get the right consistency for drizzling.

6. Drizzle generously over the cornflake mixture and refrigerate. I was in a rush so I put it into the freezer for half an hour.

7. Cut into squares and enjoy!

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Fame On A Friday : David Attenborough Makes It All Better

On a day when the news is dominated by stories full of anguish and violence, it didn’t feel right to place any kind of importance on celebrity news. The fact that Kim Kardashian is finally divorced should not be news.

So to offer a bit of distraction I offer you the benevolent grandfather of TV, David Attenborough, who can be guaranteed to lift even the lowest of spirits with his soothing voice and interesting stories. See below for a clip from ‘Africa’, his new series, in which he makes friends with a blind baby rhino.

As much as I love to learn about animals and the natural world, I normally I hate to watch nature programming. I cannot stand to see things dying, even if it is nature’s way. I still haven’t recovered from Attenborough’s recent series in the polar regions, ‘Frozen Planet’, those bloody orca always ruined everything with their murderous ways!

Anyway enjoy this lovely clip, completely absent of whales.

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Thursday Me Time : Ever Wonder How Animals Eat Their Food?

It’s not secret that I spend a good portion of my free time on YouTube, whether it’s catching up with the latest watercooler moments or rewatching my favourite episodes of ‘Supersizers Go…’ (seriously, watch the 80’s one), so it seems appropriate to share my new favourite: How Animals Eat Their Food.
WARNING: Do not try to act this out to your friends in a crowded pub, it may lead to chaos and soggy socks. Trust me.

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Wednesday’s Got Issues : NZ Shows That Love is Louder

Most people who know me, know that I have a particular love for New Zealand. I once lived and studied there, and completely fell in love with it’s beautiful landscape, people and culture. I realise that banging on about it all the time can be a bit annoying, but today I feel that I am justified in mentioning it. Today the NZ parliament passed a bill for marriage equality – which is excellent in itself – but it was the reaction from the gallery upon hearing the news that had me crying.

The woman in the striped shirt is Louisa Wall, the openly gay MP who sponsored the bill. Louisa, well done you!

They are singing Pokarekare Ana, a Maori love song.

P.S. If someone wants to buy me a one-way plane ticket back to Wellington, I’d be mightily pleased.

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Monday Pick Me Up : Dogs in Tights Will Make Anyone Happy

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When you’re having one of those days, when it seems like everything is going wrong, just look at these photos of dogs in tights. And be happy.

The person who first thought to put a pair of tights on their dog is a genius. Thank you mystery person, for making my week that little bit brighter.

See more photos on here : BuzzFeed

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Sunday Cook Off : Croissants = All of the Pay Off and None of the Work

This week I felt like experimenting with puff pastry, and luckily we live in a world where I don’t have to make the stuff from scratch. I chose to use chocolate (successful) and marshmallows (disappeared into a caramel goo) as my fillings, but I might try cinnamon or fruit next time.

Basically the (extremely easy) method is this:

1. Buy pre-rolled puff pastry

2. Make sure to take it out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before you want to use it, otherwise it’ll crack

3. Unroll pastry sheet

4. Cut the sheet into the desired amount of sections (depending on how big you want your treats to be), I would say 8-12 pieces is about right if you’re making mini things.

5. Place your filling, in my case 1 square of chocolate and/or a few mini marshmallows, in the centre of the pastry square or triangle and fold it together

6. Ensure that the edges are firmly pressed and facing down on the baking sheet

7. Brush egg white and sprinkle some caster sugar on all of the croissants

8. Bake at 180 for up to 10 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine is basically a nuclear reactor so it was done in 8. Once they’ve turned golden brown, they’re done.

9. Best to let it cool a bit before eating, I learnt the hard way via some molten chocolate filling. I also found that the chocolate went quite hard once the pastries had cooled, but they can easily be reheated in the microwave so all is well that ends well.

10. Enjoy!

 

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Saturday Pot Luck : Celebrities Playing Themselves Works…Sometimes

This. Looks. Awesome.

Probably the first good apocalyptic movie since Shaun of the Dead, can’t wait!

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