Thursday, 25 August 2016

Why I'm not baking along with Bake Off.


I love the Great British Bake Off. I look forward to it every year and last year when I saw all the blogs taking part in the Bake Off Bake Along I thought 'damn, I wish I had been organised enough to do that too!' So this year I decided to do something like it. I started tentative planning of a few recipes I might make and post each week for the themes that usually come up every year. I even made my first bake! Week one is always cake week so I decided to try a double layer Pimm's cake with strawberry buttercream icing. Sounds pretty good, right?

This was the result:


Granted, I had sort of given up on the idea of it looking presentable in any way long before it came to putting the icing on, and the results aren't quite as bad as The Great Scone Disaster, but it's still not great, is it?

I could give you all the excuses: it was too hot that day (it was), I trusted the recipe even when I knew it was wrong (I did), but honestly I think it might just be time to finally admit that pretty bakes are not my thing. It tasted okay! For the most part... And I'm not going to stop baking by any means. I might even share some over the next few weeks. But I don't know about you, but I can't handle ten straight weeks of that.

If you want to try the recipe yourself anyway and see if you can do a better job (I'm certain you can) I used this recipe for the cake (although if I made this again I would definitely use self-raising flour instead of all-purpose and baking powder) and the strawberry icing recipe from this cupcake recipe (I've actually made these cupcakes before and although it was a few years ago now I'm pretty sure they turned out much better than this cake so honestly, maybe just stick with the cupcakes.)

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Bodmin Beacon.


The beacon itself, which you can see through the trees there, is a war monument, but the area surrounding it is actually a protected nature reserve. I've lived in this town all my life and yet I had never really gone up there before this day so I had no idea how nice it actually is. Isn't that always the way? I guess you're never a tourist in your own town. Or maybe it's just me who is completely oblivious to my own surroundings...



There are lots of beautiful wild flowers everywhere but the real star of this post is coming up at the end so get ready...






We found a beetle!!! I was taking pictures of flowers when my dad found this little guy. He called me over and picked the beetle up on the end of a stick and then very nicely stood there, holding and twisting the stick around for a good long while so that I could get some good angles. Honestly, it made my whole day. I took fifteen pictures of the beetle. It was great.


Look at him go!


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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Carlyon Bay.


Doesn't that just make you desperately want to jump into that water and swim? I mean, I took these pictures in May and I remember how freezing it was but I still want to get in there. I've swum in the ocean at that time of year before and I always instantly regret it, but I always do it again. How is a person to resist when the water looks like that?




Those clouds might put off more sensible people but not me. The ocean makes me an idiot.


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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Some pretty bad photos of Torquay.


I'm still learning how to take good pictures. I'm still learning how best to edit them. Even though I've had my D-SLR since I was eighteen, I'm still learning how to use it properly. I will probably never be done learning. What this means is that sometimes my pictures just aren't going to be that good. Sometimes they're going to be blurry and sometimes that's because my camera is a little old and the light was bad that day but more often it's just because I still have to remind myself to use the right lens or change the aperture.


But this blog is kind of my photographic diary and I like sharing photos of fun days here. I like showing you that I saw a guy using some kind of water jet pack in Torquay, and if the photo is out of focus because I set the wrong aperture then hey, that's just something I still need to learn, and there is definitely value for me in documenting that too.


This is all really just to say that I know these pictures aren't great but I couldn't not post a picture of a guy using a water jet pack. I just don't have it in me to make that decision.


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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Project: Anything Other Than Hamilton III: Country Music Edition.

A little recap seems in order, since it has been so long since my last one of these. Project: Anything Other Than Hamilton is a project I started earlier this year to try and force myself to listen to things that aren't just the Hamilton cast recording over and over again. I am having varying degrees of success.

I don't expect anyone to remember but in the last Anything Other Than Hamilton I mentioned that I love country music but I don't think I listen to enough country artists. That's something I am definitely trying to fix, so yes, I'm afraid today's albums are all country. And, spoiler alert: I love every one of them.

Road Between - Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale is probably best known for her role as Aria in Pretty Little Liars but, much as I love that show, now that it's coming to an end I'm very much hoping that a second album might be on the cards soon. Of the three albums in this post I think this one is my favourite, which is saying something, because these are three really good albums. Although it's definitely country, there is something of a pop leaning to Road Between and I think fans of Taylor Swift's earlier albums would definitely like this one.

Favourite songs: From the Backseat, Lie a Little Better, Love Tonight

Same Trailer Different Park - Kacey Musgraves

Same Trailer Different Park is a little more chilled out than the other two albums here but that doesn't mean I love it any less. In fact, these are actually the only three albums on my iPhone currently. I still keep all my music on an old iPod Classic but I've had these three on my phone so I can listen to them whenever I want and Same Trailer Different Park is probably the one I've listened to the most. It has really quickly become one of those albums that I put on whenever I'm not sure what exactly I want to listen to and I'm always happy with it.

Favourite songs: Silver Lining, Blowin' Smoke, Follow Your Arrow

Start Here - Maddie & Tae

You might have seen the music video for Maddie & Tae's song Girl in a Country Song, which made the rounds on the Internet when it came out a couple of years ago for the hilarious way that it sends up the role of women in a lot of country music videos. Honestly, even if you hate country the video is totally worth a watch, I promise. And if you like that then I also recommend Shut Up and Fish, which has a similar fun sort of message. Start Here mixes these fun, jokey songs with the more traditional, emotional country songs in a way that never feels odd and I'll definitely be looking forward to any of their future albums too!

Favourite songs: Girl in a Country Song, Shut Up and Fish, No Place Like You


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Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Camel Trail.


Just a short post today, with just a few pictures from a little walk my parents and I went on so long ago that I genuinely can't even remember what part of the Camel Trail this was. Once I'm caught up with all these posts please remind me to never let myself be this bad at editing and posting photos ever again. Thanks.




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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Tintagel Castle.


These pictures have been sat on my computer, unedited, since April. My friends and I had originally planned to go to the zoo on this day but when we woke up that morning the weather was just awful so we decided to go to a castle ruins on a clifftop instead... yeah. Luckily for us the weather had cleared up beautifully by the time we actually got to the castle.



We ended up getting to Tintagel a little later than planned so the first thing we did was grab lunch at the appropriately named King Arthur's Arms and then we started the very long climb up to the castle. (It's steep. There are a lot of steps. I need to do more cardio.) Unfortunately the tide was in when we got there so we didn't get to see Merlin's Cave or the carving of Merlin that caused such a fuss in the local news in the weeks before our visit, but that's okay. I got to look out over the beautiful blue ocean, with the sun on my face, and tell my friends the story of King Arthur's beginnings at Tintagel. And they let me. So I really couldn't have asked for anything more.




The story goes that Tintagel was once the home of the Cornish Duke, Gorlois and his wife, Igraine. They lived there happily together until the king, Uther Pendragon fell in love with Gorlois's wife. Igraine refused to become the King's mistress but, as was often the way with kings during these times, Uther eventually found a way to get what he wanted.


Slighted by Igraine's rejection, Uther declared war against Gorlois and one night, while Gorlois was away fighting this war, Uther asked the wizard, Merlin to help him. Merlin agreed on one condition - that Uther would allow Merlin the care of the child Igraine would bear him. Uther agreed and so Merlin used his magic to make Uther appear as Gorlois so that he could enter the castle at Tintagel and go to Igraine, without anyone knowing his true identity. Merlin's plan worked and that night Arthur was conceived.



But something else also happened that night. In the morning, after Uther had gone, Igraine received word that her husband, Gorlois had been killed hours before he had appeared to her. Igraine told no one what had happened but, with her husband gone, it was decided that she should now marry King Uther.


Igraine eventually confided in Uther her story of the strange conception of the child she carried and in turn Uther told her the truth of what had really happened that night. Months later Arthur was born and Merlin returned, to take the child he had been promised, to ensure that Arthur would grow to be a great king.


I'll admit it's a pretty creepy story, and that's probably why some more recent interpretations of the myth tend to skip over it a little, which is fair enough. Tintagel Castle also appears in the story of Tristram and Iseult as the home of King Mark of Cornwall, but maybe I'll save that story for the next time I visit.



King Arthur aside, Tintagel castle is a beautiful place and I am quite sure that I will be visiting it again. Although I will remember to take change so I can get a lift up the hill on the way back next time because, not to be dramatic, but I nearly died walking back up that hill.



Anarchy.


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