Every night I fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. Not the real ocean, sadly, just recordings I can stream through YouTube, but it is enough that those recordings were the ocean once, washing gently across some distant shore. It’s either that or a (mild) tropical storm, because the distant rolls of thunder and lashing rain make me feel warm and cosy and far away. White noise in general makes me feel calm in a way that total silence never can. I never sit in totally silent rooms in libraries, for example, it’s just too disconcerting somehow. I like hustle and bustle to remind me there is life outside of my own mind and the object of its immediate focus.
Moments of calm, like deep and restful unmedicated sleep, often prove elusive to me, but their pursuit is a greater priority this New Year than dieting or rushing to the gym. Sleeplessness and anxiety are a vicious cycle because the one aggravates the other indefinitely. View Full Post
Firstly — apologies for the two-week absence. What with a hectic new job and a whirlwind trip to the UAE (I’ll tell you all about that sometime. It was a hundred-miles-an-hour trip) there really hasn’t been a lot of time or energy for baking. I’m rarely home in daylight hours so photography is impossible, and my little time at home needs to be directed towards sleep.
Today, though, I’m in PJs all day, drinking hot coffee and eating fresh cookies. And I know what you’re thinking: if there’s one thing this blog really doesn’t need, it’s another cookie recipe. But hear me out. Firstly, you can never have too many cookies. Secondly, these are Christmas cookies. Yesterday was my official playing-Christmas-music-for-the-first-time-this-year day, because although I normally try to restrain myself until 1st December, when you’re still crawling down the M1 late on a Friday night, knowing that there’s still the underworld of TFL to deal with once you actually make it back to London, you need the emotional comfort that only Christmas music can bring. Which means that for me, Christmas season is here. And therefore the Christmas recipes can start to come.
If you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while now, you’ll recognise the basic recipe. It’s my go-to for cookies. Because why fix what ain’t broke?
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It’s the first of September, and that makes it officially cookie season. I know what you’re thinking: cookies don’t have a season. Cookies are for all year round. And that’s true – but isn’t there something slightly autumnal about cookies?
Maybe it’s because freshly baked cookies — so fresh that they crumble as you hold them and burn your fingers and tongue — always remind of the fall semester I spent at Princeton. The campus there had an underground cafe serving free tea and cookies during certain hours of the afternoon, and again late at night; there was nothing better on chilly autumn days — especially when it was -10 celsius outside and the icy wind cut like daggers against any exposed skin — than to come in out of the cold, stamp the snow of our boots, and warm our frozen hands with steaming mugs of tea and buttery cookies. We English girls may have balked at the way the Americans made their tea, using warm rather than just-boiled water and adding honey to English Breakfast, but they certainly know how to make chocolate chip cookies. View Full Post
I’m home from Cornwall, and though I miss having G&Ts made for me every evening and being surrounded by gorgeous countryside, it’s nice not being woken by noisily mooing cows at 6am or being made aware of their presence every time I breathe the outside air. I was slightly sceptical about the idea of a study holiday with my fellow historians and our tutors, and my grumpiness was compounded by a poor start to the trip. Delays and detours meant I only just got the train; heaving my excessively large case on-board at Paddington, and ruthlessly shoving it in the last available storage space, I raged all the way to Taunton about not having time to buy lunch. From Taunton to Totness I cried for having forgotten my railcard and being forced to pay the full fare difference by the ticket inspector. By the time we crossed the Cornish border, though, an overpriced cup of tea, a stretch of coastline, and lots of little lambs had mellowed my mood considerably.
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