What turbulent times we live in.  Currently, breakfast time consists of listening to BBC news on the radio over the noise of the boiling kettle, chomping melancholically on a large bowl of granola as the fallout of brexit continues and our political parties go from one degree of chaos to another. I look out of the window and wonder if we might get a glimpse of summer today, and whether or not I can be bothered to go to the gym. The tea brews and is poured, and my thoughts drift sleepily between the heavy and the mundane. I have another helping of granola as I contemplate.

I’m not trying to make a point or anything, but in times of uncertainty I find it best to stick to what you know. If it ain’t broke, and all that. And granola ain’t broke. It’s quick, it’s tasty, it’s satisfying, it’s reassuring. Think we can all do with some of that right now.

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It’s over.

The birds are so loud, so chirpy, so alive, and I wonder, as I sit here in my summer dress, watching the world go by, have they always been so happy? Even the air smells fresher to senses that are free. How long I have waited to feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair without the overwhelming burden of guilt. I can listen to the bells of Oxford and appreciate the richness of their chimes, the depth of their tones, without feeling panic at the onward march of time. There is nowhere I have to be,  nothing I need to do. And it is summer at last, and the world is alive and rejoicing with me. There can be no greater contentment than this.

The last few weeks have been rougher than any I’ve known in my privileged life. I’d forgotten what it was like not to feel exhausted to the core, to wake without feeling sickening dread at the thought of the day ahead, to sleep at night without bad dreams. I’ve watched strong men and women snap in two, perhaps irreversibly.

So when we flowed out of the exam schools onto the street on Friday after our last exam, all two hundred odd historians bearing their red carnations, I have never felt such tangible relief. In a surreal, exhausted daze our friends near blinded us with champagne before thrusting bottles into our eager, shaking hands; paint and silly string and glitter and flour and foam were pelted from all angles and confetti rained from the sky like one enormous street party. I couldn’t stop laughing and laughing and laughing; the sun came out and the cheering and the laughing and the popping of party poppers and champagne bottles was so loud, so raucous, so giddying; euphoric to the point of madness. I stumbled back to my room, shedding glitter and silly string across the ancient quods, and washed my hair three times but couldn’t get it glitter-free. I drank more champagne and played loud music and threw all my papers up in the air and watched them flutter to the floor as the late afternoon light poured through the windows. I went out and celebrated properly, and then slept for twelve hours straight.

My eating until that moment of emancipation was erratic at best. Granola bars, along with coffee and gin, were a staple of my diet. They’re just so quick to make, keep for days, and can be eaten in thirty seconds behind a bookcase in the Bodleian. I made them so many times and in so many different variations that I can safely say these are the best. They hold together well, they’re the right sweetness and the right flavour, but of course you can adapt the add-ins to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. Whilst I can’t bring myself to eat them again for a long time yet, I did manage to recreate them for those unfortunate souls who still need study fuel, or anyone who just needs a good, tasty snack that’s solid enough to eat on the go. View Full Post

Granola is one of those things that I love but don’t make too often just because I can’t control myself around it. This is by far the tastiest batch I’ve ever made and I’ve been eating it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other time in between. Providing you have more self control than me, though (which won’t be hard) it’s a great thing to have a big jar of stashed away in the cupboard for a speedy breakfast. (For days when your tutor decides she wants that essay 24 hours earlier than previously specified, for example, or your Russian teacher decides that the best time for a 1 on 1 class is at 8 o’clock in the morning. Both were realities for me this week. Thank you, granola.) I like mine with milk, yogurt, fruit or sprinkled on smoothies, but really the possibilities are endless.

So why would you bother making your own when you can just buy it at the supermarket for less money and time? Well, firstly, the taste of homemade granola is far superior. Secondly, you get to pick what’s in it! You can choose whatever fruit, nuts, and flavours you like; my recipe is just a guide and reflects my preferences but once you have the basic formula you can really make it your own. Shop-bought granola is also loaded with sugar, bad fats, chemicals, and is heavily processed; your body will far prefer this more natural and healthy alternative.

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