Monday, 31 March 2014

Granny's Fudge and a New Plan...

About a month ago my Granny went into a care home.

Such a simple sentence to write and yet it doesn't begin to describe the stress and detail that went into the 6 or so weeks going from independent living (to some degree), into hospital and then into a care home.

It was a difficult time (although definitely more so for my mum) but if I'm honest, it's been a blessing in disguise. Granny is now in a safe and lovely environment with people who are trained and ready to help her with everything she needs. Her room looks like a room from a Travel Lodge (which by my tastes, ain't that shabby) and she not only gets three home cooked meals a day (two courses) but biscuits and homebaking too. She has met interesting people who are in the same situation as she is and gets to enjoy their company rather than sitting by herself in her house. Plus there's entertainment laid on for them every day; Last week she was sporting newly polished nails and a pearl* bracelet that she won during a scrabble tournament. For my granny, the change has definitely been a positive one.

* Most likely an imitation!

I have decided that Care Homes have an unnecessarily bad reputation. Hell, I want to go into one now - it's like university dorms for old people! I don't even want to imagine what those crazy cats get up to when visiting hours are over!

Anyway, Granny has been at the forefront of my mind for a wee while now and so it's no surprise that some of the things that she was 'famous' for are coming back to me. One thing I remember is that whenever we visited there were always three things on offer:

1) Fudge Slice
2) Iced Sponge
3) Chocolate Cake

Surprisingly, I wasn't a fan of the chocolate cake which meant the Fudge Slice and Iced Sponge were all mine! With a hankering for Fudge Slice I decided to air out my Granny's recipe and give it a whirl.

It might not be the prettiest thing in the world but boy, if you're looking for a shot of sugar with chocolate on the top then this is a quick and easy way to get it.

The bottom of this slice is a sweet and creamy fudge with a bit of crunch from the crushed biscuits. A thin layer of chocolate on the top pulls it all together alongside some chocolate crunch sprinkles for prettiness and texture! Being quite sweet, you can't eat too many of these in one go - perfect if you're a food binger like me!

What you need:
4 oz margarine
1 small tin of condensed milk
4 oz sugar (castor or granulated)
2 tbsps syrup (to be honest, I forgot this and it still tasted delish!)
9 oz digestive biscuits
8oz chocolate of your choice
chocolate sprinkles of your choice

What you do:
Put the margarine, condensed milk, sugar and syrup in a pan and melt oh so slowly.

When all the ingredients are blended, put the heat on low-medium and heat for approximately 8 minutes. Keep stirring so that the mixture never sticks to the bottom of the pan (it goes brown when it does this and ruins the look as well as the taste of the fudge). The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will change to a warm golden hue.

Take your biscuits and pop them into a bag. Smash 'em up real good! The smoother you make your crumbs, the smoother your fudge will be. With the best will in the world, I always end up with little lumps but it adds a little extra, I say!

Remove the mixture from the heat and add the biscuits. Stir and blend well.

Pop the mixture into a swiss roll tin (a tin approximately 34cm x 20cm x 3cm) and press down. Allow to cool before adding your chocolate (aka the best bit!).

Melt your chocolate either over a pan of boiling water or in the microwave. I normally melt in a microwave with no issues but I've had a couple of horrors the last few times and I've managed to burn the chocolate. Not only do you then suffer the upset of wasting chocolate, the smell of burnt chocolate is just disgusting. Then there's the other problem of convincing yourself that the burnt chocolate will taste fine, eating it and then wanting to hurl. Burnt chocolate never tastes okay, people. Bleurgh!

Once the chocolate is nice and smooth, pour it over the fudge mixture. Add your chocolate sprinkles if you're using them and leave to cool at room temperature (you don't want any of the white fluff that appears if you pop chocolate in the fridge!).

Cut into tasty bars, eat and enjoy!

The new plan refers to a new way of thinking that I have decided to adopt.

I have realised (not that it's such a big surprise) that I just don't have the desire or inclination to give up yummy food that is traditionally seen as 'bad'. And why should I? Life is short - eat the damn chocolate!

Having said that with such conviction, I do suffer from low self-esteem and I complete hatred of my body image. I'll also admit that I do comfort eat those 'bad' foods. When I say comfort eat I mean binge. Eating one piece of something isn't bad. Eating the whole tray of goodies in one go - that's not healthy.

My dilemma is this:
I like to eat.
I like to eat things that have a large amount of sugar and fat.
I want to continue to eat these things because, as mentioned above, life is short.
Unfortunately, I berate myself daily for my 'bad' food choices and how this makes me feel about myself and my body.
I don't want to continue that.

So, my only option is to exercise.

I think that this (pinned to my Fitness and Health Pinterest board) pretty much sums up what needs to be my motto going forward.

Running, baby!!

So my new plan is this:

Continue to enjoy baking and eating scrumptious food (although maybe not so gluttonously!).
Exercise to keep my mind and body happy and in order.

I'll let you know how I get on!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Weight a minute...

I am currently on a course of steroids to try and get my ulcerative colitis under control. Now, normally I love, love, love steroids - especially the sugar coated red ones - mmmmmm - but this time I'm not so enamoured.

I've never had any side effects from steroids before. The opposite is in fact true. They cleared up a skin condition I had throughout my teenage years (something that no amount of other drugs or treatments could accomplish) and did I mention they are red and sugar coated? What's not to love?

I'm not one of these people that eschews modern medicine and my personal opinion is that if the doctor prescribes it to you, you take it. That's just me - if you don't like to take medicine and don't agree with it then that's absolutely fine, too. Live and let live, I say. Despite that, I always read the instruction leaflet that comes with any new pills I take. When you're a worrier like me, this is both a necessity and the stupidest thing anyone could do! So I am well aware that one of the side effects, of the negative variety, of steroids is that you can develop "moon face" (a chubby little face) and your appetite can increase dramatically leading to, yep, weight gain.

After feeling a little more bloated than usual, I decided to reassure myself by checking my weight. Just to appease my worry. Another big mistake as it turns out. I'd put on half a stone. Sigh.

Not to worry, I decided it was an anomaly and weighed myself again the next day. It was an anomaly - I was actually 4lbs heavier than the day before.

I know I've been eating shockingly - a combination of comfort eating and yet more comfort eating - but I was truly quite shocked.

And that's when it happened. Mental Jo raised her head and now I am absolutely obsessed with how much I weigh, what I look like and how round my face is. I am ashamed of myself yet don't know if it's a physical or mental issue.

The funny thing is, I don't judge people by what size they are.

Earlier today I was in a supermarket and wanted to look at the sale clothes. There were three ladies and a trolley in the way so I had to double back and go up the aisle another way.

The three ladies were having a conversation about a jacket they were admiring. The first lady was seemingly annoyed because one of her acquaintances had the audacity to suggest that the pair could share clothes.

First lady: (obviously not the actual first lady but hey...) Can you believe she thinks she's the same size as me?
Second lady: I know - she is so so much fatter than you. She's huge.
Third lady: Oh, yes. I would say that she was probably bigger than you.
First lady: She's got a nerve - and she probably believes it, too. Humph. *Giggles*
Second lady: God, if she got any bigger she'd nearly be as fat as Third Lady.

Even I stopped dead at that statement and a frigid chill wafted over all four of us. No-one knew what to say. I even wanted to break the awkward silence and I didn't even know them.

Now, all three of these ladies were larger ladies but why does that matter? Why were they so focused on their weight and their weight versus others.

Third lady could have been Mother Theresa yet her so called friends were so totally focused on what the scales told her and made her feel bad because of it.

Why do we listen to the scales? Why do we listen to these mean people - fat or thin - that tell us we aren't valuable because of a number on a scale? Why do we let the scales and these mean people invade our minds until it's their voices that we hear in our heads telling us that we're fat?

Up until the conversation started, the only thoughts I had about the three ladies is that they were in my way. By the end of the conversation, the only thing I knew for certainty is that Second lady wasn't a very nice person. Fat or thin - she wasn't very nice.

And that's what I have to remember is more important.

Be nice. To each other and to yourself.

That's my plan for this week. Who cares if I've put on weight for whatever reason? I'm still a good person and that's what counts.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

That's Okay...

I’m not sure if it’s a symptom of depression or just my personality but I am constantly worrying about what people think of me.

I keep a personal journal and, no word of a lie, I worry about coming across as a moaner with the amount of times I pour out my heart to its pages. Coming across to whom? No-one reads my journal and no-one will ever be allowed to read my journal. So that means that I’m effectively worried what people who might read it long after I’m dead will think of me.


Am I living up to the stereotype of crazy or what?

I know that it sounds ridiculous but I seem to have this perpetual fear of what others may think of me.

The same is true of this blog. I initially started it as a way to escape my depression. Then, I realised that I couldn’t gloss over the fact that depression is a major part of my life and if I wanted to work through it, I couldn’t avoid talking about it.

The repercussions of that is that people reading my blog might also think I’m a moaner if I go on about depression and the mindless number of ‘setbacks’ and steps backward I seem to take.

Man, all this thinking is exhausting!

And do you know what? That’s okay.

The fact that I seem to have minor setbacks on a weekly basis is okay too.

I have depression.

So do 20% of all adults. So I’m not that unusual - hard as it may be to believe!

If I put myself out there people may think that I am endlessly moaning. But, there might be one person, just one person who reads what I have to say and thinks ‘thank God, someone else isn’t finding it as easy to climb out of depression’.

It’s not easy and that’s not just okay - that’s the truth.

This is a real blog and I have to be true to me and truthful with my battles. If people think badly of me, my blog or anything I have to say - do you know what? - that’s okay, too.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Back in the dating game...

I suppose that this year I have been very selfish in that I'm trying to concentrate on making myself happy. Not that I've been neglecting those that I love - at least I hope not. It's just that day by day I'm trying to take back my life and do so by my own rules, dreams and goals.

Today's thinking may seem a little frivolous to some but part of my goal to be happy includes having a partner to share my life with. Not that I need someone to make me happy - I just want to find someone to be happy with.

I dated minimally in school, just as minimally in University, other than a few fleeting distractions (and disasters!) I have pretty much put my hope into online dating. Not to much success, mind you, but I'm an introvert and don't really enjoy parties, nights out etc etc so this seems like my only option.

After my last round of internet dating I decided (again) that it wasn't for me. But now (again) I'm beginning to waver and wonder whether I should give it another go. As I just mentioned - I don't really have many other options and I'd quite like to not just accept my transformation to the spinster-side of the street will soon be complete.

There's just one problem.

As part of my new way of thinking, I refuse to be anyone but myself (easier said than done but that's for another day). I would rather be alone than with someone who didn't know the real me and didn't accept me - flaws, quirks and all. I don't want any time wasters. I don't want anyone who isn't going to be in something for the long haul (I'm not getting any younger, after all!). And that's not to mention all the superficial/shallow things that I would prefer but wouldn't want to be forced to admit that they would be a deal breaker (tall, older, etc...).

Basically I know what I want and if I went internet dating I wouldn't want to settle for any less.

Do you see what this one problem might be?

Yep - I've become a dating-zilla.

In the beginning I was all optimistic and happy.

Then doubts starting creeping in (along with the weirdos).

And now it's rage-a-holic, scary lady who is just a little bit freaky with what's 'supposed' to be and what's not allowed.

Then I realised - I'm the dating equivalent of Phoebe from Friends when she tries her hand at collecting donations for Christmas.

Oh dear...

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


I'm always writing a story in my head. I now need to take the time, lose the fear and get what's in my head down on paper.

Sunday, 9 March 2014


I found this the other day while I was "cleaning" out my computer files. It made me laugh.Probably because it's true!