Sunday, 20 November 2016

A rather honest life update (and why it will remain quiet on the blog for now).

Today is Thursday, the 10th of November. I am sat on my mum's sofa in Germany, and I am exhausted. The last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster, which I probably haven't quite comprehended yet. I've had some incredibly difficult family issues to deal with, someone in my family passed away, I have been full of worries and anxiety, I had to take time off work. Also, Donald Trump became the new POTUS.

The introduction above was supposed to be the start to my 'A reflection on 2016' post. Instead I've decided to use it for the possibly most honest and raw blog post I have ever written.

This is not planned in any way. I wasn't going to do this; to 'give up', as it translates in my mind. Quite frankly, I am not even sure where to start, so I'll just let my thoughts flow out as they come. As much as I want to be honest and open with you, there are still some aspects of this whole situation which just do not belong on the internet, so I hope you understand some secrecy and vagueness in places.

What's been happening?
Recently I went through an incredibly hard time. A family member of mine's health took a turn for the worse, I went back to Germany to support them & my family and ended up staying for a funeral. It all happened very quickly but the emotional rollercoaster I was on made my nerves extremely thin, affected my work and also my physical health. And along with that came a waterfall of negative emotions.

When I feel particularly low, I do two things: I stop eating and I start comparing myself to everyone.
'Comparison is the thief of joy' is something I truly believe in, however, when you feel unhappy and dissatisfied with life, it is very easy to get sucked into the endless depths of Instagram's Explore page. I start doubting my appearance, my personality, my life choices, my abilities. It gets difficult to get up in the morning because I don't want to get ready as I know I'll hate myself anyway. I see the dark circles under my eyes, my dry & dull skin, my lacklustre hair. I see my unfashionable outfits, my wide hips and my jiggly muffin tops. I witness my friends getting engaged & married, planning their children, and I wonder if I am ever going to get even near my dream of having a family. As much as I appreciate my work, during those times, I feel like I'm not doing a good job. I feel like I do more harm than good for the company, and my mind is occupied with worries and sorrows to the point where I have to concentrate and push myself to get even the tiniest of tasks done.

Concentrating gets hard when you don't eat. I lose my appetite when my life is, allegedly, going downhill and it makes me feel cold & shivery a lot. Most mornings I get a few tummy issues before being even remotely ready to eat anything. The few times I eat, I do try and have somewhat nutritious but also 'safe' food like fruit, nuts, pasta and chicken. I drink 2 litres of water anyway, and will add lots of green tea to it. But I can still feel myself being dizzy more quickly, less concentrated more quickly and overall not fully there.

What this means for the blog.
As I mentioned in my last blog post, my laptop had given up a while ago and I was going to ask for some money for my birthday to get a new one. Long story short, someone in my family was going to kindly gift me a new one, however, it was the same person I have already mentioned in this blog post, so it did not happen. I cannot afford to buy a new laptop at the minute, especially not after having had to book two flights and also re-scheduling one, which is all very pricey. So I am going to have to wait for Christmas and ask for money again. Let's pray that there won't be another unexpected death in the family.

This brings me on to my next point, which is being so extremely disappointed. I had planned to do a mixture of Blogmas & Vlogmas this year. There was going to be a new blog post every weekday and two vlogs every weekend, but without a laptop, there is nowhere I could edit either of these things on. I feel very disappointed in myself, as I was looking forward to pushing my 'online identity' to the next level. I was going to invest more time and energy into the blog, finally start a YouTube channel and use my social media sites more often and effectively. Alas, none of these things are going to happen for now.

I try very hard to be positive about it all. I tell myself that I will eventually get a new laptop and then I am going to put all of my plans into practice. But I was looking forward to using my most favourite time of the year, i.e. Christmas, to kick-start it all. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do, and none of them will work once we get into the new year. I fear that I have put it off for too long. I fear that a lot of things have taken me too long, being now in my 26th year of existence, and slowly feel like my time is running out. Even typing this gives me nervous shivers.

Of course, I could try to somehow work around it. Stay longer at work and write the posts from there, borrow someone else's laptop. I can practically hear people say, 'where there is a will, there is a way' but me being an utter perfectionist, I could not produce the content I want without having my own equipment to work on & with. I need to be able to write or edit a blog post whenever I want to, and will need time to learn the arts of video editing, in my own time. I am very excited for it but it does not work unless I have my own laptop to work on.

Long story short.
After all this rambling, there is not much left for me to say. The blog will remain quiet for a while, which I hope you understand. I also hope that, even in the new year, I can find motivation and inspiration to blog, vlog, snap, tweet and post.

'til then x

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

'Up and running by September', she said.

I know, I know.

I had all these ambitions and exciting plans when I got to London, and then nothing happened. More blog-wise than in real life.

Starting a new job and, well, a new life is really time-consuming. Weekdays are normally pretty dull (work, eat, sleep, repeat) and then my weekends are a mixture of settling in (read: trips to Ikea and other shopping malls in an attempt to make my room more homely; also cleaning and doing laundry and having groceries delivered because I'm an adult now) and trying to do things around London.

Consequently, the past four months (yes, I have been here over four months already) just whizzed past and I can't quite keep up. And then, of course, my laptop breaks. Luckily, it's my birthday in a few weeks so I'm going to ask my handful of family members to send a bit of monetary support my way and hopefully, by November, I will have a new laptop.

This interferes massively with all my autumn plans but I will, nonetheless, document everything I do and then hopefully shoot post after post at you in November, before the Christmas madness starts.

I am alive, I am well, I love London, I do have blog post ideas, it's just life that's getting in the way sometimes. Bare with me.

Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat in the meantime and don't be mad at me, okay? I'll make it up to you, I promise.

'til then,
Lisa x

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Hello from London.

Hello everyone!

Just a really quick post to say that I am alive and well. I arrived in London nearly three weeks ago and it has been a pretty eventful time so far.

I will spare you the long and boring details but last weekend, I finally found a beautiful place to live - quite central, yet residential and quiet. I share a house with three other people and it is a really nice place. My room is super spacious and I already have a lot of ideas about how I'm going to decorate it!

My first couple of days at work were quite alright as well; obviously I don't feel 100% secure with it yet but I'm hoping that that will change soon.

Now that this new chapter in my life has started, I want to take my blog up a notch. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I am going to try and re-design it, and also think of new post ideas. As I mentioned before, I still haven't quite found my niche just yet but I'm hoping that it will come over time. Obviously I also have to settle in at work and general UK life, so do bare with me! Basically I want this to be up and running properly by September the latest. Lots of cosy autumn posts to be written, yay!

Do let me know if there is anything you would like see me do in and around London!

'til then x

Saturday, 23 April 2016

An accidental masterpiece: Espresso and Cheesecake Swirl

I was going to bake a New York Cheesecake for my dad's birthday but, well, that did not go to plan at all. I was left with a lot of cheesecake filling and had to improvise quickly - which, accidentally, made me create a pretty amazing cake.

As it was improvised, I obviously used what I had here. For a couple of the ingredients, I have also put alternatives which I will definitely try out next time!

For the chocolate sponge:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 sachet of vanilla sugar (alternatively, you can use the seeds of one vanilla pod)
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
40ml milk of your choice
100g coffee flavoured chocolate (or chocolate of your choice with 2-3 tablespoons freshly brewed espresso)
2 tablespoons cacao powder (not the one you drink!)

For the cheesecake filling:
400g cream cheese
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons vanilla pudding powder (like this one)

How to:
Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/350 F.

Lightly grease a cake tin and leave to one side. Then melt your chocolate and leave to one side, too.

Start by making the chocolate sponge.
In a bowl, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar (or vanilla pod seeds) until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing really well in between. Sift your flour and baking powder in, then add the milk, melted chocolate and cacao powder. If you're using freshly brewed espresso, add that in as well.

Now on to the cheesecake filling.
In a separate bowl, mix your cream cheese with the sugar.

In yet another separate bowl, beat the cream and vanilla pudding powder until stiff. Gently fold into the cream cheese mixture using a large spoon or a whisk.

Put 2/3 of your chocolate batter into the cake tin, then add the cheesecake filling. Top with the rest of the chocolate batter. Using a fork, swirl the two together until a pretty pattern has formed.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool for an hour or so, then put in the fridge over night!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Easy Cinnamon Buns

Not exactly pretty but very delicious - these cinnamon buns are super easy to make, but they do take quite some time as the dough has to prove twice for an hour each time. You'll probably have most, if not all of these ingredients at home as well - so get baking!

For about 10 buns, you'll need:
1 sachet of dry yeast (ca. 7-10g)
300ml milk
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
550g plain flour

For the 'filling':
60-80g raisins
100g unsalted butter
50-100g caster sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put the yeast with 100ml cold milk into a big bowl. Gently heat the remaining 200ml milk until lukewarm and stir the butter in. As soon as the butter is dissolved, pour the mixture into the bowl, together with the sugar and sifted flour. Using an electric mixer with dough hooks, beat everything together until it forms a smooth, soft batter. Leave to prove for an hour.

Whilst it proves, put your raisins into warm water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Then put them in a sieve and leave to dry.

After an hour, lightly dust your dough with some more flour and knead through once more using your hands this time. Dust a large piece of baking paper with flour and roll your dough out in a rectangular shape.

In a small saucepan, gently melt your butter. Brush on the rolled out dough and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. In the original recipe it said to use 100g of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon; however I ended up only using about half of that so just see how much you actually need. Leave the butter to harden for a couple of seconds, then sprinkle the raisins on top - again, dependent on how many you like, you want to use between 60g and 80g.

Starting from the narrow side, roll your dough up. Cut into 3cm wide discs and put on baking trays lined with baking paper. Leave to prove for another hour.

In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 180°C / 350 F.
Bake each tray for about 25-30 minutes or until the buns have turned golden brown.

They taste best when they're still warm!
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or dust with icing sugar.
Enjoy :)