Lemon Drizzle Cake

I returned to Winchester yesterday morning for the start of my second semester, and I must admit that upon doing so, I found a room that was just a little bit tidier than it was when I left it a month ago (not that it was a pigsty). I often live in a state of what I like to call “organised chaos”, in a room that is somewhat cluttered and yet still easy enough to navigate – in spite of any mess, I still know where everything is. When I entered this room, though, in its current condition, I did for once appreciate just how relaxed and satisfied a totally uncluttered space could make me. Having thrown away most of the paper from last semester that was no longer needed, I could actually see most of my desk, and to preserve this newfound neatness Mum stacked my books at the back of it, right against the wall. This simple touch means that it will be much easier to work on it and move things around it as I please. As I sit at my desk now, typing this, with my phone to my left and a coffee and arrowword book to my right, I am calm, and I know this because of how easily I am writing and how well the words are flowing. This feels like a good omen for the weeks to come.

No matter how comfortable I am here, though, I couldn’t leave Somerset without something to remind me of home. In this instance, I have a lemon drizzle cake Mum lovingly prepared the day before we left. My brother got one to take with him too, although Mum informs me that his is slightly misshapen compared to mine, so I’m going to take that as cast-iron confirmation that I am her favourite son after all. Nobody is more surprised than me that the cake is still with us, and that it hasn’t been completely devoured mere hours after my return. At this moment only one slice is missing, and the entire dish sits obscured from my view – on a table behind me, tightly wrapped in foil – so that I can’t be tempted. So far, the plan is working a treat. It needed to, judging by how quickly I demolished most of the chocolate I received on Christmas Day. For the time being, it waits patiently, while fulfilling two important roles. Not only is it a delicious piece of home baking that will soon be very gratefully received by my stomach, but it is also a reassuring presence that soothes me even further – I know it could potentially be valuable comfort food at a time of need.

Mason

A Heart Full Of Hope

Here we are, folks – my very first post for 2019. I can safely say that 2018 was a corker of a year for me, and although I spent the last few hours of New Year’s Eve alone at home, I did so with a belly full of pizza and a heart full of hope, so I was more than happy. I used some of that quality time to continue reading a book Lara bought me as a Christmas present, Agatha Christie’s Evil Under The Sun, which features none other than Hercule Poirot himself. She got it upon hearing that I’d never read any of Christie’s work, and told me that I’d find it very easy to become immersed in the story. She was absolutely right – as I write this, I am 93 pages and seven chapters in, at a point where many probing questions are being asked of every potential murderer. I got there in no time, and my enjoyment of this new book in my spare time has subsequently increased my excitement for what lies ahead at Winchester even more.

Of course, nothing by Agatha Christie is on the reading list, but a few other books are, and two of them arrived yesterday. I am yet to look at them properly, but both are works of non-fiction – and as you might have gathered, I’m rather fond of life writing. The opportunity to read about the experiences, trials and tribulations of others is always tantalising, as is the opportunity to write straight from the heart about my own. The prospect of so much creativity from that and my other modules – including one actually called “Creativity”, and one on poetry, which I have always enjoyed – makes this January much more inviting, since I can’t yet tell what new ideas will manifest themselves, or how. I don’t know what will happen outside of my work either. The world is once again my oyster and as always, the unknown is very exciting. I can’t wait to go and see what it’s all about! Before that, though, I have another very precious fortnight left here at home – and before that, there is a brand new episode of Doctor Who for me to enjoy coming tonight. I fully intend to make the most of both.

Happy New Year to you all!

Mason

Bargains and Beyond

​Whilst my guest posts are usually covering bigger topics, I thought today I would try something different.

I have been living by myself now for around two months, and whilst actually getting homeware has been stressful and taken all of my savings (although to be fair, that wasn’t much), it has allowed me to be resourceful, and I now know what is worth splashing out on and what’s best being cheap and cheerful.

So whether you’re like me, about to move out, a student off to uni halls, or even just a bargain lover, strap yourselves in for the wild ride that is my top 5 places, in store and online, to get cheap but decent quality homeware.

1. Wilkos. This was my absolute saving grace. Where else can you get a bowl for 75p? Wilkos sell everything you could possibly want for kitchens, bathrooms and more. About 75% of the stuff in my home is from here.

2. Primark. If you’re looking for bed sheets, I highly recommend Primark. They’re cheap, and often offer fairly decent quality. I own two sets of bedsheets (one is Christmas themed and I use it all year round, but we don’t need to talk about that) and they’re both from Primark. They also do towels and general home trinkets.

3. eBay. This site isn’t only about second hand things as some people think; it can quite often be home to some hidden gems too. I have an Aztec blanket from here, which was lovely and cheap, but is also thick and warm!

4. TK Maxx. Whilst the store is quite messy, and can sometimes be a bit of a headache to walk round, they do a lot of homeware cheaply. I find they’re best for kitchen utensils, but they do plenty of other home bits too. Definitely worth a look round (if your head can manage it!)

5. Last but by no means least, Amazon, an obvious but often overlooked choice. Amazon has literally anything you could ever need. Mixing bowls? Check. Microwaves? Check. Nicolas Cage pillowcase? Check. Don’t ask how I found that last one out.

Hopefully this short list will help you in not completely breaking your bank when you inevitably have to flee the nest.

Emily