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Summer is Winter
and you always knew..
29th-Apr-2011 01:05 pm - Tea blogging: resumed(ish)
hhtg tea
So I stopped doing the alphabetical tea drinking.
This was initially because we got to Cassia Flower Oolong and got all over excited and unable to drink anything else for a while (I say we and probably it was mostly just me)
This tweet from over a month ago backs me up on that:

"seems to mostly be drinking Cassia Flower Oolong #tea at the moment. I should get back into the alphabetical drink through for some variety!"

Yes I just quoted my own twitter. What of it?

After (and also during) the Cassi Flower binge I had a flare up of the fibromyalgia which lead to me being unable to cope with much caffeine or tannin so black teas were out for a while there. It also meant my brain couldn't cope with things like thinking and communicating. AND there was my birthday party which was organised with military precision.

So, yes, there was a hiatus. It's over now. Over the weekend I'll catch up on all the teas I'd tweeted but not blogged and will also tweet the next few.

In other, still tea related, news, I want the Amber Dragon Oolong, and the Lemon Chiffon teas from The NecessiTeas. Damn this not having an income.

Ooh and also: Lookit all the pretty tea bags and infusers!
19th-Apr-2011 06:28 pm - Stuff! And also Things!
Woo! Sunshine! I even went out in it earlier - hurrah for the lake over the road. Quietly sitting on a bench for a while was lovely.

I've been more unwell than usual, which is basically my own fault but is still unpleasant. Yesterday was particularly awful with fainting and vomiting and the like (not blogged about that yet. Will do as soon as it has properly passed).
As a result I've not really had anything in me to do anything.

So here are some links:

I'm pretty sure you'll all have seen this before but it is SO CUTE: Torchwood Babiez The sad Dalek in one of the later pages is one of the cutest things ever and baby Jack on top of the wendyhouse? Awesome!

Game of Thrones given the go ahead for a second season. Woo! Not that I've SEEN the first episode yet - that will probably happen later tonight. i'm just excited that it's supposed to be good!

Poly in Pictures is a webcomic. The subject matter is described in the title. There are too many excellent strips in it for me to share all my favourites with you, so I'll leave you to discover them for yourselves.

And finally, a picture:
This is Dulse.
Dulse seems to be a kind of seaweed. It's purple and tastes a bit like a cross between pu ehr tea and beef jerky with a LOT salt thrown in. It's odd but I like it.
9th-Apr-2011 11:23 am - Bread and other things
When prepping for my birthday party I stole all of Simon's tupperwear off him (also all of sexygoldfish_uk's tupperwear and in I still had to buy some more) and whilst he was rousting it out he came across his bread machine.

A couple of weeks later I borrowed said bread machine.
I've been wanting to make bread for a while - David loves fresh bread a very lot - but am very aware of the fact that my hands and wrists won't let me knead it.
Using a Bread Machine is sort of cheating but it's as good as I'm going to get until I gain back some stength into my pathetic little arms.

So far we've only made two basic white loaves with it as we were just figuring out how it worked. We've discovered we prefer the lighter crust setting and also that using the timer so there's fresh bread first thing in the morning makes the house smell very yummy but also makes it a bit humid and stuffy - next time we'll know to open a window!

Whilst being all domestic we also made some toffee. Toffee toffee toffee!
Unfortunately some of the toffee leapt out of the pan and burnt my right index finger so I spent a long time sitting with it under the tap and then wrapped in a wet cloth. Due to this it hasn't blistered - hurrah! - but is still blimmin sore. I did TRY sleeping with my hand wrapped in the wet cloth as it was far too painful without but that is a difficult thing to do. Eventually I decided to try the magic blister plasters and the application of one of those removed all pain and made sleeping possible - hurrah!

I don't have pictures of bread, toffee or even Tuesdays lemon drizzle cake. That seems somewhat slack of me. Sorry.

The lovely singanathema sent me this link to a Harry Potter Proposal that made me choke up a little.

Time to get on with stuff and things....

ETA: Red Sparowes stupidly long song titles mean you can't fit the artist AND the title into the music box. Madness.
1st-Apr-2011 11:58 am - General Update
Mmm pirates
I do have one more photo heavy birthday post to share but that can wait as I there's one more photo I want to take before posting it and I haven't the energy or the wherewithal to manage that at the moment.

I've been a bit feverish the last couple of days which ended in me nearly crying in the middle of a game of Catan last night. Path.et.ic. Stupid rising temperature, random hyperactivity and inability to take in enough information. It's not as if anyone other than David was ever going to win that game, as was obvious from the moment he built his second city. I then spent the rest of the evening feeling like a fool. Grrrrr. Was still fun playing some of my new birthday games for the first time even though we only played one of the pirate themed ones and it was... well, it's basically moustrap but in pirate form so it's a bit basic and clearly aimed at children. Also the traps need a *lot* of help to keep their momentum going. Still, pirates! Yay!

I had my first Physio session and wrote about it here so I shan't go into that again.

There was also another massive panic over my finances as once AGAIN it's taken the whole month for HR to get my sick notes back to me so my ESA has been stopped until I can send them to them. Bills still come out of my account whether HR are incompetent or not so I was fretting my little head off. Then this morning work had randomly paid some money into my account and, whilst it doesn't solve all our financial woes, it does stop me falling into the enormous pit of overdrawnedness and ever increasing debt that work's inability to post a piece of fucking paper was causing to happen!
*Note to self: pick up payslip*

Other than that there's not much else to report. I've been recovering from birthday and am still on book eight (Toll the Hounds) of The Malazan Book of the Fallen as it's just so bloody huge I can't hold the stupid thing. Annoying as hell!

How're y'all?
hhtg tea
You will undoubtedly remember that, with a bit of help from you guys, I chose seven teas, one for each letter of my name, to have out for my party to save people having to choose from all 170 plus teas I have.

To make life even easier for them all I made labels and stuck them to the front of each teapot (borrowing two teapots off sibling as I wanted them all to be of a reasonably similar size).
Each label had the name, type and a fact of some sort on it as well as stating how many times the leaves could be infused before fresh ones needed adding.

Teapots all in a row spelling out my name.

Seven pics below, shockingly enoughCollapse )

So there we are. All the teapots were used, many many cups of tea were drunk and lots of yummy noises were heard.
This is going to be picture heavy. Just a warning.

I put a LOT of effort into my birthday party and spent actual weeks baking and testing recipes before hand and came up with a lot of shiny new things for people to eat as well as repeating some of the old tried and true party foods.

The photos from the actual party I've stolen from other people as I was busy socialising with folk but the people I've stolen them from (sexygoldfish_uk and Simon) don't mind! :)

First up: Group food shots!

Table One. Left to Right: Cheese Scones, Chilli and Black Pepper Cheese Biscuits, Mustard and Thyme Cheese Biscuits, Ham and Horseradish Sandwiches, Sausage Lollipops, Strawberries, Rosemary and Sea Salt Cheese Biscuits, Flapjack.
Cake Stand Top to Bottom: Mega Iced Gems, Espresso Mini Muffins, Norwegian Black Pepper Biscuits.

Table Two. Left to Right(ish): Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwiches, Custard Creams with Black Tea Cream Filling, Cinder Toffee, Vegetarian Scotch Eggs, Orange and Strawberry Jelly, More Mega Iced Gems, Sesame and Poppy Seed Crackers, Tzaziki, Egg Mayonaise Sandwiches, Cherry Tomatoes, Party Rings, Roasted Radishes, Cucumber Sandwiches.
Cake Stand Top to Bottom: Rainbow Cupcakes, Gingerbread Skull and Crossbones, Fondant Fancies.

Close ups and MORE cakesCollapse )

There were other things there that somehow didn't get photographed: no one cared about capturing the crispie cakes with bonus cinder toffee in them (mostly they only cared about eating those!) or about getting pictures of the excellent and squishy brownies kate_se5 brought along but I can assure you they were not only there but delicious as well!

Over all I baked more than 180 cupcakes and goodness knows how many biscuits. We're left with a surprisingly small amount all things considered so people clearly enjoyed them!

Now I just have to remember that I don't need to bake in such big batches!
24th-Mar-2011 11:21 pm - Cake + Lego
south park
In preparation for my party the day after tomorrow I've filled every tupperware container, empty sweet box and cake tin that I have, borrowed more from Simon and sexygoldfish_uk and I STILL don't have enough room.

However with lego, cardboard and ingenuity freedrinkdave and I contrived a second level in one box :)

22nd-Mar-2011 09:32 am - Prostitutes of Berlin in the 20s
I believe in fairies
Browsing through my friends page earlier I came across a post in a group with some gorgeous vintage fetish boot pictures

black fetish boots 1920s

There was also a link to this article on selling sex in Berlin in the 20s.

Go read it then come back here.
Done? Good.

I found this really fascinating. I love the idea of a visual code showing you the services on offer, particularly one that links to boots because I do LOVE boots.

The thing that struck me the most was just how many specialised groups they fell into. Some of them, telephone girls and medicine girls for example, are unpalatable to me for clearly obvious reasons - although the idea of being prescribed sex isn't bad in itself the fact that they're specifically children is, well, wrong doesn't quite cover it and I don't have the words to explain what I do want to say.

Woo for fetishes. They were loudly, proudly explored, flaunted and delved into in the past and I don't know why but that somehow mafe me happy. Woo for the continuation of people exploring sex. Sex is good, as is exploring.

People have always liked sex. People have always liked DIFFERENT things when it comes to sex. People have, and will, always want/ed to pay for it - especially for things they daren't/can't ask their regular partner/s to do.

The only thing the article didn't cover was the issue of coercion, desperation and all the other negative things that go with the selling of your body, it seems an idealised, artistic look at things.

Idealised or not, it's piqued my interest, as you can probably tell, so I can see myself trying to find out more about the Weimar Boot Girls.
21st-Mar-2011 07:08 pm - Party Teas Chosen
hhtg tea
I know I said I'd do a poll with the shortlist but looking at the responses I got it became really very easy to work out what everything should be.

We already had the Yunnan - a China black, and the Ice Cream - a caffeine free flavoured.

The two Ts with the most votes were Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) and Tropical Sorbet. The Tropical Sorbet, although fruity is actually quite similar to the ice cream tea, they're both light and sweet. Also, Iron Goddess of Mercy, who wouldn't want that?! So yes, T = Tieguanyin.

Because the Tieguanyin is an Oolong there wasn't really any need to have the Houchiga - although it's a very different style of Oolong - so I've bowed to the weight of numbers asking for it and gone with the HArmutty Assam. It IS a delicious Assam and having something that bit stronger we can add milk to is undoubtedly wise.

With C,R and S left the one with the most votes out of all of them is the Russian Samovar. Russian Samovar is a rich, malty and smoky black tea with a surprising sweetness and I have to admit that I really, really love it. So that's made the list.

Two left. For balance I really need one of these to be green and one to be flavoured.

After much deliberation I've gone for Chun Mee, a China Green, and the Scherezade which is green tea with fig, a slighly unusual flavour.

Final List is:

C = Chun Mee - Green
H = Harmutty - Black (Indian)
R = Russian Samovar - Black, Smoky
I = Ice Cream - Caffeine Free, Flavoured
S = Scherezade - Green, Flavoured
T = Tieguanyin - Oolong
Y = Yunnan - Black (China)

Thanking you all for whittling it down and making it easier for me :)
Mmm pirates
The last week felt like quite a busy week, as busy as things get these days anyway.

Last Friday freedrinkdave's brother came over from Germany to attend their Grandad's funeral and then stayed for the weekend.
The combination of their post funeral tiredness and my usual rubbishness meant that we didn't make it to a famous dead people themed 30th birthday party in the evening so I now have an unworn Amelia Earhart Costume. If people can come up with events in and around the Reading area to wear it to then I would be pleased - there's something satsifying about wearing flying goggles.
As Paul was here and needed to eat all the things he couldn't get in Germany we went out for Chinese, had fish and chips and ate sausages at every available opportunity, unhealthy buts supremely tasty!

Simon came over in the evening on the Sunday and we played a LOT of Settlers of Catan, Seafarers expansion. We can categorically say that a) Simon is stupidly good (or possibly lucky) at it and b) the very best scenario is the fog island one - explory excitement!

Monday we went to see aliannurai and Keegan, they cooked us yummy curry for dinner again and we played some more Seafarers. People love it.

Tuesday I did nothing, pyjama, fatigue and lots of pain day as a result of all that fun having.

Wednesday is my usual day for going to sexygoldfish_uk's in the evening. I went in early so I could go for tea and cake (okay so I actually had a sundae and some juice) with Katrina. Twas a much needed catch up - I very miss her!

Thursday was another non-day. Lots of aching, lots of suddenly finding my eyes were closing. Grr at it.

Friday I had my medical examination with ATOS to see if I get to keep the ESA benefit. More on that on cwenedefae.

Yesterday I managed to get up and into town for the farmers market so I could get some of the things I needed for my Pirates vs Tea birthday party next weekend. It was hard work and I was glad that I could go back to fishes afterwards and curl up on the sofa watching Buffy. Lots of Buffy.

Today my David is going to take me to see all the baby things on the lake - you know, the lake that's pretty much right outside my front door :o) - and then we'll do some more birthday baking. Strenuous baking is saved for when David is here to stir for me <3 :)

Oh yes and I've also been re-reading my way thorugh The Malazan Book of the Fallen, plus the Novels of the Malazan Empire, for the last couple of weeks so I can get caught up prior to reading The Crippled God. Trouble is from Reapers Gale onward they're all so bloody massive I have difficulty holding them! Stupid weak arms!

Even if you're not coming and/or don't know anything about tea, if you haven't yet suggested some teas for my birthday seven, go here and do so :)
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