My friends and I were recently discussing our upcoming summer break, the inevitable bikini body dread and THAT protein poster, when it dawned on me what I’d become. Because instead of sharing my dread and desperation at the best way to look as quickly as possible like Britney Spears circa 1999 (bodygoal-google it), I was offering advice. You know, being that really annoying person telling you which food you should eat, why you shouldn’t starve yourself, when you should be eating ‘good’ carbs, what type of exercise you should be doing, and even worse, where you can buy chia seed. (Chia seed is one of the latest wanky health foods). Eventually they stopped replying.
Reason being is that I’ve become one of those dreaded EXERCISE PEOPLE. Here’s five tell tale signs.
1) Walking everywhere with a protein shaker
2) Having a large bag of protein powder in car
3) Eating spinach/chia or quinoa daily
4) Spending more cash in Sports Direct than Topshop
5) Critiquing/preaching about the benefits of exercise/protein and sneering at what colleagues/friends eat/what type of exercise they do.
Today at work, Dangerous Dave from the show launched a complaint against me. It was that he felt so uncomfortable whilst making his tinned soup and 3 slices of thick white processed bread with lashings of butter (aka poison) that he had to leave the kitchen immediately because my silent judging ruined his lunch.
It all started last September when I decided to try Crossfit. I know that after immediately reading that, some of you may have rolled your eyes. Because the first rule of Crossfit is to talk non stop about Crossfit. If unaware, YOU SHOULD BE. No, sorry…ok, it’s basically a high intensity work out, incorporating weights and different exercises every single time. So each session is completely different. And fast. In my head it’s like a personal training session but with a group. Actually no, it’s a bit like PE. But more fun. And less embarrassing. Several work colleagues also joined and within days we were being avoided in the kitchen for our tedious chats about WODS, burpees, AMRAPS (As many reps as possible duh) and where in our body we were feeling pain. This wasn’t even a novelty. The initial group whittled down to just three of us who still go and we talk about it just as much, if not more. There are sometimes text sessions before bed discussing the next days work out which has just been posted online.
But look, I’m like He-Man.
The really annoying thing I’ve realised with exercise, is that you just have to do it. And do it properly. And if it’s just not your thing, it sucks. Plus if you haven’t found something you enjoy, or got into it, it really sucks, because it’s such a mammoth chore. I know that feeling. I like a bit of exercise, you know, like once a week. A short run round the park to clear my head. But now I know that hadn’t been enough. Well, not if I want to consume the 12 cupcakes I enjoyed a week. If I didn’t have to do exercise three times a week, I’d opt not to. However, I would also feel pretty flabby, pretty lethargic and generally feel, well, not…very pretty. I got into Crossfit last year, then took a month off over christmas (naturally) to make some well deserved time for cheese. After the New Year it took me SIX WEEKS to get back into it. I forced myself; but whined, found excuses, until after that time it became part of my routine and suddenly I was addicted again. Plus I bought some snazzy new trainers and kit which genuinely helps. No, I’m serious. I reckon I’m at least 5% faster.
Anything illuminous now appears in my wardrobe. I don’t know why. But I like it.
My point is, after having so much bombardment and controversy around this bikini poster and just the general onslaught of the exercise smug brigade (sorry about that), if you do want to look good in a bikini, don’t bother with these gimmicky diets on a magazine double page spread. They won’t last. I know, because I’ve tried them. I’m just so bored of the ‘post baby weight battle’, ‘bikini body battle’, ‘just ate a peanut battle’. Find something that you can enjoy and force it into your routine as your daily life, then you can be all smug, like me. And actually feel really ruddy good. With a flatter stomach. Because, the reality is (and this genuinely only dawned on me recently), if you want to be healthy and fit you are going to be exercising your entire life. I sometimes think I’m just gonna give exercise a break soon as I’ve been doing it for ages and I feel like I’ve done my bit. I really do prefer sitting on the sofa.
However, after realising during the show this week that I could now run more than 10 miles in 2 hours without dying, I just found myself signing up to a half marathon so the training, the smugness and the silent lunchtime judging is gonna step up. You have been warned.
That title could be deceiving. No, Sound Women aren’t trolls. In fact last week I did a talk with them about all things radio and they were a wonderful bunch. It was such an enjoyable, friendly & invaluable session. I mean, yes, there was a pretty hairy moment where the tea machine ran out of hot water and there was almost a revolt, but thankfully due to quick thinking and thick skins we all escaped unscathed. These seemed to be two of the biggest talking points;
Everyone finds networking pretty bloody awkward at times but ultimately is absolutely essential in this industry so work at getting good at it. To be honest, I found it a real relief that so many admitted it was not only a pretty painful process but not as easy as it sounds. The fact is, if you want to work in radio, particularly as a presenter, a job talking on the radio is pretty much never going to be advertised. What were brilliant points from Natasha Maw & Helen Zaltzman, were that to get you over that cringe worthy hurdle of having to sell yourself and talk about how remarkable you are, think about what it is you can offer them first. Why do they need you? As opposed to how you need them or just simply, HELLO I WANT A JOB WITH YOU CAN I HAVE ONE PLEASE. Building a relationship is crucial. And not forgetting they are also human beings helps. Well, not all PD’s. (not referring to current employer, past employer or any future employer OBVIOUSLY-was just a gag). The radio industry is also very small so try not to piss anyone off.
A lot of this seems really obvious reading back, but you’d be amazed by the amount of people who start an email with ‘I really need you to help me’. If I don’t know you, you’ve just put me in an instantly pressurised scenario. I’d get it if I was a Doctor. But please remember I am not. Or a tweet saying RETWEET THIS. Erm, well…why? Hello is nice sometimes.
2) How to deal with online criticism.
I was amazed by how this question launched such a debate, loaded with horror stories. Ten years ago this issue would barely have existed but now it seems like a pre requisite we must accept if we’re to do a job which requires a public profile.
I’ve received comments, critiques or general weirdness but I usually just click on their profile and discover they’ve spent their days spreading hate to a vast amount of unsuspecting victims so I can usually laugh it off. If we ever get an abusive message during the show we very occasionally take joy out of it by reading out their name and thanking them for their lovely text. But usually, it just gets ignored.
But then this week I tweeted my excitement at having just started watching Breaking Bad from the beginning, (I appreciate I’m several years behind). Most people tweeted back their excitement for me as it has a pretty obsessed fan base. As I’m behind I’ve been deliberately careful about stumbling upon spoilers. Yet I received a tweet from a girl (well a picture of a girl anyway) who detailed what happens at the end of the series (oooh you’re hard). No dialogue in the tweet, just listing what happens and who dies. Now I appreciate this isn’t direct abuse at me but it’s just pointlessly malicious. As soon as I saw the first couple of details I managed to stop reading as I knew what this dingbat was trying to achieve. My initial anger turned pretty rapidly to pity. I got my producer, who knows the ending, to investigate their profile. Turns out there were many victims. And you thought Jesse Pinkman had a rough ride. This person, clearly has so little enjoyment in life that they actively spend time online creating misery for others. The very thought of that is quite frankly depressing. So if you are ever at the receiving end of some kind of pathetic trolling from a mindless twit, be aware that these people would never dare say it to your face. I find it hard to understand how they don’t realise how hideous they’re being, but maybe they don’t realise how unhappy they are?
Obviously that experience I had is nothing compared to the vitriol some will inflict. I listened to this podcast last week by American comedian Lindy West. Not only is the level of abuse she receives staggering, but the extremity of it is quite beyond belief. It had me in tears one moment, in a rage another, but also sympathetic to the most hideous troll you can possibly imagine in the next! Incredible insight into the mind of the most despicable troll I’ve ever heard of.
Or just imagine them looking like this. I used to collect these. They never upset me. (I had all of these!! #showoff)
Gym Troll. Just enjoys pink and working out mainly.
Rock star troll-I pierced the ear of mine. SO EDGY.
Easter bunny troll in a onesie!! (Limited edition). Super cute.
Soz got bit carried away there…
Can we have a chat about tits? Baps, norks, bosoms (odd), whatever you call them. I’m a fan, I get it. And if a woman decides to get hers out, for whatever motivation, then fine, that’s her choice. I’m not a prude. I’ve had a lovely time on a nudist beach. I’ve also had a police caution for sunbathing topless in Australia (prudes). It’s liberating. As is skinny dipping and walking round your house naked with the curtains open. But this isn’t the point. And it’s getting a bit weird.
I’ve been following the Page 3 debate for the last couple of weeks with fascination. And there’s a couple of pieces I’ve read recently, written by women, which made me a tad perturbed.
First of all, I appreciate some don’t find Page 3 offensive so don’t get what the fuss is about. The girls are obviously willingly consenting and whole heartedly embrace it. It’s a ‘British institution’ and just some light hearted fun to some. Ok, well I too don’t feel offended by seeing a pair of boobs on Page 3. This isn’t why I’m anti it. What I wish the girls themselves and the women who I’ve read recently who label protestors against as ‘sandal wearers’ and ‘fun sponges’, is that it isn’t about the girls themselves. It isn’t about being offended by a semi naked woman and that (most infuriatingly) other women are jealous (for gods sake). We’re on your side! The point is the context in which we’re seeing them. If you want to see a pair of breasts there are endless options, everyone knows where to find it. Girls; take your tops off to your hearts content, just do it in the right place. Babestation is a cracking watch.
I can’t even fathom how it began, that it didn’t seem strange that whilst flicking through your newspaper you would just suddenly see a woman topless. You simply cannot deny that it is subliminally demeaning to women and objectifying them in view of the nation in a completely inappropriate context. I find it so archaic that it still exists. It felt like a small victory for women last week when it appeared to have been shelved. And, whilst I think it is a superb progressive step, the reason I say small is because I don’t really think anyone particularly cared whether it was there or not. Porn and nudity is so easily accessible, I struggle to imagine any man feeling that there was now a desperate void in his life that he couldn’t get his daily fix of a SEMI NAKED LADY. If it’s not that big a deal, what’s the point in keeping it? And as for the way The Sun dealt with it, it was like a teenage boy had triumphed. This is the thing; it all feels so juvenile and quite frankly, embarrassing. Just imagine those middle aged men (or worse, women) sitting smugly, giggling at the prospect of it returning. I can only imagine it being like a scene from Anchorman. But not funny. Just pathetic.
If it’s considered a ‘Great British Institution’ and people will feel a sadness that Jade, 21, won’t be sharing her political insights while showing off her nips, then I really think we need to revamp what constitutes an ‘institution’ in Britain.
I hate technology. I hate it. I hate iPhones. I hate iClouds. I hate iPhoto. I hate iANYTHING. I hate the people who queue to get the latest iMoneymaker at 4am. iDiots.
Ok, so right now, I am amid a very red mist of rage. Thing is, I had a lot of things to do today. I was supposed to finish painting my new loft floor. A tedious, but necessary and time consuming job which now won’t happen and the new desk which is taking up half my living room shall remain there for another irritating day so I can bump my thigh into it. Again.
And why? WHY YOU ASK (sorry-it’s not me it’s the rage). Because that stupidly expensive, overly addictive, all world consuming device called the iPhone has chosen to stop working. Is that really a big deal? Well, today I was expecting a couple of phone calls that I really needed to tick off my list. One of which is for another faulty yet overpriced item, my broken fridge door which is ONE year old (do NOT get me started). I can’t use my phone so that will be weakening at the hinges for another day. I tried to access my work email from home so I can use that for correspondence. But it required an extra ‘security’ check of sending a code to my phone for access. BRILLIANT. Technology is really screwing itself here. Or me, rather.
I just tried to chat to apple support online. Guess what they said? Let us know and we’ll call you back. HahahahahHAHhahaha, HILARIOUS. The phone doesn’t WORK. Started trying to chat in their ‘chatroom’ with them. Said they’d be ‘about 2 mins’. That was 28 minutes ago.
Yes, I know I have a choice. But realistically it would end up making everything more stressful. I’m addicted, THERE I SAID IT. iDdicted. I feel like such an iLemming. But seriously, technology is just getting too much, isn’t it? All your information entrusted on a device which we now know could be pretty easily hacked. HAVE YOU SEEN iROBOT?! It’s probably no surprise that this year I got a paper diary for christmas. It’s marvellous. And no-one else can edit that. Unless they pinch it, but that’s vandalism. I get a barage of invites and intrusion on my iPhone diary. It’s so bossy.
So right now, as I’ve used this blog as a form of therapy, I’m gonna leave my stupid iPain as there’s nothing that can be done and evidently no-one able to help me out (36 minutes thanks Apple) and I’m gonna have a glass of wine and paint my bloody loft. Then replicate the video below.
I also just remembered I have a landline…
I know the majority are aware that the purpose of the Daily Mail is to spread general hate and fear across the nation, whilst pointing out the most pointless, vacuous and usually vicious details of any ‘celebrity’. To be honest it’s become a form of entertainment. For example, my personal favourite story of today is Caroline Flack stepping out in a scarf. That is the ACTUAL HEADLINE. WHAT?! She’s wearing an actual scarf?! Well how is she wearing it?! Is this the first time?! Is she warm enough? Where the hell did she buy it? More importantly, have the authorities been alerted?! How have we only just found this out!!! I jest; but just read the comments below the article. Far more comical than the ludicrous headlines themselves. Although worryingly not a single one of them is joking.
I’m, of course not the first to point out this hilarity. And I’m aware that it’s one of the most popular websites in the UK. I view it daily. I wanna say mainly for work, as it is annoyingly useful, but that aside, it is addictive. A bit, I imagine, like crack. Horribly poisonous & destructive but something keeps you popping back. But upon seeing articles like this (regularly), it sends a rage throughout me that makes me want to punch my laptop. And that’s just stupid because I paid for it.
‘As she reveals struggle to lose baby weight’. I’ve not had a baby, but this continuous obsession with baby weight is so hideous. Call me old fashioned but my belief is that once you’ve had a baby, your priority should really be your…BABY? I struggle to consistently eat healthily and exercise now without the responsibility of keeping, what I’m lead to believe, is a rather demanding human being alive. The only thing Kimberly has actually been quoted as saying is, ‘The weight is coming off gradually and I didn’t expect to be back to normal by now anyway – it takes a while to lose baby weight and you shouldn’t rush it.’ So…whereabouts is Kimberly revealing a ‘struggle’ then? That seems a perfectly sensible response to what has probably been an infuriating bombardment of post baby weight gain questions. So who is it that thinks Kimberly is struggling then? Ahh nice one Daily Fail.
But, in a vein to not end on a negative note with how dismal our cultural obsession with celebrity cellulite/baby weight gain is, here’s a selection of more positive/ empowering/worthwhile/enjoyable websites that hopefully you can retrain your default boredom setting to.
http://www.stylist.co.uk/ Stylist is actually the only womens magazine I bother with. Less of ‘Is He The One’ and ‘what nail colour represents your relationship’ multiple choice crap quizzes. A far sleeker mix of fashion, travel, food, beauty and books. Plus you can get your celebrity fix, but in a more pro women, less bitchy highlighting of their cellulite type form.
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ Bit of everything; News, blogs, comedy, celebrities, politics, business etc.
http://uk.pinterest.com/ If you haven’t indulged in pinterest yet and created your own boards, you’re about to enjoy wasting so many hours of your life. Seriously addictive…but so good for finding inspiration for ANYTHING. I have redesigned pretty much every room of my house with this, new hairstyles, make up and travel ideas. Warning: you may lose hours but remember it IS productive.
This is my board to give you ideas
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ For general lolz.
http://www.bloodandchampagne.com/ If you’re interiors obsessed as I am, I can look at this for hours. Everything they post is everything I want. Constant source of inspiration and home envy.
Oliver Bonas If all else fails go shopping…
Rose and Grey I’ll have it all thanks
Yes, yes I know I’m three years late to the party but bloody hell Game of Thrones is a bit good isn’t it!! Initially I wasn’t sure about the fantasy element, but then I remembered how much I like goblins* and ladies with really long brightly coloured hair. That sounds a bit weird but, seriously, how great is their hair?! Don’t even get me started on Khaleesi; my current girl crush. Hair-tick. Picture perfect beautiful face-tick. Worlds greatest warrior-TICK.
This is what I really love. Whilst the women do you get a pretty raw deal throughout, it’s so refreshing to see such a flock of dominant, gutsy, powerful women. I was never a fan of the meek, girly Rapunzel hair brushing princess types when I was growing up. Possibly due to the fact that I had two older brothers who used to allow me to watch films like Cyborg with them age 10. But I do remember idolising Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. You didn’t hear her whinging about her hairstyle. Poor sausage didn’t even have a brush in that asylum. But she wasn’t afraid of tranquilising those wardens. Not that that’s one of my life goals but you get the point. Hopefully. Still aiming for those biceps though.
On the other hand it would be rather more enjoyable if it was marginally less graphic. I spend half the time watching through my fingers as the sight of blood doesn’t sit particularly easy with me. The sheer violence and gruesomely detailed deaths are so full on they make me question the sanity of the director. Seriously, who enjoys watching that?! Don’t answer that, you’d probably scare me. Either way, I’ve just started Season 3, which I’ve done in two weeks. So just a few more weeks of bingeing and I should be up to speed. That’s the best goal I’ve set so far this year anyway.
*I know there’s no goblins, I just like them.
When I sat and devised a list of goals at the beginning of 2014, one of which was to take on a challenge with the aim of raising money and awareness for Prostate Cancer in memory of my Dad, who I lost five years ago to the disease. Coincidently, my boyfriend had his sights set on a bike riding challenge that he’d seen others do. It was the perfect collaboration, so we signed on up; 380km over five days in the US, from Yosemite National Park, ending up on the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
Then I bought a bike. Easy, I thought, I used to ride a bike loads as a kid, it’s not hard. I’ll probably get some of those reflectors out of cereal boxes. Exciting, this will be a breeze! Turns out after my first fifteen miles demonstrated, cycling is actually really QUITE HARD. After months of training, I realised that whilst I may never become a hardened cycling addict, I could manage getting up a hill without crying and most importantly could drink from a water bottle whilst riding. Show off…
On meeting our fellow cyclists in our group at the airport, if honest, I felt a tad smug when on enquiring how their training went, two sisters replied with ‘we don’t even own a bike’. Wow. That’s a bold move. Maybe this isn’t going to be as hard as I envisaged? Maybe those American hills aren’t too bad, they don’t seem concerned? Turned out they had grossly misjudged the trip, not I, as they ended up completing 10 miles maximum and spent the majority of their time in the support van, re-arranging the snacks. Whoops.
After a night setting up a camp and getting the bikes prepared, it was up at 6am and ready to go! I felt a little bit nervous but was too excited to get cracking to care. All seemed well as we got underway along the tree lined routes of the stunning Yosemite Park. I felt pumped and couldn’t see how this could ever get tricky with this kind of scenery!
It’s incredible how you suddenly stop noticing scenery as soon as that tree lined road suddenly starts abruptly ascending. It was then that I realised I could never have trained for these kind of hills as they simply don’t exist in the UK. I’d been ok on UK hills, usually because you could see the end in sight and even a hill half a mile long could be tough, yet manageable. American hills, true to style last a tad longer. At some points, SEVEN MILES LONGER. Well I guess I was there to be challenged…
The first two days were the longest and hardest and inevitably the most rewarding. The scenery was breathtaking, the entire time felt a bit like being in a film. But there were certain roads which at first were so beautiful, but would soon turn out to be my most hated. Like this one. See it’s beauty as it stretches for miles with nothing in sight for miles. Ahh the great outdoors! However after already cycling 40 miles and then being told this stretch is for another 30 miles with not only 30+ degree heat but a pretty strong headwind against you with no end in sight, plus a few massive hills for good measure! This road took me to a new level mentally.
I knew of course, that at no point; stopping, slowing or worst case of all, getting in the van was never an option. If I sat in that van, even for half a mile, in my mind I had failed. And I’m so relieved I didn’t at any point. Knowing that friends, family and strangers had so generously sponsored me to do a challenge, quitting would never be an option. But I would’ve bloody loved to on this sodding road!! It became my enemy, but a good lesson on never giving up *cue Rocky music*.
The funny thing about getting the first two tough days out the way is you are fooled into a false sense of security that the next few will be easy as they’re shorter. What a silly sausage. Whilst the third day was a lot more bearable, you fail to remember that 30 miles won’t take just 3 minutes. But we started to come across some real characters. One guy who was simply walking from Canada with a home made device that featured a scooter fashioned together with a trolley to carry his belongings. He was just walking along the open road, stopping where he needed. It was basically Forrest Gump, but not running. Lazy.
Then there was the real life cowboy who was utterly fascinated by what we were doing. Strange, considering he’d just traded in his pickup truck for a horse and was just popping round to his mates house, which was a two hour ride away. The horse was a little slow…
On the penultimate day, excitement was building. We were starting to get used to hills and my bottom was officially numb by now. Only one more night of camping, waking at 6am and riding 30 miles before mid day! And I don’t mean that to sound like a whinge. I really started to enjoy it. The end of every day felt amazing to look back at how much you’d done, how far you’d cycled and what you’d seen. Plus it helped to think of how many calories you’d burnt…
By the final day we were itching to get to that Golden Gate bridge. And sleep on a mattress. And have a good hot shower indoors. And burn my cycle gear.
Despite being the shortest duration, they really did save the best hills til last! San Francisco is a treat, but if you’ve ever been you’ll know there’s some impressive hills.
Almost there… (just a few of the worst hills yet to come…like a final day treat!)
Cycling into San Francisco felt fantastic and really quite emotional. And that wasn’t just because of the final hills (it probably contributed though).
After some particularly steep ascents from Sausalito we suddenly saw it… TA DA. You big red beauty you!! I don’t think I’ve felt that much love for a bridge. Which is probably a good thing. But what a way to end the trip, incredible!
Thank you so so much to everyone who so kindly and generously donated towards this adventure. Fundraising was as equally as tough as the ride, but it was all so worth it. Our total currently stands at £6,141 for Prostate Cancer UK & Movember UK which we are delighted with, but also hope to continue growing to aid the research into Prostate Cancer which will hopefully lead to a more promising future for men.
I obviously made a video if that wasn’t enough…
Amy & Kenny
After showing off the pic of my torte for my festive dinner party yesterday, a few have asked for the recipe, so here’s the one I used. Was pretty easy to make and was dangerously delicious. Scored massive points at my festive dinner party. Plus you could make well in advance to save Xmas day stress. Result.
FOR THE CRUST
250g (8oz) digestive biscuits,
125g (4oz) butter, melted
FOR THE CARAMEL
225g (7oz) caster sugar
100g (3½oz) chilled butter
100ml (3½fl oz) double cream
1 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt
FOR THE TOPPING:
100g (3½oz) caster sugar
2 extra egg yolks
250g (8oz) dark chocolate
150g (5oz) butter
Ice cream, to serve
1. Heat oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Lightly grease a 23cm (9in) deep loose-bottomed tart tin. Blend the biscuits in a food processor until finely crushed. Place the biscuit crumbs in a bowl, add the butter and mix well. Press the biscuit mixture evenly into the greased tin and up the sides. Chill the base in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the tart tin from the fridge, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the base feels dry. Set aside to cool
2. To make the caramel, bring the sugar and 100ml (3½fl oz) water to the boil in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the butter, return to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a toffee colour. Pour in the cream and salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. I added a little more salt til it tasted salty enough… Allow to cool
3. To make the chocolate topping, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale. Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy
4. Spread the caramel over the cooled base and spoon over the chocolate mixture, spreading it evenly
Over the last few weeks at least three people have commented on how tired I look. First, thanks guys. But, to honest, I don’t actually mind. Because at least my noticeably haggered face explains why I may come across as a tad vacant recently. I LOVE Christmas, so this isn’t a whinge. Far from it in fact, as a lot of exciting things have been happening recently, which I really wanted to blog about but, alas…didn’t have the time/energy. But this weekend, as I refused to change out of my tracksuit or leave the house for anything other than toilet paper and After Eights, I can reflect and share the madness….Ho.Ho.Ho.
XMAS LIGHT SWTCH ONS
Helllooo Nottingham. Felt rather special standing up in the Nottingham Council House overlooking the market square looking all twinkly. Along with a sea of umbrellas as the heavens opened. Well done to all who braved it…that’s hardcore xmas spirit.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS AWARDS
A lot of very inspiring and brilliant business women rewarded for their efforts in Nottingham. Well done all, a most enjoyable evening!
HOUSE OF COMMONS
I was very excited to be invited to Sound Women’s third birthday celebrations at the House of Commons at the beginning of this month. I’m a big supporter of Sound Women, who represent and support women in radio, working to bridge the gap of gender inequality in radio. I was honoured to have a good chat with the legendary Annie Nightingale, along with many other brilliant women. If you want to find out more, or are a women currently working in radio, or would like to, then save the date for January 31st where I’ll be contributing to their next workshop in Birmingham. More details soon! I got told off for attempting to take photos but managed to sneak a couple of really rubbish ones. But I’m gonna post them as I risked jail for these… And no sadly I didn’t get a souvenir. Desperately wanted to sneak a teacup in my bag but unfortunately that’s just theft…
I ruddy love getting dressed up all fancy for a ball and nothing gets you feeling more festive than the Angel Ball in Nottingham. Great night and raised an amazing amount for Cancer Research UK, Maggies and PASIC. Plus got a picture alongside a polar bear. Winning at Xmas.
Oh no it isn’t! Oh come on, what’s more to say… HE’S WEARING VELVET TROUSERS AND WEARING FOUNDATION. And no I wasn’t one of Snow Whites seven dwarves.
MAGGIES XMAS CONCERT
We supported the incredible work that Maggies do at City hospital in Nottingham this year at Gem, so it was lovely to be a part of their christmas carol concert at the overwhelmingly stunning St Marys church. I did a little festive reading. This is my serious ‘doing a read in a church’ face.
MY CAKES GOT FAMOUS. Big year for my baking. They made it into the Nottingham Cookbook. Sam just turned up for the photo op. Never baked in his life. #fraud
I can only assume what most people are talking right now are my outdoor illuminations. It’s a first at chez Voce and there’s no going back. Just bigger.
Also held first proper full on festive dinner party. Eight guests; roasted cauliflower, fennel and garlic soup and beef wellington (can’t take credit sadly) followed by my salted caramel and chocolate torte (can take credit). Plus all the other bits. Worrying amount of empty bottles the next morning, but assume all went well as the last taxi we called was at 4.15am, whilst the guests were watching Babestation. The sophisticated affair I envisaged…
Now just a few more Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping and eating my body weight in After Eights. But we’ll still be available for your ears! You can hear Sam and I on a couple of national outputs over Christmas. First off, we’ll be part of Radio Five Lives ‘Radio Review of the Year’ show, with Jane Garvey and Stephanie Hirst. We caught up with Stephanie recently to discuss a bizarre year of awards and our debut on BBC Radio 2! Forget the Queens speech, hear it from at 3.30pm on Xmas day.
And speaking of Radio 2, we’ll be gracing the nation covering for the delightful Anneka Rice on Sat 27th December, 6-8am, so join us then!
Merry Xmas & a Happy New Year all…
I rustled this little delicious chocolate treat up on Friday, in an attempt to impress my Mum at dinner. And it worked!
Plus it’s super simple and you can add your own touch at the end. I pinched this recipe from Jamie Oliver and adjusted a few things… This serves 10 so I just halved the ingredients for less people (obvs).
300 Good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
8 large free range eggs
100g Caster sugar
300ml Double cream
Amaretto (I used Sheridans coffee liquer)
2 Tablespoons good quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
2 packs sesame snaps/ground nuts/anything you want to decorate!
Place the dark chocolate and a tiny pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl and sit it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Leave to slowly melt, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, separate your eggs so you have the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Add the sugar to the bowl of yolks and beat until the sugar has dissolved and its silky and smooth. Whisk the whites with a tiny pinch of salt until they form soft peaks – you should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head without them falling out! In a third bowl, beat the cream until slightly thick and just whipped (don’t whip too much-I think I may have overwhipped a tad making it thicker)
Once the chocolate has melted, carefully lift the bowl out of the pan. Add 75ml (3 shots) of amaretto (or your equivalent liquer) and the cocoapowder to your bowl of yolks and mix well. Tip in the cream and mix again, then fold through the melted chocolate until it’s well combined and a gorgeous colour. Finish by tipping in the egg whites, then keep folding, from the outside in in a figure-of-eight until the mix is smooth and evenly coloured. It will look a bit dodgy at first, but trust me it will come together. Spoon or ladle the mousse into a big serving bowl or divide between little glasses or cappuccino cups and pop in the fridge for an hour or two until set.
Just before you’re ready to serve, give the mousse a lovely dusting of cocoa. This is where you can get inventive… Leaving them in the packet, bash up your sesame snaps in a pestle and mortar. Tip them out, and break up any larger bits that are left so its nutty with a caramelly kick and a bit of a crunch. Sprinkle on top or serve in the mortar next to your chocolate mousse. Or add any toppings you desire. I like the idea of crunched up peanut M & M’s or Dime bar?! Anything with a nutty consistency would work. Enjoy!