November Rain


Thick, rolling mist announces the arrival of November in a dramatic fashion, and I wonder if it’s setting the tone for the month ahead. It makes for pretty pictures of half-hidden skylines but flights are ground to a halt as the fog causes chaos.

Planes are bombed in the midst of the clouds. There’s a massacre in Paris and it’s too horrific to watch. The tales get worse as you read story after story from the officers’ who entered the crime scene and describe it as akin to Dante’s vision of Hell. Brussels is on lockdown as raids continue and images of police cars, screeching wheels and flashing lights, speed across the news like scenes from an action movie.

Storm Barney arrives in England and cuts power, uproots trees, and causes a Twitter storm of its own as the hashtag trends. Temperatures plummet practically overnight and the mercury reads minus figures.

What a November. The usually quiet, vacant No Man’s Land between Halloween and Christmas has not been quiet at all.

Quite a way to welcome my blog to the world.

For me, November begins with the restarting of uni after reading week and I’m apprehensive. I’m not quite sure what I think of my MA course yet- half of the modules I love, and half I hate, and with a new-born blog at I wanted an extra week off to nurture it.

Alas, I ploughed through, driving down roads cloaked in fog like I’m heading into the abyss. It only takes a week before the fog really clears, but my outlook on uni seems to be taking a little bit more time. By the third week, though, things are starting to look up, so let’s see how long this up lasts until we hit another down.

Uni is two and a half days so by Wednesday afternoon it’s over with and I’m back in the kitchen. I start to blog, and blog seriously. I’ve meticulously planned out a post schedule and I’m scouring the internet for ideas, Google hopping through strange desserts and translating recipes from foreign tongues. The first I stumble across was a torta caprese, an Italian dessert that eventually manifests itself as my white chocolate torta caprese.

I want a mix of posts, and not just recipes, and my earliest posts- from when I wasn’t really serious about blogging- were about topics that interested me and I want to get more of this onto my blog. I pour through my hard drive and gather together one-liners and scraps saved as notepad documents, polish half-written ramblings into publishable copy- this becomes my foodbanks post. I revisit my dissertation, cut away the technical bits and make it more readable and my rationing post is born, which seems to fit quite nicely with the follow up mashed potato cake recipe.

I dig up a well-loved recipe from the archives to help with forward planning and to get into a blogging habit (it’s hard writing a million posts when you first begin!) and my sprinkle biscuit recipe arrives on the blog (along with having to relive the heartbreak all over again).

But perhaps my favourite recipe this month is my salted caramel crispie squares. I can’t quite get over how simple yet how impressive they are. I know I’m going to be revisiting this recipe soon.

November closes with a trip to Liverpool to see Shrek the musical. Outside the theatre we see the poppies at St George’s Hall- the ones that had been part of the display in the Tower of London moat last year- and I don’t know what I think about it. Something doesn’t feel right about marvelling at an art installation glorifying the sacrifices of the men in the trenches. But maybe that’s just me.

I make a stop to see my irl-bff and blog guru, and the Christmas market is in full swing in Liverpool. The excitement quickly pacifies my moral musings. I don’t know what it is but this year it feels like Christmas celebrations have started early- people are already getting decorations up, so I can’t help but feel Christmassy early on, but I don’t like to get really stuck in until December 1st- that’s when the Christmas socks come out. So as November closes I am well and truly ready to get into the Christmas spirit.

December isn’t set to be a great month. It’s getting colder, I’m down for long shifts without breaks at work, and I’ve got a stressful three weeks at uni filled with exams, deadlines, and a 37-hour newsweek for the last week of the term. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m hopeful that I’m just apprehensive still- maybe I’ll enjoy it more than I think. Fingers crossed I get put to work on the website- I’m getting to be a pro at wordpress.

It’s not all doom and gloom- I’ve got a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour planned to begin the month and Christmas to look forward to at the end of the month! As for the blog, there’s several recipes lined up but finding time to get them tested and written will prove difficult. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to stick to my blogging schedule as I’ve really liked having some sort of regularity on my blog. One upside to newsweek is that I’ll spend so much time at the computer typing, no one will know whether I’m writing stories for our uni paper or typing up recipes for my blog. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of Christmas cakes coming up, as well as a post about the DIY edible Christmas gift I’m giving to family this year, and a very Christmassy post planned in which I go full geek and ramble on about traditions.

And then before we know it, we’ll be singing Auld Lang Syne in a pub with strangers, announcing plans for resolutions we’ll never stick to and welcoming in 2016.

But first we’ve got December to get over, so we’ll save the New Year’s post for another day.

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