Happy Murderous Birthday

Here’s the 18th birthday cake I made for a friend. She’s obsessed with Angela Lansbury and Murder She rote, naturally she is, all the 18-year-olds are raving about her.  So I attempted to to homage to both fine ladies-my friend and Ang- in this cake.

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Gwen

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Weeks…Oh Good Grief I can’t Remember… of the Doodles: Take #2

(Just a point I want to make I wrote this all yesterday but then I couldn’t get the pictures to download…grrr technology)

Yes the Friday four days after my exams have finished you’d think I’d produce at least one doodle on time having put yet another pause in it.

Well I went out drinking last night instead, now I’m not the only graduand in the house and some of my other housemates finished or had a long enough break to facilitate a drinkie or two we went out for cocktails. I had a rather lovely Lemon and Ginger Mojito, not to mention half a pint of perry in the pub earlier and then gin lemon and lime in another bar. I really thought I was going to drink more than that. But then we had McDonalds at 3am with chocolate milkshakes and that was most pleasant I assure you.

Ignoring my life as a social butterfly here are your doodles for Weeks 49 and 50. And a little sneaky peek at some gifts I’ve been doing for people on my course (I have been doing things in the last four days honest – not just watching youtube!).

Week 49 is the long awaited Anniversary doodle for the blog which I didn’t put up on the nearest Friday because it was travelling to Gwen’s abode and I thought she should be the first to see it not you lot. Unfortunately it going second class and from the first post box I could find perhaps wasn’t the best idea as I then didn’t know when it might arrive and received no confirmation. If you scroll down far enough on the blog page you’ll find the reference picture for this – right down to the skyline. Though the orange tent is in honour of the first tent we camped in.

Happy Anniversary Blog!

Happy Anniversary Blog!

Week 50 is again out of season. Hmm…nice weather for once and I draw winter pictures and rain, oops.

The thought amused me at 2 o'clock the other morning

The thought amused me at 2 o’clock the other morning

And the little sneak peek…

Shh! No telling

Shh! No telling

au revoir

Elinor

P.S. Sorry these aren’t the nest quality the scanner and I are having words, these had to be snapped on my phone.

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It lives!!!

I am officially as of 3pm on the 11th May 2015 a Graduand of the University of Lincoln!

So goodbye to Geoffrey, Matthew Paris, Petrarch and Machiavelli. Adios to Giotto, Cellini, Masaccio and Peiro della Francesco. Arrivederci to Andreas Cappelleus, William Holman Hunt & Co. and Isidore. Farewell to Paré, Vesalius, Woodall, Battista, Paracelsus, Herodotus, Thucydides, Hippocrates, Pliny, Plato and Aristotle. And as for Darwin…well lets not spoil this lovely thought.

If you’re thinking I have misspelled graduate I’m afraid you’re wrong, I haven’t graduated yet but my degree is technically over. So there is a word for that – which I really like we invented a word specifically for the 2-3 month period between finishing a course and graduating.

But I have set myself a slightly large challenge which only last night did I quite begin to realise the enormity of it. Throughout the year friends on my course have asked for mice drawings, which I am well chuffed at. I have ended up with 13 mice to draw by next Tuesday. Some of them are far more detailed than others but that is what I have decided to do. You may see some of these as the last four doodles that need to go up and I am waiting for a certain someone to tell me that another doodle has arrived safe and sound – I am beginning to worry that my brilliant plan last month has backfired monumentally. On the plus side I did celebrate the end of my degree with spicy chicken wings and nachos and two bottles of cider and then a Cadburys crunchie ice cream because it was so hot it was like an actual summers day. (Bear in mind dear reader, I live in England and May has spent its first week being rainy and cold – a summer’s day is to be noted with surprise.) I then celebrated my first day not having anything work related to do with scrambled eggs on toast and tea and a walnut whip (unfortunately I had no ginger beer so I couldn’t recreate my celebration meal after handing in my dissertation) But then I celebrated for dinner with a small bottle of cava.

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But now back in my natural habitat I better go and crack on with all these drawings I’ve decided its a good idea to do.

au revoir

Elinor

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Recent Reads

P1150766Here’s a little bundle of my recent reads just to let you know what my eyes have been feasting on.

The Star’s Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry

I picked this up while staying with Elinor in Lincoln a few months ago. I can’t resist a charming book shop and this book looked charming too. I didn’t quite realise this at first, but as I went through it became apparent that it is a modernisation of The Count of Monte Cristo, and not just a ‘took inspiration from’,but a fairly point by point retelling of Edmond, or in this case Ned’s, revenge story.

I have to say I find it hard to get my head around wanting to transplant a plot whole into a modern setting, I’m just not sure where the interest for writing that is, but it was a rather lovely read. Perhaps more violent and intense in places than the jolly japes front cover would have you believe, but a pleasurable read.

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Bucham

I grabbed this Scottish classic in none other than Scotland and enjoyed it immensely as a thrilling romp through the countryside. It as a very easy read so would be good for a holiday.

The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin

I was given a book from this series a while ago and I thought I would go back to the beginning and find out how it all started.

Let me tell you, if you like books where the hero is put into constant peril, this is your bag. This guy gets nearly killed about forty-two times,  I never knew there were so may ways to be nearly dead, but all dastardly angles are covered here, it’s quite a ride.

What have you been reading?

Gwen

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And yet another pause in the Doodles

Hmmm…this is all getting a bit thick really isn’t it?

I’m afraid I have to put another pause in the back log of doodles that I am meant to be giving you, I am currently wading through my Renaissance exam revision and only just realised its Wednesday and if I haven’t got anything by now to give you then it ain’t gonna happen before my exam on Monday. I may only have the one exam but I take it seriously and it is my third and final year so I do rather need to do well in it.

Many apologies but I cannot do much about it except dream of the freedom I shall get after 3pm on Monday when I can draw as much as I like without the knowledge it will be impinging on anything else I have to do which will be a first in about a year and half maybe a bit longer.

au revoir

Elinor

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100th Cake

An  old fashioned cake for an old fashioned lady. This is a rich fruit cake (from the dairy book of home cooking no less) topped with marzipan and royal icing. Most cakes I make are covered with fondant icing- the stuff that comes in blocks and is sometimes wrongly sold as royal icing-so this was my first go at the real deal and I have to say I really liked working with it. I might use the leftovers to decorate some shortbread.


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Weeks 47 and 48 of the Doodles: Take #2

Ah its Friday again and your current news update from Lincoln. There is a strong smell of damp in the outside passage corresponding with a large damp patch on the ceiling, thought to be a leaking bathroom next door on the basis of a similar issue last year when the passage ended up with a inbuilt waterfall feature. The microwave in the kitchen last night attempted to explode and succeeded in melting part of that plastic thing that turns the glass dish inside it. It was quite a display of fiery lighting that erupted beneath the bowl that had just gone in – and no we weren’t stupid enough to put anything metal in there, I know we’re students but we’re not complete morons. All that went in was a bowl that’s been in many times before and chocolate chunks that were in for less than three seconds before the attempted explosion. And then there was a very horrible smell of burnt plastic in kitchen for ages. And finally…I made another cooking fail. This was a pretty spectacular fail actually and it involved a recipe I found on pin interest. A recipe for “Outrageously Chocolatey Cookies” that were purported to be a cross between a brownie and a cookie I was taken in by the picture I think because this is what they are supposed to look like

Lying cheating cookies!!!

Lying cheating cookies!!!

And this is what I ended up with.

Cowpat a la crisp

Cowpat a la crisp

Readers of a delicate disposition please look away now. Brownie-Cookies my arse! Was my thought as they came out the oven.  And now you may look back again. Thankfully my drunk housemate who’d just come back from a night out was very partial to the crispy slab. Some of it is edible at least, other bits rather too crispy for words. This mixture makes a very thick batter, not a cookie dough and we waited ages for the melted chocolate to solidify a bit before adding it to the egg and sugar mix as the recipe suggested otherwise the cookies would just spread out. I put on the cookies as quite thick dollops of batter and the moment they got into the oven my careful placing of them all went for nought and they turned into a liquid not unlike primeval slime. Your pair of doodles on happier news are themed, somewhat out of season with the first one and somewhat late with the second one. Also my scanner has decided it doesn’t want to play anymore so I apologise for the grainy and blurred quality of these images.

Christmas Festivities

Christmas Festivities

Okay I admit VERY out of season, its Spring I know and I give you a Christmas themed doodle, but I just finished it on Wednesday and I started it the end of November. It had taken so long that I felt it needed a little spotlight on the blog rather than wait for next Christmas and be forgotten about.

Good News Arrives on Stage - Will's Birthday Invitation

Good News Arrives on Stage – Will’s Birthday Invitation

I am only late by a day for this one it was Shakespeare’s birthday/deathday yesterday I know, but I post the doodles on a Friday it can’t be helped sometimes. At least this one is in season. au revoir Elinor

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When vegetables TURN!!!

I’m having a bit of bad day concerning vegetables. For lunch I thought I would have avocado on toast I knew it needed eating up but when I cut into it the majority of it was going that weird brown colour. I tried cutting out some of the good sections but then a bug chunk of it flipped off the knife onto the kitchen counter top. You might think well just pick it up – 3 second rule and all that I live in a student house even after we clean the counter tops we don’t pick up food off them and eat it. And then when I cooking my dinner my sweet potato turned out to be the grave of some creature.

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Hmm…at least its organic

I knew from the top of it that there would be something a bit bad on the inside but it essentially extended nearly halfway through my small sweet potato. Luckily, the courgette and the pepper I was also cooking with were unharmed.

On the plus side my lettuce and rocket have sprouted!!! I’m very excited I finally got the lettuce seeds planted last Thursday having bought them in January. I’m just waiting for the strawberry seeds to sprout now.

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I have a very good windowsill for plants this year I think.

au revoir

Elinor

P.S. I did eat the remainder of the sweet potato for dinner by the way and it was very tasty, I didn’t do what my housemate suggested and order out for pizza. I was good and healthy.

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Weeks 45 and 46 of the Doodles – Take#2

I considered doing the backlog one a week but then it would eat into more time for other things (I sound like I have projects in the pipeline, I don’t – sorry very bad blogger)

Week 45 is a little piece that I originally doodled during a guest lecture entitled “Prison Breaks in Late Medieval France” which was very informative and amusing. But I had a resonance of Chicken Run in my head and this was the overall result. I think I had intended to post this when I was about to hand in my dissertation but I forgot.

Prison Break!

Prison Break!

Week 46 is the very first drawing I did after I’d handed in my dissertation, sitting on my bed watching the TV mini-series of Sense and Sensibility and drinking a Harvey Wallbanger. It was well nice; unfortunately I had to get up in the morning for a lecture but still you can’t have everything can you? I really want to find this place now it seems so fairy tale I don’t really think its actually there.

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Balintore Castle Scotland

As an added bonus, in case you’re curious about what history students do in their degree (other than copious amounts of reading and note taking) they make posters do discuss their ideas for essay questions. And also caused one of my friends to comment that I might be in the wrong degree, my tutor chimed in “No we’ve go hold of you now” and I commented that I just had a really expensive hobby. Somehow I think that’s going to be a whole other blog post.

Mice at work or is it play?

Mice at work or is it play?

au revoir

Elinor

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Well As Long As They’re Reading

P1140599Hello blog readers,

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Some time ago a certain YA book came out by a certain famous person, and there was a bit of a whoo haa about it because, well, it may or may not have been ghost written, which is a ghastly concept for a lot of people; a breach of trust, a cheep trick, a way to cash in on the celebrity brand. And apart form all that the book may, or may not have also been, a huge pile of poo.

I never read the book. I read the blurb, and I flicked through it in a shop, but I judged it not my bag so I didn’t bother. No big deal, but I can’t comment now on it’s utter poo credentials, or indeed, it’s brilliance. But the point it this. Throughout the debate, and through others of a similar nature there is a phrase that continually popped up; “well, as long as they’re reading that’s what matters”.

And I wonder does it? Does it not matter WHAT we read, as long as we read? If a book is a grammatically incorrect, badly written story which puts forward unhelpful, even immoral ideas and values (and I’m not referring to a specific book here) does that matter?

Even allowing for taste, do we have to throw out all debate on the worth of what young people-of what we all read-simply because it’s  better than doing drugs? and better than vegetating on your  beanbag, playing xbox and turning into a huge pixel.

Or, is turning around and saying “that is utter book tripe and I rather wish you weren’t reading it”, is that pure and simple book snobbery that should be abolished?

I’m not too sure. But I think of it this way, if my 10 year old  sister was reading heat magazine I wouldn’t leave her with it just because she was reading. I should probably do the same for a book I judged to be equally damaging.

What do you think?

Gwen

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