Blogging 101: Day 4 Challenge

To define a dream reader to me is difficult, i mean i could say that i want some fantastic person who has the job of my dreams to offer at their finger tips based on what they have read and obviously speaking to me, i could say that my friends would be my dream readers..after all they know me and i love them right? But then again maybe not, especially if i am ranting…it rarely ends well for me.
So in answer to this i have decided to write with people who are genuinely interested in what the topic i have chosen, you can tell because at some point you will stop reading and leave the page to find something else to read…
Now that i have your attention, i would like to talk about my decision to volunteer.
It has been interesting telling people that i am going to volunteer…so many look at me slightly strangely as if its necessary to be paid for your time; i cant disagree with this as unfortunately money does make the world go round.
Having had my DBS check with one of the people from the office i am now even more excited at the prospect, i have longed to have some proper marketing experience and now hopefully this is my chance to actually get on and do what i set out to do when i went to university 11 years ago.
So my question to you my dear reader…[polldaddy poll=8316749]
Now the answers to the poll may seem a little harsh but really there is no way you could make it sound good to be uncharitable surely? It is so much more rewarding to give than to receive which is why i hope that sharing my time helping people and learn some new skills whilst doing it i will happily give up my time.

Writing 101: Day 4 Challenge Part 1

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.
I think someone said “to have loved and lost is better than to never have loved at all” (cheesey i know) however they make a good point, to have truly lost something then you have to have loved it in the first place, but the love you feel for objects is not the same that you feel for family members and thusly the feeling of loss is different.
For me loss is not something i deal will with very well and i am happy to hold my hands up and say this, i have lost a few truly great people over the years and it saddens me in many respects to think of then, but i do try and counteract this by reassuring myself they would be proud of my achievements and all the other things people say to reassure themselves.
My grandmother on my mothers side was a difficult lady and when she died i had mostly come to peace with this thought as she was quite ill towards the end, i cried 2 tears at her funeral one from each eye, reflecting on this it speaks volumes regarding my behaviour subsequently as i didn’t really deal with her death, so much as to put it to one side, i could make a bunch of excuses but none of them are justifiable considering it was my grandmother. Society dictates that we must grieve…but in Switzerland (along with many other things) death is dealt with in a very clinical way and is over in about 5-7 days which i find extraordinary…how does that allow anyone time? we all grieve in different ways and for different lengths of time, i cant imagine something so important being treated so coldly. but weirdly thats what i seemed to have achieved with my grandmother…
To say that things changed after she died is true, my mother was almost happier and more relaxed as she had always spent lots of time with her, helping her, listening to her criticism of “why cant you be more like your brother” (bearing in mind that he hadn’t called or visited in about 20 years) and “why cant you be more like my friends daughter she does everything for her” (again bearing in mind my mum worked full time and spent pretty much all her lunchtimes and after work helping her). For me it was not so much of adjustment, despite not living far from my grandmother i didn’t see that much of her, i was too busy being a teenager and going to college; besides my justification was that she was rude and abusive to us whenever she saw us so why should we actually have to put up with her behaviour? The change in my mother affected me more than the death of my grandmother which again is a very odd thing to say as you wouldn’t have thought that it would occur like that.
The subsequent years meant that i had only one set of grandparents who i loved unconditionally (not to say that i didn’t love my grandmother it was just a different kind of love) i couldn’t imagine losing my fathers parents and often hoped upon hope that the day would never come that i had to say good bye, inevitably it did some 10 years after, and it has affected me in a fair more noticeable way (possibly due to other issues which are have affected me and some which continue to now). However it did make me think when my fathers mother died, it was a very difficult time as she became very difficult towards the end (possibly because she didn’t want people to miss her or even that she was losing her mind) but the last time i visited her she was horrible to me and we got in to a huge argument, when she died i felt some guilt that i had nearly reacted in the same way as with my other grandmother but i reminded myself that my dads mother i’m sure never meant to hurt me before my grandfather died she was lovely and kind and caring (being married for 65 years meant that she was devastated to be apart from him and she even said that had it not been for us she would kill herself rather than go on without him) whereas my mothers mother was unfortunately a bitter old woman who resented doing things for herself and did little to help others unless it provided her gain in some way (to this day i am not sure why, she lost her husband just after my sister was born, he treated her like royalty i guess she was just not used to looking after herself hence my mothers efforts to help her so much)
Not having any grandparents at all is a very strange feeling, i often go to ring them on a sunday morning still or when i’m at my mothers i freeze if the phone rings when she’s cooking dinner as Nanna always used to do that and i keep thinking that its her calling (more often than not its just telesales people), it oddly means that we are now not committed to anything at christmas (apart from dads birthday which is christmas eve and even then he is quite relaxed on whats going on) and there isn’t ‘the trip’ to see them every so often anymore, I still feel like they are missing from my life but i do feel them looking down over me, i don’t know if they will be proud but i hope so.

Writing 101: Day 3 Challenge

Commit to a Writing Practice
Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?
For me choosing my favourite songs is like a mother choosing their favourite child (surely this is not possibly) however choosing the most important songs in my life is a different question all together, as things that are important are not necessarily your favourite!
Growing up music was a very important part of my life, my parents took me to lots of live music, opera, ballet and even the odd small festival. My father had a record player and many vinyl records to play mostly blues, folk, rock from the 60s and 70s but this didn’t matter to me, to this day there are songs that we used to listen to on that record player that will take me straight back to that room just by listening to it.
Which brings me nicely on to my first song which is ‘Blue’ by Joni Mitchell to me one of the most powerful songs of the last 50 years, to others probably not; Joni’s vocals are haunting on this record and the tiny crackle on the vinyl only serves to intensify the music. To me this song symbolises long hot summers in France with my family, playing cards in the garden and other happy times. Even after my parents divorced we still went to the house in France for the whole summer (my parents just split the time down the middle) and so the song continued to bring me a sense of happiness and stability; almost a constant in my world, being that i listened to a lot of music you need to appreciate the importance of listening to certain songs.
The second song is in many respects a bit of a cheat is my breakup song (everyone has one and lets face it it is important. For me Eyeless by Slipknot is the song that got me through a fair number of breakups, from the age of 16 my absolute favourite band has to be Slipknot and to this day they hold a very special place in my heart for so many reasons, many a good time had, many a time shared and treasured. The lead singer says that the song was written after he met a homeless person who was chanting it over and over (You can’t see California without Marlon Brandos Eyes) a slightly weird if touching story i have always thought.
Song three Utopia by Goldfrapp – important because it has several meanings to me, it has been played at several funerals that i have had the misfortune to go to (lives taken too early from us i believe). To me the title itself sparks discussion regarding the definition of a utopia as for many its very different but for very it is the same, now that is not to say that our views are not similar but when you get down to the details most things start to unravel. It is also a beautifully calming song which washes over you as you listen to it.

Writing 101: Day 2 Challenge

There are so many places i could and would like to be transported to at this very moment, however as i have to choose a specific place then it would have to be the Aye Simon reading room in the Guggenheim museum in New York, it was designed with the key of learning in mind, for instance its shaped like a keyhole to signify the key to knowledge.
Its a tiny room situated on the stairs about half way up the building, there is nothing more than a table and chairs and a bookcase inside as it is for people to read and contemplate (at least thats how i imagine it) i can see people taking books and pieces of art in there to appreciate them away from the noise of the city and the bustle of the museum.
Personally i think it would be an amazing spaces to write in purely from the imagination perspective as you could completely clear your mind and not be distracted for some long time.
When i first visited in 2005 i was fascinated by the whole museum and even more delighted to find this room, at the time i swore that if i was to disappear to anywhere it would be to here if only so i could hide from the chaos of the world; now i feel like its an inspirational space to be appreciated not to run and hide in; you are surrounded by one of the most prestigious art spaces in the world and that in itself speaks volumes.

Blogging 101: Day 3 Challenge

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.
Reading this task really put me on the spot today…think of 5 new topics to discover? well rather than being short of ideas it was more the narrowing down of the list that proved the most difficult, the decision to add writers block was a forwarding thinking choice (just in case it happens…)
Tag 1: Love @LECKCYLOOREVIEWS
Tag 2: Consciousness @infinitybeckons
Tag 3: Desire @alillama
Tag 4: Spirituality @thelifeinsideus
Tag 5: Writers Block @ramblinproseblog

Writing 101: Day 1 Challenge

Hi im Nomes
Nice to meet you…
Im currently on my belated gap year which means i now have plenty of time to discover the things i enjoy and the things i don’t and also to develop the skills that i have missed out honing whilst working in jobs that i didn’t particularly like or find challenging/fulfilling.
So i joined writing 101 in order to try and help me focus my mind on writing, i really enjoy it but its not something that comes naturally to me…
For instance i can be sat writing and then something will distract me and ill be off….then the writing stops for a while, not helpful when you are trying to build your confidence and improve your skills; i suspect that this is largely to do with my short attention span but this is something that i am trying to work on.
For me writing without thinking is not the easiest of things as school drummed it into our heads that we had to write ‘about something’ there was little in the way of opportunities to write something that we chose…sure there were options for questions on essays but that is hardly being allowed to create your own work is it?
Whilst i hope to improve my writing generally this course for me is about improving my communication, i don’t really write stories in the traditional sense although in my blog entries i try and keep a narrative going to interest the reader and no one can say that there life isn’t a story one way or another…mine i suspect slightly more than most but that is something for another time…
As the minutes tick by it strikes me that writing comes more naturally than i think although its safe to say that the writers block does enjoy jumping in every so often to slow the process down, but not thinking too much about it means that the words flow far quicker than if i sit down and actually think about something too specific, its like my subconscious is writing for me, now as good as this is its not terribly practical for writing marketing documents but the process of taking a subject and half keeping it in mind rather than concentrating on it should make it much easier to write accessible pieces for people rather than an overly stuffy traditional opinionated document.
Writing about my travelling is something that has taken me some time to get used to as i have had to learn to write about myself all over again, previously i have felt it fatuous and arrogant to write about my achievements but i see now that other people don’t see it this way and in fact they are interested in me and my journey through life, so hopefully as time goes on i can share more and more with my readers for them to enjoy.
Any feedback or suggestions which people would like to give are most welcome as I have little concept of how ‘good’ my writing is.
 

Brussels

After an auspicious start, a bus journey plagued by accidents on the motorways and meaning that I got to the Eurostar terminal with literally 5 minutes to spare before I jumped on the train it was a quiet journey along the Highspeed track and a reassuring redress in the balance of the holiday.

Le Neufchatel, Bruxelles – A very nice off-centre city hotel and a comfortable start to the travelling with simple yet interesting decoration.

The first ‘bought’ morning coffee of the trip, noteworthy because when it was made the guy that made it didn’t need a stencil for the pattern…an impressive trick I thought.

Then a walk past the most random shop I have passed in a while, a blue gorilla and an animal fur print pet bed!

The Palace of Justice – in the process of some structural work by the looks
of things

Egmont palace – has a beautiful park open to the public for picnicking and
they also have a café should you so wish to have a coffee

Eglise Notre Dame du Sablon A wander round the centre of town produces pictures of the main square and various other random shops/museums

One off the bucket list, a dinner of moules et frites washed down with (a few  too many retrospectively) Belgian beers and a near trip to a local gig which was somewhat impeded by the allure of beer and people watching.

Belgium was a nice start to the holiday although the trilingual issues with street names and map reading somewhat alluded me coupled with the Belgians not being as friendly as expected marred the overall experience, I think it would be best to return with other hapless people in tow to enjoy the experience more

Blogging101 – A Change of Tagline

Todays challenge is taglines, considering i havent had my blog very long it was a bit difficult for me to work out what to change, i have finally come up with a small adaptation to my current title, suspect this will be changing again soon…
My new working title is A Journey Into the Unknown – Food, Travel and Feelings of Happiness, any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly received.

Who is OnlyNomes?

I started blogging some time ago as a means for venting my frustrations and trying to make sense of things on my mind, the slight problem with this was a struggle between wanting to write, not having that much time (i know lots of writers argue there is always time you’ve just got to make it) and also having the strength to open up; you would have thought this would be easy being that essentially you are communicating to strangers until you actually make contact with them or they contact you; but still it held me back for some time, i tried writing a personal journal but found it difficult to write my thoughts for fear someone would find them and read them (odd thought i know when you think about it publishing stuff on the web opens it to a whole new world, but its the people closest to me that i didn’t want finding it, they are my personal thoughts not something to be discussed)
As you will see from my other page “waking up and smelling the coffee” I have mostly moved out of the ‘funk’ i was in and have decided that not only is it therapeutic for me but also beneficial to my career goals and own personal development.
So cutting to the chase – the purpose of this page is for me to develop, make new friends, improve my writing and communication skills and also to share my love of food, travel and all things that randomly (and often) enter my life and open myself up to a whole new world of peoples knowledge and experience.
Over the next year or so i would like to think that i will make new friends, connections, really try and make myself as happy as i can be.

Macaroons, Chillis and Tiffin Flapjack

Whilst out yesterday the postman kindly delivered the traditional box of chillis from DSC_0034my Dad via Sea Spring Seeds, he knows i love them and they always send such pretty types and colours although they don’t send the guide with them anymore so its pot luck as to the heat rating and spiciness unless you really know your chillis well. I always put them in a bowl or a jar as they just look so pretty plus it means they wont spoil in the fridge.
It struck me as i woke up this morning that so far since i have stopped working i haven’t managed to get much further in the quest of sorting my future, i know this is a large task and it will take time but i honestly thought i would be more motivated by now. Yes i have spent a month travelling on my own round Europe (a time which i do not regret) but if i’m honest i don’t feel like i’ve progressed that much mainly due to being so tied to home, i spent (in my opinion) too much time leaning on my crutches and not enough time actually putting myself out there and really learning about myself, which saddens me to a certain extent. My friends and family have commended me for my bravery, but to me it feels like nothing…much in the same way that many things feel like nothing…i went to university, i got a mortgage, i got a job that i hate (which admittedly was the point at which i said to myself no more) its like i’m going through the motions of a life i don’t want to live…but conversely i’m now faced, having challenged this fact, with the task of creating the life i do want and that to me is much more scary, especially when i cant seem to throw myself out of my comfort zone.
DSC_0031#1With this in mind (and my innate need to bake when i am feeling unsettled)
i decided to make some macaroons (not before you are disappointed the colourful french fancies but the delicious simple version made with either coconut or almonds) they are the simplest and most gratifying thing to bake they can also be spiced with all kinds of things and of course dipped in chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 160g/5½oz desiccated coconut or ground almonds
  • 1 tsp grated lime zest (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (optional)
  • 100g of Chocolate melted (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F/Gas 4.
  2. Use your hands to mulch the egg whites, sugar, coconut, lime zest and juice in a bowl until they lightly come together.
  3. Either With wet hands, press the mixture into a flat, square shape about 1cm/0.5in high.
  4. Use a small upturned liqueur glass to cut out small rounds, and place on a lightly oiled or nonstick baking tray.
  5. Or roll into balls by hand if you want ‘bounty’ style bars then you could just cut the square shape into bars
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes in the centre of the oven until very lightly golden, just touched with colour.
  7. Cool the macaroons on a wire rack for a few minutes
  8. Dip in the chocolate (optional)
  9. Store in an airtight jar

DSC_0032
As an after thought i also made some Tiffin Flapjack (due to lack of biscuits oats were used to replace hence the flapjack element using a great recipe from Niknoks Chocolate Tiffin, its a good way of using up the little bits of dried fruit/nuts/seeds and random cooking chocolate you have lying around and is best done in a disposable foil tray (20x20cm) saves on washing up and means that you wont damage any nice non-stick pans you might use.
I love sharing recipes and food with people i think its important that if you are going to eat you should at least properly, speaking to my friend last night she triumphantly announced that she had used the simple ice cream recipe which i had shared with her only a few weeks before and that everyone loved it, the best feeling was the look of achievement on her face was so heart warming.