On Shrove Tuesday, it is a tradition in UK to have pancakes. Since I can’t make them and didn’t feel like going out to eat them (I’m off work this week), I went for something else–chocolate. But what chocolate.
In my neighbourhood there’s a shop that sells food and snacks from Slovakia and Czech Republic, among others this chocolate which has always been my favourite back home. It’s called Student’s Seal and contains a mix of fruit, nuts and jelly.
The bottom one is apparently Rebel’s Edition. I did feel quite rebellious eating it, let me tell you.
These days I don’t consume as much chocolate as I used to in the past, I only stick to a square or two of dark chocolate with 70-85% of cocoa. For Lent, I’m giving up any sweet treats whatsoever–my waistline will be pleased, I’m sure.
If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?
There are sooo many great places to explore on this planet! I’d like to see with my own eyes all the nice places that I admired on pictures. To answer something particular, something that could be quite feasible–castles and coffee shops of continental Europe.
Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?
I narrowed my million favourite quotes down to four:
Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
My willpower for keeping up with eating well and losing a whole kilo from the previous week.
I’ve got a week off work so I’m looking forward to more reading, watching TV and just chilling.
In this week’s photo challenge post, Ben posts a photograph of a donut, a cup of coffee and a glass of sparkling water, but tells us not to limit ourselves to edible stuff–but this is exactly what I’m going to do, even though I don’t normally blog about food or post pictures of food.
Let me introduce you to my favourite breakfast. Bacon sandwich + a cup of black coffee = heaven. For me bacon sandwich is the second best thing in the world (the first is pizza). But there is more to this shot.
We hear of things typically British and we hear of things typically Continental European. Nothing more essentially British than a bacon sandwich, I’m sure you agree. On the other hand, coffee is continental, whereas the Brits like their tea.
Best of both worlds then. Imagine if referendums never existed, we could have breakfast instead of Brexit. Sigh.
Speaking of which…
A very Belgian private detective with his very British sidekick.
They always grow there. Every time I go to the launderette, I load the washing machine and then go for a walk in the park while the washing’s being done. At around this time of year, I look for these violet coloured beauties, ‘cos by now I’m sooo over winter and they remind me hope is on the horizon.
I’m not being poetic here, by the way, I just have no idea what these flowers are called. Someone once told me they were crocuses. Please feel free to enlighten me in the comments.
For this Valentine’s Day, let me talk about about my favourite fictional couples (or, as is the fandom term these days “ships”).
Originally I was planning to post just one photo for Valentine’s–a shot of two figures from my favourite series with a simple card in the background–but a comment I made on this Goodreads Facebook post inspired me to expand it a bit more. At least this gives me an opportunity to blog about my favourite things.
The Couple That Gives Me All the Feels
Jon Snow and Ygritte (Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire). Equally good in books and in TV show. And the only love story that can truly melt my cold, cynical heart.
The series has a lot of memorable quotes, such as All Men Must Die (which inspired my blog’s tagline) and Winter is Coming and–You know nothing, Jon Snow. She’s the one with the common sense, he’s the one with the formal education. She teaches him about the Wildling ways, he shows her castles.
If I could show her Winterfell… give her a flower from the glass gardens, feast her in the Great Hall and show her the stone kings on their thrones. We could bathe in the hot pools and love beneath the heart tree while the old gods watched over us.
~A Storm of Swords
It was not meant to be, but I like to think there is an alternate universe where they stayed in that cave. And there is–Kit Harington and Rose Leslie are dating in real life.
Here’s the photo that I mentioned earlier:
Not Your Typical Couple
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist from The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (the Millennium series). But not together as in together.
Lisbeth is one my most favourite fictional characters ever. She’s a brilliant hacker and she kicks ass. And she always look out for the vulnerable and the abused. I don’t ship her with Blomkvist in the normal way, instead I like to think of them as BFFs with benefits slash partners in crime. Besides, Blomkvist is a womaniser and Lisbeth is too much of a free spirit to settle down.
It was absurd to pretend that he did not exist. It no longer hurt her to see him. She opened the door wide and let him into her life again.
~The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest
In the English version they are played by Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. I once saw a comment on YouTube video of the trailer saying “Lisbeth Salander is so badass, James Bond is her sidekick.”
The Couple That Should Have Been
Jo March and Laurie, aka Teddy Lawrence from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, who ended up not together because the author threw a tantrum.
Then do, for god’s sake. Ugh.
I recently read Little Women for the first time in English. I love Jo, but I’m not a fan of the book. Some passages made me want to throw my (quite new) Kindle against the wall and it’s not because of the obvious mismatching of couples. It’s the constant preaching. Dog forbid you want to have fun once in a blue moon or a day off work… but I’m not here to talk about that.
If readers and Alcott’s publishers wanted Jo and Laurie to marry, there was a reason for it and that reason was that she wrote them that way. Apparently Alcott meant for Jo to remain single but the publisher was against it, so okay, 3/4 through he story Alcott introduces some German professor or other who would become Jo’s match but why, why oh why oh why OH WHY pair Laurie with Amy? Amy, that frivolous little shit that burned Jo’s book? Gosh, I hate her. She should have died instead of the loving, kind Beth.
Some fans say that Laurie was too immature for Jo. But he could have grown up, done something with his life and then come back and try asking her again. Like, character development, you know.
I can somewhat accept Jo with her professor but I will never be able to accept Laurie with Amy. Ah, what the hell, in my mind he never stopped loving Jo.
Forever and Ever and Ever…
Of course, it’s got to be them. The One True Pairing–OTP.
Anne and Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables series.
Poor Gilbert, though. It took years of suffering and almost dying for her to finally realise he was the one for her. The romantic hero she had dreamed about since her childhood didn’t belong to her life the way Gil did… and turned out not to be very interesting after all. Gilbert may not have written poetry but he could make her laugh, he comforted her. He got her.
There was nobody else–there never could be anybody else for me but you. I’ve loved you ever since that day you broke your slate over my head in school.
~Anne of the Island
There was that time in Anne of the Island when Anne’s bosom friend Diana secretly entered Anne’s story into a competition for the best story featuring a baking powder Rollings. Diana simply took Anne’s story Averil’s Atonement, which failed to get published in magazines, added a line or two advertising the baking powder and sent it–and the story won the prize. Twenty-five dollars, which must have been a lot of money then. Anne felt very ashamed because she thought it meant, how we would say now, selling out. So when Gilbert came to congratulate her and she confided in him and told him she was afraid that her fellow students at Redmond will tease her for it, he had this to say:
The Reds will think just as I thought–that you, being like nine out of ten of us, not overburdened with worldly wealth, had taken this way of earning a honest penny to help yourself through the year. I don’t see that there’s anything low or unworthy about that, or anything ridiculous either. One would rather write masterpieces of literature no doubt–but meanwhile board and tuition fees have to be paid.
Contrast this with Jo March’s professor who got all superior over Jo’s silly stories. Jo wrote them to earn some money and thus help her family, the point that completely escaped the educated professor. (Maybe that’s why he’s penniless in his forties.) What’s interesting is, when Anne rejects Gilbert’s first proposal, her feelings are very similar to what Jo goes through when she says no to Laurie. At least one writer with initials LM knew how to satisfy her readers!
Boys Love Boys
Barca and Pietros from Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
I know Spartacus is not to everyone’s taste but I loved it. It has everything; profanity, violence, nudity, sex. It makes Game of Thrones look like a weak tea.
From what I’ve seen on Tumblr, another gay couple from Spartacus: War of the Damned, Agron and Nasir seems to be the more popular one but I prefer these two. I was rooting for them so much and they had such a tragic end.
I do what I must, Pietros. I’ll return soon.
Girls Love Girls
Look who I just remembered:
Xena and Gabrielle. Friends? Sure, they were friends. That’s how it started.
Quote by the Warrior Princess herself, Lucy Lawless:
Now it wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was “Nope, they’re married, man.”
You know what, I changed my mind. I think Xena and Gabrielle are my OTP after all.
In the aftermath of the EU referendum, many UK-based Europeans have been left with feelings of insecurity and anxiety about what the future might hold for them and their families.
This project offers a snapshot of their experiences, capturing their thoughts and emotions following this momentous and potentially life-changing political decision.
“On the day of the referendum, I [Simon] was working at a theatre workshop in London with people from all over the world. We were all devastated. Then out came the stories in the press about people telling European waiters to go home. It was disgraceful.
Some people say that the Leave vote was a vote of punishment against Cameron and the Tories, but I think the voters are only punishing themselves. I see no positives at all in this situation. Things seem to have calmed down but you can already see some repercussions.”
“I [Maria] experienced a lot of sadness and anxiety at the beginning. It [Brexit] made me question whether this was really the place for me in the long term. I felt left out at a time when I was working hard to fit in and adapt to British culture.
However, I have had a lot of support from some sectors of society, like work colleagues and my own students. This has made me feel a bit better. I am not sure where I will end up, I’m young and there’s a whole world out there to explore.”
“It was sad to see how most of the Leave campaign was focused on immigration, blaming people like us for some of the biggest problems of this country. After the referendum we experienced a mixture of emotions – fear, frustration, anger, a strong feeling of being unwanted. We felt it was very irresponsible of politicians to pit one section of the population against another for their own interests, not valuing foreign workers like us for the contribution we make to the development of this country. We are worried that this could greatly affect the peaceful coexistence between nationalities in this diverse and multicultural country. ”
“I believe in a world without borders and think this [Brexit] is a step backwards from that. I am not concerned about my situation as a EU National in the UK, perhaps because I have been here for longer than the London Eye and I am both practical and resourceful, or it could be that I am still a bit in denial, I wouldn’t know. As Murakami says in one of my favorite books, sometimes “You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring.”
Me: At least I’m not on my own. Even though I haven’t got a PhD, Master’s degree, nor do I run my own business.
This is my kind of weekly photo challenge! I love being on my own (have you read my description?) I even love the word “solitude“. Introverts get exhausted when they spend too much time among people and recharge once they’re alone. It’s the other way round with extroverts.
I chose the above photograph because it’s one of my most recent ones and I like crows. There are endless possibilities with this challenge: landscapes, sunsets/sunrises, any lone animals, one candle, a single cup of coffee, a book or e-reader.
I’m reminded of a quote of one of my favourite authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery, from the book Anne of Windy Poplars, which ispart of the Anne series (though I think the same one, or very similar, also appeared in one of the Emily of New Moon books):
I was alone but not lonely. I held a series of imaginary conversations with imaginary comrades and thought out so many epigrams that I was agreeably surprised at myself.
Anne was an orphan and it wasn’t until the age of eleven that she found a loving home. Her imagination that helped her survive the hard years of her early childhood.
The tree that marches to the beat of its own drum–see how it’s dancing without a care in the world?