Conwy Holiday with my Bestie

So I came back yesterday from the first trips to Wales that I have this year. This one was certainly one to remember to say the least.

My last time I went on holiday with my dad and step mum was when we went to New York a few years ago. My dad asked if I was up to do another holiday with him. I express concerns that I had as the travelling took a toll on me. He suggested that we could go to Conwy and do some paddle boarding in the area, to which I was very much up for as I really wanted to start and take my paddle board elsewhere. He even suggested that I could bring a friend. I didn’t really know who to ask at first but then I thought well maybe I’ll ask my bestie and see what she says. She said that she needed to come out of her comfort shell and said yes. The last time we went away together was when we were at school, so for us this was a massive treat, considering that my dad and step-mum were the ones that were paying for everything. There is a massive combination of excitement and anxiety when it comes to holidays, this is usually routine for me, and I’m sure it was the same for my bestie. The hardest thing was to figure out what to do. Nothing was booked, which worried me because I always like a plan. We knew we would be doing alot of paddle boarding which was the whole point of the holiday but then it’s what do to the rest of the time. They tasked us to figure out what we could do in the mornings then we would do the paddle boarding in the afternoon. I have been going to Wales quite alot these past few years and it was hard to think of things that we haven’t done.

We stayed over night at my dads house the day before and then traveled the next day. It only took us an hour to get there, me and bestie was squashed in the back with all the bags. I think if the journey had have been longer then we would have struggled. The house that we stayed was in Deganwy, just outside of Conwy and it was lovely. We got views of the beach and the hills which you think you were in a completely different place. That evening we took a stroll on the coastal road to get familiar with the area. It was very quiet, but then we are there during the week so it would be. The first day we went to Conwy castle. I do think that it is rather expensive when you only need a couple of hours there. That being said, we also walk among the wall which was quite hard work considering how underfit I am currently! I think it’s fair to say that we packed the paddle boarding in quite well. We first tried it at Penrhyn beach, I never been to get my board out out where I live before let alone a beach. The massive downside is the sand and distance from where we are parked to get set up. Lesson learnt, don’t set up in sand, that gets everywhere and if not careful, makes it impossible to attach the fins onto the board. Boarding on the sea was a good experience. I do think we came at the wrong time though as the water got shallower every few minutes and were constantly fighting around trying not to hit the rocks. I probably would try it again but would need to work out the timings better. The next morning we visited Llandudno to look around the shops. It was quite useful for me to be there as I’m having a holiday next month so I could have a vague idea what’s around. I also bought two tops whilst I was out. That afternoon and the next day we ended up paddle boarding at Parc Padarn and it was by far the most amazing experience I’ve had since I took up paddle boarding. It’s a massive lake that is surrounded by hills, just behind Snowdonia. It was a very popular place as there were alot of kids hanging out there, playing in the waters, aswell as people having lessons in rafting. Taking my board out there was probably the most peaceful I have felt in such a long time. I do notice a difference in my mood when I’m on my board, in this case to have wonderful sights does help extend this delightful mood further. So much so that my right foot ended up having a massive cramp whilst I was out there, never been so scared in my life. Thankfully my bestie was with me and attached my board to hers so she could pull me back to the launching platform. Plus I got to have another go the next day with my dad which was nice.

I would absolutely do this again. I would definitely love to go back to Parc Padarn and try and go further. Plus you can also swim there so I can bring my full body suit next time. I didn’t want to leave but I am back to quite soon so certainly have something else to look forward to. Hopefully I can get my board out onto the beach there then?

Just be you, Sarah x

What I’m like when under the weather?!

Last week and a little this week I had cold, to which I have not had in three years. One thing that has come out of the pandemic is the insight to how viruses work and depending on the illness, how fast it can spread. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a cold. In my lifetime I usually get a cold twice a year when seasons change. The last time I had a cold it was Christmas 2019, fair to say it was a sucky Christmas. Having this cold this time round has made think about how I usually deal with myself in an unwell state.

Two weeks ago,I spent the weekend with at my dad and step mum’s house, and on the last day I was there, my throat started to hurt. I’ve put it down to either two causes as to how this could have developed. First is that I was at Comic Con on the Saturday and it was pretty busy and you can be quite close to people. The second, I think the water in the area that they live doesn’t agree with me because every time I would stay there I would go there when growing up, I would come out in a rash triggering my eczema. This time was different as that didn’t happen as I now have some control with my skin. But I was drinking their water which is one of the reasons why I think I ended up with a sore throat. When I got home I think I managed to get my ibuprofen and throat sweets just in time before it would lead to an infection. Now I will admit that I am such a wimp and have clueless moments when I’m not feeling well. Just last week alone I forgot that I had to take two ibuprofen instead of one, that really annoyed me so much because I knew something wasn’t quite working. The throat sweets helps on the first day though as that was the pain mainly was, I stopped taking those once the pain was gone. At one point I was worried because the pain was close to my tonsils and having a a history of glandular fever, knowing how bad I was back then, I didn’t want to go back there. Thankfully it never got to get to that, considering that glandular fever comes from an entirely different source. It is quite scary trying to recover when you’re living on your own. Reminding yourself when you took your medication, trying different remedies besides what you get at the pharmacist, orange juice being the great tool for me personally. I mean I feel like I only drink orange juice when I’m ill. I felt quite bad because I was with my key worker when I was at my worst and we were supposed to do an all day shift. She asked if I wanted to stop for the day and we decided that she could leave earlier as I was just completely zonked after I did my food shop. I hadn’t slept well the night before which also something else that affects me when I’m unwell.

The colds that I get are usually routine. Always starts with a sore throat, then my nose gets bunged up, then on and off, a chesty cough would be the final stage and that whole course would last three-four days. This time round, this cold was really hanging on, it took longer then I thought to fully recover. I was out at this theatre watching The Play That Goes Wrong on Wednesday and I couldn’t stop coughing whilst I was laughing so hard. Proves how good the show was I guess. And of course at this point, the cold had gone into my chest, the sound that came from me was disgusting. I felt embarrassed but I don’t think many people noticed, I hope anyway. From a sensory point of view it’s all uncomfortable. Constantly blowing my nose would be exhausting but I hate having mucus in my nose or chest. I especially hate getting bunged up because I get panicked about not being able to breathe when my nasals are full of mucus. My nose does tend to get sore because I’m using tissues all day which is worse on the first day. Of course including the lack of sleep you are tired and you don’t feel like doing anything. Kinda hard to do when growing up, because unless I was seriously ill, I would have gone to school still. It would be rare for me getting unwell growing up, although I would be in this cycle of not wanting to miss school yet love missing school on a day that I would be ill. Of course now I’m lucky enough to have that opportunity just to stay home, in my PJs and rest for as long as I needed, no shame what so ever.

How do you handle being unwell?

Just be you, Sarah x

Why I gave up on my dream in theatre work?

I have had a very long pause in trying to figure out what is next in my life. It really pained me for not carrying on what was my dream. Drama and Performing Arts had always been my strength for as long as I could remember. School plays and local performances at clubs were always the times that I looked forward to the most. However, reality kicked in and I have never been able to find that confidence ever again. I don’t deny, that makes me sad. But in a way, this has been a wise decision.

Theatre is important to me, it’s important to many people. It’s a form of escapism just as much as it’s a form of learning. If I were honest, it’s pure escapism to help during my teens. I know growing up it was the biggest compliment, probably the only compliment that people would give to me. Kinda says alot really. Generally, most of society says that theatre is just a silly job for silly people, that in my eyes is not the case. It’s part of people’s lively hoods just as much as it’s a hobby. But sometimes it can be a cruel industry. I was furious when the news came out about the cast and crew of AL-W’s Cinderella had to find out through social media that they lost their jobs as production shut down overnight without warning. The negligence is what gets me wound up, especially when a brand now cast was getting ready for the next season. I really felt for all involved, they didn’t deserve that. Anyway, theatre is a constant and always will be. In my early twenties I naively was pretty certain what my life was going to be like and honestly thought once I had enough experience, then maybe I would be ok. By the end of this, this wasn’t meant to be.

I got lucky with the experiences that I had over the years, taking two years learning to tech at Everyman Playhouse, and stage management at Hope Street being the highlights and I definitely gained so much from those experiences. They did make me feel ambitious, creative and most importantly, it made be feel fulfilled. Yet I hadn’t quite anticipated what is to be expected and how much could have been expected from me aswell as what this would mean for my living situation and my life as a whole. I have become less and less confident in speaking with the general public in a social setting, which is massively important in theatre work, and I think within the last big job I did that was my weakest area. Phone calls are part of the job and I hate making phone calls. Communication I think was the downfall on my end. I don’t like to be that person that has to reach out or ask for help, and I don’t have the connections anymore. The classic lesson in this, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and I’m not good in keeping those contacts. It’s also important that I have a constant guidance in everything that I do, and that can’t happen in those environments. I get it, it’s a stressful world and not everyone has the time to do that. There are better people that are trained to do this and deserve those jobs more then I do. I sometimes think if I had started this earlier then maybe it might be different. With all those things that I had to consider, I got overwhelmed with the whys and the wherefores and decided that this was no longer for me. I was worried about what people thought about that and how disappointed they might be, I still do. But most people in my life have been very supportive, or don’t really care that much. What does make me happy is seeing through social media the people that I associated with have carried on with their dreams and seeing how successful they are. Makes me hopeful for the next generation of theatre-goers.

It’s fair to say that since I’ve made that decision, it made me feel really low. The one thing I felt I was good at, I had lost a passion for. The sadness really creeped in so much, I hate to say it but I think I was feeling really sorry for myself and got stuck. So I gave myself a year’s break, then the pandemic hit to which that added two years. Now that things are on the way back…slowly, I’m going to start volunteering at a food pantry next week. Had a couple of meetings this week to find out how they work and what was available. As much as I am nervous, I haven’t felt this excited in a long time. Of course the better circumstances should be that food pantries and banks should not exist, but with how things are with this country with millions having to choose to have heating or to eat, they are needed for the time being. This has something I have thought about for a while but didn’t have the confidence to do it then. It’s still all new and definitely have alot to learn with this new journey, but it’s one I’m feeling good about this one.

Just be you, Sarah x

Clothes & Me

You may have heard of this one, but clothes are something that many in the Autism community have struggle with. Comfort is so vital, and even the simplest of things can cause a problem. I would definitely say that I am a good example of this.

All that I can ever recall growing up was that my wardrobe was pretty basic. It’s pretty much been like that ever since I can really remember. I know big labels were never that important in our household, mainly because they are always expensive. It’s amazing how I see kids with so many designers now, makes appreciate what we had, because at least what we had was clothes. Nowadays I tend to dress what I consider to be fluid. Probably more masc them femme. I always go to the same shops. It used to be Primark but I go there less now because everyone else does and I hate going in their stores when it’s so busy. My go to now are New Look and M&S, a balance of young and mature, plus feeling wise I personally like how they look with my curves. My preference is to be fully clothed wherever possible. I do find it hard sometimes to be in my own skin, so to be fully clothed helps me distract those thoughts of self doubt. Summer time is usually hard because it’s too hot to be fully clothed, so when I have to be in shorts and t-shirts I get really paranoid. I know no one’s really looking, although being a bigger girl can have it’s judgments. In my teens I did experiment quite bit with clothes. Whether that was my goth phase or my grunge phase. I loved those clothes, if I had the money I probably would have gotten more. I do tend to get frustrated when I judged for what I would wear, simply being a girl. I hate wearing dresses, I do have a few but they have to be far from femme. Even when I would try something new for me, there’s always the ‘who are you trying to impress’ comment. Why do people always have to make it about themselves. I’m glad that it’s fashionable nowadays to wear over-sized clothing, it’s a dream for me. All I wear is jumpers or checked shirts, they are my biggest comfort clothing.

Yes, that’s right, I have been that child that used to hate labels. Particularly the ones that had your name and they would have been stitched on your school jumpers or cardigans, and would usually be places on the back of your neck. I have never been able to understand why those tiny labels would scratch so much. I can appreciate that school uniforms are very expensive so you want to make sure that you don’t want to lose it so easily, which can happen. I think we stopped stitching them on once I got into a new school because it just didn’t feel nice at all. Another thing that I did struggle with growing up was when I had to get new shoes and they would have to check my foot size. I would cry massively, I’m pretty sure it was more of a boundary thing. I don’t like being touched by people that I don’t know at the best of times, so for someone to grab my foot place it on one of those foot placements was a nightmare. I do feel bad because I’m sure my mum had plenty of stares. Not alot of tolerance at all. Sometimes when I just so happen to be in my local Clarks, and see a child having to do the same thing, it gives me chills. Here’s another one for you, bras…what can I say. I have always been self conscious of my bust and finding the right bras have always been difficult. Underwire are a killer, plus the stitching on the sides of them use to itch so much. I made the decision last year not to buy underwire anymore. They always break on me and have never made me feel comfortable so I didn’t see the point. So I just buy sports bras now, they have so much more easier to deal with, no messing about.

I try not to buy as many clothes now as I know from a environmental point of view it’s not really ideal. If there’s a deal on then I would but I usually tend to buy and wear similar things anyway. I’ve stopped buying jeans because I have too many. Trying to donate clothes can be difficult for me too, I don’t know what it is but it’s a process. It’s like I know I don’t wear them as much yet I can’t part with them. It’s the same with my shoes too, I have a collection of them that I don’t seem to have the heart to get rid of. I do like clothes, I like looking at them. Seeing myself in them though is a harder task. Having said that, I would rather spend every day in my PJs if were social acceptable. What’s your favourite type of clothing?

Just be you, Sarah x

How I can write, yet cannot talk?!

What I mean is why am I able to write about what is going on in my head but when having actual conversations, there are so many things I want to say but can’t verbalise in the moment? That being said, I seem to put myself in the foot very occasionally.

So for quite a while, I have been trying to reconnect with relatives on my mum’s side. I have a hard time with relatives, mainly because I think they don’t know how to be around me without sounding patronising. I also have a hard time talking about myself to them because my life is generally a quiet one and I sometimes feel like they judge me or get ‘concerned’. One of my relatives has been trying, the problem I have with them is that I find their outlook on life very negative and I also find them out of touch with certain subjects. I get it, they’re previous line of work was in a job where there’s alot of misery and certainly not alot of optimism. It carries through when out of that environment and it is off putting to me. They made comment at one point towards me saying ‘you don’t come across as Autistic’. Now I rarely get this kind of comment but when I do I internally feel frustrated. Bearing in mind that I myself have been relearning what the narrative should be when it comes to discussions about Autism, to actually hear that from someone that you’re sharing a space with, it really hit me. I was brave enough to reply by saying ‘that kind of comment can be quite offensive’. My mum trying to get rid of the awkwardness giggles and says ‘I tell ya want, she doesn’t mess about’ My relative I think then got into a panic and replied ‘oh I’m so sorry, I meant nothing by it, I was trying to compliment you because you seem so normal’ my response: ‘and that’s part of the problem’. The subject was changed there and there. I don’t think they was too upset as they encouraged that they would like to see more of me. I haven’t quite decided yet, as much I want to see that they meant nothing by that comment, which I imagine they don’t, it didn’t sit well with me and I’m usually quite bitter about these things. I’m not usually so vocal about these things in social situations. It’s always been something that had to be under wrapped unless where I was in a scenario where I would have to explain myself. But I’m also that gets paranoid if I defend myself and that upsets someone which I would never like to do.

I would say that when given an a opportunity, I can be blunt. Some people quite like that about me but I know in the past, especially during my teens, that caused problems and possibly trauma with others, I always regret with all those times that I was so brutal. Nowadays I try not to come across as rude as that’s what seems to be a trending topic when Autistic people are blunt. Well, I’m not a good at white lies because people can see right through me and don’t have those kind of tools to do that. I wouldn’t want those tools anyway because I think that would make me stressed. One thing that I know many will feel was that at some point, you’re not believed. No matter how big or small the issue is, you are at some point will be told either not say anything or told to shut up. That happened when I was ten, being punched in the stomach by a boy, only to be told by a teacher to ‘man up and get over yourself’. That broke me, the worse part of it was, I’ve dealt with worse things and felt I couldn’t talk about those other things as I felt I wasn’t important. Usually when I feel things I have a habit of repressing them as I try to work out if what I’m feeling is legit or if it’s all in my head. I know now what happens when you repress those things for so long because it was what made me ill in my mid twenties. Even when I was a child I wasn’t able to express what was going on with me, and if I wanted to, it was encouraged to think about the other party and how they might be feeling. As an adult now, it’s still rather difficult to process what I want, what I need and to work out how to put that into action. With all that being said, there’s so many things that I would like to tell but cannot always find the words to express that.

Having this blog had been a tool for me to express what’s going on in my world and my world. It’s always been a thing for me where I find it easier to write then to be verbal. Even though I was considered socialable at one point, but that’s generally me masking who I really am. Survival mode if you will. I’ve learnt that I can often create a narrative that may not be true for every Autistic person. That’s something I’ve have to keep reminding myself over. I admit I have found myself in a rut with these blogs. I’m still learning what it means to be in the Autistic community and I haven’t always got it right. So trying to write something for everyone has been a task I haven’t been able to fulfil lately. My story hasn’t been everyone else’s and I absolutely appreciate that. What helps is learning others journeys, some I have shared with and others that I haven’t. It does make you understand that it’s not so straightforward as many would like to tell us, or what many want to tell us. What’s really ironic about these blogs is that generally I struggle with the reading and my handwriting is shocking. This platform helps me so much, I know not alot of people read it and that’s ok.

I hope you all have a nice weekend this Easter. I personally don’t celebrate, but certainly find it an excuse to spend time with mum and have a nice roast dinner.

Just be you, Sarah x

Getting to know my Stimming Traits

It’s Autism Awareness and Acceptance week with yesterday being the official day for such. I was slightly zonked to really celebrate it as I was out all day yesterday with some friends watching the new Sonic film. I often find this one week of the year to be abit challenging. It’s a heavy reminder that whilst there are many highs, there are just as many lows. One thing I have started to learn and perhaps in my own world to embrace more of the subject around stimming and work out which of these traits work with me.

I’ve talked about stimming before a few years back and I personally have always had a very complicated relationship with it. Stimming is repetitive movements and/or sounds that is associated with autistic people, a way to express emotions and manage situations that may feel overwhelming. It’s only become a word in recent years, there certainly wasn’t a word for it when I was a kid other than being ‘oh it’s a autistic thing’. Yet even in environments that are supposed to cater for such things, I feel that wasn’t something that wasn’t encouraged, unless you were someone that in what we were told that those individuals ‘couldn’t help it’. To go as far as to say those that anyone that staff at our school placed as ‘more able’ would be discouraged to display such stims. I often wonder how many people have beaten themselves up over something that feels natural to them. I know in my head, there was a panic of displaying too much of myself, maybe as a potential target. Many people might see these repetitive movements or speech as a sort of threat. Unpredictable, especially if you don’t know what it is. Then there’s that thing where it is seen as anti social behaviour and may sometimes think that is would cause harm towards others. In my head, I was so desperate to be normal that I would try and not present myself in that expressive way. I hate that I used to think that but I did. I would say that I still have this survival mode that I place myself in whenever I go anywhere. I’ve noticed recently that random people will talk to me and I often get scared to talk back. I think my social skills seem to be getting worse lately, like I have to write a script now if I have to make phone calls. What I would have wished growing up, was that there would have been alot more conversations about stimming, and also to have been given spaces more freely without to beat ourselves up over.

Since I’ve had alot more time to myself whilst trying to figure out what’s next for me, I’ve been trying to work out some mechanisms to work out what my sensory traits and stimming traits are. Including if there were any that I had. I know when I was a kid and teens, when I got overwhelmed with something, I would have to find somewhere safe just to calm down and have some quiet. But then you’re in the real world and the accessibility to find that is rather slim. I’ve gotten better at using the breathing technique as an adult but that was a struggle for many years as my head tends to go all over the place with negative thoughts. I know I feel safe when I’m either at my place or my mum’s to recuperate myself. One thing I do and actually have always have done was I would flap my fingers between one another which I did to display that I was anxious. People didn’t like that I did that, so I tried to stop doing it. I kinda have been doing it again as my anxiety has been all over the place lately. I have recently bought myself a small colour light projector to put on a night. At school they had a light room and that was always a room that I always liked, but it was always occupied, usually with kids that have gone through a meltdown, so you never had a chance to spend some time in there. What did like was how the lights help set the room in a calm way, so I thought I’d try and create the same element in my own home. Not quite as the same as I would have liked but it has helped when chilling in the evening. I also have a box of stimming toys, or similar to stimming toys that I have collected over the years for all the just in case scenarios. Stress balls, magnets and fidget things, you get the jist. I admit that I hardly use it, but I know that it’s there. I also think because alot of these toys were popular not just with us autistic kids, they were also popular with the neurotypical kids. They were considered a distraction within a school environment when they are absolutely vital for neurodivergent kids to help them concentrate and keep them engaged.

I think it’s because of the mindset that I had of wanting to be normal, I wasn’t acknowledging my fellow classmates, students and maybe my own friends and their traits, needs and their own stims. That is certainly my biggest regret that I have. I denied myself of working out my own stims that I probably didn’t respect others that did. Having said all that, whenever I see my fellow autistic friends, seeing their little stims, I wholeheartedly embrace it. On my final note, I will give my friendly reminder as I always do. Autism doesn’t last a week, not even a month, it lasts everyday and forever. Keep embracing the things that make you, you, even your own stims.

Just be you, Sarah x

My Cake Baking Course Diary (Week 7-9)

We’re at the final leg of the course and whilst I did learn some things, part of me is glad it’s over. No more cake for me for a while.

I’ll be honest, these last few recipes that we were dealing with I was not looking forward to. Two of which I have never had before and the third being the most adventurous out of the three. One thing I had noticed this time round was how exhausted I would be the day after. I think I get so tense during the sessions by the time I’m done, like I am so done. I wonder if that’s why I can’t get enthusiastic about having cake afterwards. Like I can’t get excited about eating it. The first cake was Lemon Drizzle. I generally like lemon, I try to have lemon water and green tea every night, though I have been failing recently. I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to be on a cake. The biggest lesson that was learnt that night is that you don’t have to use all the lemons. Yes they were five small ones but it would seem that not all of them was needed. I bought a zest peeler which I never thought I would ever buy. Having said that I am a little obsessed with tools for the kitchen so maybe it will come in handy on occasion. That was the most tricky part, trying to hold onto the lemon whilst using this tool to peel. I was taking so long that I know it bugged my mum because she took over at one point just so we would catch up with the rest of the class. The sponges came out ok, almost like yellow. One layer had buttercream on it to which we used one half of lemon juice to mix with. The second layer had lemon curd in it, and the top had icing with the rest of the lemon juice. Yeah, in my opinion, probably too much lemon. With the strong taste it didn’t quite balance it all out. Other then that it was good. I think if I were to make this next time I wouldn’t put it in the buttercream.

Next was Coconut and Pineapple cake. This was the one I was not looking forward to. I wouldn’t have minded if was just coconut but it was the pineapple I didn’t care for. What surprised me more then anything was that this was a highly suggested cake previously. The main mistake we made was that we took the sponges out of the oven early. Throughout this whole course we had been using an oven that cooked faster then others. The sponges were still raw in the middle, only slightly. What was also annoying was how delicate the sponges were when they came out. Some of them broke when trying to I didn’t end up eating any of it, it started to mold after five days. Mainly on the pineapple parts that was on the top but it put us both off, neither of us actually got to try it. But then my mum said ‘well if you weren’t interested in trying it beforehand then you’re not gonna be interested now’. I would agree with that statement. The last cake we made was Rainbow cake. The one thing I wanted to do is not to have too much food colouring. The cake itself was going to be loaded with sugar, and I always seem to think food colouring is to be a curse with me. The teacher said that I could go with a pastel look with my cakes to which I did prefer. Although mum started getting jealous because people were using bold colours, I think she would have preferred that. This was also the first time that we did six layers instead of three which was a challenge. We spent quite abit of time trying to peel off the brown so that the colours would show and that turned out ok. Between each layer was a thin coating of buttercream and some raspberry jam and I added some crispy M&Ms on the top. It was so big it hardly fit in the holder, I had to squish It proved to be a hit with mum’s friends which was nice.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I first started that course. I was asked if I wanted to do the cake decorating course after this. I’m still not quite sure if I still want to do that. My patience is very limited and this course proved that to me that maybe doing that next course is not the best idea for me. If there were anything I would have changed is that I would have rather done it during the day, and I would have liked more time. There was alot of pressure to get things done in a certain amount of time during each session which is why I couldn’t enjoy it as much. I would certainly like to make some of the cakes again to see what it would be like making them in my own home. But I certainly need a break from cakes in general before I do that.

Just be you, Sarah x

Why I like Batman movies?!

With The Batman being released this weekend, I was excited but also nervous of this version of the caped crusader. Having watched it now, it got me thinking about all the other films and why I like Batman so much.

Typically, I am not a comic reader. I know, shocker! So I usually find it easier to watch films, even though there is always that risk when a film doesn’t represent the books. No matter how you feel about superhero films, I personally think with Batman, well since Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, they play with alot more realism then say the MCU does…given that it’s done right or course. It’s fair to say that DC Hollywood has had so many highs and lows to their name. I certainly have a few highlights, Wonder Woman, Shazam and Zack Snyder’s Justice League being my personal favourites. I think why I like the franchise so much is because I can see so many elements from that world to the real world. That being said, with how the real world is right now, there probably isn’t much of a difference, which scares me a little. The characters are larger than life personalities, especially the villains. I reckon most people will say that they get more excited about seeing how the villains are going to be portrayed. That got me thinking, why do we get excited by the villains more then the heroes. With the MCU I feel the opposite, I get more excited about the heroes then I do the villains. I guess the difference is how they’re marketed. With the villains of Batman, as much as you have to remind yourself they these people have done terrible things, you know it has stemmed from something that has happened to them before they became their villain identities. Joker (2019) does this well where we see how he becomes the Joker. The thing is, you don’t want to empathize with him, but seeing him struggle with the mental health system really took a toll on many of us which is why I think we generally feel for him. That being said, I haven’t felt the same about the hero of these stories which is Bruce Wayne.

Most of the Batman media have been so different. I have a soft spot for the Tim Burton films, was more invested in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, didn’t really care for Zack Snyder’s version of Bruce Wayne in the Justice League as we didn’t get to know him much. I was very intrigued by Matt Reeves tale is going to be and now having seen The Batman, I want to see more. I am a fan of The Animated Series from the nighties when kids shows were dark, and that is certainly dark. I’m also a fan of the Arkham games, not all of them but certainly the first two. I like seeing Batman playing detective mode then him fighting. It’s kind of funny how he’s doing detective work when he has no previous experience, sounds abit too familiar with what goes on in the real world. I have also been watching some DC Animated Batman films to get some variety as I don’t read any comics or do much research. I do find with the animated films, they can do alot more in terms of fight scenes and it also gives other villains a chance that we don’t get to see in Hollywood. Also because we all know the story of Bruce Wayne, we don’t need to always go back to how it all started and focus on stories that most of us have never seen before. It’s also to look at our heroes at all angles, because they too are also corrupted by their own traumas too. I know that’s hard to imagine with a character like Bruce Wayne because he is a billionaire, something that nowadays people generally don’t like. I often think that’s why I don’t connect with the character, yet I generally like the films.

With this latest edition, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was worried at first that I was not going to like it, but this time it felt different. I won’t spoil it too much but for me, this is the first time that I have seen more of Bruce Wayne and the torment he suffers since his parents was killed and how he at one point didn’t want to be destined to be Batman. You rarely get to see that, mainly with the Hollywood films. As much as I am a Michael Keaton girl, I cannot deny that Robert Pattinson’s portrayal as of Bruce was perfect for those early years of what Batman starts to become. I won’t deny it, I was a Twilight girl and was obsessed with Pattinson during that period of time, kinda explains all the things that are often wrong me with me. Besides that, this is the first time since Keaton I have invested in a Bruce Wayne character. I mean, as much I also loved Christian Bale, his Batman voice is too distracting to take him seriously. The overall casting for The Batman was perfect actually. Paul Dano’s portrayal of The Riddler I was so surprised and impressed with, though I would have liked to have seen more of him. It’s certainly so different to Jim Carrey’s portrayal back in Batman Forever. Maybe we’ll see more of Dano if we get a sequal. Colin Farrell’s Penguin was amazing, he looked so unrecognizable and he was pretty funny in places. It’s kind of weird because the film has come out at a time in human history that I never thought I would see. It is scary how too similar our real world is to the superhero world, I dare anyone to fight me on that.

Which Batman film is your favourite?

Just be you, Sarah x

My Cake Baking Course Diary (Week 4-6)

We’re on the second part of the course. This part was certainly the most adventurous so far. With the disaster that was the rich chocolate fudge cake that we did, I was feeling a little unenthusiastic.

We couldn’t quite figure out what it was that made the icing a struggle to deal with. Before we came back me and mum decided to share the baking duties so that we didn’t have to make two cakes. Being a small family we could hardly spread around to those closest to us. I tried sharing my Victoria sponge with my neighbors but no one would take it. My poor freezer has been filled with cake, and the worst part is that I don’t often feel like having cake every evening. What’s worse now is that mum is now on a keto diet and can’t have anything that has sugar. The first week back we made coffee cake. Traditionally, walnuts are put into this making as it would have been coffee and walnut cake but I didn’t want walnuts in this so we took it out of our recipe. One thing that I seem to struggle with is the measurements of cake mixture that goes into the baking tins. In this part of the course, all of the cake have been three layers and each one have been different sizes. More to the point there’s always one that cooks quicker and often starts to turn to charcoal on the sides. This frustrates me so much as I don’t like the taste of burnt cake, from a sensory point of view it feels like it scratches my neck when swallowing. This cake felt crispy by touch when it came out the oven so I was really worried. Then to think it couldn’t get worse, we ran into the same problem with the icing. It was left for a while as we usually have to write up the recipe and ingredients to see what we learnt. When we checked the icing, it became stiff and was hardly spreadable. Because of the rules of Covid, the windows have to stay open. During the last two weeks it had been very cold and windy, we think it was the cold air that has made both icing recipes if not mixable then certainly stiff. Not that they weren’t edible because they were, it doesn’t look nice or doesn’t help when it looks like you did something wrong.

Next was Light chocolate cake with white chocolate icing. See I love white chocolate, but I don’t usually like on cake. We all know it’s more sweeter as it’s not really chocolate. I didn’t enjoy making this one. I was in a bad mood anyway and this one riled me up with the technical decoration got me really annoyed. With the icing we had to use the piping mechanism and I couldn’t get it right. There was some conversation about doing the cake decoration course when this was over but I think I don’t I would be suited for that. My patience is so little that I don’t think doing a two hour course a week working with delicate ingredients would be the best thing for me to do. That’s another thing I do have a slight problem with. This class itself is only two and a half each week, I would rather be a slow worker rather then work to a time limit. I think that’s why I can’t watch Bake Off, it looks too intense. The cake did seem to be a hit with some of my friends parents as mum decided to share some pieces with them. I thought it was ok, I don’t think I was a fan of the sponge.

The final week was Red Velvet cake, this was the first time that not only I’ve ever made one but also the first time I have tried one. So I was feeling rather excited but also quite nervous as this had the most ingredients out of all the cakes so far. I almost messed when I accidentally sprinkled flour into the egg whites, we had to put in another egg white just in case as mum attempted I was more worried about the taste of the mascarpone and the cream cheese. As previously, with the carrot cake in the first course, I could still smell the cream cheese on that one and I should have added more vanilla. Somehow we seemed to have the right amount of icing sugar to balance the taste out so I was quite please with it. Again, one of the layers had burnt quite more then the others so I decided to keep it a two layer cake instead of three. Besides we didn’t have enough icing to cover three layers. I was worried at one point because the icing hadn’t quite settled in the fridge so I had to hold the cake carefully when we were travelling back home. To my surprise, this has been the best cake I have made so far. I honestly thought it was going to be too much sugar considering that this was more of an american cake. But I think the icing helped balance all that out. Plus the flour we used was 00 flour which you can tell because the taste of the sponge was perfect. I would definitely want to make this one again, and I should try it in other places to see any differences.

The final part of the course is going to be interesting. Most of the cakes were going to be making I never had before and they’re going to be a challenge from a sensory perspective. We’re making, lemon drizzle cake, coconut and pineapple cake, and rainbow cake. Let’s see how this one goes!

Just be you, Sarah x

31…and I’m officially old!

After my 30th being in lockdown, yeah thanks Tory government(!), here’s me hoping that I would make the most of it. I certainly had an eventful week compared to last year, yet I am already hating the age that I’m at now.

I don’t know why I find aging scary, I thought I was bad panicking about turning thirty. Perhaps because I wasn’t able to celebrate as many wasn’t able to last year. It doesn’t feel that long ago that I did turn thirty, to add one to that three didn’t feel right. It’s also abit of a hard reminder that my birthday is February which seems to be the worst time. The weather certainly doesn’t help with that, I don’t think I’ve ever known my birthday to have a pleasant weather day. I’m almost tempted not to do anything next year but I think would see that as bitter. If I am honest, I have been feeling really low over the past few months at least. I didn’t really know how to verbalize it up until now. Does the seasonal depression play part in it, I admit that it absolutely does. Motivation had gone, I had let myself go physically and I got stuck, wasn’t sure how to get out of that mindset. What I think many will recognize is that when we’ve had spent so much time indoors for so long, to find motivation proves to be harder. As much as I wanted things to get back to ‘normal’, and I use this loosely because I don’t think normal will happen again anytime soon, I have been paranoid about my environments. Yet as the country was getting less restrictive, for some reason this was the time when I became less motivated. Sure I’ve gone through these feelings before, it felt worse then what I have been, although in hindsight as always I had been overthinking too much. It’s ridiculous because I have everything that I need and that I should and am grateful for. With this week at first I was not looking forward to it initially. I think it’s more of the realization that I am an adult, a grown woman and will continue to get older. That’s what I hate. In hindsight, I realised that I was being too hard on myself and that once I was finished with the negative mindset I was in then I will sort myself out.

My birthday week was actually quite pleasant. My mum gave me birthday money which I used to get myself some Blu Rays and a brand new kettle and toaster. Yep, another example why I feel old. My dad teased me about it, it’s like I’m not allowed to enjoy buying kitchen appliances. Started off the week with my key worker treating me to coffee. We had a giggle as were walking round town when she suggested it, she asked what time it was, I said close to eleven, her reply was ‘oh, just in time for your eleven o’clock coffee. She knows my routine so well, a prime example of how our country needs to treat our key workers so much better. We also managed to take some DVDs to a charity shop which has been my main job that I have finally gotten round to whilst sorting out my office. On the birthday itself, I went to yoga, pick up some stuff in town, looked around a weekly market and had tea out with mum. The Friday I met up with my dad and step mum in Liverpool. They treated me to Nandos and bought me some presents, more blu rays, a jigsaw of phenomenal women and some PJs at M&S. At the weekend I met up with my friends and we had lunch at the revamped market in town. It’s certainly the biggest improvement in town that I have seen in years. I was worried at first because I wasn’t sure if my friends were going to like it but it actually went down pretty well. I had a pizza and treated myself to a Kinder Hippo Cheesecake, as much as it were rich it was still delicious. Finally mum and I went to watch Death on the Nile at the cinema and then we had roast at a pub nearby. The film was ok, the camera work and the costumes were the best part for me. Without spoiling it too much, I kinda saw what was coming, even though I am an absolute novice to Agatha Christie.

It’s fair to say I’ve had a good week for me. It’s been a while since I’ve felt good within myself and in general really. I want this to continue now, I have to continue to have more of a positive mindset. I definitely need to start getting back into shape considering the amount of times I have eaten out this week! I think I also need to stop focusing on the age too much as it doesn’t make that much of a difference in how I feel generally. So here we go until next year.

Just be you, Sarah x