Friday, 29 July 2011

Chocolate Banana Bread

I made this without the nuts or white chocolate, simply because I didn't have them in the house, but it worked well.

Chocolate banana cake


Chocolate banana cake
Adding chocolate to a classic banana bread recipe will make it a firm family favourite.


Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  3. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, stir in the eggs and melted butter.
  4. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chocolate and nuts and spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the cake is risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the tin. Serve in slices.

Beer, Devon 16-23/07/2011

Instead of the near-compulsory family holiday in Greece this year, my parents decided to opt for an English Holiday. A risky choice considering the weather in this country! Although it rained most days the weather could have been a lot worse! I, personally, have no problem with being stick inside with a good book, cup of tea, listening to the rain outside. Although my 'itchy feet' mum couldn't really stand sitting down too long..

Day 1:
As all good holidays, it began with a Skinny Latte and fruit toast at Starbucks in Waterloo station.  

After a fairly uneventful train ride (other than seeing a steam train leaving Waterloo!) and a long wait for a taxi, we arrived in a very wet Beer! First thing- Head for the pub! We had a huge, and delicious lunch at the Barrel O'Beer Pub (

We collected the keys for a home for a week, West View Cottage (

A lazy afternoon was followed by an interesting, and eclectic Jazz concert in St Michael's Church by Exeter Chamber Choir. 

Back to the Barrel O'Beer afterwards for a pint of the very drinkable Devon Glory bitter followed by a bottle of red and pasta pesto back at the house. (

Cyclops says it looks like thisChestnut amber
Cyclops says it smells like thisMalty, nutty, woody
Cyclops says it tastes like thisDry, sweet, fruity
How bitter is Devon Glory
How sweet is Devon Glory

Day 2:

Ventured to Branscombe for a delicious cream tea at the Old Bakery. Once completely full we looked into the Forge ( and Mill (with original water turbine) on our walk back. About a 10km round trip.
File:Branscombe, Manor Mill - - 36964.jpg
Manor Mill
The Old Bakery (NT) Branscombe
The Old Bakery
Spent the rest of the day finishing a jugsaw puzzle and completeing Professor Layton and the Elaysion Box.  Went to the Spice Merchant curry house in Beer. Excellent curry (even made without tomatoes for my mum!).

Day 3:

Got an earlyish bus to Lyme Regis this morning. Mum and Dad had wanted to come to Lyme so that they could walk along the Cobb, as mentioned in the French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles ('s_Woman Popped into the Lyme Regis Museum shop but no one seemed particularly interested in seeing the museum itself. After a cup of tea and dad loosing, and finding, his wallet we looked around the shops. Stumbled across a delightful cupcake shop. We walked along the riverside and stumbled on yet another art exhibition. 
The meat eaters among us popped into the Whole Hog ( for roast pork sandwiches which, apparently, are on an equal footing with the Sheffield variety! Across the road was an amazing rabbit warren of a book shop called The Sanctuary, and to Beth it really was a Sanctuary full of old editions of her favourite books.

 Shop in March 2010

We finished the day with freshly caught Lemon Sole, fresh bread and wine- Dad was in Heaven!

Day 4:
Beth's last day today so I stayed in the cottage with her whilst my parents and brother ventured to Sidmouth. Popped out for some fresh bread and pasties for lunch but spent the rest of the day indoors relaxing. I read more of my book, Shantaram (, which I can't help but be totally ingrossed in! I can't wait for the film to come out! Took a break from reading to watch Rita, Sue and Bob Too! ( which was suprisingly slow with the odd raunchy scene- glad I didn't watch it with my parents though!
In the afternoon Beth and I wandered down to the beach as the weather took a turn for the better.

Had dinner at the Barrel O'Beer- the food was good but not great. The chips were still good but not as delicious as I had remembered them to be, which was a shame.

Day 5: 
Saw Beth off at the bus stop with the compulsory cheap sausage rolls for the journey. More reading this morning before getting pasties from the local Deli, Woozie's Deli. Woozie's wouldn't feel out of place in the back streets of Hampstead but seems too ponsey for the small streets of Beer, especially considering it is the only place to buy some everyday essentials in the village. Huge selection of amazing jams and chutney's though- The spicy butternut squash chutney looked fabulous! As for the pasties, their Spinach & Ricotta was very nice but the Tomato, Cheese & Basil wasn't as good as those from the Cornish Pasty Co chain. 

After lunch, and in a break in the rain, we caught the bus to Seaton. Seaton is essentially Eastbourne without the young people! Every thing was either a charity shop or a care home. We walked along the beach to the mouth of the river Axe, and then back over the hill to Beer, totalling about 6km. The footpath was easily marked out but they had concreted all the paths. Which is fine on the up and flat parts but going downwards my walking shoes may well have been rollerblades- I ended up walking in my socks for grip. Mum's phobia of going down steep stairs didn't help!

Had Fish'n'chips from the local chippy with a large variety of freshly caught fish. But here comes the rant: I can't seem to find a good chippy in the whole of the south! I remember not being particularly excited my fish and chips when I lived in London or Brighton but couldn't really put my finger on why. My dad says its the fat they use in the North but I think its more than that- In my local chippy in Sheffield it only takes a couple of minutes to cook the fish but it takes 20minutes at my parent's local. They are obviously cooking them at too low a temperature for too long and therefore dry out- simples!

Day 6:
Dad, Alex and I spent the morning line fishing off the Devon coast. We firstly caught mackerel for bait and then travelled further out for some deep sea fishing. I managed to catch 9 Pouting fish and a dog fish:

We had grilled mackerel for lunch and a fish chowder for dinner- not sure dog fish is top of my fish-list, tastes like eel!

In the afternoon I walked up to an archaeological dig with my parents. At the site they had unearthed some Romano-British pottery and flint.

Day 7:
Walked to Barnscombe again. At the Old Bakery I had a cheese sandwich with Devon Devil chutney which was delicious- the chutney was like a homemade sweet chilli sauce. With homemade ginger beer. Nom. Overall, an excellent little pitstop! The rain prevented us from walking back so we took a rollercoaster type bus ride over the hills and through the villages.

Day 8:
There was a greasy spoon cafe on the beach (!) can you image anything better? Called Ducky's (, which sounds like it should be in Yorkshire not Devon but it was the perfect place to soak up the newly arriving sunshine before we caught the train home.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Delicious Curry

This is a delicious curry base to have with any vegetable- I have made it with all the left overs just as I would a ratatouille. Presumably it would work with most poultry, meat and fish?


Sweet potato curry




Preparation method

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and fry until softened.
  2. Add the chilli, cumin seeds, curry powder and turmeric powder and fry for a further minute to release the aromas.
  3. Add the tomato purée and vegetable stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the sweet potato and broccoli and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked through. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. To serve, pour into a warm bowl, sprinkle with the fresh coriander and spoon the yoghurt into the middle.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

An Evening of Comic Song

Friday 25th March 19:30

Another fabulous SingSoc social, this time to see Pete Taylor, Jon Openshaw and Robert Webb in an Evening of Comic Song at the Lantern Theatre. I had a good idea of which songs they would sing tonight and essentially I was right. The songs were from various productions such as Avenue Q, Victoria Wood, Monty Python etc. What I wasn't expecting was the way the songs were arranged into a story of their lives (loosely based on truth). It was particularly funny when one of the trio made a mistake/ forgot a line. The natural friendships they have was obvious and relaxed therefore making each blunder funny and almost essential. The general theme was smutt, which was not to the taste of some of the audience. A couple of which did not stay until the end- all I can say is that they were warned! An excellent night..more from this trio me thinks!

26th March 2011: The March for the Alternative!

After catching an early train home to london, I spent the whole of yesterday at the massive protest in London. With too many friends in different organisations I decided to march with my parents. Dad manning the 'one million climate jobs' ( stall and mum aiding me in my search for my brother and his girlfriend. Eventually we found them after watching miles of protesters go by from all over the country and from every backwater little village! it was clear that this protest was a genuine reaction to the public funding cuts. Peoples' lives were being effected in a million different ways.

My mum was adament that I should have worn my uniform for the demo but I was aware that Hallam would have pretty good grounds to kick me off the course. It does seem ironic though that I could not wear a nursing uniform at a protest against public funding.
Mum took off home after it got too cold but I remained with my brother. Following Twitter reports, like the majority of the remaining protesters it seemed, we headed to oxford circus where Topshop in particular was under attack for tax dodging. When we got there Topshop had been forced to close which, considering it was a busy saturday afternoon, meant it lost alot of business.
At the centre of oxford circus, flares were being set off and a large paper horse had been set fire to. It filled the cross roads with smoke which added to the orange and pink flares. The sight of the burning horse was amazing but it was such a sign of the times that everybody, including passing tourists, had there arms up taking pictures of the flames. The whole atmosphere was great; oxford street had been shut down on an overcast saturday in London.
Following more reports, we walked down to piccadilly where Fortnum and Mason was in the process of being occupied. As we got there several protesters were climbing up to the roof above the doorway. They had covered the building with slogans. There was such as party atmosphere around the shop with several people carrying loadspeakers. Dancing in picadilly watching people break into the shops felt like we were a group that could really make a change. Unfortuately, the atmosphere got to one girl who collapsed near me. I managed to push into the circle surrounding her to revive her from her unconsciousness before a qualified nurse got there, followed by the police. The police officer came into the group and basically ordered us to get away from her if we did not have medical training. Both I and the qualified nurse handed over the situation. At this point he looked sheepish and left us to it. Its no surprice that protesters get angry when the police come into situations like a bull in a china shop without knowing where they stand! Thankfully the girl was fine but wanted to see a paramedic anyway. 
Shortly afterwards we heard reports that the police were kettling from one side. We started to move towards piccadilly circus. A couple of minutes later a man shouted 'kettling'. We ran just intime for the police line up behind us and trap the protesters in.  Reports say they were there for hours..

Friday, 11 March 2011

End of Community Placement

So yesterday was the last day of my community placement. I didn't really know what to expect from community- the general consensus was that it was easy and there was a lot of sitting around drinking tea! 

In some aspects that was true,but I felt like it was far more than that. We went on visits in the morning which consisted of a wide variety of  tasks. Many patients had some form of leg ulcer which needed to be redressed regularly. I never knew there were so many different varieties of dressings and bandages! Many patients had cancer so the nurses visited then for support and to encourage them to visit the day hospice. These were the hardest patients for me as I didn't really know what to say to them- especially as many of them can hardly understand my accent. To me it sounds like I'm mimicking them if I try to go more 'Yorkshire'.

The one thing that I was picked up on during this placement is that my medical/biological knowledge is great but I need to concentrate on the social elements more. On the 12 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Almost seems ironic that this blog is called the conversion to social science when apparently I haven't converted yet! To be fair, as soon as it was picked up I concentrated on the ADLs to a greater extent than I ever had before, which, thankfully, seemed to impress my mentor.

This placement has really helped me increase my vocabulary related to wounds extensively. Before I would simply say 'they have a pressure sore on their leg'. Now I can describe the stage at which it is and what the tissue is like- ie sloughy, epithialising, granulating, eschar etc. Hopefully I can get a chance to impress my new mentor when I start my next placement.

So Monday I'm off to a new placement on a care of the elderly ward. I know my way around wards, they have essentially all been the same up to now. But lets see how it goes...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

New Year, New Blog

So I thought I'd just give you a brief introduction to me. I'm just starting the second year of a PGDip Adult Nursing course at Sheffield Hallam University, which is also my final year (gulp!). 
I previously studied at Manchester Metropolitan University reading MSc Human Behavioural Ecology. I completed the first term before moving to Hallam and have fading hopes of actually finishing one day. Before that I was at the University of Sussex reading BSc Biology. 

I loved studying and living in Brighton, it is the place I feel happiest and most at home but I have increasing less hope of making it my home. I considered reading Nursing at Brighton University but as soon as I found out the course was run in Eastbourne, I turned towards Sussex, and have absolutely no regrets about that. For one, it was where I met my now fiancée, Beth.

I was never sure that Nursing is for me. My ultimate goal is to research sexual health. At the moment, the plan is to work on any ward when I qualify until I find the job I want in a sexual health ward/family planning clinic. I know that I can't put up with the antisocial hours that are involved in Nursing forever, especially not when child(ren) come into the picture.

As well as training in wards, my life is mainly consumed my the huge amount of uni work that is needed to qualify. Beth and I are currently struggling to save up for a house here in Sheffield and a wedding. At the moment, it will be a civil partnership unless the law changes in the next two years (there's always hope!).

Anyway, in a nutshell, thats me. I will mainly use this blog as a vent for me but will also mention my hobbie plans and projects including travel, sewing, knitting, painting, etc...