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I went baking with a legend... here's how it went

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Everyone who knows me knows I love the Great British Bake Off. I started watching at series three on the BBC, back when it wasn't all that popular. It's definitely huge these days! I'd love to go on the show, but I don't think I really bake enough to get good enough at it. I mean I used to bake for fun to take to work and for family and friends, but the pandemic has even stopped that! I seem to like the eating better than the making these days! However, I'd seen the Bake with a Legend classes advertised on instagram and I really wanted to give one a go, and luckily my boyfriend bought me a voucher for a class for my Valentine's Day gift. The premise is, you sign up for a class (£35 for one baker, £50 a household) and one of the previous Great British Bake Off contestants teaches you how to bake goodies over Zoom. I signed up for what sounded to me like quite a challenging class, choosing salted caramel and chocolate eclairs with Jane Beedle from series 7, who

My favourite Hull bakeries and sweet treat purveyors

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I'm going to preface this blog by saying - stay home, protect the NHS, save lives! But if you have any of these bakeries locally and it's in the rules to be able to do so, mask up, socially distance, sanitise your hands, and go for it! It'll be as safe as a supermarket is. (Also - delivery is available for many of them). During the first lockdown, my social media seemed permeated by baked goods - mainly of the home-baked variety. It seemed like there was some kind of national zeitgeist that people wanted to put their boredom and frustration into edible goodies - namely sourdough and banana bread. More recently, there seems to be a proliferation of people turning their hand to monetising their hobby - at the moment my instagram seems to be full of hobby bakers delivering brownies or cheesecakes from their homes. And I guess if it makes some extra money and brings people joy, who's to complain? We're a nation living through the worst of times - of late at least - with

Hull Love Stories

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Anya and Louise (2009) Anya had no idea quite how the date had gone, while Louise thought it had gone surprisingly well despite the language barrier.  Overall, spending a Friday night in the pub had been fun for Anya. Though in Poland, people didn’t tend to go for chips at the end of the night, but Louise was insistent.  “We already had a meal!” Slurred Anya, beginning to feel those doubles as she walked down Whitefriargate, before being blinded by the white lights of the chip shop counter. Louise struggled to get her order out, and the pair ended up giggling like madwomen in the corner. “Shut up!” Insisted Louise, poking Anya in the ribs as she imitated her - “Two cones of plips, cheese!” Outside, the pair found a vacant bench and Louise excitedly waited for Anya to try her delicacy. A cone of chips with chip spice sprinkled on, topped with scraps. “Go on!” Coaxed Louise, eyes excitedly and drunkenly wide, as Anya lifted a piping-hot chip to her mouth, nibbling it at first before sh

On Small Miracles (and finding love in a pandemic)

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It’s hard to decide to write an essay on love. To put down strong emotion to paper. Because you don’t want to look like an idiot if you’ve got it all wrong and end up with egg on your face. But if no one had decided to write about their current love, how many sonnets and songs and stories would we be without today? *** Sometimes you find yourself in a strange place. You’re suddenly alone, you didn’t mean for your life to end up where it is, you have to build a process of letting go of those former hopes and decide to build a future for yourself. But when you’re in the middle of this transformative process, and a pandemic suddenly halts all your plans for travel, growth, new companions and unplanned experiences, and you are suddenly planted where you are, it can feel as if you’re suddenly stuck. And yet, life has a way of still sending us in new and divergent paths. Mine came in the most unexpected of places… a rather unromantic place called twitter.com. I’m still not really sure why I

Self care when you're by yourself - lockdown personal safety edition

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In November I wrote about learning how to balance my new independent lifestyle, where I made the most of living alone, with my need for some more consistency and healthy habits. Back in November I had a complete different set of problems to now though! I remember going out, having too many drinks and spending too much time hungover and not always being safe with getting home etc and realising I needed to slow things down and care for myself. Now, even with all the bars and pubs shut and a whole new quiet lifestyle, it's even more important to care for yourself. If living away from your friends and family made if difficult for people to know how you're really doing before, having a quarantine and travel ban and strict rules about where you can go and who you can see makes it so much harder. In November I wrote : "I think people tend to think that if you're not telling them you're struggling with something then you are fine, so maybe don't always wa

St Ninians Walk - a short story

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Those of you who have been stuck in lockdown and traipsing round every corner of the Avenues like me, will no doubt have come across St Ninians Walk. Running between Ella Street and Victoria Avenue, down the side of the railway line, next to the old Jewish cemetery, they are a group of individually designed houses that stick out like a sore thumb in comparison to the Victorian and Edwardian redbricks in the surrounding area. I let my bored lockdown imagination run away with me about the potential occupants of these ultra-modern houses, and wondered whether Hull might have its own community of vampires. Enjoy! St Ninians Walk  It had been a bit of a task trying to get the council to approve the planning permission. They kept asking all kinds of questions, like, ‘Why do you want your houses built next to a cemetery?’ And ‘Why do the metal fences need to be so high and the windows blacked out?’ But this was the perfect location. We didn’t want to live anywhere accessible

10 Blind Dates over Zoom... Was it as bad as it sounds???

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I've been pretty upfront about my complete lack of dating experience. Relationship experience - tonnes of it. Dating experience - almost zero. I think when I was in sixth form I went on a kind of date. In the spur of the moment a guy took me for pizza after classes and then we played pool at the pub. Back in the days when a 17 year old didn't need ID to get served! But that was 15 years ago. It didn't really feel like the dates I'd seen on TV on like Friends or Sex and the City. They'd get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant, the guy might bring flowers. I've still not been on anything like one of those dates as a singleton! Having been happily single for a few months, I've felt a bit more open to try dating recently, but then the lockdown came. (Don't even ask me about how I'm feeling about definitely being single until a vaccine comes along because I will actually cry....) I haven't fancied bothering with virtual dating since

Why I thought I'd hate living in Hull (and why I was wrong).

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Hull. The word itself is a mix of 'hell' and 'dull'. It doesn't have a great reputation does it?! When I made the choice to move to Hull, it was kind of with a gun to my head. My boyfriend had decided his future was in Hull, so I'd decided to take on a job here and we'd moved to Beverley a year or so previously. When we broke up last August, I was kind of stuck. My job was in Hull, I didn't really want to move back to boring Goole, I didn't want to commute, and I didn't like any of the homes in Beverley that were in my price range. Moving to Hull was the pragmatic option - I would be close to work, wouldn't have to commute, could afford a place of my own on my single wage. On September 9th I took on a six-month contract and decided that by the time it rolled around to March 9th I could hand in my notice and move absolutely anywhere I wanted in the world. Well. Obviously as it turned out March 9th was NOT the time I could star

RED January 2020

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I didn't set any new year's resolutions this year (or the last few years to be honest!) But I wanted January to get off to a healthy start both mentally and physically. I find exercise helps my mental health and so I can understand why the charity MIND advocates RED January - which stands for Run Every Day - as a great fundraiser for them. Instead of running every day I made a commitment to exercise every day, but at the end of the month I'm sad to say I didn't achieve it! Sadly I missed two days - sorry! (One for a massage (day 10), one because I was at work until 8pm (day 21)). My completed calendar! Some days I did just do Youtube yoga, walking or weights at home though - I didn't do hardcore cardio every day! I was too sore for that! January is always a rubbish month for me - partly because I like having something to look forward to and Christmas is a great distraction. When January came around with not a lot to look forward to and a whole year