Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

I'm here to wish my dear readers happy holidays and such, but due to annoying technical restrictions (and even problems), it seems I'm not posting any photos at all... That said, I've already left my home for the holidays and have to rely on the devices available.

But I want to post a beautiful Christmas~y video anyway; a Finnish singer and songwriter Jarkko Ahola performing Ave Maria. Oh yes, it's a nice music video too. Ave Maria is not my favourite Christmas carol, but at least it's international although this is the Finnish version. However, Jarkko Ahola is certainly my first choice when it comes to Christmas carol performers! On the other hand I love to listen to him sing metal as well. :> (And cannot deny it: he's one of the hottest singers I know.)

And yeah, Europeans may have heard of him when his band Teräsbetoni represented Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest some years ago.

I'm slowly starting to celebrate Christmas, and I hope it's a good one for everyone. Spend some quality time with your loved ones – so have a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

If I had some wishes...

♫ Axxis, Lakonia – Take My Hand

Some people have posted some Christmas wishlists in their blogs, so well, I thought I could make one too. I'm not sure why, maybe in order to tell myself what I'm truly dreaming of, matter-wise... 

The thing is, I could say I'm not getting Christmas presents. Or maybe one or two, but it's not like I would be asking for anything. Then again, I'm only giving one or two presents too. This, because we have made an agreement with the family not to buy any presents. Our Christmas celebrations consist of food and peace (and some drinks) and more food... And it's completely alright. I cannot say I ever really needed everything I used to get. Well, fortunately most of the things I ever got were at least nice or useful. But still, most people don't really need so much matter. It was always a pain to come up with something for cousins and aunts, and parents of course... Not to mention my brother.

I barely get any presents for any other reason either, let alone without a reason, but I really don't mind. Giving presents is nice, but mostly just when you really find something the recipient will truly appreciate. But this said, whenever I want something special, I'll have to purchase it for myself.

Now that I'm making a wish list, I decided to include only such things that I could accommodate at the moment – only realistic wishes, excluding fancy furniture, ponies, pirate ships, climbing frames (yeah, for myself), puppies, TVs, gaming consoles and such things.

An Ikea shelf, one that could be attached to a wall. This goes hand in hand with my next wish, because I would need some extra surfaces near my desk. Ever since my hobbies started taking up a lot of space, I couldn't place any more pieces of furniture on the floor, so I have to climb higher. I would put this above my desk. The shelf is quite massive indeed, and I haven't decided whether I want the dark one or the grey brown – would have to see them live to decide which suits my current furniture color better.

Recently I figured life would be easier with a printer of my own. I've never had one. I would need to print occasional Important Documents and every now and then some graphic proofs, which means I would need a color printer. And I don't know, probably a laser one, since I'm afraid I wouldn't use an inkjet printer enough so that the ink cartridges wouldn't dry out... If you have a good printer, I'm willing to hear some recommendations! 

...a bottle of Kraken rum. Yeah, I have a thing for rum bottles, ones which are piratey in some way... And I've been drooling over the Kraken bottle for quite a while. Unfortunately, the product is not available in Finland, so I'm in trouble. Even though I'm a rum drinker, I'm not even so interested in the contents, just the fancy bottle design and the label! My rum bottle collection will never be complete without this one. :(

Of course I need to wish for something even more vain than a bottle of rum – a pair of shoes by Zign. The brand is from Berlin, maybe that's why I fancy these shoes? Who knows, maybe I'll consider...

So yeah dear Santa, you know I've been good, right? And one more thing, I wish I got a nice job. I wouldn't even have been this lazy if I had one. So yeah, dear Santa, I've been a very good girl, rrrright?

All images © their respective brands

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Playing a housewife on independence day

♫ Freedom Call – Hymn To The Brave

Happy independence day to my Finnish readers! Do you have any independence day traditions? I barely do these days. A few hours ago I heard some heavy rumbling – I suppose it was an independence day firework display or something. I live very close to the central marketplace where it probably was, but my windows are in the wrong direction! The sad thing is, I can see how the people in the opposite building appear near their windows as they can see fireworks from their homes.

If I had to see something positive about my unemployment, it would be the fact that I have been baking and cooking much more than I used to while I was still working. I've been baking the bread I eat by myself – and I gotta say, I've become rather deft at that! And when it comes to cooking – well, we all know that it's much cheaper to cook by yourself as much as possible rather than purchase convenience food or something like that. I have hated cooking ever since I worked in a restaurant at around 18, but now that I've been doing it more, it has become a bit less troublesome – maybe because I've discovered such recipes which are easy and tasty, and mostly very cheap too! And another important thing is that I can make a bigger portion at one go and eat the same for a few days then – I can easily do that, I don't need something different every day.

I ran out of bread yesterday when someone hungry came to empty my stocks (but it doesn't matter, it's just so nice if he finds my baked goods so tasty! :>). There are some fresh onion rolls on the left, which is the type of bread I always tend to bake – onion gives a nice flavor if you just like it to begin with. But then, since I had some extra baking energy, I decided to make some nice cinnamon buns as well.

The buns, however, are vegan. Well, I am not – there's no reason why I couldn't bake with milk and eggs, but it just isn't necessary. And in order to make vegan buns you don't really have to get soy milk or something. And now, even though this is not a food blog, I'm going to share an easy yet tasty cinnamon bun recipe with you! Enjoy!

Cinnamon buns (vegan)
½ liter of water (of course you can use milk or even cream if you want, or soy milk, whatever)
50 g yeast
2 tsp (2 x 5 ml) salt
1½–2 dl sugar
1–3 tbsp (1–3 x 15 ml) cardamom
about 12–15 dl wheat flour (OR replace 2–3 dl of flour with oatmeal / rolled oats like I do)
200 g cooking fat: choose some vegetable baking fat, fluid or solid, doesn't matter: it just should be relatively soft when added to the dough, and preferably held in room temperature for a while.
100 g cooking fat
2 dl soft brown sugar
on top:
coarse grain sugar

Take a large bowl and mix warm water and yeast (the water temperature depends on whether you use fresh or dry yeast), add salt, sugar and cardamom. (You can add some imitation vanilla too.) Add the flour (and the oats if you decide to use some) and knead roughly. Add the soft butter / cooking fat (and continue kneading). Let the dough rise in a warm place for half an hour. (If you don't know a place warm enough: put some hot water in a sink and let the bowl float there, covered with a baking cloth.)

Divide the dough in two and roll it out in the shape of a rectangle. Spread some butter / cooking fat on the dough plate, add some soft brown sugar and cinnamon. And then wrap it up! (In the direction of the short side of the rectangle, so that you have a looong roll.) Then you have to cut the roll into buns; you can cut straight slices or trapezoids, depending on what kind of buns you want to make. Then assemble them on a baking sheet and add some coarse grain sugar on top of them! If you want, you may want to spread something on them before decoration, that'll make the sugar grains stick better. The traditional way is to spread some egg (beaten) on them, it gives them a nice color too, but since this was supposed to be a vegan recipe (because I had no eggs), I merely spread some water (with a baking brush) on them. You can use various things or nothing if you please: milk, fat, soy milk, syrup, coffee, sugared water... I haven't tried any of those options by myself, though!

Finally, bake at 225°C for some 10~12 minutes. And then, omnom~!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Winter is coming

♫ Sabaton – White Death

...hello there? It's been only a bit more than a month, but damn, I feel lazy. Either it is the lack of quality content or the lack of updates to begin with which is costing me some readers, but well, I'm happy of every single reader I still have, those who are still interested in the stuff I write (if I write!). Thank you!

Hey winter, you may come now.

Some of you can probably remember how I wrote about winter coats (for Sophistiqué Noir's theme posts) a year ago. Well, I never found a winter coat back then, and I got a bit desperate this autumn. Last week I ended up doing something radical: I ordered a coat from UK, hoping to get something decent. (No offence, dear Brits, but I just thought your view on a "warm winter coat" might be different from a Finn's.) Coldness and winter hit us on Friday, and my coat arrived promptly on the very same day. It was delivered very quickly!

I think I haven't posted many (if any) outfit photos ever since I had to rearrange furniture in my apartment. Even though the background is alright here now that I can no longer take the photos in front of my red curtain, it's more difficult (or simply annoying) to arrange the camera and tripod properly. Not to mention the extremely long and loose wire...

The coat turned out to be alright in practice. I was a bit afraid it would be cold since it is very thin to the touch (you see, there's fake fur trim only around the hood), but I have already tested it and been doing fine so far. It's not a perfect option when it comes to style, but I am too picky to find something perfect – I would have to make one by myself, and that's... way too much to ask. The coat also has twelve very annoying buttons which are a pain to button up (and unbutton). Also, the size XS feels huge on me. I almost ordered the size S instead, fortunately I did not, that really is a bit too spacious to my liking already.

The quality of the coat is surprisingly nice though, considering the brand is Hell Bunny, and their quality varies a lot. I'm still surprised I managed to find a relatively nice coat in their collection, but cannot complain.

I also purchased something very, very exceptional for me – PVC hotpants. I've usually tried to avoid PVC since it is not a very eco-friendly material, but I kinda found some use for a pair, so...

Besides, these were very cheap (and yes, they are new), cost me less than 10 euros with the delivery. The hotpants look good in their own right, my bottom when wearing them does not. :(

Shiny, shiny PVC...

Otherwise... I am not even sure what has kept me away from blogging. I am lazy to take photos of myself. In fact, I hate doing it, it always takes so many failures to get one successful shot. Blogging is also quite a lonely hobby for me (at least when it comes to my personal blog) since I don't really have anyone I could ask to take photos of me. Or well, I do have, I just don't expect them to have the patience, or be interested at all. Those friends who might enjoy it live too far away these days.

Besides, I haven't been shopping that much lately, and if I ever dress up fancy, those outfits are simply just repeating themselves. It's nothing worth showing to you again and again. Personally, I have realized that I like the relatively similar outfits I wear whenever I'm partying. The differences between those outfits are quite subtle, maybe a different skirt in the same colour, but still the same corset and such... But I'm only happy when I've found outfits which make me feel nice and comfortable but also good-looking, hopefully at least.

And then... Well, I am still unemployed. Or even more so than I was at the end of summer and in the autumn. At the end of November, my contract ended for good. I was permanently laid off because the company simply couldn't afford taking me back anymore. Even though I've successfully made my way to many many job interviews, I've so far mostly ended up being the second or third best option. Recently, I have been seriously thinking of freelancing. Especially since several quarters have been particularly interested in my work, but they couldn't permanently hire me. It's flattering and nice to be contacted first when it comes to work, it prevents me from falling into the depression of being a total loser, but it won't yet pay me anything. Still I wish I could find a nice, steady job soon enough.

P.S: And still, if you're into metal music, go see our blog 23.58! We went to see Sabaton recently, so there's a gig report up now!
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