RECIPE: Sparkly Princess Coconut Cake

Preparation time: 15 mins

Baking time: About three days longer than you think 

 

13833238_10153542562765448_661079767_oIngredients

420g sugar

180g softened butter

470g flour

4 eggs

¾ can of coconut milk

120g desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon baking powder

½  teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon of almond or vanilla extract

Jam

Desiccated coconut and almond flakes for topping

 

Method

  • Switch the oven on to Gas Mark 3, or if you are lucky enough not to own a cooker from the 16th century, 180°C.
  • Grease your cake tin with butter.
  • Gooey stuff in one bowl, dry stuff in another.

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  • Mix the gooey stuff in with the dry stuff.
  • Realise you have incorrectly converted the measurements from US to metric and subsequently have to add around four tonnes of flour to achieve the correct mixture consistency.
  • End up with approximately 300% more mixture than you should have, and therefore have to (okay, maybe not have to) eat quite a lot of it straight from the bowl. Alternatively, you may put the excess mixture in another cake pan, or muffin cases, or a hat. You do you.

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  • Go off and do something distracting, like stalking a girl you don’t like on Twitter or watching TV. Preferably something really engrossing like CSI, where you can get so impressed by your own super-sleuth detective skills that you completely forget you’ve got a cake in the oven and leave it baking for around nine hours longer than necessary.
  • Excellent news. You didn’t put enough baking powder in, so it hasn’t risen anyway and is a soggy, gloopy mess that looks like something Mulder found in a forest on The X-Files.
  • Check to see if there has been any miraculous progress in the last 15 seconds by stabbing the cake with a fork to see if it comes out clear. Repeat this process seven million times, ideally while tutting and shaking your head in disbelief.
  • Horribly realise that this cake isn’t having any of it. This cake has lost the will to bake. This cake has been stabbed more times than a Glaswegian drug dealer. This cake ain’t got no time for dat.

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  • Plead with the cake to no avail. You’re having visions of your flatmates setting you on fire for using up all the gas. You’ve half-composed an email to your boss saying you can’t come in tomorrow because there’s no way you’re wasting £3.90 worth of ingredients and SO MUCH WASHING UP, and you subsequently have to see the bastard thing through to the grisly end. Kind regards.
  • Give up and decide that you would rather die of salmonella poisoning than have this cake mock you for one more second.
  • Remove from the oven while fatally burning at least one of your fingers.
  • Prod curiously, before breaking off a corner to nibble.
  • Think ‘Fuck, this actually tastes really weird’. Slather with jam and sprinkle with desiccated coconut and almond flakes to mask the aftertaste.
  • Leave to cool, take some cute pictures for social media, and then palm off slices to your flatmates and work colleagues in case it is poisonous.

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It’s OK if your 20s haven’t gone to plan
kid

So young. So full of hope.

Being 26 is a curious thing. And by curious, I mean bewildering, soul-destroying and occasionally absolutely terrifying. It’s a ‘nothing’ age. You’re neither young nor old. You’re like an awkward fringe you can’t quite grow out.

When I was younger, I thought that people in their twenties were adults, they had their shit together, they were O-L-D. But now I realise that they weren’t old at all. They were like me. A child trapped in an adult’s body, squeaking desperately for someone to come and rescue them.

Over time, I have learnt that life isn’t like one of those Goosebumps books where you can sneakily flick to the alternative endings and pick the one where you don’t get eaten by a mutant sponge. It’s scary and unpredictable, and you just have to roll with it.

So here is a list of 7 things I thought I would have going for me in my mid-20s that I seriously, seriously don’t:

1.I thought I would be married with at least one kid by now.

I used to think that people who were still single in their late twenties had some kind of icky, gross malady that prevented suitors from wanting to put a ring on it. But sometimes relationships just don’t pan out the way you hope they will. And sometimes it’s for the best. Plus I am definitely not ready for offspring. I had to hold a baby at a wedding last month and I hated every second of it.  Between trying to look maternal, all I could think was ‘why won’t it blink?’ and ‘why does it not cry when people pick it up by its armpits when I cry if I catch my bingo wing on a door frame?’

2. I thought I would be a sex goddess by now.

I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing. It’s like trying to assemble an IKEA wardrobe. WHERE DOES THIS BIT GO? WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS WEIRD LITTLE LEFTOVER THING?! My predicament is not helped by frantically reading bizarre sex tips in women’s magazines. Instead, I am left with further performance anxiety after discovering that I can’t quite pull off rubbing cocoa beans over my lover’s scrotum while in the Grab Your Coat You’ve Pulled a Cheeky Flamenco position.

3. I thought I would understand bills and general life crap by now.

I do not understand bills and general life crap.

4. I thought I would be a stunnah by now.

The one thing I clung to when I was a teenager and my hair was greasy and I had no boobs and developed a moustache was that one day I would be peng. One day, puberty would wave her magic wand, release me from this sarcophagus of 4-out-of-10-ness and rebirth me as a beautiful butterfly. But if anything, I am grosser now than ever. I have fat in places I didn’t even know you could have fat. I am spottier. I am hairier. I am scalier. I am basically turning into an armadillo.

5. I thought I would be on the property ladder by now. 

One of the many perks of being a journalist is that I earn way below the average graduate salary. Like if the graduate salary was a bus, I would be running after it panting. If the graduate salary was Leonardo DiCaprio, I would be being restrained by a security guard after trying to stroke its face. If the graduate salary was a Snitch, I would be chasing it on a mop. So unless I immediately marry a Russian oil tycoon, I shan’t be owning my own house anytime soon.

6. I thought I would stop getting ID’d by now.

When I got the A Level results I needed to get into university but couldn’t celebrate with my two friends at Ko-Ko’s in Rochdale town centre because I didn’t have ID and had the face of a Cabbage Patch Kid, I was fuming. “You will pay for this,” I vowed, as thunderstorms cracked in the midnight sky. I considered writing to Parliament. I considered a dirty protest. I considered launching my own charity to help other victims. But now, it’s the opposite. As I inch closer to 30, looking young is a compliment. In fact, I am offended if people don’t ID me. “Wait, don’t you want to verify my age?” I want to cry indignantly. “Don’t you think I’m too young-looking to be purchasing this alcoholic beverage?” I reach into my bag. “I have ID. Check my ID. Please,” I beg, before slamming my driving licence, passport, birth certificate and 22-week ultrasound scan onto the counter.

7. I thought I would have outgrown my ‘awkward phase’ by now.

Chink chink. The sound of glass tinkling, a champagne cork popping. Laughter. Schmoozing. Another glamorous cocktail party organised by yours truly. So, this one didn’t pan out. Mainly because I don’t live in the 1980s, but also because I am still super awkward.

What being single is like when you are really, really awkward

Cosmopolitan would have us believe that being single is one long, sassy roller coaster ride of disastrous dates, tumbling into bed with dishy strangers and hilarious escapades to be cackled at over raunchily titled cocktails with the girls.

It isn’t. I couldn’t be less sassy right now if I tried. My legs look like two stollens dipped in cat hair. My duvet is 40% cotton, 60% crumbs. I can’t tell where my chins end and my neck begins.

Tinder

In the last 15 months of singledom, I have gone from being hopeful that I will find The One to accepting that I will probably have to leave my life savings to an animal charity. I joke about dying alone purely so other people will reassure me that I won’t die alone. That is how disgusting I have become.

Okay, so I’m only 25 and being absolutely ridiculous. But it doesn’t help that everyone on the planet (Facebook) seems to be having babies or getting married. One by one, my single friends are being picked off. I imagine this is how people felt during the Black Death.

Following the demise of my only, very long, relationship, I have been flung back onto the dating scene and to be quite frank, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.  The last time I had to worry about getting a boyfriend, I was 17 and all I had to do was write him a rap (see below).

Dan Dating Rap

Now with Tinder and Bumble and eHarmony and Nando’s and banter and Netflix and chill, it’s all a bit overwhelming. How does one go about procuring one of these elusive boyfriend things? Does it need feeding and watering and stuff?

“But you’re funny and you’ve got a cool job and you don’t look like something that has crawled out of a swamp,” everyone (my mum) tells me constantly. Well, a fat lot of good that is doing me. Aside from a couple of Tinder dates, I have been perpetually alone, unwanted, undesirable, like a Revel left to languish eternally under a cinema seat.

Being a very awkward, anxious person probably doesn’t help. I can write, but I will openly admit that talking to me can be like trying to squeeze the last remnants of toothpaste out of the tube – with my input in date conversations going something like this:

MOUTH: Hmm yeah maybe.

BRAIN: Is it my turn to start talking? Have I just butted in? Does he think I’m rude? Is he going to tell other people I’m rude? What if that person then tells a future employer? What if I am then blacklisted from all companies in the United Kingdom? Will I have to go on benefits? Does he want to leave? Am I looking him in the eyes enough? Am I looking too much? Does he think I have something wrong with me? Do I have something wrong with me? Are we getting starters?

It’s weird, because as a journalist, I speak to people every day. But I don’t need the people I interview to like me – I need them to trust me. So I don’t get nervous. Dating, on the other hand, is another slippery kettle of fish.

No one new

Plus even if someone does fancy me, I never, ever, pick up on it. Like the time a guy asked if I wanted to go back to his to watch a DVD and I said yes because he said he had Confessions of a Shopaholic, and then he took all his clothes off and I didn’t have a clue what was going on and had to leave abruptly. Or when a guy insisted on buying me a drink as he had ‘spilled’ his on me, and I argued until I was blue in the face that it wasn’t necessary because he had barely got anything on me and I was wearing black so it would be fine on a 40°C wash.

Even if I do cotton on, I instantly assume that it is some kind of cruel practical joke, and Ashton Kutcher is going to jump out with a camera crew and scream “Gotcha!” in my face.

I think what this reveals, apart from my crippling self-esteem and need to get a grip, is that perhaps I’m not ready to get into another relationship. So, for now, maybe being an awkward little weirdo is the best thing for me.

In the meantime, if you are interested in dating a slightly neurotic 25-year-old journalist, email me at charlottebrazierblog@hotmail.com.

10 realities of buying makeup

I have enough makeup to host a West End production of Les Misérables. Expensive stuff, cheap stuff, stuff I got free in a magazine, stuff so old it should probably be carbon dated and displayed in the Natural History Museum. Do I understand what to do with any of it? Absolutely not. But I enjoy buying it, carefully organising it into categories and then admiring it as it sits there untouched, virginal, for months on end because I barely have time to put my knickers on before fleeing to work in the morning, let alone strobe, bake and highlight my face.

That being said, buying makeup can be an emotionally draining affair. Thus I have compiled a list of ten harsh realities of a cosmetics spree:

1) Shop assistants who sneer at you in disgust because you don’t know how to contour your eyelashes.

2) The fact that I don’t know how to contour my eyelashes.

3) The inescapable feeling that you don’t belong and are being judged for your shit eyeliner as you peruse the Bobbi Brown section at House of Fraser. Collection 2000 always had your back.

4) Losing the will to live whilst trying to fathom the difference between inexplicably titled foundation shades like ‘Iridescent Porcelain VII’, ‘Boom Boom White Girl’ and ‘Unicorn Smile’, knowing full well they will all just be ‘Orange’ once you go outside in the sun.

5) Going mental like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and cramming your basket full of goodies you neither want nor need because they’re on the 3-for-2 offer at Boots and therefore essentially free. MOLE PRIMER? HOW HAVE I LIVED WITHOUT THIS?! RED MASCARA? COME AT ME, BRO! Then getting to the till and having to pay £867 because you are too ashamed to put stuff back.

6) Watching people apply lipstick testers to their ACTUAL LIPS and not being able to slap it out of their hands and tell them how disgusting they are without being arrested.

7) When makeup has makeup on the outside of the makeup.

8) Being concerned that you can’t justify paying £53 for an eyeshadow palette in weird dead people colours because some beauty guru you stalk on Instagram says it’s super-wicked and now everyone has one and it comes up on your Facebook feed as a suggested post and you don’t understand how Facebook knows and you can’t escape the palette it’s everywhere the palette will never leave the palette is haunting you the palette is now on your face.

9) Being torn between not actually wanting a third item for the 3-for-2 offer at Boots and knowing the third item is free and wanting your money’s worth, and therefore panic-choosing something and being bitterly disappointed with your decision for the rest of your natural life. Damn you, Revlon bronzer circa 2003.

10) Purposely buying something that looks absolutely sensational on friends/bloggers/random strangers in the post office and thinking you’ve found the magical elixir that will bring all the boys to the yard but it just looks like a bag of crap when you apply it to your own face.

11 thoughts I have while stalking other girls on Instagram

I am a grown-ass woman. I have a job, car, degree and next year I will be enrolled in my company’s pension scheme *shudder*. But I still spend far more of my time than I should allowing myself to be made to feel rubbish by social media.

For someone who spends around 80% of their non-work life in their pyjamas watching Netflix or reading crime thrillers, it can be exhausting to be constantly bombarded with images of perfectly-contoured size-6 girls sipping on cocktails, munching delicately on avocado on toast or working out at the gym in less clothing than I’d have a bath in.

I don’t think I’m alone, so I have compiled a list of what I REALLY think when I’m stalking other girls on Instagram:

  1. Why am I so much grosser than literally 100% of the girls on here? Where are their spots, their rogue belly hair, their cankles, the tuft at the back of their head that sticks up like a troll and will not succumb to gel nor spray of any description? Why are they so smooth? Do I have a condition? Should I book an appointment with my GP? Am I dying? Should I write a will?
  2. How do people have enough friends so that one can snap a quirky Instagram pic and there are still at least two people left in the picture?
  3. How do these bitches pay their rent AND buy all of these cute outfits and luxury makeup products?
  4. Are they actually leasing out the most flattering rays of the Sun? Because I definitely don’t have that glow in any of the 49 pictures I have taken whilst staring directly, eye-wateringly, into the light through my window in an attempt to get a half-decent Facebook profile pic.
  5. I wish my favourite food was more attractive than sausages, mashed potato and beans so I could take cute #InstaFood snaps too.
  6. Why do they get all this free stuff? Should I just pack it all in and become a beauty blogger? How hard can it be to write seven paragraphs about a tube of lipstick? Ah, actually, okay. Fair play.
  7. Why can they pose like that looking all sexy and fine when I would just look abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous?
  8. Why are all their rooms and furniture white? Do they all live in the same asylum? Where are their empty crisp packets, their bedding that should have been washed 10 days ago, their empty contact lens packets, their SOUL.
  9. I wonder how freaked out they would be to know that someone they have never met and have no idea exists has spent so long scrolling back through all of their pictures. Please don’t ever disclose page stats, Instagram. Pls.
  10. Good Lord, do this girl’s parents know what kind of smut she is posting on the interweb? I have a good mind to…wait this girl is 15? Have I just looked at a 15-year-old girl’s boobs? Oh, God, now I’ve panicked and ‘Hearted’ it by accident. I’ve Hearted a 15-year-old girl’s boobs. I’m being tracked by the FBI as we speak. I won’t hack it in prison.
  11. Why do their cats pose nicely and mine won’t even look at the camera. God damn it, Milly, all I have ever done is love you and feed you tuna.