the gardens of eden – the eden project

i haven’t really been doing much in the weeks leading up to school, and that dreaded first day is creeping ever nearer by the minute…so it was a nice change to get out of the house on monday and take the drive down to cornwall to go visit the eden project with my family! if you don’t know about this place, the eden project is a huge, huge garden full of plants from all over the world – a nature photographer’s heaven! you would not believe the amount of people running about with their cameras, and i was one of them ;3 so grab a chair, put your feet up and take a peek at some of the (good) pictures from my trip! trust me, i took a lot of duds…

average bank holiday weather...

average bank holiday weather…

biodomes are cool too - this one was the mediterranean zone

biodomes are cool too – this one was the mediterranean zone

oh amaryllis...your name's included in so many puns, it's unfunny

oh amaryllis…your name’s included in so many puns, it’s unfunny

i don't remember what type of flower this is, but it reminds me of hawaiian leis

i don’t remember what type of flower this is, but it reminds me of hawaiian leis

more generic flowers - this one's from the rainforest zone!

more generic flowers – this one’s from the rainforest zone!

*insert ice bucket challenge joke here*

*insert ice bucket challenge joke here*

as i was taking the picture another family came up - their conversation went something like "don't put your finger in it!" "it might be poisonous"

as i was taking the picture another family came up – their conversation went something like “don’t put your finger in it!” “it might be poisonous”

the weather cleared up by the end!! finally some non-liquid sunshine...

the weather cleared up by the end!! finally some non-liquid sunshine…

another bonus from this trip (other than the whole amazingness of this place) is that i have a few good pictures to enter in the school photography contest when i get back ^0^ do you guys like these? everybody’s so professional with their photography here, so i know your advice will be good ^_~ thanks!!

~miki ♥

hsa ba – burmese recipes from miki

as a bit of a fussy eater, i’ve always been wary of weird foreign foods, even burmese ones. as a burmese kid myself, it’s slightly embarrassing to be eating mashed potato in burma, because i can’t bring myself to eat something new. i do try, honest, but sometimes i just can’t. however, there are some burmese food i absolutely love, and this chicken curry  is very similar to one my mother makes, and it’s absolutely delicious! the book and website this recipe is from, hsa ba (which means ‘please eat’ in burmese) by tin cho chaw, is chock full of authentic burmese recipes that i would love to learn to make myself, and of course eat :3

here’s the recipe itself! it serves 4-6 and takes about an hour to cook.

for the spice mixture

3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
2 tablespoons chilli powder*

for the ground paste

8-10 shallots or around 250g
3 garlic cloves
3 dried chillies, soaked in hot water
15g fresh turmeric root
15g shrimp paste, roasted**

100ml peanut oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces or use 8 thighs
8 new potatoes, peeled and halved
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
250ml water
270ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon palm sugar or brown sugar
salt to taste

To make the spice mixture, dry roast each spice separately (except chilli powder) in a saucepan over moderate heat, until fragrant or just beginning to smoke. Roasting spices individually means you are less likely to burn one that takes less time to roast.

Leave to cool before finely blending in a coffee or spice grinder then mix in chilli powder. I usually triple the quantity above and store leftover spice mixture in an air-tight container until the next time I cook this curry.

Using a pestle and mortar, pound the shallots, garlic, dried chillies and turmeric to a fine paste. Best to do this in small quantities so it is more manageable, then add in roasted shrimp paste. Alternatively blitz small quantities of the ground paste in a food processor.

Heat the oil in a saucepan or wok and throw in cinnamon stick, star anise and curry leaves. Stir until fragrant then add the ground paste and spice mixture. Reduce the heat and cook the paste for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t skimp on the oil as the mixture will burn and become bitter.

When the oil has separated from the paste, it is time to add the chicken, potatoes and lemongrass. Stir through before adding water. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the coconut milk and simmer a further 20 minutes. Finally add the sugar and season with salt.

*look for Kashmir chilli powder, as the intense red will give the curry a great colour
**wrap shrimp paste in foil and roast in oven at 180C/350F/Gas4 for 15 mins

take care

suki and lyle left today.

in a frenzy of suitcases, papers and tears, they stepped onto the coach that would take them back and away from myself and my family, into new cities,  lands and new stages of their lives. tear-stained and weary, i waved them goodbye as they left to move on.

then i woke up and realised i would have to do it all again.

the days had passed too quickly before my very own myopic eyes. it seemed suki had only moved in yesterday. and lyle just a second ago. he’d only been living with us for about- what, a week? – and here he was, packing up already. formerly messy rooms were starting to regain a sense of order, but not in any good way. suki’s cosmetics and various toiletries no longer invaded our bathroom. lyle’s perpetually unmade bed lay perfect. yet in the midst of all this change, the two were as casual as ever. lyle chatted on the phone whilst brushing his teeth. suki watched some asian drama or something. they had brunch. and i had an urge to scream, no, don’t go yet, please, we have so much more to do, and cling onto their legs. either that or drug them and imprison them in our (non-exsistent) basement. so i watched and waited for that final car journey to make its arrival.

it’s such a shame. we could have done so, so much more. i only really started talking with suki and lyle 3, maybe 4 days ago, and i don’t know why. we just seemed to open up so much more easily. i joked around with suki, and i found out that lyle was into a ton of bands i like as well. we snarked and laughed together, and if  only, if only i had taken my opportunities earlier, we could have spent more time together, while they were still in this city. as i type this, they’re probably on their way to london, in some ratty old coach. but i don’t know if they’re missing us.

so this morning we clambered into a packed car with a boot full of suitcases and set off for those final goodbyes. my heart had been in my throat the whole day – that lump just kept stabbing. i might be a cold, soulless demon child before, but i was pretty much on the verge of tears. i couldn’t get myself out of bed, let alone into that car. my mother even thought i wasn’t coming, which shocked me. how could i not go? i love suki and lyle. i love them and i cherish everything i did with them, and yet i cannot let them go. they talked nonchalantly about customs, about packages they had sent, as if this was no big deal for anybody. i stared out of the window and tried my best not to cry.

eventually we had to arrive. i offered to help them carry suitcases, to do whatever i could to delay their departure from us. but that final moment just came too quickly. i thought it would be like prolonged torture, but it was more like prolonged torture leading up to a little pinch on the arm. there were no tears. no great gestures of emotion. hardly anything.

“see you soon.”

“i’ll come and visit you sometime, yeah?”

“take care.”

 

backstop diaries – miki talks rounders

ah, rounders. that time honoured sport, loved by all, played by british schoolgirls everywhere. played all over the world, famous as its…

wait, what?

no one knows what it is?

let me explain.

wikipedia says rounders is a ” bat-and-ball game played between two teams. Rounders is a striking and fielding team game that involves hitting a small, hard, leather-cased ball with a rounded end wooden, plastic or metal bat. The players score by running around the four bases on the field. The game is popular among Irish and British school children.” it’s pretty similar to baseball and softball – i say rounders is the teen mum of baseball and softball (more of the similarities between softball and rounders later), cricket being the awkward, gangly father.

but that’s not what it is to me, and possibly many, many other girls like myself around the country.

rounders is standing as far away from the posts as you possibly can, trying not to humiliate yourself in the pouring rain (it’s really just liquid sunshine). rounders is a barrage of rules, one weirder and more complicated than the next. rounders is being unable to hit that bloody ball with that beat-up little bat. rounders is being unable to bowl that bloody ball to the smug bats(wo)man (it’s usually a girl, boys here don’t play rounders at all, preferring instead to play cricket). rounders is actually smashing that ball far, far away..into the hands of the smug a-team deep fielder and being caught out.

i think you can tell that i’m not very good at this.

there aren’t that many positions in rounders, really – only nine people are on a team. my usual position, when i’m playing with my beloved d-team (the bottom group, comprised entirely of kids who would really like to be anywhere else), is backstop. this position equates roughly to catcher in baseball and softball, except i don’t get a nice mitt and usually just stand back looking scared, instead of doing any catching. i was backstop for house rounders this year – we’re hoping to come second, due to some miracle in which we beat two of our three teams we played against. all this despite a mortifying mistake in misinterpreting the bowler’s (pitcher’s) hand gestures, and my absence of rounders rule knowledge. it was okay, i guess.

if i was in america (gosh! imagine that…an american miki. that’s extremely weird and i don’t wish to delve deeper, although i will probably do so in a post very, very soon), i would probably be doing the same, except in softball. recently myself and my friend mila were messing around on instagram, and managed to find a softball account, dedicated to the wonderful sport of softball (obviously), not unsimilar to this one. we found this hysterical – what weirdo dedicates themselves to a sport? they talk so passionately about it – softball is love, softball is life. it got me thinking as well – are there accounts like this dedicated to rounders? rounders is pretty unintense – we have no safety gear, no national tournaments, no proper teams. it’s just pathetic stick-bat-hitting-oh-you-got-a-half-rounder. it’s only played by bored schoolgirls in p.e lessons, really. there’s a women’s college world series for softball, for goodness sake. if anybody over the age of 15 plays rounders seriously, i might just die of laughter.

did anyone here play rounders as a child? did you find it as horrible as i do? has anyone outside of the uk ever heard of it in their life? i’d love to know ^^

~miki ♥

confessions of a teenage drama queen

we have two shows to put on – one on thursday and one tomorrow.

yes, the big day has finally arrived, and we are pretty terrified. the weeks and weeks of auditions, rehearsals and panic (actually, looking at the schedule, only about a month and a bit) have all boiled together to create something which will only be revealed 7:30pm tomorrow…

the moments before will probably be filled with panic – myself as the main character (don’t ask how i did it, i don’t know either) screaming silently as i flip through someone’s script in a desperate attempt to get my lines together, people running around getting changed into their costumes, projectile vomiting. and tears, lots and lots of them. someone is going to cry, i can feel it. possibly blood and sweat, too.

the actual play is actually made of pretty lame material. it’s actually part of a set of six, all to do with World War One and edwardian stuff. there’s a lot of death, but sadly it’s all slightly underplayed, especially in ours. i was having a conversation with chorus 2, and she agrees with my statement that our play is the least serious – while others are about starvation and suffragettes, we scrub steps and laugh about gertie gitana. i’m also pretty sure our play has the most deaths of named characters in it – three in total. my father, R9832 m shapiro rifles and my mother. fun times!

all that said, however, it was a blast. i made some new acquaintances (who knew one of the sporty year 10s could be so nice?) – none of my friends were in my play, so i had to suck it up and talk to people i didn’t really know *gasp!*. there were some fairly hilarious moments (‘OH I’M SO SORRY!!’ and ‘my father is dead. what a tragedy.’) and i actually learned quite a lot about acting and play stuff through this. i haven’t starred in a proper play like this since year three, when i was eight (i was an ant narrator person in a musical about bugs). so, when the lights come up and the music starts playing exactly twenty four hours from now, i’ll know what to do…

~miki ❤️

bonjour, les paysans – miki goes to france

hi guys! i’ve said before about my trip to france, and i’ve just returned! here’s a little collection of the photos i’ve taken and the memories i’ve made- it was absolutely amazing!

miki’s homework – writing 101 day 5!

since i don’t want my blog to be completely full of writing 101, i’ve decided to give you guys a taste of what i write (as well as freeing up space on my blog ;3)! here’s my short story from day 5 of writing 101 – a very, very short story (50 or 100 words at most) about a letter found on a path that affects you deeply…

“I don’t want something to live for – I want something to die for.”

The copperplate wept down the page. The paper crumbled in my hands.

~miki ♥

picture from tumblr – source is linked to the picture!