I’m not gonna lie, having an excuse to stuff my face with gingerbread every day is probably my favourite thing about Christmas time. I’ve recently moved out, and since I’m a poor student with no baking utensils (not even a whisk, can you believe this?), I needed to improvise – and this is what I came up with!
This recipe is not vegan, but you could easily replace the eggs with oil and the butter with margerine you’re good to go! Or just check out the vegan gingerbread I made 2 years ago here 🙂
180g caster sugar
225g golden syrup
500g self-raising flour
300ml oat milk (regular milk works just as well but the taste of oat milk just goes really well with it!)
4tsp ground ginger
4tsp cinnamon (you can of course add more or less than 4tsp, depending on how much you want the spices to come through x)
bonus: add walnuts or salted caramel extract to make your flavour even more exciting!
There’s no method really – just put everything into a bowl and mix it till it’s an even batter and you can pour it into a baking tin (remember to grease it properly or line it with baking parchment though, otherwise doing the washing up will not be fun)! Bake for about an hour at 200C, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. And then simply make yourself a cuppa and enjoy! x
It’s October! That means: falling leaves, Halloween, pumpkin spiced lattes, cosy jumpers and – Asexuality Awareness Week! This week was founded 7 years ago with the aim to promote education about asexual and aromantic identities, and while there has been amazing progress already, people on the ace spectrum are still faced with quite a lot of challenges and difficulties, many of which are caused by a lack of education. I already made a post on misconceptions about asexuality last year, so this time, I’m going to focus on what particular issues people who identify as ace spec might be faced with and what we can do to resolve them. Let’s get started!
1. Defining your identity
One thing that’s very striking is how late many asexuals realise that they are on the ace spectrum. It doesn’t come as a surprise though, if you think about it: because of the millions of misconceptions and false assumptions that circulate about asexuality, many people have a wrong idea of what it actually means to be asexual. Personally, I’d always assumed that asexual was pretty much synonymous to antisocial and being incapable of loving other human beings, and therefore never considered to use the label for myself. Even though labels are of course not compulsory, I believe that it’s incredibly important to spread more awareness about what terms like asexual, aromantic, demisexual, grey asexual etc. actually mean. Sex plays a big role in most relationships that are portrayed in the media and is commonly believed to be an essential part of any romantic relationship, so you can easily feel like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t feel this type of attraction.
2. Medical recognition
It’s not only the general public that often doesn’t recognise asexuality as a valid identity. As of today, there’s only been very little medical research on asexuality, and it is often falsely assumed to be linked to physical or mental illness even by doctors. Physical and mental illnesses can of course co-exist with asexuality, but they’re two different things. For instance, someone might suffer from an anxiety disorder as well as being asexual. In this case, the reason they decide not to sleep with other people would not be that their anxiety is holding them back, but simply a lack of attraction. (Note: this is not to say that asexuals can’t have sex – many ace spec people feel neutral or even positive about it, they just don’t feel sexual attraction in the way that allosexuals do)
3. Space within the LGBT+ community
As much as I love the LGBT+ community, there’s no denying that it’s quite hyper sexualised. Not all asexuals necessarily identify as part of the LGBT+ community, but for those who do, it can be difficult to get involved. While I definitely encourage being open about sex at LGBT+ events and am all for sharing experiences and questions, I also feel like we need to put more stress on the fact that sex isn’t all that being LGBT+ is about. In order to include everyone, we really need to work on creating safe spaces for asexuals within the queer community as an alternative to events where sex is more of a focus.
For most people, romantic relationships and sex go hand in hand. Two people are romantically and sexually attracted to each other, they start dating, sleep together and, if everything goes to plan, eventually settle down to marry and have kids. These sorts of expectations can put quite a lot of pressure on people with an ace spec identity because they might not want a “traditional” relationship in that sense. Real life is not a Romcom (even though I often wish it was, to be fair) and relationships can be very diverse – which is a good thing! For instance, people might have romantic relationship without sex, be friends with benefits, have polyamorous relationships or they might prefer to only have platonic relationships. What we need to be aware of is that it’s the connection between people, not the presence or absence of romantic or sexual attraction that makes relationships fulfilling.
5. Erasure and lack of representation
I’ve already touched upon this, but I feel like it’s too important not to get its own paragraph. The main issue, which I’m convinced is the cause for most problems asexuals face, is ace erasure. Have you ever seen a movie with an openly asexual or aromantic character? Was asexuality ever mentioned at your school? Do people around you know what exactly we mean when we speak about asexuality? In most cases, the answer to these questions will be no.
I’ve often heard people say that asexuals are a bit like unicorns. They’re lovable, strong, clever, unique, kind and most people don’t believe they exist. There is one main difference though: they’re real. And yet, unicorns probably get 274897987x as much media representation. Obviously, we as individuals might not be able to simply produce a new Netflix series with tons of ace characters or write a book with a demiromantic protagonist (even though that would be very cool, if anyone who’s reading this is a writer), but what we can do, is to keep the conversation going. It might not seem like much, but educating yourself on asexuality, whether you identify as ace spec or not, and sharing your knowledge with other people does make a big difference. And even if just one single person feels more comfortable with their sexuality because of it, that’s a huge achievement.
If you have any questions at all or want to share your own experiences, feel free to leave a comment below so we can have a little discussion! x
I’ve loved to read ever since I was little, and even though I sadly don’t have as much time for it as I used to, it’s still one of my favourite things to do when I want to wind down and emerge myself in a different world. In this post, I want to mention a few tips on what you can do to make your reading experience even more enjoyable!
Write down your favourite quotes
There were so many times when I was too lazy to write down passages I liked while reading and regretted it afterwards when I couldn’t find them anymore, so I’d really recommend getting a notebook to put all your favourite book quotes in or to write them in your journal. You won’t only be able to find them again at a later time, but the passages you pick also say a lot about who you are and how you are feeling at that particular time in your life, so it’ll be really interesting to read them back in a few years time and see if they still speak to you in the same way. Alternatively, you could get a jar for collecting little notes with quotes on them or put up post-its on your wall or on a notice board.
Mark your favourite pages
If writing down your favourite passages takes too long, you might as well just mark them with those sticky bookmark thingies you can get at any shop that sells stationary. (Does anyone know what they’re called? Do they even have a name?) If you don’t plan on reselling your books, it’s of course also always a good idea to take notes, underline things and write down what certain passages make you think of. You could also try to do this with sticky notes if you don’t want to write in the book itself.
Make a list of books you read every year
It’s easy to lose track of what books you’ve read and when you read them, so making a list of all the ones you’ve finished in chronological order is a great help. I also like to write the date of the day I started and finished a book inside the cover because I always find it really interesting to know how old I was when I read a certain piece of literature. Keeping track of your books might also help you be motivated to read more frequently, especially if you set yourself a goal.
You can also set yourself a reading challenge on goodreads, which tells you exactly how many books you’ve finished and how close you are to achieving your reading goal. This is only one of the many useful feature goodreads has, though: You can add your books to shelves to organise them a little better, leave reviews for other readers and future reference as well as reading other people’s reviews, follow users with similar taste in books for reading inspiration and save books you want to read in the future so you won’t forget about them.
Start a book club
Do you ever finish a really good book and are just dying to talk about it to someone, but don’t know whom to? This is what a book club would be perfect for! Literature is written not only to be read, but also to be discussed and shared with each other, so why not ask some friends who like similar books as you to start a book club? You could agree on a book to read every week or month and have regular meet ups to chat about what you’ve read. I absolutely hated Kafka the first time I read it but became a fan after discussing different interpretations of his books with others, which proves that sharing ideas with others can really change your perception of a piece of literature. If your friends don’t like to read or prefer different books, you can of course also start a club with people on the internet, it works just as well!
If you have any more tips, do leave a comment below! x
1 green paprika pepper (if you can’t find one, just get another bell pepper)
2-6 garlic cloves (depends on how much you love garlic)
2 big tomatoes
about 1/3 of a cucumber
any other veggies you like and feel like would fit, kale and chard can work really well for example!
cumin or tortilla spice blend, salt (or even better, a salt and herb mix) and pepper to season
a splash of olive oil
optional: coriander leaves to serve
Cook the rice as stated on the pack instructions. After draining it, put it back into pot to season with cumin or a tortilla spice blend and salt and pepper and keep it warm. (I also added a pineapple curry spread I still had in the fridge to the rice, so if you have something similar, do put it in!)
Cut the garlic into tiny pieces or use a garlic crusher to press it and fry it in a frying pan with olive oil for about 2min. Meanwhile, chop the onion and add it to the pan. Chop your peppers and add them and the beans to the mix as well. Season with cumin, the tortilla spice blend and salt and pepper. ( A bit of paprika gives it a nice kick as well if you happen to have that.)
Leave your beans and pepper mix to warm for a bit while slicing the avocado tomatoes and cucumbers and assembling them on your plates and seasoning them with salt and pepper.
Remove the rice and the beans and pepper mix from the heat and add them to your plates – time to eat!
You can also make some guacamole to go with this dish or to serve as a starter or snack with some plain tortilla chips. It’s very quick to make and super delicious!
You will need:
3 avocados (or 2 big ones)
1 red onion
juice of one lemon or lime
5 garlic cloves (or maybe less if you have to go out later and don’t want people to run away)
Put on the Guacamole song for more fun, then start by cutting the avocados in half and removing the seed. Now you can simply take a spoon to scoop out the flesh and put it into a bowl. Chop your veggies and add them as well, then drizzle over the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Finally, mash everything together with a spoon until there are no big avocado chunks are left.
the glowing wings that once sat on my back so naturally
slowly lost their light and became dim
now just a faint memory
of stories and hopes and a child’s imagination
sometimes they appear in dreams
or for a hopeful second in the day
and make me believe
before they dissolve once more
go out and fly
and i’m left here in the gloom
Note: I wrote this poem pretty much exactly one year ago, when I had just graduated, was still not sure whether the degree I applied for was actually right for me and generally felt very, very confused and afraid of the change that was to come. I know this poem is not exactly optimistic, but the reason I decided to post it today is that now, 12 months later I can look back at it and say that I don’t feel nearly as hopeless as I did then. Of course, there are still moments when I get scared of the future and wish I could stop time for a bit so that my brain can catch up and I can figure out what it is that I actually want, but I know I’m on the right track now. I’m fortunate enough to study something I truly love and care about, I am surrounded by wonderful people and sometimes I get so happy that my metaphorical wings do not only glow brighter than ever, but seemingly take me high above the clouds. (Gosh, this was way too cheesy and pretentious, time to go now!)