i don't even have a pla..

This post was originally titled 'I don't even have a pla (or HELP I'VE FINISHED UNI NOW WHAT)' but I felt it was a little long and in-your-face-ish so I made it the first line instead-which on second thoughts probably doesn't help that latter point in the slightest but moving on because I've officially finished university!!!!  My  assignments have been submitted and my performances are finished, I've even got every single grade back already but the question on everyones mind is now what? Well, in the words of Phoebe Buffay "I don't even have a pla", options- yes, I have tons of those but an actual plan? Not at all, not even a little, mini, tiny one!

I don't have a plan and I don't really know how I feel about it all either, to be honest with you I don't think it's quite sunk in it.  I've only officially been finished for just over a week so I haven't even hit the peak of boredom lows yet; I've had quite a busy week as well (which included accidentally walking eight miles..) so that has helped- or hasn't helped I guess.  I feel lost and weird and as if even though the whole entire world might be my oyster I'm not even ready to scale the pearl yet.  I've spent my entire life stepping from one education system to the other; dreaming and longing for the day when I would finally finish but now that time has come and I have absolutely no idea what to do with my days.

I've just spent three years studying for a degree in Drama Studies; I've worked my flipping socks off and have somehow managed to come out with a 2.1 overall and while I'm so so happy about that and about how far I've come in terms of confidence I don't really know what to do with it.  I don't want to teach; not straight away anyway, and I don't want to get stuck inside an office 9-5 Monday to Friday.  I don't regret my degree or choosing to stay in education but I just have no idea what the next step is, I do know that it feels easier to eat chocolate buttons and watch films with my housemates and pretend I'm not moving home in a month to start a new chapter in my life- cliche & cheesy but oh so true. 

I'm scared to apply for jobs because what if I get comfortable and just don't do all the things I want to do but at the same time I desperately need to get a job; partly because doing nothing in the middle of the countryside for an indefinite amount of time will get very dull very quickly..and partly because you know, money.  I'm worried that I'll never use my degree again in my life as anything more than a conversation topic (an expensive conversation topic) and I'm worried that I will use it for something more than a chat and will somehow realise I'm on a completely wrong career path.  I don't know what I want to do first because there are just so many things I want to do I just can't pick. 

Part of my university, 4 days after arriving.  Sept. 2014.

I want to travel, I want to write, I want to see the world; jump on a plane and just go.
I want to start doing all the things I've watched other people do through a screen and start ticking things off my list of dreams.  I want to curl up in the sun like a cat and just sleep for a solid six weeks because after third year that's all I need.  I want to put a ban the words "so what are you doing next" with a fine of several pounds and a peanut butter Kit-Kat to be bought by anyone who breaks it.  I want to rewind back to sitting in my best friends room in halls, eating pizza and watching films until the early hours; more concerned about debating which of Sophie's potential dads should be the actual dad in Mamma Mia than anything else.  

Ultimately though I think I'm alright with not having a pla; don't get me wrong- I'd love to be able to know what I'm doing but I think being a little lost is good; now is my time to try out things, go off adventuring on my own because I have no reason not to, this is my time to be safe but slightly reckless because I have carpe diem tattooed on my wrist and for my entire life I've been cautious and careful and I need this time to dive headfirst into whatever life throws at me.  So I'm finished with education, with deadlines and with planning out my time between this essay and that scene and for now I'm just running with the P and hoping that L, A and N appear along the way somewhere.

love el

twitter: isthateloise  /  instagram: eloisemae  /  bloglovin: eloisemae

the kitchen diaries: vegetarian chilli

If you follow me on twitter you might have seen that I'm slowly switching into becoming a vegetarian/pescatarian and while doing so I'm also branching out my meals from pasta, pasta and more pasta (I wish I was joking!)  As part of this I've recently been a lot better at using the recipe books that have been gathering dust on various shelves since first year and the result of that was me making a mega mess in the kitchen to use way more pans than needed to make this vegetarian chilli!

I kind of took two recipes, mushed them together and then adapted as I cooked.  The chilli I made was only vegetarian as my quinoa says it may contain traces of milk (?) but I'm sure finding a different quinoa (or not including it) to make it suitable for vegans as well would be pretty easy!

1 x 400g can of Black beans (I used Dunns River but there are tons of brands out there)
1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Half an onion, chopped
Half a red pepper, sliced
1 sweet potato, cubed
Handful of peas (optional)
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)
200ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp chilli powder
1tsp ground cumin
Ground black pepper
Quinoa (I just poured a random amount out and hoped for the best; and this is optional; you can also add Quorn or simply leave it out completely!)

*Note* Different brands of black beans need different things doing to them so definitely check whether yours need soaking over night or a simple rinse before you cook them up!

-Rinse beans in cold water then put on to boil for 10 minutes before draining (I rinsed them again but it depends how strong a flavour you want) and stand to one side
-Prepare vegetable stock; I used hot water and a Tesco stock cube!
-Chop the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli.
-Heat up a splash of oil then add onion and pepper to the pan
-Once onion has soften add the garlic and chilli, cook for a few minutes or until the pepper has softened.
-Add chilli power, black pepper & cumin; stir for 30 seconds before adding the canned tomatoes, beans and vegetable stock.
-While this is boiling chop up the sweet potato.  I find it easier to chop it up quite big at first and then chop the pieces smaller once they've softened in the pan.
-Drop in the potato and stir.
-Leave to simmer on a low heat until the potato is soft and the sauce has reduced down.
-Add the quinoa (this is when I added my handful of peas & a sneaky third teaspoon of chilli powder to up the flavour a little more)
-Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick - you might need to add in a couple of splashes of water
-When the quinoa is cooked; take it off the heat completely and give it a really good stir.
-Plonk it in a bowl and enjoy!

For me this made enough for three days worth; perfect for the day after I made it when I got home from the final day of rehearsals, very hungry, very tired and very happy I didn't have to then cook something.  To reheat the chilli I just addded a tiny bit of water and put it on a very low heat until it was hot through; and the third portion is in my freezer!  Even though it did take over an hour from first chop to first taste it was a very easy dish to make and I feel it would be very simple to adapt or alter as you wish.  

If you do make this then please let me know as I would love to know what you think / how you found it!

love el

twitter: isthateloise  /  instagram: eloisemae  /  bloglovin: eloisemae

i wrote my way out

When I was very little I wanted to be a singer, my sole ambition in life was to be a pop star and the fact that I couldn't hold a note or keep in tune to save my life was merely a minor speck on my otherwise clean road to stardom.. If I wasn't singing into my hairbrush I would be making up stories, scribbling about teddies and tea parties as soon as I learned how to hold a pen.

Then I got a bit older and decided that actually singing wasn't for me and instead I would throw myself into the world of acting.  Red carpets, film sets and the glittering world of stardom was so clearly where I belonged I didn't know why I hadn't seen it before.  Despite sticking up posters of actors all over my walls I continued to write, this time with the aid of my mums laptop and even though almost everything was inspired completely (and copied indirectly) from Enid Blyton, a few of my own idea's managed to sneak through and get written as well.

I got a bit older again and although I stuck with the overall acting theme I broadened my aspirations from film sets to include theatre stages, decided to pick drama for an option when I went to sixth form and daydreamed about opening nights for both live and recorded entertainment.  During this time I also stopped writing, gave up trying to come up with new ideas and fast forward a couple of years and without a single moment of hesitation I moved my entire stories folder into the rubbish bin on my desktop.  A year after that I got a new laptop and those files were left behind completely; a vague memory in my mind but nothing tangible to see or pick pieces from.

Fast forward again and I'm a bit older still, flying through university by the skin of my teeth, spending every other week shaking off not only the self-doubt but also the thoughts that crept in over night, thoughts of I can't do this and I don't want to do this that echoed in my mind.   I still wanted to act but everyday leant more towards the creative process rather than being in the spotlight myself; and my word documents and notebooks were still only filled with lecture notes and essays rather than anything enjoyable or creative.  But then my hatred of writing essays led to me taking a chance,throwing caution to the wind and opting to pick Playwriting instead of a dissertation for my third year project.

Let's just recap that last bit- hadn't written anything creative in years let alone academically creative and decided "oh whatever, I'll do it" when faced with the chance to not only write creatively but write a play for the first time ever..carpe diem indeed!  So even though I didn't enjoy university at all I can't be sorry or regret choosing the course I did because if I had chosen a different university, not only would I not know the people I do now but I wouldn't have had the option to write a play this past year.  Now I've started writing again I don't want to stop, being creative and channeling my own ideas into an actual piece of writing has quickly become a favourite way to spend my time.

happy, overwhelmed, excited & emotional - ten minutes before submitting.
Throughout the past year I wrote my way out of a degree I hated and into one I can look back on positively, I wrote my way back into a long-lost love of creativity and ambition and I wrote my way towards a possible career.   After having years of feeling like the creative equivalent of a mud pond I now feel like an ocean again, with bubbles, coral and pretty fish all swimming around in my head. I have no concrete idea of what form my writing will take-or if I'll even stick to one kind! At the the moment my ideas include novels, another play, redrafting my third year play into a film and I've even been working on a few poems (one of which you will be seeing on here soon!), but I'm completely loving writing and coming up with new ideas again.  Even though I whole-heartedly regret deleting my own stories all those years ago, and if I could re-do the past three years I would opt for a drama and creative writing combined degree I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason; and if that reason is me refinding my passion, my love for writing and creating characters and new worlds then that's a good enough reason for me.  It doesn't take away the fact that university was a stressful and almost unlikeable experience at time but it does add a bit of shine to the end result.  As cheesy and cliche as it sounds my creative spark has been re-lit and I'm not going to let it go out again

I'm also using pinterest on & off to create boards, some more personal to me but a lot are character based and if you're interested to see which pins I'm shaping into ideas then you can find that here.

love el

twitter: isthateloise  /  instagram: eloisemae  /  bloglovin: eloisemae

post on sunday!

A long long time ago I went to a magical world, took over one hundred photos and then completely forgot to do anything with them.. I'm splitting the blame between university deadlines, performance stress and my inability to remember things like photos of the best day at the place in the world: The Harry Potter Studios!  It's now been well over a month since I visited with my family and since my evenings are my own again I have both the time and the energy to go through all the photos, picking and choosing my favourites for a blog post (which, sorry Uncle Vernon, is going up on Sunday!)

Black & Yellow; hello! #housepride

Honestly half of my camera roll of the entire day was this swinging pendulum!  It's just so beautifully stunning and just wow.

My favourite areas were undoubtedly The Burrow, Dumbledore's Office and Diagon Alley, they were each so completely unique and I genuinely felt like I was stood in the corner or at the end of the road.

The unbelievable amount of detail in absolutely everything just blew me away completely and I watched the knitting on the chair in the burrow move for a solid few minutes,

Even in the highest windows you could see curtains or things piled high which added the perfect final touch to an incredible alley.

Funnily enough we visited on a Sunday, which meant that there were even more people also wandering around taking in the magic and trying to take their photos which was a little too crowded for me at times but these two on the Knight Bus amused me as they look like actual passenger and conductor. 

The entire day was amazing and magical and quite honestly the best 21st birthday present I could ever wish for, I can't wait to go back one day!

Have you been? Which areas were your favourite?

love el

twitter: isthateloise  /  instagram: eloisemae  /  bloglovin: eloisemae