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Food, Life

Ok, I’m a very bad vegan. So what?

February 9, 2017

One of the funny things about choosing a ‘restrictive’ diet, rather than having to due to health reasons, is that everyone is always trying to catch you out.

Anyone who has chosen to be vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten free, etc, will know exactly what I mean. Because you’ve made a decision to do something due to moral reasons, everyone wants to call you out. And maybe that’s their prerogative.

I am a bad vegan. A very bad vegan. I admit it. In fact, it’s probably a stretch for me to call myself vegan at this point. But I’m trying.

There are some things that were so easy for me to give up;

  • Milk; it grosses me out, a lot. The thought of it makes me want to gag.
  • Cream; see above.
  • Eggs; they also gross me out. Easy.
  • Leather; never liked it, not even a problem.
  • Meat; can’t stand it.
  • Non-cruelty free cosmetics; I don’t want something to suffer for the sake of lipstick.

But there is one thing, that I find a lot harder to give up; cheese. It’s a very poor excuse, but I love the taste of a nice strong cheese. I know. I wish I could find a vegan alternative that melted just like real cheese.

And then there’s the whole trying to eat out. I know that in some cities (like San Francisco) eating vegan is a piece of delicious pie, but I don’t live in a city. I live in an area where an eatery’s idea of vegetarian is…*drumroll please*…can you guess it? TOMATO PASTA! *Groans* So many places like to be adventurous with their dishes, until it comes to vegetarian or vegan or gluten free, and then they panic.

I digress. Eating out is hard, but there are a few chain restaurants now where I can eat vegan, like Nando’s or The Handmade Burger Company.

And then there’s dessert. I bloody love dessert. It’s my favourite part of a meal. And my boyfriend is a pastry chef; which means I get a lot of dessert. Do you think any of that is vegan? No. No it is not.

Sure, I could not eat it, but you try one of his peanut butter chocolate fondants and tell me it’s not amazing.

Yes, I am a bad vegan. But I am trying.

Life, Share The Love

Share The Love | January 2017 edition

February 2, 2017

Let’s get the cliched, “well, that was a long month” out the way; we’ve made it to February and all need a pat on the back. 

I’ve not done a Share The Love post since last April! I discovered so many new blogs in January that I’m just itching to share with you, so I decided it was time to bring STL back!

BLOG: The Scarlet State

I began following so many blogs last month that it was so hard for me to choose my favourite of the lot, but the Scarlet State really stuck out to me and I’ve found myself looking forward to new posts from Sarah. Posts I tend to love the most are ones that make you thing and get you feeling all fired up about something, and she definitely did that with:

I don’t care how fangirling I’m going to sound right now, but I just love the way her personality and passion comes across; whether she’s talking about current affairs, tattoos, or about vegan life.

 

BLOG POSTS I LOVED

I did just tell you that I discovered a lot of blogs in January, but there are also posts from some of my all time favourite bloggers in here too.

 

LISTENING TO

I went to see A Day To Remember, so they featured pretty heavily in my January playlist; and All I Want will always be one of my favourite songs. I am impatiently waiting for LIGHTS’ song Warrior to appear on Apple Music. I need to be able to replay this repeatedly.

 

WATCHING

I’ve not had a huge amount of time for watching much, but what time I have had, I’ve used to educate Daz on Game of Thrones. We are currently plowing our way through season four.

 

READING

HA! What’s time for reading. This month, my reading has mainly consisted of lecture notes and journal articles.

 

POPULAR POSTS ON GIRLINAWE THIS MONTH

 

Let me know what you enjoyed in January, and send blog links my way!

Life, University

University: The Home Stretch

January 17, 2017

Reading Harry Potter with coffee

Hello, from the final semester of my undergraduate degree! Oh, that feels pretty good to say / type.

Exam season is over, and I feel very unnerved because I felt my exams went well. I did actually start revising early / when I should have / not three days before like last year, and I went into the exams feeling fairly confident. I am concerned that I finished an exam that was three hours long in just over and hour, but what’s done is done.

Why is it that whenever we feel we’ve done something well, we feel so unsure of ourselves? Like we’ve done something horrendously wrong, and slipped into an alternate universe where we actually know nothing and our brain tricks us? Thanks, brain.

For some reason, my university have given us this week off lectures. Maybe it’s to give people time to recover from exam stress? So I’m enjoying a week of not having a huge amount to do. I am going to do some project work though, prepare for semester two, write my personal statement and apply for some masters courses, marathon some more Game of Thrones with Daz, and read. Oh, to be able to read without feeling guilty about it! I cannot wait.

What have you been up to lately?

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Life, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

The stories behind my 2016 Instagram Top 9

December 29, 2016

Hallo from beautiful, snowy Reykjavik. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to even think about blogging, but that’s what happens in your third year at university! It’s ironic that I have to go on holiday to find time to blog. 

Anywho, I’ve seen a lot of Instagram Top 9s floating about recently, and thought it would be fun to take a look back at what’s happened this year. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


1. Moraine Lake, Canada

Moraine Lake is mine and Daz’s “mind palace”. It’s one of the few places I’ve been that leaves you feeling a little breathless and in complete awe that you’re stood where you are and are seeing what you’re seeing. The colour of the lake is exactly as it is in this photo (Canada has little need for photoshop, by the way) and with the mountains towering over the lake, it’s just so perfect. If you’re ever in British Columbia or Alberta, do not miss Moraine Lake. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


2. Fantastic baths and where to find them 

This was taken really recently, when I broke up for Christmas. As well as a serious lack of blogging, there has been a severe lack of reading books that aren’t text books this year. There’s not much I can do about that, but relaxing in a bath, having a quick read is a nice way to unwind for a moment or two. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


3. Just some book porn

Fellow bookworms will appreciate the feeling of accomplishmen of rearranging a bookshelf. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


4. Autumn mornings

I remember this so clearly. I’d gotten up early to meet my project supervisor and I was in time, until a friend messaged and told me the meeting time had changed. Initially, I was annoyed at getting up an hour earlier than needs be, but then I realised it would give me chance to amble around the park and enjoy autumn. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


5. Why early mornings are worth it

It was our final morning in Canada, and Diaz got me up at 7am to show me how beautiful Two Jack Lake looked with the reflection of the mountains and the clear sky. I am so glad he was up early to see this because this is one of my favourite memories of that trip. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


6. Emerald Lake is better in person than on Facebook

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is one of those places that frequently pops up on Facebook travel pages. Just before we went, my sister tagged me in one of those posts and I am so glad she did. We visited the lake on our first morning and it really set the tone of the trip for us. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


7. San Francisco sunsets

I took this photo the first night I stayed in San Francisco and I doubt that I’ve ever seen a sunset like it. The colours were so vivid and the way you can just about see the end of the Golden Gate Bridge in the back of the photo makes this one of my favourite photos. 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


8. Books and beans 

I’m not entirely sure why this photo is one of my top nine to be honest. It’s pretty simple; books and beans on toast. Maybe that’s it? Who doesn’t love sitting down and reading while very carefully eating as not to spill food on your books? 

 

A photo posted by Rosie (@rosie_baillie) on


9. The best way to spend an afternoon

I’m not sure if this was taken on a Sunday, but it looks a lot like the ‘perfect Sunday’ kind of activities. There’s a nice toasty drink, some good music, and a selection of books to keep you going until Sunday dinner. 

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Life

8 signs your “too old” for gigs

November 3, 2016

Taylor Swift on the 1989 tour in Manchester 2015

I remember when I first started going to gigs, I’d be there way before the doors opened and I thought it would always be that way. Nah, not so much when you’ve been at work all day. I love seeing music performed live, though I do feel a tiny bit “old” when I go to a gig now. 

 

When you use the toilet to go to the toilet

Gone are the days I used the toilet to change into a band t-shirt I’ve just brought. Nope, I’m going to the toilet because I need to pee. I swear I used to have a bigger bladder…

 

You actually buy drinks

Ok, so I think the reason I never had to use the toilet for it’s intended purposes was because I spent all my money on band merchandise and had to dehydrate for the rest of the night, and hope security handed out cups of water.

 

You don’t buy band t-shirts at every. single. gig.

Maybe this is because it cost you about £10 for a bottle of water, or maybe it’s because your wardrobe is already overflowing with band t-shirts, and you don’t really wear them anymore. This is perhaps the saddest sign that you’re “too old” for gigs.

 

Standing? My feet hurt.

It’s not like I never stand at a gig anymore, but if I can get seated tickets you can bet I’m gonna jump all over those and enjoy the comfort of my seat during set changes.

 

You rock up well after the doors have opened

I have done my fair share of standing freezing in the British winter waiting for a venue to open doors at least half an hour later than listed on the ticket. I think the worst queuing experience I ever had was when I went to see Paramore at the NIA in December and stood still in a queue for about two hours when it was 4C and trying to snow. Never again.

Now, we’re terribly civilised and go to dinner first and turn up at least an hour after the doors have opened.

 

You realise some fans were about two when the bands first album came out

In my head I am still 15 years old, so it always horrifies me when I learn that one of my favourite albums came out over a decade ago. What horrifies me more is seeing fans who are actually 15 and realising they were about two years old when the band first started out. 

 

“I’ll just be over here by the doors”

After standing in the cold waiting for the doors, we’d race right to the front and sneak our way up to the barriers, or as close as we could get, while avoiding getting sweat on by strangers or eating a mouthful of hair belonging to the overly enthusiastic head banger in front of us. Nah. Nowadays, it’s all about standing at the side or at the back, away from the chaos.

 

You don’t go head to toe in black

Ok, so maybe this only applies to former emo kids. You no longer turn up to gigs looking like Richmond from the IT Crowd, and go with whatever is comfortable, and not too sweaty when you’re in a room full of hundreds and thousands of strangers.

 

 

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Life

Are we too open on the internet?

October 27, 2016

 

Are we too open on the internet?

Last week, something really creepy happened to me that made me re-evaluate how open I am on the internet and how easy it is to find out someone’s personal details.

For many people (including myself), the internet has been the perfect way to create an online diary, to share your thoughts, experiences, and to become friends with people you never would have met otherwise. Thanks to the internet, a lot of people’s worlds are a lot smaller than they were 20 years ago.

I consider myself to be pretty internet and privacy savvy; I’ve been using the ol’ interwebs for a good 13 years now and I like to think that I wouldn’t make any rookie errors when it comes to my privacy – obviously, that’s not true.

We all have a good idea about what we shouldn’t be sharing and have probably all read stories about people who’ve had something happen to them as a result of their information being too easily available online and scoffed, wondering how they could be so stupid. But when the internet is something you’ve grown up with, and is something you associate with making friends and good things, it’s easy to become lax. You always think nothing will ever happen to you, and our lives seem to revolve around sharing, sharing, sharing.

It’s easy to leave your hometown, school, or place of work public on your Facebook profile, or forget to turn off geotagging so your photos are on a map showing your exact location, or not paying for extra privacy when buying a domain, allowing the world to see your address.

For me, the internet has always been about meeting other people with similar interests and I’ve never had an experience before know that’s made me want to remove pretty much anything that to someone with a lot of time, or maybe not a lot of time, could piece together my identity and intrude into real life.

The majority of people who use the internet aren’t weirdos or creeps, but I guess you always have to cater for the 0.1%; the weirdos, the scammers, and identity thievers (is that a word?). 

What do you think; do you think you’re too open on the internet?

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Life, University

Going back to university: ALL the enthusiasm

October 13, 2016

Third year of university

It’s here; my third year of university and right now I am filled with all the enthusiasm. (Though I have zero enthusiasm for all the COSHH forms…)

When I started back to university last year, after taking a 3 year break, my third year seemed so far away. I was so preoccupied with how much I might have forgotten during those three years, or that I might have no idea how to write a decent essay, or pass an exam, that all I could think about was completing my second year.

Second year completed with flying colours and I’m two weeks into my third year. I know this year is going to be a lot of hard work, and feels like it has been already, but the end is in sight.

Over the summer we were assigned our third year projects and I ended up with my fourth choice. I wasn’t overly impressed with it, but it wasn’t the worst project on the list. Happily, I’ve managed to change it to something that really excites me (which is half the battle, right?) so I’m now doing my final project on soil analysis of decomposing pigs trotters.

I’m sure that before I know it, the Christmas break will be here and I’ll be thinking about writing up my project, while attending postgrad open days and putting together applications.

I know this year is going to fly by and I’m really proud of myself. It’s not often anyone says they’re proud of themselves, but I’m proud of myself for having the courage to do something that seemed so scary, and give up a full-time job and return to university. I’m also proud of how hard I worked last year, and I know I could do better to be honest (damn you, Pinterest!). I’m not going to lie, I have had nightmares about sitting down in an exam room and having no clue how to answer questions already, which is probably a good push to begin revising now.

When I relaunched Girl In Awe I said that I wanted to post twice a week, and I have failed to post anything at all for the past couple of weeks. I do still want to try and maintain two posts a week but I’m not sure how realistic that is yet, so I’m just going to play it by ear and see what time I have left.

Now you know what I’ve been up to, how are things with you folks?

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Canada, Life, Photography, Travel

14 Reasons why Canada is making me wish my life away

September 23, 2016

Vermillion Lakes

My longing to go to Canada began with my 10 year old self’s obsession with Avril Lavigne (you all had an Avril phase, shut up) and finally, after 15 years, I made it to Canada. The only problem is, it’s making me wish my life away in a way my Nan would tell me off for.

While we were sat in the airport we began planning our return. There are other places on our travel list but I don’t even want to entertain the idea of visiting another country until I have returned to Canada.

Our plan is to visit next Summer and it cannot come soon enough. My Nan would go batty if she heard the amount of times I’ve said “I can’t wait to go back,” in the past two weeks.

 

Bear at the side of the road in Jasper National Park

You can see bears and giant, antlered beasts at the side of the road

In England, the thing you’re most likely to see at the side of the road is litter and a dead squirrel. In Banff and Jasper, at least, you can see bears and huge elk.

We tried not to get our hopes up about seeing a bear but we both really wanted to see one. The Canadian roadside gods must have heard our silent pleas to them because we ended up seeing two bears.

I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous it seemed to see a bear at the side of the road, having a munch on some berries. WHAT?! WHAT?! I want to live in a country where that is normal. I also need to live in a country where it’s normal to see a huge elk standing on top of a bank at the side of a road, looking out on his land.

 

Night sky, Lake Minnewanka

I didn’t see the milky way

While the Canadian roadside gods were very kind, the Canadian weather gods were not so nice.

It was unseasonably cold for the start of September and pretty cloudy most nights. I’m yet to see the milky way with my own eyes and since Jasper is a dark sky preserve I thought I would come home having seen the milky way. Due to the cloud, there was no chance of seeing it, so I’ve got unfinished business with the Canadian sky.

 

Reflection of the Rockies in Two Jack Lake

I’m convinced some of the scenary was CGI

While we were driving down the Icefields Parkway, we literally could barely believe our eyes. The Rockies didn’t even look real to us. We kept saying it looked like someone had just stuck them in, because the snow capped mountains looked so perfect and so clear.

Lake Louise and Chateau Fairmont

And the lakes? Don’t even get me started on the lakes. The lakes are so teal and blue that they look like a painting you could smudge if you tried to touch them. One of my favourite memories of Canada is when we hiked up to the Lake Agnes teahouse.

Glimpse of Lake Louise from the Lake Agnes teahouse trail

At a couple of points during the trail, there’s a gap in the trees and you can look down and see a glimpse of Lake Louise which looks the most ridiculously shade of blue you could imagine. I am 99% sure it was cake icing, like some kind of showstopper challenge from the Great British Bake Off, or something BECAUSE LAKES AREN’T THAT BLUE, SURELY?

So, I need to go back to make sure the mountains and lakes are definitely not CGI, or cake icing.

 

Canmore, Alberta

It felt like home and I need to find a way to get the Canadians to accept me as one of their own

I now know exactly how my Mum feels about Ireland; Canada just felt like home. It felt like I was supposed to be there and once I’ve finished my masters, the Canadians can look out because I’m determined to move there. (Parks Canada, if for some reason you’re reading this, I would honestly love to work for you guys testing water, looking at pollution…please?)

 

I need more poutine

Of course I could make poutine myself, but I feel like poutine is like Guinness in Ireland and is much better in it’s home country.

 

Medicine Lake, Jasper AB

The guy on boarder control that annoyed me

Look, I know that boarder control are supposed to be hard faced and a little snarky because they don’t want people sneaking in and staying forever. This is a snippet of the conversation I had with a guy at boarder control:

Boarder control: Why are you visiting for seven days?

Me: Because I’ve just been to San Francisco, and this is all my holiday used up.

Boarder control: Why Canada?

Me: Because it’s beautiful.

Boarder control: At this time of year?

Me: Yes.

Ok, sir, if you think Canada isn’t beautiful in September;

  • You are a little bit nuts or sarcastic (I respect either.)
  • I need to see what it’s like in the summer to find out if it is more beautiful, or if you’re being sarcastic.

Plus, I hope I get you next time and I can tell you I’m coming back for two weeks because you were suspicious about a seven day visit. Maybe not, that kinda comment sounds like something that would stop me entering the country – a little bit like when UK border force told my Dad to stop making daft comments or she’d be looking at his sun tan from the inside, BURN!

 

Best pizza, at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company

The best pizza in the world

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will remember that two years ago I declared a little pub in Germany as having made the best pizza in the world. I have eaten a lot of pizza since then in my quest to find a better pizza, and the Canadians rose to the challenge.

While we were staying in Canmore, we went to the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, where they have a huge pizza oven in the corner of the restaurant and oh my goodness. The pizza it creates is one of the best things to ever touch my taste buds. It is, easily, the best pizza in the world and if you think I’m only eating that pizza once, you are delusional.

 

We didn’t get to go to Lake O’Hara

Nestled in Yoho National Park, Lake O’Hara is an exclusive lake. The area is so special that it’s essentially ticketed. There are three ways to get in:

  1. You can buy a highly sought after bus ticket and camping pass, which sell out faster than tickets to see Beyonce.
  2. You can walk in
  3. You can cycle in

You cannot drive in, and the road from the car park is about 11km long. I’m hoping that we will be able to get a bus pass and squeeze in a visit, because it looks absolutely stunning.

 

Moraine Lake

There are lens flares on my photos of Moraine Lake

Horrendous, I know; it was too sunny and I need to go back and take some more photos.

It seemed like every lake we visited (apart from Maligne Lake, which tried to kill us and end our bright canoeing careers far too early) was more beautiful than the last, so it makes sense that the last lake we visited was the most beautiful.

The water was a stunning colour, it was actually sunny, and so peaceful; apart from the Instahooligans who were straying off the path, hanging hammocks, and climbing over rocks to get the most Instagram-worthy photo.

Instahooligans, by the way, is the name I’m giving to idiots who don’t care for protecting the beautiful places they’re in and wander off the paths, trampling foliage, to get the “best photos”, despite the signs asking people to stay on the path to allow plant regrowth….See, Parks Canada, I am already incredibly passionate about protecting Canada. In fact, I might just have created my own job; Instahooligan repeller. I will hide behind rocks and in bushes with a large water gun and soak any idiot who strays off the path because they want a “better photo”. Don’t worry, I’ll provide my own cape.

 

Canoeing on Lake Louise

I know I can be better at canoeing

Maligne Lake was not kind to us with the wind, waves, and tour boats and made it pretty hard for us to actually get anywhere because we could not canoe against the wind and waves. We had a much better and significantly less stressful canoeing adventure at Lake Louise, but I am determined to visit Maligne Lake on a calmer day and show it who’s boss.

 

Pancakes at Melissa's Missteak, Banff

I need more huge pancakes

Honestly, I think one of the best dates you can ever go on is a breakfast date. We went out to Melissa’s Missteak in Banff one morning and I ate the biggest, and most delicious pancakes ever.

In the UK, when you go out and order pancakes, they are tiny little things, but not in Banff. In Banff, you get delicious, thick, fluffy pancakes that are bigger than your head.

 

Lake Agnes, early morning

I’m unfit

Since most of the places we wanted to visit were right at the edge of the Icefields Parkway, or had carparks next to them, we didn’t do that much hiking. So when we did hike, we discovered how unfit we actually are.

The Lake Agnes teahouse hike was an eye opener and we kinda tentatively thought about doing the Plain of the Six Glaciers, but hadn’t got it in us. There were a couple of other hikes we wanted to do but just didn’t have time to fit it in.

We’re determined to return to Canada fitter, and do a bit more hiking.

 

It’s seriously chill

I don’t know if this is a cultural thing or not, but it seems like in England when people go on holiday we like to ask people if they saw “any trouble”, or litter. I really don’t know why.

We actually tried to play spot the Police Officer but it was so hard. We saw one Police Officer during our entire trip, and she was eating breakfast with a friend, either having finished a shift or about to start.

Everywhere we went seemed so relaxed, the people were friendly and polite, there was no hassle, or litter. <– Pretty much everything a Brit wants when they go on holiday.

 

I want to get back on that Pokemon gym in Calgary Airport, and find that Taurus in Canmore

I’m not the biggest Pokenerd I know (believe me, I know a lot, including my boyfriend) but I did just about manage to get a spot on a gym in Calgary Airport. It’s only the second gym I’ve ever got on (the first one is at my work, which of course all the staff love) and I feel it is my duty to improve and take the gym next time, even if it’s just for 10 seconds.

On the last morning we stayed in Canmore, my boyfriend spotted a Taurus and we didn’t quite manage to find it. We were hoping to return home with some new, exotic Pokemon but the Taurus eluded is – not next time, Taurus, not next time.

 

Why Canada is making me wish my life away and why you should go

Have you ever been anywhere that’s felt like home and you’ve longed to go back to?

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