Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Lessons We've Learnt from Lizzie McGuire

Hello again blogosphere! Today, I thought I'd take the opportunity to celebrate the 27th birthday of the one and only Hilary Duff (admittedly, 2 days late). Why you may ask? To you I say, why not? If you were a Disney lover throughout your youth just as I was, there's no doubt that the first thing that comes to mind upon hearing Hilary's name is the legendary show 'Lizzie McGuire'. This series was seriously my pre-teen 'Glee', and Hilary was definitely my number one idol. I went to every one of her concerts whenever she came to Sydney, and I'm pretty sure I watched every single episode 'Lizzie McGuire' had to offer. Let's face it, I was a fangirl before it was mainstream. So, in order to honour the birth-a-versary of someone who was so influential in shaping my childhood, I've decided to list some of the vital life lessons all of us have learnt from watching the show. Without further ado, here they all are . . .

Outfit Disasters Never End Well

Unfortunately, I am seen wearing the same outfit as all of my peers, arch-enemy or not, everyday of my high school life. However, if uniforms were taken out of the equation when this fashion tragedy occurred, I don't think everything would go down was easily. I mean, when you think about it, turning up to school in the same outfit as someone you loathe can mean a number of awful things. You guys could have the same sense of style, or even worse, deep down you could have the same personality. They're some serious mental breakdown triggers right there. But wait, there's more, the catastrophes do not stop there. Do you remember in the 'Lizzie McGuire' movie when Kate revealed that Lizzie had worn her middle school graduation dress previously?

Oh, the horror.

Friendships can get Cray

Luckily for me, my little group of friends seem to remain relatively drama free, however this isn't the case for the majority of people. For some reason, entering into the gates of high school can turn some people into real tyrants. Why exactly? No one knows. Things change pretty rapidly, and I know that now, I probably only speak to a handful of people who went to my primary school, and I'm pretty sure that's the case for most people. In 'Lizzie McGuire', there was always the whole 'Lizzie vs Kate' debacle once the two entered into middle school, but not everything was always smooth sailing for best friends Lizzie and Miranda either. Also, remember the time Gordo was almost accelerated into high school? So much drama, so little time.

Rebel Phases Aren't Cool

To us youngsters in the early 2000's, the phrase 'take a chill pill' was not only super offensive to use among friends, but when said in response to an adult or parent? Practically unthinkable. So it was a massive understatement to say that everyone watching at home was extremely shocked to see goody-two-shoes Lizzie blurting it out to her mum and dad. If you were an avid viewer of the show, there's no doubting you remember when Lizzie met bad-girl Angel and totally changed up her look. Sure, this phase literally only lasted one episode, but she managed to do quite a bit of damage in that short amount of time. She forged notes, acted out, and alienated her friends and family whom we'd all grown to know and love. Of course everything sorted itself out before the end credits rolled, but I was still pretty freaked out. We may not have had fully formed consciences at the time we were watching the show, but we could certainly pick out that this behaviour was totally unacceptable. I don't know about you guys, but by the end of the episode, I was determined not to get up to mischief in my teen years (and guess what? I've done anything but). 

Don't Try and be Someone you Clearly Aren't

Just writing this subheading makes me feel ridiculously cheesy and cliché, but after all, this was a kid's show. There is something to be said about refusing to conform, and that is something I can fully get behind. I think we can all take a leaf out of Lizzie's book and refuse to become the Kate Sanders' of the world. Lizzie, Miranda and Gordo's sense of self was tested a few times along the way, but they always came out on top and maintained their originality in true Disney fashion. I guess we all just have to face the fact that not everyone can be vapid and popular, and that some of us humans actually need to have a little substance. Do you think you can handle that burden? I for one must now accept that I will never be a professional athlete, and am simply destined to live my life on the Broadway stage. Oh well, I guess I'll have to live with that.

You Need to get your Priorities Straight

When you're in your teens, sometimes it can be a bit difficult to truly straighten out your priories. Some people are massively obsessed with partying, while others are constantly obsessed with getting good grades. While only one of them is important to me (because seriously, what would partying even entail?), I think that there's a lot to be said for just lounging about and having some major TV and movie marathons. In fact, I am the number one advocate. Lizzie, Miranda and Gordo weren't really ever seen out on the town, but you can bet they spent some quality time with their DVD player (or possibly they're VCR) and a bucket full of popcorn. That my friends is the meaning of life (well that, and 42).

So that's now officially the end of my little list of morals. I hope this acted as one massive throwback to your pre-teen days, and who knows, perhaps you learnt something? Anyway, I'd just like to end by once again wishing Hilary a super awesome, albeit belated birthday. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Cooking For Idiots: How to make Cheesy Puff Sticks

Welcome once more blogosphere! I warn you now, life's about to get pretty exciting. What exactly is the root of this new found thrill and exhilaration? Why simply the fact that Teenage Fanatic is actually posting a tutorial of sorts which may or may not be useful to you. Who would've thought, perhaps this blog isn't totally redundant after all? But wait, let's not get ahead of ourselves. After all, I really am only providing you with a recipe for one of the easiest foods to make in the world. And no, I'm not over-exeggerating, because even I can make these. Don't believe me? Believe 'Ratatouille'.

Cheesy Puff Sticks just so happen to be my favourite food ever. Puff pastry, cheese, there really isn't anything healthy about them (which is perhaps a reason for them obtaining the top position). Today, I plan to enlighten you all and supply you with a must-have recipe for these inflated sticks of golden glory. Are you ready to take on the challenge? Keep reading and tackle it head on.

First up, before we get to the whole baking side of this, here's a list of ingredients and materials required:
- Puff Pastry
- Cheese
- Oil
- Chopping Board
- Knife
- Baking Tray
- Baking Paper

I kid you not, that's literally it. Now, all you have to do is make the things.


1. Lay out 1 sheet of puff pastry onto the chopping board. 

2. Spray a thin coat of oil on top of the sheet. 

3. Evenly sprinkle the puff pastry sheet with cheese.

4. Place another sheet of puff pastry on top of the cheese and create a second layer. 

5. Cut the layers down the middle, and continue to cut the cheese and puff pastry sheets into small strips. 

6. Pick these strips up individually, pinch them at both ends, twist them, and place them down on the baking tray. Do this for every strip. 

7. Put them in the oven on fan-forced at 250 degrees celsius for about 10-15 minutes. 

8. Literally just sit there and watch them cook no matter how much you tell yourself not to, because let's face it, you have no life (although this one isn't strictly necessary and may just apply to me). 

9. Open the oven once they're cooked and looking super fine, and then enjoy the flaky goodness!

Bam, we're all done! I told you they're ridiculously easy to make. 

Seriously, I originally found the recipe in a Total Girl magazine circa 2006, and have been addicted to them ever since. I guess we have the hoarding habits of an 8 year old me to thank for this. Now go and concoct these wondrous culinary creations for yourself and indulge in the awesomeness! Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Bike Riding 101

Hello again and welcome once more blogosphere! Today, I can tell you now, was a glorious day. In a mere hour and a half, I was able to obtain a vital life skill about 90% of you have had in your arsenal for years. Some may be ashamed, but not I. Today, it was my turn. You may recall if you've ever hopped on to Teenage Fanatic previously that in my celebratory 100th blog post, I mentioned that I had not yet learnt how to ride a bike. Well my friends, today, the fact that has defined me for so many years is no longer applicable to me. Because yes, at 16 years of age, I finally learnt how to ride a bike!

Now come on, don't laugh. Better late than never, right? Yes, it may be a little ridiculous, but I am actually super proud of myself. It was just one of those skills I'd written off and never planned on attempting, yet at the insistence of my friends (which believe it or not, I've still managed to keep after the turmoils of today), I feel like a brand new person.

It wasn't all smooth sailing though. Things got off to a pretty rocky start when I realised the activities of today included a trifecta of all things awful - the outdoors, exercise, and pants. I kid you not, that was before I'd even left the house. Things went from bad to worse when I arrived at the bike track, and was forced to experience the ups and downs (both literal and figurative) of the art of bike riding. I seriously don't know how my friends had the patience, because after the first 15 minutes, I was already over it. Because seriously, did I mention I had to be in nature?

The odds were against me - I was inexperienced, and being made fun of by an 8 year old boy. However, I persevered with the help of the Glee Cast's 'Don't Stop Believin' blasting from my internal phone speaker. The New Directions were on my side, so how could I possibly give up so quickly? I was inspired once again, however this newfound vigour didn't last long, and I was soon requesting training wheels. But once more, I had a supporter in my corner, as the employee uttered the golden words 'you have potential', and all it took was a new, more easily manoeuvrable bike to get me back on the horse (you know, if that horse was a bike). 

As the remainder of my friends trickled in, it was time for me to face the music. We were going to be tackling the actual bike track rather than the kids one I'd been circling around for 90 minutes. It was time to prove myself, and believe it or not, after several attempts, I managed to get the hang of it. And now, as I'm writing this, I am proud to say that I am able to ride a bike with (a tiny bit of) confidence. I can stop, I can turn, and I can even use the breaks properly! Plus, in the process, I managed not to injure anyone or put the lives of pedestrians in danger. I think that's a solid achievement. 

Now, I can't help feeling a little smug, I'm not gonna lie. I really wish I could find that 8 year old tormentor and just bike ride through his living room all high and mighty, although I have a strong feeling that may be highly illegal, so I think I'll just stick to blogging my feelings for now. Will I ever bike ride again? Probably not. Ever. But hey, at least I can say I've done it. 

I managed to get out of it fairly unscathed. Sure, I have a few battle scars, but I'm treating them as my badges of honour. Now, I'm just suffering from a bit of leg pain, am covered in grease (like Danny Zuko!) and am slightly sunburnt, but hey, no pain no gain right? For the remainder of my holidays, I plan to spend a lot of quality time indoors. Although I managed to truly conquer a new skill, I'm fine with not doing that ever again (or at least for the next few years). I think I'll just stick to sitting at home and listening to my musical theatre playlist for the next 2 weeks and leave the bike riding to the professionals. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Sunday, 21 September 2014

'Heathers' vs 'Jawbreaker'

Greetings again readers! As you can tell, I've wasted no time in diving straight into holiday mode, as I've already managed to binge-watch some ultimate cult classics over the past few days. Because really, what is a holiday break without some serious one-on-one laptop time? Today, I thought I'd not only settle a major movie debate, but also ensure my piece of mind by comparing the 80's classic 'Heathers' to 90's black comedy 'Jawbreaker'. Having seen both of these films in the past week, and in turn, done some major googling on both films, it has come to my attention that these flicks are often compared. I guess it's not exactly a secret that 'Jawbreaker' drew quite a bit of inspiration from 'Heathers', however are they totally interchangeable like everyone says they are? I guess we'll have to settle that now.

First off, I feel it's only fair to look at both of these films in a little more detail.

Heathers (1988)

Director: Michael Lehmann

Writer: Daniel Waters

Plot: The movie begins as we are introduced to the most popular and influential clique at Westerburg High School, consisting of 3 girls who share the first name; the leader Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), bulimic Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty) and cheerleader Heather McNamara (Lisanne Falk). The group also includes recent member Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), who despite her recent increase in popularity, longs to return once more to her old, genuine group of friends. Early on, Veronica meets love interest Jason "J.D" Dean (Christian Slater) and the two hit it off right away. 

However, the plot thickens when Veronica and J.D's plan to embarrass Heather Chandler turns horribly wrong and she ends up dying as a result, the two faking a suicide note for her. Although they've clearly got away with it, the two continue on their murderous rampage as a result of J.D's trickery and Veronica decides that she doesn't want to be a part of it any longer. The tension heightens, the drama escalates before it all results in a truly explosive ending (pun intended for those of you who've seen the film). 

Jawbreaker (1999)

Director: Darren Stein

Writer: Darren Stein

Plot: The film starts as we meet the crème de la crème of Reagan High, a handful of girls referred to as the 'Flawless Four'. The group includes leader Courtney Shayne (Rose McGowan), Marcie "Foxy" Fox (Julie Benz), Julie Freeman (Rebecca Gayheart) and the Princess Di of the school Elizabeth "Liz" Purr (Charlotte Ayanna). On the morning of Liz's 17th birthday, Courtney, Marcie and Julie decide to play a prank on her and gag her with a jawbreaker, however this goes terribly wrong when they discover that they've accidentally murdered her in the process.

They attempt to cover it up during the day, however things get complicated when social outcast Fern Mayo (Judy Greer) is sent to drop off Liz's homework at her house after school, and as a result, overhears the girls discussing their accidental murder. To ensure her silence, Courtney offers Fern a position in their exclusive clique just as Julie is beginning to stray, Fern obtaining a new look and persona, now being referred to as 'Vylette'. However, not everything remains peachy keen, when Detective Vera Cruz (Pam Grier) comes in to investigate, and their lies begin to unravel. 

To truly weigh up exactly how similar these two films are, I feel it only fair to list both the similarities and differences between the flicks to truly get this show on the road. 


They both involve an Accidental Murder

Both of these high school black comedies do indeed have a body count. In 'Heathers', Veronica and J.D accidentally murder Queen B Heather Chandler when she wakes up to a cup full of liquid drainer and smashes through a coffee table, and in 'Jawbreaker', Courtney, Julie and Marcie's prank goes terribly awry and their friend Liz ends up choking on a jawbreaker in the boot of a car. 

They both involve the notion of Superficial Friends

Considering both Veronica of 'Heathers' and Fern/Vylette of 'Jawbreaker' are new to both the perks and detriments of popularity, they both discover that when you're at the top, genuine friends are few and far between. The protagonists of both of these tales find this out the hard way, and admittedly, the demonstration of the ruthless high school hierarchy in both films is rather similar. 

Both the Victims stand up to their Tormentors

Sure, they may be in drastically different circumstances, but there's no doubt that both of these girls who have fallen victim to the popular crowd grow a backbone and fight back. In 'Heathers', Veronica manages to stand up to leader Heather Chandler after attending a Remington college party that doesn't go according to plan (before, you know, she ends up killing her), and Julie in 'Jawbreaker' confronts Courtney a number of times over her seriously messed up morals. 

They both deal with the fact that High School and Teenagers Suck

Like any good angsty teen comedy, these movies don't shy away from the fact that high school's no walk in the park. It's all about assignments and pressure and worst of all, social hierarchy. 'Heathers' deals with the perception of teenagers in society, while 'Jawbreaker' hones in on the damage of cliques. Although they tackle the issue in slightly different ways, they're really both just making apparent that being a teenager and going to high school really isn't fun. At all. Ever. 

Both Group Leaders undergo their Demise in the end

Admittedly, in 'Heathers', the demise of Heather Chandler in the form of her death may be a little extreme, but there's no doubting that she was a major dictator deserving of some retribution (plus it sure does make the movie a whole lot more memorable). However, the revenge extracted upon Courtney at the end of 'Jawbreaker' is definitely not too harsh (or possibly, not harsh enough), as she is simply recognised as Liz's killer and humiliated in front of the student body. 


One involves a Murder Spree, while the other Stops at Just One

In 'Heathers', after Veronica and J.D accidentally kill Heather Chandler, they don't just stop there. As a result of J.D's deception, they end up murdering homophobic, dimwitted football players Ram and Kurt as well and make it look like a joint suicide against an 'un-understanding world' and their hesitance to accept the boys' 'forbidden love'. On the other hand, in 'Jawbreaker' after the accidental murder of their friend Liz, Courtney, Marcie and Julie focus on covering up what they've done rather than killing anyone else.

One involves a Love Story, while the other Doesn't

Sure it may be pretty sick and twisted, but there's no doubting that there's a significant element of romance prevalent in 'Heathers'. The villainous power couple are very 'Bonnie and Clyde'-esque, and despite the fact that it's a complete disaster, Veronica and J.D's relationship is one of the central points of the movie. However, in 'Jawbreaker', no such love story of epic proportions is incorporated. 

One focusses on Reinvention, while the other Doesn't 

In 'Jawbreaker', there's one of those quintessential teen movie makeover montages, in which we see nerdy Fern Mayo transform into popular it-girl 'Vylette'. While Veronica in 'Heathers' is familiar with what it's like to be out of the public eye, she was never in need of a major transformation (or if she was, we didn't see it in the movie). 

One heavily hones in on the Mean Girl, while the other only brushes over it

In 'Jawbreaker', throughout the course of the movie, we become very familiar with leader of the 'Flawless Four' Courtney Shayne, and learn all about her superiority complex and seriously questionable morality. Whereas, in 'Heathers', although this element is explored through both Heather Chandler and Heather Duke, the film mainly focusses on Veronica and J.D and their murderous rampage. 

They're clearly Made and Set in different Decades

You may not think that the decade in which a movie is made has that much of an effect on the finished product, however it really does. The clothing, the terminology, the references, it all clearly puts a time stamp on a film. In 'Heathers', it's clear not only by the big hair and shoulder pads, but in a few of the one-liners that it is most definitely an 80's film. 'Jawbreaker' is also defined by its decade, however everything is so clearly 90's, which you can determine by taking a look at all of the fashion and décor. 

That's now officially the end of my comparison between cult classics 'Heathers' and 'Jawbreaker'. In conclusion, I think it's fair to say that although the two films have quite a bit in common, they are still their own separate entities and definitely incorporate different themes and messages. Also, just between you and me, I definitely prefer 'Heathers' to 'Jawbreaker', but hey, that's just me. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Coolest Food Mash-Ups

Hello again and welcome back blogosphere! I apologise for my brief hiatus, but unfortunately life and exams managed to get in the way of my blogging endeavours. However, this is no longer a problem, as my exam block is officially complete and the holidays are occurring at present! I can't even possibly begin to express to you how excited I am about finally being free, and to celebrate this, I thought why not list some of my favourite, mashed-up foods? I have to admit, this idea didn't just come out of nowhere, it was inspired by the elusive 'cronut'. After several months of pondering how exactly this dessert came to be, I finally tried my first one recently, and can I just say, it was a momentous occasion which is definitely deserving of a shout out. What other weird and wacky food mash-ups have people managed to create? You'll just have to read on and find out.

Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

You wouldn't think that this would be a thing, but luckily my friends, it is. What exactly is it? Well it pretty much solely consists of some beef, cheese, mushroom soup and french fries chucked into one super fancy casserole. For vegetarians such as I this may only ever be a fantasy and never become a reality, however even I can recognise the awesomeness of this dish. Would it be vaguely healthy? Not in the slightest. But let's face it, all of the best foods aren't. Because I'm the best, you can check out the recipe here

Hazelnut Crème Brûlée Cupcakes

There's no doubting that these seem like one of the best things ever. As soon as I came across these, I knew that I had to incorporate them into a blog post somehow. How exactly do they work? Grab an ordinary cupcake, chuck in some hazelnut essence, vanilla buttercream frosting, a splash of liquor and bam, you've got these inventive french delicacies! If you're not lured by now, I actually think there's something wrong with you. Give them a go yourself with the recipe found here

Oreos Baked Inside Cookies

I don't think there's anyone who doesn't love or at least greatly appreciate the chocolaty goodness contained in the magical Oreo biscuit. So when these brown, circular sandwiches of joy are lodged inside comforting, traditional cookies we know and love, life really just can't get any better than that. Low and behold, these wondrous mash-ups of yum do indeed exist. How can you go about concocting some for yourself? Check out the recipe here and indulge.

Spaghetti Bread

I don't know how many of you are carb fans, but if you're not, I think I can make up for it. Carbs are my jam (food pun intended), because really, what in the world is better than pasta? Nothing, that's what. So when you mix spaghetti with bread's fluffy goodness, guaranteed happiness must ensue for both you and your stomach. Worried about the health detriments? You're on the wrong page. If it's really bugging you, just throw a Michael Cera and play dumb. 

Or just simply come to the conclusion that life's too short for diets and grab the recipe here.

Sushi Cake

Yes, this my friends is indeed a concept that has come to be. Unleash your desire for all that is Japanese and dig into this awesome fusion between sushi and cake. No, this is not some kind of horrendous attempt at a fishy dessert (see what I did there?), but really just copious amounts of sushi melded into the shape of a cake, because, why not? Become the iron chef and try creating this dish for yourself using this recipe. Come on, you know you want to.

So that's now the end of my hunger inducing post. I hope I've inspired you to start whipping up some untraditional, totally cray dishes, and while you're at it, be sure to send any and all leftovers to me. Til' next time . . .

Annabel xx