About Willow Wood

A writer with many personalities all trying to be one person.

The Week in Recipes: I swear this isn’t a food blog

I am in fact working on a blog along the lines of: ‘what would a matriarchal society actually look like’ based on my frustration with the game franchise Mass Effect and their lazy alien race the asari. But Life has been busy, full of late night trips on the motorway with ballet tickets won in a raffle, loooooong chats with my agent about my novel, internal crying over my bank account, and trying to do things that are Fun so cracks don’t appear. (The ballet was fun, driving the motorway for the first time ever in the dark on a very windy night was not.)

And basically the easiest thing to talk about is food, because sadly I have to eat to survive and so do you. This week, we themed it with mostly Japanese cuisine, as we have a lot of sauces in the cupboard, making the shop relatively cheap. Here’s some lush dinners:

Tuesday

tuna

Every mouthful had us saying ‘mmmmmmm!’

Soy Tuna and Wasabi Mash

This was a luxury dinner for us, as two tuna steaks cost £13 ($16). But, sweet stars above, it was worth it. I even made the mashed potato from scratch, which I never do, I buy Aunt Bessie’s frozen mash because, sue me, it tastes great. But actually, it was easier than I thought and I added a bit of butter to the mash and maaaybe just a little bit more milk. Nothing is worst than lumpy, dry mashed potato. *shiver* When I cooked the edame pods, I also added salt and mild chilly, which really boosted their flavor. Not a spicy meal, despite the involvement of typically burning ingredients.

Continue reading

The Week in Recipes: gosh I eat out of bowls a lot

Welcome back to cooking with two lazy cheapskates, where cooking can be easy as sneezing, tasty as gourmet, and within budget of a sinking economy. We still haven’t quite grasped a “theme” week, where we taste culinary delights from mostly one part of the world, but we used up everything in the fridge again and had no waste, which is our aim. Not only does waste suck for the environment but also your wallet, both things I want to protect.

SO, let’s get on with it!

Tuesday

Nana’s “Magic” Soup

My soup did not turn out as smooth and creamy as the picture promised, but I think I know why. I make all my soup in a soup maker – the best kitchen appliance I have ever bought – and for the first time I didn’t boil my stock cube before setting it off, which I think definitely makes the vegetables mushy (easy to blend into smoothness) and makes the soup properly piping hot at the end. I also think I’ll use normal coconut milk next time and not ‘light’ coconut milk as instructed, because there will be a next time! Despite not turning out as expected, I still really enjoyed this. A mouthful of tasty flavours that really compliment each other.

Continue reading

All Female Japanese Ghostbusters

Meet Japan’s plus-size model: Naomi Watanabe. She looks like the first person you should take to a party and the one person who’d maybe cheer you up during the apocalypse. Her mission: to break Japanese stereotypes about women being slim and demure.

lipstick model

In fact, she’s done a hell of a lot. Not only is she a model but also a comedian, best known for her Beyoncé impressions (also know as the “Beyoncé of Japan”), she’s a cast member on Japan’s “SNL,” was named one of Vogue Japan’s “women of the year 2016,” and is a judge on X Factor Japan. Finally, she has the most followers on instagram in all of Japan.

But that’s not enough. No. Watanabe has her own clothing line called “Punyus,” which means “chubby” in Japanese.

I’M STILL NOT DONE. She’s also been in an official music collab with Pentatonix. Just for the record: I adore Pentatonix, holy banana peel. She cracks me up.

To top it all off, Watanabe has made a Ghostbusters music video. This lady is on fire and flaming hot.

If you’re in need of cheering up this weekend, I highly recommend checking out her instagram. She looks like so much fun and has certainly brought a smile to my evening.

Getting Published: part five

Rejection. Last update I said I’d applied to a few different agents and, whoop, they said “no thanks.”

BUT GOOD NEWS.

In a burst of despair and a need for closure, I sent an email to Suresh, my prospective but AWOL agent, basically saying, “Are you still working with me on my novel, or do I need to look elsewhere, because crippling self-doubt is eating me alive.”

Feeling emboldened, I contacted the previous managing editor of BigWorldNetwork, Amanda Meuwissen, a very nice lady who I worked under for four years as an associate editor, asking if she would edit my manuscript. I was so touched by her emphatic reply that, yes, she would love to, and that she’d do it for free because I’d edited one of her books for free during my time at BWN. So that put me in a real good mood.

Suresh replied within an hour, apologising for the delay and no update. He said he would read my revised manuscript THAT WEEK and call me for a review. By this point I was just stunned. I’d been so prepared to be turned away. Like, so utterly convinced of rejection that I was a bit out-of-it and deranged for the rest of the night. Two great things within the hour? Inconceivable.

fine-gif

Continue reading

The Week in Recipes 

Cooking has always been a marathon to me. That hurdle run in sports class where I hit the barrier over and could honestly be doing something more productive with my time. But then I discovered Japanese cuisine in my own kitchen, and suddenly, cooking didn’t seem so painful anymore… In fact, it was fast, hilariously easy, and not just tasty but different tasty.

Now, I don’t mind cooking. But only because I share the cooking with my partner and I’m not cooking for myself, otherwise I’d just make a bowl of rice and mix in basil pesto/eat beans on toast forever.

We’re trying to plan our weekly meals, we literally make a basic menu every Tuesday now and shop for the whole week. Whilst I know this isn’t revolutionary, it’s a big leap for me. Cooking is becoming way more adult than I would have believed a couple of years ago. So, I’d like to share those recipes with you.

Welcome to cooking with a student and a poor writer, neither of whom can be arsed with recipes that have more than four steps. Maybe we can help those of you who resonate with that feel. So, here’s what we tried last week:

TUESDAY

smokey bacon

Super Smoky Bacon & Tomato Spaghetti

I didn’t take my own picture of this one, but this is one of Aaron’s favourites. Easy, quick, cheap, and full of flavour. We also make the full quantity as suggested in the recipe – for every recipe, actually – so we can eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Continue reading

If You Say You Don’t Collect, I Won’t Believe You!

I’m pretty sure the majority of us collect something. Ranging from software, hardware, fine china, yards of fabric, pillows, plushies, or books – there’s a collector in all of us. Some people are pretty adamant that they don’t collect anything, but the harder they think, sometimes they start to realise that, actually, oh shit…I Collect A Thing.

cat in trunk by alexas-fotos

Photo by Alexas_Fotos

Collecting is like comfort eating. It’s a pat on the back for hard work, or a general sense of self-gratification. Some of us only collect stuff because we can’t resist a good bargain, so we collect eclectically try saying that ten times fast , others just really like the shape and glow of glass bottles (i.e: myself) and seeing an aesthetic grow in size. Some of us know when “enough glass bottles is enough,” aaaaaand some of us will never get enough.

Continue reading

Martian Language is Already Being Developed!

Nagin Cox is a first-generation Martian. As a spacecraft engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cox works on the team that manages the United States’ rovers on Mars. But working a 9-to-5 on another planet — whose day is 40 minutes longer than Earth’s — has particular, often comical challenges. | Ted Official

Who doesn’t love Ted videos? Not only does Cox have dulcet tones, but I love the way she describes her experience of living like a Martian whilst working on Earth. And yes, the team had to develop their own bits of language. I’m totally going to convince my co-writer that we should use it for Bloodshot Buck…

Body Positive Panda Feelings

As men and women of all ages suffer self-deprecating thoughts about their physical appearance, it’s easy to feel isolated within that self-hatred. Why? Because fat-shaming. We’ve become so used to idealising images of toned celebrities that we try to pretend such physiques don’t require a strict and active lifestyle to not only achieve but also maintain.

We feel isolated because even as some of our friends tell us “it doesn’t matter, love yourself,” a part of us still feels the pressure to be skinny and/or fit. Like we’ll be scorned for coming to terms with a non-super-fit lifestyle and looking chunky, especially when you have an ugly part of society with an internet connection shaming Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl for having a tummy that wobbles slightly. Never mind the fact that it takes a diaphragm of absolute STEEL to sing and dance at the same time.

image

When a family member tells us we’ve put on weight, it tells us that even those we love the most can’t help but project a “better image” onto us. It shows that, deep down, too many people are hung up with achieving Hollywood bodies.

Continue reading

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Worst Wedding Ever

First thing’s first: Dragon Age: Inquisition never happened. The entire plot that should have happened? All in their DLC Trespasser, and I will do a post about that another time. So anyway:

cullenwed

Screenshot from FluffyNinjaLlama’s video

In DLC Trespasser, the Inquisitor gets to marry Cullen Rutherford (or Sera) if he’s been a successful romance option in the “main game.” Not only is it boring and over in literally 30 seconds, but the secrecy was pointless and the whole set-up the worst wedding ever.

Continue reading

Would YOU Fall For Lord Voldemort If…

So, first of all, this amazing fan-made Beauty and the Beast/Harry Potter trailer:

Anything with Emma Watson in will clearly always be a Hermione AU opportunity. I wish I’d never given up video editing as a hobby now, but moreover, it got me thinking about what a hideous relationship this would be.

Bare with.

First of all: no way do I take this video seriously. It just got me thinking, yeah?

What would Voldemort – a pretty 2D evil villain – have to do to be forgivable? Probably impossible, he sought genocide and tortured peeps for fun. If you watch the trailer again, those clips of Voldemort actually showed expressions of vulnerability. It made me think more about how some romance stories look at forgiving someone for terrible sins and helping them to be better.

So if Voldemort stopped killing people and learned the error of his ways, what would you say he’d have to do/change before you’d fall in love with him, despite his track record for murder and torture? Is it even possible for you? It must have happened somewhere in history…

What characters have you forgiven for heinous crimes? At what point could you never forgive a character, despite their depth?

One example from me: I could never forgive Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, who deserves whole posts to talk about why. Short version: even if Cersei suddenly felt truly remorseful for all the people she has murdered and betrayed – or for those her son Jeoffrey tortured and murdered and she pretended not to notice – her cruelty has ruined and obliterated the lives of literally hundreds of people. I feel sick whenever she’s on screen because she enjoys the suffering she’s caused.

She manipulates and abuses those around her, including her own children, her lover/brother, and family. Any flicker of remorse she seems to feel is only when she gets caught. Despite her fantastic depth of motivation and feeling, I don’t think I could forgive her. It would take an intense character shift and a lot of genuine acts of kindness and generosity for me to perhaps forgive Cersei Lannister.

On the flip side, I forgave Regina Mills from Once Upon A Time. Again, a cold, selfish, murderous, and extremely manipulative woman who I loved to despise. But eventually, she embarked on a difficult journey to reform her core self. She remains sarcastic, quick-to-judge, and wildly controlled by her emotions, but as a person, she grew capable of deep internal reflection and struggled hard to be better.

Both of these women share the same motivator: to love, protect, and keep hold of their children. Both are great characters, but one of them I really want dead.

Meet Marc: Creator of Fuzzballs

It’s no secret that cats are my patronus and anything cat-like tends to draw my undivided attention. Fuzzballs are no different. I first bumped into their stand at Comic Con last year and met creator Marc—a lovely individual with a great fluffy creature brand. Ranging from cats to tigers and bunnies, it’s hard to resist the allure of his art.

Eager to know more about his work and to share his talent with others, I’ve a sweet and short interview to give you. Let’s get to it!

tumblr_static_be76t1ht4bw4ks4wwkskkowkg

Continue reading

Getting Published: part four

Last time I updated, I was scraping the barrel of misery in search of a writing epiphany, and I hadn’t met my deadline. The good news: I managed to finish my edits and hand in the new draft of my novel just before Christmas Eve. The bad news: silence.

My novel feels amazing. I feel like I’ve polished up a rusty sports car (no doubt I forgot to replace the bumper or something, but STILL). The villains are uncomfortable and crescendo nicely, the puzzle pieces of the plot click together, the final sentence feels right.

As soon as I sent it off, my prospective agent replied positively, saying he would probably get around to reading it in the first week of January. Whatever the case, he’d let me know when he started reading it. Finally, I could relax for a couple of weeks.

a52a809c459852ff_relax-xxxlarge

Except, the first week of January rolled around…and I heard nothing. The second week came and went. Hesitantly, I sent an email asking when he’d assigned my novel to his reading schedule. He replied saying he’d not long returned from holiday, but he’d update me within the week to let me know.

He did not.

Continue reading

Magical Girls: Internalised Misogyny and Genre Rebirth

Let’s be honest. The ‘magical girl’ trope used to suck when I was a kid, especially when girls are taught to hate themselves because ‘femininity = weakness,’ and gosh are magical-girl-shows ALL ABOUT showy associations of girliness. As such, the magical girl trope only pleased young girls who hadn’t yet learnt to think ‘girliness is a flaw.’ The older a girl got, the more she saw that many magical girls were shaped as vapid creatures obsessed with getting boyfriends or hiding their other life as a pop star, downplaying the fighting and dealing with schoolyard problems. Basically: sitcoms. So it’s no wonder women distanced themselves from ‘magical girls’ to try and preserve their sense of respectability. Until BOOM: Sailor Moon. But let’s build up to that.

a363-1543286731-1411119328

What the heck am I talking about when I link magical girls to internalised misogyny? It’s the act of rejecting women, or yourself, for behaving/looking a certain way. The thing is, to quote everydayfeminism, “it’s not always other people or other genders that are responsible for sexism. Sometimes, it’s actually you.” Women oppress themselves and their peers, known as ‘internalised misogyny’—the act of involuntary perpetuating sexist messages within their societies and culture. Enter stage: the magical girl.

Continue reading

Getting published: part three

I’m procrastinating by writing this post, let me just put that out there. Click here to read part one and part two.

I didn’t make the November 1st deadline. Once I figured out how to fix the big problems of my story, I worked day and night, every day, to meet the target. But hey, I do also have a life. For some reason I’d agreed to host a food party on October 31st. November 1st was also my cousin’s hen party (for whom I was maid of honour). A day later was the wedding. I also had to write a poem to perform during the service of said wedding. A day after that I was going to Norway. EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

I burnt out. I hadn’t had a chance to stop and reread any of my novel, aside from a fresh scene before moving onto the next. Consequently, I felt like I no longer even knew my novel anymore.

bakhvb8

Continue reading

The Saga of Sir Bushytail the Brave — The Red Pen of Doom

This picture was the writing prompt from an earlier post, something I saw on the Book of Face with a caption which went something like this: You swerve to avoid a squirrel. Later, in your hour of greatest need, the same squirrel returns to repay its life debt. It stuck with me. There are squirrels […]

via The Saga of Sir Bushytail the Brave — The Red Pen of Doom

You have to read the rest. It’s short and satisfying.

giphy