Friday, 10 November 2017

Living Without Labels

living without labels

It started when we were in school. You're a plastic, you're an emo, you're a geek, you're a chav and that is the category you will stay in. We might as well have literally been labelled like stock on a shelf, stacked in different isles. We must stay in the isles we belonged and we needed those isles to keep everything organised.

Who did this to us? Who put us in neat little rows on a shelf? Did we do it to ourselves? Are we more comfortable when we know where we belong? All I know is that it is shit and it's something I want us to drop, now.

As you leave school these labels generally tend to get worn out until they fall off and we are just people. Or so we think. Although at university, at work or in general life you wouldn't not be friends with someone because they are in a 'different group than you', we still subconsciously label ourselves and others. 

She's straight, he's gay, she's bisexual, she's gender fluid, he's a Christian, she's a Muslim, she's vegan, he's pescatarian, she's white, he's black, she's Asian, he's American, she's fat, she's thin, he's tall, he's small, until, eventually, we realise that we are laden with multiple labels and for what reason?

I'd love to simplify it. I'd love to not look at someone and wonder which category they fall into. When I'm meeting someone for the first time, I'd love to not slot them into their appropriate categories when I find out more about them to help myself understand whether we would be compatible or not.

Strip everyone of their labels and we are just people. One thing I've learnt writing this blog is that people are crying out to relate to other people. They're made to feel uncomfortable, different or ashamed to do things that either don't comply with other people's expectations or that don't match up to the labels they and society have placed on them.

I have honestly had people say to me that they'd like to start a blog or YouTube but they're worried what people might think. This really does just make me sad that people want to be creative and push the boundaries and shake off their stupid labels to do something different but they're scared because it might not be 'what people expect of them'.

I've also chatted with a couple of people that have said 'what if I'm not good at it?' or 'what if I change my mind and don't like it?'. How on earth are you going to discover something you love doing or are talented at if you don't try it? They are literally scared of people thinking they are strange or can't do something and I feel so passionately that you shouldn't let what other people 'might' (chances are they won't care because they're too busy worrying what people think of them) think.

The point of this post is to encourage you to step out of the box/es you feel confined to and look at yourself as a person who is always learning and growing. When a child is developing, we would never say 'don't try that, you might not be good at it'. We would encourage them to try it and learn whether they like it or not. 

Each day could bring something new and life is too short to 'not try something' because we're scared of shocking people. It's also too short to not want to understand or listen to someone because they have 'different ideas' about something than us. We are still those children and we don't stop learning and developing. Living without labels will only allow us to grow, learn and develop more and just imagine a world where people were like that - I'm pretty sure it would be a better place.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017 / Cambridge. UK

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

This is the first time I have baked with pumpkin. In fact, it's the first time I've ever used pumpkin in anything! I hadn't even tasted it until I baked these goodies last night... and I am so glad I did!

I am obsessed with anything spiced and I think Autumnal baking is the best because of it. The cake itself is so moist and the spices are just perfect mixed with the AMAZING cinnamon cream cheese frosting!

I stole the recipe from Zoella and she also did a really useful video using the recipe too. The recipe makes lots of cakes (24 to be precise) so I ended up bringing lots into work for Halloween and my colleagues loved them as much as I did!

So, let's get cracking:


For the cupcakes, you will need:
280g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
110g butter (softened)
200g caster sugar
5 tablespoons brown soft sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
180ml milk
250g pumpkin, cooked and pureed

For the icing, you will need:
Cinnamon cream cheese icing
200g cream cheese (softened)
50g butter (softened)
350g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and line two muffin trays with cupcake cases.
2. Then, sift together the flour, spices, brown sugar, salt and baking powders into a bowl.
3. In an electric mixer, mix together the butter and sugars until they are incorporated and light and fluffy. Then add in the eggs, one at a time. Then stir in the milk and pumpkin puree (Zoella got her pumpkin from a jar but I used real pumpkin after we had carved them).
4. Then, add the dry ingredients in until it's all mixed in (try not to overmix it).
5. Add the mixture into the cupcake cases and pop them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes (or until they are golden brown).
6. Leave them to cool on a rack.
7. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, you need to make the icing by adding the butter and cream cheese to your mixer and blending until smooth. Then, add the icing sugar a little bit at a time until it is all mixed in. Lastly, add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat until it's thick.
8. When the cupcakes are completely cool, it's time to ice the cakes (the fun part in my eyes)!

You will not regret baking these and, I can honestly say, I am so pleasantly surprised with how a 'pumpkin bake' turned out (as I was a little sceptical)!

Let me know how you get on if you give it a go and I'd love to see your photos so make sure to tag @oliviadedman on Instagram or Twitter!
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