Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist

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Photo of the Week: Unattended Children

This was on the wall at one of the local restaurants, and I found it amusing. In a kind of steal-your-children way. ;)

It’s been a busy week for me, and continues to be so, so this will probably be my last post for until I can see an opening for another.



7 Quick Takes – A Pinup Wishlist

Don’t you find it frustrating when you plan to write a post or reblog something and you don’t even give your blog a glance on the day? I mean, even this is two days late this week… *sigh* With my swing dance, uni, and [sometimes unsuccessful] writing commitments, I have been finding more and more lately I have not had the motivation to do a blog post, or even sort out a reblog of one of the many fantastic blogs I read and partake of.

seven quick takes friday 2


So for this week’s Quick Takes, I’m going to do something different, as I have to rush off to a friend’s afternoon garden party. I’ve recently been really inspired by vintage fashion and repro[duction] clothes, and so I have a kind of ‘wishlist’ for pieces that I’d wear. (And can’t currently afford because I am a poor student).


I may slightly be fixated with cherry print vintage. I love it to pieces. This pencil skirt is different from the usual cherry print dress, and I’d like to mix up my pencil skirts from my current situation of just black.

Lisa skirt by LindyBop. I haven’t worm any LindyBop before, but a friend recently got a LindyBop dress that she loves the quality and fit of, and I’m eager to share her love of the company.

Lisa Cherry Pencil Wiggle Skirt | Vintage Inspired Fashion - Lindy Bop [wantsies]:


Look at how yellow this is! I love the cute addition of pockets as well. It’s a swing dress in cut, but with a studious twist to be able to use in day-to-day business.

Dee Dee dress by PinUp Girl Clothing

Dee Dee Dress in Pastel Yellow and White Pin Dots [wantsies!]


Is there anything cuter than a Christmas jumper? I mean, I’ve never been a huge fan of Christmas jumpers because they’re seasonal and get forgotten about, but this reindeer in profile along with the sturdy Christmas brown makes this jumper onto my wishlist.

Chrissie Deer Jumper by CollectIf. I love CollectIf, so no arguments here!

CollectIf Chrissie Deer Jumper [so cute! Wantsies]


I do like a tulle underlayer or two on my swing dresses – keeps me warm whilst walking to and from classes and events in wintertimes, and negates the need for a petticoat (though, one could wear one if one felt so) – and the use of mesh on the shoulders gives this dress the perfect vintage edge.

The Garden State dress in Mint Green by Unique Vintage is all kinds of adorable, and it’s similar to a dress I’ve bought recently in cut/fit, so I know that my figure suits these kinds of fuller swing dresses. Even if it is on the pricier side…


Of course, every outfit deserves some lovely pinup heels to match, with heels short enough to dance in, but high enough to be classy.

These are the red t-strap heels by Chie Mihara, and I love the hint of circus in the beading-effect. Though, I’d never buy them for the price! I just think they are nice for looking at.

Red T-strap heels [wantsies]:


I’m hoping to do more reviews of vintage and repro clothing on the blog, as they’re easy and quick for me to do with my now hectic life! Plus, I love to share how vintage fashion can be worn. I have an entire Pinterest board for vintage clothing and the like—in which slips a dollop of Downton Abbey, because why not? For more information on Swing Dancing, see my society’s website.

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Chilli Sweet Potato Fishcakes

The great thing about fishcakes is that their integral recipe and cooking is the same, but one can experiment with different fish and different spices or veg to get completely different flavours and a dish to suit many palates. Because sweet potato is a warm, flavoursome starch anyway, it pairs well with medium-heat chillies that don’t overpower the soothing flavours of the potato. Plus, sweet potato is filled with nutritional vitamins, so it can be perfect for young mouths that have a picky side. (I should know!)



Two Haddock fillets

One large red chilli of medium heat

An onion

One sweet potato

An egg

Plain flour (for dusting)

Pepper (and salt if desired) for seasoning



Cut the sweet potato into even-sized chunks of medium size. Bring a half-filled pot of water to the boil. When the water is boiling, cook the sweet potato chunks for about 2 – 4 minutes to soften them.

Rub the haddock (both sides) with pepper and/or salt and/or a light seasoning of your choice. Stronger spices like turmeric or cumin might add too many flavours to the fishcakes, so I kept from adding anything more.

Put the fish into a colander and cover with foil. I used pre-smoked haddock for an additional layer of flavour, but any haddock would work here. Turn the heat in the pot down and heat the fish over the sweet potato for 8 – 10 minutes or until both the fish and the potato are cooked. Once cooked, remove the fish from the colander and set them aside; and drain the potatoes in the colander, then return the potatoes to the pot and leave them to steam dry for a minute.

Mash the sweet potato in a bowl. Now some recipes encourage mashing around the sides of the bowl to help the mash cool, but I found that moving the potatoes and fish from bowl to bowl was enough to help it cool, so I could mash straight away.

Remove any skin from the fish and flake it into the mash. With a dash more pepper/chosen light seasoning, start to mix the fish and the potato together.

Dice the onion and the chilli, and fry together in a pan for about four minutes, or until the onion is browned and fragrant. Put the pan aside to cool. If the onions and chilli don’t cool, there is no issue but with the possibility of them being too hot to handle when hand-mixing/folding the fishcake mixtures.

Once cool or when ready, add the onions and the chilli into the bowl fishcake mixture. Crack an egg into the mixture. This acts as a binding agent for the fishcakes. I suspect it could be left out, particularly with the softness the sweet potato gives to the cakes, but you might be left with crumblier mixture. Then by hand mix the fishcake ingredients, making sure all ingredients are folded in. Have fun doing this. ;) You will get messy hands.

Mould the fishcakes into flattened spheres of about two cm thick. I dusted a plate with flour and dusted both sides of the fishcakes individually. I believe this helps the final browning, but is by no means necessary to the fishcakes. Transfer to an oiled frying pan to cook. For efficiency, I used the same pan in which I fried my onions earlier. Now I managed to fit all of my fishcakes in a medium-large sized frying pan. I didn’t plan for my mixture to make four, but since it did, I wanted to be able to fry them altogether to save me time. However, if you have the time, I wouldn’t recommend this, particular for thicker fishcakes, as it is difficult to flip them or check sides when the cakes are rubbing shoulders.

Cook until each side of the fishcakes are browned, and serve immediately on a bed of salad. Or wait until they are cool and freeze/refrigerate until later.

Enjoy! ^_^

Doesn't look very glamorous, but it was certainly yummy.

Doesn’t look very glamorous, but it was certainly yummy.

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7 Quick Takes – The World Continues Turning

I may be a day late for the Friday Quick Takes, but I thought I ought to add something in this blog of a weekly writing update around the reblogs and photos of the week I’ve been placing down.


Wow, what a week it’s been. Hard to believe that this time last week I was in Lincoln for the big annual Steampunk festival and Lady Chronaire was cosplay Upgrade from Steam Powered Giraffe for the Saturday occasions. I had a lot of fun, though there were so many things I missed. The intimate problem with large conventions.

At the Empire Ball on the Sunday evening

At the Empire Ball on the Sunday evening


In my headspace at the moment, I don’t know, realistically, if I’ll be able to write a summary of this year’s Lincoln Asylum – particularly as there were more days than last year – but I had a lot of fun and did a lot of things. Seriously, I think I am still trying to declutter my head after all the events and talks.

Ooh, can I keep him? ^_^ <3 (Th Boyfriend dressed for the Empire Ball)

Ooh, can I keep him? ^_^ <3
(Th Boyfriend dressed for the Empire Ball)


I think part of what has inspired me to keep writing, to press on, and to hope more than ever, were the writing talks I went to in Lincoln. Three, in fact. I decided to skip the descriptive competition, as I did that last year and it would’ve taken the place of two hours on the timetable. Besides which, by Sunday, I was exhausted and socially overwhelmed that I don’t think I would’ve been able to do it.

My friend cosplaying as Rabbit from Steam Powered Giraffe

My friend cosplaying as Rabbit from Steam Powered Giraffe. Plus GG plush.


I met a bunch of fellow Steampunk writers in Lincoln [ie. the published ones] – Steve Turnbull, Ceri-Leigh Harper, Raven Dane, Rob Harkess, Sam Stone, and others that I’ve probably forgotten (which is my own fault for not taking copious amounts of photos that writers deserve, though I did pinch a few bookmarks ;)).


Writing. With September, I’m getting my working hat back on and finally getting back into the writing groove with Geeky Love. It’s already over wordcount and over the preferred length I would’ve had it, and there are still massive gaps between scenes that need to be connected and scenes written in dual POV that probably have no need of being. I have a lot of work to do before it’s ready.


In this extract, Kazia and Joel have to decide if they want to be a proper couple…

“Yup.” I grinned again, and pushed myself into a more upright position. “Joel, I was also thinking…well.”


“Is this—are we…a thing? An i-item? Together?”

His deer-in-headlights silence was hardly comforting and not a pinch satisfying. Still, I leant back on my haunches, and waited. I’d learnt, through my pitiful years of dating, that it was the waiting that mattered.


It’s been difficult for me to blog lately. Not for want of time – or want of material, for I could get some if I wished – but it’s turning into a chore with negative connotations, and that’s not something I want. I don’t know if I will take an official from-blogging break, but I also cannot guarantee any sort of routine or frequency to my posts.

The lower-classes are out of hand!

Those lower-classes are out of hand!

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Steaming Fourward ;)

Hahaha, puns. :P

The new, fourth Steam Powered Giraffe album, The Vice Quadrant, is out soon. We only have to wait until the beginning of September. I am excited, looking forward to it! However, what was even more exciting was when, this morning, they released one of the tracks from the album as a single:

Soliton. (One gets to learn a new word as one goes!)

Beautiful, no? The space opera is going to be massive, and I’m surprised how light this particular song is, if one compares it to the album release-date preview of the single Space and Technology, which is straight out of an 80s TV show intro*.

Support Steam Powered Giraffe. They are an independent band, and, though popular, do live off their album and live show sales. It’s great to see teasers like this, but it takes them a lot of time—and it’s incredible the time and effort they put into all their work and acting, and bands like these – with talent – need to continue to exist, otherwise one gets stuck in a world of popular, autotuned music.

*This is a compliment. ;)

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Alexandrina Brant:

Another Quote of the Day from independent author Trish Marie Dawson. For me, this exemplifies the life of a writer: all ideas swarming and we have to think of which to give precedent, and there are all the problems that automatically come with marketing and social media, et cetera. Being a writer is tough, but it’s not tougher than us; and we try again.

Originally posted on TRISH MARIE DAWSON:


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7 Quick Takes About Contemplating Consciousness, Birthday Business, and Anticipating Arrivals

Oh, look ^^ alphabetic alliteration. :P Another Friday has crept upon me, but I am glad it is the end of the week. 7 Quick Takes is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum, and you can see the rest of the blog-hop participants there.

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo


Exams: 2 down, 3 to go.


General poll for anyway passing who has an opinion: what is consciousness and how does it link to the concept of the mind?

Philosophy of Mind is proving a trickier module to revise, as I find myself falling into contemplation at every little question of the state of consciousness and how it ties into the actual question most philosophers are asking of whether and how the mind (or the mental) and brain (or the physical) are linked. I actually finally got myself to settle by asking my neighbour, who studies Systems Engineering and Cybernetics, and he gave me a satisfyingly empirical-evidence based answer that also involved squids. That will do nicely.

For now at least.


In Chamber Choir, we are cracking through Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C. Yesterday was quite a testing rehearsal for me, though, as I wasn’t on the game and got called out for at least three faults – and not even on the movement I didn’t know and was sight-reading on the spot. With my mental condition, it is moments like those that shock my confidence, which is only just beginning to revive me. I keep telling myself that others’ reassurance is irrelevant to how I view my singing, but after years of bullying for being a singer, I feel like I need to hide behind a crowd, rather than indulge my desires to be soloistic.


The Coronation Mass, as it is so elegant and summery. My personal favourite movement is the fourth, the Sanctus. I seem to have a soft spot for Sanctus movements in big choral pieces.



For my birthday week, I’ve actually not being doing that much. Revision as a priority, and then I joined the rest of the Swing Dance committee for a few drinks after our Weds lesson, as it coincided with my birthday. It was nice, and I wouldn’t really have wanted to do much in any case. I am 20, and it is inconsequential.


The Boyfriend is joining me this weekend – squee – and we’re attending a Swing Dance workshop focusing on footwork and British Collegiate style variations. It’s an all-afternoon thing, so I’m a little nervous, but it should be a fun break, as I know most of the other attendees. *looks to the sky* I will leave my room! :P


I’m also doing a really mature thing and cooking dinner tonight. I have a frittata recipe I tested out (for one) last week, and it worked pretty nicely. I will be tweaking the recipe when I do it for two, but I reckon I can come up with something nice either way. Fingers crossed! I think one of the biggest misconceptions about university students is that we are always low on food (I always have too much food) and (okay, two biggest misconceptions) that we somehow fail at cooking or don’t like it. I definitely fall into the contrary of that.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!


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