You may have noticed I’m about 3 days late with this post. I spent last week baking up a storm, having way too much with my new doughnuts pans, and then dashed off to England to spend some much-needed time with my cute munchkin of a nephew and my sister’s unbearably adorable Alaskan Malamute. (And my mum and sister, obv. But dogs and toddlers first. #priorities)
Priorities. It’s a big learning experience for me, right now. As I get older I find there are more and more things that I “need” to do, and my daily to-do list just gets longer and longer. I have a daily to do list, a weekly one, then a monthly goals list and finally a yearly goals list, which I updated on New Year’s Day. These goals and tasks on my lists range from the fairly mundane – get my favourite pair of shoes reheeled – to the more ambitious – visit Iceland next year – but they don’t even include all the other daily little ‘must do’s like laundry, feeding the cat, etc.
But there’s one thing I always forget to ‘schedule’. DOING NOTHING.
I feel strangely guilty wanting ‘doing nothing’ time, but a few emotional breakdowns have opened up my eyes to the reality that I sometimes need to do nothing. To watch a film without trying to translate my ebook at the same time, with the laptop precariously balanced on my knees and me reaching over the cat curled up in my lap to type away without disturbing him. Or to bake a cake without catching up on the latest TV series because that’s the only way I’m going to get to do both that week and still complete all my chores. It’s undeniable – I’ve fallen into the productive woman trap yet again.
Working 9-5.30 doesn’t leave you a whole lot of time to do what you want. And I’m lucky, because I live a ten minute walk from work and have my whole weekends free. I get a very satisfactory amount of annual leave days. I feel like I’m making the most of my life, as much as I can, but still there doesn’t seem to be enough time. I don’t know if that’s because we live in a world where we are so over-stimulated with the endless possibilities of aspirations that we can never accomplish in one lifetime, or because I’m putting that pressure on myself to prove myself (to whom??), or because women in general tend to be under pressure to do so much and be so many things all at once. I don’t know where this manic habit of multitasking comes from, but if it’s already this bad when I’m single in my early twenties, how the hell am I going to cope when I’ve got a husband, a baby and a dog someday? (The cat takes care of himself, mostly. Thankfully.)
There’s this woman I follow on Tumblr. She’s about my age, working full-time, published author with 2 more book deadlines this year, just joined a tennis club and runs on a regular basis, keeps up a busy social life and somehow manages to be in a loving long-term relationship with her boyfriend. I read her blog and think to myself “How does she have time to BREATHE?!” Every minute of her every day is so carefully scheduled to meet all her deadlines, personal and professional. If it were me, much as I love a good to-do list, I think I would crumble to the floor, curl up in fetal position and weep.
I’ve so often read the line “You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce” and I think it’s just bullshit. Of course I do – but I don’t have a whole team of expert organisers and project managers behind me like she does. I’ve only got me. I’ve also heard that your twenties are your hustling years – the years where you work hard to get your shit together so that you’re not in the shit in your thirties. And I think that’s true – but I think it’s also borderline maniacal. People like to talk about balance these days, especially in terms of women’s wellbeing and lifestyle, but I think very few people (and certainly not me) know what that really means. What I do know is that you don’t achieve balance by having a to-do list as long as your forearm.
Prioritise. “(v) Designate or treat (something) as being very or most important.”*
I’m slowly learning to figure out what that means for me. Last weekend, it was way more important for me to spend as much time cuddling my nephew and my sister’s dog as humanly possibly in the span of 48 hours than it was to get this blog post up on time.
Peanut Butter Swirl White Chocolate Blondies
- 250g (1+ 2/3) cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g (1/2 cup) white sugar
- 1 mashed banana
- 125g (1/2 cup) vegan butter
- 250ml (1 cup) soy milk
- 2 generous tbsp runny peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g (1.75 oz) dairy-free white chocolate buttons/chips
- 1 very, very generous tbsp peanut butter for drizzling over the top
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Line an 20 x 30cm (8 x 11 inches) rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
- Melt the vegan butter, either for about 30 seconds in the microwave oven or in a small saucepan on the hob. Add the runny peanut butter and stir until combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the mashed banana and whisk in the soy milk, vanilla extract and melted butter and peanut butter.
- Fold in the dry ingredients. There should be no lumps remaining, but take care not to over mix the batter as this will cause it to toughen up.
- Pour the batter into the lined cake tin. Drizzle the runny peanut butter over the top, then swirl it in with the tip of a teaspoon. (Peanut butter addicts, feel free to drizzle a little extra.) Scatter the white chocolate buttons over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing 20 blondies. Serve immediately or keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Bless you if you made it through this long ass post.
Did you like this post + recipe? Then sign up for email updates and receive my free ebook, 5 Recipes For A Fabulous Weekend!
Love and cookies,