Switzerland Lake Internet Friendships

Internal Debate: Fragile Internet Friendships

I am starting to notice a pattern between myself and some of my peers that I feel might be applicable to a lot of us in the 24-29-year-old bracket. We grew up during the dawn of daily internet connection becoming a household thing. (Insert nostalgic comment about the frustrations of dial-up here!) As our minds grew, so too did the ways we could connect with our friends and I wanted to explore this a little.

MINI DISCLAIMER: This is no way reflective of the people I met online and our internet friendships. Some of those are the closest I have and I hope it’s evident that it’s not the aim of my writing to discredit these friendships in any way. This may apply to other age groups too, however, I am writing from my experience.

Writing into the Ether Internet Friendships Communication Connections

Photography by Geoffrey Schild

So what does this mean?

Through text message, AOL, MSN messenger (RIP) and so many other mediums we could get a person to answer any message at any time. A fluid and consistent influx of messages from huge amounts of tenuously linked internet friendships. It made us feel safe in the knowledge that our ‘friends’ were always right there in our lives when we needed to call upon them.

We, in this age group, are now experiencing our first look at REAL adulthood. I’m not talking about University where you think you’re an adult because you don’t live in your parents’ house but you have a huge amount of hours to kill. I mean the ironed-shirt-wearing, thinking about the ‘next step’, “holy effing S this is scary!” beginning of adulthood.

We get less and less free time and yet we still feel we need to preserve those connections with others. Many of us try to maintain those ever-present online attachments we could always control to fill that gap. We reach out through meaningless likes and narcissistic “look what I am doing” posts to maintain those bitterly dying relationships.

Lora Zombie Amazing Space Print

Expand Your Universe by Lora Zombie (one of my favourite artists) – I would love to own ALL of her space prints.

What does this mean for me?

I didn’t realise this but I felt anxious following this need for a response. When people read and don’t reply there is sometimes a niggling feeling that there was something I’d done to cause it. I shared this feeling with a number of my peers who told me they felt almost a compulsion to keep these online connections going even when they were destructive to their “real-life” relationships.

This compulsion meant that I never really spent time concentrating on the people who were actually present. I was always trying to keep these ties with people that just couldn’t make the time to spend with me in person.

So what did I do about it?

In 2015/16, I got so low that I decided I had to do something about it. I cut myself off from tech and tried to refocus my energy on people and things that really mattered. It helped me to live a little more in the moment and sever those fragile ties between myself and the idea of extended ‘friendship’.

Dracula's House

If you need me I’ll be in my tower.

I kicked these feelings by having tech free days, having a phone/internet ban on nights out, and sometimes just taking a step back and questioning why I really feel this way and whether I’m being too sensitive. Now I feel I have a close few who deserve my full time and energy and my network of casual friends whom I have a history with.

It’s fine to not maintain closeness to everyone you used to be close to. It’s not even about changing as people don’t really change all that much, they just get different priorities. But that’s okay!

I’d love to know, Reader, if you also feel this way sometimes?
Does this affect you?

Amy

Further reading: The Challenge of Cyber Culture which, amongst other things discusses the psyches of children of the digital age. 

Space Cheesecake

A Geek’s Guide: Space Cheesecake

So I’m not exactly a culinary legend…

…but I’m not scared to give anything a go! So when I saw there was a trend online for making unicorn related cakes, I thought… why not adapt it and make a Space Cheesecake? The recipe I mostly adapted from used American pre-made bases, so I thought I’d go British and go for a traditional buttery biscuit base! I got some advice from my older and wiser colleagues who know about these kinds of things, and got to work!

Disclaimer: I cannot (!) make anything without trashing the kitchen… But I just like to think the mess is a reflection of how much fun I had making the thing!

Ignition sequence start…

So first of all, the ingredients. As you can see all of my core ingredients are from Tesco but there are other places to get these things!

 

100g butter
200g digestive biscuits
500g (or about 2 tubs of soft cheese)
200g sugar
250ml heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla essence
White or silver sprinkles
Food Colourings 

Just a note: it’s best to use gel colours as they’re much better than your normal runny ones. I bought mine here.
You’ll also need an electric whisk!

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before…

The original recipe used a pre-bought Graham-cracker base but I am not American (nor lazy!) so for mine, I ended up crushing up 2 parts digestive biscuits to 1 part melted butter.

I crushed the biscuits by using the end of a rolling pin in a bowl (they break up super easily). I then melted the butter in a pan and combined them.

Then I laid the biscuit crumbs into a well-buttered tin (mine was a cake tin with a removable base) and pushed down with the flat of a spoon to make sure the base was nice and firm.

Space Cheesecake Buttery Biscuit Base

Commencing countdown, engines on…

Next, I used an electric whisk to blitz together the soft cheese and sugar, and then once it was combined, chucked in the cream and then continued to whisk until there were “Stiff peaks“. Now, I hadn’t done this before and thought… how will I know when it’s done that? But trust me – you’ll know! At this point, add the vanilla extract and mix in.

 Vanilla Essence Space Cheesecake
 Space Cheesecake Whipping Cream Stiff Peaks

Failure is not an option…

Next, I separated this mix into 3 bowls so I could add the gel colours. I opted for blue, purple and pink (something wasn’t quite right about a black cheesecake…)

I didn’t want to compromise the flavour of the space cheesecake by adding too much colouring, so I didn’t go too brave and make it really dark… but the colours still worked really well!

Splodge all the mixture into small alternating dollops (technical terms…) onto the top of the base at random, and then marble them by swirling around with a chopstick.

Space Cheesecake Cream cheese colours

Space Cheesecake Dollops

Space Cheesecake Chopstick

Cake (and grief counselling) will be available at the conclusion of the test…

To finish, I smoothed off the top with a spatula and then scattered my white decorations at random. It needed to then be chilled for 6 hours in the fridge before removing from the tin and Voilà! The space cheesecake was ready to eat, and oh my gosh was it good!

Space Cheesecake Complete

Space Cheesecake Piece

Space Cheesecake Final

So what do you think?!

Until Next Time

Amy

Spanish Sea Salou Overwhelming Thoughts Crashing Waves

Internal Debate: Whose voice is it anyway?

I’ve decided to try out a new post style – the Internal Debate! These will just be “thinking out loud” kind of posts.
So in this post, I’m looking into the voices we use and discussing which is “the true you” – Inner voice, Public voice or Online voice? We all know we speak with different voices to address different people we come into contact with. But which truly represents us?

The Inner Voice

You’ve likely all seen the memes, that inner demon voice! The one who tells you to take another biscuit or pretend to be asleep so you don’t have anyone sit next to you on the train…
The one who secretly loves that “Schadenfreude” feeling when you see someone miss a bus. It’s one of those smug little voices that make you laugh at everyday misfortunes.

Other than these more harmless things, my inner voice tends to demoralise my thoughts.

  • “…but who actually cares…”
  • “… remove that artwork from Facebook – it’s just not good enough!”
  • “…but you’re so insignificant in this world of a billion voices.”

Most of the time I find that I am actually battling against myself to remain positive. I can be really easily triggered into negativity and often my inner voice is so strong that I struggle to stop it from becoming my public voice. Often thanks to my inner voice, I end up saying ridiculous things I don’t mean… Can any of you relate?

In 2016 I actually cut myself off from things I loved – it was a form of self-preservation. I am hoping to take a few more risks now and not be afraid to fail!
It took me a long time to prove (to myself mostly) that you should:

  • Do things because you love them
  • Say things if you feel real passion for the subject
  • Take more risks and not be afraid to fail
  • Not be afraid to write things down even if there’s no-one there to read them.

The Public Voice

The external voice used to address friends, family, people you know and can be yourself around. Ultimately what I would deem to be “me”, as I tend to be quite open and honest with my feelings towards everyone I love. I’d hope that everyone else that I know could feel comfortable enough to do the same. Life is way too short for filtering yourself, putting yourself down or worrying. If you’re speaking with good intentions and thoughts and not hate, then I’d say fire away.

The Online Voice

The voice we use when posting online content. I think this is what this whole post has been leading to. I’ve blogged for a few years now but you’d never know it was me who was writing. On my work blog, I’m a SUPER positive sales-person. My aim is to keep my online voice in this blog as true a reflection of myself as possible.

This could prove to be difficult! It seems the key to successful blogs is to target your readers by changing your writing style to promote yourself as a brand. Often you need to use language that fits with your audience’s demographic. Currently, it’s words like Holla! or Slay! I could go on but basically anything from the Missguided homepage. That’s just not me!

I know I’ve changed my online voice to meet the trends (hence cringing at what I thought was okay to post on Facebook in 2008) but after looking back at my academic blog posts from 2010  it seems my online voice hasn’t changed all that much. So I hope I can maintain that… and I guess let’s just see where this blog leads!

So what do you think? Do you feel how you’re perceived is how you truly are? Is it ever really possible?

Until next time,
Amy

Lake View Switzerland Interlaken