Make pancakes, not war – Housemate bonding on Shrove Tuesday

Pancake day for housemate bondingThat’s right kids – we’re coming up to Pancake Day (Tuesday 17th February 2015), or more correctly: Shrove Tuesday. Pretty much the only day of the year you can justify eating a whole dinner incorporating just desserts and puddings. Being such a cheap and fun to make dish, pancakes also offer the perfect opportunity for you to bond with your fellow housemates.

You may or may not know that Shrove Tuesday started back in, well, no one actually really knows for sure, but is believed to originally be a Pagan holiday. Shrove Tuesday (coming from the word “shrive” meaning to confess) is a moveable date determined by Easter. It coincides with the French festival: Mardi Gras (meaning Fat Tuesday) when everyone eats lots of rich and fatty foods before beginning lent, on Ash Wednesday.

But enough of the history lessons, time to get talking yummy, delicious and oh so tasty pancake batter recipes. Check out our easy peasy and super tasty pancake recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 100g of plain flour
  • Two eggs
  • 300ml of semi skimmed milk
  • Tablespoon of oil / 50g of butter
  • Extra excitement – add blueberries / coconut / cinnamon / choc chips or other delicious pancake mix ins like bacon, orange zest or even gingerbread

(for approx 4- 5 big pancakes)

Method:

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
2. Heat the frying pan and add a drop of oil
3. Pour on the mixture until it covers the pan evenly
4. Flip the pancake once air bubbles appear
5. Serve it with your choice of epic topping (see below)

Topping inspirations:

  • You can’t go wrong with the classic lemon and sugar – best to use fresh lemons and fine caster sugar for melt in your mouth heaven
  • Another classic is nutella (with or without healthy fruit: bananas / strawberries) – a chocoholics dream come true
  • Bacon, scrambled eggs and maple syrup – for the American favourite pancake breakfast
  • Blueberries, yogurt and honey – the health freak’s perfect pancake accompaniment
  • Cheese and ham – if you or your flatmates fancy a bit of savoury goodness before tucking into more sweeter topped pancakes
  • Go wild and play around with other ideas – parma ham and asparagus or make pancake burgers!

Pancake competition, fun and games

With tasty pancakes comes the opportunity for some friendly flatmate competitive fun and games:

  • Pancake flipping: height – get your housemates together and see who can flip the pancake the highest without dropping it or getting it stuck on the ceiling (btw the world record for highest pancake flip is 9.47 metres)!
  • Pancake flipping: number – how many full flips of the pancake can each of your housemates get within a minute?
  • Pancake flipping assault course – lay out an assault course around your flat or nearest park and see who / which team can get around the course in the fastest time ensuring flipping happens continuously.
  • Pancake eating competition – how many pancakes can you eat in a set time (WARNING: this could have the unintended consequence of falling out of love with pancakes if you make yourself sick)

Image courtesy of Jamieanne, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Valentines Day – How to free up your house

Valentines day dinner in without the flatmatesValentines Day. It’s a magical day. Sure, restaurants put their prices up, B&Bs sellout, and flights to romantic destinations become increasingly harder to find, but hey – what are you doing to do? It’s Valentines Day. You’re at the mercury of the stars.

Wrong. Because, instead of splitting a disappointing pizza at Jamie’s Italian, you can romance up your flat kitchen, cook something indulgent, share some wine, listen to music that you actually like, and save yourself about £100. A Valentines at home is the best AND the most romantic of all.  If you don’t believe us, check out these great offers:

Just one problem – those pesky flatmates. But fear not! WDMM has got some top tips regarding how to get rid of them and thus freeing up your love shack.

1) Give them £15 to leave

Now, we’re the first to admit that, if you’re staying home on Valentines Day to save cash, this isn’t the best solution. But £15 is roughly enough to buy yourself 3 pints and some chips, so it means your roomies will be gone most of the evening.

2) Drop a lot of hints

Ahhh hint dropping – something we all love to do. Try these. “Yeah the restaurant I wanted to go to is full, I wish we could just stay in and cook here.” “What are you doing for Valentines Day? We’re thinking of staying in…” “Shotgun the house tonight. Get out.” Yes – lovely subtle hints.

3) Force an argument

This could backfire. The repercussions could be far more severe. But, if you’re desperate, just start freaking out at your housemates about never getting any time to yourself and constantly having to watch their shit on telly and they’ll soon get the picture.

4) Tell them you’re sick

We all know that in flatshares, when one person gets sick, everyone gets sick. Tell your flatemates you’re feeling “all bunged up” and they’re soon scatter. For added effectiveness, start coughing and acting as if your sick a few days prior.

5) Just ask them nicely

Most people are pretty reasonable. If they say “ahhh I was thinking on staying in” then leave it to fate with a simple game of heads or tails.

Image courtesy of Andy Rennie, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

New year, new home

New year new home before afterIt’s a common theme – the New Year sets in, we’ve failed miserably at Dry January and we turn our thoughts to some (perhaps more realistic…) goals we’d like to achieve. Unsurprisingly, along with changing jobs, moving into a new place is high up on the list for a lot of us. The reasons vary; we want new flatmates, a new city, go it alone or even just upgrade apartments. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of moving to a city penthouse complete with a hot tub on the terrace, but is it always a good idea?

Should I stay?

First up, as always, crunch some numbers. Even if you can afford your new rent don’t forget that moving costs and Estate Agents’ admin fees can really stack up and often make moving prohibitively expensive.

Knowing that you’re eventually going to have to move out means we can sometimes cut our nose to spite our face when it comes to looking after our rented accommodation. But with a little cleaning, TLC and a few quid invested, you could probably make your place a whole lot more homely and get a lot more out of your current flat. Great landlords are out there and, whilst some are strict about how you treat their property, it’s always worth asking whether creative license is granted. It’s amazing what a newly painted room can do and it doesn’t have to cost more than a couple of bribery pizzas for your flatmates! Hanging art and pictures can also be easier than you think thanks to damage-free picture hooks. If you’re lucky enough to have any outside space make the most of it – you can take pots with you if you move and it’ll brighten up those summer BBQs.

Or should I go?

If you’re sure it’s time to get out – do your research. Want to move to a particular part of town but can’t stomach the rent? Look outside the postcode; very often apartments a couple of streets on the other side of a high street can cost less.

Agents’ fees are considerable and advertising rules covering letting agent fees in the UK mean they must be displayed in advance so you should know what you’re expected to pay before you even pick up the phone to the agent. Don’t forget that these fees can be negotiated. Saving money on rent can mean increased costs elsewhere so make sure you factor in any changes in travel costs.

Finally, make sure you meet any potential new housemates before moving in with them. Deciding to move out of your noisy six-person house share can appeal, but moving into a small flat with one other you don’t get along with can be a whole lot worse…

Image courtesy of Hey Paul Studios, licensed under CC BY 2.0.