The Girl with the Daffodil Tattoo

A Welsh girl let loose in a wild world

Amanda Palmer – Judy Blume


Nigella’s Brownies :)

Original recipe with only Amurican measurements here.


  • 300g unsalted butter (I bought salted so used that instead and omitted the salt)
  • 340g best-quality bittersweet chocolate (I used 2 big bars of Spanish cooking milk chocolate. Not a big fan of dark)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups superfine sugar (395g)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I didn’t have any in the house)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (265g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate buttons, chips, or morsels
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate buttons, chips or morsels
  • Approximately 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
  • Special equipment: Baking tin (approximately 11 1/4 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches), sides and base lined with baking parchment. (I bought a disposable cooking tray, for ease of transport to the party)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (180)

Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a large heavy based pan over a low heat.

In a bowl or large measuring jug, beat the eggs together with the superfine sugar and vanilla extract.

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the white chocolate buttons or chips, and the semisweet chocolate buttons or chips. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for about 25 minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dries to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking on it: the difference between gooey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember, too, that they will continue to cook as they cool.

To serve, cut into squares while still warm and pile up on a large plate, sprinkling with confectioners’ sugar pushed with a teaspoon through a small sieve.


The School of Life

How to Find Meaningful Work


Building better men: how we can begin to redefine masculinity Jaclyn Friedman

The research is very clear: most rapists know they don’t have consent, and they rape an average of six times each. Before Dave told me his story, I thought that meant that most rapists were essentially sociopaths. I worried for a long time that Dave, too, must be a sociopath. But I’ve done a lot of thinking and searching on that idea, and I just don’t think he is. I think he’s a guy who grew up with some very toxic ideas about what it means to be a man.


American men may be enjoying more emotional vulnerability in their superhero stories, but they also elected the living embodiment of toxic masculinity as president. Trump has spent his life defining his manliness in opposition to the women he dominates and degrades. He has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women, including his first wife, Ivana. The men he’s installed into power share his attitudes.

That’s not to say that we should let guys who’ve already offended of the hook in order to tempt them into the light. If you hurt someone, whether or not you mean to, you should face consequences. In fact, consequences can sometimes help facilitate learning.

Whatever he knows now, he still hurt those women, and if any of them decided to hold him accountable for that, I’d support them. So would Dave, for that matter.

He has hardly become a full-time feminist crusader, but he does small things that make a big difference. He refuses to laugh at rape jokes or slut-shaming or anything that reduces women to commodities, and he goes out of his way to explain to other men why these things aren’t funny.

He doesn’t vote for candidates who want to control women’s access to abortion or birth control.

He’s raising his daughter to know that her body is her own.

These are, of course, small victories, less “revolution” and more “baby steps toward basic human decency”.

Instead, hostile sexism plays Mr Hyde to benevolent sexism’s Dr Jekyll, the two of them teaming up to keep women subservient to men’s needs. Benevolent sexism says that real men protect “good women”, who are morally superior angels living on uncomfortably narrow pedestals. It’s a kinder, gentler way to force three-dimensional women into two-dimensional boxes and strip us of our humanity.

Karen BK Chan, a sex and emotional literacy educator, speaks compellingly of the need to teach boys resiliency in the face of sexual rejection. “How might we empathize with a young guy who is balancing masculinity pressures and the desire to show and receive love?” she encourages us to ask. “How can we help him experience bearable rejection instead of unbearable failure?”

Across the country, dozens of programs work with high school and college-age boys to help them rethink what it means to be a man. These programs need to start younger. We need to shift from an intervention mindset – trying to shift young men’s conceptions of masculinity after they’ve already been formed – to a prevention mindset in which we help boys develop healthier ideas about gender to start with.

Research suggests middle school could be an ideal time to inoculate boys against toxic masculinity. Middle school boys’ ability to resist traditional masculine norms is relatively strong, but weakens when they get to high school.

Maine Boys to Men (MBTM), a program that has long worked with high school boys, is developing a curriculum for middle school boys that teaches them to see and sidestep the rigid gender roles they’re already growing into. That’s only part of its shift from being strictly a training program for high school students to becoming a multifaceted program working to transform masculinity at the community level.

The course begins with the “gender box” exercise that’s a hallmark of all MBTM programs. The idea is simple: the group leader draws a big box on the chalkboard, and the boys brainstorm stereotypes of masculinity. All of those go inside the box. Then they discuss what happens if a guy tries to behave in a way that’s not described in the box. Those punishments and threats hover around the outside of the box. The completed visual serves as a jumping off point to discuss how confining traditional masculinity can be and how harmful to both boys and girls, both men and women.

Once they are primed to move beyond the gender box, the course gets the boys up and moving through a series of exercises in which they have to decide what they think about topics related to sexism and violence and debate their opinions with peers. Empathy is the glue that holds together all of the ideas in the course.

As an adult woman, my presence would have inhibited the boys in the middle school program. But MBTM let me check out day two of a two-day program for high school students. The high school programs differ from their middle school work in more than age grouping – the high school group is mixed gender, with a hand-selected bunch of students the school has identified as being leaders or showing leadership potential across a range of social circles, teams, and interests. The idea is to use these teens as a schoolwide vaccine, each inoculating those in their particular spheres of influence.


Lady Bird

On a mission

“so many interests is half the problem”

“reduce what we care about down to just a few very big things”

“ambition: what you want”

“mission: what others need”


In the slang of the town I grew up in, when someone was really intent on something, or something was difficult, you would say mission.

The Advantages of Being ‘just Good Friends’

“In a better world, our most serious goal would not be to locate one special lover with whom to replace all other humans, it would be putting our identity and intelligence into developing a circle of true friends”

How to Become a Better Person

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