I’ve been mulling over the latest series of Mr Robot, in particular the complicated relationship between Elliot and Tyrell, and I have some theories.

First of all, while there’s no way Elliot could have completely made up Tyrell (there are far too many holes in that theory), I definitely believe he’s ‘glamorized’ him somewhat, and let his imagination fill in some gaps.

Tyrell has too much power

Elliot has made E-Corp the enemy in his mind (case in point, the fact he refers to it as ‘Evil Corp’), so it makes sense that Tyrell would be an embodiment of this idea. He takes on the role of the ‘classic corporate bad guy’ right from the start, when he ‘kidnaps’ Elliot and has him brought to his boardroom full of lawyers.

Even as interim CTO, it’s hard to believe that he would have that kind of influence, to the point that even the police turn a blind eye. He has a table full of lawyers for a meeting with Elliot, which seems as unnecessary to me as it does unlikely. I suspect that this whole encounter has been warped in Elliot’s head. He even questions it in his mind – ‘Please tell me you’re seeing this too?’

In contrast, when Elliot as Mr Robot meets with Tyrell, it’s very much on his own turf. Tyrell goes out to Coney Island, where Mr Robot leads the meeting and even manages to intimidate him. The balance of power has shifted, and the way the scene is shot is darker, gloomier, and missing the gloss of the earlier boardroom scene.

Tyrell Wellick

Tyrell represents what Elliot wants

I believe that on some level, Elliot wants what Tyrell has. Not the money or power, but the family. Elliot on numerous occasions references his own loneliness and desire for ‘normality’, and as far as I can tell, Tyrell is the first person to enter his life who has that, or at least a version of it.

His therapist has had a string of failed relationships, Angela is dating a douchebag who cheats on her, his sister has commitment issues, and he grew up in an unhappy household. Tyrell on the other hand has an outwardly perfect life, with a beautiful wife, nice home and a baby on the way.

Elliot romanticizes this life. When he meets Joanna for the first time the sky noticeably brightens behind her and the focus softens. In contrast to her threatening words, the scene has an eerie serenity about it, a visual representation of the rose-coloured glasses Elliot sees the Wellicks through.

Joanna Wellick

Tyrell’s life is exaggerated

While it’s clear that Sam Esmail enjoys throwing in homages to classic movies, I think there’s more to it than that.

The American Psycho references turn Tyrell into an extreme version of the typical ‘corporate villain’, and while Tyrell has obviously done some very questionable things, I think there’s an element of exaggeration on Elliot’s part here.

The salute to Fight Club towards the end of season one (‘Where Is My Mind’ playing softly as Elliot and Tyrell stand together in the arcade) led many to believe that Tyrell was Elliot’s Tyler Durden. As I’ve mentioned already, I don’t think this is the case, but I think it could be a subtle suggestion that there are elements of Tyrell’s life that Elliot has made up or embellished.

Fight Club

Another thing I noticed was that we only ever see Joanna eating pickles. It’s the ultimate pregnancy cliché, and perhaps the sort of thing a person like Elliot, whose limited understanding of pregnant women probably comes from movies, would come up with. This one’s a bit of a stretch, as Elliot never actually sees Joanna eating, but I think it’s another subtle suggestion that there’s an element of fiction to Tyrell and Joanna’s life together.

Tyrell’s Facebook profile, where he lists Swedish Hard House as his favourite music and lingonberry jam as one of his likes, could either be interpreted as Tyrell messing with Elliot, knowing he was going to try to hack him, or it could be Elliot’s mind filling in the gaps with Swedish stereotypes. What if he never actually found Tyrell’s profile?

During the sitcom episode in season two, Tyrell continues to be somewhat of a caricature, caring more about his designer shoes than his own well-being. Obviously this whole episode is meant to be darkly funny, but the humour relating to the other characters stems from much deeper things (the abuse Elliot and his sister suffered as children, for example), while Tyrell’s never scrapes below a superficial level. He remains comically shallow, suggesting a lack of deeper understanding of his character on Elliot’s part.

We know that Elliot is an unreliable narrator and we also know that Tyrell is a very complex character. I think in general there’s so much about most of the characters we’re yet to learn, but I predict that the biggest surprises in store will be to do with the Wellicks, and the dynamic between Elliot and Tyrell.

 

So on Monday I tweeted that I’d had some really exciting news. I was going to hold off sharing it until things were a bit more definite, but I can’t wait any longer.

We found our dream house!

Our offer has been accepted and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.

It could obviously all fall through, so I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but I keep finding myself mentally decorating every room (I can already tell you, there are going to be fairy lights EVERYWHERE!) and browsing furniture websites. I can’t help it, I’m excited!

I can’t wait to share the process with you and start bombarding you with pics on Twitter. Sorry in advance. 😉

Girl dancing excitedly

A few months ago, while I was going through a difficult time with my mental health, a very good friend sent me a Get Well Soon card.

It was such a kind gesture, yet the card itself didn’t feel quite right. When you suffer from a mental illness, the thing you most want is to feel reassured and understood. My anxiety shakes my confidence and makes me question what others might think of me. So many times I’ve longed to hear a gentle, ‘You’re doing just fine, don’t worry’.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce:

I’m going to be launching my own range of mental health focused greeting cards, Honey Bee Cards.

Those who know me know I’m obsessed with cards. I have a drawer full of them (for all occasions!), and I could quite easily spend hours browsing through card shops.

Honey Bee Cards will feature cute designs, messages of hope, and most importantly the reassuring words it’s sometimes hard to find when a loved one is struggling.

I’m hoping to launch the shop on my blog within the next month, so keep an eye on Twitter for updates, and if you fancy it, you can follow Honey Bee Cards too!

I can’t wait to share the first designs with you.

Excited woman

 

Now, I love me a good lasagna and I pride myself on making a pretty mean one.

Today though, I had the opportunity to make one for someone with a very specific diet and I had great fun rising to the challenge.

I had to make it completely gluten free and substitute cows’ milk and cheese for goats’ as well as switching several of my usual ingredients.

Here’s what I used!

  • Buckwheat flour
  • Just under two boxes of gluten free dry lasagna sheets

Lasagna ingredients

For the red sauce:

  • 2 bottles of passata (I would normally use tinned tomatoes)
  • Small bunch of fresh basil
  • Dried oregano
  • 3 courgettes
  • 1 aubergine
  • Most of a large bag of spinach

I chopped the aubergine and courgettes into small pieces and fried in olive oil until lightly browned. Usually, a little before this point I would add in some finely chopped garlic, but I had to forego it this time. I also normally use mushrooms, but I substituted them for aubergine.

I added the passata and threw in some salt and pepper to taste (sorry, I never use measurements!) as well as finely chopped basil and dried oregano.

While that bubbled away nicely I set to work on the white sauce. I just added the spinach in right at the end so it didn’t overcook.

For the béchamel:

  • Butter (I used regular butter as my friend didn’t mind)
  • Buckwheat flour (I thought I had gluten free flour, so had to improvise)
  • Semi-skimmed goats’ milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Small block of hard goats’ cheese

I wasn’t sure the sauce would thicken as it normally would, as I was unfamiliar with the textures of the flour and cheese I was using. There was a worrying moment when I didn’t think the cheese would melt either, but thankfully it all came together.

If you don’t know how to make a béchamel, it really is quite simple.

Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan (I used two very generous ice-cream scoop sized knobs of butter as I was making a lot of sauce). Once completely melted, slowly sieve the flour into the butter, stirring gently as you go. Keep adding flour until the sauce reaches a thick, sticky consistency. I roll it into a ball, as it makes the next bit a lot easier.

From there, slowly keep adding dashes of milk, while stirring gently. It’s important to add the milk gradually and keep stirring so you don’t get lumps. The key is to keep stirring the sauce over a low heat so it doesn’t go lumpy or stick to the pan.

Once you’ve got a good amount of sauce and it’s at a consistency you’re happy with, gradually start stirring in the grated cheese. I used most of the small block, saving a little bit to put on the top.

Once the cheese is all melted in, you might need to slowly add more milk in. Again, I never use measurements, I just keep throwing things in until it looks and tastes good!

Then I added in salt and pepper to taste, and grated in some fresh nutmeg (you can also use the pre-ground nutmeg). Again, I add this to taste, but have to be supervised as I’m notorious for using far too much nutmeg. I love it so much I think I’ve gone mouth-blind. Is that a thing? Like nose-blind?!

To assemble the lasagna

Line the bottom of a large glass dish with some lasagna sheets. You’ll need to snap some into small pieces to fill in gaps, unless you happen to have the perfect sized dish. Word of warning, gluten free lasagna sheets are harder to snap than regular ones – I got shards of pasta sheets everywhere! The pack did suggest blanching them first which would probably have helped, but I personally never bother with that.

From there you just layer pasta, white sauce, pasta, red sauce, and so on. The last layer should be sauce, not pasta, and then I like to sprinkle a bit of cheese on top.

Lasagna

Pop in the oven at 180° for 45 minutes. This will vary depending on size, but I just wait until the top looks nice and brown, and I always cut through to make sure the pasta sheets are soft enough.

Serve up and enjoy!

My verdict

I’m a huge fan of goats’ cheese so I absolutely LOVED the flavour of the béchamel sauce. I found the buckwheat flour gave it a slightly grainy, mealy texture, but I still really enjoyed it.

Using passata instead of tinned tomatoes made the sauce a lot smoother, which was quite nice. While I missed the mushrooms I enjoyed the aubergine. I don’t know why I haven’t always been putting it in my lasagna! I found it difficult not being able to use garlic, but with fresh basil and the other seasoning, I thought it still had a really nice flavour.

I didn’t love the texture of the gluten free pasta sheets, but that could have been my fault for not blanching them first. I just found them a bit chewy and grainy.

Overall though, I would definitely make this again. I didn’t feel as bloated as I normally do after lasagna, and the flavour of the goats’ cheese was a winner in my book.

Lasagna

Just look at that bubbling, cheesy goodness!

Hi guys,

So as you probably know, I struggle with OCD and have done since I was a child.

You’ve also probably noticed that OCD is the butt of many jokes at the moment.

From OCD candles that ‘smell like OCD’ to ‘Obsessive Christmas Disorder’ cards, if there’s a play on words to be done, it’s probably out there somewhere.

And I’m bloody sick of it. OCD is a debilitating mental illness, and shouldn’t be trivialised in this way. If people understood what OCD really is (and not any of the myths flying around), they probably wouldn’t be so quick to joke.

So, that’s what #OwnYourOCD is all about.

I want as many of you as possible to share your experiences with OCD. That could be blog posts, photos of your cracked and bleeding hands, or details of your compulsions with the hashtag #MyOCDMakesMe.

The goal is to fill people’s timelines with REAL accounts of OCD, start conversations and put an end to misconceptions and stigma.

Who’s with me?

#OwnYourOCD