Morning or Afternoon Tea, Not So Easy, Sweet

A Friendly Humiliation / Nutella & Pretzel Donuts

“There has been much tragedy in my life; at least half of it actually happened.” Mark Twain

My feelings recently took a tumble from a relatively new person in my life, who I thought was becoming a friend. They weren’t responding to texts and our earlier agreement to meet up had come and gone with a lonely whimper.

My self esteem promptly gives me a hard time

you’re such a loser 

you were a total idiot that time over coffee 

you pushed too hard

My ego jumps into resentment

they should have texted, even to decline 

how dare they not realise I’m lovely

I would never do that

Except I do. I do it all the time to people I like. I get caught up in my life, my cares and concerns and I let people down regularly. Most of the time I don’t even realise I’ve done it until I get a vague sense of guilt when I scroll past their name on my phone. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s that I have so little time to do all the things in my life, I forget that others are looking forward to seeing me. That I matter to more than the necessary activities of my day.

This realisation wasn’t enough to move through the uncomfortable feelings though, so I spent some contemplation time on where my thinking had fallen in a ditch.

Nutella & Pretzel

My first thought was that I don’t know them well. I don’t know if they’re struggling with too many things on their plate, have a vague sense of depression, they’ve needed a new pair of shoes for months and really hate shopping, or that they have a ferocious amount of people in their life already and I’m just one of a thousand new acquaintances clamouring for their affection.

The second thought (which really could have been my first, if my thinking wasn’t so self absorbed) and most likely, is that they’re not thinking about me at all. I’m sitting here wondering if them not responding to texts means something, and the whole time they’re thinking, “I’d bloody love England to win the World Cup this year”.

But there is another awful possibility… 

I may be a slight stalker of someone who doesn’t really like me.

My entire torso curls in on itself as I type those words. There’s a muttering at the edge of my consciousness, like my ego’s about to rebel and my esteem’s ready to throw in the towel. But it’s the possibility that’s been playing over and over in the back of my mind, a phrase on repeat and I can’t find the off-switch. I’ve written before that I have a lot of people in my life and I’m lucky that I generally like people; but it’s incredibly rare I meet someone and can feel the click through my subconscious as it rears up to say, “Well, don’t you just rock enormously?”

Nutella & Pretzel donuts

On the few times it’s happened before, the other person seems to have felt the same click and are now lifelong friends, so it didn’t occur to me that this time I may have been the only one to feel it. I merrily swanned into this person’s life, planning our future awesomeness together, and the whole time they may have been increasingly thinking, “Umm. No, scary weird person. Just no.”

There’s no verbal way to explain how this feels. It sits somewhere between ick and gibbering humiliation. My subconscious offers up all the ways they’re clearly cooler, smarter and just better than me and then my conscious mind takes over and asks me what the hell I thought I was doing? A simpler way of describing my response to this line of thinking is a fervently whispered,  “Run. Run now. Run fast and far. Set up a new life deep in the woods where you never have to see them ever again.”

Once upon a time I would’ve done just that. Not literally, however tempting, but I would’ve immediately cut them from my life as the instinct for self-preservation became greater than my instinct to live lightly in the world. I may even have tried to show them how little they meant to me, in a misguided attempt to reassert my bruised ego. Which would, of course, merely add guilt to the hurt.

Today, I try to do things differently. I acknowledge the hurt and the particularly obsessive nature of my thinking, then I speak with someone I trust who can help me to laugh. I finally take some time to be still and focus my consciousness on the place I hurt, to allow the feelings without gripping onto them as reality. I treat the hurt as I would treat my child’s, as real but transitory. The feelings are not the story, they’re just the feelings.

Finally, I ask my better self to help me be kind, patient and tolerant of their humanity and of mine. That whatever the truth turns out to be, I can put my ego to one side and remain right sized. And finally, I back off from the friendship (quite quickly because, let’s be honest: ouch) and trust that more will be revealed in time.

Then I eat donuts. And maybe chocolate. But mostly donuts.

homer eating

This ‘fix feelings with food’ recipe is a homage to an excellent local bakery, Candied, who offer this donut combination on a regular basis. For those not lucky enough to have their own Candied around the corner, the recipe is as close as I can get to their version.


Donuts (adapted from – makes 12

  • 250ml milk
  • 500g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 60g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3 teaspoons dried yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g shortening, softened (known as Crisco in USA, Trex in UK and Copha in Australia. Failing those, replace with unsalted butter)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Canola oil, for frying

Nutella & Pretzel Glaze

  • 80g Nutella
  • 30g thick (heavy) cream
  • 25g pretzels, roughly crushed + 12 for decoration

Heat the milk until it starts to boil, then switch off the heat and leave it to cool

Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl

Make a well in the mix and stir in the cooled milk, shortening and egg until a sticky dough starts to come together

Knead on a well-floured surface until smooth

Place in a greased bowl, cover and leave to rise for about 90 minutes (the dough needs to at least double in size)

Punch down the dough to take out the air

Knead on a lightly floured surface again until smooth

Roll out dough until 1cm thick (flour your rolling pin, much easier!)

Either use a donut cutter or an 8cm round cutter to cut out discs and a 3.5cm round cutter to cut out the centres. Re-roll the dough to be able to make all 12 donuts

Place the donuts on a lined tray and set aside for another 30 minutes to rise again

Heat your oil to 180°C/350˚F (use a thermometer, the temperature matters) in a large, deep frying pan – I test the oil temperature using scraps left over from the dough

Fry each doughnut for 30-40 seconds each side or until puffed and golden and leave on a wire rack to cool

Very gently heat the Nutella and cream in a small pan, stirring constantly, until combined

Take off the heat and carefully stir in the crushed pretzels

Dip each donut in the Nutella glaze and place back on the wire rack

Complete your Nutella and Pretzel Donut look by adding a single, whole pretzel to each one

Eat all twelve. Go on. I dare you.


19 thoughts on “A Friendly Humiliation / Nutella & Pretzel Donuts

  1. Red Fortress says:

    Those doughnuts look amazing – even with Nutella.

    And I sympathise regarding your almost friend. I know that feeling, and at least in your case, they don’t know what they’re missing!


    • If you don’t like Nutella you can always melt your favourite chocolate instead (so you can still fix your feeling with these donuts if you want). Thanks for the lovely support, I know the friends I already have are pretty awesome. x


  2. It’s spooky you started this week’s post with a Mark Twain quote. It must be in the air. My sister gave me the most amazing compliment today and we talked about how Mark Twain said he could live two weeks on a compliment. Or maybe it was two months. Either way it’s true. You’re blog is daringly candid and your recipes and photographs are to die for. And as for feeling discomfort about a lost almost friend, we all feel that way. Who doesn’t scroll through their Iphone contacts with one eye shut trying to forget friends that never were, or worse, friends that were but then weren’t. I hope I can teach my son that even though not everyone will like you a good old fashioned compliment can make someone’s day. If not two months.
    Your posts are a pleasure to read.


    • If I could start every conversation with a Mark Twain quote, I definitely would. It could get a bit tedious for the people I spend time with though. I’d have to slip some Socrates in occasionally, just to keep them on their toes.

      Thank you for such kind words, I’m a genuinely huge fan of your blog so it’s especially lovely to know you enjoy mine.

      Hope to meet you and your son on the beaches of Victoria one day! x


  3. As always, I am amazed how familiar your thoughts and feelings ring in my ears. We are so similar at different ends of the Earth! Thanks for articulating so beautifully– and for the deliciously beckoning recipe.


  4. There is a quote on the wall in my work area that say, “There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” I hope this helps 🙂

    Btw, I can probably eat about 5 of that donuts right now. I am in for anything with Nutella 🙂


  5. Thoughtful. I like your sense of humor in this post. I have a fairly new friend and our friendship is a little “off” – I’m not sure either of us is really into it. It’s a bit awkward wondering if it will fade away.


    • Thanks Sara, I keep being told that I’m funnier in real life than in my writing, so am experimenting with distancing my furrowed brow from my blog at the moment. Friendship, especially new friendship, is a constant challenge for me; it’s always an enormous relief when others let me know they can struggle as well. On the topic of writing, your blog post this week was the most beautiful and moving piece I’ve read in a while. I’m always so proud that someone who writes like you continues to read mine.


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