Sunday, 28 April 2013


After a mental week at work, 3 days of which were spent at a trade show with loads of booze and naughty food, I was ready to crash this weekend. But I already knew that this wasn't going to be the case, owing to a girl's night out we'd planned ages ago.

In an attempt to spend some time with the Boy before I go to Australia (5 days and counting), we went to Angel in the morning to do some shopping. I needed some toiletries for my trip so popped to Boots and got some L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 shampoo and conditioner, which were half price for the 400ml bottles, and some Nivea Happy Time shower gel, which was just 97p a bottle, so cheap and cheerful for me as always. We checked out a couple of opticians, I'd had an eye test the day before at Specsavers and had been told I need new glasses so wanted to shop around.. Below are my current favourites, although I also want to check out the Orla Kiely range at Boots.
Karen Millen 12
We spotted a branch of Bill' on White Lion Street, I didn't know it was there so I think it's fairly new (they seem to be popping up all over the place). I've wanted to check out Bill's for a while, so we popped in and got seated straight away, and told that breakfast was being served til 1pm (it's 12noon on weekdays). I opted for the vegetarian breakfast and Boy had the sausage sandwich, with a side of bacon and cauliflower cheese from the main menu.
Bill's vegetarian breakfast 
Bill's decor, Islington
I loved my breakfast. I am not a vegetarian, I am generally very carnivorous indeed but the description got me (poached free range eggs, tomatoes, hummus, mushrooms & guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, basil 
& toast) and I was not disappointed. I got additional bubble and squeak with mine, and we got a coffee each too. The bill came to just under £25 including 12.5% service charge which we were happy to pay as the service was great. A nice touch at Bill's is that they give you a carafe of tap water without it having to be asked for, I get so fed up with snotty looks elsewhere when you request tap water. Bill's branches have selection of handpicked deli products in store, all of which can be bought online too, along with the cookbook Cook Eat Smile which I now have my eye on after flicking through it in the store, it's a beautiful book.
Cook Eat Smile

We also went to H&M, where I got two great tops for just £9. This black number was £7.99, but 50% off (also in white, khaki and blue).
Black lace top, £7.99

This beautiful cream glittery top was marked down to £10, but when I got it to the till it was just £5! I can't find it on the website, so here's my picture below. Two tops for £9, I am still marvelling!
Mega bargain top
After shopping, I headed home and started working on my hair. I have long straight brown hair, which I wear in two styles. Up (in a ponytail). Or Down. I wanted to try something different, and inspired by Sienna Miller, I went for a plaited headband approach. An hour and many kirby grips later, it was achieved, here's me with my friend A. I wore the new black top with a blue boob tube top underneath, with black jeans and flat pumps

A and I had an amazing night at Koko, Camden. It was a Guilty Pleasures night, so the music was loads of amazing cheese and we had a really good dance. I loved it, though had one two many Skittlebombs and Jagerbombs. Taking all those kirby grips out on the night bus home was a wonderful feeling!

Today should be a lazy day, but I never sleep well after booze, so awoke around 7:30 (didn't go to bed til 3:30, ouch) then wandered to the shops again. I needed some new sunglasses so picked up some £5 jobbies from M&S, I am forever breaking them so I don't spend a lot of money on them, I have been known to get through 5 pairs in a month. I popped to our local car boot which is on every weekend and got 5 of the Game of Thrones books for 20p each for the Boy before going to Tesco to stock up our fridge. I am currently baking the Hummingbird Bakery Buttermilk Pound Cake and the chicken is marinading for tonight's Starlight Spicy Chicken Wraps. Who said hungover Sundays had to be dead time?!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Look of Love

I've had a bit of a blog hiatus for the last couple of weeks...I was ill, then was out every night for a week and a half, it's been lovely catching up with friends and family, but tonight, a night in front of the sofa after a long day at Earl's Court with work, I finally have some downtime! Last night, we went to see The Look of Love which was fantastic, and inspired me to finally update my blog!

The film stars Steve Coogan, Tamsin Egerton and Anna Friel and is about the life of Paul Raymond, who was Britain's richest man, who is an "erotic entrepreneur" but absolutely not a pornographer, so he says..... The women are gorgeous, Anna Friel as Jean Raymond, Paul's long-suffering wife, Tamsin Egerton as his lover and Imogen Poots as his daughter.

I've only seen Egerton in St Trinian's before, and dismissed her as a bratty teen actress and didn't think I'd be seeing much of her again, but in this film she is incredible as well as beautiful. Anna Friel is stunning and glamourous as always (I love Pushing Daisies!), and Imogen Poots is gorgeous and tragic all at the same time. There are tonnes of other famous faces, Simon Bird, Stephen Fry (he who gets a gazillion retweets no matter how inane his 140-character rambling), Sarah Solemani and Shirley Henderson to name but a few.
Imogen Poots

Anna Friel

Tamsin Egerton

Queen Dusty
There is a LOT of sex, and a lot of boobies in this film, but despite the content and theme, it's actually all pretty tasteful. The styling is also brilliant, from the show costumes, minimal as they are to the outfits that Friel and Egerton strut around in, I am truly seventies-inspired now, with the Dusty Springfield filled soundtrack going on and on in my head!

As an aside, holiday countdown: 10 days til i fly to MELBOURNE!!! I saw Royal Brunei Airlines poster for the London - Melbourne route earlier on the tube and nearly died of excitement, in no time at all I am going to be On That Flight. EEEEEEEEK!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tired of London...As if

Spring has sprung, the sun is out, I am as happy as can be! Yesterday I had an absolutely lovely, lovely day with one of my besties, Laurel. After a leisurely start to the day with the boy, and a trip to the post office to post my latest book swaps and get him some Euros for his trip to Belgium, I headed over to Liverpool Street to meet lovely Laurel and check out Judy's at Spitalfields to check out the wares. We didn't buy anything on this occasion but did grab an amazing peanut butter cupcake from Betty-Lou's Bakery which we devoured between us, simply stunning! The next Judy's at Spitalfields is 4th May.
Pillow fight in Trafalgar Square

We got the tube to Temple and had a coffee, before heading to the National Gallery via Trafalgar Square where there was a massive flash-mob pillow fight going on! Much fun to behold. We soaked up some culture in the National Gallery, we'd never been before, I didn't know how the stunning it is inside with its glorious ceilings, we got told off for trying to take photos, but here's a snippet from Flickr....check it out!

We wandered up to the Japan Centre, then checked out Paxton and Whitfield on Jermyn Street, one of the oldest cheese shops in London, which is incredible. We then spent a good hour in Waterstones on Picadilly ogling the fiction, art, travel and craft books.

The main reasons for getting together this fine weekend were to go to Judy's, and then to go to the Clueless Quote-Along at Prince Charles Cinema, so we grabbed our tickets before enjoying a Cafe Rouge dinner complete with vino. There's currently a deal on O2 Priority Moments to get one main meal and a second for £1, so we took advantage of this, I had their Poulet Breton and Laurel the Aubergine Gratin, delicious! On the subject of the O2, there's also a deal to get a free bag of Percy Pigs in Marks and Spencers, just buy showing them a code, get them before they're gone!

After more wine at LVPO (happy hour 5-9!) we headed to the cinema, full of excitement for the film. We met two other like-minded ladies who kindly took this photo of us (below), and Laurel and Jess took part in the competition they had at the start, where Laurel came away with Stranger Than Fiction on DVD. The film was amazing, if you're a Clueless fan (and who isn't?!) I would highly recommend going along to the next one on 31st May, so much fun! Next on the list is Anchorman.
Today I checked out Capital Car Boot in Pimlico, it was a lovely day for it. I didn't buy anything, but I would go back. It's £1 entry and there's a decent split between traders and people genuinely clearing out their homes, so while nothing to catch my eye this time, there were plenty of bargains to be had. It was such a nice day so I wandered around and ended up at the Southbank where I text my boss to tell her how aaazing Clueless was, and she invited me around for a cuppa as she only lives down the road. We ended up going straight back out for a spot of brunch at Ev's nearby which was incredible. We both had a eggs with feta, soooo tasty, it comes with a coffee and delicious bread so was a snip at £4.95, highly recommended.
Eggs at Ev's
It's so easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut in life and falling into the trap of going to work, spending the evenings at home and wasting weekends away. Now that it's summertime (sort of) I am determined to make the most of the extra hours sunlight, and being in London. We talked a lot yesterday about all the things we wanted to do this summer, like go to Burger and Lobster, check out the Museum of Childhood, go on a boat trip along the Thames, spend an afternoon in the bookshops of Charing Cross Road, head to Kew Gardens and Richmond... What's on your to-do list this summer?

Monday, 1 April 2013

A foodie Easter

Easter and the week leading up to it has been a lazy one. I still had the remainder of a bad cold last weekend when I locked myself out on Sunday afternoon when doing the food shop (Boy went out while I was out shopping, I hadn't taken my key), so two extra hours in the cold made my cold come back with a vengeance. I worked on Monday but was good for nothing, so spent Tuesday and Wednesday in bed, dosed up with Day Nurse, chicken soup and as much Vitamin C I could soak up.

I've been trying really hard to eat better in general and look after myself, so I am less susceptible to these things. I've recently been obsessed with The Londoner's recipes. Rosie's Skinny Shrimp Curry, Skinny Spaghetti and Epic Fish Tacos were all on the menu this week. All really easy to make, honestly, the prawn curry is the first curry I've ever made and not stuffed up. I served it up with bulgar wheat, a lower-calorie, higher-fibre alternative to rice.

The skinny spaghetti recipe is basically chilli con carne served with cabbage as spaghetti, which sounds lame but actually works really well and will be something I do a lot more often to save myself from the bloat . The cooking times for that recipe are long, I didn't read it right so had already started cooking when it said "leave for an hour before chucking in... and then leave for a further hour". I didn't. It was already 18:30 and I was already ill, hungry and just wanted to eat. I reduced those times to 20 mins each and it was still tasty as anything. Maybe I will try for the optimum marinations when I have more time. I also made this with turkey mince rather than beef, lower in fat and usually cheaper. The fish tacos...are well, epic. We are having them again tonight, for the 4th time in about 3 weeks, I love them. Cannot get enough, if I was to recommend any of these recipes over the others, it would be that one.
The Londoner's Skinny Shrimp Curry 
 Luckily I felt better on Thursday, well enough to go back to work, albeit with Day Nurse by my side. A lot is going on at work at the moment so it was hectic, but I made it through the day and came home to make some Easter cookies. My friend had bought me some Easter cookie cutters years ago which I still hadn't got round to using, so we whipped up some biscuits according to the Hummingbird Bakery recipe for Sugar Cookies, and iced them in green (because green was the only food colouring I had).

On Good Friday, we hopped on a train to Burton-On-Trent, to see our friends who recently moved there. Tasha and Martin met through us two years ago, and got married last October. I was a bridesmaid, and the Boy an usher at their wedding last year, but time and distance means we don't get to see each other nearly enough. This Easter, we rectified this with a lazy weekend of food, drink and laughs in the Midlands.

Nacho preparation, accompanying Fajita Friday
Martin's incredible burgers.
The best roast dinner I've ever eaten.
Besides eating, there was much drinking to be done, and napping, and watching Disney films (Fantasia and Beauty and The Beast were our choices). We caught up, snuggled, played Cranium and laughed til our faces hurt. Luckily Martin and Tash have this furry fella, Roger, otherwise we'd not have moved at all all weekend.
The River Trent at Washlands
A walk along the canal (finished off with a pint or two of course)
 We've just got back to London, and I feel relaxed and rejuvenated, but also indulged and a little bit chubbier. Back to walking to work tomorrow and a little bit of holding back to deflate my waistline! Easter brought with it the start of good old British Summer Time, and while there's still a definite chill in the air (and in some parts still snow on the ground) when I turned myself to the sun yesterday I definitely felt some warmth and it felt good. I had even come out in freckles by the time I go to a mirror! Time to stop hibernating and get outside and start living!