Monday, 3 December 2012

Advent is here!

Hale and hearty greetings to one and all! I wanted to start by wishing you all a “Happy Christmas” as we’ve hit Advent but it’s probably a little early still.  I did spend my evening singing Christmas carols and songs this evening though which has allowed me to vent some of my Christmas spirit!

I ought to be revising for my exam at the moment (pretty sure I’m meant to be revising/ working every time I write this but oh well!) but I’m far too excited for the Christmas Ball next week! Currently busy planning hair, make up, etc and I promise that there will probably be a whole entry devoted to the evening’s goings on (if I can remember them that is) complete with lots of photographs.

I was going to focus this entry on the fantastic evening I had with Miss Charlotte Davey a few weeks ago but before I do so I want to share a couple of rather useful websites that I’ve found! They’ve been brilliant for finding different things to do in town although they may end up in me spending ALL my student loan! and …have fun my lovelies (even better take me with you and we’ll all have fun together).

Anyway back to my fantastic experience with Charlotte. She and I booked tickets to this fantastic looking supper club ( a month or so ago and the date for our evening out finally arrived a couple of weekends ago. We were meant to go and visit the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer exhibition during the day but after I managed to turn up an hour late with a dead phone and a lot of rain, we ended up queuing outside in the downpour for 10 minutes before we gave up and went home for tea, cookies and a nap. Anyway after rushing around getting changed and jumping in a taxi (even the student budget stretches to one when it means keeping our hair dry) we arrived slightly early (40 odd minutes) and huddled under an overhanging wall trying to keep vaguely warm and dry. Help came in the form of two fellow diners who arrived a little early too and who took us under their wings/ umbrellas and ushered us into a nice dry bar nearby for a pre drink! Before we knew it we were tottering back in our heels to the rooftop for our meal and where greeted by a wonderful tent structure filled with heaters, fairy lights, rugs and hot buttered rum! I’m yet to visit the Harry Potter studios to try their version of Butterbeer but this rum concoction was exactly how I’d imagined the beverage when I read the books; it was like cake mix, and Christmas and warmth in one small glass. This was swiftly followed by a mulled wine and spiced cider before we started on what was the most wonderful cheese fondue ever; it’s a miracle I still fit into any of my clothing but even if I couldn’t it was definitely worth it. 

Not an awful lot left in my bowl..

After an ice cream pudding we settled down for another drink and some entertainment in the form of two musicians from Josh Flowers and The Wild. Now I’d never heard of this band but I ended up buying their EP because they were just so fantastic; if you’re into music with a sort of folky feel then this is definitely for you: . There was even an element of audience participation which kept Charlotte and me happy as we got to do a bit of singing! Eventually we dragged ourselves into a taxi to return home where we collapsed in bed. The next morning involved a walk on the Heath and yet more food in the form of a Kentish Canteen brunch! Anyway they’ve just added a few more booking dates for Forza so if you need something to do in January I highly recommend it.

Much improved weather on the Heath!
I’ve got a bit addicted to another blog recently courtesy of Miss Davey too as both she and I rather enjoy food (just in case you hadn’t realised) and I really recommend having a look on here as all the recipes look lovely. Cannot wait to try my hand at some of them!

I suppose I ought to retire to bed (well go to sleep…I’m already in bed) or do some work. There’ll probably be another entry very soon as I want to talk lots about clothes and Christmas and fun things like that but I don’t want to all bore you completely!

PS. I know most of you who read this do so through Facebook but it'd be lovely to get a few more followers... I feel a bit unloved with just the one! 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Start of a sort of Reading Week

Good eventide one and all! I’m currently jolly excited as I have a few days of to “catch up on work” (basically a reading week) which means sleep, working at Twickenham and popping home to walk the dog! I’m also getting to that point where it feels acceptable to start looking for Christmas pressies for everyone (one of my favourite pastimes) and it’s becoming a real struggle not to start singing Christmas carols!

Primrose Hill...complete with "ferret hat"
Anyway I’m going to rein myself in and save my Christmas excitement for a couple of weeks and instead talk about the past week or so and all the fun I’ve had.  I sadly managed to miss Halloween this year as I’d returned home to convalesce after contracting an ear infection; my mother realised it was serious when I was no longer able to eat chocolate. I did however make up for this around Bonfire Night by having a lovely weekend that involved the rugby club, various pubs and fireworks followed by  a trek onto Primrose Hill with the wonderful Alice, Penny and Jess on Monday for fireworks. I must admit, despite the fairly anti-Catholic origins of this celebration (is that the right word for it?), Bonfire Night is one of my favourite events of the year. There’s just something about standing in the freezing cold (and possibly rain), reeking of bonfire smoke and eating undercooked sausages whilst staring skywards and getting neck ache that I can’t resist! I also had a rather splendid weekend this weekend as I went for a brunch on Saturday (complete with The Telegraph, a Bellini and buying chrysanthemums for the house) followed by a “girly sleepover” including a dog, curry, rugby, films and far too much sugar and rounded off by a Sunday with a roast and a walk to the pub…all rather fantastic to be honest!   I’m sure I had plenty of other things to tell you lovely people all about but yet again it’s all completely disappeared out of my head!
Girly sleepover...I know where I belong!

To make up for my forgetfulness I’m going to have to discuss my new favourite book EVER! Ok, not ever, but for making me laugh on the train it was brilliant. Miranda Hart is a bit of a heroine of mine anyway (her television series often feels like a copy of my own life in as much as we share being terribly clumsy, the habit of singing and saying things at inappropriate times and a mother who feels her number one aim in life is to embarrass us!) and her new book “Is it Just Me?” is a comic self help guide based around her own mistakes and moments of madness! Considering I’m the sort of girl who can walk down the street with her shirt unbuttoned (I couldn’t work out why I kept getting such weird looks) and who pours scalding hot tea over the people sitting in front of her in lectures, it’s always nice to know that it is indeed not just me!  I highly recommend it although please skip the bit that encouarges people to stop wearing hats (shame on you Ms. Hart!).

Deary me I do feel dreadfully boring! I’ve had lots of ideas for this entry and it’s so frustrating that now I’ve actually sat down to write they’ve all disappeared; I shall have to blame the fumes from the nail varnish (my horribly chipped, short nails needed some cheering up so they’ve gone gold).  Haven’t done much on the cooking front although I did make some spiced shortbread ( which was rather nice and I’m awaiting the arrival of some pheasant tomorrow which is terribly exciting!  

I feel I ought to depart to tackle some work (or go and make a coffee and curl up in bed with a good book) but I shall leave you with two things. Firstly, go and youtube music by Einaudi. It’s amazing ( “Primavera” is a particular favourite of mine!). Two, here’s a picture of my wonderful dog Chaucer at the rugby because, hey, what’s not to love about a dog in a stripy scarf!

Saturday, 20 October 2012


Greetings! So currently sat in bed trying to keep warm in our rather cold housing (students= refusal to ever turn on heating) and thought it’d be nice to bore everyone witless again. I can’t believe we’re already in autumn and approaching Halloween and Fireworks Night! This is probably my favourite time of year; crisp, cold mornings (when it’s not drizzling), piles of fallen leaves, bonfires, lots of stodgy food, lots of layers to hide the insulation created by eating said stodgy food…I feel that this is going to have to be my theme for this blog entry (and probably the next few…just wait ‘til we hit Christmas!).
Hampstead Heath just starting to look autumnal!

Before I start on my autumnal theme I might as well talk about my day! I really ought to have spent it doing work but instead this afternoon I went to my favourite art shop to buy more fountain pen ink and ended up going for hot chocolate and a brownie in Covent Garden too! I feel I ought to spread the word about this little art shop as it’s really sweet and old fashioned and most people don’t realise it exists! It’s called L.Cornelissen & Son, and is situated near Tottenham Court Rd; seriously it’s like something out of Harry Potter as it still sells paint and ink in their pigmented forms (spot the one called Dragon’s Blood: and has all sorts of little odds and ends. If you’re in the area (it’s also near the British Museum!) it’s definitely worth a look even if you’re not that into art just because it’s a bit different (the leather art accessories that they sell are gorgeous too and I’m sure could be used for various purposes)! My afternoon was topped off by a strange Russian man approaching me at the bus stop as he believed me to be a fellow Russian (why do people think I’m Russian/ Eastern European?) and then attempting to get my phone number; after getting rid of him I also realised that the bus wasn’t going to be there for ages due to diversions and I’d waited there for half an hour for no reason!

You realise how sad your life is when you get excited by signing up to getting a veg box delivered…I have officially turned 40 before I’ve even hit 20! Sad as it may be, I’m really hoping that it’ll get me into veg a bit more as I’m one of those people who really needs to be forced to eat them normally. Even better all the produce is seasonal so it means all my cooking has started to take a decidedly autumnal turn. This week appears to be going well with me making squash cakes (bit like carrot cake……I’d recommend maybe using a little less liquid than the recipe calls for and don’t overfill the cupcake cases as I did as the whole batch ended up somewhat undercooked and a bit flat!), squash and red onion risotto and a beef and veg stew! It’s either going to be Spanish omelette or pesto gnocchi tomorrow me thinks, followed by stuffed baked apples! Abel and Cole are really worth looking at actually as they do a lot of reasonably priced fresh produce and some of their recipes are a bit different but really tasty looking!
Christmas Pressie please!

Autumn of course brings with it change in wardrobe and I’m currently lusting after lots of knitted things, especially the perfect knitted dress. I found a lovely one on Urban Outfitters but it’s a little out of my price range sadly so I may have to go and hunt round the markets one day (I really ought to be saving as I’m hoping to go away in summer but oh well!). Despite the fact that the drop in temperature has resulted in me practically hibernating, I am enjoying getting out the winter coats and I must admit that I always find there’s something vaguely “rom-commy” about trudging about Hampstead Heath in the cold with a long knitted scarf, colourful gloves and a shapeless, “tea cosy” hat! I highly recommend wearing said combination and heading to the Heath at about 12ish for the Farmer’s Market; there’s a little pasta stall that sells pesto pasta and lasagne which tastes even better when eaten in the fresh air by the ponds!
Lunch with a view like this is a hundred times better...

Anyhoo…I can hear the third instalment of the “Game of Thrones” series and Miranda Hart’s new book “Is It Just Me?” calling my name so I shall leave you all in peace…have a marvellous weekend (what’s left of it!) and a lovely week!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Second Year begins!

Hello my lovelies…it’s been a little while I know but I’m just trying to get back into the swing of things as I’m now back up in town and settling into the new house! It’s been a bit chaotic as we’ve just finished Freshers’ week (which I was helping out with this year!) and therefore I appear to have been out most nights (Yes, I did spend the other night dressed as a Roman; I must say it got rather cold and bit damp!). Anyway all back to normal now with lots of work hence why it’s taken me even longer to update this!
Homemade togas!

So what’s new in my life? I have found an addition to the hat wardrobe in the form of a straw boater (finally!) so I am now fully prepared to don that and my stripy blazer and disappear with some handsome chap in a boat.  Next on the list is a bowler hat methinks!

Gosh, I’ve been so busy and yet my brain seems to have shrivelled up completely; one can only blame too much work and not enough partying. I had a job interview recently and got asked some quite interesting questions so I guess I could talk about them! Number 1 was if I was on a desert island what three items would I take with me; I must admit I struggled with this! The practical Girlguiding part of me said tent, penknife and matches but I ended up saying the crazy, pyscho dog, sketchpad and chocolate…sadly I forgot a pencil for my sketchpad but I thought I could use charcoal! Later, on the way home, someone “analysed” my answers as me being clingy, affectionate, bit of a daydreamer and…a manic depressive (the joy of friends taking the mick…let’s hope they did mean it as a joke anyway!). Question numero deux was if you could invite anyone, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would you invite? Time was limited, and looking back my choices probably would have made for rather weird evening as I picked Boris Johnson. Ryan Reynolds (just to stare at of course) and Winston Churchill! Thinking back there would be loads of other people I’d love to invite…possibly Jane Austen to get some advice on how to get my Mr Darcy!

I feel like I’m procrastinating but shockingly I’m actually fairly up to date with my work although an early night would possibly be a nice idea as I start at 9 tomorrow…yay! I seem to have avoided Freshers’ Flu somehow (well apart from a minor cough but nothing that can’t be cured with some orange juice and lots of cough syrup) and am back singing and dancing around like a nutter once more much to the displeasure of my poor housemates. I shall have to creep off to bed (it’s the warmest place in what is a slightly chilly house) and I promise to do another post soon! Night all!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bits and bobs

Afternoon all! I am currently really rather bored due to the fact I ought to be doing terribly important paperwork for university! Anyway I’m avoiding doing it and instead trying to think of something charming and witty to say…unfortunately it’ll turn out as the usual drivel instead but ah well!

Some of you may have seen the recording I’ve done of my first blog entry at the request of some of my friends; why is it that one’s voice always sounds absolutely horrific when recorded! I’m not sure if I’ll be repeating it for the rest of the entries as I feel that I shall be completely and utterly bullied for doing it and I can only withstand so much teasing. 

So what’s new is my world then? We did have our local agricultural show recently which was terribly exciting! My mother of course packed enough food to feed the 5,000 instead of just the 5 people she was feeding for 2 days and I must admit that now I am getting slightly sick of sausage rolls and quiches. It’s always a thoroughly enjoyable event, mainly because one can spend many an hour watching young farriers working (and when I say that I mean literally an hour or more was spent just staring...). That aside we were also lucky enough to go as “Guests” this year, which meant a dress code and entry into the members enclosure (the little snob inside of me did do a victory dance at that!), and it was nice to actually get a seat by the main ring for once instead of trying to juggle a cheese straw, a Pimms and that bag containing the toffee vodka/ chocolate wine that one cannot resist buying whilst jumping up and down in order to try and see the showjumping! Highlights of the 2 days had to be the cavalcade of hounds (complete with a “fox” riding round the ring), the grand parade of cattle (and supreme pig) and of course, the food hall, as I cannot resist a massive tent filled with food, drink and free samples!  I did get terribly sunburnt during the Monday and do currently resemble Rudolph but I’m hoping it’ll eventually fade to brown!
The lovely Jess and Emma with a rather attractive tractor!
Apart from the fun and games of rural shows, I’ve spent most of the past couple of weeks shopping, drinking and trying my hand at roller skating (yes, I did fall over). I was extraordinarily lucky to attend the Paralympics’ Opening Ceremony courtesy of my friend Caitlin K; personally I thought it surpassed the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony and it was such an honour to be present. What’s more I can finally say I was part of a world record…for the most people to bite into an apple at one time! The only thing I thought was a shame was the cost of food and drink within the park…so many people will have saved up for tickets and the cost of refreshments was just ridiculous, even more the capital!

On the food front, I have a recommendation for all of those who like to try new recipes! I recently got the urge to create a savoury dish with chocolate, so, despite the protests of my beloved family, I found some pure cocoa shavings and decided to create some sort of duck, chocolate and orange concoction which was surprisingly tasty! The chocolate adds a really nice edge to the gravy/ sauce and also gives it a lovely glossy, thick texture that I often struggle to achieve. My recipe is a little sketchy (as ever), but if you wish to have a go I’d recommend you start by browning medium sized chunks (such a satisfying word) of duck with some cocoa, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander seeds. I then added a fair amount of balsamic vinegar and a lot of homemade marmalade…I can’t remember precisely what else I threw in but I think I put some bay leaves in! I used cocoa shavings from Hotel Chocolat (, expensive but well worth it I think! They also have a load of recipes on their website including chocolate and venison, chocolate and lamb and chocolate and pork as well as some yummy looking puddings! 

Now there is a little money making idea I’ve had that I’d really like some feedback on…recently I’ve become obsessed with henna and the patterns used in mehendi and have found that often when I’m sketching/ doodling that many of my designs are following that sort of theme. Anyway I got exceptionally bored one evening and decided to brighten up the cover of a sketchbook with the aforementioned patterns…it turned out surprisingly well! I’m now thinking of buying in some plain black notebooks and decorating them to sell locally…so opinions on my prototype would be very welcome s’il vous plait! Ar some point I may also post some photos of card designs that I’ve done to see what everything thinks…but that can wait for another day as I really need to get on with some work now!! Ciao!