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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Boozy popsicle cocktails

alcoholic ice lollies

Storms one moment, blazing hot sunshine the next - that’s what we’re dealing with in the UK right now and I’ve come up with the perfect solution - cocktail ice lollies. When it’s sweltering outside, you can cool off with one of your favourite cocktails in a frozen format, and when it turns to storm, you can get tipsy enough to forget it’s raining…! Hurrah!
The main thing to remember when making any kind of frozen alcoholic treat, is that alcohol doesn’t really freeze properly in the average person’s freezer. So these ice pops aren’t actually going to make you drunk. There’s not that much alcohol in them. I’ve not given exact measurements, because I don’t know how big your ice lolly moulds are, but if you use the ratios I’ve given, you’ll be fine! We made Mojito, G&T, and Piña Colada cocktails, but you should get super creative and try your favourite cocktail in popsicle form!

mojito popsicle recipe

Mojito
1 part Rum (whatever type you prefer)
1 part Simple Syrup
4 part Soda Water
1 part fresh lime juice
Several sprigs of mint

gin and tonic ice lolly idea

Gin and tonic
1 part Gin
½ part Syrup
4 parts Tonic Water
Cucumber or lime (depending on what’s your favourite!)

pina colada popsicle

Pina Colada
3 Blended Pineapple
2 Coconut Cream
1 Rum

If you increase the amount of alcohol or syrup it probably won’t freeze and you will have a slushy. The mojito and G&T are about at the limit of what will freeze and they melt pretty fast! We froze ours for about four hours, but I’d recommend freezing them overnight.

So let me know if you give this a try - or if you’ve got any secret frozen cocktail recipes you want to tell me! This is a really simple and fun recipe to prepare for parties, or just to have a fun twist on your evening cocktail! Oh, and if you love ice cream, why not check out my top 5 ice creams in London?!

UK ice lolly moulds

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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Owl Guy: A new guest post segment by Dan!

Hello, I’m Dan, Candy’s husband and I am going to be doing occasional guest posts on here to give you a slightly different insight into some of the stuff we get up to. For my first post I am going to talk about reading.

couple reading in bed

I really love reading, and I used to read quite a lot. However, as a working adult it is pretty hard to find time to do all of the things you want to do and reading was one of the first ones of these that fell away, quickly condemned to the “not enough time” pile. Fortunately this story has a happy ending. Both Candy and I were sad that we couldn’t seem to find the time to read until we came upon a great solution. In our respective childhoods we used to read a lot in bed, before going to sleep. This stopped for both of us initially due to working late during university and subsequently because browsing the web on our smartphones in bed was just so easy. We made a couple of resolutions to have a little reading slot before bed, but the instant gratification from browsing the internet usually ruined these resolutions pretty quickly. Finally however we came upon a great solution, we could read out loud to each other. This solved the problem of distractions as well being a really fun “couple activity”.

Wise Children in bed

Initially we tried alternating who read each night but it felt a bit disjointed so now we alternate by book, the person whose turn it is to read gets to choose the book. Currently Candy is reading one of her favourite books to me, Wise Children by Angela Carter. I’ve been really enjoying it, Angela Carter’s descriptive flair is mesmerising and her characters feel so alive, helped, of course by Candy’s narration. Once we’ve finished that one, I’m going to read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides out loud to her, which neither of us have read but it looks really good.

This is Dan’s first guest post on my blog, so please show him a bit of love in the comments. Not too much love though - I’ll be watching you.

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Opera House - Oslo on the cheap!

Oslo budget holiday
This wedge-shaped wonder was so spectacular that I thought it deserved its own post. Recently the Guardian did an article about Oslo on a budget (I’m sitting here feeling just a tiny little bit smug that I was ahead of the curve, albeit by only a couple of weeks) and they mentioned the fact that you can visit the Opera house for free. I had actually put a visit to this amazing architectural landmark top of my ‘things to do in Oslo’ list before we went, and I’m so glad we got to see it. I was adamant that I wanted to visit at dusk, and thankfully dusk lasts a REALLY LONG TIME in Oslo at this time of year. It looks beautiful and glacial in the daytime, but at night, all lit up, it’s too brutal-ethereal for words.
Norway Opera
Oslo glass building
Climbing Oslo Opera House
Norwegian Titanic
Stormy Fjord Norway
Norway street dance
Oslo lit up at night
You can walk all the way to the top and look over the fjord in the distance, and you can peek into the glowing core of the building through the polished, shard-like windows. I took… a lot… of photos. And Dan and I did a little vlog of our experience too. Don’t have the volume on full when you watch it though – it was very windy up at the top, since there was an apocalyptic rainstorm brewing overhead.


If you’re ever in Oslo, you have to pay the Opera house a visit. It’s free, it’s breathtaking, and you’ll be able to take some epic photographs no matter what time of year you go. Maybe next time I go to Oslo I’ll be able to afford to actually go inside and see an opera or ballet. That’s the dream anyway!

Shadow Lord Scandinavia

See what else we got up to on our Oslo mini break.

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

I totally dig: analogue photography

Analogue photography fashion

Before you label me a pretentious hipster, let me make my case. I’m of the generation who grew up alongside the transition to digital photography; my first ever camera (a bright pink plastic point-and-shoot bought for me when I was about seven years old) was analogue and produced these incredible colour-saturated photos streaked with lurid orange light-leaks. At the time, I was so sad about how it ruined all of my carefully planned photographs, but now I look back on the low-angle snapshots of my back garden, the family cat, school day trips and family outings and love them even more for their weird orange imperfections.
I’m a perfectionist, and the idea of imperfection in a digital photograph makes me feel faintly ill. I spend hours taking hundreds of photos until I get the perfect one that I like. But with analogue photography, for some reason I really love the imperfections. I am completely besotted with the funny faces and between-moments that I have captured over the years with my various analogue cameras. I guess that’s what the ‘Lomography’ movement (is it a movement? I don’t even know…) is trying to capture with their ‘shoot from the hip’ motto. There’s something magical about the delay between taking a photograph and actually getting to see it. A couple of years ago, I was taking photographs of my little brother and sister, using a Miranda camera given to me by my stepdad. After I’d taken the picture, they both grabbed for the camera to look at the back of it, and were indignant that they couldn’t look at the photograph. I was astonished by how difficult I found it to explain the fact that the picure was inside the camera, but we wouldn’t get to see it for a long time, and I’d have to take it somewhere where someone would reveal the image in a dark room and I’d have to pay them to own it! It sounds kind of wrong once you’re used to seeing your photo immediately and being able to put it on allllll the social media if you so choose.

analog cat photography
Brittany Lake sunset
Robin Grey Folk
Tokyo fish market morning
analog food photography
Owl Girl husband
Bedroom window idea
Analogue wedding photography
Diana mini flash

Recently, I went to get some films developed from a range of different cameras at Snappy Snaps. Unfortunately, they managed to destroy some of the films instead of developing them, and those that they did manage to develop are misaligned and cut halfway through the photo, or are covered in scratches. They gave me the whole batch for free because it was their mistake, and whilst I am upset about losing so many photos, I’m embracing the imperfection of the remaining photographs as it really does add to the character somehow. These photographs are some of what remains, and were taken on a Diana Mini and a vintage Pentax SLR. Also, stay tuned for the disposable camera photos from our wedding (we’ve still not finished getting all of them developed yet)!
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

What to pack for a short city break

in-flight essentials

I'm sure you haven't failed to notice that we've been on our anniversary minibreak in Oslo... It's not like I've been posting about anything else! Anyway, as I mentioned in my airport fashion post, as far as I'm concerned, the holiday begins when I'm packing my bags. There's something so exciting about the anticipation involved. What will we do? What will I need?
So I thought I'd share just a few of my favourite things to pack for a very short "city break" - this is by no means all that I brought with me - just a few bits and pieces that I thought would be worth sharing! I took these photos as the morning sun streamed through the window of our attic hotel room, and Dan was shaving his face in our tiny ensuite. At the very end of the post, I'll let you know where everything came from, so stay tuned! And don't forget to watch our Oslo vlogs, if you haven't already!

minibreak packing list
holiday pyjamas
minibreak beauty kit
holy grail holiday project
Headphone tidy - Yesstyle - Cute if not super useful...
Portable eyelash curler - MUJI - Use this very carefully as it is quite different from a normal eyelash curler!
Hairclip - Boots - Useful in-flight and for putting on makeup.
Tea dress - Dorothy Perkins - See previous post! This is a great casual date dress.
Plastic travel pouch - MUJI - All my liquids were in here because we only took carry-on luggage.
Analogue camera - Pentax - This used to be my mum's camera!
Light pyjamas - Primark - The top has one of those useless 'built in bra' things, but if you can get past that ridiculousness, it's great. And the trousers are super comfy. I'm wearing them right now.
Makeup wipes - Boots - makeup wipes are perfect for short breaks and carry-on luggage holidays.
Eyeshadow duo - Bare Minerals - Again, this is tiny and great for a 'basics only' approach to packing!
Dehydrated sheet masks - MUJI - OMG these are amazing. A splash of water or toner and they unfurl into sheet masks to refresh your face. Dan and I both used these in the evening before our little dinner date.

What are your packing essentials? What should I take with me next time I go away? Let me know in the comments, and I'll be sure to respond! :)

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Friday, 11 July 2014

Food and coffee in Oslo

tim wendelboe review

Every holiday is a culinary tour for us. We spent our whole honeymoon hopping from cafe to restaurant to ramen bar to street food cart, and our anniversary mini-break to Oslo was no different. Read of our wondrous foodie adventures, and if you stay tuned until the bottom of the post, you may or may not be treated to an accidental 'Marilyn moment'...
We arrived at our hotel very late at night, although there was still a glow in the sky, it being midsummer Norway and all, so after what felt like the shortest night's sleep ever, we ventured downstairs for the most incredible breakfast buffet of our lives. There were eggs and a hot plate to fry them on, a build-your-own muesli bar, countless different types of cheese, and mountains of cured salmon. After all that, we didn't feel like we would ever be able to eat again. (But don't worry - we could!)
We bought a couple of all-day bus tickets from a convenience store called Narvesen and hopped on a bus to Grünerløkka, which we had been informed was the "Shoreditch of Oslo". I actually thought it was much more laid back and family-orientated than Shoreditch, but it was still definitely very trendy. We walked up the river for a bit and then stopped for an iced coffee at Tim Wendelboe. Despite coming in a martini glass, my iced cappuccino was in no way a novelty drink. This was seriously smooth, creamy coffee and it was perfectly brewed. Dan got a different type of iced coffee that came with some kind of aniseed twist. It was just as incredible as mine. The decor at Tim Wendelboe is minimal, with very few spots to sit - the room was dominated by an enormous coffee bean roaster, all clean and industrial looking. The counter tops were functional and wooden - everything was designed to make sure that the coffee spoke for itself, which it really did.

Oslo Street Fashion
Pattern mixing Summer
City break in Oslo
Grunerlokka Hipster

After a lot of wandering and mooching, a trip to the Munch museum, and a visit to the amazing Fram museum (a museum dedicated to the first successful mission to the south pole - more on this at a later date), we changed for a little date night dinner at Elias mat & sånt. This was recommended online as a reasonably priced, modern take on traditional Norwegian food, and it did not disappoint. We amused ourselves between delicious courses, with children's books in Norwegian, and browsed the extensive collection of board games. I'd really recommend this place and enjoyed the fabulous smoked salmon and poached egg salad - Dan had reindeer stew, which was served with a mountain of delicious, buttery mashed potato.
We were only in Oslo for a day and a half, but we managed to squeeze in trips to visit two gorgeous sandwich shops, the Grünerløkka Bakeri, and Godt Brød. Both did fantastic sandwiches. Perhaps Scandinavian sandwiches should be called Scandwiches? Anyway, this sample of two has convinced me that Oslo is the sandwich capital of the world. Fresh ingredients, beautiful flavour combinations and real passion about food. (I sound like a knob).

Date night Oslo
Asparagus date
Norwegian disney

We visited another coffee shop the morning before we left, called Mocca. Again, the design inside the shop was clean and slightly industrial but perfectly executed. We both ordered iced mochas and enjoyed them surrounded by young families and hip students scribbling in Moleskines. I enjoyed every single food and drink experience I had in Oslo even though it is a very expensive city. I would love to go back when I am richer and experience more of the culture that Oslo has to offer!
Yeah, I know basically all of the photos in this post are of my outfits and not food!!! Whatchoo gonna do about it? Stay tuned for more Oslo adventure posts as well as my packing essentials.

Oslo coffee shop
iced mocha oslo
Scandinavian minimalist chic

Striped top - h&m
Skirt - Dorothy Perkins
-
Party dress - Dorothy Perkins
Cardigan - I have no idea... It used to belong to my mother. Ask her!

Oslo station tiger
Accidental upskirt
Windy day dress

Ooops.

P.S. Take a look at our vlog! There's bling! And licking!

Monday, 7 July 2014

What to wear... To the airport!

airport fashion ideas
When it comes to in-flight fashion, I like to keep it more functional than glamorous. You won't see me in high heels in Stansted airport, and I certainly don't own any celebrity sunglasses (although those can be very useful to hide bloodshot post-flight eyes if you're worried about them!)
That said, I like to be deliberate about all of my outfits and so I think very carefully about what I'm going to wear to the airport whenever I go abroad. For me, the holiday starts in the airport. Actually, I lie - for me, the holiday starts when I am packing my luggage! I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I LOVE flying...
Every detail about it, from making that initial list of what to pack and putting all my cosmetics in the tiny plastic bag, to waiting in that long queue to board the plane - you name it, I've probably got an unhealthy obsession with it...
In order to preserve my love of flying, I always make sure to wear something that is both ultra-comfortable and acceptable as an outdoor outfit. (Hey, if you're someone who wants to wear pyjamas on a plane, you go for it - I have nothing but respect for your commitment to comfort - I'm just not really a tracksuit bottoms kinda gal.)
carry-on fashion essentials
My utter holy grail item of clothing for flying is this pair of leggings with a built in skirt (or perhaps it is a skirt with built in leggings) from Yesstyle! I get all the comfort of a pair of leggings, with the assurance that I am not flashing my knickers. I paired the skeggings (please let that be what they are called!!) with a loose shirt to keep it casual and comfortable. Not pictured is my big slouchy cardigan, but trust me - layers are important when flying, especially with a budget airline.

So here are my pro tips for in-flight fashion: 
- Wear something stretchy and comfortable - no jeans and no corsets!
- Bring layers such as a snuggly cardigan or a light jacket. Nothing too heavy to carry around.
- Wear shoes that are easy to take off. Mine lace up but they are pretty low-fuss as shoes go. Often the security people want you to take your shoes off so they can scan them, and if you are wearing shoes that take ages to remove, that makes you and everyone else cross!
- Wear something that makes you feel human. Some people find flying (especially flying with budget airlines) very stressful, and even I admit that it can feel a bit like being herded like cattle from time to time. Wear a pretty hairband or a favourite top to remind yourself that you ARE on holiday!

cheesy travel pose
This is the first in a series of "what to wear" posts. If you have any burning desire for me to give you fashion advice or if you simply want to see what I'd wear in a scenario of your choice, let me know in the comments and maybe I'll dedicate a post to you!

P.S - I wrote this post ON THE PLANE. If that's not dedication to blogging, I don't know what is. And yes - I know that last photo is ridiculous. Who peruses their passport like a mail-order catalogue? Apparently I do.
P.P.S - Check out our Norway VLOG!!!!!OMGOMG
PPPS. This post about travelling with a disability, written by Hayley-Ezti is really really important.


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

What happened this Spring?

summer london bus
Since Summer is truly underway, I thought I'd do a little round-up of what went on in the world of Owl Girl this Spring, to give you a chance to catch up! All the images are clickable and will take you to other posts! :)
I spent most of my time in London, trying out some cafes such as the Vintage Emporium in Shoreditch, and several Ice Cream parlours around the city. Check out my Top 5 Ice Creams in London if you're in need of some cool and satisfying icy goodness this summer, and if you're a tourist, check out my tips for tourists in London.
Oddono’s gelato review
yellow tights for summer

I blogged about the bubbles at our wedding, as well as why we had a costume change in the middle. This Sunday it is our one year anniversary, and we're going to Oslo for a minibreak to celebrate. Stay tuned for some epic blog posts about our tiny holiday in Norway - it's going to be amazing.
wedding bubbles

I've done a couple of 'How-to' posts for you as well, including How to wrap a present for Easter (because eggs are soooooo last year, dahling) and How to make a Strawberry and Basil mojito syrup (your new favourite Summer drink?)
Strawberry basil Mojito
Easter gift wrap

We took a trip to Cambridge to see friends, and gatecrashed a champagne garden party all in one weekend, like true rock-and-rollers.
white people on a log
Bourgeois ridiculous

Finally, I had a life-changing salf-beef sandwich on the South Bank, and received a beautiful dress full of family history from my Grandma.
Southbank Bagel
Grandma's Vintage Dress

So, what does the future hold? Well, in addition to our little holiday next week, we've got a big house move coming up this summer, and plenty of home renovation things to look forward to as well as a whole new area of London to explore. Please stick around for all of my adventures! And if there are any posts you've particularly enjoyed this Spring, now is the time to let me know! What did you like? What do you want to see more of? TELL ME ALL THE THINGS.
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