Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 September 2014

I totally dig: Oatcakes in Autumn

nairns oatcake remix

So Autumn is here (did I mention that before? I don't think I did...) and something that I really crave when September rolls around, is oatcakes. When I was a teenager, I'd have oatcakes when I got back from school as a little post-education snack. My topping of choice is always cheese and Vegemite. Yeah, I do like Marmite, but if I had to choose between them for some reason, I'd always go for Vegemite, Marmite's Australian cousin. Anyway, this post isn't about Vegemite (that's a whole other post for another day, I think); this post is about my love affair with oatcakes.

I think what I love most about oatcakes - nostalgia aside - is how versatile they are. You can eat them for breakfast, with some peanut butter and banana on them; you can dip them in tinned tomato soup, like tea biscuits. But I think that where they really come into their own, is as a cheese biscuit. I made a few of my favourite cheesy oatcake creations, and let Dan be my official taste tester. What a lucky boy! I made a blue cheese and grape combo, a cheddar and chutney combo, and my old favourite, the cheddar and Vegemite (cheddamite?) combo.

oatcake cheese platter
man eats cheese biscuit

Now, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Our flat is full of boxes right now. We've been eating dinner off our laps for the last week, and there's nowhere inside where I can take pretty photographs. So I made a makeshift table scenario just outside our front door on the pavement. Passers-by thought we were having a really bizarrely situated oatcake picnic, which must have been interesting for them. The things we bloggers do for a good photo, eh?

A year or two ago, Nairns brought out a range of sweet oat biscuits (or cookies, for my American friends). I've got really fond memories of eating these after a long day at work during my teacher training. If you're looking for the most autumnal treat you can find this side of the Atlantic, the Fruit and Spice biscuits are what you need. Sometimes I feel like the UK hasn't capitalised on the concept of Autumn (or Fall, if you prefer) as much as the North Americans. I'm perpetually fascinated by the way America manages to market an entire season to customers. I don't know whether to despair at it, or throw myself into it wholeheartedly. I admit, part of me is jealous of the idea of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING...

cosy tea and biscuits

It's probably worth mentioning that this post isn't sponsored by Nairns, but I'm definitely not saying that I'd reject them if they wanted to collaborate with me in the future...! ;) Enjoy the rest of the week everyone, and let me know what you'd put on an oatcake!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Toolkit or hair clip?!

Leatherdos review

This is a very important hair clip. The moment I came across this hair clip with built in tools, I knew that I had to have it. I am a big fan of functional fashion, and this pretty much ticks all the boxes. I wasn't alone since after finally finding and ordering it on Animi Causa, I received an email telling me that there would be some delay in shipping due to unprecedented demand. But I really didn't mind waiting for such a nifty little item.
I've been obsessed with Swiss Army knives, penknives and multi-tools since I was a tiny child. My Dad gave me my first Swiss Army knife and I wore it attached to my Brownie Guide culottes, until I was told I wasn't allowed to bring a knife with me (which is fair enough really). It's not so much that I am really into any of the specific functions of tools or knives, it's more that I love being prepared for anything. I love the idea that with this hair clip, I could saw up some twigs or bits of string, I could repair my own glasses (another piece of functional fashion), or I could measure something tiny in the forest!
Another thing I adore about this hair clip is the fusion of unfathomable bad-assery (yeah, that's a word now, I decided) and something inherently innocuous and 'feminine'. The pictures on the website show it as a Kippah clip (to fix the skullcap traditionally worn by Jewish men to the crown of their heads), but the glowing reception this hair clip has received online has mainly been from women as far as I can tell. This simple hair clip is so much more than it seems, and for some reason that resonates with me.
I've tried out the little saw, the ruler and the small screwdriver, and they are all great. I've not tried using it as a trolley coin yet, and I'm a little skeptical about that part, since it is a US-designed product. I don't know if it will work in a UK trolley. Follow me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated! For now, I shall stop waxing lyrical about a hair clip, but suffice to say I think it's awesome. Can you tell?

pale wrist veins
red hair don't care
hair clip with tools

This hair clip can be purchased at Animi Causa, which does free worldwide shipping. I was not paid to review this product, not was I sent it for free, but hey, Animi Causa, if you wanna hit me up, I 'ain't gonna say no!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A jolly jaunt to Portobello Road

Portobello Weekend

At about midnight on Friday night I decided that I wanted to go to a market on Saturday morning. Since it has been almost three years since I made it to one of my favourites, Portobello Road market, we decided that it was as good a time as any to visit again. I love to mooch about on the side streets to look at the beautiful houses, and squeeze into the crowded vintage shops to ogle the gorgeous dresses on sale. Dan was excited about all of the food stalls, so we hopped on the bus to see what we could find.

UK Modcloth order
Deschanel dress modcloth
Electric cinema neon sign

After battling through the crowds (oh gosh, why did I think Saturday was a good time to come to Portobello Road?! Whyyy?!) we ducked into the Electric diner which is attached to the Electric cinema. Dan and I shared the best burger I've ever eaten in my life, and some truly spectacular avocado/poached egg toast, as well as skin-on fries with garlic mayo. Oh and a peanut butter and banana milkshake that was so incredible that even avid banana-hater Dan loved it. I didn't manage to take any photos of the food because the lighting inside the restaurant was so... ambient... that any food photography would not have done the meal justice at all. Once we were full to the brim, we popped back outside to walk it off a bit in the sunshine. I do love Portobello Road and all of its mad stalls and shops. My only problem is that I ALWAYS end up with the Portobello Road song from Bedknobs and Broomsticks stuck in my head whenever I go!

colourful houses in London
ginger fringe hairstyle
kirby grip toolkit

I know my elbow looks a bit backwards in that last photo. I've got hypermobile elbows due to my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I might write a post about that at some point in the future, if anyone's interested in hearing more about my creepy bendy tricks. More importantly though, LOOK AT MY HAIR CLIP! It has tools built into it. I'm so excited about it that I have a whole other blog post lined up all about it! So watch this space. My dress is six years old from Modcloth, and my shoes are from last year's ankle boot collection at Office. Hurrah! Anyway, we had a lovely day out, and returned home so thoroughly exhausted that we had to have a nap on the sofa with our little cat. I hope you had a wonderful weekend - what did you get up to?

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Friendship after university

white people on a log
Leaving university means it is much harder to see your friends. It’s one of those sad facts about growing up, and like all of the sad facts of adulthood, whilst you know they’re going to happen, it still comes as a bit of a shock.
That said, you soon realise, once you no longer live in the same house as all of your friends, that you can still love them and be close to them even if you live far apart. For the last three years, we’ve all either lived, or spent a lot of time in London, so despite the initial shock of not living together, we’ve not been all that far apart. But by the end of the summer, we are all going to be living in different towns, and that’s kind of scary. Still, think of all the housewarming parties, and mini-roadtrips we get to take in order to visit one another – got to look on the positive side, right?

We went on a little trip back to Cambridge to bid farewell to a few old friends and professors who are moving on to bigger and better things. While we were there, we took a lovely trip to the Botanical Gardens to frolic among the flowers and pose on tree stumps and so forth.
Sunny Cambridge
UK Women Short Hairstyle
Pinecone hunting fun
Sensitive man with animals
daisy Cambridge Botanical Gardens
Save the bees Cambridge
Reservoir Dogs in Colour
Some of the photos in this post were taken by the legendary musical and photographic polymath, Francis Knights. Some of them were taken by my dear friend Dr (OMG!) Dyer. The dress I’m wearing is from Joy, and the cardigan is from H&M.

Monday, 26 May 2014

5 of the BEST ice creams in London

London has a LOT of ice cream parlours these days, and let me start by saying that there are some incredible gelato spots that didn’t make this list. Since we moved to London several years ago, we've tried many, many ice-creams that the city has to offer. In order to make a lovely list for you, Dan and I decided to have an epic day of gelato mayhem and take a load of photos. My ~definitive~ list is presented in the order I visited them, rather than in order of preference but it should help you along the way to ice cream satisfaction. So let’s get started, shall we? There’s lots to get through…

1. laGelatiera – 27 New Row, Covent Garden
Good for: Sorbet, coffee, and proximity to Covent Garden.
Gelatiera London
London icecream cafe
This award winning place has a down-to-earth, hip vibe, is smack bang in the middle of central London, and has a mouth-watering array of home made gelato, cakes, pastries and gorgeous coffee.
Tiny ice cream
One of my favourite things about this particular gelato shop is that they do these teeny little “baby scoops” for £1 and even though the cone is small, the amount of gelato you get for your quid is really flipping generous.
sexy sorbet
We got a cone with one scoop of almond sorbet and one scoop of honey and rosemary sorbet. They were both beautifully refreshing and had very interesting flavours, which worked together really well. Oh and if you were doubting what I said about the baby cone containing a generous serving of ice cream, check out that hefty scoop of peanut butter gelato below!
baby cone gelato

2. Gelupo – 7 Archer Street, Soho
Good for: Beautiful gelato, interesting flavours, cute décor.
Gelupo Soho review
Gelupo pop-up market
This place frequently tops the ‘best ice cream in London’ lists I found online, and so I was really excited to try it. It’s so popular, it even has a cute little pop-up gelato cart for markets. We chose one scoop of the Bonet (a blend of chocolate, coffee, egg yolk, rum, caramel and amaretti biscuits) and one scoop of THE most incredible mint ice cream I’ve ever consumed in my life. It tasted like real mint leaves and it was too beautiful for words. The cup came with a cute little wafer with the Gelupo logo printed onto it which was a great touch.
BEST mint ice cream

3. Chin Chin Labs – 49-50 Camden Lock Place, Camden
Good for: showmanship, smooth gelato and awesome toppings.
Chin chin labs review
chin chin menu
We’ve been coming to this place since we moved to London yeeears ago, and even though it’s got more and more popular, and changed layout a bit, the ice cream is still just as excellent. The twist to this gelato shop is that you get to see it being made in front of your very eyes as it’s frozen using liquid nitrogen. The décor is very much styled around a science lab, since the liquid nitrogen is at the forefront of the experience.
Chin Chin interior
nitrogen ice cream
Chin chin menu board
We chose the ‘Salted caramel and peach pit’ flavoured gelato and topped it off with a caramelised pretzel. You get one topping or sauce with your ice cream, but you can pay a little bit extra if you want more than one topping. The benefit of freezing the ice cream with liquid nitrogen is that you get a super, super smooth consistency… like, super smooth. Oh and it looks really bad-ass when it’s all being churned up in the mixer and these clouds of vapour are billowing out.
chin chin labs review blog

4. Oddono’s – Selfridges Food Hall, Oxford Street
Good for: Tourists, classic flavours and a crunchy cone.
Selfridges icecream review
We were going to go to the ice cream parlour in Harrod’s, but like everything there, it was unbelievably overpriced and incredibly stressful, so we opted for the much more convenient and slightly less extortionate Selfridge’s Food Hall, where Oddono’s is situated.
Oddono’s gelato review
We went for the perfect double-whammy of classic strawberry and a hazelnut gelato in a big, crispy waffle cone. It’s not mind-blowing ice cream but it really hits the spot after a hard day of shopping, which is why I think it’s a great gelato for tourists. London is a really hectic and tiring place to be a tourist and you’ve got to keep your energy levels up!

5. Kaspa’s – 321-323 Walworth Road, Elephant & Castle
Good for: South London, kitsch, party-time!
Kaspa’s desserts review
birthday cake walworth
This place recently opened and I pass it on the bus to work each day. It’s got glittery floors and a disco ball – I mean, what more could you want from an ice cream parlour?
south london gelato
They’ve also got giant screens cycling through pictures of epic parties, and an array of sundaes, waffles and crepes behind the counter. It’s certainly an experience in there. Unfortunately, after an entire day of ice cream eating (yes, we did eat all of these ice creams in one day), all we could stomach was a sorbet. It was a really tart, refreshing passion fruit sorbet though and a perfect palate cleanser! sorbet south london
So, as you can see, I’ve suffered and toiled for you, so that you can know the best gelati in London. And like I said at the beginning of this mammoth post, I know I’ve missed tons off, so let me know your favourite gelato places in London. Or if you’re not a Londoner, tell me about the best ice cream where you’re from – I MUST KNOW!