Tuesday, 23 December 2014


I'm writing this while indulging in a Big Bang Theory marathon, having eaten lots of smoked salmon eggs Benedict and birthday cake - what are holidays for if not loads of TV and food, right?

I definitely needed this holiday! Loving catching up on sleep and TV and enjoying the Christmas decorations in the daylight.

I got these flowers from my parents for my birthday (which was the 21st) and one little bloom fell off as I was trimming them for the vase - luckily I'd just finished my Benefit eye cream and discovered that the jar makes the perfect tiny vase! And it's still going pretty strong...

Tomorrow we're heading back to Reading to spend Christmas with family and see some friends, and hopefully do some more eating and lazing around! And sales shopping, definitely another Christmas staple.

I hope you all have a merry Christmas and enjoyed this little peek at our decorations!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Lady Dinah's

I was planning to blog again before this, but sadly illness struck on Friday and I'm only just getting over the blocked nose and general icky feeling (but welcoming in a hacking cough...), but I really wanted to share some pictures of our trip to London a couple of weeks ago to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium.

For those of you who haven't heard, Lady Dinah's is London's first cat cafe. Located an interesting 15 minute walk through Spitalfields Market from Liverpool Street Station, it opened in March after a massively successful Kickstarter appeal and is constantly improving. This is the third time I've been and it keeps getting better! There's an upstairs area and a basement, where we sat on this visit; the basement is really cosy and the upstairs is bright and airy, so you have a choice of atmosphere in which to enjoy the beautiful cats.

Let's play spot all the kitties in the above photo...

This little guy was hilarious - he jumped up and would not get down for ages!

This is us half-way through a Plougman's Lunch, banana and custard cake and two "Petra"s - chilli hot chocolates with a shot of raspberry syrup, named after one of the prettiest cats in the place. One of the things that has improved most at Lady Dinah's is the food - there wasn't much on the menu when we first came at the end of March, but now there are a lot of items and everything is delicious. I think this was the best cake I've ever had and the hot chocolate was absolutely divine.

This is the upstairs area - look at that tail!

If you like cats, I would definitely recommend a visit, but don't go expecting cuddles - they'll let you stroke them, but mostly they'd rather play (which is endlessly entertaining) or sleep!

Sunday, 19 October 2014


Thanks to those of you who didn't run away screaming because they're totally over-saturated with autumn/pumpkin-themed things!

At the beginning of October, when all things pumpkin were new and exciting, I really wanted to make pumpkin and hazelnut mini doughnuts - so we went off in search of pumpkin purée. Turns out that our local Sainsbury's doesn't stock it, so rather than give up we bought an edible pumpkin to purée ourselves.

Guys - these edible pumpkins may look reasonably small, especially compared with their carving siblings, but let me tell you: you get so. much. purée. I ended up turning to my trusty friend Google to help figure out some more exciting and tasty new ways to use up my glut of pumpkin, and it did not disappoint.

So, for anyone still excited about all the things you can do with pumpkin (how are there so many options?!), grab yourself a handy partner to do all the awkward carving and get making and baking these tasty treats:

Pumpkin spiced muffins - These muffins are reasonably simple to make and very tasty.
Tips: Definitely follow the instruction to spray your muffin cases with cooking spray!
Coconut oil can be hard to find/expensive, but you can substitute it with melted butter. There are also substitutes for can use for buttermilk.

Pumpkin and hazelnut doughnuts - So delicious that they're impossible not to eat all at once!
Tips: To cook these I used a mini doughnut mould and a piping bag to get the mixture into the mould, which worked pretty well, although it was a bit fiddly.

Pumpkin spice syrup - This didn't go particularly well for me, but I'm eager to try again - if you learn from my mistakes it should go better!
Tips: Definitely strain the syrup with more than just a sieve, as the recipe states - I didn't because there was nothing to hand and I was impatient! I've bought some of these Lakeland muslin squares to try out next time.
Make sure your cloves are well ground! I didn't and you could certainly tell...

Pumpkin cream cheese filled brownies - These were probably my favourite pumpkin product I made - I do love a good brownie and the pumpkin cream cheese ramped them up another level of deliciousness.
Tips: Make sure you have enough brownie mixture for the top layer or your edge squares will be disproportionately pumpkin-y!

Are there any other pumpkin recipes I should try?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Autumn Brights

Oh dear, it's been an awfully long time since my last post! I blame the fact that we moved into our new house at the end of August - moving is stressful and needs lots of recovery time obviously! And I still need to sort out some of my stuff. I've got lots of exciting things I want to post about though so hopefully I'll be a bit more regular again.

First up is my very first outfit post, something I've wanted to start doing for ages. My very first introduction to the world of blogging was the wonderful Selective Potential - hers is still one of my favourite blogs - and ever since I discovered this fashion blogging thing I've always wanted to have a go. I put it off for ages, feeling not thin/pretty/fashionable enough (and not wanting to demand that someone take millions of photos of me!), but I decided now was the time to take the plunge...

Can you tell I'm still working out the posing?! Haha. I bought this hat in the Miss Selfridge summer sale a few months ago and I've been waiting for autumn to arrive to wear it - I think the deep blue and yellow jewel tones complement each other really well. The beginning of autumn can be a really bright season with the changing leaves picked out against a bright blue sky on a (at the moment rare) sunny day, and I wanted to channel that while I still can!

These photos were taken in the garden of our new house (except the last one, which is outside the front door as you may be able to guess). I'm excited to eventually paint and decorate and really make the house our own! Though for today we really just need to tidy up...

Hat [similar in teal] - Miss Selfridge , Cardigan - H&M, Top - H&M, Jeans - Topshop, Shoes - Clarks, Earrings - Accessorize, Necklace - Accessorize

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Plymouth: Day 2

Hello! I took an accidental blogging break there, but I'm trying not to make them too long these days. ;) But without further ado, onto more from Plymouth! On our second day there (and the first full day we spent in the city) we mainly mooched around the shops and attended the reception for Michael's sister's graduation.

The reception was held in Plymouth city's Guildhall - which was beautiful, as you can see above - and they'd provided a plethora of waiters bearing juices, Buck's fizz and canapés to celebrate. Much more fancy than my graduation! It was certainly interesting to experience how a different place does things (not to mention taking full advantage of the free food/drink).

I guess this shiny purple building might not be to everyone's taste, but I personally love it! I also love the contrast of the beauty of new and old here; especially as modern buildings are so often made for function with no thought to aesthetics. It's nice to know we can still make lovely things if we try, and in special and interesting new ways.

That night we had dinner at The Glassblowing House and I decided to have a night off from taking pictures, which I sort of regretted! It was decorated beautifully and the food was absolutely delicious; all my three courses (The Glassblowing House bruschetta, Cajun spiced chicken breast burger and white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake) were spot on and very generously portioned. I definitely ended that night very happily full and would say it's a must-visit if you're ever in the area.

That's it from me for now, but more on Plymouth soon!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Weekly Wishes: Autumn/Winter

Today (full of rain, clouds, and even a liiiittle bit of lightning) seems a perfect day to post a loosely autumn/winter themed wishlist. Not that I'm seriously planning that far ahead, but all the shops seem to be gearing towards autumn already - I swear this is even earlier than usual, or is it just that I'm paying more attention this year?!

I finally got around to buying new work clothes this weekend! I've been meaning to for ages as most of what I was wearing for work was just the more formal end of my everyday clothes and I wanted a bit more delineation, and to look a bit more professional. I picked up this cute M&S pencil skirt and I think it would go really well with a mustard top for autumn; I'm eyeing up this long-sleeved number from Next or this more budget buy from H&M.

Next up, I really like this lovely minimalist jewellery box from Anthropologie. As well as being pretty, it would be great to be able to see all my jewellery at a glance - then I wouldn't forget what I have! Their bits & baubles tray would also be a really useful and cute way to store my jewellery when I'm way too tired/lazy to put it away properly (which happens a lot!).

Lastly, these candles (also Anthropologie...) are not only beautiful to look at, but smell absolutely gorgeous. The 'biscuits and berries' and 'double latte' are my favourite Tea & Sympathy candles (top right) and this Boulangerie sweet vanilla cinnamon one smells exactly like Christmas - I may be thinking way ahead here but I'll definitely be buying it come December!

Hope everyone out there is having a great week! :)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Plymouth: Day 1

Just over a week ago Michael and I went to Plymouth to celebrate his twin sister's graduation from medical school. She's just moved to Dundee to start work soon so it was great to see her one last time before she moved hundreds of miles away. It was a lovely sunny few days, but thankfully not as humid as it was in Guildford so it was a great time to get away.

The lovely train man (conductor? guard?) offered to find us seats when he saw we were sitting on the floor half-way through the journey and when he couldn't find any in standard (we had looked!), he said we could just sit in first, so that was fun - I did feel a bit like an imposter though!

It was so sunny and pretty when we arrived I had to immediately get out my camera and start snapping pictures, even though I was also carrying a giant bag (note to self: take a wheeled suitcase on the next trip...). My boyfriend is so patient!

We stayed in the lovely Grosvenor Hotel, which was comfortable and very well-presented (just look at the décor above!). It even had breakfast included in the price of the room. There wasn't a huge selection of cereal and the toast wasn't great, but the cooked breakfast was lovely and made fresh to order.

After we checked in and sorted out our stuff we headed down to the Hoe to meet up with Michael's family. It's such a beautiful area! I went to Plymouth once before for an underwater hockey tournament but I don't think we saw any of the nice bits. Also it was February so I don't think that helped...

The island above is named Drake's Island because Francis Drake (whose lovely likeness you can see further up) sailed from there for his trip around the world in 1577; it was also used as a barracks in the 1500s when it was needed for defence against the French and Spanish. Y'know, when we were at war with everyone...

After lying around for a little bit we headed along the seashore for some quick dinner before going to see the NT production of Skylight at one of the local cinemas (which was a really good play, go see it if you can!).

This post on our first day in Plymouth was brought to you by me whilst watching season 2 of Orange Is The New Black. Cannot. Get. Enough.

More on Plymouth soon!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Weekly Wishes: Kitchen Essentials

Hey, look, third blog post in a week! I'm on a roll. Now let's see if we can keep this up...Good thing I took lots of lovely photos of Plymouth this weekend.

A week or so ago I wanted to make a recipe from delicious magazine, but then realised it required poached eggs; not being brave enough to try poaching them for the first time in just a pan of water, I soft boiled them instead (just as tasty), but it got me thinking about what bits of kitchen equipment I'd like to acquire to be able to cook/serve food more effectively (and prettily) - they may not all actually be 'essentials', but here are some of my favourites:

Cole & Mason Pepper and Salt Mills @ Debenhams, House by John Lewis Utensils, Falcon 6-Piece Enamel Prep Set @ Liberty

I'm especially loving M&S's gorgeous wooden serveware right now. It would all be perfect for summer entertaining, which we'll hopefully do some of once we move and have our own little garden! They've got a bit of a sale on at the moment too, so very tempting...

After consistently dropping food on myself while baking/cooking over the last few months, I recently had the brainwave that I could actually buy an apron (apparently a degree doesn't actually equal common sense - who'd have thought it, right?). I'm torn between the Jamie Oliver apron and these two lovely little numbers from Anthropologie though...Someone help me decide!! 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Day On The River

A couple of weeks ago my friend Beth invited us for a day out on her parents' canal boat - unfortunately it wasn't the most beautiful day ever to be boating, but thankfully it only rained once for about 15 minutes (and at a convenient time to stop for a spot of lunch, at that).

We travelled from Reading to Shiplake and back, went through Sonning lock and I even got to have a go at steering! It was easier than I thought it would be and pretty fun. It probably helped that the boat has a top speed of 4mph...

We ran into some cute ducklings when we moored up for lunch; even when there was no food around this little one above was squawking and trying to bite his poor siblings. Guess we know who's boss!

It was a lovely day indeed for my first canal boat experience - I'm only sad I didn't take more photos of people. Tomorrow me and the boy are heading to Plymouth for a mini-holiday and his sister's graduation, and I will certainly be taking lots of photos of everything!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Weekly Wishes: Sherbet Crush

In order to (try to...!) ensure more regular posting I've decided to do a weekly wishlist post on a Monday - shopping is one of the best ways to chase away the Monday blues, even if it is just dream shopping...

Sadly credit for the title has to go to Tesco; everything above is part of their spring/summer pastel-themed homeware range, 'Sherbet Crush'. I totally adore pastels, so I want pretty much everything but above are some of my absolute favourites (I may have already bought the duvet cover...shhh ;) ). I used to be a bit dubious of the quality of supermarket fashion/homeware, but I think in the last few years they've really upped their game and this collection has solidly made me a fan. What should I buy next?! (Bearing in mind that I'm pretty sure the boy will kill me if I buy more mugs just because they're pretty...)

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