Dates with Charlie: All the cheese and wine at Androuet

Dates with Charlie: All the cheese and wine at Androuet

General life appears to have got in the way and what with that whole Christmas thing, it's been a while since I've been able to spend time with Charlie, Distracted and it was time to sort it out.

Charlie and I both LOVE our food and we're both completely obsessed with cheese. When we lived together there was more than one occasion where a cheeseboard totally counted as dinner and I'm sure loads of you would agree.

I'm always trying to try new food and find new places to go to in London so when Charlie suggested Fondu and Androuet, there was no way in hell I was going to say no. Despite living in London for so long, I have only been to Spitalfields Market a couple of times and I had no idea you could go somewhere specifically for Fondu. Who'da thunk it?



Not only was it all delicious (including that meat board), it was really cozy with a lovely atmosphere. There were little blankets and heaters to keep you warm as we were sitting in the bar outside, the staff were lovely and there was definitely more than enough to share.

They serve lots of different options but we went for their standard fondu with emmental, as neither of us like blue cheese, with Speck and Saucisson, plus an amazing bottle of wine.

I'd recommend it for every foodie and cheese lover out there. If you're not one for trying new things, this is definitely something to get you started.

Have you ever been here before and what did you think?

Passport Planning 2015

Passport Planning 2015

I am always moaning about how I haven't had a proper beach/sun holiday for 5 years. I'm always seeing friends and family gallivanting around the globe and having adventures that I've actually started to get a bit jealous.

Gary and I are already planning at least one holiday together this year but there are so many things I want to do and see I feel a little overwhelmed about where to start. After a bit of thinking, here are my top 5 options. Some affordable, some not; some close, some far.

Gran Canaria

Image source 
My sense of geography really isn't that great and if I'm going to be completely honest, I didn't even know this was a place until my dad went on holiday there not too long ago. How can you not want to go here when you see that sea and that sky?

Ascension Island

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ascension+island&espv=2&biw=1572&bih=804&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=w6uqVLeKOJPoaMLSgrAE&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=cccWS-vLzc1AiM%253A%3Bul7JUGzFgjec_M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmedia-cdn.tripadvisor.com%252Fmedia%252Fphoto-s%252F01%252F80%252Ffc%252F25%252Fascension-island.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.tripadvisor.co.uk%252FTourism-g662056-Ascension_Island-Vacations.html%3B550%3B412
Image Source: Google Images
Source Google Images
Probably not the top of everyone's list but I stopped off here on my way to the Falkland Islands (yes, I went there) and it was amazingly hot and even from the airbase where you weren't allowed cameras you could see how beautiful it was. A volcanic island off the coast of Africa with turtles. Of course I want to go there!

Getting there will take some working out though as last time I flew with the RAF!

Paris

I've been to Paris before and I would LOVE to go back there especially since there are so many things I want to do there. It's practically down the road and will make a perfect little weekend getaway for me and the boy. Plus, you know, Disney Land.

Source: Google Images
Me at Disney Land about 6 years ago!

Vienna

I have a friend who lives in Vienna and I know a couple of people who have gone. Technically I have visited it (purely to stop and put my hand on the floor while driving to Italy...) but I have never really experienced it. I mainly want to go to see the architecture and Christmas markets so this could potentially be something to save up for!

Source: Google Images

Greece

So, my family has Greek roots! I have never been there but have always been fascinated by the history and culture. It would be amazing to see where part of my family came from, chill on a beach and be a proper tourist. 

Source here
My passport planning list also includes Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa but you have to start somewhere and I really want to add more stamps to my passport before it expires!

Are you planning any holidays this year?

2014 in clothes!

2014 in clothes!

I'm hoping that 2014 was the start of me having my own style. Although it's still a bit eclectic I'm more aware of what works and what I should avoid. To be honest, it's pretty much all dresses as I only wear jeans on lazy days!

Here are a bunch of my favourite outfits and styles from 2014!

1. Pastels

I am very pale and have finally worked out that pastels suit my skin tone a lot more than darker ones (although I do still wear them) so when I have an exciting event to go to I'll generally wear pastels so I don't have too much of a 'death' look going on.


2. Bold patterns

For years I have tried to avoid bold patterns because I feared they would make me look even shorter. This year however I decided to just bite the bullet and try them, especially with the right pair of shoes.

The only thing I don't like about this outfit is my hair. Maybe I should make a new year's resolution to make sure I get it cut regularly!


3. Florals

Let's face it, florals are pretty much a wardrobe staple, especially in Spring. I have fallen in love with them this year and my collection is steadily growing, whether it's massive print or a smaller more discreet look. This is my favourite floral dress and I wore it to yet another wedding! Perfick.


4. Scarves

When you work in and office and always get cold (like me) it's difficult to battle the constant fight over the air-con. Scarves are the best way to stay warm and still look awesome. I have always loved scarves but have been finding more ways of wearing them to either enhance an outfit or dominate it. Here's one of my 'off to work' looks from earlier in the year


5. Statement bags

I've never been really a 'bag girl'. Most of my money has generally gone on shoes or dresses. However, this year has seen a serious growth in my love of them. I've started rocking lunchboxes as bags (see image 2) and now have a variety of clutches and every day bags. Here's my favourite purchase of 2014, a quite indulgent Ted Baker bag. I justify the price by using it as often as possible! (plus, it's back to the 'bold patterns' and 'floral' themes!)



Do you have any favourite looks from 2014? Tell me about them in the comments!


Off to the theatre: Ghost Stories

Off to the theatre: Ghost Stories


Gary seems to have started this trend where at Christmas he gets me tickets to see something that's going to absolutely terrify me. Last year it was the Woman in Black (blog post here) and this year it's Ghost Stories. He probably only does it because it'll be more like a comedy for him - watching me that is.

Throughout the day he had been winding me up and constantly asking me if I felt scared. It wasn't until we arrived that I started to fill with dread!

It has been a given ever since I was little that you dress up for the theatre so it was the same here. We may have not been going to the fanciest theatre in the world but there is never a moment where sequins aren't appropriate.


Bell rang as taking photo so excuse awkward face

When we arrived I was surprise at how cosy the lobby was, full of comfy armchairs, mirrors and pretty wallpaper, if it wasn't for the eerie music and smell of dry ice coming from the theatre I would have been very happy to just chill out here. Going in to see the show was an entirely different matter.

Along with the creepy music, it was like the theatre went out of their way to make everyone in their audience feel uneasy before they went in. I even jumped when I passed a plastic mannequin as I turned a corner! 

The whole place was decorated with kind of construction tape, plastic and creepy yellow lights that you'd expect to see on a construction site that gave the whole theatre a surreal orange glow.



I'm not going to ruin the play for you as you need to see it if you're not a massive wuss but I can tell you the following things and how I felt about them:
  • It's dark - I am scared of the dark
  • There are a lot of loud noises - I'm scared of loud noises
  • They used a lot of the senses - including smell, it freaked me out a little and made you feel like you were IN the action
  • Intense - I was scared
  • No interval - I couldn't escape and had to deal with my fear constantly
  • It's scary
  • It's dark - I'm scared of the dark 
I think it's clear from the above that I wasn't exactly comfortable throughout the show, I had to fight back tears and at one point I had covered my ears screaming 'I DON'T LIKE IT!' into my boyfriend's shoulder. It was fantastic though even if I did have to sleep with fairy lights on afterwards...


What's the last play you went to see?

Oh, hello 2015!

Oh, hello 2015!

That came around a little too quickly! 2014 was pretty good to be honest and I can deinitely say that 2012 and 2013 were the worst years of my life, especially in comparison. But now there's a whole new year happening and although not everything in the world is going to change just because the calendar has, I know that my 2015 is going to be awesome.

2014 was pretty good!
Everyone's going to be making new year's resolutions, right? And we all know most people (including me!) probably won't stick to them. That's why I'm going to pick three key things that are hopefully achievable and with the help of my lovely boyfriend I should be able to see the difference by this time next year.

Save money

Definitely one that's on everyone's list but there are so many things I want to do but my bank account has never let me. I haven't had a holiday for over 5 years and am in desperate need of one, I need to try and reach the end of the month without spending ALL my money and I currently have a savings account that's gathering dust.

Saving money isn't something that's purely going to rely on me shopping less but also little things like not getting a takeaway every Friday or buying lunch. Maybe I can even cut down and have only one shop bought latte a day, those £3 will definitely make a difference and can go towards a holiday where I can do nothing but lie on a beach and attempt to get a tan.

Cook more

I cook every week but unlike a good friend of mine, I'm not exactly very experimental. There's loads of food I love but have never tried cooking myself and now I have a beautiful new slow cooker it's not like I have any excuses! I'm thinking pulled pork wahaca style is going to be my first challenge!

Learning something new last year
Always new flavours to be explored
Exprience London

I have lived in London for 8 years now and there are still so many things I haven't done and a lot of them free. It could be something little like sitting on Primrose Hill and having a picnic or going to Greenwich and watching the Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks from the hill outside the observatory. Truly appreciating the city you live in doesn't need to cost a lot of money and it's about time I got myself into gear and did it.

That time I spent an afternoon in a cat cafe
Visit more art galleries and museums. They're free!
What are your plans for 2015?

I need to make it to Pay Day

I need to make it to Pay Day

Everyone hates January, it's a good 5 week gap between pay days and we're all trying to battle through after the Christmas splurge. I just looked at my bank account and I clearly went a little overboard on gifts this year... This was my reaction.

Payday gif photo test_zpsvrnwf8la.gif

However, it's not like this is a situation that's new to me, I've made it through before and I can do it again... I hope.

Here's how I plan on surviving the post-festive period:

Weekly shop


Yes, it's convenient to just pop down to your local shop to pick up last minute bits and bobs for dinner but it's a lot more cost effective to get it all in one go. for example, rather than spending £6 on 500g chicken you can get 3 packs for £10! Gary and I do our shop from Asda and, if you live in London, they do this amazing thing where you can collect your shopping from the Tube station. You can just pick it up after work and get ready to start cooking straight away, just remember to take a rucksack.

Another benefit of this is that if there's something you don't use, (e.g buying more meat in the promotion than you need) you can just throw it in the freezer for next week and spend less money.

Cook everyday

I love takeaway and I love going out for dinner but right now it's really not affordable, it's barely affordable for me throughout the rest of the year! One of my New Years Resolutions is to be more experimental with my food so I'll be trying out a bunch of new recipes. 

It's so much cheaper to cook everything from scratch too, if I'm having a really poor day I'll make a chickpea curry. Chickpeas are 30p a can and it's much nicer than that 89p pizza from Iceland. (Recipe here

http://www.youwanttocook.com/2014/07/spicy-chickpea-curry.html
Source: My boyfriend's blog youwanttocook.com

Stop buying lunch


Again, this is a matter of fighting over convenience. Sainsbury's is around the corner from my office and I do occasionally run down for a meal deal. It may only be £3 but those £3 do add up. Cooking everyday will help with this because then you have the delight of a delicious left overs lunch rather than the last rather looking sad sandwich after the lunchtime rush.

Another cheap eat - Chinese Chicken Curry
Source: My Boyfriend's blog youwanttocook.com

Do you really need that Starbucks?


In the morning, there's nothing worse than being cold and for me the remedy is usually to run to Starbucks either on my way to the office or on my lunch break. It's an unnecessary expense that I need to cut down on. Instead I have a beautiful thermos that I can just fill up before I head out the door (especially now I have a sexy new coffee machine!).



Avoid the sales like the plague


Last year I indulged in the sales and this year, as much as my Ted Baker gift card is taunting me, I will avoid them for as long as physically possible! 

Cinema date? Nah thanks, I have Netflix


There's nothing better than staying at home in a onesie and binge - watching. Not going out means no money spent. If you don't have Netflix, there's always scrabble...

NETFLIX HAS ATTENBOROUGH!

Do you have any survival tips for January? let me know in the comments!


Christmas haul

Christmas haul

Now I'm finally back home, I get to show off my Christmas presents! I got so many things I don't know where to start and since I didn't really ask for anything there were lots of surprises.

I mainly got a lot of new kitchen stuff as I'm an old lady now and probably spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house and it was nice to know that when my cousin came to stay she made note of all the little things I needed. Weird how you can get excited over a water filter...


Said water filter
New coffee machine! Best thing to ever happen.
New kettle!


New slow cooker so I can feed more then one person at a time after having a 1.5L one for years.


Coffee machine accessories and yes, those are TARDIS salt and pepper pots


Non kitchen collection including my Irregular Choice shoes from Gary and a sewing book for new projects from Charlie, Distracted. Plus TED BAKER VOUCHER!


New bling, a little treble clef!

Along with all of this amazing stuff, I also got tickets to see Ghost Stories on Wednesday, I will inevitably be so scared I'll probably cry... Look forward to a blog post later...

 What did you get for Christmas?

Mood Blanket 2015

Mood Blanket 2015

A couple of years ago I taught myself how to crochet, annoyingly I have a couple of projects left unfinished because I always seem to get distracted by other things. This year will be different (I swear) and I'll get things finished!



We had a health issue in the family this year and when I found the Mood Blanket idea on another blog and told the other fellow crafty people in my family about it, we all decided to do one so we can all compare our years and health by the end of 2015. For my health, I'll be tracking how many seizures I've had over the year because if I can go for a year without one I'll be allowed to learn how to drive!

To make a Mood Blanket you crochet/knit/quilt (whatever you want) a different square each day depending on what mood you're in with corresponding colours. My colours are:

Teal = tired/ill
Red = angry
Pink = happy
Blue = sad
Gold = seizure 

For day one I'm still feeling the affects of alcohol so I'm clearly tired with a headache so that means teal! I've gone for a 9x9 granny square and will be binding all of them together using ivory. 


As I'm still getting back into the swing of crochet, this took me a couple of hours, mainly because it wasn't neat enough so I ended up getting annoyed and starting again more than once! But square one is done now and I hope to get faster and better at it as the year goes on.


Are you doing any crafty projects this year?