This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “food

365 Project : 3rd March – 9th March

I’ve decided to start updating these posts on Mondays instead of Sundays. It makes a lot more sense as if i’m busy on Sunday (like I was yesterday) I don’t get a chance to edit and upload the photo from that day. But I shall still be posting photo’s from the first monday to the sunday. Hopefully this will make it easier to stay up to date with this project.

On the 3rd I made some delicious brownies! I really must do a recipe for these as they’re divine!

The 4th was shrove tuesday and of course meant that we ate lots and lots of pancakes! Yum!

On the 5th I met up with my sister for the first time in ages. We had some burritos and then went out for a couple of cocktails.

On the 6th we went skating late at night. I took some awesome creepy photo’s with long exposures. You can see more of these here.

On the 7th I took a few pictures of a new item, the gorgeous blue tie in the middle, and then spent the rest of the day editing.

You can find my tie section of my Etsy shop by clicking the image!

The 8th saw me relaxing at home, still doing lots of computer work but taking breaks staring out to the sunshine.

Yesterday I went to Cantelowes Skatepark in Camden with Ash and some friends. I didn’t skate (I don’t have a suitable pool deck) but a good friend from Newtons Shred taught Ash to drop in and I managed to take some great pictures which I will be sharing with you all soon. We finished the day with cider and stew. Perfect!

Back at work next week and so not as much time to frolic, but I will still be making sure I take lots of photographs!

Claire x


Nutty Christmas Stuffing

One of my housemates is going home to his parents house soon for the Christmas period and so we decided to have a little christmas meal of our own. I was in charge of food and decided to make it a real feast. We decided to go for turkey with all the trimmings and also bought a joint of Pork for Ash who isn’t that keen on Turkey. Our other housemate, Jack, is vegetarian and so had his own little ‘meat’ roast to put in. Jack also ended up roasting all the vegetables and making mashed potatoes and swede. Yum! I made the Yorkshire puddings, Gravy and decided to make some stuffing from scratch too!

I’ve made stuffing before, a traditional sausage, sage and onion, but needed to cater for Jack and so looked around for a vegetarian stuffing recipe. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one that I really fancied and so decided to create my own concoction to bring some festive cheer to our meal! I ended up with a delicious (and yes it really was tasty!) mushroom, walnut, cranberry and apple stuffing and thought it was so tasty that I just HAD to share my recipe.

And yes it was given the thumbs up by Jack.

So here’s how you can make your own, Vegetarian approved, stuffing this Christmas:

You will need…

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For the seasoning I just used Sage, but you can obviously season to your tastes. I also used chestnut mushrooms to add a nutty, mushroomy flavour and walnuts to add a creamy, nutty flavour. Apples are there to add a hint a sweetness and I also thought they would go quite well with Ashleys pork. I bought a loaf of Tiger Bread because it is delicious, but any bread will do. Slightly stale bread would be best as you are just using it to make breadcrumbs. Cranberries are christmassy and I felt that it wouldn’t be a christmas stuffing without!

I’ve not given you many measurements because I don’t really measure, i prefer to just do what I think looks right for me,  you can add the amounts to suit your tastes too.

First off you need to grab a blender, or a ‘whizzy stick’ as I have, to make bread crumbs. Just throw the bread in there and blend away.

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Next chop up your celery and half an apple into chunks. Do what you want with the other half apple. I ate mine, It was delicious. 😉

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Throw the breadcrumbs, celery, apple and cranberries into a bowl and put to the side for later. I only put half of my packet of cranberries and it seemed to be enough.

Top tip : If you can’t find fresh cranberries (as I couldn’t), by some dried ones and pop them in a bowl of water so that they will be nice and juicy!

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Next off its time to chop up the mushrooms (i used half my punnet) and onion. I also chopped 2 cloves of garlic. Throw all these into a frying pan.

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Grab a knob of butter and soften them all before adding 100ml of water.

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Add this mixture to the breadcrumbs etc. in the bowl and mix together. Then add the nuts and seasoning and stir again.

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Put the mixture in a baking tin and throw in the oven on 180 degrees for around 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the top.

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And there you have it! A yummy, nutty, vegetarian stuffing. The perfect festive accompaniment to your Christmas Meal!

Just for fun, here’s the spread we ended up cooking (served in pots and pans because we don’t have enough serving things)

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And yes, i did manage to finish that gigantic plate of food. I may or may not have had to lie down for about an hour afterwards 😉

Please let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it, or even share your own take on this festive stuffing!

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas!!


Katy Jade Dobson Art

I was 3 hours away from my home, my legs we’re aching after running up a steep hill and I was all dolled up in a pretty party dress and heels frantically trying to get in touch with a friend.

It all started weeks ago when my friend, and artist, mentioned an evening event at a gallery her art was being shown at. In passing Ash suggested that we surprise her and turn up to the gallery without her knowing. I looked at my Rota and I finished work early enough on the day to be able to get there just in time, plus I had the day after completely off!

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So then it was a waiting game. I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when we just randomly turned up, and I very nearly told her of our plans several times. I was just too excited!

On the day I finished work at 4, then I had to run some errands, post some packages, pack my bags. By the time we left it was 5:30 and we we’re definitely now in a rush. The drive was surprisingly easy, just the A1 for most of the way. We got there and it had seemed like the event had been cancelled, katy wasn’t replying to texts as she was other wise occupied so we decided to walk to the gallery anyway.

As expected it was closed, eventually I rang Katy and asked if she minded two people imposing themselves on her. She was very shocked but luckily seemed delighted that I had travelled to see her.

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The next day myself and Ash left Katy to go to and open up the gallery before joining her later in the day after a bit of breakfast and sightseeing.

Her gallery really looks amazing. I knew her paintings we’re gorgeous, but they look even better in person than in the photographs! The colours she uses range from natural earthy tones to bright dazzling rainbows. Every painting uses colour to great effect, really catching the eye. The subjects are superbly drawn in a messy but elegant way, really giving life and movement to the pieces. I know I may be biased, but I really do love her Art and I believe it speaks for itself.

Whilst I was there I decided to do a little interview with her:

CR : What did you want to be when you were younger?

KD : Well originally I wanted to be a horse, then a tooth fairy, and then an olympic gymnast, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Always, always.

 

Photo courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : That is adorable! So what was it about Art that interested you? 

KD : Well, I would say its whatever is suggested in art, the small things like a glance, or a certain positioning, or the way that not everything is recorded in a painting but it is suggested and you can fill in the blanks yourself in any way you want.

CR: What inspires you? 

KD : Sometimes, before I am inspired by the subject, I am more inspired by the want to paint something of a particular nature (powerful, strong or soft and calm) and then the decision the work on a particular subject and the research behind that is then the inspiration to actively get up and do the painting. I’m also inspired by artists like Odilon Redon who can work in dreamy and ethereal ways, thats why my work isnt always an accurate depiction of a scene, I like to add a dreamy quality to it.

 

Gorilla by Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : When you’re not painting, what do you like to do? 

KD : Painting is quite a solitary process so I like to be around friends a lot. I like to go out for walks when it’s sunny, walking a dog,  going out for food and drinks or getting inspired by other artists.

CR : What have you found to be the most challenging with your art? 

KD : The process, the development and the actual physical act of the work seems to be very fluid and not exactly easy, but without its challenges. On the other hand, the part i struggle with is the side that I cant control as much, such as the material i am working on, if it takes a knock it effects the final piece. I am learning to see what materials work best to keep the longevity of my work to a high standard, i dont want that to compromise the work that is on it

Stag by Katy Jade Dobson Art

CR: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

KD : Oh gosh! Well I have lots of ideas for collections, some conflicting ideas but all seem to relate back to my own style. As I experiment with other materials to work on I might see a shift in technique and therefore, maybe, some new styles. But for now I am still figuring that out, I will have to see what happens in the future and how my work translates into prints and merchandise.

You can see Katy’s Elegant Mess Exhibition at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln until the 14th of April. Or if you don’t live close enough you can follow her wordpress here, find her facebook page here and her official site here!

Photo Courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art


Date E – Epping Forest

For Date E I took Ash to Epping forest as we both enjoy taking long walks together.

What I Wore

It was sunny but still a little nippy so I made sure I layered up and took some warm accessories.

I ended up wearing my trenchcoat with skinny jeans as they’re simple but always stylish.

I had brown boots but changed into my awesome wellies to keep my feet dry as it was pretty muddy.

I also took my knit gloves, cashmere scarf and an awesomely fluffy hat to add a bit of drama to the outfit as well as keeping myself nice and warm.

The Date

We generally just had a nice little wander into the forest, taking pictures of all the life around us and enjoying some time together.

The highlight of the trip for me was spotting a glimpse of a Deer in the undergrowth. It was just a glimpse as it quickly noticed us and hurriedly trotted away before I could even get my lens cap off.

After about an hour of casual wanderings, we came across a pub and realised we were both quite peckish. We both ended up eating exactly the same, a bacon, brie and avacado baguette with an apple juice, and we’re not disappointed! It was delicious!

Then we began the walk back, which was a lot quicker as we weren’t stopping to take so many photographs. Somehow we managed to not even get lost!

Final Thoughts

It was a lovely date, we haven’t been on our walks for a while because the weather has been too cold so it was nice to be outside again. The food was delicious, the company obviously enjoyable, and it was just a nice and relaxing day. 🙂

We will have to visit Epping forest again in summer though. I bet it would look completely different!

‘Till next time!


A Spring Time Walk

As the weather was rather nice today, Ash and I decided to go for a nice little stroll in a nearby park.

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I wore my Alpaca jumper my mother brought me back from Peru as it was still a little nippy and Alpaca wool is amazing at keeping in the heat!

I also wore a pretty little headscarf I bought from either Egypt or Jordan (I can’t remember which) around my neck and some cute animal print converse, although in hindsight maybe I should have worn wellies!

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We took lots of pictures of the new buds that were struggling their way out of the earth and the blossoms on the trees.

Ash took this last one, I told him to stop being so good. You should follow him on Instagram as his photo’s are far superior to mine. Just search ‘Ashloids’.

Once we got home we decided it was the perfect day to have a summery lunch. I cooked us some asparagus with egg, toast, salad and a frankfurter. My egg was a double yolker which I probably got a little too excited over…

Hopefully the weather will keep getting warmer now so we can have even more pretty walks!

‘Till next time!


A Busy Weekend!

Sorry for the brief absence, between long hours at work and being sociable I seem to have neglected my blog. I promise I made the most of my free time whilst I wasn’t updating though.

Wrapped up warm, eating chocolate!

Last weekend I met my sister on the southbank and went to a chocolate festival! There were so many stalls selling all kinds of chocolates! Gifts, snacks, quirky little things, big delicious things, solid things, liquid things. You name it, they had it (in chocolate at least).

I bought an amazing Lion shaped chocolate I just don’t dare eat (i will have to take a photo for you all to see!) and we bought a bag of flavoured chocolate lollypops.

 

Giant Chocolate Nougats

Emma and I then decided to retreat to the warmth of a pub and chat over a bottle of very tasty wine. Ash and my sisters boyfriend then met up with us for some lunch. Ash and Sam were men and had steaks, I had some delicious scampi. It was really nice, and the first time the four of us have done something together. The boys talked gaming and we all had a nice chat about TV shows we watched, soon though we had to leave. My sister had a party to go to and we’d invited some friends to a RollerDisco, the very same place Ash and I went on our first meeting.

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The Rollerdisco was brilliant as usual although we left earlier than I wanted, probably for the best as I had work the next morning. Again we didn’t dress up and again I wished I had! There were some truly awesome outfits, lots of flares, bright colours, super heros. My favourites by far were the group dressed as retro games. My two absolute favourites being Twister and the Rubix Cube.

Twister

This girl had made a very pretty dress out of twister fabric. It was simple but it didn’t need anything else. She also wore a Twister board on her head, very creative although it looked a bit like she had just graduated!

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Rubix Cube

This outfit was just so quirky and brilliant I couldn’t resist a sneaky shot! I wussed out at actually going up to the girl and getting a picture with her though, kinda wish I had now. She wore a Rubix Cube on her head and had a matching handbag. Her dress was a retro, colour block number and was pretty stylish as well is fitting in with her theme! I think I might have to steal this in future, i just loved it! She looked fab!

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Don’t forget to enter my competition here or here!

‘Till next time!


Alphabet Dating – D is for Deserie

After a bit of a hiatus on the Alphabet Dating front we have finally gone on Date D!

Ash had been talking about it for ages but we never seemed to find the right time to go. All I knew was that it was in Cockfosters and it was a meal.

 

The Outfit

As it was a meal I wanted to dress up, even though I had no Idea how posh this place actually was. I had bought this new lace top recently and decided I wanted to wear it. I thought it went well with this pretty, but plain, purple top underneath. The skirt is one of my favourite wardrobe items and had exactly the same shade of purple as my top and so I decided to mix patterns and go for a lace and tribal look! It’s a shame my hair is so unruly at the moment (it’s in a dire need of styling) as I think the mix actually turned out better than I actually expected! I decided to team it with my usual black tights and pixie boots.

Click the picture to see it on Lookbook!

The Date

The place he took me to was a Greek restaurant called Deserie. It was extremely busy (always a good sign) and we were given a table provided we were out in an hour as they already had it booked.

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It was a lot more expensive than we were expecting, but then we’re used to Wetherspoon prices and are both quite stingy at times. I really fancied calamari but decided the price was a little too much for our budget and so settled for chicken skewers whilst Ash had the pork. The skewers came with a salad and a choice of chips or rice and were delicious! My chicken was tender and succulent, ash wasn’t so lucky as the pork was a little tough but still tasty. My rice was soft and lemony and left my mouth watering for more!

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For pudding I was extremely tempted by a chocolate fudge cake, but decided that I should go for one of the Greek choices as I can get a fudge cake at my work.

Before our dessert we were given some tasty jelly things on sticks and some pineapples with grapes. Delicious!

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I eventually decided on Gelatoboureko, or at least that’s what I ordered. I think I was actually given a Baklava after looking on Google as it was a sweet pastry rather than a custard pudding. What ever it was it was delicious, Ash said they tasted a lot like the South African treat koeksisters. He ordered Shamali and Icecream which was a semolina based pudding and also delicious although we both preferred my dish.

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End Thoughts

The whole night was very enjoyable. We talked nonstop and we’re constantly laughing, one of the reasons why I love being with him, we just always seem to be having fun and very rarely argue. The staff at the restaurant were very friendly, the food did take quite a while to come out but it was extremely busy (and a huge birthday party table ordered just before us) so they can be forgiven. The food itself was delicious, pricey but delicious.

I think we would definitely go again, although maybe when money isn’t so tight.

Overall Date D = Success!

Now I need to think of a something to do for Date E! Anyone got any ideas?


A Late Valentines

I wish I could say that this was the outfit I wore for my Valentines date, but unfortunately not.

Any lookbookers? Click the picture to see my ‘Valentines’ look.

I didn’t get to spend valentines with my boyfriend as I was working a 10 1/2 hour shift! Luckily I’m not a big fan of Valentines day, personally I see as just a day for all the rubbish boyfriends to buy cheap tat to try and prove their failing love. If I want a guy to romance me I don’t want him to do it because he was told to!

Still, I decided to buy us the 2 for £20 meal deal from Marks and Spencers for when I got home, Ash had been wanting to eat steak for a while and it was such a good deal I couldn’t resist!

Luckily I went in early, things like this always sell out. When I passed the M&S later on there was a massive queue of cars coming out of the entrance. I definitely made the right move to go early!

Unfortunately the Wetherspoons I work in also had a Valentines deal on. I knew it would be busy but I didn’t actually realise how busy we would be.

It was absolute mayhem all night. Luckily we had one extra staff member as a girl didn’t realise her shift had been changed and turned up. She regretted it soon enough.

To put this all in perspective for you, a £300 hour is super busy for us, as in the bar will be full (sometimes 2 or 3 people deep) and we’ll be so rushed off our feet we don’t have time to wash any glasses, tidy up the bar or floor, or generally do anything other than serve.

We managed a £340 hour JUST ON FOOD. It was horrible. We ran out of the Steaks, a curry, cheesecake and all but our red wine from the deal around 7pm. This left 3 hours of serving (including a booking for 18 people) with a very limited menu. The managers did everything they could to help the irate customers, (although most were still in good spirits) and we did somehow manage to keep serving until 10.

Matters weren’t helped when customers kept moving seats and not telling us where so that we didn’t know where the meals were going. Near the end of the night a gentleman came and told us he was moving tables, we about nearly hugged the guy right then and there! He was definitely the favourite customer of the evening, I kinda wish we could have given him free dessert or coffee or something! (But that’s out of my control)

I was so knackered when I home that I actually found it hard to eat this delicious menu that Ash cooked in time for my arrival. Some how I managed it though and it really was superb!

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For starters I know Ash loves his salmon, so I managed to find these strange salmon things in the offer. Apparently they were a pea, spinach and wasabi mousse topped with Creme Fraiche and smoked salmon pieces. I was a bit dubious about them, mainly because I had no idea what they could taste like, but oh wow we’re they good. Extremely fishy and creamy. Absolutely delicious! Unfortunately I was struggling in my tired state and gave my last couple of mouthfuls to Ash.

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For the mains we had steak, I think the starter had woken me up a bit my this point (first thing I’d eaten for quite a while) and so was able to manage this course. Ash has been complaining for so long about having steak so it had to be done! I got these Rump Steaks with Peppercorn Sauce and a side of Gastropub Chunky Chips. First off, the chips were fantastically chunky. Light and fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside! Perfect! The steaks were also delicious! Ash cooked them to perfection! They were so tender and moist, it’s actually making my mouth water thinking about them!

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Unfortunately I did learn that I dislike Peppercorn sauce. It’s just far too peppery! I”m not a big fan of pepper anyway (I know, what did I expect?!), but this was just horrible! I ended up scraping it off my meat so that I could taste it! It is a very overpowering sauce. However I don’t believe that was anything to do with M&S, I doubt I’d like any kind of peppercorn sauce!

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For pudding I bought us these Milk Chocolate and Praline Pyramids. Chocolate mousse with a blob of praline cream in the middle, sat on a praline wafer base and topped with some Dark chocolate.

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We didn’t actually eat these until the day after, but they were so yummy (although a little sickly)! It was delicious! Wonderfully smooth and chocolately, just what I needed!

I still haven’t even drunk my wine (I chose Petit Chablis as it was the most expensive wine that wasn’t a red) or eaten the little heart shape chocolates that came with the deal as well! I look forward to those.

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Straight after our meal I fell asleep. I was so tired there was no keeping me up.

We decided that we hadn’t really seen much of each other and so yesterday decided to go on a nice little date together. We had a lovely meal at a local Harvester and spent some quality couple time together. It really was very nice.

I wore my new cape, Ash’s favourite dress to see me in and even did my nails all valentinesy!

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Today I have another 12 hours of work, tomorrow I have an even longer shift! At least I have my pretty nails to keep me happy…

This really is getting too tiring, I just want to sew!!

Hopefully I will be able to update again soon!

Until next time!

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Alphabet Dating: Letter C – The Coffee Date (+Ice Skating)

Ash is an avid coffee drinker. I make him a cup every morning to get him out of bed and he always takes a giant flask with him to university to keep him going.

I honestly don’t think he could function without coffee and so I knew a coffee date would be perfect! I think this kind of date is great personally, it’s affordable, comfy and gives you a good chance to have a really nice chat. Plus you can dress up or down depending on your mood or how serious a date it may be!

We have been wanting to go Ice skating for a while as well so decided to combine the two.

We got a bus to Muswell hill and found an O’Neills there. We had got there pretty late and so the usual (and cheap) coffee shops we’re already closed. The pub was set in an old church and was an absolutely gorgeous building. It had a big hall with two large staircases up either side leading to more seating. They had twinkling christmas lights all around making the place look even more magical! I was going to take a picture and completely forgot! I will definitely have to back, it was just so pretty.

Coffee

Ash ended up getting a Latte and I got a hot chocolate. They were delightfully creamy, although I would have liked some squirty cream or something on the top of my drink, but maybe that’s just me being greedy.

We also decided we were hungry and so ordered a seafood platter and a bowl of chips to share. It was pretty pricey (already not turning out to be the cheap date we expected due to our my bad planning) but it sounded nice enough. When it arrived we were a bit disappointed that there didn’t seem all that much on the plate, definitely didn’t look like £11 worth at any rate. However as soon as we started eating we were transported to another world (corny I know but It was seriously delicious). I think I can honestly say it was the nicest fish I have ever tasted.

Platter of heavenliness

There was some battered fish which was deliciously crunchy on the outside yet wonderfully moist on the inside. Some smoked salmon on ‘colcannon cakes’ (which I now know is potato and a type of cabbage fried) which were so unbelievably scrumptious I could have eaten a whole plate of! Breaded Calamari which was delightfully crunchy! Skewered King prawns which held so much flavour that you just wanted more, and lastly some garlic chiabatta bread.

We we’re surprisingly full after eating it all (although I do still think I could have eaten the whole plate to myself quite easily) and decided it was time to move on to ‘Ally Pally’ for some nice winter fun.

The ice skating there isn’t the cheapest, but it was the closest place to us and we have really been wanting to go! They do how ever do late night sessions all the way until 11pm! The staff were very friendly and we were soon in and on the ice. It wasn’t all that busy, full but not packed, which was nice. Ash is quite skillful and started doing his little tricks with spinning and skating backwards. I tried to keep up behind, wobbling along like a child who had only just learnt how to walk.

Showing off with his tricks

I promise I did use to be quite good at ice skating (although i’ve never been good at stopping unless it’s abruptly) but I think as I’ve grown older I’ve become more bothered about the falling which is holding me back. I did get into it more towards the end of the night, though, and was able to actually gain a little speed! I tried to learn a little bit of backwards skating but it just seemed to end with me almost doing the splits every time!

We also spent a bit of time at the sides resting my poor aching ankles and people watching. There were quite a few figure skaters there learning new spins in the centre, out of the way of the general skaters. They were doing some very impressive things and making me extremely jealous.

This was just before almost falling over…

There were also some people who could barely even move on the ice, the kind who try to walk normally and wonder why they can’t stay upright. They we’re amusing to watch, as I’m sure I was as well. There seemed to be quite a few couples there with one of them having to help the other along. Ice rinks are definitely a good place for ‘breaking the ice’ (sorry about the pun) on a first date in my opinion, and perfect for breaking down that first touch barrier (just like Ash and I’s first date at the rollerdisco!).

As it got later the place emptied even more and I gained even more confidence as the obstacles were reduced. I still couldn’t get back up to my old speeds of when I was a daredevil child, but I wasn’t looking quite so pathetic.

We grabbed our things and then went home very satisfied with another successful date!

Date D is next and Ash wont tell me what it is! He’s just giving cryptic clues which are making me very impatient…

‘Till next time!


Childs Graffiti Apron

This Apron is now available in my Etsy Shop!

This cool apron is perfect for little boys (and girls) who are just getting into baking!

It features a griffiti print on cotton and is lined with a matching grey cotton.

It has one big pocket perfect for holding all the little kitchen essentials such as cookie cutters and rolling pins.

All the straps are strengthened and the neck strap is adjustable.

It is available in bigger sizes and/or with the children’s baking set (pictured) on request.

This would be a perfect gift this christmas especially if paired with a cute children’s baking book!