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…

IMG_5671

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.

IMG_5673

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. 😉

IMG_5674

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!

IMG_5686

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.

IMG_5677

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

IMG_5684

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

IMG_5689

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.

IMG_5717

IMG_5734

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)

IMG_5737

IMG_5739 IMG_5744

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!

20130406_125949

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.

20130405_203832

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.

alpacajumper

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!

20130401_165603

20130401_165515

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.

20130323_203021

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!

20130323_222342

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!

20130323_222410

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.

20130311_124627 copy

 

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!

20130309_194746 copy

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!

jelly

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.

greekdesserts

 

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!

IMG_0889

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.

IMG_0892

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!

IMG_0894

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!

IMG_0897

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.

IMG_0910

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.

IMG_0919

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!

IMG_0931

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!

IMG_0937copy


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!


WI Finchley Frost Fair!

Tomorrow is the Day of the WI Finchley Frost Fair!

I will be there along with other great crafters such as Making MosaicsMahliqa wire jewelleryTom Butcher Ceramics, Stu Gardener Designs and many many more!

I’m a little worried to have my crafts sat along side all these artists and definitely wish I had more stock, but I am excited non the less. Just have a 12 -close shift (yes that’s 13+ hours) to get out of the way and then I can get even more excited!

Here are a couple of my new Items you might be able to see there:

A cute, double layered, polkadot skirt for a toddler.

A little boys apron, so he can make mud pies or what ever little boys like to eat.

Hope to see you there!!

Till next time!


Alphabet Dating – B is for Bowling and Bonfire Night

Ash was in charge of date B and no matter how much I tried to guess, he wouldn’t let me know where we were going.

I was pretty shocked when we got there as it turned out to be bowling, something Ash really does not enjoy but he knows I love it.  It’s so sweet that he would even think of taking me to something he hates so much!

The reason he doesn’t like bowling is because he’s not exactly good at it, and no one likes things they’re not good at. However, after a little bit of teaching from me (despite also not being all that accomplished myself), he soon got into the swing of things and even scored a strike or two!

He also bought us some food from the diner there. He got a burger and I got a hotdog with some extra onion rings and breaded cheese. Unfortunately, although my hotdog was yummy, the rest was just so so. Ash wasn’t particularly impressed with his burger and the onion rings and cheesy bites weren’t really cooked enough. I don’t think we’ll be eating there again if we ever go bowling in future, would have been better to go to McDonalds.

A little underwhelmed…

But it was still a very fun date. Bowling is always a winner in my opinion. It gets you up, active and breaks the ice (if there’s ice to break).

After we finished bowling we had one game in the arcade (we only had a pound on us). The air hockey table was the winner and we both got rather too into it until Ash became victorious (obviously I was just too tired from the bowling…)

However the day was not over as it was also the 5th and we had already planned to go to a fireworks display in Walthamstow. Ash had actually never been to a fireworks display before and I knew this had to be fixed as this is one of my favourite nights of the year!

We got there not too long after the gates opened and decided to go have a look at the fairground. We were both looking forward to some good rides but as we got there we realised all the rides were the practically the same…Usually you find theres at least a good variety but these were all the same ride just with a part that span a slightly different way each time. There wasn’t even a ‘Hollywood’ or ‘UFO’ sort of ride.  Still, we paid £1.50 (cheap!!) to go on the one we decided looked the most fun and had a few fun minutes spinning around and waving our legs around in the air.

We then spent some time wondering around and buying candy floss, toffee apples and some cadburys hot chocolate with baileys in it! There was also a hog roast, paella and the usual burger vans. It was a very good and varied selection.

We wondered around for a bit before going to ask when the fireworks were starting. Apparently it wasn’t for another 2 hours (we’d already been there for around an hour) so we went to a nice little cafe and bought some mochas so that we could sit in the warmth for a bit.

When the fireworks did finally start we were certainly not disappointed. They were definitely the best fireworks i’ve ever been to see, although that isn’t saying much as these were on a slightly bigger scale and it was a lot busier so it’s bound to have more money put into the event. They were timed to the various music perfectly and really built up to a great finale!

It was definitely a fun day out and the fireworks were a spectacular end to a good day.

Now I just have to figure out what to do for date C….

‘Till next time!


Breaded Fish – Cooking Tutorial

Recently I’ve found that, although I love cooking, I’ve been a bit lazy with my meals lately. I never seem to make anything interesting any more, It’s just pie and chips or sausage and mash. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for it. So I figure what better way to get it back then to blog about it! I was thinking this could be a weekly or maybe fortnightly section of my blog and will hopefully inspire many of you to cook as well!

I have actually been thinking about doing this for a while but wasn’t sure about the idea. I mentioned this on Pillowsalamode’s blog and she gave me the final push I needed to get round and do it! You can find her awesome blog here . She really makes some adorable sewn products.

Anyways. Before I start with my first ever cooking blog, there are probably a few things you need to know about my style of cooking:

1) I am very slapdash. My recipes are always changing and most of them made up as I go (although usually based off some prior knowledge) .

2) I like simple easy recipes. I know I can cook more complicated things, but what’s the point when quick and easy can taste so nice?

3)  I don’t really measure or time things. When it looks right that’ll do. If you’re looking for precise recipes this is not the place.

Got all that? Still want to read on? Great stuff.

Today I am making some lovely breaded fish. I’ve never actually made this before nor do I know how to, but I do know it involves eggs and breadcrumbs. I’ve battered fish at work and figure it can’t be much different to that right?

First off is to make the breadcrumbs. This is easy. All you need is a ‘Wizzer stick’ (as I like to call it) or a blender, and obviously some bread. I got my ‘Whizzer Stick’  for a christmas present years ago and absolutely love it! It’s so useful with all it’s different attachments and so much easier to store than a blender. I definitely think every kitchen should have one.

I just used 1 slice of bread and whizzed it up until there were no big pieces. Easy.

Next You need to pour the bread crumbs into a longish container which will fit in your fish, mine was a little too small but still worked fine enough.

You also need to crack some eggs into another dish and whisk them up just a little bit so they’re nicely mixed together.

Whisking eggs in the Batman Apron I made for my boyfriend

Now comes the messy bit. Dip your fish firstly in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs and repeat. I found  I had to do this double dip to make a really good even coating of breadcrumbs on the fish (see learning as I go!). I used a nice fillet of Cod given to me by work as it was past the date we could sell but still edible. I think for this recipe it is probably best to use a thicker fillet as it would be harder to over cook, but thin ones like this should be fine as long as you are careful.

Lovely juicy cod!

 

Meet bob. He’s helping me fish the cod out of the egg sea.

And now helping to apply the breadcrumb coating

Then I put them on a baking tray along with some wedges I’d made up and put them in the oven. I put the oven on around 180-200˚c for around 20 mins (as I said i’m not very precise). Or at least that’s what I intended. I actually ended up forgetting about food as I got distracted with some others things and slightly over cooked it all (looked nice but the fish became a little dry, like I said you need to be more careful with the thinner fillets and I was not). But basically just throw it in there until everything looks brown, golden and delicious!

And there you have it. It’s tasty, quick and easy and so much cheaper than the shop bought breaded fish. We ate it with homemade wedges, peas, sweetcorn and salad cream.

I have actually already started thinking about how to improve this recipe.

1) Obviously don’t be an idiot and forget about it cooking.

2) Add some herbs and spices to the eggs or breadcrumbs for a little extra flavour.

If anyone decides to have a go at this recipe or even has some more ideas for improvements i’d love to see your results and suggestions!

I really hope you enjoyed reading tis tutorial because I really enjoyed cooking, eating and writing it 😉

Next time I will have more of my sewing updates as I have a project almost finished! (sneak preview below!)

Till next time!

Any guesses which game this is from?


Sorry for my laziness…

I know i know, I’m a terrible blogger. I am trying to change my ways, especially now that my family have put so much into my fashion business! But more on that in my next post (It will also be posted today)…first I need to catch you up.

The reason i stopped blogging is because I went to China! My mother and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice holiday abroad, and it certainly was nice. But then I got back and the the idea of writing a whole blog about what i’d done there was too overwhelming. I wish i’d taken time to write bits and pieces when I was out there so that it wouldn’t have been so much to try and remember. Here are just a few of the highlights:

We started in Beijing which meant that we had to go see the chinese opera, the one in beijing apparently being the best in China. Our guide told us that it was ‘a must see once, and only once’. It soon became apparent why.

The music reminded me of the sound of John Cage, only with a tiny bit more structure. It mostly seemed to be just random notes or beats being played with only the occasional section seeming to make up a tune. The singing was…how can I describe it? Like the sound of a cat being strangled. It was quite hard to keep yourself from laughing in the first few minutes, but not long after it did grow quite tiresome, especially after 3 hours of it. I can see why our guide said ‘one time only’.

The King and his Queen

But saying that, it did have it’s good points. For one, the costumes were fantastic. They were so intricately and beautifully designed that it was hard to take your eyes off them. My particular favourite was the ‘Drunken Concubine’ who wore a gigantic headpiece which was almost blindingly sparkly! The magpie in me wanted to go take it off her head to keep for myself.

The Concubine

The movements were also quit mesmerising. They we’re very precise and often repetitive, but even the smallest part of them seemed to be moving with purpose. They would use tiny hand movements, sweeping arm movements and impressive leaps and always seemed in complete control of their bodies. It was the kind of movement you need to train for large number years to perfect and had me enthralled.

I probably would go see it again, despite my guides words, just maybe with some earplugs.

My mum likes her silly hat, I was a little jealous of it’s practicality.

Of course you can’t go to beijing without seeing the forbidden city! I recommend taking some very comfy shoes if you want to go, I regret that I did not.  It was really busy when we went as we seemed to have chosen a national holiday where loads of chinese flock to see the city. Many of these visitors had not really seen westerners before and we were told by our guide that to have a picture taken with us is often seen as good for their reputation. I boosted a very many reputations that day.

Lots of Chinese Tourists

The city itself is huge. Just as you think that you have to be getting to the end you round a corner and see more buildings stretching out in front of you. You can’t actually go into a lot of the buildings, which is a bit of a shame, and the buildings you can look inside don’t really seem to have all that much in. There was one room, for example, which just had a giant, golden throne. Very opulent, but also very lonely.

One of many opulent Roofs.

But soon we started on what the trip was all about and over the next few days we walked The Great Wall. We started from the beginning, where the wall starts by the sea. This area is called ‘The Dragons Head’ as the wall is said to look like a great dragon snaking through the mountains. From there on we would walk sections (the longest taking around half a day) in between bus rides.

Lots and lots of steps

The sections of wall varied in difficulty dependant on whether it had been restored or not. We often found ourselves creeping along a narrow crumbling path with sheer drops on either side. I actually found the un-restored parts were a lot easier to walk than the restored parts. I had assumed the restored parts would be easier with their nice smooth paths and even steps, but actually this proved far more taxing as we were using the same muscles over and over. The un-restored areas forced us to scramble in sections, often using our arms just as much as our legs, giving our thighs a nice helping hand.

Steep Section

It was very interesting seeing these ruined and run down sections and then moving on to the tourist filled areas with kids running up and down as though this amount of steps was nothing to them. Personally I much preferred the quieter areas where I was free to look out to the scenery and relax at the serenity of it all. Very easy to do with scenery as breathtaking as it was. I would go back again just to see the rolling hills with the wall winding around them into the distance.

Another reason I would definitely go back would be for the food! As it was quite an energetic holiday I assumed I would at least lose a bit of weight…Nope. I ate so much food it definitely made up for all the exercise I was getting. Every meal seemed to come with rice and was just delicious, their crispy duck was moist and fatty, their sweet and sour crispy chicken was far better than the things we get in take aways over here (although you could taste the similarities). Everything we tasted was a treat, the only problem I had with the food was the lack of puddings.

Fish Dumplings

However the food in Xi’an (pronounced Shi-an) was different. Theirs was more noodle based than rice based, but just as mouthwatering, and they had dessert!

On the last night we went to a dumpling feast which was accompanied by a show containing music and dance with some truly stunning numbers, and again with amazing costumes. All the dumplings were handmade and shaped (see above) to let us know what was inside and extremely tasty!

Whilst in Xi’an we went to visit the famous terracotta warriors. I think these are definitely a must see, but It’s doubtful that i’d go again.

The warriors themselves are very impressive. There’s so many and they all have unique faces which makes it really is quite fun looking around and trying to give them all their own personalities. There are 3 warehouses, number 1 is the biggest and i’d recommend seeing that one last. We went to number 1 first and were astounded by the numbers of warriors in there, to then go to the smaller warehouses seemed a bit deflating. I’d much have preferred to build it up gradually. There is only so much wondering around warehouses you can do though, and this is my reason for not wanting to go again. However, if they somehow manage to preserve the colour on the warriors that haven’t been dug up yet, I think I would be very interested in seeing them for a second time.

In front of the Army

All in all the trip was amazing. We went as a part of a tour group with a company called Explore, this was actually my 5th trip with explore and so I even got a discount (it was my mums 10th and she got an even bigger discount)! I really do love explore trips and it saddens me that I might not be able to afford another trip with them for a long while. This trip was definitely one of the best i’ve been on. The guides were brilliant, the group were lovely (not even one person I could say something bad about), and the country just amazing. I would recommend it for any budding adventurer.

One of our most scenic hotels

Of course there is so much more that I just didn’t have time to mention but was just as amazing.

If anyone is interested in actually going on the trip I took then it is on the Explore Website and Called ‘Walking the Wall’, here’s a link for your convenience.

Until next time 🙂

Dancer from the Dumpling Feast


A Year Together

Yesterday it was mine and Ashley’s year anniversary together. We decided to celebrate by going into london together and having a nice day out.

We started in McDonalds at Waterloo station as this was where we first met and had some nice healthy food(!) Obviously it was a very classy start to the day.

Then we thought we’d take a stroll on the south bank to see the performers, another thing we did on the first day we met. We found mr bean, some crazy bendy jamaicans and a man drumming on lots of buckets. I always enjoy seeing what’s going on there, the atmosphere always feels so alive.

We then wandered over to Camden Market, one of the first places we had a date. We wandered around the markets for a bit and I bought a lovely pocket watch where you can see all the inner workings. I’ve always wanted one but could never find one i liked until now! Ash bought a batman jumper and pulp fiction tshirt.

Found on the southbank

We then went to have a coffee in starbucks by the river before moving onto my little surprise for him. He’s a massive nerd so I thought I’d take him to Forbidden Planet, a big comic book and nerdy memorabilia shop. He was pretty excited! I ended up buying him ‘The One Ring’ from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy which he’s not taken off since. I’m surprised he made a decision so easily as there were so many items for him to choose from, and the book section could easily cause you to lose a few hours.

The one ring excitement

He then surprised me by taking me to a restaurant. But this wasn’t any old restaurant. This restaurant only sold puddings! Needless to say i was in heaven. In fact i was so overwhelmed that I panicked when the waitress came over and ordered probably the most boring thing on the menu.

A vanilla cake.

At least it was a very nice vanilla cake…The frosting was so light and sweet. Delicious!

I did buy myself an icecream on the way out though…

Looking tired after a long day.

However, he said he’d take me back again another time so I can order something a bit more exciting. 🙂

We then went home and decided to cuddle up and watch the first Lord of the Rings with some wine and malibu. All together a very chilled out and cosy night.

Definitely a successful anniversary. 


Just about Settled.

So we still don’t have internet fter being messed around rather a lot. First they told us the wrong date, then they didn’t even show up, then they decided they didn’t need to as we already had a line installed, now they’ve realised there’s a ‘fault’ in our line. They should have fixed it before the 5th but I don’t know when tht means we’ll actually have internet. Hopefully it will be sometime soon, i’m feeling very cut off from the world.

Our window

In the meantime i’ve been sorting out the mounds of belongings we seem to have and have been working at my part time job in a weatherspoons (where i’m currently sat for the free wifi). I have a few projects in line for the sewing machine which I will hopefully get cracking on with soon. This hopefully means that there will be an explosion of new items to upload when I finally have my internet sorted.

The 'Kitchen'

I did go back to the north briefly to pick up the last of my things (such as my microwave) and met up with friends and family whilst there. I got there last saturday night and went for a meal with friends (one of whom was going back to uni in plymouth the next day) and then from there went to another friends house for a catch up over wine. They’d just moved in and done lots of decorating and really made it their own. I hadn’t seen either of them since uni and it was so nice just having a nice chat with them and finding out what they’re up to, it was like we’d never been apart.

Clothes area

The next day i went back home and had a big roast with my family. Why is it that mum’s cooking always tastes so much better? After the meal my cousin performed some magic tricks for us which were actually very impressive!

Celebratory chinese!

I promise the next update will be a little more exciting…Or at least i hope it will be.

Till then keep smiling!

Bedding!!


Employed and Loving it

I decided to do a bit of baking this week. It didn’t turn out the best ever (the mixture could have done with some more air in it), but i still made some tasty buns. They have chocolate philadelphia smeared on top which is every bit as good as i thought it would be!

Nice and colourful!

On wednesday I started work at a Weatherspoons which is only 10 minutes away from my new flat (although a 45 minute drive for the moment).

I’m actually really enjoying it and have actually always had a fascination of being a barmaid for a while. When I was younger I used to always be the ‘waitress’ at family parties. I remember at a barbecue once (probably when I was still in primary school)  my uncle had managed to get a proper beer pump and I spent hours pulling pints for everyone attending. I loved it and was getting pretty good by the end, despite my young age.

I also used to always help my next door neighbour with the food when ever he had bbqs, and even spent a whole night at theirs in an apron being a ‘waitress’ and handing out drinks for all the guests.

Genius

So obviously this is a job i have been destined to do for a while.

Yesterdays shift was quite easy. I spent the whole shift on the floor cleaning up plates and glasses and also getting the food orders to the patrons once they were cooked. It was relatively uneventful, other than a lovely old woman giving me a £2 tip which was very much appreciated!.

Todays shift was slightly more…chaotic.

Sprinkles and a 'Flower' or two.

I was learning the bar today, and there is quite a lot to learn so it was definitely a little bit harder. Everyone was nice and friendly though and seemed to understand it was one of my first days and had a nice joke around.

Until it came to one particular customer…

I was half way through serving a customer and an old man barked his order at me. I told him to hold on as I was serving someone else, finished the order and went back to the old man saying ‘Was it just one pint you wanted?’. At this point he started shouting at me (not even just a little bit of a raised voice, it was loud enough for the whole pub to hear) about how he was ‘not deaf’  and ‘didn’t mumble’. This shouting must have gone on for a full 10 minutes whilst i apologised and then went to pour his drink. At this point I was the only person on the bar as well so didn’t really know how to handle it all, but he shut up and sat down once he had his drink.

Showing off my 'Challenge 21' badge

Later he came back to the bar  and started making some very inappropriate comments suggesting a man at the end of the bar was listening to porn (why else would he have headphones in?!). He carried on making various rude comments, and then proclaiming it was ok to say these things as he was 90. Then he overstepped the mark completely by pointing to me and saying ‘I bet you’d take your top off for an extra £200 an hour’. At this point one of the managers, who was right beside me this time, started lecturing him about inappropriate behaviour and then went off to either talk to the other manager about him or calm down (possibly both). When she got back the old man had already left but she apologised to me for having such a bad customer on my second shift and assured me he was barred.

He really was quite strange, but you have to expect some…characters.

Work again tomorrow (from 9 till close), will probably be full of even more exciting moments with it being a Friday night!

Not really looking forward to driving home at 1am but at least we’re moving soon! As long as all the paper work goes through ok we should have the keys by next thursday!

Till next time!

Claire x


A Pinch of Cuteness

It was recently my cousins 10th birthday and I’d heard that she might like one of my aprons. So I toddled off to look for material with my sister and came across this ADORABLE cupcake stuff!

So I got to work. Aprons are pretty much second nature to me now after the mounds of them made for christmas and so it was pretty easy going, but as usual I seemed to leave most of the work until the last minute. I’ll learn one day i’m sure.

All wrapped up!

My grandparents also commissioned me to make her a bracelet and necklace.

Commissioned Jewellery

When she opened up her present she was very pleased, especially as it matched a cupcake cookbook she’d got earlier on in the day! I need to find some time to go visit and bake some cupcakes with her I think.

Trying it on

Ready to bake!

Just a couple of days ago I went to a Conference/Awards Ceremony at my boyfriends work. Partly because I wasn’t doing anything else, partly because I barely see him with the hours he works. His office decided all to wear Maroon ties so I went to town and found some sale bargains so I could fit in with their colour scheme! This whole outfit cost less then £30 (Not including my shoes). I think the bag was the biggest bargain of the day, reduced to £8 from over £20.

Attractive face full of burger

There were lots of speeches which were actually very interesting and quite inspirational, some of them were even giving off the same message as ‘The Penguin Theory’ from earlier on in my blog. There was only one speaker who I started dozing off too which I think was pretty good going. Then there was talk of a ‘guest speaker’. We figured it would end up being maybe the owner of the company or something. Needless to say, we were very pleasantly surprised when out walked James Caan (of Dragons Den fame)!

He talked about how he got into business and how he got onto Dragons Den. It was very inspirational and he truly seems like a likeable, hardworking man. Apparently his first investment on Dragons Den was a Doggy Treadmill.

Interesting Drinks Stirrer. We called him Gerald.

After the conference I asked Ash if we could go on a little date as we’d barely seen each other. We ended up going to a Giraffe restaurant. I had a posh Chicken Kiev which was very tasty. It was really nice to just be able to speak to each other and have fun, it felt like we hadn’t had some ‘us’ time in ages. Even though we now live together it’s doesn’t really feel like it as he works so much…He’s just a teddybear I cuddle at night (once he arrives home).

But he is a very cuddly teddybear so i’m not complaining.

The look of hunger is in my eyes

For now though I’m having to rely on my Gromit (of wallace and gromit) hotwater bottle cover to cuddle as i’m back in the north. Not for long though as i’m just  picking up the last of my things (including all of my craft things!) before going back again tomorrow.

I’ve missed my crafts far too much so i’m ridiculously excited to finally be able to pick them up!

Till next time!

Stay Happy!


Productivity and Trying to Think Straight

May the 4th be with you!

Yes it’s Starwars day, and it also happens to be a close friends birthday. Haven’t actually bought him anything, but i don’t know what to get.

Any ways. Last weekend i visited a friend, or at least he was a friend, it seems to be becoming something more. But i know what i’m like with relationships so i don’t want to rush into it. But anyways, he took me out on a nice date and we watched Starwars and we get on really well and i have no reason to say no to him, but i’m female and that means i’m silly. Plus i’ve been messed about a lot recently and i’m still living with my ex so i’m not sure whether it would be sensible for me to get into a relationship just yet, despite actually quite wanting one, i can see me messing things up big time. I guess we’ll just see how things go eh.

Today i’ve just been trying to do my dissertation as it’s in for tuesday. I’m panicking and really want it done before this weekend as the same guy is coming to visit and i want to be able to be sociable.

I also received a disk of an acting job a did a few weeks ago! It came back a lot better than i expected and so is going straight on my film reel! I feel like i’m actually doing something for my career finally which is good 🙂

Oh and I’ve decided I should go on Masterchef at some point because i am awesome at cooking. Today it was a Lemony Salmon and Prawn stirfry with ginger and soy sauce and all sorts! Nom! Definitely making that one again!

Anyway, time to get back to the dissertation I guess.

Till next time! Stay Happy!


Pubs and Castles

So this weekend, as i mentioned in my last post, i went to Wales. The weekend pretty much consisted of sitting in pubs or exploring castles, both of which, it’s safe to say, i enjoy.

On Friday we went to Cardiff. It was raining for most of the time we were there but as we rode on the Barrage Crossing train thing, the sun started to come out, and a pretty cold day became suddenly boiling! Naturally this meant it was ice cream time.

Later we went to a nice pub and i ate far too much. It rare that i feel full, never mind eating so much i felt ill, but somehow i managed it. It made me happy.

On saturday we walked across fields to a nearby village, sat in a pub for a pint, and then went to a posh house that had been on some kind of tv program. The house, especially the gardens, was pretty run down, and the tours were extortionately priced, but it was quite nice i guess. Wouldn’t go again though. Then we walked to another nearby village and had another pub lunch! I didn’t eat quite so much this time though.

As we had walked there we had to walk back but, at about 11pm with no street lights and with a few beers and bottles of wine in us, this was proved rather difficult. The sister and I ended up making ‘bat noises’ to try and find our way. Shame it didn’t help in the slightest, but at least we had a giggle.

On sunday we found a massive castle that was still open and had some kind of knight event on! We saw some medieval dancing, I even joined in, and then the knights all fought each other which was exciting. The castle itself was huge and quite fun to wander around. Plus the weather was amazingly warm! Then we went home and cooked probably the biggest leg of lamb i’ve ever seen, i have trouble believing it was actually a lamb and not a fully grown sheep. Was very tasty all the same.

Monday we decided to look around a pretty little church and another castle, of which all that was standing were two small walls, before yet another pub lunch. By this point we were pretty much all addicted to Butty Bach, probably one of the nicest beers i’ve tasted. Very smooth. Then we drove to Newport and threw my sister on a train to go home (she lives in london) before the mother and I drove back up north.

Now i’m sat on my floor avoiding doing the dissertation by writing this. Skills.

I guess i should actually do some work now.

Till next time! Stay happy!