Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Sister's Bday

For my little sister's birthday she made reservations at B-Soho. Now, she always looks gorgeous, so I had to make an effort to keep up!

My adorable new dress is my current favourite and very reasonable from asos.

Fiona's 26th Bday Apr 2013

Everyone was looking gorgeous and enjoying the HUGE range of cocktails B-Soho had on offer.

Fiona's 26th Bday Apr 2013

Fiona's 26th Bday Apr 2013

Fiona's 26th Bday Apr 2013

Fiona's 26th Bday Apr 2013

Fiona's 26th Bday Apr 2013

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The birthday girl!

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Cocktails are lovely but make reservations if you're going on the weekend!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fondue Night

Cheese fondue...I know a lot of people who have never had it, my Mum actually used to make it on a fairly regular basis so it's always been one of my favourites! I mean, melted cheese, who doesn't love that... Annoyingly, I've made it better than I did for Steph and Shreena Friday night...

Fondu night Apr 2013

Fondue is pretty easy - rub your saucepan with garlic and grate a good amount of cheese. We went with a very mature Cathedral City brick.

Fondu night Apr 2013

Grate it, and bring a pint of white wine (dry) to a simmer.

Fondu night Apr 2013

Now, here is where I went wrong, add little bundles of cheese at a time, and wait for it to melt, then add more. You cannot hurry this process. It just takes a while. Taste when your brick's gone to see if you need more cheese/wine to get the balance you're after. Add a little cornflour to thicken it up and....

Fondu night Apr 2013


Grate some nutmeg over the top (in hindsight I'd stir some through as well). Serve as you like. My Mum always does jacket potatoes so I did too but I mistimed it....(this really didn't go too well) so we had bread, meats, veg and salad.

Fondu night Apr 2013

Fondu night Apr 2013
But - each to their own :-)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Coronet

I am about to hit you with the most irritating, first world problem that there is...I have too many good friends. Seriously. They're not just friends I want to see every now and then, they are friends I cannot get enough of. As such, my social calendar is insanely full, seriously, I'm making plans with people for July cos weekends and evenings are booked up with birthdays, nights out, dinners etc. As a result, Ben and I haven't had a whole lot of quality time together. So, last night we had a 'date night' (scheduled two weeks in advance).

Welcome to the Coronet. Definitely my favourite cinema. You can find it in Notting Hill (and it is, in fact, the cinema that Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant visit in the film) and on Tuesdays it's a bargain £3.50 a ticket (call to book though cos it sells out). Ben and I visited on a Wednesday (no orange Wednesdays so don't ask) and it was blissfully quiet.

Inside it's still done out like a theatre, and it's absolutely gorgeous.

Ben and I sat in the balcony to enjoy The Place Beyond the Pines. The seats are still theatre seats so if you're a bit used to Vue or Odeon plush seats this might seem a little uncomfortable. The popcorn is amazing though, so much better than you'll find in other cinemas (I'm a sweet popcorn person so can't say anything for the salty) and you can buy a nice wine or beer at the little bar stand too.

Check it out - it's a nice change, makes your film a bit more of an event. They often show less mainstream films too which is a nice treat! Website here.

Very enjoyable date night - grabbed a pret-a-manger down the street beforehand too - love a good toastie!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paris Visit: Day Two

Up early to go to Monet's Garden - Sophie had heard that you need to get there early or you were looking at a day of queueing...this doesn't seem to be accurate as it was still a fairly small queue when we left but it might change in summer. For our part, we got there for 9am. It's about 45 minutes from Saint Lazare station in Paris which goes to Vernon, tickets are around 28 euro for a return (boo), there's a shuttle bus from outside the station that's another 8 euros, and the garden/house costs 9.50 I think...but totally worth doing, we were lucky it was a gorgeous day too.

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013

We had a fantastic day! We headed back to Paris and arrived early afternoon and decided that, the weather being as amazing as it was, that we should  enjoy a picnic by the eiffel tower - standard.

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Paris Visit Apr 2013
A very chilled afternoon followed, and a very chilled evening too. Wine and chat - what more can you ask for. Can't wait for Sophie and Isobel to join me back in London for recreations of so many fantastic days and nights! I miss you both SO much!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Paris Visit: Day One

This weekend I hopped over to Paris to visit my friends who haven't joined me this side of the channel yet! My first day was Isobel filled, so I thought I'd dedicate some time to talking about her, because we all love our friends, but it's quite rare we actually take some time out to tell them just how amazing they are and how much you appreciate their presence in your life. Not to sound too sappy or anything...

Paris Visit Apr 2013

I met Isobel not long after moving to Paris, so I've probably known her a little under 8 months, but she's already one of those people I wouldn't want to live my life without. She's one of those people that seem to know everything...you can't talk about anything without Isobel having some kind of interesting fact about it (did you know Birmingham has more canals than Venice?).

Shreena's Bday Paris December 2012

Moreover, and there is no way I can say this without sounding a little pathetic, Isobel's relationship with her husband, Tim, is incredibly inspiring. I won't go into details because it's not my relationship and not my place to divulge information, but these two are 5 years together, 2 of which they've been married, and they are so into each other, so thoughtful and considerate towards each other...and all other positive adjectives you can think of, they're all that too. I'm such a romantic, ridiculously romantic really, and nothing makes me happier than to see people genuinely crazy in love with each other. They're also just awesome fun!

Paris Visit Apr 2013
I could go on, cos Isobel's already made such an impact on my life, but I think I've established my girl love for her enough...so I will talk about the delicious place she took me for lunch!

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Welcome to cafe constance - a place where I finally managed to get some decent French food (sue me, it's hard to find as far as I'm concerned). Isobel had oysters to start.

Paris Visit Apr 2013

I forget exactly what it was I had...some kind of patĂ© with sausage type stuff in it on a bed of lentils (just to make it sound really appetising) - it was lovely, especially with French bread. 

Paris Visit Apr 2013

For mains, Isobel had...veal I think it was - and very tasty, I tried some. However, my meal was phenomenal...

Paris Visit Apr 2013

Ohmygod pure deliciousness. Not a lot else to report for my first day in Paris...I actually forget what Isobel and I did to start the day before lunch - oh! We went shopping! Forgot about that! I'd come over on a night bus though so sleep was very much necessary! Plus we were getting up early in the morning...

P.S. if you're a pretty apt cook and can't wait to go to France for this kind of food, the cafe is owned by a very popular French chef who wrote a book - in English! It's available here.http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/christian+constant/francois+lacheze/linda+dannenberg/linda+dannenberg/everyday+french+cooking/4115840/

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chipolata and Chorizo Jambalaya

I'm loving this cooking malarky. I definitely chalk it up to the open plan kitchen/living room. I suffer massively from FOMO so being in the kitchen and able to chat to Ben in the living room is perfect for me. Anyway, we had chipolatas from the weekend so I googled for a recipe and found this oh so simple and delicious jambalaya. It's Waitrose specific but I ignored that and did a little of my own thing too....

Ingredients - olive oil for frying, one red pepper, one green pepper, basmati rice (about half a 500g pack will be used), one red onion, a tin of chopped tomatoes, 12 chipolatas and salad onions! You'll also need 450ml of chicken stock - a cube in hot water :)

Start by frying the sausages (if you note there's only six in here that's because my frying pans are very little so I used two) when they start to brown throw in the chopped chorizo and red onion. Then add in the rice to cover it in the delicious chorizo-y oils!


About three minutes after that change up to a saucepan and add in the stock and tomatoes. Simmer with a lid on for 15 mins then throw in the peppers and chopped salad onions (but save some salad onions for garnish).

Leave for 10 more minutes, or until the liquid is all absorbed and the rice is ready (make sure when you're testing that you blow on it plenty cos it's hot as anything and nothing worse than a burnt tongue!). I added a smidge of tabasco, but literally only a few drops to give it something extra.

And voila, it was yummy and oh-so-easy! I had the fore-thought this time to put some away in tupperware for my lunch the next day, cos Ben doesn't let anything go to waste...


Monday, April 15, 2013

Kate's Hen Do

My good friend Kate gets married next month in what is promising to be one hell of a wedding. If the hen-do is anything to go by then there will be much laughter, drinking and cake!

Kate's Hen Do April 2013
And yes, Kate and Alex's heads were edible! The hen-do commenced around 1pm....

Kate's Hen Do April 2013



Kate's Hen Do April 2013
And most definitely went downhill from there...the hen arrived and was adorned with the classic essentials...

Kate's Hen Do April 2013

...and then told what her first activity was going to be!

Kate's Hen Do April 2013
Burlesque dancing! Hosted by the talented and exceptionally beautiful Ruby Deshabillé. Check her out - I know I'll be looking to catch one of her performances soon. But we were not in for a show...we were in for a lesson....

Kate's Hen Do April 2013

Stockings on, and off we go!

Kate's Hen Do April 2013

Kate's Hen Do April 2013

Rupert - the honorary hen...and this reminds me of a funny story. For a particular move, Ruby had us pick a hot guy we'd enjoy receiving a spanking from...we had some standards and some not so standards (Johnny Depp was in there - obviously) but nothing was quite as entertaining as when Rupert said 'Alex' - the groom....with the mother of the groom stood right next to him. PAHA!

Kate's Hen Do April 2013
My camera died after this fantastic picture pre-performance of the bride to be! Only phone photos now...
After the burlesque we went to b@1 for a cocktail making masterclass. Seriously book one of these, it was so much fun!!

And cute bartenders...

It started with bellinis and a welcome shot of 'jesus juice'.


There were entertaining games where you used one arm each to make a cocktail.


And another where you were meant to be 'blind making'...I'm a little competitive so I rightly cheated, though Kate's directions were pretty loud so not too hard to follow! Even if I ignored them now and then...

And after that it all gets a bit hazy and a bit hen-do confidential...



Good fun though. Unsurprisingly...this is where my pictures finish...

I don't even remember taking this...or whatsapping it to the boyfriend - ah well, always good to put the fear of God in him.