Friday, 22 January 2010


To make this very slow Friday go faster I have been mainly considering which wins in the cuteness factor between in baby manatee and a baby elephant. This one I just cannot decide.

Also realising that I have been letting my responsibilities as a blogger go, this is meant to be a food blog FFS and really I need to get cooking again, and blogging about it. So this is my promise to you readers, I will be better. But in the meantime I hope you don't mind a bit of Friday afternoon animal loving.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Animals Illustrated

I am back from Edinburgh, refreshed although a little jaded today thanks to a car breakdown in the middle of the English countryside last night which resulted in three drunk girls (one of which was me) trying to jump start an estate car by pushing it up a hill.

I found these awesome animal prints through my friend Matt's blog and you can buy them at Etsy shop Berkley Illustration. Aren't they so charming? I want to buy 4 and get them put in a large frame. My mum would absolutely love them, eccentrically dressed animals are just her thing. Something else for the "I want" list which I hope to work my way through once I return to the world of gainful employment.

P.S My friend Matt also has a crush on Jason Schwartzman - just like me.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Of late

Before I depart I thought I'd share some photos of the last few days in snow covered London.

To begin some beautiful flowers my kind hearted flatmates decorated my room with for my arrival home, followed by the view from my kitchen, some decadent Christmas gifts, more snow as dusk falls and finally a little glass of bubbly I rewarded myself with at the end of a very boring Monday.

Have a great few days...


Frankly I'm getting bored of my moping and moaning, so I can only imagine how my friends are faring.

In all honesty I've barely been out over the last fortnight, preferring to hole up with a bad box set and a bottle of wine. I am attempting to tick off my list but it is ever so tempting to indulge in my melancholy and turn to my dear friend Mrs Gin (yes, that is her name) for comfort.

Tomorrow I depart for 4 days in Edinburgh to see my best friend and her new baby Elodie. She has already given me a firm talking to about my current attitude and I have no doubt she will give me another pep talk tomorrow before taking me out to paint the town red (or should that be blue considering it's currently -1 in the city).

I plan to have complete radio silence while away which means no phone, no internet and no distractions. I will be taking a lot of pictures though and listening to a lot of jazz which I have decided is to be a new hobby of mine.

Have a wonderful few days and I hope to return next week rejuvenated and on some way to returning to my old self.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Brian Ferry photography

I stumbled across a blog tonight which has completely blown my mind. The blog is run by Brian Ferry, a truly incredible photographer who has just made the move from Brooklyn to London. His photographs are peaceful, elegant and evocative and give a real sense of calm even in the busiest of locations.

Take a look, and check out his professional site here - I particularly love the photos of Brian's Personal Effects which detail the bits and bobs around his home.


In recent days I have developed a new found love and appreciation of the humble pencil. It takes me back to my school days and my attempts to perfect my sprawling handwriting (I never did achieve this).

As a result I find that writing in pencil brings a neatness and order to my notes and scribbles which is completely absent when I use a biro or pen.

I used to covet shiny silver ink pens and the perfect ballpoint but those days are over. Yesterday I spent some time (and a little money) perusing the local stationers and selecting the finest HB for my new collection. And at only 69p I think this is a passion I can afford to indulge.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Christmas diary of a very spoilt spaniel

Searching for a bit of Monday night cheer I have been flicking through photos of the Christmas break. The most lovely thing in all the pictures being my gorgeous spaniel Danny.

He seemed to have a delightful Christmas holiday despite being left in the car on the 8 hour ferry trip to France (it was that or the kennels!). He soon got over the travel fatigue...

A cuddle with me certainly helped. He does like to sit on my lap and sleep, but there was too much excitement around the room for him to sleep...

He certainly liked out visit to Hotel Le Fort de l'Ocean, where he positioned himself at my feet in anticipation of leftovers coming his way...
And he didn't seem in any way phased by the hog roast, in fact he spent most of that evening in front of the fire (and the pig) getting his tummy rubbed...
Finally, on Christmas day, the tiredness caught up with him. He proceeded to sleep for 9 hours straight, before eating half the leftover turkey (when my hilariously thoughtless brother left the pantry door open) the next day. But that's what Boxing Day is for...right?

Little lists

I am such a fan of lists that my dear friend Katy once presented me with this delightful little book, created by the people behind this wonderful website.

Today certainly feels like a day for a list, they always manage to calm my anxious mind and give me a sense of direction and purpose (even if that purpose is just buying groceries).

The list I scribbled while on the way home today gives an indication of my nervous state of mind. I haven't made resolutions this year for several reasons but for the next few weeks these are the things I'm working on:

Quitting smoking - I only started on New Year's day when the apocalypse that was my relationship break up began. Since then I have managed to pick up a filthy habit and unnervingly I don't seem to be able to stop. It's not helping that I have been watching endless episodes of No Angels and Teachers in which the main characters all chain smoke happily away, and I am far too impressionable for my own good.
Stop biting nails and chewing away at cuticles - Another unattractive habit that has got a bit out of control. I have Stop'n'Grow, expensive handles creams and bottles of nail strengthener at the ready but this activity (like the previous one) is a symptom of being restless and emotionally charged. Inspiration for stopping this is Barbara Streisand who has the most feminine and elegant hands in show business.

Eating fruit and vegetables - A pretty basic lifestyle choice which I have always been good at but something I have eschewed since the New Year began. I have been living on pasta, chips, cheese and a lot of gin. This must stop. I must also start eating breakfast which I have been replacing with 2 Marlboros (see 1st resolution)

Exercising - This is the scariest one of all due to being deeply unfit. Once I get into the habit of running and swimming I do enjoy doing exercise immensely but with all the other craziness going on at the moment, and my sudden lack of any recognisable routine, I have just stopped exercising altogether. I must rectify this soon for the sake of my stomach and my sanity.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sweet, Whitecross Street, East London

One of the things I will miss about my place of work is the amazing market that takes place every day down on Whitecross St.

Stalls include a sensational falafel stand where they crush the freshly cooked balls of fried chickpeas before covering them in hummus, a hog roast, a wonderful pasta stand run by a charming Italian family and, my personal favourite, the sunny olive stall which serves a huge range of delicious fresh salad.

It is a bit of a local secret frequented by the local city boys from the square mile, charity girls from up on Old St. and the media companies which now inhabit trendy East London. It doesn't attract the attention or crowds that other markets such as Borough or Colombia Rd. do, and it is all the more charming for it.

A relatively new addition is the bakery Sweet which sells an exciting array of cakes, pastries and bread. It also serves soups, sandwiches and salads and a dangerously addictive lasagna.

Do visit if you're ever near, and while you're in the area check out the magazine stall which sells very slightly out of date magazines for about £1 a pop. I stock up on Paris Vogue, Tank and Pop and it totals about £3 a time!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Year of Living Courageously (and of cocktails)

I am currently holed up in my flat, hugging the radiator with only Come Dine with Me for company. The snow is still falling in London and I am trying to force myself to go to the party I am due at tonight despite the overwhelming temptation to stay home and drink hot chocolate.

When I resigned yesterday I joked that 2010 was going to be the year of living courageously and the more I think about that idea the more I like it.

I certainly felt that last year I was too nervous to pursue several of the things I wanted to do. I hate to fly, so I barely travelled and turned down several holiday invitations. I was terrified of being out of work, so I stayed in a job I disliked and pretended that I could be content spending all day doing something that didn't stimulate me. And finally I didn't believe I had the discipline, self-control or talent to make it as food journalist (which is what I truly want to do) so I buried my head in the sand and did nothing to make it happen.

Well, within the first two weeks of the year I have quit my job, started writing daily and am about to approach editors in a bid to have my work published.

Just writing this down is terrifying because the fear of failure so often stops me from vocalising the changes I really want to make. Surely it is better to keep it to myself to prevent the embarrassment and disappointment if it doesn't happen.

But in the spirit of living courageously I have decided to push these concerns aside and be honest about what I am trying to achieve. It might be embarrassing if it doesn't happen but it will also push me to pursue these things with even more vigour. And anyway if the pressure does get too much I'll always have cocktails.

Friday, 8 January 2010

In at the deep end

This morning I did something completely and utterly insane. After 2 1/2 years in a job I have always felt unsatisfied in I finally resigned.

The reason this is quite so irresponsible is that every single morning the papers, radio, postman, bus driver and every other person in London reminds me that we are in a worldwide recession, people are losing their jobs all over the place and this is no time to talk yourself out of one.

I am aware of all these things, and feel hugely for those that have been made redundant from jobs they loved or needed. But I have scrimped and saved so that I can make this plunge and push myself to find a job I love. It will be scary and I will absolutely have moments of regretting what I've done but right now I feel brave and exhilarated and deliriously happy.

Wish me luck - I haven't got a bloody clue what the future holds!

Thursday, 7 January 2010


While immersed in post break up gloom there are only really a couple of things which can give me a lift. Being prone to self analysis, shirking company and indulging in bad habits (daytime drinking, chain smoking, 6 hour bingeing on CSI) is not particularly conducive to making me feel better.

So it is that I can justify the purchase of a ludicrously expensive Denis Colomb cashmere and silk shawl in the Liberty sale. There was a hefty discount, but still I dropped a lot of money - which I don't have - in the hope that a scarf as soft as the ears of a bunny rabbit would make me feel bettter. And you know what? So far so good.

Fish supper

While in Nantes my extended family and I squeezed into our cars and drove down to Hotel Le Fort de l'Ocean for lunch. This isn't just any hotel restaurant, rather the favourite restaurant of the surviving 3 generations of my mum's side of the family.

Set on the beautiful coastline of France, we dined on fish caught that day while watching the waves crash onto the shore beside us. I ate divine smoked salmon (my new found favourite), perfectly cooked sole meuniรจre and the lightest souffle au citron I've ever tasted.

While there our dear family friends arrived from London to join us for the Christmas period. It was a wonderful 3 hour experience, improved all the more for the champagne and sancerre that we sipped on as we dined to celebrate our annual gathering.


Easing myself slowly back into blogging in 2010.
No words for today, apologies for my silence. Having a bit of a tough time at the moment but I promise to do better, and hope you had a fantastic Christmas break.

Here are some of my snaps from Paris and Nantes, more to come of some of the best food I ate in the last decade.

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