We’re buying a house

Posted in Life
on August 17, 2018

We did a thing.

I have been living down south for almost two years now and, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a huge adjustment. I grew up in the Scottish countryside, where you could only go places by car, would have to allow extra time in case there were tractors/sheep/cows/cyclists on the road and, when you got to your destination, it would probably rain.

Moving to the London area has been tough and made tougher by the lack of greenery and general private outdoor space. In all three of the houses we have rented, there hasn’t been a garden/courtyard attached.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a park, and there are plenty in our area. But, it’s just not the same.

I want to grow veg and have wildflowers for the bees, plus I want to grow peonies so I can be that person every day for the short space of time they bloom. I want a living wall and to have a section near a window dedicated to herbs so you get a whiff of basil or thyme or lavender when you step outside.

So, when my boyfriend and I found a development being built in our favourite borough, we were pretty interested. But when it has two outdoor spaces plus an ensuite master bedroom – well, it would be madness not to!

FloorplanThe place is still being built but, right now, it looks like we’ll have the keys (and a mortgage…) by October. I’m so excited to plan colour schemes, plan my garden and get our posters/artwork in framed!

Would you be interested in hearing more about the buying process and moving in/decorating?

 

 

 

August TBR

Posted in Books
on August 12, 2018

I’m in a reading slump, and it sucks.

No book is gripping me, interesting me or getting me on board with its narrative. It’s so frustrating to have something that was once my escape from reality becoming a draining factor in my reality.

So, I’m setting myself some reading targets each month to help me focus on getting through the backlog of books I have acquired (and to give me space to buy more!). This month, I’ve only set myself three books to read, as I usually only have an hour or so a day to sit down with a nice paperback) but hopefully I’ll have the chance to get a couple more squeezed in!

Inside the Firm, Tony Lambrianou

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I’m low-key obsessed with crime documentaries so when a colleague at work was reading a book written by someone who was in the inner circles of the Kray twins, I basically gave him no choice but to let me borrow it! The author, Tony Lambrianou, was sentenced to 15 years for murder and all kinds of crime after having been a member of the Kray Twins gang throughout the most of their career. I’m hoping to have this read ASAP so I don’t hold on to someone else’s book for too long!

WTF?, Robert Peston

What have we done? Why did it happen? How do we take back control? These are the questions being asked in this book.

If you don’t watch Peston on Sunday, you’re missing out. Robert Peston is one of the best journalists out there, and he actually talks common sense. If like me, you’re still reeling from Brexit and the rise of the alt-right, this book is for you. I’ve read his introduction and the book takes you all the way back to the banking crash in 2008 to assess what happened that has caused Brexit, Trump and the ever-widening gap between those at the top, and those at the bottom.

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The Darkness, Ragnar Jónasson

love Scandi/Northern crime writers. There’s something about the bleak landscape descriptors that make them the best kind of suspense writing. I picked this up at a little independent bookstore in Totnes and am very much looking forward to starting it. A young woman is found washed up on the shoreline. It’s ruled a suicide, but DI Hulda Hermannsdottir soon finds that another woman went missing at the same time… I just hope it isn’t an obvious ending.

What are you reading at the moment? Are there any books being published soon that you’re looking forward to?

 

River Exe Cafe

Posted in Local, Travel
on August 9, 2018

I’m going to say it: Devon has some of the best food in the country. I will fight you if you try and say otherwise! From veg to fish, meat to cheese (and wine!), and a bit of cake in between, you could travel the county and still be finding new and amazing places to eat.

Enter the River Exe Cafe.

Situated on a flotilla in the middle of the River Exe Estuary, this floating slice of foodie heaven serves fresh fish, seafood and sea veg throughout the summer season (April-September).  It’s pretty popular – my mum booked three weeks beforehand and we could only get on the 3pm sitting!

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We arrived in Exmouth to get our water taxi over to the floating restaurant. As per Devon, the views were gorgeous, although the storms you could see on the hills made the water a little choppy!

If, like me, you’re someone plans their meals out at least a week in advance, the menu online looks a little sparse. DO NOT PANIC. It’s because their specials (and mussels) are where the party is at! I’m still distraught that I’m allergic to mussels but, there were five or six specials to whet my appetite instead! From lobster to plaice, all of the ingredients were either caught by the local fisherman, whose boats you sail past on your way to the flotilla, or from local farms.

The food. Oh. My. Days.

To start with, I tried scallops for the first time. I have been missing out – they were baked with a coral butter and white port, and then topped with a parmesan crumble. Amazing.

Next, I opted for the Thai Green Curry which had salmon topped with sesame seeds, crab claw, monkfish and crevettes within it, and was accompanied with a pineapple and chilli salsa and some sea veg. The curry came with some rice but, in my pre-dinner meal planning, I’d already decided that, regardless of accompaniment, their truffle and parmesan frites were the only accompaniment I would ever need! And, honestly, they were incredible. My mum had the lobster, which was also pretty special.

To finish, the only real choice on the menu was the Salted Caramel Fudge Brownie with ice cream and berries. Is there really any other logical choice? It was gooey and warm and the best way to round of a fabulous meal!

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Then, it was time to get our water taxi back to shore. You get 2.5 hours for a sitting, which is plenty of time to have three courses and coffee! This is a real gem and, if you’re in Devon in the warm season, get yourself a table booked!

Thank you for reading – it feels good to be back! Where is your favourite foodie find?

Going Local

Posted in Life, Local, Travel
on August 7, 2018

Exploring is awesome. We all know that – what is better than going somewhere you don’t know, getting lost and then heading to the nearest bar for a well-deserved cocktail?

But I feel that sometimes you can spend too much time focussing on the far away, rather than what is directly in front of, and around, you. I’ve lived in the Surrey/London area for almost two years and, until May, I hadn’t even gone to a local lake – why is that? I was too focussed on jetting off somewhere to have a break from life and up my gram’ game.

So, I’ve made it my mission to give more time to my local area.

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Because it is beautiful and I’ve been taking that for granted. Sure, I haven’t got the classic passport and plane ticket photo, and I haven’t spent hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds to get the next “it” place, but I will get to meet some cool people and go on random day trips with friends, and my ‘gram game will still be great because finding beauty in the everyday has to be the ultimate goal.

But I am lucky because my local area includes a fabulous city that would be classed as a holiday for many people. I live in an area where wealth is aplenty so my green spaces will stay green when others will become housing blocks and schools and hospitals other fundamental pieces of society because there is simply nowhere else for them to go.

So, I’m going to be writing a lot about places that may, or may not, be familiar but will cost a fraction of the price as a holiday and will be within the UK and guaranteed to give you a great time and a great ‘gram.

I’m really interested in hearing your views on this! I get serious FOMO when I see people jetting off to these exotic places – is that a thing? I’d also love to read some posts on things in your local area/within the UK and then maybe we can get a round-up post together or something?

Comment, share, tag me – I want to hear about all your recent local travels!

 

 

 

 

 

July Favourites

Posted in Life
on August 7, 2018

How are we almost at the end of July? This month has been a busy one with work so there has been a lot of improving myself this month, rather than any big splurges/trips!

Cooking

It’s amazing what new cookbooks can do to get your culinary juices flowing again. I always struggle to mix up meals, particularly when it’s warm because having salads twice a day gets boring pretty quickly. So, I’ve made it my mission to start broadening my taste and attempting some really tasty, nutritious and healthy meals to get me through the day.

FYI, the One Pound Meals polenta and pork meatballs were a m a z i n g but definitely an autumn/winter dish and I made some ridiculously good chocolate brownie cookies from the Power Snacks book. Would you be interested in seeing my weekly meal plans?

Tea

Tea is my ultimate bae. Caffeinated, non-caffeinated, green, black, rooibos – I love them all. I’ve been cutting down my caffeine intake recently though, so I’ve been hitting that rooibos (red bush) tea like it’s water. A couple of drops of honey (and the occasional slice of lemon) and you are good to go. I personally love the Clipper red bush tea, or the Dragonfly Chai or Earl Grey rooibos and I bulk buy them off Amazon!

Earrings

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I go through phases with jewellery and currently I am obsessed with earrings. For the first time in my life, long dangly ones aren’t annoying (hello, adulthood?) and a couple of v. cute studs. They’re all from Asos in the range of £4-12.

Maxi Dresses

Yes, I have only just discovered the joys of maxi dresses. I’m 5’3″, so just assumed that they would never be the right length. How wrong I was.

I currently only have two until payday, but I am a convert. You can dress them up, dress them down, look like a princess when you gather it up to go up some stairs – what more could you want?!

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Alpro Caffé

Cute design, caffeinated and dairy-free – ticks pretty much all the boxes you could think of and it’s a cold drink so perfect to get you going first thing in the warm weather we’ve had recently! Speaking of which…

Summer has arrived!

And it is glorious. We’ve hit 33 degrees here in recent days which is slightly insane – does anyone else notice a boost in confidence when you’ve got a tan?  Flowers are in bloom, the smell of cut grass follows you everywhere and, until a couple of weeks ago, the grass was bright green and luscious – now it’s a bit dead because, lol, no rain since I can remember.

IMG_3420.jpgI’m really looking forward to a week at my parent’s in Devon at the beginning of August, so keep your fingers crossed this weather continues until then!

I love hearing about what you’ve been up to! What do your July favourites look like? Is there anything you think I should try in August? Comment and share your links with me!