Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Life list : 8 little things that were good last week

After a hell of a week last week, I decided I needed to do a little looking on the bright side. A lot of it is food related, but I don't trust anyone who tells me that eating your feelings doesn't help. 

1. The times the rain stopped - London has a been a wet place over the last few weeks, but last week the clouds parted to reveal beautiful blue skies on at least two occasions and it was joyful.

2. Catch ups - My friend Lucy was the first person I met in London when I moved into my slighty (very) rough around the edges London halls five years ago now. We celebrated our friendship anniversary over cappuccinos and chocolate cake (more on that in a separate point) and she let me talk at her for over an hour.

3. Free chocolate - The aforementioned coffees and cakes were consumed at SAID in Soho. Everything about this place made me happy - the sweet yet bitter smell of chocolate as you walk in the door, the chocolate moulds that cover the walls and the massive vintage scales that sat on our table. The owner was lovely and let us sit there for ages, bringing us samples every so often. Their chocolate hazelnut spread was to die for and they sell it in ginormous jars (perfect for eating with a spoon).

4. Lunch at Miss Bun, Kentish Town - Now, if you're familiar with the 5:2 diet you'll know it's basically a form of torture dressed up as a way to lose weight. I kid, I actually really enjoy my fast days (mostly) but having a more trying week last week I decided fasting was not the way to go and visited Miss Bun instead. I tucked in to two deliciously light and fluffy steamed buns and a portion of flavoursome pork dumplings and let them warm me from the inside out, all for only £6 too!

5. Reunited - If I'm forced to find a good part of living in a different city to your boyfriend, I'd say the best bit is the excitement you feel at seeing their little face after a week or two apart. Will and I have created a bit of a tradition of battling our way through the mental Saturday crowds to meet in front of Topshop and then grabbing a drink from Joe & The Juice before deciding on our next steps. However, this week he had an empty belly and a heart set on somewhere else...

6. Patty & Bun - If there's a something I would regard myself as pretty knowledgable in, it's burgers. I try them wherever I go, leaving no brioche bun unturned. Will and I will talk about little else other than Patty & Bun for weeks after we have one - there's something so magical about the combination of sauces, the caramelised onions and the light medium/rare patty. This time we went for the chicken wings too and, even as a self-proclaimed 'non-wings person', I could understand the fuss. The meat just fell off the bone and the sauce had a great kick to it. Be warned, Will and I have been together 5 years and have seen each other in various states. This is not a first/second/third date restaurant - you WILL get messy!

7. Gone Girl - I have binged on the Gone Girl book over the last couple of weeks so that I could go to the cinema and see the film as soon as possible. I did worry that knowing the plot would make it a little less enjoyable but we both loved it and were discussing it all evening. The film is just as brilliantly written as the book, there was even laughter from the audience, but I did feel a bit queasy when I left. 

8. Afternoon tea - I told you the highlights were mostly food. Will and I had a Fortnum & Mason gift card very kindly bestowed upon us and booked in for afternoon tea on Sunday. We donned our Sunday bests and made sure to starve ourselves all morning anticipating the feast ahead. We made our way through two delicious rounds sandwiches, two scones each, the patisserie and still found a  tiny bit of room for a slice from the cake carriage. It was a very special experience, and I think I may have an afternoon tea convert on my hands. Eventually we had to say our goodbyes and waddle on home but it was a very warming and satisfying way to end the week. 

What made your week a good one? I will accept answers that aren't food related, despite what the list may suggest...

Monday, 6 October 2014

Style list : Winter

If we're going to get technical about it and risk sounding a bit like our Dads, I don't NEED these items. But I do need them, really. I think you know what I mean. I've cut it down to the essentials (according to me).

1. Fur Gilet - Working a Millie Mackintosh/Made in Chelsea vibe is one of my favourite winter pursuits (as is eating Quality Street, so a double thanks to the Macks). I may have already purchased this (and some Quality Street).

2. Leopard coat - Leopard coats are up there with LBDs and white shirts in the ultimate list of wardrobe staples and this may just be sitting in my wardrobe already too. Am I the only person wishing for cold weather so I can wear it ASAP?

3. White shirt - Speaking of white shirts, I feel this is a vital component to completing outfits with items 1 and 2. 

4. Trench - Is it weird that I've never owned a trench coat? I think 23 is as good an age as any to add a grown up coat into my wardrobe. Maybe it could replace 2012's army jacket. Do adults wear army jackets?

5. Boots - Every year I purchase a new pair of black ankle boots, and every year I wear them so much that by March the heel is falling off, the toe has formed a mouth and they do little more to protect my feet from the elements than if I went out barefoot. I think I'm going to go for a very classic, simple style this year, and while my heart says Russell and Bromley Chelsea boots, my head says 'you won't be able to eat until January'.

6. Haircut - On the list for this week is sorting out my fringe as it's, quite honestly, out of control. It's a hazard, really. Suki provides all the imagery I need for this but it will never look that good and effortless, will it? What's your ideal winter cut? All inspiration welcomed.

7. Nail polish - Oh yes, it's the time of year when dark berry shades stain your nails beyond repair but look uber glamorous while doing so. Something about cold weather brings out the goth in me.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tracklist : Bestival

This may seem a little retrospective but, now that the glitter has settled, I'm looking fondly back on my weekend in the Isle of Wight. This September I headed to Bestival with my boyfriend, some family and a head full of cold. As is always the case with festivals, it was my lesser looked forward to acts that really shone through, and so I have summarised my Bestival for you in a tracklist - that you can follow on Spotify too if you fancy it.

1. Sam Smith - Stay With Me: I didn't realise I was a Sam Smith fan until the moment I saw this live, with what felt like the whole of Bestival singing along.

2. Disclosure ft. Eliza Doolittle - You & Me: Disclosure were a band that I wanted to catch if I could, but actually turned out to be a bit of an unexpected highlight. The whole set was really impressive and the atmosphere in the crowd was great. They had lots of guests (and even snuck Sam Smith out again) but I think Eliza in her little crown with her big hair and even bigger voice was my favourite.

3. Outkast - Hey Ya: If you were there, you will know how big the crowd for Outkast was. I've never seen so many people. After having lost some of the crew we managed to reunite just in time to go crazy dancing to Hey Ya. My nine year old nephew stayed out for this song and I feel like it'll be something he looks back on when he's older.

4. Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free: I just love this song. Who doesn't love a bit of Candi? I watched her in the sunshine with my whole family breaking out the most cringeworthy and classic dance moves and it was very lovely.

5. Foals - Bad Habit: So, I don't know if you're aware, but Foals didn't actually play this at Bestival so this might not really count. Foals were one of the big draws to Bestival for me this year and this is my favourite song of theirs. Despite much protesting from the members of my group who were looking for something they could dance to, I made them stick it out until the bitter end just wanting to hear this song. Although Yannis looked very lovely in his feathered shoulder pads, and I must admit to being ever so slightly won back around by the glitter cannon expelled at the end, the fact that I didn't get to hear Bad Habit is my biggest disappointment of the weekend.

6. Basement Jaxx - Red Alert: Basement Jaxx came at the end of a long day of feeling really ill and pretty tired, by which time I had a voice that resembled Patty from The Simpsons (ideal). My mum and stepdad joined us on this day and got the most drunk I've ever seen them, which was very very funny and improved my mood immeasurably. My sister and I were the only ones that made it to see Basement Jaxx in their 1-2 am slot and we stood outside the Big Top having one of our deep and meaningful chats with this in the background.

7. Clean Bandit - Rather Be: I have never seen my youngest nephew, Alfie, as excited as he was when this started playing. Finally, a song he knew all the words to!

8. Major Lazer - Watch Out For This: 
Major Lazer was a major (sorry!) highlight for all of us. My nephews want crazy having dance-offs with any game passers by and joined in for all the shirt whipping etc. I think my stepdad even announced that he was going to buy the CD for his car. Surprisingly, an act for the whole family.

9. Chvrches - We Sink: 
My boyfriend and I sat outside the Big Top reflecting on the weekend while we listened to the band and watched what can only be described as their biggest fan sing every word to every song and dance enthusiastically with tears in his eyes. I could only convince Will to come with me because he'd heard this song on Fifa and then he didn't want to leave for Chic because he hadn't heard it yet.

10. Chic ft. Nile Rodgers - We are Family: 
I went to Bestival with my boyfriend, two sisters, my brother-in-law, a large number of nephews, nieces and then my mum and stepdad joined us on Saturday. It was absolutely brilliant. Everybody, young and old, had the time of their life. The youngest member of our group was 10 months, the oldest 56. This was a pretty special moment for us all, and despite some of us nipping between different sets and having to leave early, we all managed to be there for this song and a massive group hug dance which I hope I will remember for a long time.

If you went to a festival this summer, who was your best act? And even if you didn't, leave me your favourite singers/bands/rappers/beat boxers/whistlers/one-man-bands below and I'll be sure to check them out!