Easter Reading

18.4.14





Happy Easter Bank Holiday! 

My favourite thing to do when the sun is out is layer on the factor 50 and sit in the park with a good book. If you like to do the same, I have a couple of great recommendations for you, perfect for the Easter weekend! Though it's actually meant to rain on Sunday. But that's OK. Sit on your sofa with a book and see how many chocolate eggs you can eat before you're sick…



If I Could Turn Back Time by Nicola Doherty 

Zoe knows it was her fault her boyfriend David dumped her. She was neurotic and needy and paranoid about his relationship with his female best friend. If she could turn back time she’d do it all so differently… So Zoe does exactly that – turns back time. But is getting what you think you want, actually what you really want?
This is a fun quick read that will have you laughing out loud.



The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith 

Owen lived in basement of a New York apartment block. Lucy loves on the 24th floor. Normally their paths would never cross but a broken down lift in the middle of a heatwave throws them together and their brief time together leaves a mark.
As the pair move away from New York, they keep in touch via postcards. But as their lives take them in very different directions, can first love ever really work out?
A sweet story with characters that you can’t help but love and wish a happy ending for.

Enjoy! 


Bloody Brilliant Blogs #12

23.3.14


How is it Sunday night already?! Seriously…. Who do I need to speak to about cancelling Monday? 

Anyway, you fab lot have delivered some amazing blogs to read this week!

Thanks to Lisette Loves for this amazing Ginger and Lime cheesecake recipe. YUM. And I can't wait to make this breakfast muffin from The Elle Next Door! 



I'm off to Flat Iron finally with some friends next week, London Kat's post has got me even more excited that I already was. 

Derby is my hometown and I can't wait to try out new restaurant Seven when I next visit the family. Thanks Gingey Bites for a great review! 

Ginger Girl Says made me laugh with her Lessons I Learned from The Little Mermaid post. All SO true. 

And finally, love them or loathe them, you can't deny the no make-up selfies have done an amazing job to raise money for cancer research. This is Hannah wrote a great post about it - and I'm in awe of how amazing she look sans make-up -  what a beaut! 



The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

17.3.14




You know the books you can't stop thinking about, days, weeks after you've read the last page? 

The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman is one of those books. 

I knew it was going to be sad but wasn't prepared for how upset I'd be. 

The story is based around Claire. She has two children - Caitlin, 20 and Esther, three. She's married to a gorgeous younger man and works as an English teacher. 

Her life is pretty good. Then she's diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and life as she knows it will never be the same again. 

As her memory fades, Claire, and her family, write funny, sad, poignant stories in a book. For Claire, the book is all she has left of her memories…

This book is heartbreaking as all the members of the family have to say goodbye to the Claire they knew. But it also has it's funny moments too. Rowan Coleman did an amazing job at writing such an amazingly sensitive book about such a huge issue. 

I'm not going to say much more. I don't want to spoil it. But I will say, get a box of tissues. You'll need them. 


Bloody Brilliant Blogs #11

17.3.14



How amazing is this weather?! Long may it continue! 

This week I've…. 

…. loved looking at Cider with Rosie's pictures of my hood 

…. enjoyed reading Being Erica's honest review of the Grillshack 

…. really wanted to make Treasure Every Moment's healthy spicy tuna burgers 

…. enjoyed Wander to Wonder's's Primrose Hill pictures. Wandering up PH is my fave lunchtime activity! 

….. really Laughed Out Loud at Becky Bedbug's wedding magazines from 2000 post. Oh the hairstyles….! 


Bloody Brilliant Blogs #10

9.3.14


This week I've…. 

… been desperate to have brunch at Kentish Canteen thanks to Sophie Denise's post 

…. agreed with Big Fashionista about the frustrations of self service checkouts 

… decided I need a drinks trolley in my life, inspiration from Domestic Sluttery

… got excited when I saw Sprinkle of Glitter's Liverpool pics. I also went to uni there and it's the best city. I'm up there next weekend and can't WAIT 

… got food envy when I read about Heroine in Heels Dirty Bones trip

… drooled over Lily loves Lola's's Nutella brownies. I've given up chocolate for lent but shall be making these as soon as it's over!! 



Today was sunny....

9.3.14





Sorry to state the obvious BUT HOW AMAZING HAS THE WEATHER BEEN? I've ditched my fleeced lined parka and happily pulled out my pleather jacket and found my sunglasses. I still wore tights though. It is still March after all and early March at that. Lets not get too ahead of ourselves… 

Though of course, some people do. Glorious weather brings out the crazies and the over excited…. 

I've witnessed: 

More men in vests than I ever thought possible in March 

Several people wearing shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops and sunglasses like they were heading for the beach  

Two women fighting over the last disposable BBQ in the local shop 

About a million pictures of the sunny weather with exclamations of THE SUN'S OUT via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, any other social media - like we don't all have a window to see for ourselves that it's sunny outside (though I am guilty of such pictures myself… See above)

And on Brick Lane my flatmate saw girls wearing very little, vomitting in the street in a scene like (I quote) 'they'd just come out of a foam party in Malia.' 

So yes, the sun is out. And we're all excited - though some more than others. 

Us Brits, eh, we don't do things by halves do we? 

February Reading

6.3.14



The Lemon Grove’s release has had a lot of hype around it’s release – and all justified.

From the moment I picked it up I COULD. NOT. PUT. IT DOWN and for the first time ever wanted my commute to last longer. 

The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh focuses on Jen who is on holiday with her husband in Mallorca. All is well until Jen's step-daughter Emma turns up - with her new boyfriend Nathan in tow. What should be a happy family holiday though is anything but and what happens next will leave you open mouthed and unable to turn the pages quick enough. 

Firstly this book leaves you desperate to go on holiday. The description of Mallorca is so impressive if you close your eyes you could almost imagine you were there and not on the very packed, sweaty Northern line at rush hour. 

Secondly this book is rude. Like, 'oh wow, did that really just happen?' rude. It makes Fifty Shades look like a kids book. I really hoped the man sitting next to me on the tube wasn't reading over my shoulder… 

And thirdly, this book has more twists and turns than The Big One in Blackpool. 

If I haven't convinced you by now to read it, I don't know what well. 

Helen Walsh, I applaud you. The Lemon Grove is a superb book. The only negative? It was all over far too soon… 

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #9

2.3.14



This week I was… 

… shocked to hear from Big Fashionista that it's been 20 YEARS since Oasis's Definitely Maybe was released. Where does time go?! 

… jealous of Cocktails and Caroline's breakfast at the Sanderson. Need to book in ASAP! 

… hungry when I read about Teffys Perks brunch at Breads Etcetera 

… happy when I saw Wander to Wonder's pics of Brick Lane. My fave place to go on a Sunday - and I need to check out that chocolate shop! 






Bloody Brilliant Blogs #8

23.2.14


Here we are. Sunday night again… I know I say it every week but it does seem to come round sooooo quickly! 

Anyway, this week the blogs I've been loving are: 

Ginger Girl Says summing up exactly why I prefer Twitter to Facebook and Not Quite Enough's honest review of The Fable bar. I'm keen to check it out - being a big fan of books I absolutely love this booth! 



London Kat's post has reminded me that I still haven't been to BRGR.CO yet. This needs to be rectified immediately! 

With Pancake Day approaching I'm going to try this fab syn free pancake recipe from Dungarees & Donuts xo and how fun does this ravercise exercise look that Heroine in Heels posted about? Must check it out! 



And last but not at all least, my friend Hannah has just set up her blog. She's ace and v funny so go and follow her ASAP! 


Something I said I'd never do again - I JOINED A GYM

20.2.14



Valentine's Day. Yes, yes. I know I'm writing this a week late, things have been busy! Anyway, Valentines day, I don't hate it. I certainly don't really like it either. It's just a day where men feel the need to spend a ridiculous amount of money on flowers for their partners who say 'don't bother this year' but actually mean 'if you don't you're dumped.'

Panic flower buying men in Waitrose... 
I went to get Soldier a card with a strict criteria - it had to be really funny or it had to have an owl on. Morrisons provided neither of those things so I got him a bottle of his favourite rum instead. He was very pleased.

I got a card from him and one from my Dad. And an e-card and text from my besties.



Cute, eh? I felt very loved!!

In the evening Soldier went on his first works night out which I was more than fine with - it meant I could spend the evening with my latest crush/obsession - the new fancy pants Reebok gym I've joined.

OK. STOP laughing. I know you all know my awful success rates with gyms. If you don't, read this which will tell you all about the time I spent £444 on just one gym class...

But I'm hoping this relationship will be more successful.

Firstly it's BEAUTIFUL. Check out the reception area. Looks like a boutique hotel, right? And we all know I like the finer things in life...


Oh it's so beautiful. I certainly don't mind spending time there. The changing rooms are like a spa - they have GHDs! 

And the pool. Well the pool.... 

Fancy a dip?

So Valentine's night. I went to go for a gentle swim - and instead ended up in a aqua aerobic class. Which was hardcore. And my bikini bottoms aren't made for actually exercise, more sitting by a pool sunbathing, so they kept on falling down. I spent 45 minutes terrified that I'd be thrown out of my beautiful new gym for exposing myself. How upsetting that would be! 

Anyway, I had a lovely, smug Valentine's night, me and two other women doing slut drops in a swimming pool. Much better than paying a ridiculous amount of money for a set menu in an average restaurant with loads of couples who are all having forced fun.... So I win. Hands down. See you in the pool.  








Bloody Brilliant Blogs #7

16.2.14


What's that? Another week where all my fave blogs have been about food? Quelle surprise! 

Kim over at Lunacy of Ink's's Valentine's post made me chuckle. Her V day was about as romantic as mine was! And want to know what Valentine's was like in a top London restaurant? Read Another Fucking Foodie's post. 

Thanks to Not Your Average for the healthy food inspiration - lamb burgers and sweet potato chips. Mmmmmmm… And if you're looking for something a little less (well, a lot less…) healthy then you have to head to Wishbone in Brixton. Heroine in Heels post will make you DROOL. 





Spare Brides by Adele Parks

13.2.14


I've been waiting to tell you how amazing this book is FOR AGES. 

As you know, I love ALL Adele Parks books but Spare Brides I especially got very excited about when a copy landed on my desk. 

It starts New Years Eve 1920, the Great War is over and it’s a new decade of glamorous promise. But a whole generation are haunted by extreme tragedy and trauma…. 

Spare Brides is an emotional novel which follows four women in the pursuit of happiness in these difficult times. But to get what they want, what will they have to sacrifice?

As I travelled on the tube reading this I truly was transported to 1920s London post-war. You can't help but get lost in the plot and visualise the characters who you have extreme sympathy for. 

This novel is completely different to any other Adele Parks you’ve ever read – and it’s truly her at her very best.  



Bloody Brilliant Blogs #6

9.2.14



How is it Sunday again already? Where do the weeks/weekends go?! 

Anyway, here are the blogs I've LOVED this week….

I came across Teffy's Perks blog last Sunday - and I'm hooked on her posts. This one especially on Otto's Pizza left me drooling….


I loved Not Quite Enough's post on Brick Lane street art - made me feel lucky to live in East London! And Wander to Wonder's post on Borough Market made me realise I haven't been for ages. A visit is on the cards! 

I NEED to make this Nutella swirled banana bread from A Cup of Jo…. And who wants to look after Big Fashionista's Blogger Bear? I'm signing up to give him a holiday! 


Pizza + Bus = LOVE

6.2.14


When my friend and desk buddy Harriet said she was going to eat pizza on a bus, I had to ask her to repeat what she said. I mean, pizza! On a bus! How brilliant is that?


She said it was pretty amazing so I thought it was only fair that she shared the pizza bus love.


Here’s Harriet…..

Harriet AKA giddy schoolgirl
 
All aboard!

You know that unsettling feeling you get when you step onto a non-moving escalator? And no matter how many times you tell yourself: ‘It’s okay, body, just treat them like a normal, stationary flight of stairs,’ you still come over all dizzy and weird?

I experienced a similar sensation when I first sat down for dinner on the Big Red Pizza Bus, a restaurant in Southeast London. As the name would suggest, the venue is a real, beautiful bus. I expected the double-decker to move – because that’s what buses do – but not this one. It stayed put. And thankfully that disorientating feeling lasted all but a few seconds… 

Jump on
Choose your deck


Step aboard (no Oyster card needed) and take a seat on the lower or upper deck of this retired – but loved – transporter.

Put your Oyster card away!

The diner-style, candle-lit tables and original, checked bus seats sit four comfortably. There’s a few longer pews (no table) right at the back of the lower deck, too, where you might enjoy a few cocktails and, I assume, hang out with the cool kids!

Lower deck

The kind of cool kids you'll find at the back

The artisan pizzas are big and delicious (£6.95+) with generous toppings sourced from Borough Market. The menu also offers handmade Italian egg pasta and salads; though the chicken Caesar salad, in comparison to the pizzas, was disappointing.

Ooh, conductor, you're spoiling us

The novelty of eating on a GODDAM BUS didn’t wane throughout my 90-minute sitting and, by the end, I felt like a giddy schoolgirl (compounded when I rode the DLR home, sitting at the VERY front).

Unsurprisingly, therefore, Big Red is incredibly popular with children and, for this reason, the waiter advised me to book if I visited on a weekend.

I’m certain, though, to avoid disappointment, bookings will soon be mandatory midweek too as this quirky eatery seriously takes off. Not literally, of course! That would make for messy pizza consumption – like eating your dinner on a moving escalator…

INFO: The Big Red Pizza Bus, 30 Deptford Church Street, London, SE8 4RZ (next door to The Bird’s Nest pub).

There’s also an outdoor, heated terrace, and you can find details about their film, comedy and music nights (and more) here: www.bigredpizza.co.uk

Twitter: @thebigredpizza
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thebigredpizza

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #5

2.2.14



WARNING - all my favourite blog posts this week have been about my food. And I'm not even apologising. Read on and I promise you'll be left drooling…. 

Cocktails and Caroline never fails to throw up some culinary delights. I love venison sausages so will be making these not so naughty little toads ASAP….


Caroline also went to Vivat Bacchus and ate lots of cheese. THANK YOU Caroline for informing me of this place. My waist line might not be quite so thankful though… 

I have brunch envy of Wander to Wonder. Raoul's looks SO good. 

I'm lucky enough to have Hawker House on my doorstep. Not Quite Enough has left me questioning why I haven't been yet… 

And hands up if you like the sound of a mini egg cookie? 

Yeah. Me too. JUST LOOK AT THEM! Thanks Diary of a Diva





January Reading

31.1.14



 It seems that most of my Facebook timeline spent January getting engaged, so The Engagements is a suitable book to post about!

Don’t get any preconceived ideas though. This book isn’t a chick-lit style fairytale romance of boy meets girl, gets a ring and becomes a princess for a day, it’s much more than that.

The Engagements actually follows one engagement ring from 1901 to 2012 and all it’s owners as it’s lost, found and stolen.

Each decade is fascinating to read about what peoples views were on marriage and how things have changed. Fittingly the ring finally ends up being turned into two wedding bands for a gay marriage in 2012.

My favourite section of the book was based in an advertisement agency and featured the real-life character of Mary Frances Gerty, a copywriter for De Beers in the 1940s. She came up with the slogan ‘a diamond is forever’ and it was so interesting to read how ad companies worked back then – very Mad Men-esque!

So if you’re looking for a book to read, I point you in the direction of this. And if you want a diamond of your own, maybe leave a copy lying around. You never know, your other half may take the hint…

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #4

26.1.14



I've been truly spoilt with the amount of fabulous blogs I've read this week. I have had a lot of LOLZ and drooled over a lot of good-looking food. 

It was difficult to whittle it down to just a few to write about, but if I'd done them all, this post would have been dissertation length! 

So, here we go…. 

I completely agreed with pretty much every point of Charlotte Web's 100 things I love about London post. And I want to visit every restaurant Lorilee's London has spoken about in her favourite places to eat in London post. 

LOVED Fashion Life London's post on fake underground signs. It's the little things…. And Ginger Girl Says, who is fast becoming my have blogger ever, did it again by making me nod in agreement before laughing out loud at my desk with her Great Expectations post. My timeline also is filled with engagements and baby announcements. I must have missed the memo which said it was time to settle down… 

I LOVE French food so will definitely be heading to Blanchette - thanks Little Miss Notting Hill for your fabulous photos which I drooled over as I tucked into my beans on toast (BEYOND happy it's payday tomorrow….) 

And finally, a HUGE thank you to Not Quite Enough For Me who has proved I obviously go around with my eyes closed as Stepney City farm is ON MY DOORSTEP and I didn't even know about it! Not only does it have cute, furry animals but also sells amazing fresh food. And I WANT that cherry almond tart. YUM. 


January - you're not all bad

21.1.14


Now I'm not normally lost for words, but this month I have been mainly relying on other people's words to keep my little piece of the web sailing. 

But January is like that, isn't it? A little bit... dry. (Not in the alcohol sense though. I'm not stupid.) 

We're all drinking less, eating less and spending less because payday still seems like forever away (five days away in my case, and counting....) And because of this, I just don't seem to have much to say. 

I'm not moaning though. Even after the party/eat what the hell you want month of December, pay for it/get on a diet January hasn't been all bad, in fact 6 things have surprised me this month… 

1) I can actually go more than three hours without having crackers smothered in Brie. 

2) That I can wake up in the morning without thinking: 'What time can I crack open the Champagne?'

3) That I can eat foods with colour: broccoli, butternut squash, etc and not just foods that are brown: sausage rolls, bread, pate, crisps, etc.  

4) That after a five-year hiatus, I would become hooked on Eastenders again. This has nothing to do with the story lines and everything to do with Danny Dyer. Mainly Danny Dyer half naked. 


5) That I would become quite so obsessed watching 12 celebrities in a house. I wake up in the morning and wonder what might have happened overnight. Is Casey still trying to get it on with love rat Lee? Have Jim and Linda killed each other? Has Sam actually spoken? 

6) That I would actually utter the words I LOVE LIZ JONES and laugh out loud at some of the things she's said. 


(Watch Liz Jones and laugh out loud at some of the things she says.)

So January may involve less cheese, less food, and less fizz but it has given me Danny Dyer and Liz Jones. Mustn't complain!


Bloody Brilliant Blogs #3

19.1.14



I've had complete bloggers block the past couple of weeks and been completely uninspired to write my own posts. Luckily though I've had these Bloody Brilliant Blogs to read!

Big Fashionista had me laughing out loud with her story of accidentally aiding an OAP criminal… As did Ginger Girl who was talking about the pitfalls of Facebook stalking. We've all been there. I once put my exes new girlfriend's name in the search box but actually made her name my STATUS. Cringe…

Lunacy of Ink and I are totally on the same page when it comes to thank you cards. Why does no one send them anymore? And want to learn how to haggle in four easy steps? Miss Thrifty gives her tips! I once got 10% off in Habitat just because I asked. People need to do it more - if you don't ask, you don't get!! 

I often buy bananas with good intentions - but then forget about them. Next time I shall be making Life Outside London's Banana Bread. And with still a week to go until payday (longest month EVER) I need good but cheap to make meal ideas. Lottie's Little Kitchen's Simple Basil and Tomato sauce with Spaghetti ticks all the boxes!! YUM. 


Bloody Brilliant Blogs #2

12.1.14


There has been so many blogs I've loved this week - and as usual, mainly all food related… Ready to see them? Let's go! 


Cocktails and Caroline made me DROOL with this pic of her homemade KFC. Will definitely be trying that out… I also loved her post on the Drunch Eatery and Lounge. Looks amaze AND does low-cal options. Guilt-free eating out is a winner in my book. I also agree with her views on Mahiki…. I went there last summer for a friend's birthday and found it AWFUL. Quite possibly the worst service I've ever received in the world and I will not ever be going there. 

Anyway…. 

Flo and Elle's blog on Yalla Yalla reminded me that I still haven't been there yet which is a travesty. I need their houmous in my life! 

I can't wait to make Life Outside London's chicken and broccoli bake - and having a super healthy dinner means I can follow it up with a slice of Oh Gosh's chocolate and Amaretto cake, right? YUM.



Moving on to my favourite none food related posts… It may seem madness to be thinking of Christmas already but Miss Thrifty has a point. Buy things in the sale now, less stress when the festive season hits us again. I've already bought all my Christmas cards for next year… #Organised. 

And I can't wait to follow J'adore's journey as she attempts to read 50 books. I'm also going to try this so nice to know I'm in good company!