February 27, 2012

My best friend...

...is freaking amazing! She is making my wedding cake and cupcakes and I received an email from her today with a picture of her try out for taste etc. and OMG does it look amazing! I showed it at work and one of my colleagues said "this is a bit of nice if I have seen one" and she is right. 

It isn't in the right size for the wedding but it's the right size for my tummy right now! Strawberry icing...sooooooo yummy. Thanks honey, you are awesome! It's perfect :)

February 24, 2012

Pancake day

I know pancake day is over but I think it deserves a better late than never post as we had a fab pancake day, I just didn't have the time to post before now!

So! Pancake day...amazing of course. The plan was to have a starter of pancake with smoked salmon and a mixed salad with a mustard, honey and lemon dressing (so yummy), a main course of parcel pancakes filled with a white sauce with pesto, chicken and black olives (originally marinated artichoke but we couldn't find any), put them in a tray and pour the white sauce with Parmesan and Gruyere cheese in the sauce but also grated on top (...the best thing ever! crappy picture below does not do it justice!) and then for dessert to have vanilla and blueberry pancake! 

Chicken, pesto, olive pancake
We got as far as the main course but we were so stuffed we couldn't fit anything anymore. We just sat there, looking extremely pleased with ourselves and totally bursting. It was pancake day...had to be done!

February 20, 2012

Fink, London Natural History Museum and bad mussels

So as you can see from the title we were in London last week end! We had a super week end planned out to make up for the whole disaster that were our birthdays...we did ok...ish.

Christoph and I took the Friday off so that we would have plenty time to get there before the Fink gig we were going to at Koko...
...but did we heck! We arrived at the hotel at nearly 6pm and had to have a quick shower and rush out again. Fink was brilliant, had a fab time although we were a bit far from the stage, which was a bit of a shame.

The next day we went to the London Natural History Museum.

London Natural History Museum

Christoph and I had been dying to go for as long as I can remember. It was amazing! We will need to go back again as we didn't have time to do everything we wanted, it is so big and with half term the queues were mad! Best bit was the dinosaur part of course! They are incredibly cool and to think they existed in our planet is just too incredible! Here are a few pictures, I have lots more but that's because I am a compulsive clicker!

Charles Darwin

The Central Hall
The Central Hall

Tyrannosaurus details (amazing!!)

T Rex
 From there things got downhill for us really. We got back to the hotel a bit later than expected, had a quick shower and got out again to grab some food before we went to see a play - Bingo - in which our friend Michelle is in. I ordered some mussels as Chris is allergic to seafood which means that we don't have it at home so I always treat myself when we go out...BIG mistake!!! Got food poisoning and next thing I knew I was back at the hotel, feeling like crap, crying in the bath...Christoph got in with me fully clothed, bless him, to hug me. Best. Man. In. The. World.

I feel asleep by 9.30pm, woke up all night ill and we left to go get the car at his brother's flat. Said a quick hello, I was sick and we left for home...

So there you are, although I think we are getting better at this. It was only 1/3 of the week end ruined and not all of it this time...gotta find the positive somewhere!

By the way do NOT go to the Grange St. Paul Hotel in London. Worse hotel ever. Rude staff, disorganised, load of snobs, housekeeping appalling...anyway I could go on but not worth it. Avoid it is all I can say!

February 15, 2012

Valentine's day is over...thank god!

So, Valentine's day was yesterday...you would probably think that with me being the cheesiest person in the world that I would LOVE valentines...I do not. 

I am very sorry but I am probably going to upset people now, people that like Valentine's day and think that it means something. 

I work in an international college and there was a right fever running through the school, flowers being delivered, boys running after girls, groups chanting, I mean it was crazy. And for me that is the only time where Valentine's day excitement is acceptable. They are teenagers/young adults, and I do not mean to sound patronizing, or that we shouldn't take their feelings seriously but I was 18 once and I thought I was in love, I mean really in love, I thought I would die...now this makes me laugh as I now know what this actually means and how it actually feels. But man did I believe it then! So yes, Valentine for the young ones, yup I get it, I would encourage it as it is a bit of fun and sweet.

But that is the only time. Otherwise...

I think Valentine's day is a load of rubbish. It is for people that do not know what romance means, people that need a day made up to remember to treat their loved one and tell/show them how much they mean to you. Why? Why would you need the one day in the year to show it to them? Ridiculous. I absolutely love cheesiness, love hearts, cuteness, treats, romantic gestures and crazy declarations of love. But please please PLEASE, be spontaneous about it. Do not do it because someone tells you that this is what you should do on a particular day of the year. Christoph and I treat each other as often as we can (I get flowers every month!), we tell each other how much we love each other everyday, we do all the small things that actually mean something for each other all of the time. Valentine's day...what a sham.

February 12, 2012

Failed car boots, meringues and naps

Our car boot morning was a total fiasco! After having gone to the car boot and not finding any plates (well we got 1 plate) or bits that we wanted we then decided to go to another one as it was still early. We then proceeded to 3 different car boots, all that claimed on their website that they were there every Sunday but they were not! The last one we went to we got there too late and by then we were in desperate need of some hot food and a drink.

As we were close to Willowpool Garden Centre, we decided to stop there for a bit of food and for some wandering around looking at random things - Willowpool is very random, I love going there. 

We decided to have some lunch and when it came to dessert time...I could not resist getting one. Seriously if you go there you NEED to eat their desserts, particularly the ones with meringues. OH MY GOD were they heavenly. Crunchy outside, chewy inside. Perfect. I got so carried away when I saw the plate that I totally forgot to take a picture of just how ridiculously massive it was until we were half way through it. 

So here is (half eaten already)...

Did we finish it?

Oh yeah we did and I could have had more!! 

We then made our way home in ridiculous fog. It has been so cold today that we got home and jumped into bed to warm ourselves up and we ended up both falling asleep!! We are so hardcore...

February 11, 2012

A day of relaxation and Savoury pancakes

Unfortunately my getting together with my boss was cancelled as her little boy was not well so I ended up spending the day in bed, not doing much to be honest, little bits here and there, and it felt great for it to be a choice to be in bed, not a necessity!

I made some chilli con carne last night and really enjoyed it! It had been ages since I had made one and I forgot just how nice and wholesome it is. And spicy! I LOVE spicy food, and I have an addiction to Tabasco. Seriously, I need to put Tabasco in just about everything.

Today Christoph and I had a real team work thing going on with what to have for lunch. As we had some chilli leftovers I came up with the idea of having Savoury pancakes with chilli and cheese for lunch...

...his job was to actually make it!! :)

Again all I have to show for it is another terrible picture...but it was seriously good!! We had some chives in the pancake batter, the chilli - which was even better than yesterday! -grated cheese, some creme fraiche and some more chives sprinkled on top. Simply delicious!

Tonight will be a quiet evening, sorting some more wedding bits out, eating some homemade fish pie (oh yeah!!), some wine and a movie. It really is the small things in life that make me most happy.

February 09, 2012

It's nearly the wk end...

..and thank god for that! I know what you are thinking: I was off work for 2 days this week so really what am I complaining about! Well it doesn't matter how many days you work during the week, week ends are simply the best (said in a Tina Turner kinda way - sorry I've had some mad songs in my head today).
This week end is chilled but kinda busy. For one thing I have my beloved work emergency phone - YAY! - but it does have a positive which is that it means we can't leave Manchester and therefore no driving for 4 hours on a Friday night! Therefore on Friday night I will be at home, nice and warm, with a glass of wine and enjoying the fact it's the week end. You have NO idea how much I am looking forward to that!

I will be meeting up with my boss who had a baby last year - and I have been covering her maternity leave - on Saturday for some fun non work (we'll try) catch up and some playing with her beautiful son Theo. I am really looking forward to it, we have been trying to get together for like a year!

On Sunday Christoph and I will be going to a car boot to source some more bits for the wedding, particularly plates. Sounds weird but let me explain: what we are basically doing is sourcing 42 - yes you heard that right - different plates, non matching, to be used on our wedding day as the meal plates. The more different they are the better! This is eclectic at its best! We think it will look wonderful! We have at the moment a grand total of...3! Woooooo! Everything will be OK, it's fine...say it over and over again and you will believe it too!

February 08, 2012

An evening of "getting things done"

First day back in work today, I feel totally exhausted, I felt a bit rough while in work, hot and cold all day, I think it's just my body feeling drained. So to remedy the lack of sleep that both Christoph and myself have been subjected to for quite a while now by either one of us - or both at the same time - being ill , it is Nytol time! I am hoping this will help us both sleep, although I will be the only one taking it as if I sleep, he sleeps. If I don't sleep...you see what I'm saying.

So I left work at 5pm and went straight to the The Brazilian Waxing Company beauty salon as I had booked an appointment ages ago and I really didn't want to miss it as it is so difficult to get one at the times I am available. So despite the fact that I really wanted to go home, I dragged myself down there for a session of Brazilian waxing (so was not in the right frame of mind for that today!!) and some eyebrow threading. Basically being tortured for 40 min...so worth it though as I feel human again.

Once I got home it was time to do some wedding emailing: first, Wooldridge and Sleep the florist - Jenny our florist is so sweet! I think that we made our minds up about wanting her to be part of it the moment we saw her; and secondly wedding invitations email - Our friend was no longer able to do them due to her house being burgled...we went through quite a stressful week or so as you can imagine (how selfish do I sound! Fuck the fact she got burgled, I need my invites man! ha ha joking...)  - I think we have actually managed to find someone this last minute so it is all very go go go at the moment as we need to get them out as soon as possible  It hasn't been confirmed yet but hopefully by the end of the week we will have the order put through.

And I did all of this (it's not much thinking about it, but felt like a mission) sat in the living room!!!!! I might sound unnaturally excited about this but I have been living in a bedroom for so long that I forgot I live in a 2 bedroom apartment, feels so biiiiiiiiiig! And I am writing this post sat at my craft space with a big mug of chamomile tea - oh yeah living the high life baby! - and browsing my newly bought Kirstie Allsopp Craft book, which is really cute. I love the fact that it is not only about sewing or embroidery but also about baking - one of my favorite things to do - and other crafts. The projects are really sweet and things that I would actually like to make.

DAM! It's Masterchef night! Gotta go!! I love Masterchef more than I love you all...Sorry

February 07, 2012

Top bananas

I am at home today still, getting better but still not well enough to be in work although my face is starting to look like the old me instead of a puffed up swollen me - it's the first time I look in a mirror and see an improvement! lol

Anyway, I was thinking about bananas. And no this is not random thank you very much, it is a follow up to my last post where I mention just how many bananas I eat and that got me thinking about them. See it all makes sense. 

I decided to research a few facts about bananas and I thought I'd share my findings with you. That's how generous I am. 

I never thought that there was so many website dedicated to bananas! It's amazing. And there are so many facts! So I decided to only put here the ones that I think are most interesting:

  1. Some horticulturists suspect that the banana was the earth's first fruit. One of the first records of bananas dates back to Alexander the Great's conquest of India where he first discovered bananas in 327 B.C.  (OMG bananas are older than Jesus!)
  2. In 2001, there were more than 300 banana-related accidents in Britain, most involving people slipping on skins. (300!!! haha this is just brilliant!!)
  3. You can buy banana beer, the beer is brewed from bananas. (I've had it before and let me tell you...Ewww! It's not for me!)
  4. Eating  a banana can cheer you up! (not sure if it's because of what's in them or the fact that you can draw on them...)
  5. Banan means finger in Arabic (A cluster of bananas is called a hand and the bananas are known as fingers -  see what I did there? A fact within a fact!)
  6. Bananas are radioactive (holy crap! maybe this means I will turn into my own banana superhero!)
  7. Last but not least: we share 60% of our DNA with a banana! (I swear! I read it here, and I believe EVERYTHING on the internet)
Moral of the story: I am not weird with my banana eating habit; bananas are awesome, they are full of good stuff for you, they are old as hell (or Jesus) , they make you happy and there is a chance that if you believe in it enough that it will give you superpowers...AMAZING!

February 05, 2012

A little bit of muffins...

So, again it has been a while and I have neglected this space. I have been, yes you guessed it, ill...AGAIN! This is getting totally ridiculous. I don't know what to do about it anymore! I eat really well, good for you food, vegetables galore and a banana every day! (it is the easiest fruit to eat while typing in work, I am not a banana nut...not sure why that made me giggle...). 
I don't drink ( a glass of wine here and there), I stopped smoking about 5 months ago, I take vitamins every day, I take the car to work - I know it's bad for the environment but what about my health dam it! Buses don't turn up, you stand in the freezing cold for 20mins, then you finally get in and people are coughing and sneezing all over you...and there is always some weirdo staring at you...eurgh! It is not that I hate public transport, I just hate buses.

Anywho! I had the most horrendous head cold, my eyes were streaming for 48hrs straight which made them swell and it looks like I was crying non stop (for once that I wasn't...you see I cry all the time... I sympathise too much with people I was told - real people or people in adverts, films, programs, cartoons...anyway that's a conversation for another time...off topic again!).

So, although feeling crap and all today, it is still Christoph's birthday and he is so amazing with me and makes me feel so special every time there is a celebration - or not! - that I would not have forgiven myself if I hadn't dragged my sorry arse to the kitchen this morning before he got up and make some breakfast...muffins! 

The good thing about my muffins is that I have made them so many times for years now that I can honestly say that I would be able to make them with my eyes closed (which is kinda of happened today). As I didn't get a chance to plan today at all last week I had to make do with what there was at home so the muffins were made of a little bit of everything! They are so very easy and super delicious and I am going to share the recipe with you. 

This is a big deal for me, this recipe was given to me by a very good friend I have not shared it with many people and when I told Christoph that I was sharing it here he looked at me with concern - I think he thinks I have a fever or something. But I think you are worth it :) (cheese alert!!!!!). No idea where the recipe comes from but it's the best!

I am sorry for the bad photo, I am a terrible photographer and Christoph was getting impatient after I had been trying to take a picture for 5 min...and now we ate them all!
Chocolate and Banana Muffins:

  • 2 cups of self raising flour (I like to use half white and half wholemeal but you do whatever you like!)
  • 1/2 cup of golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/3 cup of sunflower oil
  • 1 egg (if the egg is too small feel free to put 2)
  • 1 large ripe banana (if banana isn't ripe yet you won't be able to taste it much. If small banana put 2 in)
  • 1 bar of chocolate (I like milk chocolate but again it is up to you!)
The wonderful thing about muffins is that you can make them in whatever flavour you like and with as much or as little of what you like. It really is up to you!

Pre-heat the oven at 180C.

Butter your muffin tray (or line it with casings if you want it extra pretty!). In a bowl put your banana and mash it with a fork. Break up the chocolate bar in as little or as a big pieces as you like. Add to the bowl.

Add the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, the milk, the oil and the egg. Honestly, don't worry about mixing the dry ingredients first and all that. Just put everything together! Mix it well. The consistency should still be wet but not runny!! It often depends on what you use for flavour. Bananas can something make it really wet so be careful with that.

Divide the mixture in the tray. You can sprinkle nuts on top if you want or a simply a bit of sugar on each of them as it slightly caramelise when in the oven and it makes wonderful muffin tops!

Bake for 20-25 min. 

Et voila!

There are sooooooooo many variations you can do (apple, cinnamon and raisin - pear and walnuts - red berries and white chocolate - etc etc) and this recipe goes with all! Today like I said I put a little bit of everything we had left over, so a banana, some honey, cinnamon and 4 little squares of chocolate. It was lovely!