30 November 2015

The Lake District, Lambs a Leaping Part II

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils
Daffodils, William Wordsworth

I know what you're thinking, 'when was Part I?'. That's a really great question, it was roughly 3 months ago (see here), yep, I've been slack on uploading the second part of our wet walks in the Lake District. A fact that has not been forgotten...least of all by my mum. Every other conversation I have with her ends in 'when are you going to upload our holiday photos?'. The problem is, I take too many. This is probably obvious from any post I've ever posted. As Dan, my main man, has now ruled, I am no longer allowed to take any photos of sheep as I have just shy of a gazillion (not a real word) shots of them. As well as taking multiple photos of the same thing for the fun of it, I'm also doing it because I've been trying to improve my manual photography this year since Dan lovingly bought me a DSLR last Christmas (I think he feels like this is the biggest mistake he's ever made, at least I'm using this gift...unlike the mittens and egg timer of 2012). That's mean, the mittens and egg timer were part of a larger array of gifts who's first letter of each present made an anagram for Merry Christmas Felicity (yeah that's right I got twenty two gifts...who's sounding spoilt now? Still me). Spoilt-ness (also not a real word) aside, I've finally finished editing all of the sheep photos out of our Lake District snaps, I may have left one or two (or perhaps 10) still in but look at the little lamb's face, he was practically begging me too. (SPOILER ALERT FOR MY MUM) So this year for Christmas, along with an actual real gift, I'm giving my mum a copy of our holiday photos (but no you still can't see the ones from Iceland, it's going to take me years to narrow down which Icelandic horse photos to keep).  

26 November 2015

Let's Dance! Sushi Samba, Heron Tower, London

Let's dance, put on your red shoes and eat sushi...
Let's Dance, David Bowie...sort of

You look confused. I understand you think it's hypocritical that I write about my love for street food and independent restaurants, and hatred for chains but then here I am writing about Sushi Samba, one of the biggest, luxurious 'chains' (a wee chain of five) of restaurants around. The truth is I'm a food snob. That's it I've said it, I feel so much better with that off my chest. I know you would never know this to be true (who am I kidding you all knew!) but it is, I am a food snob and proud! This doesn't mean I turn my nose up at a cheap meal, only that I turn my nose up at meals which are poor quality and/or flavour (aka rubbish boring food). Let me present exhibit a, the £2 hot dogs I walked to the harbour in Iceland to buy almost everyday, yes it was cheap, which was great in Iceland, but it was also absolutely delicious (I don't want to spoil the surprise as I have a whole post on the food we ate in Reykjavik in the bag but let's just say best hot dog of my life).
Anyway to cut a long story short, Dan and I are food snobs. Which is why, we have wanted to go to Sushi Samba for ages, as they are famed for serving some of the best sushi London has to offer, with a South American twist (we're talking about Brazil and Peru here) that keeps it fresh and modern. That and the fact that Sushi Samba in Heron Tower is the second highest restaurant in London (preceded only by the Duck and Waffle, who are on the next floor up, almost 200m above street level)  with panoramic views out of the floor to ceiling windows that make up the outer walls of the dining room. To put it in perspective, you're dining above the Gherkin, St Pauls, the BT tower and the London Eye to name a few London highlights. With this view in mind, it makes it almost impossible to have anything but an amazing dining experience. And the lift to the top is guaranteed to make you never want to leave...or at least not go back down. So when Dan was told by his boss to take me out for a fancy dinner on the company card for working so hard (the world of Mad Men is an exciting and very generous one) he booked us in for a late lunch at Sushi Samba.

17 November 2015

Christmas Spiced Chestnut Cinnamon Buns & Cream Cheese Frosting

 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go

Its round about now that this Christmas song get's stuck in my head until the New Year. I don't have a problem with it, I'm feeling plenty Christmassy already having nailed all my Christmas shopping last weekend. Honestly I'm not normally this organised but as I don't have any free weekends between now and Christmas I've had to get it all done way in advance. In previous years my brother and I have been known to leave our Christmas shopping till the 24th of December (not ashamed) but this year I am the queen of present buying.

Anyway as you all know I'm a holiday lover (it's not just Halloween and Valentines Day people, see posts here and here, respectively) and Christmas is the holiday to rule them all! I can't wait to light up my pine scented candles (yes I bought shed loads, still searching for the allusive pine scented tea lights though) and crack out the Christmas Carols while wrapping up presents festive style. Usually all Christmas activity is banned in our house till December as Dan, my live at home man, is a Christmas scrooge till December 1st when he becomes the most excitable Christmas elf I've ever known. In truth, when December strikes, I think he loves Christmas even more than I do although it is debatable. 

9 November 2015

Peanut Butter Jelly Time Brownies!

Is there any baked good better than a brownie? I spent the whole weekend baking (watching films/gossiping/playing card games with my friend Alex) and I'd say a good 50% of the time I was thinking about brownies, the other 50% of me was thinking about Christmas and pine spiced candles (because I want the smell of pine but don't want to wait till we get a Christmas tree), and the rest of me was running on autopilot. Running on autopilot is scary, one moment you're commuting home on the train and the next second you're opening your front door, I mean how did I get there?! This happens to me a lot, especially when I switch it on when I'm walking to the shops and then the next thing you know I've got several bags of ice cream and tortilla chips. That's the more positive side of autopilot.

Anyway while I was running on autopilot baking something else Christmassy related, my mind kept jumping back to brownies. Fast forward two days later and I am still thinking about brownies, and seeing how I can't get them off my mind there's only one thing to do: embrace the brownies, and share my recipe for my PBJ (peanut butter jelly to those in the know) version with you. Lord knows I have enough Lindt chocolate to make a truckload of brownies (thanks Lindt!).

6 November 2015

Pre-theatre Dinner at Jar Kitchen, Covent Garden, London

The Jar Kitchen's little restaurant off the seven dials has been in my line of sight for a long time. In fact it was the first place we tried to take my mum and her boyfriend to dinner to when they came to London a while ago. Unfortunately at the time there was something wrong with the Jar Kitchen's kitchen so we ended up at Pachamama instead (sorry not sorry) and we had one of the best meals we've had this year (you can read about it here). Dan, my main man, often gets invited to gigs/theatre productions/fancy dinners/anything under the sun through work and on this occasion I got to come along to see The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time at the West End. Long story short, the play is not for epileptics or even people who aren't epileptic (I felt seriously ill afterwards), the acting is good but it can be a bit confusing at times as you have actors playing multiple characters sometimes even in the same scene, and there's a real live puppy in it at the end. The dog may or may not have been have been my favourite part of this show. Anyway go, make up your own mind or don't if you have epilepsy/migraines/photosensitivity/a hatred for clubbing.
Anyway, a trip to the theatre means one thing to me; pre-theatre dinner. Given the choice obviously I'd rather eat like the Romans, stay in a restaurant for hours gorging myself till I'm sick then eating some more but unfortunately pre-theatre dinner translates into quick eating. Especially if you're me and can't get to Covent Garden till 6.30pm and the show starts at 7.30pm, and you're freaking out because you don't want to be late for the play but you need to eat and you're not sure you can eat anything in less than an hour that isn't a McDonalds, and you haven't had a McDonalds for at least 5 years and you don't want to break that roll because it makes you depressed and why would you eat something that depresses you! Obviously you can see how this stresses me out, probably for no real reason apart from I'm a really horrible hungry person to be around and the thought of eating McDonalds again fills me with dread (am I the only one who feels depressed after eating it?). You can probably also see why my doctor is concerned I have high blood pressure but that's a story for another time.