30 Sept 2015

Little Gems: 13

Florence + The Machine being awesome at Alexandra Palace. 

1) HOW? How can it possibly be October already?! It has been a buuuusy week but I'm still not sure how I've lost September.

2) Florence + The Machine at Alexandra Palace!! She is incredible live; her energy is never ending. She didn't stop moving ONCE the whole set.

3) Alexandra Palace should be on your list of places-to-visit-in-London. The building is fascinating and the view is well worth the hill climb.

4) On the topic of cool-things-in-London, we watched Live at the Apollo being filmed! Great venue and so many good comedians.

5) I went to an Hawaiian shirt party in a bright orange jumper. Yup.

6) Important question for book lovers; what do you use as a bookmark? 

8) Did I make my own pesto? Why, yes, yes I did.

10) Maaaan I am tired. So ready for a weekend of pottering about.

22 Sept 2015

Little Gems: 12

Mmmmm Friday night chicken wings 

1) Come on, be honest now, we all laughed a little at the twitter reactions to #piggate.

2) It turns out that even I can enjoy watching the rugby when I have free food and a bottle of wine.

3) Some of that free food being the best chicken wings I've ever had. I've never been that fussed about chicken wings but if you just happen to be passing The Actress in Dulwich (cos why wouldn't you be?), then I'd strongly recommend giving their honey chilli & soy chicken wings a go.

4)  Anyone else been watching Doctor Foster? I am hooked! So much love for Suranne Jones.

5) Speaking of TV doctor's, Doctor Who is back! And life is all the more better for it.

6) Tom Hardy's double performance as the Kray twins in Legend is really worth checking out.

8) My lovely friend brought this lovely food blog to my attention. The Deliciously Ella cookbook will definitely be on my Christmas list.

9) A real-life Harry Potter clock! Don't even pretend you don't want one.

10) Oh myyyyyyyy, how good is Ryan Adam's version of Taylor Swift's 1989?!

19 Sept 2015

Never have I ever: my life (so far) without a date - Katie Heaney

I'm not normally attracted to books covered in hearts and girls giggling at their shoes. I know they say not to judge a book by the cover but there's just something about that combo that makes me want to run in the opposite direction. Which is why I was slightly confused when I found that I'd purchased this book by 25-year-old Katie Heaney. Maybe it was the fact that we share a name. Or are a similar age. Or that we seem to share the same mentality when it comes to 'dating' (I hate that word). Perhaps all of those things jumped out at me before I'd even read the first page.

This book isn't going to make it into my all-time-favourite collection but I genuinely really enjoyed it. If you've ever received a sympathetic look simply because you're not in relationship, have liked someone who, let's face it, was an idiot or have been confused as to why we're all expected to pretend we don't like someone when we actually do; then you will be able to relate to this book.

Call me old fashioned, but I don't quite see the point in being in a relationship with someone unless I really like them. I used to think this was just plain old common sense but it's surprising how often I've found myself to be in the minority on this one. It's also even more surprising how many people like to make you feel rubbish about the (single) life you were, up until two minutes ago, pretty content with; usually using one of the following comments:

Aw don't worry. 
I wasn't.

You're too picky.
If being picky means not wanting to share a bed with someone who makes homophobic comments and doesn't understand the concept of showering then, fine, yes I am.

You'll find someone.
I would love it if someone could explain the meaning of this one because to me, it sounds like the world's worst game of hide 'n' seek. Purpose of game: to find someone. *grabs random pensioner on the tube* Done.

Why don't you get tinder? 
How long have you got?

Why don't you go out with *names your best friend*?
Why don't you go out with your brother?

You have to give people a chance.

I did. And that's why I'm now telling him to leave me the hell alone.

You'll never find someone if you choose to stay in watching TV instead of going out.

I beg to differ. If I'd chosen to go out instead of watching TV, I'd have never found David Tennant. Whatever happens in life, I will never, ever regret that discovery.

Katie Heaney has experienced all of this rubbish and has written a book about it. In a funny and thoughtful way, she takes you through her single life and dealing with being single in a world which says that, unless you have someone to hold your hand as you walk down the street, then you're failing at life. This girl gets it and it's pretty darn refreshing.

16 Sept 2015

Peanut butter treats

These peanut butter treats are perfect for when you need a quick, easy fix to a bad day. I'm sure we can all agree that, as the summer draws to a close and you realise you've got no annual leave left to take until Christmas, these days are going to become more frequent.

For peanut butter treats, you will need (makes 15): 

3/4 jar smooth peanut butter
1 egg
Half a mug of sugar
Handful of chocolate chips

Put the peanut butter, egg and sugar into a bowl.


Naturally, taste some of the dough.

Take a teaspoon of dough and use your hands to roll into a ball.

Repeat until you've used all your dough. Pop onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 180c.

For treat 1:

Using a fork, press down on five of the doughballs to make a criss-cross pattern before cooking.

For treat 2:

When rolling the dough into a ball, roll two or three chocolate chips into the middle of five doughballs.

For treat 3:

Press a chocolate chip on top of five doughballs, once cooked.

Enjoy your peanut butter treats!

Kate's learning corner

This may seem obvious, but these are incredibly peanut buttery! You need to be a huge fan of peanut butter if you're going to embark on this peanut adventure.

Treat 2 may just need a little longer in the oven. In mine, the chocolate chips hadn't quite melted.

15 Sept 2015

Little Gems: 11

1) So the lovely curly haired girl in the picture above is one of my best friends from uni, who is currently adventuring on the other side of the world. She sent me THE LOVELIEST message about this blog this week so special mention going out to her today.

2) Cheesy pasta with a great big dollop of mustard. Is this weird? Probably. Tastes good though.

3) Accidentally ended up a little bit merry on Friday night.... Yeah, alright, a lot merry. As it turns out, me and my favourite work pal can drink through A LOT of wine in a very short space of time. Lots of fun was had. Probably best to keep the embarrassing stories off the internet though...

4) The hangover was a marvellous excuse for a big pile of pancakes with maple syrup and strawberries. Oh yeeeeeah.

5) Long country walks on a Sunday; I'm getting a bit obsessed with them.

7) It's time for the BBC Autumn dramas to start rolling out and I am exciiiiiited. Can't wait to settle down and watch Doctor Foster aaaaand Doctor Who is back on Saturday!

8) Bed days; sooooo needed every once in a while (ahem, every Saturday).

9) 10 ways to make you feel better at work. I am definitely someone who needs to take note of this.

10)  Have become a big fan of Tim Dowling's weekend column in recent weeks.

13 Sept 2015

The Darkest Minds Never Fade In The Afterlight - Alexandra Bracken

This series was right up my street. YA (young adult) fiction has been on a real high in recent years and I am a huuuuge fan. Particularly if the story involves a dystopian world.

The Darkest Minds series is physically gorgeous. The covers are mysterious, the pages thick and the paperback versions flop open in your hand. I loved them before I'd read a word.

98% of America's children have been killed by a mysterious disease but those that survive face much worse; frightening abilities they cannot control, persecution and brutal 'rehabilitation' camps. The economy has collapsed, society is in chaos and there is no help from other countries. Welcome to Ruby's world.

Ruby has been in Thurmond, the biggest and worst camp of all, for six years. She is one of the 'dangerous' ones, hiding under the pretence of lesser-abilities for too long. When the truth emerges, she barely escapes the camp alive and now has to learn to survive being on the run in the outside world.

I am slightly confused as to why this series hasn't received more attention. The writing is better than some of the wildly popular YA novels of recent years, and the dystopian world more intricately created. I was gripped to the story from page one. It's thrilling, beautifully heartbreaking and has some genuinely creepy moments.

I absolutely loved how well Alexandra Bracken can create characters. Each and every character created in this story is so vivid, right down to tiny mannerisms, that you can't help but become emotionally attached to them all. They can make you laugh out loud (quite an achievement for a book) as well as tear up. In particular, you could easily become convinced that Ruby, Liam, Chubs, Vida, Jude and Zu are all real. The dynamic and friendship between them sits right at the heart of the story.

Big thanks to my sister for the recommendation. I bought the whole series in one go and they became the best holiday read I've had in a while.

12 Sept 2015

Stuffed sweet potatoes

Well I thought Autumn had arrived but now I'm not so sure. Perhaps I was a bit too eager digging out my autumn clothes already; it's still been pretty hot the past few days! Whilst I'm struggling to find the perfect clothes combination to deal with the summer/autumn over lap, this recipe is perfect for this time of year. A cosy-perfect-for-Autumn baked potato filled with the taste of the summer Mediterranean.

Sometimes a household needs fresh food ideas. My Mum has made great baked potatoes my whole life. She smothers them in oil and salt, scoops out the potato, mixes it with cheese and red onion and squashes it all back into the potato skin. NOM. (You can have that for free). Whilst old favourites never actually get old, sometimes everyone needs a new variation. Enter moi and my current cooking adventure.

For stuffed sweet potatoes, you will need (serves 4): 

4 sweet potatoes
200g feta cheese
1 small jar of black olives
250g semi-dried tomatoes
Handful of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Evenly rub olive oil, salt and pepper onto each potato. Bake for 45 mins-1 hour at 180c, depending on your oven.

Whilst these are baking, prepare your filling. Chop up your feta into cubes and olives in half. Finely chop your parsley and your tomatoes into whatever size you want!

Put all your ingredients into a bowl and add a tablespoon of olive oil.


When your potatoes are done, slice them open.

Fill with as much as your filling as possible!

Tuck in!

10 Sept 2015

Bank holiday pancakes

Following our trip to the pancake house, it was only a matter of time before I was back in the kitchen, attempting to create my own pancake joy. And when better to do it then on a grey, rainy bank holiday Monday? Really can't think of a better way to spend an extra day off then making pancakes and dancing around the kitchen in pjs to the 'Matilda song'. (If you don't get the Matilda-making-pancakes reference; please go away and watch Matilda, and then come back and maybe we can talk.) My sister, C, secretly filmed me doing this but we'll save that one for another day...

So PANCAKES!! I took this recipe from here but adapted the measurements as I was only cooking for the two of us.

For American-style pancakes, you will need (makes 5)

90g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
90ml milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
A hella load of maple syrup

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan.

Lightly whisk together the milk and egg. Then add the melted butter and whisk that in too.

Pour this into your flour mixture.


Beat until you have a smooth batter, and then leave it to stand for a few mins.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and melt a knob of butter.

Ladle up the pancake batter! (You may have to pause your dancing here... What do you mean you haven't been dancing this whole time?!)

Add a ladle of batter to the frying pan.

When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, flip! It's up to you how extravagant you get about this bit...

Both sides should be a golden brown. Keep going until you've used up all your batter!

Then serve up with A LOT of maple syrup (or your topping of choice).

Eat with a huge grin on your face!

Kate's learning corner 

As it turns out, pancakes are super easy to make!! So easy, in fact, that I'm having to exercise a lot of self control to stop myself having them every morning! My only point would be that, after you've cooked the first couple of pancakes, the rest cook a lot faster now the pan is hot so be careful not to burn!

8 Sept 2015

Dinner at Turtle Bay

Can we please just share some love for Turtle Bay? I realise I'm pretty late to the party here, but I'd kind of assumed that it was just a standard chain restaurant. And whilst it won't be winning any Michelin stars any time soon; no one told me that it was full of marvellous cocktails, sparkly fairy lights and tasty Caribbean goodness.

I experienced one of the best frozen strawberry daiquiris, munched on chilli fried squid & jerk spice glazed salmon and slurped over a peanut butter and banana smoothie. All the perfect combo with catching up with my marvellous pals. A definite recommendation. Get a group together and go and enjoy the extensive cocktail list. 2-4-1 during happy hour!