31 Mar 2017

March Reads: The Widow by Fiona Barton

March has been all about the crime-related thrillers. I am so in the mood for that kinda book at the moment. The kinda book where it’s all about the story; where you accidentally read 100 pages in one go when you should have gone to bed an hour ago because goddamn it, who killed her?! I essentially want Broadchurch in a book.

The Widow is the story of the wife. The wife of the man whose face is splashed across the papers under the words ‘MONSTER’ and ‘CHILD KILLER’. How much does she know? Did she know? How could she have not known? Did she really not know anything or is she just lying to herself?

It is told through the perspectives of the Detective, the Journalist, the Mother and the Widow and flashes between the original case of an abducted child and five years later, when the accused abductor dies in an accident and his widow is free to tell her story for the first time.

It’s an easy book to read and sometimes the dialogue feels a little fake, but it’s so gripping. I raced through it; you don’t find out if he’s guilty or if the child is dead or alive until the very last chapter but there’s plenty to keep you guessing along the way.

I’m actually kind of annoyed that I read The Widow when I did because it would have been perfect for the flight to New York. I googled it and Fiona Barton does have another book coming out of similar ilk but not until June so that’s not helpful. So, yeah, I’m on the hunt for good crime novels. Shout if you have any recommendations.

26 Mar 2017

A Weekend In Edinburgh

A Weekend In Edinburgh

I’m typing this at Edinburgh airport with one eye on the queue to my departure gate. I cba to stand in the queue so I’m sitting in the uncomfortable airport chairs with plans to join at the last minute. I’m really not fussed at being the last person on the plane. My flight it delayed and the EasyJet staff are delaying it further but insisting people combine their luggage. I know there’s a one-item-of-hand-luggage only guys but does it really matter if her tiny cross-body bag isn’t in her main bag. BOTH BAGS ARE GOING ON THE PLANE EITHER WAY.

This shouldn’t annoy me as much as it does but I can’t control it. This is why I’m not a fan of flying and I feel it’s probably best if G just sedates me for our entire flight to New York *insert eye roll emoji*.

I may be a tad tired and irritable.

Anyway, my weekend in Edinburgh.

I love Scotland (do you really need to leave the UK guys?), and I particularly love Edinburgh. So I was pretty darn smug when one of my best friends decided to go to university here. His choice was defs influenced by my holiday desires I’m sure. I think this is my 6th visit to the city, and my 4th trip visiting my friend so hats off to him for still finding new things to do and new adventures for us to go on.

This time round I was introduced to the National Museum of Scotland and Cramond Island, ate a huuuuuge slice of cake at a food market and drank cocktails in the dreamiest of underground bars (the door was a bookcase; just sayin’).

I also wandered around the Royal Mile clutching a peppermint tea like the hip happening person I am, got a sneaky peak at JK Rowling’s house and got photobombed by a random Scottish guy who looked way too pleased with himself.

Some photos:

21 Mar 2017

25 pieces of advice I'd give my teenage self

25 pieces of advice I'd give my teenage self

Hey, 14/15/16 year old Kate. Here's some life advice for ya girl. 

1. Darling, enough with the low slung jeans. With those hips, give up now. You don’t wanna spend a life time pulling your trousers up – trust me, it ain’t a good look.  

2. Even you are not immune to sleeping with a couple of cocky arseholes. Yeah you will look at yourself in disgust the next morning but there was semi-decent sex involved so every cloud and all that. 

3. The eyeliner? Nah uh babes. Just cos you fancy an emo doesn't mean you want to look like someone's punched you. Twice. 

4. Running is not the exercise for you. Try swimming. 

5. Your bra size is not in fact a 34B and you should not wear push-up bras. Get yo ass into a 36C full cup ffs girl. 

6. Friendly reminder that foreplay is vair, vair important. 

7. Colour is what suits you. Wear more of it.

8. Your mum is pretty good at solving a ridiculous crisis. You should probs listen to her.

9. Don’t worry, you just need to find the right kind of tampon. 

10. The 'playing it cool' game is just as absurd as it sounds. If a guy truly likes you, you'll know about it.

11. Malibu and coke, and good quality white wine. That’s what you like. Don’t bother with the rest. Especially not sambuca. 

12. Stop wearing lacy French knickers. Life will be all round comfier. 

13. Despite what you’re being told, vomming in a park when your rents think you’re at a sleepover isn’t as cool as your peers are making out. 

14. See more of your Granddad whilst you can.

15. Worrying about when you'll lose your virginity is an effing waste of time. Don’t let your friends or creepy guys make you feel pressured. You gotta do you, and in your own sweet time. It happens and you don't regret it like approx 75% of people you know.  

16. Not being able to sing well doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sing loudly. 

17. Online clothes shopping. You can try it on in your own bedroom away from that hideous changing room lighting. You're welcome. 

18. Be nicer to your little sister. She’s actually one of the funniest, sassiest girls you’ll ever know and she’s got your back. 

19. You’re not ‘too picky’, you’re just following your instinct. 

20. You’ll always have a weakness for cake. There are worse vices.

21. Pay attention to that photo taking habit you have. When you hit adulthood, it brings a special un-pressured kind of joy that you can’t understand yet. 

22. Do you realise how much freakin’ time you have on our hands? School finishes at THREE PM. For christs sake, USE IT. 

23. Good news: you pass your driving test first time. Bad news: you never really stop feeling like you’d rather avoid the whole experience. 

24. Most people don’t have a flat stomach, just FYI. 

25. Don’t ever be apologetic for being you. Your music taste is fucking marvellous, getting excited about the little things means you care, snorting when you laugh is not a problem and Harry Potter and Doctor Who are COOL OKAY. 

16 Mar 2017

Little Gems: 25

Happy things

I’m scribbling this down in the brief interlude between a late dinner and going to bed. I feel like it’s been an age since I’ve done this, and I don’t like it. Being kept away from my internet corner; from all the unwritten words floating around my brain. Life has been busy recently. I have a big work deadline at the end of March and there is NOT ENOUGH TIME IN THE DAY. It’s giving me headaches from not taking a break all day and grumpy mood swings cos, lol can’t hack tiredness. But life is still full of the good stuff:

1) I just had the best weekend with my gals. As always, Sunday saw me with a sore throat from all the talking and a hella cheese hangover. They descended on my flat on Saturday morning where we had brunch (mmm smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels) and chatted until it was late afternoon. We hung around the cheese aisle in M&S, got take away coffee and wandered round the cathedral and then headed into London where we made homemade pizza and ate too much cheese at our gal’s new flat. And naturally there was brunch in the morning – shout out to the shakshuka in Whyte and Brown on Carnaby Street. 

2) Broadchurch. It’s back, it’s back! Eight weeks of David’s lovely face and eight weeks of WHO THE BAD GUY HUH HUH?

3) Short hair, don’t care. Yup had my hair chopped off. It’s a bit shorter than I was originally planning but I had a mad moment in the chair. Still not entirely sure I like it tbh but it’ll probs grow on me... SEE WHAT I DID THERE.  

4) The first weekend of March. The weather felt like spring; there was blue skies and a hint of blossom. I hopped on a train after work on the Thursday, stopped off in Derby for a brief but beautiful meal with one of my uni pals, and then carried on the Sheffield to spend the weekend with family and my furbabies. It was all just lovely. I hadn’t seen my friend in about seven months and in about 3 minutes we were discussing our bowel habits and I love those friendships. And it was the best to spend the weekend chatting and chilling with my family, as well as cuddling cats, well, constantly. 

5) My dad wrote a porno podcast. I finally got round to listening to series 2 and I am of the firm belief that this is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. If you haven’t listened, you’re missing a treat. 

6) Apple Tree Yard. If you didn’t see this when it aired a few weeks back, I implore you to go catch up. It was SO good. A tad traumatising but, you know, what decent BBC drama isn’t? 

7) Films. I love this time of year in the cinema. There are so many incredible films to go see and I never manage to catch them all. I feel like Lion and Hidden Figures may end up waiting until dvd release now but shout out to La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Denial and Jackie.   

8) Making plans. ALL the plans. The girls and I have booked a holiday in Wales for July which gives me all the squidgy, happy feels every time I think about it. I’m going to squeeze in a trip to Edinburgh this weekend and G and I have been manically booking tickets and reservations for New York (20 days and counting...). 

9) Ed’s new album. INSERT ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS. I’d say Barcelona is my favourite song but Eraser, Castle on the Hill, Galway Girl and Nancy Mulligan are all strong contenders for the top spot. Heck, I just love it all and refuse to listen to anything else for a long time (soz G). 

10) Olympus Pen camera. It happened. I bought it. And it’s all kinds of dreamy.

Have a dreamy weekend you sass things. 

6 Mar 2017

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent
The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent
The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

I’ve chopped half my hair off and I don’t know how I feel about it. I did it on a bit of a whim and part of me is like WOO change and oh look how much lighter and healthier my hair feels. And the other part of me is looking at pictures of me with long hair and being like what the eff have I done?

So that’s nice.

Other highlights of the past couple of weeks include a trip to Sheffield, several trips to the cinema (La La Land made me dance, Denial made me angry and Manchester by the Sea made me cry), getting caught up in the Doris storm travel chaos which was obviously so much bants and, guys, I finally own an Olympus Pen E-PL7 camera and I’m SO HAPPY about it.

But I came here to talk about the food highlight that was eating at Read’s Restaurant in Faversham, Kent where G and I went to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday.

The restaurant and rooms are located in a quaint country house with the restaurant split across several rooms, creating an intimate atmosphere. When you arrive, you’re shown into a lounge room where you can sit by the fire, sipping on prosecco. Whilst we browsed the menu, we were brought fancy nibbles; olives, anchovy cheese straws and mini-cheese-and-chive-on-toast canapés.

As it was a special occasion, we decided to go for the tasting menu which was £65 per person and included an appetiser, two starters, two main courses, a cheese board, and a pudding.

I cannot even begin to describe how incredible all the food was. If I had to pick, I would say the carrot mousse, king prawns combined with watermelon and hot black cherry soufflé stand out the most in my memory as being the most unique and delicious tastes. The carrot mousse tasted delicious when you least expected it (because who thinks carrot in a mousse is going to work? BUT IT DOES), prawns and watermelon are a surprisingly good combination and that soufflé was just so light.

And OH MAN that enormous cheeseboard. It needed two guys to carry it to the table and I nearly cried with cheese-induced happiness.

I also really loved how, despite the sheer volume of courses, you could still finish everything off. Yes you were full and yes the portions were smaller, but you didn’t feel like you’d over eaten. The food was such high quality and you were never rushed. We spent three hours eating, with large gaps between courses where you could relax and sip on wine uninterrupted.

Half the experience is the delightful service. The staff were very friendly and keen to go out of their way to make sure you had the best experience. It’s those little things that make it special; your wine never nearing the bottom of the glass, the fresh olive bread brought to the table between courses and giving us a slice of lemon tart to take home simply because we mentioned we would like to try it. I also had a plate of sweet treats decorated with a candle and Happy Birthday written in chocolate brought out for me at the end of the meal which was so lovely.

Spending that amount of money on one meal is clearly not something we can do every day but, as a food lover, going to a first class restaurant like Read’s is the best kind of treat and the incredible food and unique dining experience is well worth the money.

What we ate: 

Nibbles and Prosecco 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Carrot Mousse Appetiser with Garlic Breadcrumbs 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Crisp Crumb King Prawns with Smoked Paprika & Lime Aioli with Compressed Water Melon 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Pressing of Confit Chicken with Prune Chutney and Autumn Leaves 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Sea-Trout fillet with Pipperade, Mashed Potato and Tomato Beurre Blanc

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Medium-rare Angus Fillet with Parmesan Polenta, Green Peppercorn Sauce and Scorched Shallots 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Cheese selection, served with bread, biscuits and grapes 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Hot Black Cherry Soufflé with Vanilla Ice Cream 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

Birthday plate: lemon and chocolate macaroons, soft fudge, brandy snaps and jellied sweets 

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent

The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent
The Tasting Menu at Read’s Restaurant, Kent