Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Happy things


1. Taylor Swift's new song and video  - my girl crush just went to a whole new level!

2. The old lady  on a mobility scooter who gave me a thumbs up when I stopped my car to let her cross the road.

3. Someone finally winning Who's on Heart? 

4. The return of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here - the ultimate trashy TV. Ant and Dec never get old and I'm loving the bromance between Michael Burke and Tinchy Stryder.

5. The nice things my manager said to me in my performance review last week.

6.  Waking up yesterday morning to a lovely comment about my blog on twitter from Sarah. It brightened up a very grey and drizzly Monday morning.

7. Yoda giving me a thumbs up outside the Portrait Gallery at the weekend - what's going on?

8. Pret A Manger's Macaroni Cheese.

9. The team training and dinner we had at the Sanderson Hotel London last week. It's nice to escape the day job occasionally.

10. Reading bedtime stories to my niece and nephew. Children's books are the best!

What's been making you happy?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Gail's Artisan Bakery, Soho


As part of my quest to find the world's best chocolate brownie (this could take quite some time couldn't it?) I visited Gail's Artisan Bakery on Wardour Street in Soho last weekend. There were two types of brownie on offer - Pecan and Chocolate Brownie Fingers. I'm not a massive fan of nuts in my brownie so I plumped for the Chocolate Brownie Finger. On first appearances I have to say it didn't look that promising, it appeared to be a bit on the small side and had been cooked in an individual mould so that it was almost loaf shaped rather than being cooked in a tray and sliced up (which I prefer because it allows you to check the level of gooeyness inside which is of great importance to a brownie). However the first bite proved how very, very wrong I was to judge first appearances. Oh these were good! Lovely and squidgy and rich in the middle. I swear I could taste a hint of sea salt which I wouldn't normally advocate but to be honest I think it was needed to offset the lovely richness and actually they turned out to be perfectly sized. The cafe was lovely and cosy inside so I reckon it would make a great place to catch up with friends over tea and cake. They also have sixteen other stores dotted around London. So a definite success in my search but I must bravely battle on. 

Are you a fan of brownies? Do you have any recommendations for me? 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Happy things



1. We now get free coconut water and the new Innocent super smoothies at work along with the normal soft drinks  - fancy!

2. My visa for India arrived. After having to use the world's most user unfriendly online system to apply for it I wasn't actually sure whether I was going to get it or not, so this made me very happy. It also makes my upcoming trip feel a lot more real.

3. The John Lewis advert. Do I have to say anymore? It actually melted my heart a little bit and I now totally want my own pet penguin.

4. The first frosty morning of the winter.

5. Seeing my Niece getting very, very excited about fireworks.

6. Lovely comments on my blog.

7. Hearing my friend has met a gorgeous new fella after having a very horrible couple of years.

8. The beautiful sky this morning as the sun rose.

9. The most amazing chocolate brownie from Gail's Artisan Bakery - more to come on this cute little bakery later.

10. Getting to know a colleague from our Sydney office. Work have set up a buddy system so I now have buddies in the US and Asia teams and it's been very cool meeting them.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Old Spitalfields Market, Shoreditch


I love a good market, I don't quite know what it is but there's just something about wandering around them that I really enjoy and when I went to Shoreditch last Saturday I visited Old Spitalfields Market.  I've been a couple of times before and this has to be one of my favourite  markets in London (I think Borough would be my absolute favourite though - for me food wins everytime!). It's in a lovely setting, housed in beautiful Grade II listed Victorian buildings with shops and restaurants as well as stalls selling everything from clothes and art to cakes and jewellery. And if you didn't already have enough reasons to visit, bleecker st burger (who make the most amazing burgers) have a permanent food truck there too.












When I passed the Galeta stall I couldn't resist a dark chocolate brownie and it was SO GOOD, probably actually one of the best brownies I've ever had. It looks like you can order them through their website which is dangerous!


I'd love to hear where your favourite market is, whether it's in London or further afield - let me know!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Keu Deli, Shoreditch

One of the things I fell head over heels in love with about Vietnam when I visited back in May was the food. I've been craving it for a while since then but unfortunately there aren't any Vietnamese restaurants close to where I live. Luckily I was in Shoreditch on Saturday which seems to have some of the best Vietnamese food in London so the decision on what to have for lunch was a no-brainer. After a bit of research I decided to head for Keu Deli which is close to Old Street station and the internet didn't let me down. I had the Keu Sandwich with its classic combo of spiced belly of pork, ham terrine and chicken liver pate and although it wasn't quite as good as the Banh Mi I had in Ho Chi Minh, it was still very tasty. The cafe itself is small and cute with sleek black counters and seating and shelves stacked with quirky food and coffee products. I would quite happily have enjoyed my sandwich inside but as it was such a nice day I decided to make the most of it and sit outside in nearby Hoxton Square. It's a bit pricey at nearly £6 for a baguette but for me it was worth it and I would definitely recommend this place if you're looking for a good Banh Mi. Now I just need to find some good Pho and Bun Cha - if you've got any recommendations please let me know!



Monday, 3 November 2014

Happy things


Here's what's been making me happy over the last week:

1. Doing this yoga video yesterday afternoon. I had forgotten how much I enjoy yoga - I felt SO good afterwards and I love Adriene's fun style of teaching.

2. Making the perfect mushroom risotto. I had been craving this for a while which made it taste even better.

3. Sitting near two lovely older ladies on the train to London on Saturday morning who were randomly chatting to everyone around them. It was kind of heartwarming to see strangers talking and laughing with each other.

4. Ticking lots of things off on my to do list.

5. Finding out that I'm going to California on a work trip next May!

6. Making time to read. I find it's far too easy to waste all my time watching TV or on the internet but I'm really enjoying my current read, The Rosie Project.

7. Munching on  gorgeous chocolatey (and kind of healthy) cereal from Deliciously Ella.

8. Catching up with Gogglebox. I love this programme, it makes me laugh so much.

9. We had a Halloween themed bring your kids to work day on Friday and it was so nice to meet my colleague's very cute little ones. My favourite was the three year old son of one of our Legal team who was dressed up as Batman :) I still prefer the bring your dogs to work day we had last year though ;)

10. Dinner with the girls from work last Thursday. I take them for granted but they really are  some of the brightest, funniest and loveliest people I've ever worked with.

What's been making you happy?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Shoreditch street art

At times it felt like last week would never end, I woke up on Friday feeling like it should be Sunday, never mind Saturday and then to top it off someone at work said something that really upset me. To be fair it's not that hard because I am quite sensitive and I'm trying to toughen up a bit but needless to say I was very happy when Friday evening finally arrived!

I spent today exploring in and around Shoreditch and it's been the perfect way to switch off from work. I had some delicious Vietnamese food for lunch, wandered around Old Spitalfields Market and visited St Dunstan in the East. More to come about those in later posts but my favourite part of Shoreditch was the amazing street art I stumbled across by chance when walking from the cafe I had lunch in to Old Spitalfields Market. It blew me away!

















Since getting back from London I've discovered you can take street art tours and I definitely want to book myself on one of these soon. I hope everyone has had equally lovely Saturdays!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Lately I've been

via Pinterest

Watching: so much TV! I'm loving all the Autumn telly that's on at the moment - Downton Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing, the X-Factor (I'm a little bit in love with Andrea), Educating the East End, Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex and Gogglebox. And 24! Yes I know I'm only about 10 years late to the party but how good is this show? I've had the DVD of season one lying around for ages and tried watching it a couple of years ago but couldn't get into it despite the rave reviews. I'm so glad I tried again. However I've been watching it before trying to get to sleep and it definitely doesn't make the most relaxing bedtime viewing.
Drinking: mostly tea because I'm trying to kick my coffee habit.
Eating: lots of lovely Autumnal food like butternut squash and bacon risotto, stew (this Jamie Oliver recipe is so delicious) and beef wellington.
Feeling: very excited! I've booked my next much needed trip - I'm going to India over Christmas and New Year! I'm also a little bit scared but whether I  love it or hate I think it's definitely going to be an experience.
Suffering: from a severe case of wanderlust after reading a lot of travel blogs and websites before booking my trip to India.
Craving: to slow down a bit. Work is so busy and time seems to be slipping through my fingers.
Listening: to Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud, I love that ginger haired cutie and I'm sure I'm not the only one wishing I could be the girl in his video.
Wanting: desperately to improve my photography skills. Anyone got any recommendations for a book or course?





Saturday, 4 October 2014

Canals, countryside & manor houses

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past two weeks, they say time flies when you're having fun but for me it seems to fly faster when you're working like a dog!

Being stuck in an office most of the week, I'm usually desperate to get outside  and into the fresh air at the weekend. A couple of weekends ago I drove up to Warwickshire for a walk that takes in some lovely countryside,  beautiful stretches of canal and two gorgeous National Trust properties - Packwood House and Baddesley Clinton. According to the Telegraph this is one of the best walks in Britain and I'd definitely have to agree. It was the perfect antidote to desk fatigue syndrome. I know some might think this is quite a middle aged thing to do but I love going for walks, poking around old houses and swanning around grand gardens pretending I'm the lady of the house. Please tell me I'm not the only one?!