So, May. How did that happen?
This is most likely going to be my last post for a month or so. On a purely practical level, we're moving in a couple of weeks and I've been told firmly and repeatedly that my normal technique of shoving my possessions in boxes and supermarket carrier bags as they are being loaded into a van is not going to cut it. We seem to have
Considering the number of times that I've made this tart - or a version of it - over the years, I'm a little surprised that it's taken me this long to share it with you.
Whilst I wouldn't go quite so far as calling it my signature dessert, it's what I used to bake for almost every dinner party and social occasion. We've celebrated several new years with this tart and mo
There is something rather disconcerting about sitting down for dinner with a group of people who have been your friends for a decade (or more). That's 10 years of friendship, right there!
There's a special bond that you have with people who have seen you at your absolute worst - as my friends from university most certainly have. Through heartbreak and hangovers and all the angst
We went to Newcastle last weekend for a slightly belated celebration of my birthday. We both skived off work early on Friday afternoon to catch a train that would get us there in plenty of time for dinner,such are our priorities.
I always think that if you want to see England - proper English England - then you should take a train. While my boyfriend worked, I sat with
While there are many parts of moving that are difficult/stressful/argument-provoking, the whole process of selling your home seems to me to be one of the very hardest.
Our flat has been on the market for a couple of weeks now. We've had a fair number of viewings but no offers (unless anyone is on the hunt for a slightly over-priced 2 bedroom flat in W9?). Our estate agent up
I always remember one of the characters in one of the early episodes of Sex and the City saying that if a relationship ends, it takes you half the length of time of the relationship to get over it.
I think, really, they must have been talking about holidays.
We've been back home from our trip to LA for a week now and I'm pretty sure I must be due another holid
santa monica pier // wedding venue
sand // sea
sunset // the georgian // the view
st monica's // santa monica
santa monica // santa monica
laguna beach // birds and clouds
the sea // the beach
palm trees // santa barbara
old town // the pier
getty centre // gardens // getty centre
I am totally confused today.
Not only do I not have a clue what time my body thinks it is (but I'm pretty sure I should be asleep), but in 12 hours I went from flip-flop weather to snow. Proper swirling flakes of snow. All the winter clothes that I carefully packed away a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of spring have had to come back out of storage.
I cannot t
2013 definitely seems to be the year of the wedding. Not that I'm complaining about that - there's nothing I like more than a good wedding.
And today, I'm joining up with some other lovely bloggers to throw a surprise bridal shower to celebrate Julie's upcoming wedding to her chief taste tester, Jason.
Julie is someone whose bubbly personality just shi
french toast // granola // crepes
mary, star of the sea // seals
la jolla // estancia la jolla gardens
the star of india // the ship's mast
hms surprise // going down into a soviet submarine
(san diego maritime museum)
polar bear // panda
giraffe // fighting flamingos
I'm pretty sure that I had a whole post written, in my head at least, to go alongside these hot cross buns but now it's Tuesday afternoon and I'm sitting on the balcony of out hotel room in La Jolla in the afternoon sun and I can't really think of anything that I want to say.
So, if it's okay with you, I'll just leave you with some pictures and get back to my book...
Normally at this time of year, I'm getting ready for a restorative Easter weekend with my parents in France.
It's a nice tradition that we've developed. Lunch outside in the sun, evenings in front of the fire with a book and a glass of wine. On Easter Sunday, we visit friends for a big and jolly lunch of early season asparagus and roast lamb.
This year, however, I
Last week, I went back to my old school for a lecture from an author my mother and I both like.
We sat in the audience, as we had done many times over the years, and listened as one of my former teachers welcomed us. If he'd started talking about A-level choices and the university application process, I don't think I'd have been at all surprised.
Unconsciously or not, I'd dressed
When I was little, I really wanted to be a detective when I grew up.
At various points I also wanted to be a writer, a ballerina, an actress and an a professional tennis player but being a detective was the one thing that I really wanted.
It was probably a result of a literary diet as a child that started with Enid Blyton's mystery books and was fed with copious amounts of
It was Mother's Day here last Sunday.
As both my grandmothers died last year, it was the first Mother's Day for both of my parents without their own mothers. This year, I was more aware than ever that Mother's Day, and similar holidays, can be such a bittersweet occasion.
We have always used Mother's Day as an excuse to get the family together for a rioto
I woke up last Sunday morning with a burning desire to make a carrot cake.
This took me very much by surprise as I've never really seen the point of carrot cake and can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've eaten it, let alone made it.
A sort-of ex-boyfriend (a long story for another day) would always request a carrot cake for his
My boyfriend is currently working abroad at the moment.
How I feel about this seems to change every five minutes.
Quite a lot of the time, I'm fairly indifferent to be honest. He's still in the same time zone so, when we're both at work, we have our usual email exchanges back and forth. It doesn't really make much difference whether he's sat in his office on t
I don't really know why you'd want to turn these:
I did it because my friends and I once had a night on some kumqaut liqueur that someone had brought back from holiday and became a byword for a good time. When we made plans for a follow up night, I knew what I wanted my contribution to be.
And so, almost nine months ago, I spent a sunny afternoon,
Today, I'm guest posting over at my darling lemon thyme. Emma's blog is one of my favourites - if it's new to you, you're in for a real treat. I'm thrilled to be filling in for her while she puts the finishing touches to the book.
Emma's recipes are vegetarian and mostly gluten and dairy free and so I'm sharing this simple little almond and olive oil cake which is all
Last weekend, it felt like we were really starting to see the first signs of Spring.
With a soul-crushing inevitability though, this week has turned out to be cold and wet and grey.
Last weekend though, I went out wearing jeans and sparkly flat shoes rather than boots. I bought a light summer coat and some seriously adorable anchor print trousers.&nb
My mother often accuses me of not thinking before I act.
I'm pretty sure that all mothers accuse their children of this at some point in their lives.
I don't think I'm the worst offender by any means (and sometimes I spend far too long considering the potential consequences of my actions until I drive myself mad) but I do have a habit of, for example, dumping
It is one of those strange paradoxes of life that the more you have, the less you seem to need.
I notice it most frequently when it comes to my wardrobe. The more clothes I have (and as my boyfriend will tell you, I have a lot of clothes), the more I tend to wear the same handful outfits on rotation.
There are pairs of my shoes languishing in every&n
Valentine's Day has taken my slight by surprise this year.
(In other words, I haven't bought my boyfriend anything yet).
A few weeks ago, we decided that we weren't going to go out for dinner anywhere this year. Like new year's eve, it's one of those nights which never seems to live up the anticipation if you go out. We've had a few fancy meals out over the ye
We keep talking about things that will happen when we move. Whilst the weeks are slipping from me, lost in a blur of meetings and telephone calls and spreadsheets, I feel like our lives are on hold.
I'm gradually un-stocking the kitchen and trying not to panic when I see the empty shelves. I wander from room to room, mentally making a list of what we are and aren't going to have a
I spent some time this weekend helping my parents to sort out a couple of store rooms that they rent.
We moved from a large Victorian family home to a trendy flat in the middle of London. We had less storage and less wall space. The oversized armchairs and mahogany sideboards didn't really fit with our new modern vibe. While a lot of the bigger pieces stayed in
One thing that I'm going to miss about our flat is the position.
Not so much the location, not least as we are hoping to move within the same area, but the actual position of the flat within our block. We stick out of the back, poking into the car park, with windows on three sides (and only a front door on the fourth). We have upstairs and downstairs neighbours but either si
It is a stereotype that us Brits are obsessed with the weather.
And there's nothing like a little bit of snow to reinforce that preconception.
Almost every conversation I've had this week, whether with friends, family, colleagues or total strangers, has be preceded with a discussion about the snow, the subsequent and inevitable transport chaos and our general inability to cope with
I'm starting to understand why moving house is the third most stressful experience in your life.
We're only at the start of the process and already the brownie consumption in our (hopefully soon to be former) flat has sky-rocketed
In some ways, it's bit like the start of a relationship. I spend most of the day staring at my phone, willing it to ring. I go for a long
I feel like I should apologise for sharing another tart quite so soon. I do try so hard not to cook the same thing or, at least, the same type of thing too many times in a row.
I am, however, slightly obsessed with pastry now I've discovered that I am not actually incapable of making it. I pretty much want to throw anything and everything into a pastry case.
I'm pretty sure that I could have an entire blog devoted to chocolate chip cookies and still neither run out of recipes nor get bored of eating them.
When I was little (and, if I'm honest, now), I used to find it incredibly strange to think that each generation seems to be able to run faster or throw further than the generation before. That desire to be better - than y
I repinned one of those inspirational quotations in a pretty font the other day. Most of the time, these make me roll my eyes but every now and one, there's one that sticks with me.
This one said, "it's okay to be happy with a calm life".
These days, life is often calm.
When I was at university or when I lived with friends, I always felt like I had to make sure I had a sufficie
I'm going to declare 2013 to be the year of the pizza. Not that this really distinguishes it hugely from any other year but I like the accountability of a broad sweeping statement like that.
I've eaten more than my share of pizza in my life - both the good (and if you're ever in my corner of London, I urge you to check out Le Cochonnet) and the bad. If I'm honest, the bad pi
Although I see my parents often and work only ten minutes from where they live, Christmas is really the only time of year when I go 'home' (albeit not to the home which I grew up in which was sold several years ago).
I have always been fiercely attached to my rituals and routines at Christmas.
Year after year, I insist on recreating the Christmases of my young
I still can't believe that I managed to take a picture almost every day of this year; I love having this record of the year and of those tiny little moments that would otherwise have gone undocumented.
Saying that, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do the same for 2013. At times I found the need to take a photograph every day killed any sort of creativity. It became a chore and rather than looki
As much as I love Christmas itself and all its jollity, these days, the days in between Christmas and New Year which I almost always try to take as holiday, are probably my favourite days of the year. After all, it's Friday lunchtime (I think) and I'm still in my pyjamas, watching an old Hitchcock movie on television and eating pancakes. How can anyone not love days like this?
I have found the
It's the first morning of my Christmas holidays.
Despite a week of over-indulgence and late nights, I'm up early, sat cross-legged on the sofa eating my breakfast to the light of the Christmas tree.
Soon I will have to leave my comfy spot and head out into the rain. I still need to pick up a couple of final presents and we have nearly run out of wrapping paper
Whilst our attention and thoughts may, quite rightly, be elsewhere at the moment, there's no escaping the fact that it is only a week until Christmas Day.
Time's relentless march can be as reassuring as it is unnerving.
For the last couple of years, my boyfriend and I have discussed having some kind of holiday party. In September, we're full of enthusiasm
My mother gave me the recipe for her sausagemeat and apple stuffing a few weeks ago when we were in the car on the way back from my grandmother's funeral.
I scrabbled in the depths of my bag and the glove box to find a scrap of paper and a pen. The recipe was without quantities; nothing more than a vague method and my memories of the Christmas days of my childhood.
I will alw
Despite the fact that I pretend to be a grown up and the fact that I'm pretty sure we're actually only in October, every now and then I get overcome by a wave of excitement about Christmas.
The first thing I do when I get home from work in the evening - before I've even taken my coat off - is to turn on the lights on our tree. That moment when our flat is filled with their twinkling i
Sometimes there are days when it feels like the words are just pouring out of me and I am powerless to hold back the torrent.
On these days, every email that I send is at least three times as long as it needs to be. I find the 140-character limit on twitter to be unreasonably limiting. I ring my mother just for the sake of having someone to talk to and keep up a constant str
As strange as it might seem, the concept of 'holiday baking' is one that is quite new to me.
My family's Christmas food traditions tend to revolve around the savoury rather than the sweet. Whilst my mother would normally make a traditional Christmas pudding at some point in November, it wasn't something that we particularly enjoyed or, indeed, something that my brother a
I'm nearly at the end of this whole taking a photo a day for 2012 thing. Little did I realise when I sat on the tube on the way home from our New Year's Eve festivities all those months ago and took a slightly bizarre self-portrait of myself that I'd manage to keep it up for the whole year.
November was the month that winter came. We walked to the garden centre on Saturday and all the tre
Now that my birthday is over and done with (albeit I have yet to unpack the rather fancy food processor that my parents gave me), I'm dragging myself into a festive mood.
Like so many people, I can't quite comprehend the fact that we're nearly in December. I may have started my Christmas shopping. I may have two Christmas parties coming up in the next few days.
I had such grand plans for my year of being twenty-eight.
It has been a year of the most ridiculously magnificent highs. Moments that I will never, ever forget. As I was getting ready for work this morning, there were some snippets of commentary from the Olympics on the radio. That was all I needed to be back there. Back in that glorious summer.
Needless to sa
There are all sorts of meals.
There are those meals that mean nothing and that are forgotten as soon as the last mouthful is chugged down. All too many of my lunches are like that at the moment, frantic bites of sandwich or forkfuls of salad in between emails and conference calls.
Then there are those meals where the food makes a negligible contribution. I cannot re
As is probably evident from this blog, we eat a fair amount of pasta (and we would eat more if I had my way) but I will fully admit that it is not something that I often make from scratch.
Partly this is because I have a slight obsession with collecting pasta of different sizes and shape and colour (please tell me I am not the only one who does this) but also just be
For a long time, almost every relationship I had finished after about nine months.
I think nine months is about as much time as you can spend together without realising that you have to make some pretty serious decisions. I thought I was fated to be the 'I just don't love you enough' girl forever.
Last night my boyfriend and I went out to dinner to cel
I can't think of a better way to brighten up this gloomy Monday morning than with a party!
Today Brandy and Brandi are hosting a baby shower for the extremely lovely Rachel of Rachel Cooks who is expecting the arrival of a baby boy in just a few short weeks.
Rachel is one of the sweetest and one of the most hard-working bloggers that I know. In addition to suffering
New year's resolutions are really my thing. I've never thought that there's any point in setting yourself up for failure so early in the year.
I do, however, make resolutions fairly frequently. Sometimes it seems like I make them on a daily basis. The road to somewhere is most definitely paved with good intentions.
Sometimes these resolutions are fairly inconse
The 5th of November - Bonfire Night - is one of my favourite nights of the year.
Bonfire Night, for the uninitiated, is the night when we celebrate the fact that Guy Fawkes and his band of plotters were foiled in their attempts to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Obviously, the way we do this is to imagine what it would have been like if the Houses of Parliament ha