Lovely salads

Salads are so often the miserable forgotten sister at barbeques. Which is crazy because they can boost your picnic or bbq to something really fancy and yummy. At the weekend me and Al had a bbq for the bank holiday. He was in charge of the meat and I was left to do salads (hello gender stereotyping!). Anyway…have you seen that episode of Friends where Monica puts Phoebe in charge of cups and ice? I had that in mind…

Potato salad is a bbq staple but it’s good to mix it up a bit. I’m really pleased with how this recipe from Good Food worked out. The sherry vinegar in the dressing makes it.

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Jamie Oliver’s chickpea salad was also a hit. I just put the one chili in it (I think Jamie likes chili more than the average person) and left out the feta cheese as one of our guests was vegan and that would just be MEAN.

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These two will definitely be whipped up again and I think they would be great for picnics/daytrips as they keep really well in containers too and the dressings deepen with time. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Colour block bookcase

Recently I’ve been on a massive decluttering spree as, all being well, I will move house and north of the river soon. Plus I am totally addicted to all those hoarder shows and do not want to end up surrounded by old Metros and a collection of crap-o-la.

Part of the decluttering was around my bookcase which was full of rubbish, hiding all the loveliness beneath. Now I know some peeps probably have their books organised by alphabet or genre (or maybe chronological in a very High Fidelity way) but I think sorting by colour looks super cute.

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What do you think?

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And check out these bookcase beauties for inspiration.

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Via Design*Sponge, this is a very cool DIY project

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Love this dome library, via Freshome

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For do-able diys, you can’t beat the awesome Jenny at Little Green Notebook

This Weekend…

It’s been a bit quiet on here for a while due to a manic few weeks of work. And the next few weeks look to be much of the same with an exam and two assignments due in as my midwifery training reaches the end, at last!!

But there are so many great things to look forward to as well. Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend and get to relaaaaxxxxxx….

London tea

In the meantime, here are some bits that have caught my beady eye of late.

* Two of my super cool friends are having babies this year, and I’m already thinking of ideas for cute unique gifts like this – am I being too adventurous?

* My friend Hannah’s awesome DIY wedding invites – mine is proudly displayed on the fridge! Proof that style and good design need not cost the earth

* This Sunday me and my adorable friend Steven are hitting Vicky Park for As One In The Park, a fun and poppy LGBT festival which includes my true love and guilty pleasure – RYLAN!  (did someone say Prosecco?)

* And tonight it’s the final of our little DIY Come Dine With Me. It’s sure to be full of yummy Colombian food, like this. Noms.

* Talking of food, I made a deeelish Vietnamese salad this week and became addicted to this blog in the process

* And finally, in a week that has involved some truly horrible events, remember there is a lot of good out there – and here’s the proof

Queen of the Night Bus xxx

This Weekend…

Apparently the sunshine isn’t hanging around for the weekend, sad times. I’m planning on taking it easy. I think Sunday might be a pub lunch with a few glasses of red. What about yourself? Here’s some things that caught my eye this week…

perfection cookie

Wise words for a fortune cookie

* How cute is this DIY Party Lantern Garland via Oh Happy Day. Those guys are the best

* After spending last weekend in my fair hometown of Wigan, this rings true

* I keep obsessing over a vintage bar cart/globe bar cabinet. Mandela Towers is my inspiration

* And on the topic of bars, let’s all go to Aldi!

* I like my men like I like my coffee – in a cup. This coffee festival will wake the sluggish up on Sunday

Queen of the night bus x

LondonLove: Seaside living in the city

I walked past this awesome house in Hackney last week (it’s really close to top pub the Sebright Arms which you should TOTALLY check out while burger supremos Lucky Chip are in residence). It has such a beachy feel but is basically smack bang in the middle of Bethnal Green.

Blue house hackney

 

It’s such an unexpected delight. I love the minty blue shade, the wooden cladding, the unusual windows. What isn’t really clear in my Instagrammed pic is these shimmery panels of sequins that hang next to the windows.

Kudos to the architect and home owners for creating such a talking-point house. There is a Miami-style house that is sooooo 80’s near where I grew up in Wigan with a wrap around balcony (like you’re gonna use that much, ha!). I used to think that was the most glamorous house ever when I was small. While it isn’t in keeping with my tastes now (I don’t see myself living on the set of a Duran Duran video sadly) I’ll always remember it.

And who can say that about the anonymous monster estates of identikits houses taking over our island?

Queen of the night bus x

This weekend…

What are you up to this weekend? I will be hopefully seeing an out-of-town friend for coffee on Saturday but tonight me and my boyfriend are babysitting, which is a brilliant excuse (if one was ever needed) to order pizza, have a bottle of red and watch a movie with some homemade popcorn. Sometimes staying in is as good as going out. Here are some bits that caught my eye this week, and things that are going on this weekend for those venturing outside.

Claude takes a nap

Claude takes a nap

* Thrifty guys and gals should hit the East End Thrift Store this weekend. They are having one of their mega fill-a-bag sales and this one is for charidee too, so it’s a win-win.

* Look who recently had a birthday

* Martha Stewart has only gone and made a cocktail making app for your iPad – hero!

* My friend on my course gave Nick Clegg a good telling off this week!

* This Malibu house is divine and a masterclass in light (one of my musts when flat hunting – no point renting a massive but dark flat)

* All the Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo tees are great – this is my fav

Take it easy xxx

This Weekend…

What are you up to? I’ll be working on the last parts of my dissertation (urgh). However I’m interrupting the academia with dinner and cocktails with the girls tonight. I may also be off to a secret candlelit party on Saturday, which I will tell you all about on Monday.

Beautiful chandelier in The Met, New York

Beautiful chandelier in The Met, New York

Hope you have lovely weekends. The weather isn’t looking great so we’ll just have to find sunshine within! Here are some things that have caught my eye this week.

* We saved a Staffy dog (a cute baby one too) from near death (ish) on Monday! Staffies are the best. I am desperate to have a tan staffy and a black pug called Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale. They would be bessies.

* Not being greedy or anything but I need this house. LOOK AT THE POOL.

* I want to host a party with gin and tonics in milk bottles and these straws

* That’s Sunday brunch sorted then

* How beautiful is this dress? Also, when did Oasis get so expensive?

* Vintage lovers should check out brilliant fair Frock Me! (titter) in London this weekend. The sales are legendary.

Queen of the Night Bus xxx

Can eggs get divorced?

The answer to that question dear friends is YES. And they should do it more often because they are delicious.

Divorced eggs or “Huevos divorciados” are a traditional Mexican breakfast with two eggs – one with a spicy tomato-y salsa and one with a fresh green salsa. We had ours on chunky slabs of wholemeal bread drizzled with a smidge of olive oil. YUM

DISCLAIMER –  I did not make this. I’m just the lucky girl that had it for breakfast.

divorced eggs

You could use shop-bought salsa or whip up your own with a tin of chopped tomatoes, some red onion and a bit of spice. Our green salsa was a mix of finely chopped coriander, apple and cucumber. I hate cucumber but it was so refreshing and the perfect brunch with a cup of fresh coffee.

Welsh Week, Day 4: Minty lamb stew

Sunday roasts are lovely, I’m sure we all agree (I had a roast chicken wrapped in bacon today. Mmmm, swine). But sometimes the soupiness of a stew (and being able to soak up all the juices with a nice crusty loaf) is just what you fancy. Plus it’s so easy for lazy folk. Get up with hangover, put stuff in casserole, go have nap/read papers/start drinking again, have stew, watch classic Sunday afternoon film (today’s choice: The Parent Trap). Bang tidy.

Me and Emily (flat mate, co-parent of Claude and now new cat Puzzle) have started growing herbs in our living room window box so this is a good excuse to use the mint and be all Nigel Slater-esque (“OOO aren’t I fancy, just popping over here for my HOME GROWN herbs”). Everybody likes that game.

Lamb Stew with Minty Sauce

What you’ll need…

Olive oil

800g lamb, diced up (I like lamb neck because it’s cheap and tasty if you’re slow cooking)

A few carrots (or “kerrots” as my dad says)

Two onions

800mls of good lamb stock

Five or so cloves of garlic (you can leave the skin on)

Some veg of your choice (potatoes, obviously, and maybe some turnip? In spring you could add some nice baby greens to the pot just before serving)

Rosemary sprigs

For your minty sauce you’ll also need..

A big-ish bunch of mint

Bit of sugar

About two-three tablespoons of white wine vinegar.

 What you do…
1. Pop the oven on 180* C and in a frying pan with some oil in, brown your lamb all over, adding some salt and pepper too. This should take five mins.
2. Take out the lamb and pop it your casserole pot. In the frying pan goes the onions and carrots until browned (and turnip if you’re using that). Add the tomato purée and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Pop all your veg plus your stock, the garlic and rosemary sprigs into the casserole pot with the lamb. The stock should just cover it. Cover with a lid and pop in the oven for 1 and a half to 2 hours til the lamb is tender.
4. For the mint sauce, chop your mint leaves very finely and in a bowl, mix it up with about a tablespoon of sugar. When it’s a bit like a paste, stir in the vinegar.
5. Feel smug and tuck in.
Queenofthenightbus xx