November Reading


Every now and again you read a book which makes you want to nudge the person next to you on the tube and tell them if they haven't read this book they're missing out and they need to get it NOW

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah is this book. My mum passed it on to me, insistent I read it and just a few pages in I could see why. 

The story tells the friendship of Tully and Kate and spans three decades. In their early teens they promise to be 'best friends forever' but of course, life is never that easy… 

Abandoned by her mother, Tully is desperate to prove her worth and is ambitious to find fame when all she really wants is to be loved unconditionally. 

Kate comes from a loving family and not bothered about success or a career, she just wants to fall in love, have a family and live happily ever after…. 

But when the girls get what they wished for, it comes with it's own problems and then an act of betrayal tears them apart - and their friendship is put to the ultimate test… 

Firefly Lane is a coming-of-age story. There are betrayals and secrets but most importantly friendship. And it really is a story you'll never forget. 

Turning 29 - disgracefully


On my 28th birthday I celebrated by drinking lots of cocktails with my lovely friends and downing a lot of shots. 

The night ended by me demanding that Soldier and I get a cab home. After making him pay for said cab once we arrived at the flat I then proceeded to throw up in someones garden. Nice. 

What followed the next day was possibly the worst hangover of my life. I fell asleep standing up whilst leaning on a man on the Central line and on arriving at the office inhaled two Greggs sausage rolls and a diet coke in 00.2 seconds. Unfortunately this only made me feel worse so I spent the next hour basically crying at my desk. 

So with this memory still fresh in my mind I was determined my 29th birthday wouldn't follow the same pattern. 

And surely it wouldn't? After all I was about to turn 29. Ever closer to 30. Surely it would be a small gathering with just a few drinks, right? WRONG. 

My first mistake was picking a bar with a two and a half hour happy hour where EVERYTHING on the menu was half price including my favourite Champagne, Pommery, which was going for £25 a bottle. My second mistake was feeling the need to drink as much as possible before the end of happy hour chimed at 7.30pm. 

So I arrive and my best friend Sarah had arranged for a bottle of Pommery and a balloon with a pic of her face to be brought over. Soldier also bought a bottle as did Elaine. You can see how this is going can't you? 

Then came the inevitable round of shots of Sambucca that I can never, ever turn down. So now I'm drunk. And when I'm drunk I feel the need to be elevated above everyone (I think it's a being short thing.) I stood on a chair and my housemate Rachael followed me up. Then I decided to take it one step further and comb on the table… Which tipped over spilling every ones drinks. Not ideal. 

Not long later I step outside for 'air' and proceed to throw up in the street. Classy. I then try and get back in the bar but the two bouncers stop me and tell me I'm a 'security risk'. They could have had a point… 

One of them goes to get Soldier who brings up my stuff and we flag down a cab - a cab which I have to keep stopping so I can be sick. Again, less than ideal. 

I don't remember much after that. I DO remember waking up the next day unable to lift my head from the pillow and looking like a model for an anti-binge drinking advert. Oh and being relieved that I had booked the day off work this time…

So it seems despite being a year older, I'm none the wiser. Here's to next year. Maybe moving into another decade might mature me. Then again, I highly doubt it…. 

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #5


Just over a week has gone by since my birthday (which I shall be writing about soon… You all need to know about my disgraceful behaviour) so I really enjoyed reading Wander to Wonder's's birthday resolutions. As I wrote about here I really hate making New Year resolutions but birthday resolutions aren't a bad idea…. As you know I LOVE pizza and Wander to Wonder has also made me want to jump on the tube and head to Wimbledon IMMEDIATELY after seeing this huge pizza. I need it in my life! 

My friends David and Jules went to Circus restaurant in Covent Garden recently and seeing Cocktails and Caroline's post made me want to go there even more. Who wouldn't love watching circus acts between courses? 

With Christmas on the horizon (there is no escape from it now) I loved reading about milk bubble tea's Christmas Eve box tradition - such a lovely idea and something I might have to do myself. 

And talking of Christmas, I may have to make these peanut butter and jam cookies The Awkward Blog made as they look SO good. 

As you can see my fave blog posts this week have basically been all food food related - what's new though, eh?! 

Lazy Sunday reading: Take a Look at Me Now by Miranda Dickinson


On a cold Sunday like this, it's nice to sit on the sofa, onesie on and read a book cover to cover. 

Well ladies (and gents!) I give you Miranda Dickinson's Take a Look at Me Now as that book.

The book starts with Nell who is being made redundant - and her on-off boyfriend breaks the news to her. 

Heartbroken and unemployed she decides to head to San Francisco with her redundancy cheque to stay with her cousin Lizzie. 

Once there, with Annie's, an amazing American diner on her doorstep, Nell re-discovers her own dream of opening up her own American style diner and sets about turning her dream into a reality. But throw a romance into the mix, and add her ex coming back on the scene, will everything go to plan? 

This is such a lovely, easy reading book and you can't help but root for Nell and hope it all turns out OK for her. So what you waiting for? Have a lazy Sunday and go read! 

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #4


OK, so this is late. Three days late in fact. But you know what they say… Better late than never!

Girl V London is fast becoming my fave blog. SO funny. Couldn’t stop laughing at this post on closing a date. Exactly the sort of awkward thing I’d do!

This post from Being Erica made me want to book a table at Ponti’s Italian Kitchen immediately and how lush does Life Outside London's Fennel and Sausage pasta look? I’ll have a double helping please… 

What Naomi Wrote’s post made me realise I need to send more handwritten letters and cards. I used to be so good at it but this year I’ve been rubbish. This must change!

And finally, Beautiful Solution's’s post on your most annoying Facebook is SO true. We all know a baby bore and a candy crush pest. Though I am a self-confessed wannabe masterchef…

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson


I've been a big fan of Dorothy Koomson for a few years now, ever since I picked up my mum's copy of My Best Friend's Girl and read it in one sitting. Each of her books gets better and better and every time I get her latest book in my hands I always think: This can't be any better than the last she did. But every time, it always is. 

That's why I can't recommend her latest novel The Flavours of Love enough. 

The main character is Saffron. It’s been 18 months since Saffron’s husband was murdered and she is determined to finish writing The Flavours of Love cookbook that he started before he died.

Everyone thinks she is coping well but no one knows what she is hiding. And with her daughter confessing a huge secret and her husband’s murderer still on the loose, things aren’t going to get any easier…

With The Flavours of Love, Dorothy Koomson does what she does best – a powerful read which will have you hooked until the end, without a doubt. 

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #3


This weekend is my final as a 28-year-old. Yep, it's my birthday on Wednesday and if anyone wants to make me this FABULOUS rainbow cake that Alice over at The Cup and Saucer made I'd be very happy! 

So yes, I'll be heading into my 29th year and I've already started ticking things off things on my 30 Before 30 list so it was good to read Erica's list to see her wishes for her 29th year! 

Food wise this week I really want to make Gem from Fat Frocks sausage tray bake - perfect for these colder nights - and these butternut squash and black bean enchiladas  from I LOVE butternut squash - as you can probably tell from these two recipes! 

Melanie from girl v. london's post on transport etiquette made me laugh out LOUD. The politics of who gets the armrest on the tube is something I battle with everyday of the week! 

Victoria of Lily loves Lola's blog on Liverpool's Hardman's House made me really nostalgic. I went to uni in Liverpool and was there for four years - I miss it when I can but really miss it. Even though I lived there for a long time, I never visited Hardman's House so that is on my to-do list! 

Lastly, but certainly by no means least, please read the details of Caroline Hirons shoebox campaign . When you're out Christmas shopping it takes no time at all to pop a few extra few things in your basket to send to someone who has nothing. 

Happy Sunday! 

Afternoon tea with free flowing champagne - yes really!


There is something so decadent about an afternoon tea. I really love them but have only had been a couple of times simply because they turn out to be just so expensive. 

Enter the Mandeville Hotel's Reform Social and Grill with there fabulous offer of afternoon tea with FREE-FLOWING Moutard Champagne. 

Sound to good to be true? I know. I thought so too. I booked immediately and got my friends Elaine, Kate and Harriet involved, but I was nervous. It was a brilliant offer - so what was the catch going to be? When is an offer ever really THAT good? 

Well trust me, it was that good, and then some.

We arrived just before our 1.30pm booking. It's an amazing venue, really luxurious and the staff couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. 

We ordered the vintage afternoon tea and  started off with peach and green apple Bellini's before the Champagne, well, literally flowed. 

I thought we'd have to keep asking for a top-up of the Champagne but not at all. They staff suddenly appeared, bottle in hand, as soon as our glasses were only half empty. Nothing was too much trouble. They were efficient without being too in our faces and we felt completely relaxed. 

As Kate pointed out, it wasn't stuffy like some afternoon teas. She told one horror story of paying £19 for an extra glass of Champagne!! 

The sandwiches and treats came out really quickly. The sandwiches were cut into fingers and were v tasty, especially the salmon and horseradish on beetroot bread.

But the cakes were the really treat! The scones were fresh and warm - you could tell it had come straight from the oven. They were served with the most amazing clotted cream and jam. We had one each but I could easily have had another! 

We also had pistachio macaroons (which I LOVE) and a slice of mini battenberg, a slither of chocolate cake and a little cherry cupcake. The staff even sang happy birthday to me - v cute and a nice touch. 

Before we knew it our two-hour seating was up and we'd lost count of how many glasses of Champagne we'd had. But the staff didn't rush us out, instead they just asked if we'd mind moving into the lounge area and gave us another top up of Champagne. 

I asked for the bill, and did hold my breath a little, but it was all fine. For over fours hours of lovely food, great Champagne and wonderful company, with service charge which we were more than happy to pay, it was just £36 each. BARGAIN. 

I can honestly say it's the best afternoon tea I've ever had - and not just because of the free-flowing Champers! The atmosphere and the good staff were what made it and I'll definitely be going back. 

The offer is only on for a few more weeks but one of the waitresses said it's sure to be back in January, so keep an eye out on their website.

Right, now I'm off to deal with my Champagne head. Bacon butty anyone? 

Bloody Brilliant Blogs #2


Happy Sunday!

I hope you all had a fabulously spooky Halloween. I don't like to get involved though to be honest - read why here. Kim over at Lunacy of Ink however got fully involved

Food wise this week Isy from A Mouthful has made me lust after this burger and onion rings…. Mmmmmm…. Burger….. 

On a healthier food note, I shall be trying out this recipe from Helen at Treasure Every Moment  for a healthy fish finger sarnie with minted mushy peas. Looks lush! 

With my birthday just around the corner (10 days away to be precise….) and with Christmas on the horizon I shall be hinting for one of the book subscriptions Domestic Sluttery wrote about. Fab idea! 

Girl v. London's London post and fabulous pictures made me feel really lucky to live in such a fabulous city and finally, Kate, from Diaries of an Essex Girl's post on London: Fact and Fiction made me smile! 

Until next week!