Technically Edible: Northern Line Food and Book Crawl

I have a tendency to look back on friendships and consider how they all began. I met Katie at pin-up picnic ages ago – we didn’t know much about each other. Last summer  we decided to meet up for the day and since then, we’ve got to know each other much more and we’ve been up to some pretty great things. Being bibliophiles and foodies, we took a little inspiration from @notsobasiclondon and organised a day in London based on books and eating. What could be better?

OOTD

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London Bridge

We kicked off proceedings early in London Bridge. Taking advantage of the lack of crowds, we began with the divine combination of Bread Ahead doughnuts (the best) and black Columbian coffees. Lipstick ruined but totally worth it. From here, we walked over to the Fashion and Textile museum for their new Swinging London exhibition and some vintage fashion appreciation. It’s definitely worth a visit! Our first bookshop cake in the form of The Riverside Bookshop which Katie found out specialised in travel guides. We both picked out our favourite London guides and I picked up yet another children’s book for school.

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Angel

Our second tube stop took us to Pophams (with a bit of mooching near Camden Passage). Tragedy struck when we found out they’d run out of their bacon and maple danishes. However, all was not lost: we got a rosemary sea salt twist and rhubarb and cardamom pastry. Buttery and delicious but not at all greasy, no wonder it’s such a popular spot. Afterwards, Katie took us to an Oxfam bookshop she’d admired for its window display dedicated to women. Inside, we flicked through some antique books – there was one from the 1840s too.

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Kings Cross

We took a freakishly windy walk to Kings Cross where we found Caravan. I’d heard this place was particularly good for brunch so I thought it’d be the right spot to rest our feet and try even more delicious grub. I had jalapeño cornbread with chorizo, fried eggs and chorizo. Katie had poached eggs with kale, ham hock and potatoes. We were both very happy with  the choices we’d made. Full up, we ambled along to one of my most beloved bookshops: Housmans. Here, we looked for alternative reads. If I’m honest, I’d happily have  spent a whole month’s wages while I was there.

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Leicester Square

At this point, we had reached a peak on the food front (unbelievable, I know). On the recommendation of one of the Housmans’ staff, we took a brisk walk to The Second Shelf – a book shop solely dedicated to women writers. A great suggestion with lots of very special books to admire – worth another visit for sure.

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Over the course of the day we walked over eight miles, explored four different Northern Line stops, ate at some fab independents and found lots of wonderful books. This will not be the last food and book crawl – it was far too successful! Thanks Katie – you were a most fitting partner in crime.

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Half Term Happenings In Liverpool

Every half term, I plan something to escape from teacher life. This half term, my fabulous friend Steph invited me and our lovely pal Lindsey to had a ‘mid-week weekend’ with her up north. After a five hour train ride, our fun began!

Tuesday

Easing ourselves into revelry, we donned our spring fling outfits and headed out for some tapas and cocktails. My tummy was very happy indeed. What a great start to our time together!

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Wednesday

Feeling slightly worse for wear the next morning, we took the train into Liverpool sporting our suits to get our hair coiffured by the talented Carl Brown. It was so nice to have someone else do my hair and he did the most fantastic beehive – it was so impressive!  Once we’d all the backcombed and hairsprayed , we moved on for a quick tipple in gorgeous surroundings of The Florist. I’d love to go back again – the bartender knew how to pick a good drink. Our final stop was afternoon tea at The Panoramic. I’ve been here before but a return visit is no bad thing. It was such a treat. Full of tea and cake, we headed home for an evening of TV and PJs.

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Thursday

Our final day saw us all in comfy knitwear for a day of relaxation. Steph properly spoilt us by arranging a spa day. To be honest if I could, I would happily have a spa day once a week – my body feels so much better afterwards. We looked a right trio as we wafted about in shower caps, protecting our fancy dos. Afterwards, we had  quick stop at Steph’s parents’ cafe for something yummy before Lindsey and I made our respective journeys home.

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Safe to say, it was a great getaway. There’s nothing better than good friends, good food and a great atmosphere. Thank you Steph for being the hostess with the mostess – here’s to the next one!

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Technically Edible: Maltby Street Market

I might not be able to spend time with loved ones as much as I’d like but when I do, I try to do something that all of us will enjoy. When I’d made plans to see my old uni friend Sam, I knew a foodie day out was top of the list. I asked @notsobasiclondon for a street market recommendation. One of the places she suggested was Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey.

OOTD

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Coffee

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I’m more of a tea than a coffee person but I love a decent black coffee once in a while. This place did not disappoint. We didn’t want to spoil our appetites so we didn’t try any of their incredibly tempting pastries. I’d happy go back for them though!

Gỏi Cuốn

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I always like to try new foods and I’d never tried Vietnamese food before. Nick suggested we try it as out first stop. I loved it – really fresh and full of different textures. It wasn’t too filling either so we were able to try more…

Gyoza

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Gyoza are so easy to eat and mildly addictive. We got a mix of pork and chicken ones with soy and chill on a mix of salad and noodles. Every tiny bit was perfect.

Arepa

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My beautify friend Rhina introduced me to arepa when she made them for a group of us for breakfast. When I saw the arepa stall I knew we needed to have one, especially as Sam hadn’t tried them before. They were ridiculous – filled with black beans, herby sauce, chorizo and a huge disc of fried cheddar. Messy as hell to eat but worth it.

Jerk Chicken

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We followed our noses to the next stall – Caribbean street food. We went for jerk chicken with rice and peas, plantain, scotch bonnet sauce and salad. A good mix of flavours and and textures.

Cocktails

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We settled down to digest at Little Bird gin bar. A good spot to sit, relax and catch-up with a range of cocktails to suit a mix of tastes.

Ice Cream

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3bis is one of my favourite gelato spots – soft and creamy gelato and melted chocolate in your cone! It’s a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

All in all, we had a pretty awesome day spending time together and eating yummy things. Sharing street food is a great way to try to lots of different dishes and make the most of the experience.

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Galentine’s Day 2019

After having a blast last year, the same group of us decided to reunite in London to celebrate Galentine’s for 2019.

OOTD

Originally, we were going to go to an exhibition at the Fashion and Textile museum but we ended up spending our time chatting lots. The exhibition focused on the sixties so I took a little inspiration from that for my outfit.

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Brick Lane

Our first port of call was Brick Line for a bit of mooching and much-needed beigels. Here, we caught up and dodged the strong breeze!

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Alice In Wonderland Tea

As always, we had to get some cake involved. Although it was a little busy, we were very happy with our selection. I particularly enjoyed the Croque Monsieur and the big Jammie Dodger!

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Why do we do this? It because it’s just a lovely thing to hang out with like-minded folk. We may all love vintage style but we’d still get on if we were sitting around in our PJs. Friendships like this deserve time and attention.

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London, Mum And Dior

In 2017, mum and I visited the Dior exhibition in Paris (you can read about it here). We loved it so much that we were very excited to hear the V&A would be hosting its own version. Luck would have it that the exhibition’s opening day was on my mum’s birthday weekend so off we went!

OOTD

My mum always loves to dress up so I went for some serious coordination with my outfit: a green and mustard explosion. I guess I was aiming for something similar to the ‘New Look’ silhouette.

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The Exhibition

I’ll let the exhibition speak for itself but I will say that I love the organisational skills of the V&A. In Paris, it was so busy and cramped that we couldn’t enjoy our time fully; this time round was much more comfortable. We’d both recommend a visit!

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Birthday Dinner

Temper  is one of my favourite places to eat. Mum had never been so I felt it was only right for her to try it out. Needless to say, she loved it.

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I can’t wait to plan our next day out – it’ll be difficult to top this one!

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Moving On From January

As I said in my previous post, I’m not aiming to make any big resolutions for the new year – I’m just after positive experiences. With that in mind, I started the year by making a few changes in my day-to-day life:

Social Media – This year started with my friend, Dandy Wellington, asking “What more can I do to impact the world around me for the better?”. I reflected on this and decided to do something. I would dedicate each day of January to people I follow who have a positive effect on me – the majority coming from marginalised groups. It was good to spread the word about some truly brilliant people and I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders with regard to posting my own outfits, hair, etc. After doing a lot of reading on the impact of screen time on child development (teacher life), I set up app timers to limit how much time I spend on my phone. It’s definitely been helpful but it obviously takes time to create good habits. I’m a lot happier having more time on my hands now.

Reading – I am definitely someone who buys books and puts them in a to-read pile that barely gets touched. I often feel like a hypocrite because I preach to my class about the benefits of reading and how they should read as much as possible. Getting to work before seven and coming home exhausted made me feel like reading could be knocked off my to-do list. At the start of January, I started to timetable my evenings to work in some reading time most days. It’s worked out really well. I’ve got through Hollow City,  Flowers For Algernon, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying and I’m part way through Wool and Her Body And Other Parties. I’d forgotten how much I loved to read and how I needed to make time to do so. My brain feels like it’s being fed.

Decluttering – Well, the KonMari method is sweeping the world and I’m totally on board. Prior to Christmas, my better half and I got decluttering as we decided we’d rather spend money on holidays than trying to buy a bigger house. We gutted our entire place. From kitchen cupboards to wardrobes, it all got picked through. I think it’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. Our home’s much more user-friendly and easy to live in. I’m also finding myself a lot less stressed when I come home from work too. Decluttering has also taken place on social media and in my social life. Social media is a strange machine. I’ve removed a lot of people who either weren’t making me happy or we weren’t bringing out the best in each other. It’s been a really freeing experience, giving the space to focus on better things.

Spending – I was at one time a bit of a spending addict. I would not leave the house without chucking money at something. However as my better half and I have been working out what we actually want from life, accruing more and more and stuff is not what we need to do. Having decluttered, we don’t want to go back to old habits.  Most times when I set myself on a no-spend, I fail fantastically. Instead, I’m endeavouring to make informed choices and think more about what I actually buy. I’m not just focusing on clothes: books, toiletries, make-up, memorabilia, souvenirs, etc. are all going through the same process.

Cooking – With more time free of social media, stress and online shopping, I’ve taken time to cook. In particular, I’m spending time working my grandma’s dishes. Ever since her dementia diagnosis, I’ve harboured a lot of sadness and anger. I kind of felt like cooking her food was sacrilege and that I wouldn’t do it justice. With support from my better half though, I’m having a go at making her food. So far we’ve made chicken curry, aloo bean and lamb samosas. It’s no way near as good as hers but I feel like she’s talking me along while I’m cooking. I now face the epic challenge of making roti. Wish me luck!

Basically, I feel like I’m in a good place at the moment. Living life with an all or nothing mentality has done nothing for me so I’m just going to do the best that I can. February is a full-on month for me but I’m ready for it.

I’ll be back to my weekly blogging now and I’m looking forward to sharing my musings and adventures. Til next time!

 

Reflections on 2018

This has probably been one of the most settled years I’ve had in a good while: there have been no major changes in my life and my mental health has been pretty stable. I’ve spent the year taking stock of the good stuff in my life and getting rid of anything that makes me unhappy. It’s been cathartic and necessary.

Three Happy Moments

  • Sloths – In the summer, I went to Costa Rica with my other half and we went to Toucan Rescue Ranch to see sloths. I’ve never been so close to so many gorgeous little creatures. To watch them move, eat and snooze up close was amazing and an experience I will never forget.

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  • My 30th – To put it bluntly, my birthday this year was fab. It was filled with good food, good people and just my favourite things. My face hurt from smiling all day.

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  • Kelly’s Wedding – Having not seen our friend Rhina for a year, it was such a joy to be reunited. Together, we were able to see the beautiful marriage of our friends Grant and Kelly. Even though we’d had time away from one another, it was like we’d never parted.

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Three Most Popular Blog Posts

Three Great Events

  • Hot Brown Honey/The Cocoa Butter Club – Thank you to my amazing pal Jennifer for coming to these events with me. We have had an education. If you get the opportunity, go and just experience ALL of it.

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  • Drag – I couldn’t pick one. From seeing Sasha Velour at Reading Student Union on a Monday to the madness of Dragworld in London, this year has been filled with drag experiences and I have loved every single one.

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  • Dandy Wellington in London – I got to know Dandy Wellington when he visited London last year. This year, he was in London over the summer and I got to  see him perform twice. It’s great to see friends sharing their talents! I really enjoyed hanging out with like-minded folk at Brasserie Zedel, sharing a drink and enjoying life.

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Three Places I Visited

  • Bay Area – The Bay Area is easily one of my favourite places in the world. I lived there for a month in 2010 and visited again in 2015. This year, we experienced drag, a ton of food and hiking around the area. I can’t wait to go back again.

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  • Liverpool – As my wonderful buddy Steph lives up north, I’ve spent some time in Liverpool this year. I love exploring new places and spending time with people who enjoy doing the same. I’m going again in February and I know it’ll be great.

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  • Costa Rica – After falling in love with nature and wildlife from our honeymoon in Ecuador, we booked a trip to Costa Rica this year. It was a life-changing trip, making me more determined than ever to experience nature worldwide. I loved every second and even though I was exhausted by the end, it was so worth it.

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Three People I Got To Know

  • Becky – I met Becky a while back but this year we started to spend more time together. I can’t really imagine my life without her now. We talk about all kinds of rubbish and share a mutual love of so many things. Most of the time we’re on my sofa, eating something yummy and watching something terrible.

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  • Katie – I’d bumped into Katie a couple of times at the ‘Pin-up Picnics’. We got in contact with one another and decided to meet up. Since then we’ve roamed around Reading and London, sharing a love of fashion, books and deep discussions. If you want to discuss books, she’s your girl!

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  • Vicky – I’ve admired Vicky’s style for flippin’ ages. I’ve got to know her more over the year, bonding over our love of cake and Frock and Roll. Apart from being fashion-savvy, she’s a good laugh and super easy to chat too (even when you’re trying not to stare at her marvellous hair).

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I could write way more – this is just a small selection. I’m grateful for every experience and all the wonderful people I’ve got to spend time with. It’s been a really positive year.

I’m not setting goals for the next year, I’m going to see what happens!

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