28 May 2012

Sickness and Flowers

I haven't been on here in forever as I was pretty sick last week which kind of threw me!  Everyone at work seemed to come down with the same thing at the same time so I was in bed for the whole of Thursday and had to call in sick which I absolutely hate doing, but there was no way I could physically work!  When I went in the next day a few people had to leave because they felt so awful and I found that the day I'd called in sick four people were off too and two other people had to leave earlier than they were meant to... not good!!  Have any of you been sick too?

Anyway, I'm fine now I believe and the boy and I have just booked a last minute getaway to Greece over the Jubilee week....so excited!!  At first I thought it was a little un-British of me to want to go away during this time but I am craving sunshine and fun so I think it's the right decision.

This weekend I didn't do much.

I wondered about how to control my undeniably messy hair (looks so much more controlled in photos than in life):

I enjoyed the sunshine in London when I could:

I wore this little ASOS dress to catch up with a friend:

Drank too much of this:

(Source: Ying & Yang)
(that is cider not beer for the record!)

Booked a holiday here:

And slept far too much.

Now the 1 week holiday countdown/exercise regime begins....surely I can be bikini ready in 7 days?!  Gah!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend :)

20 May 2012

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I definitely don't call my Dad "Daddy" anymore but I thought it sounds a lot friendlier than Dad for a title...

I am home in Surrey for the weekend as (as the title above implies) it's my dad's birthday.  He is 61 so it wasn't a particularly huge celebration as 60 was the big landmark for my parents last year.  We had some drinks and nibbles and then headed out for a lovely, long dinner at a country pub I used to work at.

Playsuit Motel Rocks

I love this little playsuit but it really irritates me that there is no hook and eye clip at the top of the zip as the zip ends at the broadest part of my back and it constantly slides open and unzips itself!  I think I'm going to have to stitch a little hook and eye at the top there.

I have spent the rest of the weekend drinking and watching Laguna Beach with the boy (I used to be obsessed with this show and it gives me a little bit of nostalgia watching it again as I probably haven't seen an episode since about 2007). 

I must admit I'm generally addicted to television.  The shows I constantly watch are: Grey's Anatomy (absolutely hands down my favourite), 90210 (guilty pleasure - I hate Annie), The Lying Game and The Apprentice.  What do you watch?  Any guilty pleasures?

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!

17 May 2012

I hate London

Ok, huge exaggeration in the title there but my gosh I am slowly but surely getting over this place!  Don't get me wrong London has SO much to offer and so much more than one is able to discover in a year or two years or probably even ten, but that is probably where my problem lies with the place;  It is just SO big and SO overpopulated.  

London has always been the closest city to my home town.  I have lived in a lot of different cities in my life - Hong Kong, Riyadh, Aberdeen, Melbourne and now London and nothing infuriates me more than this place.  I feel extremely guilty by disliking the one place in the world that should feel like home but I just can't handle constantly being surrounded by people ALL THE FREAKING TIME.  Literally getting pushed and shoved about the whole way to work and the whole way home... and I don't even travel in the middle of rush hour!  I don't sit down from the moment I get out of bed until the moment I get back to my humble abode.  I have grown men as old as my father barging me out of the way so they can get the last seat on the tube...where has chivalry gone?  Or not even chivalry but basic, decent, good manners?  Who are these people that are happy to have a pregnant lady stand the whole way home so they can have a seat when all they do all day is SIT at a desk?!  My gosh!!!!

I miss Melbourne a lot.  When I was in Melbourne there were certainly things I missed about home but everything over there just seems so much easier (the 50% pay rise also helps, I won't lie!).  I had an absolutely gorgeous apartment 10 minutes from the city centre.  This apartment came with a pool, a gym, undercover parking, a balcony and my own bathroom.  I had a little pet cat running around (who used to ruin everything if I'm completely honest but I absolutely love her and she is beautiful), I had an absolutely amazing king size bed and a huge double built-in wardrobe all to myself.  I used to come home and smile at how lucky I was, I never wanted to leave the place!  Now let's do a cinematic pan across the world and zoom into my life now;  my boyfriend and I live in a share house with 11 (yes, 11) other people, none of whom we know.  We share a tiny king size single bed, a tiny kitchen with the most horrendous appliances, a tiny wet room (yes not even a bathroom it is a wet room) and a loo.  There are about three or four wet rooms and three or four loos in the house, but still... this is not ideal at all.  If I'm honest this living arrangement has a lot to do with my dislike for London.  If I came home to my Melbournian flat in London, a little oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the city surrounding me, I am sure I would have nothing to complain about, but right now I absolutely cannot WAIT to escape this place.  I feel London has a tendency to be glamourised by the people who live in it.  Yes, it is an absolutely amazing city to play in but as for working 9-5 (or 8-10 as the case may be for me some times) it is less than ideal.

Anyway, apologies dear readers, rant over!

So, I hear you ask, what have I been up to since I last wrote?

This weekend my parents very kindly took the boy and I to the rugby sevens finals at Twickenham.  Due to growing up in Hong Kong I have a deep, engrained love for the sevens.  It is in my blood (albeit I don't particularly understand the rules but nevertheless, I definitely enjoy it!).  It was a really lovely day.  The sun was out, the food and drinks were flowing and I was surrounded by people I love.  The perfect end to the weekend!

I have not written for a while and that's because I have been very focused on... exercise!  Yes, there, I said it!  With a Caribbean holiday on the horizon in July I have been trying desperately to get into shape.  So far I have managed to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise every day this week (one of these sessions actually required me to get out of bed at 5.45am - I could not be more proud of myself!).

On Tuesday evening I got home and was feeling particularly frustrated about the aforementioned problems I have with London and so last night my lovely boy decided to take me out on a little date to Belgo, on Clapham High Street.  To sum up what this place is about I only need to use two words: mussels and beer.  It was a wonderful treat.  The boy and I opted for the "Bread Tin Aioli" to start and the melted gruy√®re cheese & leek croquettes, which were accompanied by a spiced beer chutney - delicious.  I then had the "Moules snob" which in plain English were a steaming pot of mussels in a lobster, champagne and cream bisque with fries.  My tummy could not have been happier.

In other news things are going quite swimmingly with my visa application.  My case officer (who can only be referred to as PS) has requested I get my medical check done so I am all booked into the Knightsbridge clinic for my x-ray and blood and urine test (who knows why they actually need this information) next Wednesday.... There goes another £270...  But on a happier note I am that much closer to being allowed to move back to Melbourne :)

I'm off to Surrey this weekend for my dad's birthday.  Yay for getting out of London!  (P.S. it's really not that bad at all I have just had enough of my current situation... don't hate me Londoners!).

Just to prove that I am not always a miserable pessimist and that I do know how to be happy and smile....

Enjoy the rest of your week lovely bloggers. xxx

12 May 2012

Sunshine and Lace

This weekend the sun is out in London and I have to admit that although it feels a little selfish to be happy about it (considering we are in the middle of a drought and all) I couldn't be more pleased.  The cold, wet and miserable weather was making me, well...miserable! 

My skin has been acting up a bit recently and I can't really think why - I haven't drastically changed anything in my diet or skincare routine (which is very minimal if I'm honest) so, although it makes me feel incredibly self-conscious I decided to brave the day without wearing any make-up and just a little of my best friend Nanoblur (more on this another day).

I don't have much to blog about today if I'm honest.  On my one outing out of the house today (yes I know, I'm very exciting and I spent most of the day on immigration forums looking up my case officer - time well spent, obviously!) I decided to embrace the warm weather and show a little leg.  This is my favourite maxi skirt.  It's perfect for those in-between days where it's warm but you don't want to go all out in shorts or a mini skirt and when it's a little colder I can even wear tights underneath it and I still get the same effect.  People always comment on this skirt when I wear it out so I thought I would share it with you all.

Crop Tee in Blue £8.00 @ Topshop
Skirt: Sportsgirl 
(I think this has been discontinued now but there are some alternatives on ASOS herehere and here)
Shoes: Aldo

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend and if you're in the UK enjoy this long-awaited sunshine.

10 May 2012

Avocados and Love

Whilst in Melbourne I discovered an obsession for something I had not given much attention to before.... the loveable avocado.  Upon its discovery I could not believe how long I had gone without devouring this wondrous fruit.  It became a staple at breakfast time with poached eggs and marmite (do not judge me until you have tried this), a must in salads as a contrast to crispy pancetta, a favourite spread on toast with ground black pepper and a treat mashed with garlic and smothered over tortilla chips.  Is there anything the avocado cannot do?!  I think not!

And so, dear readers, I introduce to you... my FAVOURITE way to eat avocado (I have to admit I did slightly [by slightly I mean 100%] steal this idea from Richmond Hill after enjoying a delectable breakfast there PS their cheese on toast is to die for)

In order to make this delicious treat you will need the following:

1 ripe avocado
2 slices of bread of your choice (rye or wholegrain work best)
2 tomatoes
1 fresh red chilli
1 clove of garlic
fresh basil
olive oil
sea salt flakes
ground black pepper

The steps to this are very simple.

1. Chop your tomatoes into slices
2. Crumble your feta and rip up your basil
3. Slice your avocado in half, de-seed it, peel it, quarter it and then slice it so you are able to fan it out
4. Toast your bread
5. Peel your garlic clove
6. Slice your chilli (de-seed it if you prefer less spice)
7. Once toasted take your bread and drizzle a little olive oil over it, then rub the garlic clove all over it.  Dispose of the garlic clove afterwards.
8. Assemble as follows:

9. Season with salt and pepper

This is literally my most favourite snack in the world and not far off the Richmond Hill one if I do say so myself!  Enjoy :)

In other news: the boy and I posted our visa application for me to become a temporary permanent resident in Australia today (I know this sounds like an oxymoron but you don't become a permanent permanent resident until you've been a temporary one for two years - weird!).  Very exciting but also slightly nerve-wracking to leave the future of our relationship (or at least the location of it) in the hands of a complete stranger!

I was feeling very down today (this dreary weather is really starting to affect my moods) and had the most wonderful surprise from my darling boy at work:

"To the most beautiful girl in the world, I love you with all my heart.. xxx"
I couldn't ask for a sweeter companion.

I hope you're all enjoying the four day week :) I know I certainly am!

8 May 2012

MaxFactor Max Effect Nail Polish

I have always prided myself on having quite nice natural nails.  I don't do much to them and they are a good shape, have naturally white tips and (when they're not exposed to the harshness of a British winter) are relatively strong/non-flaky too.

So you can imagine my despair last week; I was running out of the door (late) for work and realised I had forgotten my oyster card.  In the process of hurriedly trying to grab the card, slam the door shut and lock it all in one swift co-ordinated motion I managed to be particularly malco (not remotely unusual for me) and slammed my finger in the door.  Some tears and a lot of profanity followed (I'm sure my housemates wondered what the hell was wrong with me and why I was being so incredibly aggressive towards my bedroom door at 7 o'clock in the morning) and my train journey was particularly awkward as my poor little finger throbbed useless at my side whilst I tried to stifle my tears in front of a few hundred dreary businessmen. 

Anyway... obviously my finger has toughened up and no longer hurts but I have been left with a pretty foul looking nail (please, please, PLEASE dear nail God do NOT let it fall off!!)

Yes, yes I do realise I have some rough skin hanging off the finger there, but let's be honest... I had a more pressing matter to deal with at that particular moment in time.

So this weekend I decided enough was enough and my hands required a bit of a makeover.  I don't wear nail varnish a lot anymore as the colours I like the most are not really ideal for work so I tend to leave them au naturale.

So I grabbed two of MaxFactor's max effect nail polishes in mini size from Boots.

"Mellow Yellow" and "Juicy Plum"

I originally tried the yellow one however it went on really gloopily and you could see the streaks from the brush in the paint which wasn't ideal at all.  So I tried again with the purpley one and hey presto!  My nails were transformed.  It only took two coats for it to become opaque which is what I would expect from any well known brand.
With flash  

Without flash

I use my hands all day at work and after one day the ends were very very ever so slightly chipped (not really noticeable to anyone else).  Considering I don't sit at a computer all day and have a very hands on job I think the nail varnish wore pretty well.  It's probably quite expensive for such a small bottle and I also think that experiences would vary depending on the colour used but I am very pleased with "Juicy Plum" so far!

5 May 2012

Home Sweet Home

After a long and tiring week the boy and I decided to escape the hustle and bustle of London and head home to my parents house for the long weekend.  We live in a share house in London and although it's cheap it's hardly ideal; not just because we have no privacy, have to share a shower/kitchen/loo with complete strangers but mainly because my man is huge in a six foot, bulging muscles type of way (even if I do say so myself!).  Whilst this makes him extremely appealing to me in every way it also makes him a terrible person to share a bed with.  Or should I say a terrible person to share a king size SINGLE bed with.  Yes, our landlord is a sadist!

In addition my parents are away for the night so we get to play house and most importantly I get to play in the kitchen!

My comfy weekend getup:
Leopard print top: Landes Essentials @ Landes
Jeans: Mango
Jumper: a second hand shop in Clapham
Pashmina: present from a friend

And now I shall leave you with the fun I had in the kitchen today!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars a la Martha Stewart for something ridiculously homely and comforting

4 May 2012

Franco Manca, Brixton

So, today being the first day in a long time that I have not been working a ridiculous fourteen hour shift the boy and I decided to forego the gym and treat ourselves to a little slice of heaven in the form of Franco Manca.  

Franco Manca is a tiny little pizza shop situated in Market Row in Brixton Village Market.  Described as a little slice of Hoxton this area has an abundance of food on offer from Italian to Chinese to Caribbean cuisine  and is the kind of place you can purchase alternative Chinese medicine as easily as you can get a tattoo or a haircut.

This hidden gem is certainly that!  Our first attempt in finding the place last weekend resulted in failure but this time we struck lucky.  Split across the 'aisle' of the market. Franco Manca has both indoor and outdoor tables but the outdoor tables are well heated.

Franco Manca use sourdough for their pizza bases, their tap water is filtered, their beer and wine is organic with the latter being bought from self-sustained vineyards and everything about this place just oozes freshness and vitality.  It is certainly a no frills experience, with cutlery and napkins in huge pots on the tables and your wine being brought to you in tumblers, however I cannot fault the taste of these pizzas at all.  I opted for pizza number 4 (Gloucester old spot ham [home cured], mozzarella, buffalo ricotta and wild mushrooms) and added some wild broccoli.  The boy opted for the same but with chorizo instead of broccoli.  We are both huge foodies and my man put these pizzas up there with the best he's ever had.  Furthermore our bill for two pizzas, plus extras, plus a glass of wine and a beer came to just £22.00!

By the time we left at 7pm there was a queue about twenty people deep...  I think that speaks for itself!  Although we went to the restaurant in Brixton they also have chains in Chiswick and Westfield (Stratford).

If you have the chance, go!  You won't be disappointed.