Tuesday, 29 November 2016
It's only Tuesday and this week is already proving to be a giant pain in the arse. Every year when things start getting festive, I promise myself I won't book in too much but somehow it happens without me even realising. Add to that a hectic time at work, Christmas presents to be bought, the wedding of two of my favourite people and an upcoming holiday to South Africa, I don't really have time to do anything. But I'm not complaining (yet), as last week was a lot of fun. Here's the best bits:
1) I finally got to see Fantastic Beasts and it was god damn magical. I don't want to spoil it but at one point I had to stop myself from actually bouncing in my seat (although I don't know how successful I actually was). I went to see it at the Picturehouse Central in the old Trocadero which is a beautiful cinema which made it a perfect setting.
2) I found out my friend is having TWINS. TWO BABIES. She called me as I was walking down Euston Road and I screamed and started jumping up and down. I cannot wait to meet them next year!
3) Before going to the cinema, I had dinner at Temper which was very much a double edged sword. On the plus side, I spent it in the company of a pretty man and ate potatoes covered in raclette. On the down side, the next day both me and him felt the impact of something that wasn't cooked right which was, quite literally, shit. Not somewhere to be re-visited anytime soon.
4) A few weeks ago I booked tickets for me and some friends to see Deftones in May next year. By a wonderful twist of fate, it turns out that AFI, band I loved as a teenager, are going to be supporting. It's all the musical dreams of my 15-year-old self come true!
5) Deliveroo options in my part of town have dramatically improved from before I went travelling. One lazy evening I treated myself to a shawarma, halloumi and chips from The Real Greek and it was so much nice than just getting a greasy Chinese from somewhere totally not worth the money.
6) Thursday evening was super exciting, which you'll know if you follow me on pretty much any social media channel. I was invited to the press night of Hogwarts in the Snow at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, and along with some of my best gal pals (and AJ's other half who's basically a girl), my baby sister came down from Lancaster to drink prosecco in the Great Hall and pose of Mirror of Erised selfies.
7) Reason 8479 I love our group WhatsApp: you never know what will happen next. Case in point, we were casually talking about Black Friday deals and BOOM, suddenly I'd booked seven of us onto a £40 return flight to Bucharest for the end of February. EXCITING!
8) On Friday I went and visited the Queen of Themed Dinner Parties, the wonderful Ashley. In honour of the new Gilmore Girls episodes, she welcomed me into her own little Stars Hollow with snacks including Mrs Kim's Tofurkey and Luke's burgers, along with a rather delicious Miss Patty's Founders Day Punch. Which I drank quite a lot of.
9) And because it was payday and Ashley lives bloody far from me, I treated myself to an uber. Such luxury.
10) Saturday was wonderful. I spent a whole afternoon with the girls, being shown around new foodie destination Flat Iron Square. There will be a full post coming up soon, but I cannot stop thinking about this octopus with smoked aubergine tapenade on toast from Edu London.
This week I've got a few dinners and catch-ups in with awesome friends, birthday parties and a farewell foodie Sunday with my housemates as one of them moves out, making room for Leigh to move in. Hooray! Hope you all have a great week.
Monday, 28 November 2016
Denim coat - Zara
Jumper - New Look
Jeans - ASOS
Socks - Topshop
Shoes - Primark
Ring (seen later) - Weekday
I've had the same winter coat for a few years now and although it's still super cosy, I'm a bit bored of it. The thing is, I'm kind of uninspired by the basic black and greys I've seen in the shops and I keep finding myself drawn more and more to the totally impractical, trend led coats that aren't really right for everyday wear. I've been eyeing up a leopard print one for a while now, and there is a suede trench number that I swear I actually had a dream about, but then came this.
I actually found this Zara coat in a different guise a couple of months ago. It had a white shearling lining and no collar. I tried it on but I didn't quite love it enough. Roll forward to November and I spot it again, this time with a faux fur addition that made me fall head over heels. It was the sort of changing room situation where I did a happy dance and squealed at my reflection.
It is actually surprisingly heavy and therefore really warm. I wore it for an afternoon wandering around Bankside's new foodie hub of Flat Iron Square (more on this to come soon!), which was outside and NOT the warmest place in the world. I didn't take a scarf but the collar did just the job and I tucked my hands into the deep pockets to stay toasty.
The shearling lining is enough insulation so that I can wear a jumper underneath too without dying of heat exhaustion on the tube. This one is from New Look, a store I pretty much never shop in because I basically too tall for it. I absolutely love the neck on this though, kind of a funnel shape, which makes a basic oversize check print much more interesting.
I could still do with a more sensible winter coat, but this is just something else, don't you think?
Saturday, 26 November 2016
I arrived in Xi'an on a public holiday and holy chopsticks was it busy. I'm talking Westfield on the Saturday before Christmas if every store was also giving out free puppies with every purchase. Multiplied by 100. It was unbelievably loud which made it completely disorientating, the pollution levels were insane, but it was also totally fascinating. I was travelling alone and this was the place on my Big Trip that totally threw me out of my comfort zone. Tired, confused and hungry, I headed further into the throng, desperate to find anything to eat that looked vaguely familiar.
Seeing a sign for 'Mr Potato' was like a carb-based angel had just landed on my shoulder. Absolutely caked in oil and MSG, I wolfed them down, forgetting that they'd also been served with rather a lot of chilli. Spicy as hell but it gave me a surge of energy to brave exploring a little further.
The market seems to specialise in miscellaneous meat on sticks. And not just a kebab skewer, I mean actual sticks that look like they'd been pulled off the nearest tree. Some of the meat seemed to come from the carcasses being butchered in the street which was pretty rough and ready by all accounts. I decided not to risk getting the shits in a city where I was very much the only westerner, but they did look more appetising than the trays of pigs trotters I saw on every corner.
I was actually in search for the famous Xi'an hamburger, or roujiamo. As I had no way of asking for recommendations, I did the most British thing possible and joined the longest queue. I paid for a plastic card which was exchanged at the front and waited patiently, unlike everyone else around me. Standing in line with a decent level of personal space in between each person isn't really a thing in China!
Finally at the front I got a good glimpse of the seasoned beef made with cumin and pepper, which was thrown onto a chopping board and viciously attacked with a cleaver. Chopped meat literally flew in all directions, there was absolutely no culinary technique to it. It was then thrown into a mo which was basically a type of flatbread, and then topped with a chilli sauce. It is a total mess to eat and to be honest, it could've done with some salt, but the meat was certainly succulent from the slow cooking, and I adored the stodge of the bread after going weeks without having any.
I took it, demolished it, and then scarpered back to my hotel to hide from the manic crowds.
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