Happy Monday! It’s October – which means it’s Wedding Month! I can’t quite believe that after he got down on one knee nearly three years ago, we finally get married in just a few days. Both terrifying and exciting in equal measure, I’ve got a to-do list literally longer than my arm and a million and one things buzzing around my brain. But all I can really think about is that I’m marrying my best friend, eek!
Getting my sister settled into her university halls and hearing about how she’s getting on. I’m so pleased it seems to be going well – and that she’s following a maths-y path like me!
Seeing my wedding dress taking shape. Having it designed from scratch has been such an amazing experience, and I’m so excited to see the final finished product. Although nervous – I won’t actually manage to squeeze in a final fitting before the big day so everything is in the seamstresses hands…
Candles! It’s the time of the year for cosy evenings of candles, blankets and fluffy socks and I’m loving it!
Making homemade pasta. There’s something so therapeutic about it, and it tastes so much better than anything you can buy.
Evenings spent typing up blog posts and editing photos whilst watching Harry Potter. Can’t get better than that!
Having a *really* good work day. I was actually ill so working from home, and managed to get my head down and do a load of super-interesting analysis. It’s the kind of work I may not always have time for and it’s my favourite part of the job – geeky as that sounds!
Filling up my Kindle with new books ready for the honeymoon. Any recommendations then please let me know!
Finding savoury muffins buried in my freezer. I made some really cheesy courgette muffins a few weeks ago, froze them and then forgot about them – but I’ve rediscovered them. Turns out they freeze super well – and the recipe will be going live later this week.
My latest Degustabox (gifted). It was full of some exciting sweet treats including some *amazing* raspberry and dark chocolate marshmallows from Mallow & Marsh. They were the highlight of the box this month, but I’m also really excited to try the A2 Milk (as I have some issues with dairy)…
A lovely second Hen Do with my family (and family to be!). I arranged an afternoon tea for something more sedate that my grandma’s would enjoy, and it was lovely to have everyone together.
Getting my exams out of the way (again). I’ve spoken less about studying these past few months as I was only doing a ‘little’ exam this sitting given the wedding is in less than three weeks, but I’m now free from it all again! Fingers crossed it went well as then I’ll only have one left to go…
Making the *best* curry I’ve ever made. The photos turned out terribly, but I will be posting a recipe as soon as I can.
Emptying out our freezer. We’re aiming to completely clear it and start again, which has meant discovering some new things (hello random pork chops!) and also some cheap food shopping weeks!
Experimenting with photography again. I actually love it when we have darker evenings as I find it quite difficult to shoot when light is so unpredictable – dark evenings suit my style more I find. I’m especially proud of some upcoming coffee cupcakes which were shot during a particularly gloomy thunderstorm…
The smell of paint. We’ve (or rather W) has made some giant light-up letters for the wedding. We’ve painted them copper but I loved having the smell of fresh paint in the flat. Is that weird?!
Managing to grab the last of this dress in my size in a gorgeous bottle-green colour. It fits so well and looks/feels a lot more expensive than £20…
Watching Mulan. It’s one of my three favourite Disney films (1st = Jungle Book, 2nd = Beauty & The Beast) and I love it. The songs are *amazing* and I can’t wait for the live action one to be produced.
Bake Off! It’s back and I am loving it. I did think the last series on the BBC (how was it two years ago?!) was a little flat, but I’m loving the new one. I’ve also been baking along, stay tuned on my Instagram!
Cosy evenings. Now it’s cooler in the evenings I can bear to wear PJs and fluffy socks – and it’s made me evenings 10x more enjoyable!
Are you enjoying the start of Autumn? What’s making you smile at the moment?
Another Sunday evening when I’m going to moan about being too hot – it’s the start of September, I should be getting ready for Autumn but even the thought of wearing a jumper is making me sweat. Though I have at least managed to wear a cardigan outside recently which is an improvement… A lot has happened since my last Happy post (especially as I missed one, whoops!) so this is a bumper one. It’s certainly been a good few weeks.
Being able to say “we get married NEXT MONTH” – after being engaged since the end of 2015 this feels crazy! So excited to be a wife…
On more wedding-related news, we’ve had our respective stag and hen dos. He came back with all hair/beard/eyebrows still in-tact which was my biggest worry, so that was good. And my hen (or at least part I, with part II to come!) was amazing. My girls did a wonderful job at planning at day that was perfect for me, though unfortunately my night out was cut short when my mum took ill – but hey, what’s another Happy Things post without praising our ambulance service?!
The meal on my hen deserves a special mention – I wouldn’t be a food blogger if meals weren’t a highlight. However my Confit Duck Leg with a Plum and Ginger Glaze was extraordinary. One of the best things I’ve eaten all year.
All the foodie magazines. Recently I’ve been able to get a copy of the Sainsbury’s magazine through work, which takes our regular foodie magazines up to 3 per month, plus anything else I can get my hands on. So much inspiration. And it’s meant we’ve definitely kept up our goal of cooking at least one new dish a week…
Speaking of new food, August’s Degustabox arrived and was just as good as July’s. I’m a big fan of the Crooked alcoholic soda!
Making a batch of Noodle Salad for lunchboxes. It was loosely based on this recipe, but I’ll be posting my own version soon!
Hosting a dinner party for friends. I made a selection of tips (Tumeric Hummus, Courgette & Tahini and a Whipped Feta) and served with breads – I could have just eaten that. So fun to catch up over some delicious food.
Picking up a new favourite dress from Warehouse. My previous favourite shrunk but they’ve been great about refunding it, fingers crossed this one doesn’t suffer the same problem!
It’s Sunday evening, I’m sat sprawled out in an attempt to cool down and am utterly, utterly ready for Autumn. Sure, this hot weather is an excuse to eat plenty of ice-cream and I’m spoilt with an air-conditioned office AND a commute which involves the air-conditioned District Line. But it’s still a tad warm for my liking! Despite the moan about the heat, there’s been plenty making me happy lately…
Cooking some more authentic Thai food. I posted about our Moo Pad Prik on Saturday, but it was absolutely delicious and deserves another mention!
Finding a fragrance brand I really, really love. Noble Isle makes the most stunning fragrances, I already know I need ‘Fireside’ as a winter candle or diffuser this year!
Flicking through my favourite new cookbook. Not only does Gatherings look beautiful on my shelf, it’s also one of the nicest books I’ve got. There’s barely any recipes which don’t scream ‘make me!’
My cousins lovely wedding. It was the most relaxed day, she looked beautiful and it was lovely to catch up with my Grandma too.
The above also made me super-excited for my own big day. It’s just under 9 weeks to go, I had my first dress fitting last week (which went far better than I had feared!) and eeek! So excited!
Making one of the best cakes I’ve eaten yet. It was super-tasty, super-quick and went down really well at work (almost disappearing before lunch time). If you’ve got a courgette-glut it’s the perfect cake for you and I’ll be posting the recipe very soon…
Finding all sorts of tomato-free pizzas in supermarkets. Waitrose are currently doing one with Trout, New Potatoes and Samphire which I’m excited to try!
Having a freezer full of Bolognese (tomato-free of course) courtesy of yellow-sticker beef mince.
Getting *the* most excellent customer service from the beauty salon where I’ve booked to have my nails done before my wedding. They’ve booked out the last two hours for me, my mum and sister, encourage us to bring some bubbles and were genuinely just lovely.
An excellent issue of Delicious magazine. My future in-laws got me a subscription for my last birthday and it’s the best foodie mag I’ve read. Full of excellent articles and the recipes are super-seasonal and super-yum. To top it off the postal packaging is now biodegradable!
Another Monday, another Happy Things diary! This last fornight has been a mix of being super-busy at work, some relaxing weekends and a lot of evenings spent resting a pulled neck (so painful!). Having said that, there’s still a lot to be happy about…
White Chocolate and Pretzel Cookies. The perfect balance of sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy. Recipe coming soon!
BBQs and gatherings with friends. I’m not a football fan at all, but the World Cup at least gives people the excuse to get together a bit more and I’m totally okay with that.
Red Onion and Goat’s Cheese Quiche. It’s currently baking as I type, it smells *amazing* and I’m looking forward to it making up my lunchboxes this week.
Having a bit of an Instagram clear-out. So many accounts I don’t remember following, or just don’t have any major interest any more. It’s meant my feed is full of content I actually want to see, so I’m engaging more. Win win.
Fresh mackerel. It’s one of my favourite fishes and it’s *so* cheap to get hold of. This weekend we pan-fried some in a harissa glaze which was delish!
Gaining a tortilla press. I’ve made homemade tortilla wraps previously but struggle to get an even thickness so I’m looking forward to giving this a go.
Homemade burritos. We piled green rice, refried beans, pork pibil and cheese into wraps and heated in the oven. They were huge, naughty and absolutely delicious.
Enjoying the above whilst watching the Lego Movie. Everything is awesome!
My fiance passing his Masters degree – we celebrated with pizza and wine, then he caught up on some much needed sleep. I’ll hopefully be sharing some of his final project on my Instagram page soon so stay tuned…
Managing to nail a copy-cat recipe of Bella Italia’s Pollo Siciliana. I skipped the chicken, but it was virtually spot-on and absolutely delicious. One I’ll be making again and again…
Ok, so I know I’m always saying how quickly time is going, but how the actual F is it June already?! It’s now just over four months until our wedding, it’s basically only six months until Christmas, and I’m closer to 25 than 24 (doesn’t that sound SO much older!). 2018 has quite literally sped by, and in part I’m thankful. I don’t want to wish away the summer, but I’m so excited for October to roll around so I can get on with marrying my best friend, I’ve waited long enough already! Of course, it helps when each fortnight is full of delicious food and happy memories…
Mexican Food. I’m really loving Mexican at the moment – chillis, tacos, spicy salads. We’ve made our Pork Pibil recently (and I’ve eaten more than my fair share of Pink Pickled Onions), and I also whipped up some spicy grilled chicken with insanely tasty potatoes and slaw inspired by our Wahaca book. Another one for my Cooking From series I think…
Getting our wedding invites out. It took a lot of hours, nearly 50m of ribbon and 6 papercuts, but I was really pleased with them, and seeing/hearing our friends and families reactions has been lovely. Roll on October!
A trip to Honest Burger. Still my fav burger in London – what’s yours?
Suddenly liking Avocado. I think I mentioned this last fortnight, but up until a month or so ago I didn’t touch avo. Hated it. Now I can’t get enough! Whether it’s in a salsa (piled into a taco of course!), or on toast with feta and chilli flakes, it’s my current go-to food. So yum.
Honeymoon shopping! After a disastrous trip to Westfield I’ve made a couple of successful online orders. What’s with the size discrepancy in Zara though?! Ended up with one dress in an XS, and one in a L…
A really good frittata. We followed a recipe in this month’s Delicious magazine and it was insanely good. Full of potatoes, shallots, a lightly set egg and topped with gooey mozzarella. We served with a radicchio and salami salad, then I enjoyed it in my lunchbox for a few days. Will be making again for sure!
Receiving all the dog photos from my parents. They picked up a rescue dog to add to the family last weekend, and so far (touch wood!) he’s settling in really well. We’d actually been looking, on and off, for ten years to add to our family so it’s about time!
Chocolate Brioche Twists for Sunday brunch. Check out my Instagram page for how they looked.
The Netflix series Safe. Anyone else watching? I’m hooked!
Planning my not-hen do. My friends and mum have planned my main one, but I’m also having a mini one with my grandmas and future in-laws (girls only!) closer to the wedding. Obviously it will involve bubbles and cake!
Happy Monday! As I type it’s Sunday evening I’m currently sweltering in my flat, wondering whether it’s acceptable to eat ice-cream whilst my dinner is cooking… (read: trying to justify it to myself!). I’ve had the most wonderful couple of weeks, I’m really making the most of this not-studying malarkey with plenty of plans. I have to say, though, I’m hoping for a slightly more relaxed three-day weekend next week, I’m in need of a rest!
Nice Cream. I love making soft-serve style ‘ice-cream’ out of frozen bananas and a splash of milk. A weekend treat is a big bowl made with peanut butter, and topped with peanut butter cups. So, so good and just that bit kinder to my bank balance and waist-line than Ben & Jerrys!
A trip to Wakehurst Place. I met my girls, we had a delicious picnic (I made a Quiche Lorraine which is one of my favourite treats), drank Shloer out of plastic champagne flutes and wandered around the gorgeous gardens. It was such a lovely day, and now I’m sorely tempted to get a National Trust membership…
Steak Salad. I’ve felt a bit anemic lately, so decided a steak dinner was in order! We usually serve it with homemade chips and a whisky sauce, but lightened it up – puy lentils, roasted broccoli, asparagus, mixed salad leaves and Parmesan with a dash of balsamic vinegar. It certainty hit the spot!
Re-vamping our interiors slightly. After a good spring clean I’ve switched a few things round in our flat, picked up some new bedding and generally just gave it a good old refresh. You can read some bedroom decor tips from both me and some other lovely bloggers over on this Laura Ashley post*…
Afternoon Tea at Dandelyan. This was my first foray into luxury afternoon teas and it was wonderful – four cocktails, the most gorgeous food and a stylish setting. A full review will be live in the next week or so but I highly recommend a trip!
Shopping for honeymoon clothes – because my wedding is now less than 20 weeks away! I’ve picked up a few bits in H&M but still want some more summery dresses and skirts. Any places to look?
Sorting out wedding ceremony details with our vicar. We’ve confirmed a basic running order, our hymms are virtually chosen and it’s all feeling a lot more real now. Invites are slowly going out as and when I manage to finish them off, they should all be sent by next weekend. Eeek!
And speaking of weddings, how gorgeous was the Royal Wedding this weekend?! I loved the dress, the veil was insane, but what made me super-emotional was how Harry looked at his bride. Utterly fairy-tale.
Gin. I’m not a fan of tonic so haven’t really drank much gin in the past, but recently I’ve been enjoying it with various other mixers. Elderflower is a good combo!
I’ve managed to keep my house plants alive for a year now. I think I’m more than ready now to be responsible for my own puppy… 😉
*in collaboration with Laura Ashley, all thoughts and opinions are my own as always!
And that’s it! I’m planning quite a quiet Bank Holiday weekend next week – I’m hoping to go to Immy’s yoga class, then I’d like to take a trip to Kew Gardens for a bit of a photo sessions, then possibly a walk around Richmond too. Other than that it’s a big weekend of blogmin and wedmin!
What’s made you happy lately? What are your plans for the upcoming Bank Holiday Weekend?
Happy Bank Holiday Monday! It’s a bit of a miracle here in the UK that a Bank Holiday weekend has been combined with hot and sunny weather, but I for one am not complaining (other than the bright sunshine makes it far more difficult to take photos!). We’ve spent the weekend exploring new (to us) areas of London, lying in the sun, eating tacos and generally just relaxing. I’d like to do something a bit more exciting next Bank Holiday though, so let me know what you got up to!
Tacos for dinner. We love eating Mexican food, and with a tub of leftover roast chicken needing using up we took inspiration from Chelsea’s recipe. The avo-corn salsa combo was DELICIOUS (I used frozen sweetcorn, and fried it in the pan we’d used that morning for bacon, before cooling and adding to the avo), and perfect with the roast chicken (tossed in a chipotle dressing with some onions). We topped with feta, a squeeze of lime and lots of coriander and *really* enjoyed it. Plus it was ready in 10 minutes, so I can see it becoming a regular fixture in our meal plans.
Olive Oil and Lemon Cake. It was light, zest and delicious – have a look on the ‘gram for more!
Exams are done! I finished my latest exam sitting a fortnight ago and, whilst hugely relieved, I’m not feeling overly confident with how they went. Either way I’m not retaking in the next sitting (as it’s right before the wedding) so I’ve got a nice break from heavy studying for now. I’ll still be sitting a smaller exam in September, but no written paper this time – vain as it may be, I get awful finger blisters when revising and being left-handed means I *really* want to avoid them just before the wedding!
Launching a new blog series. I’m going to be reviewing cookbooks with a recipe from each – you can read the first Cooking From posts here and here.
A wander around Hampstead Heath. It’s an area of London I’ve not explored at all, but I’m desperate to go back and see more of it. We just won’t mention the fact I stupidly wore sandals and now have insanely painful and swollen ankles…
Wedding prep! I bought the final bits I need for my ‘look’ on the day (highly recommend Dress Me Pretty if you’re in the Midlands), we’ve finalised our invitations, bought a couple of things for decorating the reception. It’s now five months to go – eek!
An impromtu date night at Home SW15. It’s quite honestly our favourite place at the moment, and we wish we had the pennies to visit more often. We enjoyed a Lemon Sole (me, it was perfectly cooked), a Bavette Steak with Red Wine Butter (him, I stole a piece and it was the best tasting steak I can remember eating) and shared a portion of fries with aoili. If you’re ever in the Putney area I highly recommend a visit!
Saying hi to puppies. There’s a gorgeous Border Terrier pup who lives near me and I’m worried the owner will think I’m stalking him as I bump into him far too often…
Ice-cream! Sun and heat = ice-cream craving. Chalet Chiro in Putney does the best ice-cream I’ve tasted in London, and one of the best outside of Italy (there’s a small hidden place in Brighton that *just* pips them to the post).
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. We had this for dinner last night and it was perfectly – just the right amount of soft, sweet garlic, with tender chicken. Keep an eye out for the recipe!
What’s made you happy lately? How have you spent the Bank Holiday weekend?
Happy Monday! It’s probably not surprising to you that I’ve had yet *another* quiet fortnight. Exams are just about to get into full swing – I have a computer based on over two days this week, then a big written paper in another two weeks. I’m not feeling overly confident with these as getting the flu really knocked the stuffing out of me – I forgot a lot of what I’d covered, lost a lot of time, and it took me ages to be able to study at my full pace again. Fingers crossed it will be alright!
The past two weeks have involved a lot of time at my desk, but some fun also. And of course, it was Easter which meant chocolate, hot cross buns and a long weekend…
More Bourek and Hummus from Balkan Bites at Borough Market. I first tried this when we did our doughnut workshop, then went back the following weekend for me. It’s definitely my favourite street-food lunch at Borough Market. It’s relatively light, steaming hot (but I bet lovely if left to cool too), the hummus is *amazing* and the green chilli packs a punch. Get the spinach and feta bourek and you won’t be disappointed!
Finally getting round to watching the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. Have you seen it yet? What did you think?
Doing a spot of baking. I made a (perhaps excessive) Easter Cake for the office and it went down well. Sponge filled and covered in buttercream (courtesy of Green’s Cake Mixes*), the topped with a giant chocolate-cornflake nest and filled with mini-eggs. Yum!
Winning a couple of blog competitions. I’ve recently managed to win a Bill’s voucher and also a mini-moon getaway in the Cotswolds for a couple of nights.
A sunrise church service on Easter Sunday. Our church does it with a Bonfire next to the Thames and despite the early start it is a lovely occasion. Helped by the pastries and Buck’s Fizz afterwards I guess!
Dinner Party planning and eating – without the stress of cooking! We planned a bit of a get-together for a few friends last week, I help W plan the menu (always fun) and then left him to do the cooking. He did a wonderful job and make egg yolk ravioli, a chicken dish with pan-roasted thighs, mashed potato, malt crumble, crispy skin skin and a chicken jus. Then dessert was a chocolate-cherry concoction that was simply heavenly…
This fortnight has been a pretty weird one, as most of it I’ve spent being rather ill with a severe cold/flu illness. In fact this was the same illness than led to my previous happy things post being cut short halfway through – apologies about that. It’s been kinda difficult to see the good things when you’ve spent so long in bed, especially when you’re too ill to walk the length of your flat or even read a book, but I’m hoping writing this post will cheer me up.
Chicken soup. The best medicine you can buy!
Starting with (another) new team at work for the next few weeks. I may have only managed half a day before I headed home ill, but I’m excited to start a new project and see where things go.
Sausages in Cider. I had very little taste for over a week with this illness, and this was the first dinner where I actually managed to appreciate it.
Chicken & Ham Pie topped with Cheesy Mash. I needed comfort food, and this worked.
Finding a 20% off code to coincide with when I needed to reorder Pixi Glow Tonic. Every little helps!
Lemon Meringue Pie. Coupled with a lack of taste I had very little appetite, but I was craving this – so my wonderful fiance made me one fro scratch.
Ordering some pretty pyjamas for the morning of the wedding. At least I’ll look decent in the bridal preparation photos!
A pamper evening. If you’re feeling ill then an evening with candles, a warm bath and facemasks might not make you feel better, but it does help a little.
Receiving our pre-wedding shoot photos back. Our photographer has done an absolutely amazing job, I’m planning on sharing a few over on Instagram during the week!
Blood Orange Curd Tart with Dark Chocolate Pastry. This was our Sunday night dessert yesterday and it was goooood!
Sorry for the slightly depressing Happy Things post! Hope you’ve had a better fortnight than me!