Saturday, 23 September 2017

3 Reasons why I'm planning to visit Sicily..

Autumn is here and I am already thinking of my next holiday somewhere where it’s warm and sunny. With the weather becoming more blustery every day, and as the school and work weeks rage on, it is important to keep yourself motivated and looking forward to your next adventure.
If you are looking for somewhere to pop off to for your next bank holiday, look no further than Sicily. You can enjoy the island with the privacy of your own place by searching last minute villa deals, then begin planning the holiday of a lifetime. For me, the three main reasons for doing so are: the nature, the food and the people.
Sure, the Italian Isle of Sicily is well known for its natural beauty. That is why it is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to get in touch with his or her inner beach goddess or thrill seeker. Some of the best beaches to visit while you’re there include Mondello in Palermo and Scala dei Turchi. If, however, you lean on the side of adventurer, three of Italy’s volcanoes are considered active and two of them: Etna and Stromboli are at home in Sicily. Make sure you journey on a hike or two while you have the chance!
Undoubtedly, food and wine are among Sicily’s main attractions. But it’s definitely not all about pizza and pasta or delicious ice creams. Please make sure you are not on a diet when visiting Sicily as it is rather impossible to resist! Some must try dishes include Pasta alla Norma - a combination of aubergine, ricotta, and tomato sauce, Granita - a tasty dessert made from ice and fresh fruit, and the favourite, Sfincione - a thick pizza that is intended to be eaten on the street, Caponata - cooked vegetables with aubergine at the base and Arancine - rice balls.
When you are on holiday, you don’t want to worry about snooty locals. With Sicily, you won’t have a worry in the world. The people are the absolute most hospitable and are known for their laid-back attitudes. The streets are alive with culture and their strong familial values show when they welcome everyone with open arms, making Sicily a desirable retreat for everyone.
Have you been to Sicily? I'm super tempted - anyone got any tips?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Friday Favourites 262..

001 // 002 // 003 // 004

Oh, Friday, how you taunt me so. All of a sudden here you are again and I'm in a panic about whether I'll manage to get everything I'd hoped to finished before the weekend begins. (Usually no).
Anyhow, this week I've been freaking out a little bit over how few free weekends I seem to have before the dreaded C-Word is upon us. There aren't many left.
001: Halloween will soon be here and I think this would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe to make the event. I love the cartoony feel of the skeletons and yet feel as though it could be worn not just for Halloween, which is good..
002: Yes, more ABO Shoes. I just can't decide which colour I like best.
003: Oh, Wren and Wilson are a relatively new find for me, and I absolutely want everything on that site. I'm still geeking out over Twin Peaks so this hand-painted brooch is topping my list at present. I haven't seen the new episodes yet, though. I'm a little scared to watch them.
004: Oh, Vendula London. You sure do know how to make me swoon over just about everything you release, lately. This is the new love boat bag. I don't have a boat handbag.... (yet!)
What are you wishing for at the moment?

Saturday, 16 September 2017


Let's talk coffee. I mean, not that I'm obsessed or anything, but I'd say that 80% of conversation between my OH and I is us basically sending coffee-related news stories or GIFs to one another, my employees know that it's less than wise to ask me about a pay-rise before I've had at least one coffee and my local Whittard's knows me by name as I stock up on beans there that often.
I'm always fascinated by the great coffee debate. There seems to be a shift every week in the opinion on whether or not the brown stuff is good or evil. I choose to believe the ones which tell me things like each cup of coffee adds three minutes to your life expectancy over those which warn of health issues related to too much caffeine, if I'm honest..
Always eager to enhance my morning coffee routine, I jumped at the chance to try out some new coffee-related gadgetry from Coffee Gator. Their Pour Over coffee range take us caffeine-fiends back to basics. What could be more simple than pouring your boiling water over your grounds and waiting for it to filter through for the perfect cup of joe?
This sleek-looking design is the stainless steel Pour Over Coffee Kettle*. Super simple metal design with a temperature gauge on the lid in order that you can boil your water up to the perfect temperature. This has always been a bit of a sticking point between a friend and I, but he's adamant that you shouldn't actually boil your water to make coffee, for fear of burning the beans and altering their flavour. He assures me that the perfect temperature for the ideal cup of coffee is somewhere between 91C and 93C so I was able to make sure I heated my water perfectly. This has a 1.2L capacity, which is more than enough for the coffee maker. I like how portable it is and the fact that it can be easily used over a gas camping stove too - will definitely make sure I pack it for camp in a couple of weeks...!
Once I ground my beans, I added the grounds into the filter section of the Pour Over Coffee Maker*. Again, the design on this is lovely, reminiscent to me of a science beaker, giving the illusion that coffee-making is a science, perhaps..? The long, narrow spout of the kettle makes precision pouring really easy, and you basically just pour the water over the grounds and allow them to filter through into the jug below.
This really doesn't take long at all: a lot quicker than my usual French-press method, I think. And I like the fact that you could easily use the grounds again if you wanted another cup (which I often do).
I was also pleased to finally try out the Starbucks coffee beans which I was gifted at a recent event at my local store. I have to admit, whilst I don't often buy coffee from Starbucks (I prefer to try and support the independent shops in town if I'm in the mood for a takeaway coffee), I was actually quite impressed by it. Much more flavoursome than I'd expected from what I understand to be their regular blend.

What's your favourite coffee? And do you have any tips and tricks for the perfect cup..?

Friday, 15 September 2017

Friday Favourites 261..

001 // 002 // 003
Oh, this week's wishlist is full of pastel-coloured goodness, which makes a busy week seem prettier and easier to deal with. I feel as though I've barely stopped to breathe this week. But one shouldn't complain, I guess.
001: Dolly and Dotty are back with my favourite dress yet. This mint coloured beauty is embroidered with these awesome flamingos and I love them.
002: Yoshi Bags are never far from my mind and although my collection has grown rather a lot over the past few months, there is certainly room for one of the book bags. I love the designs and the fact that each colour has different titles.
003: A new find for me; I discovered ABO Shoes on Instagram recently and am now faced with the tricky decision of which colour to order, as all of their brogues are just adorable.
What are you wishing for this week? I've had a big clear out of my wardrobes in order to add to my shopping funds, so if you fancy taking a look, my sale account is right here..

Thursday, 14 September 2017

You'll float too...

Dress: Joanie Clothing // Jacket: H+M
Necklace: Tatty Devine // Jumper: M+S
Boots: Zara // Bag: Kate Spade
Despite this morning's productive start, I seem to have spent the day trying to get on top of everything and failing. So, a super quick outfit post from the other evening, where it was very rainy and I headed out to the cinema to watch IT. Which was.. okay. Not as scary as I'd hoped, if I'm honest. Have you seen it yet?

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tuesday Titles 141..

Moonlight Over Manhattan: Sarah Morgan
Determined to conquer a lifetime of shyness, Harriet Knight challenges herself to do one thing a day in December that scares her, including celebrating Christmas without her family. But when dog-walker Harriet meets her newest client, exuberant spaniel Madi, she adds an extra challenge to her list – dealing with Madi's temporary dog-sitter, gruff doctor Ethan Black, and their very unexpected chemistry.
Ethan thought he was used to chaos, until he met Madi – how can one tiny dog cause such mayhem? To Ethan, the solution is simple – he will pay Harriet to share his New York apartment and provide 24-hour care. But there's nothing simple about how Harriet makes him feel.
Ethan's kisses make Harriet shine brighter than the stars over moonlit Manhattan. But when his dog-sitting duties are over, and Harriet returns to her own home, will she dare to take the biggest challenge of all – letting Ethan know he has her heart for life, not just for Christmas?
Although it's been a little while since the last Sarah Morgan book I read, I was happy to be drawn back into the world of dog-walker Harriet and her love life, from the From Manhattan with Love series. As with the others I've read (last review here), the writing style is fast-paced and frothy and I was keen to discover what happened next with the twins and their suitors.
Honestly, if you've not yet got into this series and you like chick-lit, you could do a lot worse..this title comes out on 5th October, but if you haven't read the others, they'll keep you occupied until then..

Monday, 11 September 2017

But, how many flamingoes can you fit in a Mini..?

Ugghhh. It's only Monday and yet I already feel exhausted. Not only that but I slept a looooooot last night. But I guess it wasn't enough to catch me up on what I've missed lately. Worth it though. Here are some of the things which have made me smile in the past week or so...
Outdoor cinema: Our local National Trust property team up with an outdoor screening company each year to show some movies and this year they offered La La Land on Friday evening. We wrapped up warm and hunkered down with a picnic basket full of treats and I enjoyed the film once again. I tried hard not to sing along too loudly..
Theatre: I've been to our local theatre a couple of times this week - once to see Greg Davies on his local tour and also to see The Pantaloons' production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Mr Davies was okay, although it was clear that he was trying out some new material; some of it was a little long-winded and hard to follow, but other parts did have us crying with laughter.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and this version was made all the more hilarious with a little audience participation and a multi-talented cast who brought their outdoor production indoors. I'll definitely be trying to catch their next ones..!
This weekend, Sarah and Gray came to visit and I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to think of anything exciting for us to do. I guess, although I do a lot of stuff in town, I never think of it as much of a destination to visit.. I think that's always the way with the places that you live, though.
I needn't have worried. We managed to avoid the rain on Saturday, mostly by nipping in and out of coffee establishments when the weather turned, and we had a wander around the Quarry and the Dingle, and then along the river. Mostly, we just ate. A lot.
During the day we hit the new pudding restaurant, Sweet, which has recently opened in town and struggled to consume our midday milkshakes and desserts. We also had a late lunch at Ginger and Co., which seems to be reviewed by Brian here better than I'd manage to, so here's a link. S+G had a local bacon sandwich, which they both said was great, whilst I went for a hummus one, which was also yummy.
On Saturday evening, we had a late dinner (in part because we're indecisive and also because of the aforementioned late lunch). We went to Henry Tudor House, which is probably one of my favourite restaurants in town, mostly because they do nice steaks. I had some lovely turbot, which I was told was a small meal, but was definitely more than enough after my day of eating! Rather than any more puddings, we opted for cocktails at Blind Tiger, which is hands down my favourite cocktail bar in town, too. So a lovely evening all round.

Sunday dawned and more food was needed. Our first stop was breakfast and we ended up at Bear Steps café, because No4 which we'd been headed to was closed for refurbishment. I was super impressed with my porridge, which I tend to overlook on a menu. I'm kinda predictable when I go for brunch as I always opt for eggs, which weren't on this menu, so I had to choose something else and was glad that I did..
 After a little browse of the shops (mostly Mollie's for Pick 'n' Mix) we wandered past the river festival which was taking part in the Quarry. We finished up our weekend of fooooooood with Sunday roast at The Armoury, which is just always, always busy and requires booking in advance. If you're local, they have a Gin-fest coming up in a couple of weeks which sounds like it will be great.
So, I realise this post is pretty boring for anyone who isn't local, or doesn't like pictures of food, but hey ho. I'm all about recognising lovely weekends and this was certainly one, so there we have it.