Sunday, 30 March 2014

big easy

We had booked our table a week before hand and this was practically the only thing getting us through the final hurdle of term. On Thursday we were going to don bibs and eat our bodyweight in lobster. Decadence in its finest. And I was bloody excited. 

Myself and the two other musketeers (apparently at work Sarah, Mel and I are known as The Power Puff Girls too..) have heard plenty about The Big Easy, and since its just opened its new restaurant in Covent Garden we thought the end of term was the perfect opportunity to pay them a little visit and experience the hype. We tweeted them and they tweeted us back so this sealed the deal. We were going to live the dream and eat crab and wear bibs. 





Despite getting there at 4.30pm the place was already busy with businessmen, dates and bunches of girls like us, out for our lobster fix. We started with frozen margaritas, which definitely had a feisty kick to them, crab claws with honey and mustard, spicy spicy chicken wings and the most delicious mussels ever. I literally could have taken a bath in the creamy jus. It.was.incredible. 




We demolished pretty much everything...


I could have very easily walked away at this point feeling oh so satisfied, but I came for lobster and boy did I get lobster. 



Look at the baby!! 


The girls took a moment to Instagram their beloveds... Cue very, very serious faces.


The lobster was cooked to perfection. I had hollandaise with mine, which was pretty much the perfect accompaniment ever; so buttery and naughty. The fries on the side and salad was so unnecessary but we totally took advantage and gorged. 

This was Sarah's reaction to the whole thing:



And Mel's: 





This is how much food was got through... Oink oink.




Sarah and I even managed to have a little claw fight in between it all. 


Big Easy is a huge place. We were seated in the main area but there was acres of space downstairs too and a bar that would rival any other bars in the area. I loved the shack decor; very wooden, Deep South ambience with a soundtrack to match. There were even little neon lobster lights on the ceiling! A personal fave. 




Great start to the Easter hols- we'll be back mi amigos! 

I'm off to Barcelona tomorrow with Christina so expect a bumper edition of posts on my return. 




Tuesday, 25 March 2014

the perfect office space

I've been having an affair. It's about time I own up to this before it gets too out of hand. It's been going on for years now and I sometimes feel like its spiraled way out of control. 

I am a stationery fiend. There I said it. Lock me up and throw away the key.

Ok, ok so it isn't really a big issue and I don't think I've hurt anyone along the way (at least I don't think I have) but it's certainly something I am pretty wild about. So the moment I got an opportunity to go to Ikea and perv over the home office spaces- sleek and oozing in Scandinavian cool- I leapt at the chance. It also made me think, I need to stop being selfish and share with you my idea of the perfect home office space, how to organise that desk of your's and what is necessary and what isn't. So here goes...

I like nothing more than crisp lines, great lighting and a clean work surface. My motto is, a tidy desk, a tidy mind. Admittedly I'm quite anal when it comes to tidying desks, rooms, whatever, but I like to think it helps keep me organised in an otherwise fairly chaotic world. So the effortlessness of the very Swedish Ikea is like a playground to me. As soon as I entered the store I felt like I was in a race of who could find the best things to create the perfect space. This time, it was the office that needed sorting. 

Here are a few mock ups that took my fancy (sorry for the awful, awful red tags hanging everywhere):




Let's start with your space. It's small? It's facing a window? It's on a corner? It's in a cupboard? Oh baby, it's so workable. 





Floor to ceiling cupboards are going to be your saviour, you get a ridiculous amount of storage space with these bad boys. I love the green cupboard desk too- at the end of a busy day you'll simply close the door and that's it, you're done until tomorrow's nine to five. Noone will know what lies behind it. Sneaky. 

You'll notice most of these office spaces are neutral, I prefer working with light colours (mostly white), it keeps me calm and gives me a cool head. Plus if you go for the pale wood, like beech, you're going to be bang on trend this season. Hurrah! Check out this little idea:


Should you be working away until the early hours, here are some excellent hanging lights and table lamp:



Need some discreet storage jars, with a hint of textured cool? 


How about something to perch that bottom of yours on? 


And something to watch the last few minutes tick by? 


I'm currently having a love fest with this work space. I'll seduce her one day.


Here's hoping these ideas will help you beaver away and take away the stress of a messy mind. 


Friday, 21 March 2014

hummus where the heart is

Having had the majority of the ingredients for the last month, I finally got round to making hummus once Sarah had tracked down the sacred tahini. Hurrah! For some reson, this very important baby was impossible to unearth. I think we were being silly and assumed Tescos wouldn't stock the stuff and instead were searching obscure foodies, only to realise tesco actually did stock it. Oops! 

Anyway, here is my little story of an afternoon spent making super delicious and wholesome food. We decided to make two types of hummus- one nutty and smokey simple, the other a caramalised hummus with a secret pot of fire to make the hairs on our chest grow (I don't actually have a hairy chest- no sweat). 

You will need:

Chickpeas- get the canned ones, the dried babies are an extra faff which, lets face it, is a total bore. Snore. 
Tahini- just go to tescos, save your mind.
Cracked Black Pepper
Olive Oil- invest in a good one, otherwise your hummus with taste like metal. Bleurghh.

Grab your blender and pop in the can of chickpeas (save some of the drained water for later), a good glug of oil, some salt, pepper and the juice of half a lemon. With the tahini it works like this... The more you put in, the nuttier it is and the smokier the taste. I put in a good teaspoon and this gave me quite a kick. Up to you. 




If will probably look quite thick by now, so to loosen the hummus add in some of that water you left over- give it a quick blast and that's it. You're done. Result! 


For the caramalised onions and chilli number I followed the same recipe as above but cooked off some onions (with a good dose of sugar) and chillies before hand. If you put them on a heat of 180* for about 25 minutes they will go a beautiful colour and you'll begin to feel the heat of the chillies. 


Once they are done, pop them in the blender- maybe go easy on the chillies if you're a sensitive soul- and give it a last blast. Done. 

Sarah also made me a green smoothie to sip on. Spinach, banana, orange and apple juice. Mmmmmm greeny. (In all seriousness, seriously tasty). 



I know it looks like goo or frog spawn or something but it almost definitely, probably, doesn't taste like it. 

We also grilled some French beans in lemon and salt and dipped them into the most perfect eggs ever. The beans are amazing, could probably just east them forever and ever. 


Andddd finally, we made guac. Whole avocado, chilli, chopped plum toms, lemon, salt, red onion and coriander. The freshest tasting guac ever. I'll have it on toast with bacon or a poached egg, with prawns, chicken, whatever. I might even just eat it straight out the bowl for a little pick me up. So so good. 




Guilt free feasting! Enjoy!


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

clayton's boutique

Monday evening is a sacred time for me. I have the evening off and I always try to do something with that time, other than eat cake or hide under a duvet. Conveniently too, Mel also has her night off on a Monday and this Monday we had spied out a pretty cool little place to visit in Marlow. 

Clayton's is a pub on the Oxford Road which, on secret nights (it's not really a secret), puts on a popup film for a select few. We booked our seats not really knowing what to expect, but boy were we in for a welcome delight away from boarding life. 



As we walked in, a classic episode of Friends was showing to whet the audiences' appetite. Mel and I quickly settled on some cocktails and had a drool over the menu. Fat burgers or tapas? Or both? We settled for tapas. Between the two of us we managed to gorge our way through calamari with lime, super duper spicy prawns, sweet and sticky chorizo with shallots, the best honey and mustard chipolatas and a good bowl full of fluffy chips. 



Perhaps this was a liiiiitle too much food for us, but we certainly managed to make our way through a good proportion of it. Oink oink.(Sorry for the lack of photos- super dark, but trust me, it was delish).

In the mean time, the film had started rolling. Tonight's offering was The Desendants- I'd seen it already but not in a pub, surrounded by enough food to feed a family. It's a tear jerker but one that I really recommend you see if you haven't already. George Clooney plays a father and a husband, whose wife has been in a boating accident and is in a coma. The story follows his hard decision to turn off her life support machine, whilst simultaneously looking after his two wild daughters and hunting down the man his wife was having an affair with. It's set in Hawaii and the surrounding islands, and whilst it is a sad story, I found myself- and everyone else in the room too- laughing whole heartedly in places. Go see it. 



The atmosphere at Clayton's is so relaxed and cosy, as though you are at home, surrounded by friends. I think there should be more places like this everywhere.