Catching up: July

I can’t believe it’s August already….it seems the summer is going by in a flash! July was just as much fun as June though, and it finally felt as though the real summer weather had arrived….

It all started with a most amazing wedding weekend up in Yorkshire. Two of our friends were getting hitched and rather than settle for just one day of frivolities, had planned an epic Wild West Weekend! We drove up on the Friday and dressed up Western style for the pre-wedding party, ate fish and chips for dinner and then went to bed in our very own Tipi!!!

Breakfast next morning was a lush barbecue, then we set about some sun bathing and a few jobs to set things up before we donned wedding attire and the lovely humanist ceremony took place. The whole thing was outside, which was made even more splendid by the astonishingly good weather. It was another barbecue for supper, as well as a bouncy castle, sumo wrestling, gladiator jousting and a live band to dance to. It has to have been one of the most thoughtful, personal and unique weddings I’ve ever been to (which is A LOT) and I just loved every minute of it.



July was the month for DIY and gardening…..I wanted everywhere to be as pretty as I could manage in time for our Engagement Party, and built two picnic tables (which also got painted white and had chintzy covers and cushions made specially for them) as well as getting the garden as colourful as possible! The party went wonderfully and it was gorgeous to have so many friends visit us to celebrate….even if it was a whole six months on from the actual engagement!



With the warmer weather came lots of lovely long dog walks, with lots of lovely wildlife to be found along the way too…..



The Hitchin Duck race took place in town and we went down to see them off… was a slow race though so we listened to the ending from the garden some twenty minutes later!


Above all else, July was for spending time outdoors and enjoying the lush weather……


Hope you’ve enjoyed the summer so far too!

Ems x


Something from the weekend….. My first stall at Old Spitalfields, gin and baking

So it was a pretty exhausting weekend all in all, not least because of the heat. It was lovely to see the sun come out for some proper summery weather finally, but it was a little too hot to do anything much (I need to be next to a pool with a Pina Colada in hand when it gets higher than 28 degrees). Still, it was an enjoyable weekend all the same…..

After an early night on Friday to prepare, we were up bright and early on Saturday morning and made our way down the road to Old Spitalfields. It was to be my first stall at my favourite market, as part of the Designers Makers market that takes place there every month.

I was super excited, and set up my little stall with a few new additions. We were ready in good time for a change (despite getting there as early as possible, I’ve always struggled to get everything out in time) so I must be getting better at it! I was quite pleased with how everything looked, although I couldn’t take any shots as I’d foolishly left my phone at home!

I was delighted to have some visitors a little into the day….Matthew and Siobhan came along for a chat and brought us fresh lemonade, and Richard and Tara delivered yummy ice cream whilst having a browse. Adam brought us some amazing cheese burgers from the take away window at The Luxe (which my stall was very close to), and I got chance for a wander around the other stalls myself even.

Unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as busy as usual at the market, because of the heat and school holidays perhaps. So I didn’t do nearly as well as I’d hoped, and only just broke even really. It was still a fun day though, and hopefully I’ll make more money when I do the next one on 15th September!

We packed up in record time too….closing up at 5pm and then home by 5:40! Then after a nice refreshing shower we walked back to Poppies Fish and Chips for some supper with the lovely Tara. I enjoyed my roast chicken and chips as usual, especially with lashings of gravy on the chips and mushy peas too (proper Northern lass that I am). Then after that we made our way homeward but stopped off at our favourite local, The Oliver Conquest. They serve over fifty different gins, and we are making our way through them all! We tried some very lovely new ones…. Monkey 47, Bathtub, Larios and Adnam’s Sloe Gin. We love it there so much that we arranged to have our leaving London drinks there next month, just before we move.
Sunday was a super lazy day….we were shattered after the long day before and with it being so hot we had a nice long lie in before spending most of the day slobbing around the flat. We had a rather naughty breakfast AND lunch of cupcakes we’d bought from the market on Saturday. We picked up four delicious cupcakes from Flavour Town Bakery‘s stall….. The Salted Caramel, the Snickers, the Lemon and the Red Velvet. All were amazing, especially the Salted Caramel which was just perfect to my mind.

We didn’t get much more virtuous through the day, as I baked us a banana and red currant loaf with some over-ripe bananas I needed to use up, and the red currants that came in our Abel and Cole box. I was really rather pleased with my recipe, and we both enjoyed a slice with some ice tea I made too. And for supper, we had a rather naughty cauliflower and macaroni cheese I knocked up. Yum!


We did a little online shopping for new furniture for the new house, watched a couple of DVDs, and generally pottered about and flollopped on the sofa….. a perfect Sunday really!

Hope you enjoyed the heat and the sun, and had a wonderful weekend whatever you did!

Ems x

Almost the weekend…..

Uch. More rain due for this weekend. Still, there’s plenty to do in indoorsy places…..

Alternative Fashion Week

Until Saturday 21st, Traders Market, Old Spitalfields, Free Entry

I really can’t recommend this enough. I had such a great time there yesterday. Presented by Alternative Arts, the event runs until Saturday with a show every day at 1:15pm and a fashion market featuring some of the designers from 11am to 5pm. The aim of the event is to showcase the most original and creative collections by a fresh crop of new designers, promoting new talent to the press and fashion industry. It’s an international event, with over 80 designers from all over the UK and the world, as well as showcasing new models too.

George Strood Handmade Knitwear

After that, perhaps some fooooood….

It’s no secret that I would choose chips over almost any other food….. and I’ve waffled on plenty about how wonderful Poppies Fish and Chips is. But it really is excellent…. a cutesy retro diner, great staff and brilliant food (sustainably caught fish, free range chicken, pies from Stoke!)…. and it’s so very conveniently close to Old Spitalfields!

Vogue Festival 2012

Royal Geographical Society, South Kensington, tickets £75 per session

Vogue Magazine is holding its first ever festival with talks and panel discussions involving some of the biggest names in the industry….. Stella McCartney…. David Bailey…. Lily Cole…. Tom Ford….. Holly Fulton…. Henry Holland. Individual tickets for the festival are available for the morning and the afternoon sessions of each day, and allow you to see three talks and panel discussions, as well as makeovers, photoshoots, trend talks and fashion films. Oh and the venue is worth a nose about anyway!

The Body Adorned: Dressing London

Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, Free Entry

If that’s a bit pricey for you though, you can get a fashion fix at the Horniman Museum’s free exhibition. I’ve been meaning to check out this quirky museum for ages, and this may well be the exhibition I make it there for. Exploring the question of why we wear what we do, the exhibition provides an overview of the diverse functions that can be performed by clothes and other forms of bodily decoration.

Crystal Palace

And whilst you’re that way (I keep having to remind myself how easy it is now, with the East London Line taking us right to Forest Hill and Crystal Palace) the Crystal Palace Prehistoric Monster Trail is well worth a look. Set within the lovely park formerly home to the Crystal Palace made for the Great Exhibition, the dinosaur park has been restored in recent years, whilst retaining the inaccuracies of the original Victorian creations. It’s a great place to have an adventure, especially with the crumbling remains of Sphynx and terraces that were part of the huge glass structure.

The London Marathon

I love cheering on strangers at the marathon every year! I’ve usually lost my voice by the end of the day, and often have a little sunburn too! I don’t think there’s any fear of the latter this weekend…. I just hope the weather is ok for the runners! I’d recommend getting away from the busy spots if you can, as it’s a far more enjoyable experience…. we can hear the music and cheering in the Tower Hill area from our flat which is brilliant, but it gets super crazy crowded around there so I prefer to head to mile 21 at Westferry…. it’s much more pleasant there, there’s a pub with a barbeque, and the runners really need a cheer at that point as it’s known to be a tough point in the run. The interactive map is a handy tool to help choose where to watch.

Good luck to all the runners, and to everyone out and about this weekend…. hope the rain misses you!

Ems x

Something from a pie-filled weekend…..

Good morning and a happy Monday! How was your weekend?

I’m feeling the effects of a weekend filled with pie…that is, I feel a bit like a pie myself! Still, it was fun…..

If you read my post on Friday you’ll know that I was looking forward to a weekend celebrating British Pie Week. On Thursday, we started the weekend early with a trip to Apples and Pears for pie and cocktails. As such, Friday evening was a quiet one…..

After a little early-evening shopping we settled down to watch David Lynch’s Inland Empire, with a pizza and wedges for supper. The film had us both utterly confounded, and we spent much of it staring at the screen in disbelief or laughing nervously. It’s not at all a film with a linear plot, and nor do you get a nice rounded off ending…. but the basic idea behind the film (I think) is that an actress takes on a new role in a film, which is expected to do very well and get her very noticed….. but the screenplay is based on another film, which was started but was never completed because the story was said to be cursed, and the male and female leads were murdered during the filming. Beyond that, I understand very little (although reading some reviews on it since, I don’t think you’re supposed to) but the film certainly kept us entertained (with characters’ heads turning into rabbit heads, and big scary faces all up in the screen). I don’t know that I’ve seen anything more bizarre in my life…. and the whole reason we were so keen to watch it was how much we’d enjoyed the utterly crackers Twin Peaks. But as Adam said, Inland Empire rather makes Twin Peaks look like neighbours!

The flower stall entrance at Liberty

On Saturday morning it was a breakfast of cheese omelette to set us up for a busy day….. we started by giving the flat a quick clean before I headed into town, leaving Adam playing Playstation. I had a very important rendezvous with Siobhan at Liberty….. I was going along for her first wedding dress fitting!!!! Arriving a little early, I got off the bus next to H&M and had a quick look at their Marni collection, before heading over to Liberty to dribble over the Manolo Blahnik window displays.

Marni at H&M

Manolo Blahnik at Liberty

Manolo Blahnik at Liberty

Bursting with excitement to see the dress (and to have the excuse to potter about Liberty) I arrived to the lovely flowery entrance, and we went up to the fitting rooms (oohing and ahhing at lots on our way). Of course everything regarding the dress is top secret, but I will say that Siobhan looks absolutely stunning! We rounded off our visit with a little browsing…. I tried on the lovely new Liberty print lined Barbour jackets (really have my eye on the navy one!)…. and we couldn’t help but linger a while in the handbag department and around the incredible vintage costume jewellery (want it all!).

Fitting rooms at Liberty

Next, it was back on the bus to head over to Spitalfields and meet the boys. The market was hosting a Women’s Fair to celebrate International Women’s Day, and we enjoyed a root about the lovely stalls of jewellery and gifts etc. Favourite though was the East London Women’s Institute stand, from which we purchased several delicious slices of cake! By the time we’d eaten those though, we needed a rest before heading over the road to Poppies for our supper, and so we tootled back to the flat for a sit down.

Adam and I have been experimenting with lots of different home-flavoured vodkas, and with a new rose vodka to try, we had Siobhan and Matthew as guinea pigs. This flavour is probably one of our favourites now….it goes incredibly well with lemonade (I garnished with a slice of lemon and a dried rose bud) and was well-recieved all round. Next up, we sampled our cardamom vodka with lemonade, bitters and lime (another favourite of mine) and then our jasmine tea vodka with lemonade and lime. I think I’ll post a bit more about our vodka flavouring soon.

Rose vodka with lemonade all round

Suitably rested, we went back over to Spitalfields to have supper at one of our local favourites, Poppies Fish and Chips. It was the first time Matthew and Siobhan had been, and we were a little bothered to have to wait a while for a table (I didn’t know before, but you can book!)…. still, we chatted away the wait and it wasn’t long before they’d made up a table for us and we were yumming up our supper. It being pie week, I opted for the veggie pie…. Poppies take great pride in where their ingredients come from (the sustainable fish is from Billingsgate, the potatoes from Turnips in Borough Market, the chicken is free range…) and I was delighted to see on a previous visit that their pies are supplied by non other than Wrights Pies of my home town Stoke on Trent! In Stoke, we have pie shops dedicated to their wonderful products and I really do miss them! With Poppies chips, mushy peas and gravy though it was a real treat and I devoured the lot along with my pot of tea! The others enjoyed the lemon sole and rock, as well as some of the wonderful Meantime beer they stock. And so we practically rolled out of Poppies and back to the flat for a flavoured vodka night cap, before Siobhan and Matthew headed home.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows (photo courtesy of Adam)

By Sunday morning we were in much need of a lie in, and so it was a lazy start to the day we enjoyed. For breakfast, Adam made amazing hot chocolates from especially thick Jersey milk, with little marshmallows on top. Then after a bit more faffing about, we popped to Waitrose for groceries (and Duchy Originals hot cross buns for tea!). When home, we completed the crossword as tradition dictates, before we began preparing an early dinner…. We couldn’t end pie week with anything other than pie, and I’ve been meaning to make my (Savoury) Sweet Potato Pie for Adam for ages. And so Adam grated the potatoes whilst I made the almond-rich pastry….and an hour later it was ready to serve up warm with a yummy fresh slaw (grated carrot, thinly sliced onion and red cabbage, mixed with olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkles of sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds) and a dollop of creme fraiche. Lush!

My sweet potato pie with slaw and creme fraiche

We finished up a relatively restful day slobbing out in front of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World…. I’ve not seen it since the cinema although we’ve had it on Bluray for ages, and I’d forgotten how truly awesome it is. If you’ve not seen it I would really highly recommend it to any Edgar Wright fans, comic book fans, computer gamers and musos. I still can’t decide if I want to be Ramona or Knives more!

Anyway, hope you had a great weekend….do share any pie-based adventures!

Ems x

Poppies of Spitalfields

We just got home from what was supposed to be a quick trip to the Lomography shop to pick up my latest batch of photos, followed by a fleeting visit to The Luxe for a Manhattan. And whilst we were successful in both of these tasks, we were just far too lazy to walk all the way home before supper (and furthermore cook it)…..and so it was that we ventured just over the road from Spitalfields Market to the wonderful Poppies.

A legendary haunt in the East End, ‘Pop’ and his family have been serving Fish and Chips since 1945. The gloriously retro diner style cafe, decked with chrome, mirrors, black and white photos and the most stunning turquoise juke box, is staffed by equally gorgeous waitresses dressed in vintage pinnies and head scarves. We also couldn’t help noticing how impeccably clean the place is, and how unlike so many similar places, there’s not a chip or scuff to be found in any of their tableware or furniture. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it hard to leave without humming the catchy 50s tunes they play, oh so discretely in the background.

For our naughty supper, Adam and I both opted for tea (lovingly delivered in a pot each, placed onto a cute Hackney Cab design coaster), then Rock and Chips. With mushy peas, of course. Our food was delivered in super speedy time, and was super delicious to boot…. The fish was gorgeously moist and tender, the batter crisp and tasty, and the chips chunky and, well, Adam reckons ‘light’.

There’s no way we could have managed pudding without needing a cab home, and let’s face it, the ten minute walk is absolutely necessary to clear some of the calorie guilt, if not actually work off any decent proportion of the meal. But then, it is a Monday night, and when better for a pick-me-up treat?!

PS. Poppies also have a Blog…. here….. and offer a take away service as well as eat in! Do try!!