Thursday, 31 July 2014

Top 5 places to eat in Covent Garden, London

I currently work in the Covent Garden area and have had PLENTY of opportunities to try out the cuisine. I have tried and tested many places to eat in Covent Garden and now it is only right that I share with you my top 5 recommendations. These are places I would happily have my lunch or dinner every day of the week if I could afford to! I will start from the top left corner of the photograph and work my way down clockwise.

1. Homeslice Pizza
I am literally salivating thinking about Homeslice. When my friends first took me there I was a bit sceptical as I thought it might be a pizza place that is better for meat eaters than vegetarians, but how wrong I was! The pizzas are 20 inch and £20. The pizzas are so big you would definitely have one between two, if not one between four! I am also obsessed with getting a takeaway slice at lunch time for £4. My favourite one is courgette and artichoke. The only negative experience I have had there is once when the waiter asked me if I would like a napkin with my takeaway slice and I said yes, he gave me loads of napkins and said 'enjoy the rainforest'! I was shocked, but not shocked enough to never go back! He should know you can get recycled napkins!

2. Rock and Sole Plaice
Ok, point number one, it has an AWESOME name. Point number two, it's fish and chips. Point number three, established in 1871, it is London's oldest fish and chip restaurant. With over 140 years experience, they sure know how to produce the BEST chips out there. If you are looking for a sit down fish and chips experience it does come with a hefty price tag of around £18! But if like me, you just want to treat yourself to a bag of takeaway chips it's only about £2 or £3. Basically, if you like fish and chips – you HAVE to make a visit, I promise you won't regret it! The decor is also... how shall I put it... something special!

3. Koshari Street
Ahhh, Koshari Street, how glad I am that my Dad found you! I even devoted a whole blog post to them earlier in December 2013! It is Egyptian street food. The main dish is a base of pasta, noodles and lentils, followed by a tomato sauce (mild, hot or very hot - your choice), then some chickpeas, some seeds and spices, finished off with a good helping of dried onion. At £3 for a small pot, which at lunch is all you need, it is a bargain!

4. Food for Thought
Probably the most legendary vegetarian cafe in London. Every day they have a different menu, you can only pay by cash and the seating is much like a school canteen. I would say the environment is perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but the flavours of the dishes are unbeatable. Plus, it is really reasonably priced. The photo I have up there is one of their delicious scones, I think that one was strawberry and chocolate. If you are a vegetarian and in London you cannot miss going here. 

5. Sticks 'n' Sushi
I have only been here a couple of times as it is mega expensive. The first time I went it was free with work so we had most things on the menu! I highly recommend the elderflower drink, the Ebi Katsu, the edamame beans, the broccoli and the epic desserts featured in the photo above. The restaurant originates from Denmark, as most good things in life do! 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Race for life 2014

On Sunday I ran the Race for Life in Hyde Park. It was 10km and I did it with two of my old school friends and my sister. I raised just over £100. 

The most poignant moments for me during the race were reading the reasons (attached to the runners' backs) people were running the race. So many people were doing if for multiple people they had lost, some doing it for their mothers or their fathers. It was really emotional and I ended the race slumped in my boyfriend's arms crying! I felt it was a personal achievement in terms of physical fitness and endurance, but also as a bigger group achievement in raising over a million pounds for Cancer Research UK.

I found the whole experience really overwhelming. In training I got to 8km and thought 10km would be ok, but wow – do not underestimate those last 2km! My lower back hurt, my knees hurt, I was hungry plus I'd been thinking about all these people the runners had lost. 

I was so glad that I had experienced the race along with my close friends, sister and boyfriend. One of my close friend's mum gave me the flower to the left when I had finished, she is a real fighter and for her to thank me was really humbling. The whole thing was humbling, and made me remember that even if everything feels like it's not going well, your health, physical and mental, should always be your priority.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Copper homeware!

I've been promising this post for a while now, sorry for the delay, but it's here now, yey! The copper homeware trend is coming back in a big way if Habitat's A/W lookbook is anything to go by. The copper theme is already in the shops and this is a taste of my favourite pieces. Let me know which ones are your favourites and as always please recommend homeware stores to me, I have included a piece from my new favourite store, Edited. Enjoy!
1. Karlsson copper engraved wall clock, £25, Habitat

2. Giant angled floor lamp, £129, Edited

3. Antique copper soap/lotion dispenser, £12.09+, Etsy

4. Accents copper 4 slice toaster, £49.99, Morphy Richards

5. Copper vase, £28.95, Not on the High Street

6. Lantern in glass and metal, £12.99, H&M

7. Copper desk magazine holder, £28, Anthropologie

8. Pipework candelabra copper, £50, Heal's

9. Copper hammered bowl, £6.50, Rose and Grey

10. Barefoot copper table lamp, £55, Oliver Bonas

Friday, 25 July 2014

Wedding outfit options – which do you prefer?

I am going to my cousin's wedding in a few weeks time and I am yet to buy a new outfit for it, because of course it is very important to buy new clothes for a wedding, such a good excuse! Anyway, I was wondering if you could help me to decide what type of outfit to go with. I have put together three options, I would really really appreciate your help! Please comment telling me which outfit I should go for!

Option 1
Dionysus Skirt, Yellow, £45, Coast

Pretty Hybrid Panel Top, £26, Topshop

Miss KG White 'Paige' Mid Heel Sandals, £55, Debenhams

Option 2
Floral Flare Dress, Light Green, £139, Ted Baker

Match White Flat T-bar Sandals, £49, Kurt Geiger

Option 3
Floral Fit and Flare Dress, £35, Miss Selfridge

Gold Sunray Clutch, £25, Coast

Dolly Nude Flat T-bar Sandals, £25, Kurt Geiger

Thursday, 24 July 2014

My top five blogs!

1. Vivianna Does Makeup
The reason: I love her writing style and the photographs. She always replies or acknowledges any tweets and I am also obsessed with her weekly vlog.

2. Spitalfields Life
The reason: I love reading about people and history and this has both. I am also reading the book and am completely addicted. I cannot believe the quality of every blog post every day!

3. Essie Button
The reason: It's Essie Button! She is so similar to me in so many ways and I honestly think we would be friends if we met! This sounds so cheesy, I'm going to stop! The blog design is my favourite out of anyone's blog design.

4. J. O. G. Blog
The reason: The content is so varied and honest. The writing is also top quality! You will always keep coming back to this blog to find out what the girls have been up to!

5. Zoella
The reason: No matter what Zoella does I am always on board, and I am very jealous of her flat and her interior design style choices. Basically, I want to be her, lol.

Please let me know what your top favourite blogs are, as I always love finding new ones!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I do judge an album by its cover: my favourite album covers

I did a similar post to this not long ago, entitled 'I do judge a book by its cover'. I felt it was only right that I did a post on my favourite album art. I was inspired to do this after watching Fun for Louis and seeing the new album cover of his friend, Josh Record. I think this album cover is of such a high design calibre and I wanted to point out some of my other favourites. The down side about this post is that I haven't been able to find who the album artwork was designed by. Please comment below letting me know your favourite album artwork PLUS whose music you like!

1. Josh Record, Pillars

2. Bombay Bicycle Club, A Different Kind of Fix

3. Clean Bandit, New Eyes

4. King Creosote, From Scotland with Love

5. Sigur Ros, Hvarf/Heim

6. The Gloaming, The Gloaming

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Butternut squash and tomato dip

This is a super easy recipe and ideal for those of you who are stuck for lunch ideas OR bored of hummus!

Step 1:
Cut up the top part of a butternut squash into small cubes. Alternatively buy pre-cut butternut squash, as they can be incredibly difficult to cut. Add to a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Cook until soft, around 30 minutes in a hot oven. Add the cherry tomatoes when you think the butternut squash only needs 5 minutes more.
Step 2:
Mash the butternut squash until paste-like. Add one and a half tablespoons of yoghurt and stir. Add black pepper to taste.
Step 3:
Finally, stir in your tomatoes, mashing them as you stir. Serve in a small pot along with crackers or pitta bread.
Let me know if you try this and whether you would like some more recipes like this!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Ten ways to cope with the heat

We Brits all complain about the weather, it's our thing, right?! But when it's on the edge of 30 degrees, we cannot cope. At the moment we are suffering from a heatwave, so I thought I would share with you my top ten ways of coping with the heat. Please tell me yours too!

1. Tie your hair up

2. Avoid wearing a bra where possible or at least not a padded one

3. Open all the windows

4. Drink plenty of water, avoid anything that dehydrates you, like alcohol

5. Take a handheld fan with you everywhere you go along with a bottle of water

6. Run your wrists under cold water

7. Don't blow dry your hair, let it dry naturally

8. Try to move as little as possible (lol)

9. Work from home if possible

10. Slap on the suncream and WEAR A HAT!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Beautiful oyster card holders

This is a post about beautiful oyster card holders, however I realise not all of them were originally meant for oyster cards or travel cards, but all of them work well for this purpose. I think my dream one would be the Smythson one, but why is it so expensive?! Please let me know in the comments of any more beautiful card holders! 

1. Credit card holder, Pale blue, Whistles, £20

2. Leather zip purse, £19, Cos

3. Leather card holder, Dark green, & other stories, £5

4. Small zip leather pouch wallet, Chartreuse, £53, Sophie Hulme 

5. Grained leather credit card slip, Poppy red, Mulberry, £90

6. Panama card case, Dark berry, £95, Smythson

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

I do judge a book by its cover: my favourite book covers

From left to right:

I've Lived in East London for 86 1/2 Years, Martin Usborne, Hoxton Mini Press
As you probably already know I am obsessed with random people's life stories. I did do Anthropology at University, so I was able to feed that obsession for three years! There is something so intriguing about this old man and I really like the colours of the cover. The green of the battered door and the neutral tones of the old man's outfit create an almost Scandinavian vibe.

The Kinfolk Table, Nathan Williams, Workman
This cover reminds me of one of my favourite artists, Hammershoi. Hammershoi is known for painting empty rooms and the back of people's heads, basically for representing anonymity and presence.

Wallpaper* City Guide Copenhagen, Wallpaper*, Phaidon Press
I love Copenhagen as a city, I love Wallpaper* guides and I love this mustard yellow colour at the moment, so how could I not love this guide?!

A Modern Way to Eat, Anna Jones, Fourth Estate
This really reminds me of a lot of people's wordpress blogs! It is really simple and chic with a pop of colour.

The Art of Eating Well, Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley, Ebury Press
I know, I know, this book is everywhere, but I am in love with the cover design. Strong colours with the stark black and white colour really works.

Sculpture Today, Judith Collins, Phaidon Press
I am determined to know more about Sculpture so this is what initially drew me to this cover. Phaidon can always be relied on for their innovative covers.

Monday, 14 July 2014

One accessory for every room

I decided to write this post as more of a money saving post. If you are sick of your home decor just accessorising with one new piece of homeware can make the world of difference. I have carefully selected one piece for each room. I would definitely have each piece in my own home. This post has taken a long time to put together as I wanted to get it exactly right. I hope you enjoy reading it and I would love to know which is your favourite piece.

'Bakery' screenprint by James Brown, Mustard Vintage, £65
On family holidays in the mountains we relied on the bakeries to supply us with the majority of our breakfasts and lunches. I remember my mum going down every day before me and my sister even woke up to make sure she got the pick of the crop. This print really reminds me of those times.

Living room:
I know this looks expensive – but think of this way – it's table and a lamp for £180, bargain!

Button rose bath towel, Cath Kidston, £27
I was searching the internet for ages for the best looking towels, but also good quality towels. I kept coming across beautiful linen towels, but realistically these are just not as good as a really soft fluffy towel. I came back to Cath Kidston, because no matter how much I want to move on from Cath Kidston, their prints are just so classic, I couldn't help it. These were the prettiest towels I could find, hands down.

Geo lambswool knitted cushion, Seven Gauge Studios, £65
Zoella featured this cushion on one of her blog posts, but didn't leave a link for it. I furiously searched the web for it – literally took me about 20 minutes, but eventually I found it! Such cute throw cushions for your bed. I absolutely love the yellow homeware trend at the moment.

Dining room:
Basic desert plate, Folklore, £12.50
It's the Essie Button effect... AGAIN. These plates are so unique and I love a plate with an edge, especially for sloppy pasta dishes. These plates will one day replace my multi-pack white plates from Ikea!


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Best skirts for summer 2014

1. Daisy Foil Skirt, Silver, Whistles, £125
I have seen this skirt many times on various websites and have always lusted after it. However being a short arse I don't think I could pull it off. Either way it had to go on the list for best skirts for summer 2014. It is so chic and perfect as part of a 'day to night' outfit.

2. Espejo Stitched Skirt, Anthropologie, £118
Sorry, another expensive one, but hopefully it'll be in the sales soon! I love the detailing on this skirt. Aztec and tribal prints are so on trend this year and this one is spot on. I also really like the length of this skirt. I think just above the knee is my favourite length of skirt.

3. Tribal Jacquard Mini Skirt, Oasis, £35
Another tribal skirt, but this time much more subtle. I like this skirt as it is understated and non-offensive. It would be an ideal 'work to interview' skirt, simply swap a T-shirt for a shirt and this is smart and sophisticated nailed.

4. Rita Skirt, Coast, £125
I saw this skirt on Arabella Golby's instagram and fell in love with it instantly! Again, probably too long for a short person like me, but with a great pair of heels I think it could work. This skirt reminds me of a certain style of wallpaper, in a good way. It is one for those summer weddings.

5. Puffy Jacquard Pocket Pelmet Skirt, Topshop, £34
I blame one of my besties, Holly, for this being on the list. She paired it with a denim shirt, black vest top, black tights and black boots. I would never have thought about owning a white skirt, but as part of this outfit, I am sold!

6. Flower Jacquard A-line Skirt, Topshop, £35
Essie Button has done it again, I have become so obsessed with this skirt she owns, that I've only gone and bloody bought it. I bought it in the regular size 10 but then received an email saying it was out of stock and they had to cancel my order. So I furiously searched the internet to see if other stores had it in stock, but had no such luck. Finally I found they still had stock of the petite version, so I've bought that in a size 12. Not sure if that was the right thing to do... is petite size smaller round the waist or just shorter in length? I think I know the answer and I think I might have to return it... ugh.

I hope you liked this post and please do let me know what your favourite skirt for this summer is!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Film review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

I literally cannot remember the last time I went to the cinema, it must have been at least two years ago. I stopped going because the tickets are so expensive. When I lived in Manchester we used to go to the cinema for £2 a ticket! Recently I found out about Tuesdays at the Odeon, it is now £5.50 a ticket! It must be to do with no-one going to the cinema on a Tuesday, but hey, if it's cheap, I'm there! 

I decided we (me and the boyf) would go and see 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared', snappy title ey?! It is a film that has been adapted from a very successful book. First things first, I did not realise it was going to be in Swedish. The voiceover is in English with a Swedish accent but all the characters, bar one, speak in Swedish. Bonus points for me as the boyf is obsessed with Sweden and Swedish culture. I love subtitled films anyway, so this did not put me off. 

It is a really light-hearted storyline with a slightly deeper meaning. The story centres around a 100-year-old called Allan Karlsson. It follows him as he escapes from his retirement home on his 100th birthday and accidentally ends up stealing millions from a criminal gang. It shows the chase but also takes you through Allan's life, looking back over his extraordinary time as an explosives expert. He dances with Stalin and gets given a gun by Franco. Basically the point of the film is to take the 100-year-old's advice and just 'do' and stop over-thinking. I think this is a really important message for all us, especially bloggers. It is so easy to become wrapped up in what other people will think, or thinking so much that the time to 'do' has passed. My favourite character was a young student who unintentionally joins them on their journey. He represents so many young people today in that he is always studying for something and is incredibly indecisive about the career path he wants to follow. 

Being about a 100-year-old man you are probably expecting a sad ending, but far from it! I thought the film was hilarious and would highly recommend going to see.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Why I love a good desk

No matter who you live with or whether you have your own room or not, your desk can always be something that you make your own personal space.

The desk I currently have is just about wide enough for my computer and not much else, but as I live in a very small flat and share a lot of my space with my boyfriend, I am desperate for more desk space.

Throughout my teens I was obsessed with getting the perfect desk set up. One year, no joke, I asked for a swivel chair for my birthday! When the kids in assembly asked me what I got for my birthday and I told them 'a swivel chair', their suspicions of me being the odd one were confirmed! I often got stationary for my birthday. Getting the latest pencil case was obviously my main priority come September. And the day I got a Filofax, a pink Filofax... I can't even... I remember purchasing it to this day!

There's a sense that you can achieve anything you want in life as long as you're organised and have a good desk. Then Zoella posted about her 'office' with photos of her desk and I was so jealous! She had made a beautiful, personal and creative space for herself. 

With jealously comes motivation... right?! So, I went on the hunt for my ideal desk and decided to write a post about why I love a good desk. I saw Essie Button's video on her new makeup table and her boyfriend used 'hairpin' legs for the desk. I have never really paid much attention specifically to the legs of a desk, but all of a sudden all I wanted in a desk was 'hairpin' legs. I'm also obsessed with reclaimed wood and the colour yellow for homeware. Then I found my holy grail desk... I present to you the Hairpin yellow steel leg vintage industrial desk.

You will note how I have mentioned 'desk set up' throughout this post. Obviously the search was not over once I found this desk as I got obsessed with trying to find out where the lamp was from. I even set up an account on the Hunt! Then I was trying to put together a 'good desks' board on Pinterest and amazingly I found the lamp! Not amazingly, it was way out of my price range as it is a vintage Habitat Conran Maclamp Lamp. This is all going into my savings budget and I will post about it again when I have it all set up, but don't expect this to be until next year. Anyhow, I will wrap this post up now as I need to go and find that chair...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Beautiful bicycles

The Tour de France has now passed through London and I'm feeling inspired. I want to cycle from London to Paris, along those beautiful roads and be at one with... WAIT... just kidding! But it did make me think about getting a bike to ride around the local park, but obviously I will only be getting on a bike that has soul and class. I've had a good browse around t'internet and found the most beautiful bikes out there. Let's get real though, this bike buying thing ain't happenin' until I got some more monies. Also, on a side note, I think I prefer the word bicycle, it sounds more feminine. Let me know which is your favourite!

No.1 – Pashley Sonnet in Spring colours... probably the cutest bike on the market... LOVE!

No.2 – Bobbin Birdie 2014 – absolutely obsessed with mustard yellow coloured things at the moment and this one hits the spot.

No.3 – Tokyo bikes Bisou white – very simple with brown detailing, very chic. Also, it looks almost the same as Hermés' £7,500 bike and it is a fraction of the price.

No. 4 – Women's Mercer - Martone Cycling Co. Ok, so it's not as feminine as the other bikes but the block colours of these bikes make them design icons. I couldn't not add them to this list.

No.5 – Missoni for Target. Sorry, this is a completely unobtainable one, but it's just too pretty to miss out!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Five tips for improving Mondays

1. Have your favourite breakfast. At the moment mine is rice pops with banana and sultanas, followed by pancakes and washed down with fresh apple juice.

2. Plan what film you are going to go and see on Bargain Tuesday at Odeon cinemas. I only just found out about this and am very excited. I hardly ever go to the cinema as I find it is so overpriced, but a ticket can be £6 for an adult rather than £10.50!

3. If you are finding Mondays depressing because you have to go to work, try and think about how it might feel if you woke up on a Monday with no job and no money. If this still sounds better than your job, apply for new jobs TODAY!

4. Go to your local bookshop and browse all the beautiful art books and fashion books and find inspiration.

5. Make your dinner interesting. You can do this by trying a new recipe or having your dinner in a different location, for example have a picnic dinner in the park.

I hope that you find these tips helpful for Mondays. I always hate Mondays, but once Monday is over the rest of the week flies by and then before you know it it's the weekend again! Hooray!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Best pizza topping ever

Alright, alright, so I didn't make the base. I have done in the past and there are soooo many recipes out there I don't think I need to put one here. Instead I decided to share with you a new flavour combination I have become OBSESSED with for pizza toppings. 

Here goes:
Thinly sliced courgette fried in a pan with olive oil
Crushed garlic
Fresh parsley

Classic mozzarella and tomato pasata

I know it sounds basic, but literally, so freaking amazing. Write in the comments below to let me know if you're going to try it or if you have already! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Topshop haul and review

1. Washed Pocket Tee, White, Topshop, £12. 
I bought the regular size 10 in this T-shirt (not petite) and it is pretty big. It has been great to have a baggy white T-shirt in this hot weather, however if you are looking for a more fitted T-shirt you should look at the petite range instead. The fabric of this T-shirt is such good quality and it feels like one of those T-shirts that is going to wash well, if you know what I mean!

2. Washed Pocket Tee, Mint, Topshop, £12. 
I bought this T-shirt in the petite size 10 and it is a much more flattering size than the regular size 10 I bought in the white version. I love the mint green colour of the T-shirt, I don't think the picture shows the colour quite accurately, it is more green than the picture shows. It is so comfortable and looks great with the skirt I purchased.

3. Slim Vest, Topshop, £6. 
I actually bought the mint green colour of this vest, however I couldn't find the colour online. This vest top is actually really low cut at both the front and the back. I was going to wear it to work and then I decided it was just too low cut. It is probably better for those with a larger chest. I will wear it when I'm not at work, but it's not exactly what I was looking for.

4. Monochrome Pelmet Skirt, Topshop, £34. 
I love this skirt! I bought the size 10 and it is a perfect fit, not too tight and not too short. It looks short on the model, but as I'm just past 5 foot it is obviously a bit longer on me! The material feels such good quality and it is so comfortable to wear. This is definitely my favourite purchase of all. I think it's a great idea to go out and look for one statement piece and then look for some basic items that will compliment it.

5. Ankle Leggings, Topshop, £12. 
These are my favourite leggings of all time. They wash well, they last and I've had pairs of these leggings that have lasted at least 3 years already. I bought these as I am wearing leggings on a daily basis and didn't have enough. I hate showing my bright white legs at work so I always go for leggings, even if it's 27 degrees outside! Please give me suggestions as to how to get over this!

Now, I know you're probably thinking – why has she just bought these clothes when she is saving for Australia?! Well... I've sold lots of my old clothes on eBay recently and have used that money to buy these clothes! Thrifty ey!?! Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know what you think of my new purchases!

Friday, 4 July 2014

How to be more grateful

My Dad sent me this text a few days ago:

"My mother would have been 103 tomorrow. On her third birthday Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo, which led to the outbreak of the First World War."

This got me thinking about how lucky we are today, not having to experience the First or the Second World War like so many of our elderly relatives. We so often loose sight of reality, complaining about not being able to get the latest eyeliner or afford the designer handbags, when our ancestors would have been worrying about when their food rationing would end and whether their loved ones would return from the war. 

I've often tried to notice those around me during my commute who are facing their own personal battles. When I get frustrated at the train delays or the over-crowded carriage, I look around me and wonder how other people are coping. For example, there is a man who I see most mornings who can hardly walk, he drags one leg all the way from the platform at Waterloo to the taxi rank. He still goes to work everyday despite the struggle and, little does he know, provides inspiration to me every time I see him. There is another man who is in a wheelchair who gets the same train as me and who never asks for a wheelchair ramp. Holding the bars by the side of the doors he just pulls himself onto the carriage using only his arm strength. I had to do a double take when I saw this the first time. 

The other day I saw an elderly man with a huge bandage on the top of his head with his wife, he looked so grateful to have her there. Noticing the subtle interactions people have with each other is fascinating and reminds you of how important physical social interaction is. No computer can show you the subtleties of people's emotions on such a raw level. 

Take a moment, take your headphones out, put your phone away and just have a look around you and appreciate the spectrum of emotions happening around you. It really helps to ground you and be grateful for the little things in life.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

The only macaroni cheese recipe you will ever need

Sooooooo tasty and comforting!
Serves 2

You will need:
  • 6 oz macaroni
  • 1 dessert spoon of margarine
  • 1 dessert spoon of corn flour
  • 1/4 pint of milk (or soya milk)
  • 2 oz of grated mature cheddar

1. Cook macaroni and run under cold water when cooked.
2. Melt margarine in a pan.
3. Add flour and stir until it makes a ball.
4. Gradually add the milk, each time letting it boil to avoid lumps.
5. When you have added all the milk it will be quite runny.
6. Then add your grated mature cheddar and make sure it does not boil.
7. Pour the sauce over your cooled macaroni and stir.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste and peas if you fancy!
9. You can always add extra cheese on top and bake in the oven too.
10. Sit in your favourite seat and enjoy!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Can anyone go to an art auction?

Emin's bed selling at auction

Yesterday evening I spontaneously decided to go and see Tracey Emin's bed sell at auction at Christie's. I decided that it was such a key moment in the art world that I would not miss it. I almost went to see the sale of Munch's 'The Scream' but decided against it and have regretted it ever since. I saw that Emin's bed was selling and asked my colleague if she wanted to go. She was surprised that we could even go. This is what made me want to write this blog post. If you are at all interested in art and want to see it for free and pick up a free book, then the top auction houses are the places to be! Anyone can go. We went straight after work for the 7pm start. 

Neither of us were dressed appropriately but we walked straight in. It was absolutely packed. The majority of the art is on show and you can view it before you go in. We stood at the back and amazingly stood next to the bidder who bought a Francis Bacon for £10.2 million! The auctioneer is so theatrical and the atmosphere is electric. We watched 20 lots out of 75, it was so packed and sweaty, we would have stayed longer if it was cooler and we had a seat. We saw the Emin bed go for £2.2 million, £1 million more than predicted! Crazy money! As we left we asked how much the catalogues were and were told they were free! They are huge catalogues, if sold I reckon they would be worth £40. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I really recommend it!

Scale of the catalogue

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

How to save for a holiday

As you may or may not know I have recently booked a trip to Australia. On a low wage and living in London this has taken a fair while to save up for. Luckily I have a very clever boyfriend who taught me how to save. This involves a spreadsheet. I know, I know, I hate spreadsheets too but if it means you get to go on holiday... at least give it a try! Quick disclaimer: I realise that for many people this method of saving may not suit you at all, it is for those who have relatively stable incomes and relatively stable monthly outgoings. 

I have used an average salary of £1,300 a month in the template below. This works out at a salary of approx. £19,000 per annum. None of the figures below reflect my monthly salary or monthly outgoings.

Ok, so let's get started on the tutorial of how to make a money saving spreadsheet!

Step 1: Open Excel. 
2. If you are using an Apple computer then you will need to change how you view the spreadsheet to 'Normal'.

3. Set the page setup to Landscape.

4. Click 'View' and zoom to 125% or whatever suits you.
5. This next part looks complicated but it's not, promise! You will need to add in all your costs like the template below. Try to cover everything you spend on a regular basis every month – for example if you buy contact lenses once a month – add this in too. In order to get your 'final balance' in each column you need to add the formula =[CURRENT BALANCE - TOTAL BILLS - DISPOSABLE - AUSTRALIA - ANY EXTRAS] then press enter. This will give you your final balance. 
6. Make sure you save your document with an inspiring title! You can see below I have saved this template as 'Australia Budget'. Once you have done this format the line where you have your 'current balance' and use =[COLUMN+ROW NUMBER of final balance , e.g. B22]+your monthly salary. This will then mean your 'current balance' stays up to date, it adds or subtracts any overspend or underspend from the month before.

7. If you want to continue your saving for many months simply copy and paste the last month on your spreadsheet. Like so:

8. Make sure to change the names of the months.

9. You will see the formulas automatically transfer over too. So the figure at the end should be correct.

10. You can always add a fun graphic at the end to jazz it up a bit and make the spreadsheet more fun!
I hope this all made sense and is useful to you! Please comment below or tweet me if you want anything explained further!

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