Are you a curious (nosey) person? I am, a little anyway. I like to read posts from bloggers where they tell me what they have been eating and watching and reading. For lots of reasons, firstly it gives me more of an insight into them as a person and secondly because it gives me ideas, be it for meal inspirations or new books to read and films to watch. So I thought I would post a monthly update with what I’ve been enjoying or in some cases not enjoying from films, TV shows or new food products I have discovered, as well as a brief update with what is going on in my life.
I’ve included links where relevant, not because I have been asked to or compensated for it but for ease of reference for you.
What have I been watching?
I don’t always find the time to watch TV shows or films as much as I would like, but I do try to as it relaxes me, especially when I have a lot on my mind. I love the cinema and would love to go more regularly, films have always been a bit of a passion of mine and I love a good movie date.
Photo credit: Lloyd Dirks
In the cinema:
I’ve been to the cinema four times since Christmas…that’s a lot for me. I’ve seen Sing – an animated movie about a singing competition, slightly cheesy and annoying in parts but mostly heartwarming and the girls loved it. I’ve seen La La Land twice, once with my oldest school buddy and once with my sisters and I enjoyed it the first time but fell in love with it on the second trip, it is such a different film to anything else I’ve seen and I am a long time Gosling fan. Lastly I saw Lego Batman which I really didn’t expect to like but I ended up enjoying it and both girls are now committed Batman fans.
I’ve watched a few films and some Netflix shows. I watched The Light Between Oceans which although it is a beautifully made film, I cannot really recommend it as I found it desperately sad and as a parent quite brutal to watch. I finally watched The Girl On The Train after reading the book a year or two ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also watched Gone Girl, another book that I read some time ago, as with the book I found it hard to empathise with any of the characters as none of them are very likeable but I enjoyed it anyway. I watched The Hundred Foot Journey which is a perfect film for foodies and I LOVED it. Finally I watched The Lake House – I first watched this film about 10 years ago when it first came out and although it is fairly soppy and totally impossible I enjoyed it the second time around also, it’s a story of life and love and about how the small decisions we make in life have huge consequences.
Aside from films I have watched a few shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. A few friends recommended Mad Men and I am now nearly onto the third series and slightly addicted to the show..the clothes, the characters and my own love/hate feelings for Don Draper. I have also been watching some comedy shows on Netflix, I can recommend Louis CK, I was introduced to these shows by a friend and I am so glad I was as he is utterly hilarious in such a dry way. I began watching Santa Clarita Diet before realising I didn’t have the stomach for it. Documentary wise I have recently watched Abstract: The Art Of Design which I found fascinating as well as some older episodes of Planet Earth which if you haven’t made the time to watch then you need to. I am planning to watch the David Brent Life On The Road movie this week which I have spotted is now on Amazon Prime and I’m ready to delve into Chefs Table season 3 …oooh and just spotted Fresh Prince is now on Netflix…could probably make some time for that!
Photo credit: Jens Kreuter
What have I been reading?
At my regular office job I am on a computer and/or phone for 8 hours a day and then on my lunch break I found I was answering blog emails or drafting blog posts before coming home, making/eating dinner with the girls and after their bedtime going back to work on the computer – I was getting some serious screen time headaches. Now on my lunch break I try to read or walk instead and I have been enjoying breezing through books the way I used to when I had less obligations. I have read Andy Cope, The Art Of Being Brilliant which is a great read and fairly inspiring and I am now reading Messy – How To Be Creative & Resilient In A Tidy Minded World, Tim Harford, I will let you know what I think next month. Fiction wise I have read One Day, David Nicholls – I saw this film quite a few years ago and I wasn’t overly impressed with it but I enjoyed the book, it’s sad and hard to read in parts but ultimately tells the beautiful story of two friends and their 20 year friendship/romance based on a meeting they have on the same day each day no matter where they were, it is a real story with real issues and I recommend it. I have also been enjoying magazines again, in particular Simple Things and Blogosphere.
What am I listening to?
I am having a bit of a John Legend love in at the moment, after watching La La Land and not realising until he appeared on screen that he was in it I have fallen for his dulcet tones once more. Start A Fire is on the La La Land soundtrack and is my song of the moment, even the girls know the lyrics with Izzy questioning me about it at bedtime last week – one line goes like this: I don’t know what your name is but I like it – try explaining that to a five year old.
What have I been eating and drinking?
Lots. I have managed to mostly kick start my appetite again with a lot of exercise and more sleep. Highlights from this month include natas from Nata & Co in Cardiff:
I had absolutely incredible Baked Salsify from Quo Vadis in Soho and a surprisingly delicious meal at Ask Italian – surprising because I never get my hopes up when it comes to chain restaurants but the battered courgette fries were out of this world.
I had one of the nicest coffees I have tried at a Turkish coffee house/chocolatiers in Piccadilly:
And at home I created this Double chocolate & irish cream milkshake which was indecently tasty:
Food Products I love right now:
I discovered these ganache pots in Aldi last week and oh my word.. I love anything salted caramel but these are pretty special. Not sure if it’s a permanent product line or one of the random products that pop up instore but if you see them ..BUY them. The ceramic ramekins they come in are reusable and pretty cool too.
You may have noticed on Instagram that I love Lakrids by Johan Bulow, they are a Danish brand of liquorice and they are just incredibly good. I have never really been a fan of traditional liquorice and I am still not likely to just go and buy any other types but this brand is something else. My favourites are the salted caramel but I like all of the ones I have tried and I have also experimented with their liquorice powders and syrups.
And what else has been happening?
Well I thought it had been a quiet month or so but really when I look back I achieved a fair amount. I finally hit my 4000 followers target on Instagram and that has since grown by another 300. I have been featured three times on the front page of The Daily Meal website, including being chosen as their Blogger Spotlight which you can see here. I also took over their Instagram account for a week which was lots of fun. I wouldn’t have imagined a year ago that I would be featured on one of the top food websites in the world at any point so that has been nice!
I had my tattoo! I went to Physical Graffitti in Cardiff for my tattoo which was designed and tattoed by Chris Hatton, it was super painful but he made me really relaxed and I love the end result. You can check it out on my Instagram page.
I feel like I have completely recovered from my op that I had in November and my fitness levels are so much better, I actually just yesterday received a letter to advise me that all of my tests that were done during the operation had given satisfactory results so I don’t need to return, nearly 3 months seems a long time to wait for results but I almost forgot about it with all I have had going on, yet it was still a relief to read it. I’ve spent lots of times with the girls, on cinema trips and with my mum exploring Swansea. They are at a fun age, entertaining to spend time with and so loving. Life is stressful and chaotic, there are always things out of my control which I wish I could change but I have to remember that I am lucky in who I have in my life and especially these two smiling faces.
I had a cocktail and nibbles night at my house with my sisters, mum and sister in laws, I like entertaining at home as you can completely chill out and you don’t need to wear heels! You can find the recipe for my Rose Gin cocktail here.
I travelled to London last month for a really interesting evening spent celebrating the new book The British Table from Colman Andrews at Quo Vadis, a private members club in Soho, it was a small, intimate affair which could have been intimidating and I realised just how far I have grown in confidence levels this last year and my belief in myself as a food writer. It was a nice realisation. It was also nice to visit London again as it’s been a few months since my last trip.
I almost forgot to tell you that I now have a YouTube channel which you can find here. This past month has seen me post my first two food videos over on Facebook to a great response and it’s something I am learning more about and enjoying more and more.
Coming up I have some exciting press trips potentially planned out as well as new collaborations on and off the blog. I have one of my best friends hen weekends coming up and we will be enjoying a spa and cocktails break which is desperately needed. I have a lot planned for the blog this next month including another food video and five new recipes as well as some new brand collaborations.