Thoroughly enjoyed my first time at Cheltenham! Really, one of the best day’s out I’ve ever had, and such a fun environment. Yum – I LOVE a man in a tweed jacket – especially with a well made pair of suede or leather Chelsea boots! A sore head and a winning betting slip the next morning (hurrah! I won a whole £21!). I am even starting to recognise some of the horses from other races I’ve been to (my favourite is “Ask Dillon”). People are so much friendlier than London, and me and a girlfriend went in sexy equestrian chic outfits, (my riding breeches went down very well!) Many people don’t know that I am a country girl at heart. My dream life is to live in a massive house in the country, raising a few animals, riding horses, and so on, whilst still maintaining my Bond Girl meets Sex Kitten credentials, and still enjoying glamorous London life when it suits. Cheltenham was an absolute blast – I would love to go again.
Yummies! I am becoming OBSESSED with all things mid century. I recently bought my first few mid century pieces – a conscious decision to start researching and investing in furniture that will last forever. I have fallen in love with the mid century era 50s-70s, G Plan, Ladderax, teak, and so on.
I know you will perhaps be reading this, thinking, really?! That old stuff I threw away decades ago, is now “in”? Well… yes! I have spent a long time really trying to find great pieces, travelling all over to visit second hand shops, and of course looking online on Vinterior (my new favourite online shop). So far I have a lamp, and a GORGEOUS side table/TV stand (above left). Can you believe you can purchase a hand made, solid and timeless wood 60’s sidetable for 20% of the price of the HEALS equivalent? The old lady that sent it to me also mentioned it was actually originally made not far from where I am living, and she was pleased it was “coming home”. How lovely, I love the idea of only ever being a custodian of furniture. I’m no Greta Thunberg, but I’ve also started becoming conscious about waste. Why buy an ugly new wooden item, when you can get such a characterful, well crafted older item that already exists and is looking for a home? As you may well be aware, I’m rather partial to a bit of older wood 😉 So my new journey of decorating my apartment suits me very well!
Still to buy: A record cabinet (I have a medium sized record collection), A Danish Ladderax shelving unit, a couple of mid century armchairs, and then one last chair for the bedroom – I’m thinking something more relaxed that can double up as (there’s no polite way of saying this…) sexual apparatus. So… A massive futon style chair (my favourites are by the brand De Sede, below left), or my dream – a Linge Roset Togo Chair with footstool (below right). I have made friends with a few furniture dealers who now send me emails every now and again when something comes in that they think I may like. It’s hard to put into the words the simple joy I get from this process. I love interiors and love aesthetics and making a space look good.
Although not possible with the space and resources I currently have, below are some examples of my dream home 🙂
William Morris said “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
Now if that isn’t an endorsement to invite me over, I don’t know what is! 😉
How are you?
Providing you’re not frozen to death or running a fever, I’ll assume things could be worse! Have had a hectic week unpacking (nearly there) and am finally settling in. Moving house really reminds you how many things you accumulate over the years. I found myself throwing out entire boxes of miscellaneous things – handbooks for appliances I no longer own, clothes I haven’t worn in 5 years, and so on. I’m one of those people who sees value in everything so it was a tough but necessary process.
Have redirected my mail, joined a gorgeous new gym, and am now ready for the rain to stop and spring to finally arrive. Spring is probably my favourite season, such a beautiful time of year: the time I put away my heavy winter coats and boots in favour of pretty dresses and strappy sandals (although as I type this, the rain pours outside). Spring is the time for sitting out on a terrace with high heels and sunglasses on, drinking too many aperol spritz and eating crab salad (my favourite!) Mount Street Deli used to do the most delicious pre made picnics (shameful for a cook like me to buy a pre made picnic, but they were really good!) that were perfect for bringing to the park for a lazy afternoon. Speaking of cooking, I recently completed a Macaron Masterclass and learned how to make these tricky little delicacies. Like so many things in life, it’s all about the detail. The class was outside London, and would you believe I got home and realised only then that I’d left all the macarons I had painstakingly made, back there in the fridge! Annoying, but I was secretly glad as it’s a dangerous thing for the waistline to be home alone with box of macarons, during a time of such national angst.#
Should I perish suddenly and ungracefully, it would be remiss of me not to mention The Massive “C” (no, “The Massive C” is not a euphemism for your penis – I’m talking about coronavirus of course!). I default to a “things could always be worse” attitude at times like this. I’m seeing a dystopian future where perhaps you and I get quarantined together and have to survive a decade on a meagre diet of pasta bake and sex (so basically, a bit like University). Ocado has sent me a typically British email letting me know that the nation has gone mad, so I best order my smoked salmon and almond milk asap, before everything runs out and we resort to cannibalising each other.
So far I have taken the following measures:
1. Stockpiling chocolate (more as a coping mechanism).
2. Using a balaclava as a face mask (entering banks and jewellery shops is becoming difficult).
3. Pretending I’ve got a fever in order to get a train carriage to myself.
4. Washing hands with vodka (then licking it off, which perhaps defeats the purpose but at least gets you pissed, which is the international cure for everything).
5. Maintaining an absolutely infantile sense of humour about the whole thing in order to cover up my sense of unstoppable and impending doom.
Okay… so the TRUTH is, I have bought some extra food.
Well, because everyone else is doing it (as far as basic supply and demand goes, that’s reason enough) and because I imagine it’s realistic that theres a possibility I could be home for a couple of weeks, should things go badly wrong. That archaic way of shopping: “Ye Olde Weekly Shoppe” isn’t something I really do anymore. I normally buy just a couple of days in advance at most, as dinners, travel, and life often get in the way and mean if I buy too much I’ll waste a lot. Don’t really want to end up in the position where I’m living on Soy Sauce and optimism, so I’ve caved in and bought myself a big bag of rice and some tins (don’t laugh at me!)
It’s been so long since I updated and I’ve barely had a quiet moment. Have been really enjoying the theatre (4x last month), ballet (went to a fantastic gala), and film (loved “The Gentleman”, double-loved “1917”). Have lots of upcoming travel plans and foodie adventures so I’m looking forward to ticking more items off my bucket list. It’s also been lovely to see you (yes you!) A wondeful start to the year, and I can honestly say, such impressively consistent and exhilarating dates with intelligent, kind, and generous people. Whether we met for the first time, or the thirty first, a big thankyou for such a wonderful couple of months.
This blog is becoming too long and anyway I’ve got a shipping container of tinned peaches arriving within the hour, so that’s all for now.
See you soon in my new bunker! 😉
In the City
In a starched blouse
Skin tight jeans in indigo
Sauntering through Waitrose in
Six inch stilettos
Avoiding all eye contact
Ticking things off my list
Bending over frequently.
I am conjuring up a revolution
Half way between “Organic” and the Delicatessen.
I could smell you before I saw you:
Tom Ford Oud Wood
And cigar smoke:
You lean over me and your hand lingers in front of the Decaf
Moves swiftly upwards to the Arabica beans
Causing your shirt cuff to fall back and reveal a
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso
Fastened around a
I already know I can’t resist you
As I turn and
Nervous grey eyes that
Between my face and my breasts and
You’re starting to sweat.
Beads of sweat
Sprout from your forehead like
You wipe it of hastily and I
Patch under your arm.
It’s peculiar really,
There is something
Inexplicably appealing about how
You have a life I could
From your 6:30am
10pm nightcap whilst watching the news
You like your curry mild
Your wine French
Your holidays to the Almalfi
And the same man has been
Cutting your hair for
Sixteen and a half years.
You want a dog,
And to restore a classic car,
Don’t have the time
Work too hard.
You are West London.
Chinos, leather soles, Hermes cufflinks, platinum watch, razorcut, silver hair that’s balding up top, and a Ferragamo belt
Below three or four years of excessive Scotts and Nobu.
I go first
(And I am a slave to lust.
And I would let you fuck me right here
And I’d beg you for it but
You look like the type with a
Reputation to keep.)
You reach for your card
I stop you and hand you mine.
“…your future ex wife.”
You laugh and
Your dentist is good
A couple crowns round back
Three little spots of blood
On your shirt where
You’ve cut yourself shaving
I think you’re the type to
Call me Princess
Stroke my hair and
Glutton for punishment.
You take the card,
And in the process
Drop the coffee.
Retrieving it you
Avoid the smell
Emanating from me.
Like an animal;
I am heaving with
Desperately trying to leave
This honey trap
Before another one of these
Grey haired devils
Tries to tempt me.
They are everywhere
A collective Medusa
Finished one off in your head,
Five others appear;
Brown leather briefcases, TAG Heuers, Tie pins, Fitbits, Square rimmed glasses, Pinstripes, Liberty print, Bentley keyrings, Smythson wallets, iPhones, Polo Ralph Lauren, GANT, Trollies full of expensive wine and cote de beuf, they buy smoked salmon, Montrachet, asparagus, mustard. Some are balding, some are grey,
Some are looking discretely but
Christ, I love the coffee aisle in Waitrose,
But I don’t care much for coffee.
I’m ticking off
From my list
Thinking about Mr Jaeger LeCoultre
Of middle aged
I’ve long since
Soaked through my thong so
It’s a taxi home
Until the next time
Find an excuse to be
In the City
Moving this week and wow – moving is SO STRESSFUL! Trying (and failing) my best to be organised and systematic. From downsizing your wardrobe, to buying new furniture, to spending hours on hold trying to switch your broadband, to cleaning out your spice rack and realising the paprika you’ve been using passed it’s sell by date in 2017 (not really!), I can see why most people just stay in the same house forever. Still, looking forward to a new neighbourhood, and hopefully new friends once I’m settled in Marylebone. Feeling excited! Thankyou to everyone who made my dream move possible… How lucky I am to spend my time with such kind and generous gentlemen!
Currently needing to half furnish my new place and have decided to invest in my first high quality vintage pieces. There are so many beautiful things out there, and I particularly like the mid century modern style, so that’s what I’m going for.
If you wanted to help with my move I would be exceptionally grateful! Most useful for me would be a gift card for either Vinterior (where I am sourcing most of my vintage things) or John Lewis:
Thanks so much for being patient. Patience is a virtue and one that will be most definitely rewarded by me. All will be back to usual (well, things could never be usual… but you know what I mean) within the next few days.
Can’t wait to see you soon,
Hey yummies! Won’t trouble you with the crazy week I’m having. The good news is I have the keys to my new place and am hoping to move in next week. I will write another post with further details but I would like to ask that you are patient with me during this time. The new apartment is bigger and nicer but I am still searching for the details and furniture, so it may be a little sparse for the first couple of weeks (sparse meaning no bedside tables and so on – rest assured it will still be comfortable and there will be wine! haha)
In the meantime I have been rustling up some delicious creations in the kitchen as usual! This was my first time making Vietnamese summer rolls. It’s very tricky to wrap them, so they were a little rough round the edges, but were still very delicious. I added some edible flowers, raw veg, prawns and a little five spice and coriander. I’m not fully convinced by this recipe, perhaps because I used hoi sin sauce which overpowered everything… I shall work on the recipe and try again in the future.
The next two images are my own recipe that I made today. I now have the ability to walk through the supermarket and pick up ingredients in an ad hoc way, making up a recipe as I go along, which is what I did for this delicious little lunch dish. Tomato and buratta tacos, with red pepper and almond pesto, spring onions, and topped with olive oil, oregano, and a little smoked chilli. Now I’m not one to blow my own trumpet (I’d much rather blow yours!) but this was an excellent creation and despite my usual self critical nature, I would not change anything if I were to repeat it. I was going to add blood orange for acidity and sweetness, but I forgot to add it and I’m glad I did. I like this taco idea and it’s my first time making them. Tomorrow I will attempt pulled chicken katsu tacos with pak choi and sesame (another recipe I have imagined). I cant wait to be in my bigger kitchen so I can really enjoy my cooking. Perhaps you’ll agree to taste some of my creations when you visit?!
See you soon – big kisses everywhere!
Buying a special bottle of wine and decided to stop in to Berry Bros for some advice. This was my first time in this beautiful, historic shop, that I pass on more than a twice weekly basis and always promise myself I must pop in to. It’s one of those quintessentially British shops – what can be more British than over priced alcohol and pretence (joke!). This place was founded in 1698! To think of all the people who have walked the same steps I did: King George, Lord Byron, and of course the most regal of them all – me!
I really appreciate that feeling of continuity. There’s something very reassuring about brands and places that have stood the test of time. Berry brothers has over 4000 wines for sale – meaning you could have a different wine every day for a decade and still not finish them all. Anyway this is starting to sound like I’m becoming a Berry Brothers official spokesman, but I’d really recommend stopping by. Despite having been to some incredible places, I often get a feeling of apprehension before entering new places. I think they call it “imposter syndrome”. That feeling that maybe you don’t belong there and everyone will laugh at you. Silly I know! I needn’t have worried, they showed me great hospitality and invited me to their fine wine room (locked with fingerprint entry) to show me the fine selection. Wow! Still at the stage where I’d have to remortgage my flat or sell a kidney to afford some of these, but I can only dream to one day be able to crack open some of the truly special vintages.
My wine story is a short and sweet one. I didn’t touch alcohol until 23 years old. I’m not sure why, it just never interested me, but rest assured I’ve been making up for lost time! The first wine I ever loved was a Riesling that I had at the restaurant Pied a Terre. I was amazed! Slightly sweet and with that typical petrol Riesling taste. Since then I’ve branched out in every direction and could name a wine I like from most countries. I don’t know that I have the most sophisticated palate yet, I think that comes with time and experience, but I also really enjoy Rioja, Malbec, Gavi, Sauvignon Blanc (£10.99 New Zealand Villa Maria with the screw top is my go to “fridge door wine”!). I’m starting to enjoy the bigger and more prestigious wines (hilariously autocorrect just tried to change “prestigious” into “pretentious”! Admittedly it’s a fine line…). Currently a truly epic old bottle of red is wasted on me, as I’m just not there yet with my palate, but some of my favourite dates have been wine tastings where I can try a little of everything, including some delicious reds. A good sommelier is such a skilled person. I have a massive crush on one of the Berry Brothers Masters of Wine (any man with “Master” in his official job title becomes immediately sexy to me haha!) I love how they can say such precise things like “this wine tastes of burnt beetroot, cut grass and liquorice” and that feeling of wonder and ecstasy when you realise YES! That’s EXACTLY what it tastes like!
I would love to visit the great regions and spend weeks doing wine tours (“wine tour” = posh term for a piss up in France – not that I’m complaining!). I was recently introduced to Sauternes Chateau d’Yquem, the Rolls Royce of Sauternes… yum! I absolutely love cheese and it goes so nicely paired with a pungent blue cheese and nothing else. So delicious, tastes heavenly! Apparently with this Sauternes they do not simply pick the bunches of grapes, they go around the whole vineyard individually picking only the best and most ready single grapes to use. Only the French (and possibly the Japanese) are capable of something so painstakingly refined. Amazing to think that to make my glass, every single grape was specifically chosen to be there. Another dessert wine I really enjoy was introduced to me by a gentleman who lives in Hungary. Tokaj, a Hungarian dessert wine, which is a little more malty depending on which one you get, and is a delight paired with dark chocolate. I’ve also enjoyed British sparkling wine (after we leave the EU we better get used to it haha, say hello to a constant diet of gin and potatoes!) and find English sparkling it to be delicious, but… not quite champagne! One of my guilty indulgences (not to be consumed more than once a month) is good champagne with bad food. I first discovered this combination in a restaurant where a sommelier recommended we try champagne and fried chicken(!) The immediate reaction is… absolutely not! But the combination of a crisp, dry, ice cold champagne, with salty fatty food is soooo good! Open a bottle with your Friday night takeaway and you will be amazed, and the whole meal immediately has a decadent modern day Henry VIII type feel to it! I know what you’re thinking. KFC and Krug? Really Billie!?!?! Yes really. Let’s do it!
You bring the wine I’ll bring something to nibble on 😉 See you soon!
“You’d kill yourself for recognition; kill yourself to never ever stop
You broke another mirror; you’re turning into something you are not”
I love because:
The piano arrangement is gorgeous.
“Let there be wind
An occasional rain
Chile con carne
I love because:
This is the perfect song to listen to during any romantic moment. An unparalleled classic.
“A man needs something he can hold onto
Nine-pound hammer or a woman like you
Either one of them things will do”
I love because:
He writes his own lyrics and has such a beautiful voice.
“When your belly’s empty, the hunger’s so real
You’re too proud to beg, you’re too dumb to steal”
I love because:
The arrangement is simple and perfect. Plus, there’s something pretty special about someone singing a Sting song, back to Sting, better than he originally sang it.
“Sometimes, even the good things get lost along the way
I had to let you go, but I wanted you to stay”
I love because:
I’m a big fan of acoustic versions of my favourite dance songs.
“Just as hate knows love’s a cure
You can rest your mind assured
That I’ll be lovin’ you always”
I love because:
It’s impossible not to love!
January has begun in great style, with a fantastic trip overseas to [Country name redacted due to Official Secrets Act] somewhere I hadn’t visited before which has already become one of my all time favourite places (I know, I say that about everywhere!). The environment, the food and the history of [City Name Redacted due to Official Secrets Act] were second to none, but as we both know, it’s people that truly make a place, so luckily for me, my company was second to none.
Started my course at Le Cordon Bleu, and am LOVING IT. I am starting to think “you only live once, take the Grand Diploma”, but I simply don’t have the time right now as some of you may know I am still getting my advanced PT and Nutritionist qualifications. Have already learned so much on my course and am irritated at myself for having not pushed myself further, sooner. I am currently a very good home cook, but everything I do is based on intuition- a bit like an artist or musician with raw talent but no classical training. I can make a stock, I can butcher a chicken, but its all… a little bit “Billie Style”. This course is teaching me finesse, and classic skills. I have so much respect for all things traditional, and am getting so much pleasure from learning in such a quality, historic institution.
Anyway, I’ll save the rest of the details for our date – see you soon x
From my lips and
The very worst
Cultivate the best in me,
Artful and arresting
Sinful and suggesting,
And my anodyne
As if a gift
From Gods above me-
It’s fizz that loves me
Fizz that fucks me
Fickle fizz that’s worth my time.
Fickle fizz can make
The dullest dinner sparkle as you dine.
Fizz will never leave you
Fizz will delude and deceive you
Fizz will galvanize the glory days and
Guide you through
The times of grief too.
Oh I love you
Oh I need you
Trust you and believe you,
Must you make a fool of me?
I am proud
And I am confident
Have you on my arm
Candid classic charm.
I’ve had Prosecco in a penthouse
I’ve swigged Cava in a car
Yes, of course I’ve tasted others,
But no cigar.
I raise a
Toast to you
I’m lost in you
You glorious and gentle beast
You graceful and gregarious
And as I drain the final drop,
And as we take our final kiss,
I wait ‘til you are gone and
The cocktail list.
A happy new year to you and your loved ones! Feeling so sexy and full of energy so make sure you’ve eaten your Wheetabix before our 2020 date!
Just back from a luxurious holiday in the sun, and I feel as if I’ve leapt straight from a bikini into a wool coat! Have had such a busy and adventurous year it was lovely to finish things on a high. I’m definitely a warm weather person (other than ski), I love walking around in a sundress and heels and the feeling of the sun on my skin. Have you noticed that in the sun even food and wine tastes better? So many times I’ve been away and had what I thought at the time to be excellent local wine. So I bring a few bottles home and the exact same wine… just doesn’t taste the same. The right people and the right surroundings in life can make such a massive difference to any experience. And I’m very tanned!
I love London in the winter, even with the rain and cold, but there’s nothing better than giving yourself a mental and physical holiday from lifes stresses. I think it’s very important to take time, whether a couple of hours or a couple of days, to put your feet up and unwind. I feel lucky to connect with people who have a similar outlook and also believe in finding time to prioritise their pleasure(s). Also, (rather late than never) I wanted to say a massive thank you to those generous enough to have sent a Christmas gift. Very much appreciated and noted 🙂 You shall be on my nice list (or perhaps naughty list) this year!
As you may know, I never make New Years Resolutions. “Be healthier” “Enjoy life more” and all those other pointless promises are usually forgotten within a month, so instead I create a Bucket List of specific experiences I would like to have, which I have also added here on my page. I’m not naturally organised, so for me, a list is a way of staying focused. If you would like to help complete a 2020 Bucket List item, I would love to hear from you. In past years I have managed to complete everything on my list, so here’s to an interesting year ahead and many more adventures! One of my favourite quotes is “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”. So true! It’s not exactly a secret that if you spend most of your life being risk adverse and running between the office and your living room, you miss so many opportunities (like some time with me!)
I’m back in town and have my hair tied up and am in deep concentration working on a new recipe (very predictable haha). Also I recently discovered a lingerie brand called Anoeses, which hand makes the most beautiful things, they are making something special for me. Can’t wait to show you! I always feel a tingle of excitement getting new sexy things. I have a massive lingerie collection with everything from fine silks and chantilly lace, to leather and silver to cotton Calvins Kleins. The pieces I’ve ordered are both a BDSM aesthetic. Very sexy… keep checking my page and I’ll let you know when they arrive.
My case is barely unpacked (okay, to be honest I havent unpacked at all yet) and I’m already getting ready for another adventure. I used to be such a terrible flier – terrified of airports (not flying, the airport itself), and absolutely useless at packing and organisation. These days I can survive 5 days from a single carryon luggage, and find travelling a much more relaxed process. I’ve only ever missed one flight in my life; I remember very clearly, two years ago, my first time going to see the Opera (Le Nozze Di Figaro) at La Scala in Milan. My flight was around 5pm and I arrived with very little time to spare. I was also going through a phase where I always travelled well dressed and in high heels (perfect for selfies and strutting round Duty Free, less perfect for running to a soon to be closing Gate – once I had to take my heels off and run barefoot like a maniac haha). So anyway I scanned my boarding pass and it wont let me through. There’s an automatic system where if you arrive less than 45mins before the flight they dont let you through to security. Now I’m not a diva (honestly!), but I almost have an epic diva moment! I am about to miss my flight and my date, I’m stood helpless at Heathrow in my pretty heels and silly designer luggage and big sunglasses (eeep I wanted to cry) so I run to “Special Assistance” and explain to the lady on the desk and she says “Well you’ll never make it wearing those!” pointing to my strappy heels (how rude! When everything’s going wrong there’s nothing like highly sarcastic customer service to brighten your day!) She put me on the next flight and I made it just in time for what was actually a very magical night and unfortunately my only time in Milan. Other than that I can say I’ve never missed a flight and hopefully never will! I am prioritising travel this year and please remember overseas dates are flexible(ish).
My top travel destinations for this year (see my bucket list for details) are: Venice, Norway, Lisbon, Singapore, Vienna, Sardinia, Capri, and Milan. Let’s see… a girl can dream 🙂
Anyway, I’m sure it was not your intention to spend the remainder of this year reading my blog, so I shall let you get back your Monday evening.
See you soon! Let’s start this decade as we mean to go on and grab it with both hands (not me, the decade… although I wouldn’t say no!)
Big kisses and hugs, and more kisses!
Just finished a working lunch at Barboun (a new restaurant very local to me. Actually I am still here, waiting for my dessert to arrive) and WOW! So delicious! I love Turkish food anyway (I was almost going to bundle in Greek and Cypriot food, but I do appreciate these cosines have separate identities). Some of the best places are those very low key family run spots – they all follow the same formula. An ancient relative sits in a corner overseeing everything, there’s a wall with lots of black and white photos commemorating that time Michael Caine had a mixed grill there, tablecloths are not a thing, and they’re a sort of lost in time (or perhaps, timeless) class of restaurant. There is an Epic one in Dalston, the name of which I forget. But I think there is more than enough room for an evetated modern Turkish restaurant,. and so I tried Barboun, and decided to bring my laptop with me for a working lunch. The restaurant was totally empty (it’s the 29th Dec after all). It doesn’t bother me – I love my own company, I enjoy eating alone… just as long as the staff are friendly (I once dined at a 2 Michelin place in Holland and they didn’t give me a menu for 30 mins because, and I quote, they “thought you were waiting for your husband or something”) Ouch! Way to kick a single girl when she’s down!
Anyway, the meal was amazing. The only downside to dining alone is that when it comes to small plates restaurants (my new favourite kind), you’re limited to 2-4 plates, whereas with friends you can order many more plates for the table and taste a little of everything. I picked the beetroot fritters with whipped feta and mint (I do a MEAN grilled lamb cutlets with whipped feta and mint, it’s a great combination), the grilled prawns with chermoula and lemon, and the Muhlama (kefalatoryi cheese fondue, with a black – perhaps charcoal – sourdough). The fondue is the most PERFECT thing for a cold winters day. It took me right back to my last trip to the alps, skiing (alright, falling) down the mountain, and ending up at a lovely little alpine restaurant. Hot fondue for one, grilled prawns, an the most delicious fritters, pure bliss! I have already planned net time to try the Halloumi Saganaki, and the zaatar baby chicken (za’atar is actually more middle eastern than Turkish, and a herb mix I use to make my own chicken and chickpea dish).
Ooo dessert just arrived. A Tahini fondant with ice cream, that I’m having with Turkish tea (trying for the first time – just tried it and I’m not sure.. it’s very strong!). Stick a fork in me I’m stuffed! Such a delicious meal, I couldn’t finish it all, but still can’t wait to come back … Shall we go?
Have attached some photos of my delicious meal. Tasted even better than it looked 🙂
You are sat in the far right corner
Of the bar
With champagne on ice
Flicking through BBC World News
On a cracked iPad
In a black leather case
As I pass
Causes you to glance up,
Catch my eye,
And pour two more.
In your haste,
Everything that was
On your lap
(iPad, wallet, The Times, bar receipt, £1.08 in change, room key)
On the floor and you
Haven’t noticed and you
To rectify this.
An unhappy woman on her third martini
Sneers at me over her
Scrutinizing head to toe
The brand and value of my clothes;
I don’t belong here.
I have gained enough
This dress and those heels
That when I stop,
And retrieve your items from the floor
The bar has decided
My heart is beating as I sink into a
Kiss your cheek.
Your tie is off
And we have decided that
And Panerai Watches,
And think the rooms at the Sanderson
Both sway center-left-rightish
You are showing me
You and your
Making the most of the last
I find some irony
In our story
I find some
In the fact that
High on champagne and anticipation,
In your presence
Trying to escape lust;
My soul flying
Through wicked and wanton woods
Think myself any less
To The Hunt
Than a pheasant-
Nestled in a chair and
Pecking at your neck.
You’ve stopped drinking but you
In your ear.
Fall into your lap.
(Satire – sort of)
On previous years, my Christmas shopping tactic has been a simple one. If it cannot be purchased on the John Lewis website – to put it simply – I’m not buying it. I would buy everyone’s present in a single gargantuan John Lewis delivery, not even bother to wrap anything (would pretend this was me trying to be environmentally friendly, although the whole Greta-Thunberg-packaging-is-the-devil act was of course immediately abandoned the moment the individually wrapped chocolates emerged). Anyway, so everyone gets stuck into these massive boxes of John Lewis things. Socks! Everyone gets socks! Not only that, they get the most pointless socks in existence – Christmas Novelty socks! Which become utterly useless and embarrassing to wear 24 hours later when Christmas is over (sorry Greta!). Then you know how it is – this one wants a drone, this one wants one of those game consoles which I am now too desperately uncool to understand. Mum wants alcohol and to be left alone, this one wants a Chanel perfume. And voila! Christmas shopping is complete and delivered with quite possibly the least possible stress and effort expenditure. It’s worth mentioning that I love giving gifts. I am a thoughtful and prolific gift giver. I have sourced rare books and vinyls, Goodwood tickets, holidays, you name it, for loved ones. But Christmas is simply not the time to be wrestling a granny for the last pack of mince pies at Fortnums. I’m a lady after all… tis’ the season for Christmas cocktails and pampering.
This year I have thought of an even more masterful plan. Everyone is getting a hug and an improvised lecture about the dangers of Brexit. Should anyone complain, they shall then receive another improvised, and deliciously hypocritical lecture about the dangers of capitalism.
The problem with Christmas is it’s a bit like hosting your own party. A lot more fun in theory, if you allow yourself to take it too seriously. Between the pressure to cook the perfect turkey (something I achieve using Gordon Ramsays method of completely removing the crown and cooking it separately from the legs), and the pressure to constantly BE HAVING A GOOD TIME, the pressure on your stomach of consuming a weeks calories in one sitting, and the pressure to produce meaningful and well received gifts, I have found some years the process to be stressful (admittedly I am one of those people who can be an overthinker, could you guess haha), and I think the best way to get through it is simply to give yourself a break! Dear Santas reading this, do not stress (I can offer some stress relief should this be the case)! Life is way too short to feel bad about a dry Turkey (we invented gravy for precisely this reason), or that thing you wanted to buy not being in stock. So one of your relatives has had the audacity to turn vegan? No problem! Nothing a baked mushroom and a shot of vodka cant fix (the mushroom for them, the vodka for you). What I love about Christmas the most is turning off my phone, and enjoying a hearty meal whilst in the company of loved ones. The problem with Christmas is that we tell ourselves certain things only happen once a year because they are exceptional, but in reality it’s because those things are often exceptionally bad! If turkey, Brussels sprouts, mulled wine and extended periods of time in a confined space with the family whilst The Queen lectures us was all such a good idea, we would “enjoy” these things all the time! There’s a reason you’ve never woken up on a mid-July morning with an unstoppable craving for Panettone. I’m not entirely convinced Christmas wouldn’t be better with a group of your best friends, all sharing a giant lasagne and a couple good bottles of red, with a film that doesn’t involve Macauley Culkin playing in the background.
I’ve never spent a Christmas overseas in the sunshine because I’m British, and putting myself in completely avoidable situations then complaining about them is an intrinsic part of our national DNA. But one of these years I just might do it.
Just some thoughts…
Merry Christmas! Big kisses and thanks for a lovely year. See you soon xx
In order to excel at anything, it is said that you need to have practiced said thing for at least 10,000 hours. I have calculated, very roughly speaking, that at some time within the last few years, I exceeded 10,000 hours of cooking. Cooking is a massive source of joy to me. Not just the act itself, but everything peripheral- beautiful cookware (I am obsessed with Mauviel and of course Le Creuset), sourcing ingredients, and also over the last few years, having the competence to create many completely new recipes of my own.
My dream kitchen is the size of a very large master bedroom. It has a large island, a window box stuffed with growing herbs, an ice cream maker, teppanyaki grill, a massive larder, a gas hob (I miss cooking on gas), a double oven, commercial standard appliances (like Gordon Ramsays kitchen if you’ve ever seen it), oh and of course a fleet of staff to clear up after I’m finished (the cleaning up is the only bit I like to delegate!). Outside – a pizza oven, two outdoor BBQs – both an American style gas BBQ, and a traditional coal fired grill. The kitchen counters should be a strategic height – perfect for being bent over whilst a chicken or whatever else is roasting in the oven (this bit is very important; I like to multitask).
I am becoming, if you hadn’t realised, an absolutely obsessive cook. Sex drive and food drive are almost the same thing. Just now I took some preserved roasted peppers from the fridge (I made these myself a few days ago, there is also anchovy and roasted garlic in the jar). Then some ciabatta, toasted in the oven, a smear of ricotta, and because I could tell this could benefit from acidity, just a few drops of lemon juice. Something just rustled up from what I have in the fridge. WOW! You know it was good because I’m a millennial and I forgot to take a photo haha! Absolutely delicious and an almost orgasmic experience. The crunchy ciabatta (roughly sliced on purpose), creamy mild ricotta, then these sweet, smoky, silky peppers, good olive oil, a savoury hint of salty anchovy, and then the zing of lemon to cut through the fat. Almost perfect. Almost! But next time some herbs, perhaps some thyme in the jar to infuse the peppers, for that final, floral note.
Next year I start a short course at Le Cordon Bleu (more geared towards professional chefs but they’ve let me on because… well, because I asked). I am so excited! In the age of Uber Eats and Deliveroo-amazon-google-whatever-you-call-it cooking has become hopelessly uncool. I love eating out. In fact, there are few things better than being taken to dinner. So romantic! Picking out an outfit and heels, and entering a beautiful quality restaurant. I never check menus beforehand (I’m aware most people do, but it’s completely against my personality type as I love surprises). I love to take an aperitif – almost always a rose champagne, a peach bellini, or some other champagne cocktail – and then the excitement of opening the menu. A moment of ecstasy! A girlfriend and I recently went to the Waterside inn, in Bray; We had the tasting menu with wine pairing and it was absolutely magical (we were supposed to also go to Hestons Fat Duck, but embarrassingly I messed up the reservation somehow and we ended up eating at the pub instead (oops!). In the same month (October) I also visited Lympstone Manor – Michael Caines place in Exmouth. Both seriously good! Anyway, that feeling of being looked after by a good restaurant is definitely something special, but on a Tuesday afternoon in December, freezing cold outside, and with an extra hour on my hands, I can think of no better way to use that time than to spend it creating something new in the kitchen. I suppose my main outlets in life are fitness, cooking, writing, and sex (not a bad combination!).
I’ve spent this year expanding my skills as a cook, and thought it would be nice to share with you some of my creations. I cook every cuisine, but you see this year I have focused on Mediterranean and north African cooking (last year I was cooking a lot more Asian cuisine). I have hundreds of dishes, so am just sharing a small selection.