Monday, 29 June 2015

Food Lately


Here are a few of the meals I've been making recently from the Coori subscription box.

Par baked gluten free baguettes with Camembert, salad and a goats cheese and red pepper tapanade; delicious stuffed pasta with red pesto and fried halloumi; cheese and onion pie with roast courgette and sweet potato chips; These really delicious brown bag crisps; Baked salmon with a gluten free breadcrumb and Italian herb crust, with asparagus and roast Mediterranean vegetables.

It's been really easy to fit things from the delivery box into our everyday cooking, and two weeks in we still have absolutely mountains of food left. Everything has tasted really good too. I was a bit concerned about some of the bread ad pastry etc, as I've never been a huge fan of gluten free bread when I've tried it before, but it was really good.

I think maybe having the bread warm fresh from the oven helped, as I really couldn't taste a difference from regular bread. All in all some very successful, delicious and easy meals. I'm sure I'll have even more to post in a few weeks!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A picture of the week


Whew, what a week! Work has been incredibly busy and stressful, and it doesn't look like it is going to let up anytime soon. This weekend could not come soon enough!

I am feeling surprisingly chipper today though, a proper restful weekend of pottering about the house and seeing Reda for lunch has gone a long way to putting me back to rights. The print above is by my friend Jess, who had her degree show this week. We helped crowdfund the show and got one of her prints in return, which I just love! It's been tricky finding an A5 photo frame to fit it though, but finally sourced one on amazon last week.

I really need to reorganise my mantlepiece, it's gone from cute-and-quirky-full-of-stuff, to just a dump zone, so please ignore all the other bits and bobs all over it!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Coori Monthly Box Review: First Impressions


It's been ages since I've shared any food here on Where Is Harriet, and the main reason for that is I have been in a bit of a cooking rut. Long days at work and a lack of inspiration has meant I've really just been digging the same old thing out of the freezer, and not thinking too much about what exactly I'm eating.

I was offered the opportunity to try a monthly food box from Coori, which is a 'free from' monthly food delivery service, and although I am lucky enough to have no food intolerances, I do have a lot of friends who do have various allergies. A combination of wanting some ideas for food to cook for them, and just wanting to cook something a bit different for myself and James meant I was up for the challenge of giving it a go!

This is a first impressions post, and I will talk in detail about the food once I've had a bit more chance to try it out. Firstly here is what was in the box, in its entirety!


This is the monthly box, which costs £75.50, and as you can see there is a lot in it! Mine was delivered to my neighbour as I was out at the time and I could barely lift it to carry it home! It's mostly dry staples like pasta and rice and bread mixes, which makes sense given its got to come through the post. They also do a smaller weekly box with twelve items. 

I know that free from stuff is usually pretty expensive, so I think this is probably pretty good value, and will definitely keep us going for at least a month. The only thing I was a little disappointed about was that the suggested recipes which came with the box didn't necessarily match up very well with the items I was sent. I had initially thought you would get all the ingredients to cook the recipes, but instead the recipes felt pretty separate, as you'd obviously have to buy all the fresh ingredients separately, and the Coori ingredients they did contain didn't even really match up to what the recipes needed.

I don't think that matters too much, as there were so many store cupboard staples in the box I can see myself easily working most of them into my everyday cooking. Stay tuned for another week or two to see what I have ended up making with everything!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. The animals are moving in! 2. Love this house 3. It's summer lets make ice lollies 4. healthy food bowls 5. salads 6. and pretend we live in Paris

I feel like this weekend has been a bit of a waste. I was supposed to have a bathroom fitter come over on Saturday morning to give us a quote, but he never showed, and then I was due to go to a barbecue with friends but came over really light headed and headachey, and so ended up cancelling. Womp womp.

Instead I spent most of Saturday laid out on the sofa scratching a cat between the ears and watching The Queen of Versailles on netflix. When I watched it I had no idea that the eldest daughter had recently died of a suspected drug overdose. It just seemed like such a sad family, who just didn't quite get what reality and normal life is for most people. It was originally due to be a documentary about the Siegel family building the largest house in America, modelled on the Palace of Versailles, but when the 2008 recession hits you see them lose their access to borrowed money which kept them and their timeshare business afloat. Overall I felt sorry for them, but most sorry for all the Siegels' employees let go during the film.

Anyway, here's hoping today will be a little more productive!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Vintage Finds

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James and I went to Oxford this weekend for his uncle's 60th birthday, and while we were there his parents mentioned a new little antiques/vintage shop had opened up only a few minutes walk from their house. This is enough to make my ears prick up, but James' dad is not one to pay over the odds for anything, so when he said it was very reasonably priced I knew I needed to get down there sharpish!

The ship is Gilt and Grain and if you are ever in Oxford I highly recommend a trip out to Cowley to visit. It's not a massive shop but its got a lot of lovely bits and bobs crammed in it, and it is both decent quality and cheap. Some large pieces of furniture, loads of mirrors and pictures and a lot of little pottery and knick knacks. I could easily have come away with a lot more than I did (I'll be back litle shop, don't you worry!) but I picked up this little seascape for £7.50, and the little ceramic dish I am going to use as a candle stand for £1.50. Not a bad little haul for under £10.

They also had a load of terracotta flower pots and a few other framed pictures that caught my eye. Apparently the stock turns over pretty much every few weeks so it is probably buy now or regret later.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A Trip to Margate


Through a slightly random set of circumstances both James and I ended up having a couple of days off at the start of the week, and rather than spend them at home probably playing computer games and tidying the house (both enjoyable activities to be fair!) we ended up taking a little impromtu trip to the seaside.

We ended up in Margate because I've wanted to go for ages, the Turner Contemporary art museum is there, and I read Take Courage's guide to vintage shops in Margate and that really sealed the deal.

We stayed overnight from Sunday to Monday, at the Crescent Victoria hotel which was lovely. Beautifully decorated, comfy beds and a great breakfast. 24 hours is probably enough to see everything there is to see in Margate at a sedate pace. I think any longer and you'd want to explore the surrounding towns and maybe take a bike and see the coastline.

It's a traditional seaside town, a mix of really run down areas abandoned when the British seaside resorts fell out of fashion, and cute little independent shops and galleries, who have taken advantage of the cheap rents and sprung up throughout the old town.

For eating and drinking we had an epic lunch at the Great British Pizza Company, and then afternoon drinks at the Lighthouse bar, right at the tip of the pier. We visited all the little shops, including my favourite Paraphernalia, and the Danish Collectibles which had some gorgeous furniture. The urge to run away to the seaside and open an antiques shop is strong!

We also saw the Grayson Perry exhibition at the Turner Contemporary museum, as well as popping into the Margate Museum and the Shell Grotto (very cool!).

If you are looking for a nice little seaside town to spend a day in I would definitely recommend Margate. Excitingly the long closed down Dreamland - one of the oldest amusement parks in the UK is getting a new lease of life and reopening in just a few weeks, so hopefully that will help continue to regenerate the town and bring more visitors to the area.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Crop Top

top - americal apparel, skirt - uniqlo, shoes - vans

Over the years I have bought a lot of clothes inspired by my favourite bloggers. I've also spent a considerable amount of time trying to emulate the style of my favourite tv characters (*ahem* Buffy *ahem*) But this may be the first outfit I have bought inspired by a stranger I saw on the tube. 

The girl in question was wearing I think this exact top, with a similar style skirt and I clocked her on the tube on the way home from work and thought she looked cute, but didn't think too much more of it. It wasn't until I went shopping last weekend and saw this skirt in Uniqlo, and the wheels in my head started turning and I thought 'Maybe I could get away with wearing a crop top with this skirt...'

I have to say now I am 28 years old, and while I am fully behind the idea you should wear whatever you love and feel comfortable in, I also don't want to look like I wish I was 18 again. Because I don't. That time of my life was fun, but I like being older, and even when I was 18 I don't think I would have been too keen getting my belly out. 

But I think this outfit works. Yes, it's a crop top, but the high waisted skirt means you don't really even see a sliver of skin unless I am moving, and with the skirt being nearly knee length and trainers I don't feel exposed. I feel summery, and like I should be at a barbecue, or a music festival, but one where I don't have to camp, and can go stay in a hotel at the end of the day please. That's the stage of life I am in and I am quite happy there thank you very much, crop tops and all.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A picture of the week


In a couple of months it will officially be two years since we bought our house, and the attic is still stuffed to the gills with things we moved in with and have never unpacked. My plan for the summer is to finally start sorting some of this out, I've even bought the Marie Kondo book which seems to have taken the Internet by storm recently, to help me get started. I'd like to do a massive car boot sale, but alas I don't have a car, so may need to work up the courage to borrow and drive my parents' car (I haven't driven in a very long time and I'm pretty nervous to go back to it).

On Thursday I did persuade James to help me get up into the loft (I am too short to reach the loft ladder by myself) and happened upon the component parts of an old Ikea book case, which we'd taken apart when we moved and never put back together. It's originally supposed to be twice the height it is here, but I wanted something lower for my shoes to go on, previously kept in a heap in the corner of the floor in the spare room, so we did a mini Ikea hack - taking the top and the bottom and making a little shoecase! It's not as stable as the full bookcase used to be, but the shoes are light and we don't let the cats in this room so I'm not too worried about the risk of it toppling.

It's also done wonders for improving the way the spare room looks, as its been starting to become a little bit of a junk room, which I am trying to avoid. These are just my 'special' shoes - for going out only. My everyday shoes are still in a pile in the living room waiting for their own shoe-drobe. I've ordered this Casper Bench from Made but its not due to be shipped til August, so they will have to wait a bit longer before they get their own home.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

New Hair


I got my hair cut on Saturday and I am v v pleased with it. I've been wanting to go shorter for a while, and I'm really glad I took the plunge.

I've had short hair before, going as short as chin length back in 2010 (and wearing the same top as in this photo, lol!) but ultimately I decided that was a little too short, and the long bob was the way to go for me. I had my hair cut at Toni and Guy in Westfield Stratford, and although the salon experience was nothing to write home about, I got exactly the cut I asked for, minimal chat (I am rubbish at the small talk. 'Did you go out last night?' 'No.' 'Are you going out tonight?' 'No.' - a hairdresser's worst nightmare!) and in and out in under an hour. Perfect.

I'd forgotten all the advantages short hair brings - minimal drying time, much less shampoo and conditioner needed, and away with the obsessive need to put it in a bun as soon as I get home. (I'm not sure if that is just me, but when I have long hair the second I get in the door I just have to get it off my neck?)

The downside is I have absolutely no idea how to style my hair - so I am still working on that, and more regular trips to the hair dresser will be needed to keep it neat and tidy. Short hair styling tips greatfully received in the comments please!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lazy Sunday Links

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1. Love this bohemian modern house 2. the best straw hats for summer 3. spring cookbooks 4. a trip to the tulip fields 5. London's best rooftop bars 6. all about white paint

Long weekend ftw! On Saturday I got my hair did and did a bit of shopping in Westfield, and today my parents have kindly agreed to help us clear up all of the fence rubble and take it to the tip. Operation Garden continues!

I think the rest of the weekend will be a pretty chilled one. Next weekend James and I are going on a little impromptu trip so we haven't planned much for this weekend. Maybe if the garden clearing goes well it might be time for a proper bank holiday weekend garden centre trip to look for some pots and plants though! The excitement of the fence has got me itching to get the garden a bit more habitable. I am thinking of going for a bit of a daring colour scheme and painting the fence black. I'm obsessively pinning pictures of gardens with black walls to my garden ideas pinterest board, but I'm still slightly nervous about the idea. With lots of greenery I think it could look fab though.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Instagram Book Reviews


I have started doing mini book reviews in instagram, which I am really enjoying as a way to keep track of everything I am reading, and start a few bookish discussions over there too! This is what I have read so far this year. Follow me @whereisharriet.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel took me about three months to finish but it was worth it! Telling the story of Henry VIII's divorce from Katherine of Arragon, marriage to Anne Boleyn and split from Rome, I loved all the political wheeling and dealing, and Thomas Cromwell makes an excellent (anti)hero. I was never sure of his motivations the whole way through, keeping me on my toes and engrossed in the story, despite the fact it is such a familiar tale.

Saga v1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I Finished Saga v1 while staying in Bristol a few weekends ago. First graphic novel I've read in a while, and v dark but v good. Think Romeo and Juliet on the run with a baby, in Space. Will definitely be looking out the next volume. 

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I really enjoyed this book. Somewhat reminiscent of Forrest Gump, but really light, funny and clever. It feels like a whodunnit but you are in on the con. Definitely want to see the movie now to compare. 

White Truffles in Winter by N M Kelby. Telling the story of the life of a famous chef and his wife across the late 19th and early 20th century, I thought I would fall in love with this book. Alas although a perfectly fine read I just wasn't crazy about it. The descriptions of the food were amazing and the best bit, but I didn't care about the characters enough to get invested.

The ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes. After two slightly more hard going books some chic lit! I think the genre gets a bad rep as this book was a really well researched page turner. Set on a ship transporting Australian women married to British servicemen to the UK after WWII, it draws you in with the characters, but I was also fascinated by this part of history which I knew nothing about.

Engleby by Sebastian Faulks was our latest book club book and caused very strong reactions. The story of a working class boy who wins a place at a prestigious university in the 70s, this was very dark but amusing. We were completely split between those who liked him and those who hated him. I found him and the first person narrative very unsettling but compelling, as I tried to piece together the truth from his unreliable narrative.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A picture of the week

Aaaah doesn't that look good?

Possibly to you it looks like a perfectly boring and ordinary fence, and a pile of dirt, but to me it is a thing of beauty. If you rewind back to August last year, the garden looked like this with a lot of junk which we gradually removed, and an old and decrepit fence which had seen better days a long time ago. Over the winter the fence situation got a lot worse, and eventually the majority of it was lying in our garden, and we were seeing rather more of our neighbours than either of us really wanted through the gaps!

Fences are difficult things, because even if you get on with your neighbours as we do, you are still having to make a decision about something both of you will have to look at for the next 20 years, not to mention decide who pays. Our house deeds were amazingly unhelpful, as it said the right fence was owned by us, the back was unknown, and was completely silent on the left fence. Meanwhile our left hand neighbours' deeds said that all their fences were shared, so we ended up with responsibility for 2.5 fences.

I took the path of least resistance and paid up, so our left hand fence was built by our neighbour, and we paid half, and then this weekend James' brother, dad and cousin came down and built the other two sides, boarding the right hand side on our neighbours' side so they got the nice bit to look at. 

The result is we have three completely different fences in the garden, and paid for the vast majority of it, but hopefully kept happy neighbours all round. Looking at them now I do sort of wish they matched a bit more, but ultimately I think once we have some plants and furniture, and maybe paint them all one colour, I won't really notice the fence itself. 

It is making me want to make steps towards actually finishing the garden though, which has been low down my priority list until the fence became impossible to ignore. The plan is to tile over the concrete, and have some big planters, maybe a few climbers up the fence, and a couple of deck chairs. Low maintenance and maximum enjoyment.

Step one is to talk my dad into helping me move the debris to the tip though!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Eltham Palace


On Sunday James and I spent the day pottering around Eltham Palace. As a south-east London girl born and bred with two parents obsessed with Art Deco, I have been a few times before, but James has never been and was interested in taking a look.

It was originally a 14th century manor house, and was where Henry VIII and his siblings grew up, but thanks to an amazing restoration job by English Heritage and approximately a million films which have shot here since, it is now best known for its amazing Art Deco interior. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was fine to take photos in the house as long as the flash was off, so I could capture the amazing entryway and gold bathroom (cue heart eyes emoji!) The gardens are beautiful too, and on a slightly warmer day would have been perfect for a picnic. 

Every so often they also have an Art Deco fair on in the great hall, which is usually way out of my price range but brilliant eye candy. I definitely recommend a visit if you are in South East London and looking for things to do.