Sunday, 29 September 2013

Day at the Seaside

Yesterday my new found university companions and I grabbed our knapsacks and cameras and headed to the charming little seaside town of Whitstable. I've been lucky enough to meet a whole lot of people from all over the world, so to show them an essential bit of life as a Brit we thought it was a fab idea to take them a good old-fashioned English seaside destination. Famous for its oysters and seafood in general, I was more than just a bit excited for our Whitstable adventure. We all piled on to the bus and set off to see the sea.

Mild, bright, but blowy. A couple of lucky photos where my hair isn't going completely crazy!

My lovely soft Abercrombie and Fitch checked shirt, H&M straight blue jeans, faithful Topshop blazer, red Vans and cream tote bag.

I had almost forgotten how fantastic to smell of the seaside is. The beach is pebbly, but the sound of the rocks as you ramble up and down is brilliant, and it's also ideal for skimming rocks!

Working artists have open workshops all along the beach front, welcoming you in to go in and out and admire their work.

When you're finished rambling and playing on the beach, there is plenty to see around town. The streets are full of independent seasidey shops selling classy homeware, souvenirs, clothes, art and sweet treats, and there are a number of lovely pubs to shelter in and grab a drink or a bite to eat. 

A mini market by the harbour.
The smell of food is amazing. 

Hot chips by the sea front with masses of salt and vinegar, what could possibly top that? And of course, because we were in Whitstable I treated myself to some fresh mussels. I don't know whether it was because I ate them in the open sea air or because they were so fresh but they were better than any other mussels I've ever eaten.

A fabulous first visit to this wonderful English seaside town. I will be back to Whitstable again, for sure.

This has to be the photo of the day. We couldn't resist!

Friday, 27 September 2013


I have officially been in my home away from in Canterbury for a week. So much has happened in the last 7 days as I've been adjusting to my new habitat, and I can't wait to share more of it with you.

All I'll say for now is I think I'm going to like it here in Kent. Let me start by telling you a little bit about my city centre excursion.

An assessment of the kitchen situation told me we were peelerless, graterless and without a baking tray, essential items if I'm to create my culinary delights while I'm here. A trip to Wilkinson's was in order. However, seeing as lectures don't start till Monday this was a perfect opportunity to sneak a look at the vintage shops.

The sun shone for me and my housemate Livvy as we wound our way through the bustling market places and in and out of second hand bookshops.

A fabulous organised tour of the city centre and cathedral earlier on in the week had given us a preview of the sorts of bistros and caf├ęs Canterbury boasts, and Boho cafe had caught our attention straight away. 

Those who are in search of a good cup of coffee in a boho-chic setting need look no further. Boho seems like the place to see people, and be seen. Friends, couples and mother-daughter shopping parties filled out the venue.

The decor is enchanting. Old fashioned teacups, Union Jacks, skulls and pearls intertwine on the counter top, and there are ukuleles and rows and rows of clocks on the walls.

The menu is a dazzler, the breakfasts look particularly good and artisan sandwiches caught my attention as waitresses whisked them to hungry customers. The choices of cakes winked at me from underneath bell jars, but I was restrained and had a latte. 

We were lucky enough to have a seat right in the window at the front of the cafe and chatted, laughed and people watched for ages.

Coffee date ensemble. Blue Topshop blazer, straight blue Forever 21 jeans, Forever 21 key to my heart tshirt and a cream tote bag. 

It won't be long before I am back to Boho to sample that gorgeous looking menu. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Afternoon Tea

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the next chapter of my life. I'm moving from my home in the North all the way down to the bonny South coast of England to start a whole new degree at a whole new uni. I'm excited, nervous and happy all in one bundle. I'm also a wee bit sad. I've had the most lovely summer doing everything and nothing at home with my family. So to say thankyou and farewell I wanted to make tea on my last night for everyone.

Seeing as it was just Mum, Grandma and myself, and seeing as though I have been dying to use my new Laura Ashley tea service cake stand, there was one option and one option only. Afternoon tea for the girls!

Wearing my delicious Forever 21 tea dress. This thing has seen me through the summer, it has been my sartorial triumph of 2013. The colour and the fit are dreamy. I normally wear with open-toed sandals out and about but it's more fun to walk round barefoot if you can!

Check out the cut out back! 

I wore my little Juicy Couture cupcake chain, perfect for the occasion.

A proper afternoon tea should include proper napkins. My lovely silver napkin ring belonged to my Great Grandma Dora. 

And a table cloth is absolutely essential. This embroidered one is so pretty and belonged to my Great Aunty Queenie. I can't remember because I was only a little girl, but my Grandma told me with a wink Dora and Queenie would happily have tucked in to our feast!

Grandma and Mum were bursting with compliments about the spread and quickly set about pouring the tea. Mum poured the milk in first (I know) and my Grandma told her off as apparently that's the 'uncouth' way of going about things. Unlike Gran I wasn't so bothered about the social meaning and what not. I just think it's a bit weird.

However, it was a darn good cuppa.

A selection of finger sandwiches. Ham and mustard, smoked salmon and cream cheese and egg mayonnaise. 

As I was packing my bags and stressing about wellies my Wonder-woman Mum made up a batch of cherry scones.

The magic of scones comes down to creating your tower. Butter, strawberry jam and lashings of clotted cream on top is my idea of heaven.

It was so nice to be able to treat my two favourite ladies to a proper ladies' tea. I think they rather enjoyed it! We couldn't manage all of the sandwiches, which my Dad was rather pleased about as he walked in after his game of golf. He had already had dinner but couldn't help himself!

He always has to have piccalilli with his ham sarnies though. 

I really don't have enough afternoon teas, but now I have my cake stand I suppose there's no excuse not to! I'm now just about ready and set for my little Southern adventure. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Autumn means apples. Apples mean pie.

Summer might be over, but I really rate the autumn. It has a certain smell I think. I love the feeling of it getting a bit more crisp in the air, bringing back out the coats and boots. And the new season has always meant a new school or uni term for me so it's there's an air of excitement and anticipation during the month of September (not least because I've got me a brand new batch of stationery and lunchbox).

There's another important thing I love about autumn. The food. 

It gets a lot more hearty. It gets hotter. The mains get more gravy-y and the puddings get more custardy.

We're lucky enough to live right by these gorgeous Bramley trees.

Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned double-crusted apple pie? It would be rude not to. I set to gathering up.

Lots of them had already fallen on the floor. That's a good sign that they're ripe and ready. Molly the collie couldn't help, damn those paws, but she wanted to be included non the less.

Apples are heavy! I heaved them back inside and set to work. 

I might have had a little help peeling from my mum... And Cuthbert the very hairy caterpillar!

I got a very big shock when I spotted him. We all oohed and ahhed, and my mum actually awwed. Wonder what he'll grow to be?

With Cuthbert safely released back in to the wild after his whirlwind trip (inside and outside a house is a long way for a 2 inch caterpillar) I made the pastry and packed the filling in. Queen Mary of Berry was my recipe provider of choice, you can't go wrong really. 

40 minutes later and this bad boy came out. Look at that colour!

As for the pastry top decoration, do you see what I did there? It's an Apple Pi! Well, I thought it was funny.

I served up while it was still warm, with the choice of single cream or custard. Satisfaction or your money back.