Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Hot Cross Buns and Heatwaves

A glorious just-under-a-week in Norfolk. Can't-believe-it's-April hot hot heat. The sun, constant, bright. Gardening in a bikini, bare feet. Tadpoles in the pond, water level dropping ever lower as the rain failed to come. Lilacs blooming, heavily scented, lily of the valley too. Meals outdoors, and a barbecue. Asparagus, freshly cut, some spears long and spindly, some short and thick, tasting delicious, my favourite vegetable. Hot cross buns, home baked, less soft than shop bought, less sweet, still tasty, eaten in the sunshine at breakfast on Easter Sunday. A fruit fly invasion because apparently the swallows are late, dead flies littering the floor (it isn't all sunshine and roses). Dandelions on the lawn sprouting flowers almost as fast as we could pick them to prevent the heavily seeded clocks. Skye Gyngell's potato salad, creme fraiche coated, herb flecked, dusted with tiny pale purple rosemary flowers, my addition. Violets and forget-me-nots carpeted under the fruit trees. M arriving on the train from London, bearing Rococo hand painted Easter eggs and praline filled hens eggs. Recently hatched chicks at O's house, tiny, noisy, hearts fluttering against out hands as we held them. Bees in his garden, apple blossom. Mojitos made by M packed with the mint which is already growing prolifically between the paving stones.

Coming back to London on Monday, shoulders brown, bag full of asparagus and the first of the roses nestled in damp kitchen roll, legs scratched from digging up thistles in the soon-to-be potato bed. A run in Regent's Park as the sun lowered, good to be running after two weeks of very little exercise (I feel the same). Dinner of pasta, asparagus, olive oil, lemon zest, Parmesan - stretching out the holiday feeling out to its final moments.

Work on Tuesday, feeling glum, skies clouded over to match my mood. It isn't that I dislike my job, indeed it is a perfectly acceptable way to pass the time, but given a choice between discovering hidden cocktail bars in the back streets of NYC, lazing on a daisy scattered Norfolk lawn or sitting behind a computer in an artificially lit office, I would definitely plump for either of the former, no question.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Suffolk Sunday

Just a couple of fine ladies I've been hanging out with today.

Happy Easter lovelies.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Well chickpeas, we're back. Jet-lagged (though surprisingly not too badly - a night flight in which crying babies prevent all hope of sleep does wonders for your ability to fall straight asleep the next night), probably about five kilos heavier from all the food we ate, fully stocked up on Essie nail varnish, Hershey's kisses, Saipua soap and maple sugar. We had, at the risk of sounding like Carrie B, a fabulous time. It is going to take me a lee-tle bit of time to sort through the 785 photos I have on my camera, but I have this week off too so will try make some progress. Currently up in Norfolk enjoying the sunshine, the lilac, the tadpoles eating a dead frog in the pond (circle of life people, circle of life).

So, NY photos coming soon, but in the meantime, how are YOU all?

Friday, 8 April 2011

Spring Mash Up

In no particular order, some thoughts and photographs from the last fortnight.

Radishes, lots of them, from the farmers market, as modelled by M. Eaten in a Salad Nicoise (minus the fish, which C says is what makes it, but there you go), or simply sprinkled with ground black pepper and a little salt. A Boat Race, lost. Vases of daffodils, tulips, filling the flat. Dinner at Tayyabs, finally. Sunlight slanting in through the kitchen blinds when I get home from work. A walk to Hampstead, yellow mimosa tumbling over walls. Hot chocolate, marshmallow packed, from Ginger & White. Bags of purple sprouting broccoli, sent down from Norfolk by Mum, eaten with pasta at Anna's house, in quiches, in Thai Green Curry. Early evening running, Primrose Hill, Regent's Park, Paul Simon's Graceland on the ipod. Dal cooked on a slightly gloomy Sunday evening, fiery shades of the ingredients looking very pretty indeed. Sun setting over Islington rooftops, stunning colours. Burgers, fries and coke floats at Byron, cocktails at one bar, then another. An impromptu picnic in the park, with B and another M, Kettle Chips and pink lemonade. Blossom, purple, pink. Majestic magnolias. Bread, made by M, pea and little gem lettuce soup made by me. Windows left open at night for the first time this year.

Spring is most definitely here, and that's not even including this week, where the sun has truly been out in force.

Thank you for all the NYC tips and well wishes, as ever, you guys are the bestest.

Monday, 4 April 2011

On Cherry Blossom, Lost, Found

(Or, if you can't get your cherry blossom fix in Japan, head to Brooklyn instead)

So, the recent, devastating, events in Japan that resulted in an early homecoming for M, also meant that my flights to Tokyo this April were redundant. What else to do when both of us had leave booked, and refunded money from the original flights, but book to go to New York instead?

That's right lovelies, this time next week M and I will be heading to the airport for a week in NYC.

I. cannot. wait.

Super, super, super excited, even more so since discovering this on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden website, an online map devoted to updates on the blossom status of their resident cherry trees. Sad to be missing out on cherry blossom in Japan, happy to have found a second best. I think I am possibly more excited about this than the breakfast pancakes, the bagels, the Speakeasy cocktails. Possibly.

Anyway, I haven't been to New York since the week I turned 18, on a Sixth Form art trip, and before that not since I was a child, so, if you have any New York tips, must sees or fabulous places to eat or drink, then do share! M has also been before, and we have done all the big touristy sites, the Empire State building, the Statue of Liberty, but any hot tips for tiny bars serving a mean cocktail, or breakfast diners serving to die for stacks of blueberry pancakes, then do tell...