Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review: River Cottage Veg Every Day! By Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I bought my copy of River Cottage Veg Every Day! from Sainsbury's. Now I'll admit that I collect cookbooks, I find them relaxing to go through and like to take on ideas to experiment with for my own dishes. I particularly like my cookbooks to be in hardback with lovely glossy paper, lovely pictures and a little ribbon to mark my favourite recipe. I can't help it, I'm a cookbook magpie, the shinier the better!

River Cottage Veg Every Day ticks all the boxes, and has some luscious vegetarian recipes, dishes that don't call out for a bit of meat on the side. The book is also full of tips and isn't hard to follow which makes it all the better. There is nothing worse then having a recipe that reads like a chemistry lesson!

So far I've only had a chance to make one of the dishes in the book and I found it to be an easy and straightforward task. I especially liked the way Hugh advises on making rice, so much easier and practically foolproof. I made the biriyani and I can confirm that it was a hit with the family.

All in all the book is great and at the Sainsbury's price of £10.99 you can't go wrong. I am already on planning to get a copy for a friend as a housewarming gift and I'm 99.9% sure she is going to like it as much as I do

The book is available in most good bookstores and of course Amazon.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

DIY Bracelets

The sister in law reminded me over the weekend that Raksha Bandhan is coming up on 2nd August this year.  Although I don't believe in god, I was brought up in a Hindu household and I love the traditions.  Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival where a sister ties a rakhi (sacred thread) around her brother's wrist to show her love for him and he accepts it and promises to protect her.  The sister also feeds the brother something sweet (this should be an Indian sweet, but in my family its usually a bit of chocolate!), and the brother gives a present to his sister - my favourite bit :)

This year I decided to make my own bracelets instead of buying them from the local Indian market and so I trotted off to the local art shop instead!

Memories of making friendship bracelets weren't too hard to dig out and with a bit of sellotape I started plaiting. 

Nice bright colours to make sure that my brother can't hide his bracelet :)

A few minutes later I have a bracelet ready to tie around my brother's wrist.  Just a couple more to make for the cousins and we're good to go.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

GlossyBox: To Be or Not To Be?

I was very excited last night to recieve my July GlossyBox (, I signed up a few months ago as it seemed like a brilliant idea, you pay a monthly fee of £10 plus postage and packing and you get a lovely box filled with 5 new products that you can try out.  GlossyBox ask to to fill in a questionnaire which basically builds a beauty profile and this is what they use to decide what products to send you.

Great idea right?  Well it would be if only GlossyBox paid attention to the beauty profile.   My first GlossyBox was amazing, all the products were great and were ones that I would be happy to try out.  Now I recognise that this can't be the case all the time but I do expect a certain percentage of 'good' in each box.  The last few GlossyBoxs I've recieved have been OK although I was a little annoyed at last month's Vichy Dermablend sample as it was just literally a dab of 6 different shades, 4 of which are of no use to me at all as I'm Indian and the colours were just too light. I was hoping that this was a one off issue, however I realise with my July box that isn't the case at all.
July GlossyBox
In this month's GlossyBox I recieved:
  1. HD Brows Eye & Brow Palette - in Bombshell (I have Indian dark brown/black hair)
  2. Clynol Salon Enrich Colour Shampoo which looks really good.
  3. Monu Golden Glow (which apparently provides a natural looking tan - again no use to me as I am Indian and have light brown skin anyway),
  4. Jelly Pong Pong Lip Frosting, I'm excited about this one.
  5. Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion SPF 15 which also looks really good.
So, out of the 5 items I recieved, 2 aren't quite right.  I mean the colours in the HD Brows palette are nice and neutral so I probably could use them.  However, the issue here is that it doesn't look like GlossyBox is paying attention to people's beauty profiles, which, in turn makes me wonder why we were asked to complete them in the first place!

Come on GlossyBox, sort it out!  A bit of care and attention would go a long way!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Graze box

This weeks Graze box was a success; I've been thinking about cancelling the boxes over the past few weeks as I was getting fed up of getting the same things over and again especially as I was getting notifications of brand new product lines. Seeing all those tempting boxes that I wasn't getting was annoying me!!
I've subscribed with Graze to recieve their boxes once a week, you can if you like get them everyday or every other week depending on how much you think you can eat. The boxes are the perfect size for a little snack, most of the ingrediants are relatively healthy and they help prevent me from going into starvation mode whilst working and then binging on an unhealthy lunch.

So, the conclusion? Well I think I'll keep getting it for now and hope that I still keep getting boxes that I like. The Summer Berry Compote and Dark Rocky Road was just too good!


Generally speaking if I go shopping with a bloke, then, if that bloke hates shopping I usually let him choose where we're going to eat.  The bloke in this case is my brother and the place was Byron.

I like Byron, but I'll be honest I really didn't want to eat a burger as it was just too hot and I wanted to something a little lighter.  The brother ordered the chicken burger which he said was lovely, chicken was moist and the bun was fresh.  I wasn't sure how he managed to taste anything because he ate it so fast!

I decided on the cobb salad which was nice but the chicken was really really dry.  It was a shame as everything else was just what I wanted to eat on a hot summers day.  The dressing the salad came with wasn't very flavoursome, just very oily and slightly lemoney.  However, I stole some of my sister in law's house dressing from her Niscoise salad and that was a hit.

Chips were chips and the few I got to eat were great, crispy on the outside and mushy in the middle, just how like them. 

On the whole would go again but would probably stick to what Byron does best and thats burgers!

Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Byron on Urbanspoon

Monday, 23 July 2012

Classy Solution for Headphones

Throughout my working life, I have managed to go through a number of headphones.  The reason for the high-turnover is that I am always running over the headphone cord with my office chair and after a few rollovers the cord just ends up snapping.  Wrapping the headphones into loops doesn't help as I just end up with big knots and then have issues when clients call and I can't get my headphone on my head in time to accept their Skype calls.

Last year for my birthday I got an Aspinals of London Handbag hook which I liked but didn't want to carry around in my bag because it was just too pretty and I was paranoid that I would leave it in a bar somewhere in London!
Then, last week while I was having a clear out I found the hook and I had a light bulb moment and I realise that my handbag hook would work perfectly as a headphone hook. 

Its so nice to have something pretty in the office.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Make-up Drawers

So, this tweet by Grazia_Live last week triggered a reply and then a major cleaning out frenzy for me and I've decided to try and clear out some of my make-up, here goes!

I started with literally just getting all my makeup and putting it on the floor to see what I was dealing with.

I found these drawers in Muji after seeing something similar on Keeping Up with the Kardashians a while back.  At £10.95 you can't go wrong (compared to the Kardashian's £117.95).

I sorted out all the make-up into categories (the Virgo in me coming out to play), brushes and tools, eyeliners, eye shadows, cheeks, skin coverup etc etc, and suddenly it didn't look too bad.

Popped all the drawers back in and voila!  Make-up all nice and tidy with the added benefit that I can see where everything is and its all easily accessible.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Jamie's Italian

The girls I got together for dinner and thought that we would go to the relatively new branch of Jamie's Italian in Islington.  Its a great branch, spacious with an open kitchen from where you can see (and hear) the chefs making your meal.

We kicked off proceedings with ginger mojitos, a really refreshing non-alocholic drink (I didn't miss the rum at all) and the Italian Bread Selection and the Italian Nachos which were amazing little fried ravioli stuffed with cheese and served with arrabiata sauce.  I'm going to have to try this one at home!

Had to take this picture VERY quickly as these were snaffled so fast!
For my main I had Jamie's Favourite Turkey Milanese, more because I fancied a fried egg than anything else, but it was just lovely, the turkey was flavoursome, especially due to the fact that it had been stuffed with procsciutto and fontina which just woke up the turkey and made it delicious.

The girls had the Free-Range Chicken, the Prawn Linguine, Penne Arrabiata and the Ravioli Primavera and they all reported that they were happy with their meals. The ravioli arrived with far too much salt, but this was sorted out by the waiter who bought out another portion with no fuss at all.

We all shared some Funky Chips and some Polenta Chips, the polenta chips just pipping the potato version to the post in terms of yummyness.

We finshed the meal off with a selection of desserts to share between the five of us (the Warm Brownie, the Tiramisu and the Almond Tart).  They all got polished off with great effciency, personally I thought that the Almond Tart was the best, but that has more to do with the fact that I'm obsessed with almonds then anything else. 

Overall, the food was great, the service was great, the venue was great and the company was great.  I know that some people complain about Jamie's Italian not being as authentic as it could be and being a bit boring, however, compared with Pizza Express, Zizzi and Ask, I think that the quality at Jamie's Italian is just better and we all went home with smiles on our faces :)

Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Price: 3/5 
Ambience: 4/5.
Jamie's Italian on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Philosophy, I've Been Won Over

I quite happily admit that I'm a fickle person, throughout my life I've been jumping from one skin care range to the next, from one shiny pretty bottle to the next shiny pretty bottle.

I've been wearing Philosophy Inner Grace perfume for many years but I had shied away from the skincare range for one reason or another.  However, this changed a few months ago when I asked my friend to bring back a bottle of Purity a also a bottle of Miracle Worker from the US when she went over for a holiday.  I had always wanted to try the range but thought it was was too expensive.  However, as the range is cheaper in the USA I thought that this was the perfect time to give it a try.

Purity is a facial skin cleanser and it is amazing!  I have used many, many cleansers over the years and this one safely comes up trumps.  You only need a small amount and all your make up (including eye make-up) is swept off without that tight feeling afterwards.  My skin has also cleared up and is looking much better. The smell is a little clinical but not unpleasant.  I don't think that the price is too bad at £17.50 for a 240ml bottle, especially as a little really does go a long way. 
purity made simple
Miracle Worker is a brightener and dark spot correcter.  It is expensive (£52 for 30ml in the UK), however, again I have been really impressed with this product.  It does have a strange smell but a small amount on my face before I go to bed has worked wonders on my complexion.  I have quite a few acne scars on my face from adult onset acne and my hideous habit of picking my spots, Miracle Worker has smoothed these out and I'm finding that I don't have to wear as much foundation any more and in fact on most days tinted moisturiser is fine.  This hasn't been the case since my early twenties!!
miracle worker
Philosophy is available from Selfridges, Liberty, John Lewis and a few other department stores as well as online at if you can't get a friend to bring it over from the USA for you!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Cuckoo

The tribe and I had to go to Peterborough the other week and on a quick search on Poynt to find somewhere decent to eat found The Cuckoo. Well basically it was a choice between The Cuckoo and Harvester. After a quick look at the menu online The Cuckoo it was (how did we ever manage without smart phones??)

The Cuckoo is part of the Vintage Inns chain, it's great, welcoming, wheelchair accessible and free wifi (so we could plot our way home). The food on the whole was great, nothing out of the ordinary but what there was, was cooked well. 

We had:
The Warm Mediterranean Bread to shake of the inital hunger pangs
The Haddock and Chips - which was as stated on the menu a whale of a fish!
Hunters Chicken
Chargrilled Gammon Steak with some sauteed tiger prawns on the side
Goats Cheese Salad
Eton Mess - HUGE(!) portion
The Chocolate Trio (Double Chocolate Torte, Giant Profiterole and Chocolate Brownie)
And then for some unknown reason we decided that we could fit in dessert, a case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs!

All in all a lovely chilled out meal.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Some of The Spicy Essentials

I have a top drawer of spice essentials; easy access to the things I use the most, I think that its a pretty standard selection of the spices that Indian families use:

You also then have the 'Essential Spice Rack' which is basically what most Indians use almost everyday:

There are other spices that I use a lot, notably Garam masala which my mum mixed up herself.  No two mixes of garam masala are ever the same as everyone always as a secret mix that they use.  However, base the base ingredients are:

Cumin seeds
Coriander seeds
Cardamom pods
Black peppercorns
Cloves, and

All of the above is pretty much ground up and stored for use later.