Archive for April, 2016


A little cacti love for this weekend, and also some indulgence in my love for all things miniature. This is my sister’s mini cactus collection currently occupying her windowsill, overlooking a flowery garden (and a giant kids trampoline) which I loved. Her favourite is the furry green one, but I quite like the fat one in the middle ♥

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Giant Doggy Mondays

I often have to go out around London town to visit various areas for work, and often stumble across beautiful pieces of street art, unique sculptures and through-provoking posters, graffiti and signs around London which all make it the wonderfully quirky and interesting place that it is.
While running around Canary Wharf area today, and trying to hide from the rain, I spotted this amazing giant street scrawl on the side of a big block of flats by artists Irony & Boe, who are known for their giant pieces around London.

It was just what I needed to brighten up a very wet, grey day and of course, made me stop to take a picture (or three). Something to start this week off, a giant doggy (it’s actually called Chihuahuazilla!) with a little wisdom in its eyes as it looks over the busy traffic lights : )

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I’ve been reading a lot murder mysteries lately, so I’m in a mood for something silly today – weekly links time!

I’m loving these beautiful funkadelic rainbow lightbulbs which throw patterns on the wall – probably not the best light for when you’re trying to cook in the kitchen, but hey, it’s so pretty!

Unmasked superheroes – some of these are not what you’d expect!

History’s most powerful and poignant letters and diary entries – prepare to feel moved.

So this is 6,000 matches being lit at the same time which is weirdly satisfying to watch.

So this is a receipt for rainbow pizza. Eat it at your own risk.

Me and social media.

A little dose of Disney – Disney characters in the real world. I quite like the idea of little mice from Cinderella running around, although it’s probably not a safe scenario there! More from the creator, here.

A review of every James Bond movie by animated spy agent Archer. Don’t expect much from this guy.

Some of these are beautiful – photos merged with fantasy for some very cool pictures. Something to try at home, perhaps.

And now, a rap.

My friends know by know, that when you take me to dinner, I’ll always love a diner with quirky decor, good food and even something to remind us of the 90s and our childhood. So when my best friend took me to Proper Burgers in East London, and she told me I’d love it, I was happy to find she was right – the food was great, decor was fab and the restaurant was something I did love!

The most striking thing about this restaurant is the statement wall – an entire wall of cassette tapes stuck to the wall that I loved. My friend also took her little children on a previous occasion to the restaurant and told me they didn’t know what the cassettes were, which I thought just shows how times move so quickly!

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This wasn’t the only decor which I loved, there were dramatic prints, art-deco style lamps, light-up pineapples and quirky pieces like typewriters and vases of flowers, which all brought together a very friendly atmosphere. I also liked the fact that the restaurant wasn’t cluttered – there were mostly simple seating and clear spaces which is great for families (especially big ones!)

This is what we ordered, I ordered hte Proper Burger (classic quarter pounder meat) while my friend ordered a veggie burger with mushrooms, both with a side of chips (my friend ordered cheesey fries) as well as a lemon and vanilla milkshake.

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Because these were gourmet burgers, they were a pretty decent size, and the meat patty used was a decent quality. My friend’s veggie burger was well cooked and each burger came with plenty of filling, salad and cheese with a generous dollop of sauce. The lemon milkshake was also lovely, although a little subtle in taste, which went well with the burger and fries.

This is a great place for a casual meal with friends (or family!) and the service was great too – we got served quickly and the staff were very friendly. I particularly liked the fact that they stopped to tell us about our food, as well as about the restaurant, which is nice to know about, and they also encouraged me to take more pictures of the restaurant!

I’m sure I’ll be coming back here again, I loved the decor and it’s always nice to find something like this in the heart of east London. I’ve been keeping an eye out for more places like this, so let me know about any suggestions:

OVERALL:
Food: 7 / 10
Decor: 8 / 10
Atmosphere: 8 /10
Cost: Around £20 for 2 people
Halal status confirmed

I love the idea of flat lay photography (laying out items flat on a surface so that they look stylish from a birds eye point of view) and I’m always looking for new styles and ideas to play around with. I loved these movie-inspired flat-lays by poster artist Jordan Bolton, and thought I’d try my hand at my own version. I don’t have quite as many things as the posters but I loved the result!

It’s made me want to do a few more (think Bollywood, for example! ) – I’ll be sure to post the results when I do!

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Last weekend my sister and I took the chance to go to Trafalgar Square to play Monopoly – a giant version of the game, that is. The Giant board was installed for a short-term by the London Games Festival team to promote the festival over the week, and also get some of the public to join in with the fun.

Although the board wasn’t as huge as I expected (I expected it to be literally the same size as the square!) it was still a fun idea and people could still play the game by downloading the game app on their phone or with the game organisers. There also weren’t many pieces (just the cat and the racing car, no top hat which is always my piece!) they made nice pieces for display.

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We were able to have a quick round on the board before it got really busy – there were a lot of tourists who loved the idea! I also liked that fact that the colours and the ‘properties’ were put together pretty well, but as a game version rather than road names.

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It was a pretty sunny day out so perfect for some gaming, and afterwards my sister and I climbed up the lions next to Nelson’s Column (which was scary because my shoes were not climbing shoes!) and took in the view of the Square.

You can see more pictures here on my sister’s blog as well – let me know what you think : )

Something I’ve been reading this weekend, trying a little comedy and feminism wrapped up by the inimitable Caitlin Moran. What are you reading right now?

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“Snow White poisoned. Cinderella enslaved. Rapunzel locked up. Tessie, dumped with bones. Some monster’s twisted fantasy,”

“I am the Cartwright girl, dumped once upon a time with a strangled college student and a stack of human bones out past Highway 10, in an abandoned patch of field near the Jenkins property. I am the star of screaming tabloid headlines and campfire ghost stories. I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans. The lucky one.”

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin follows Tessa (no longer ‘Tessie’, a name which has been abandoned along with her childhood innocence), lone surviving victim of a serial killer who dumped her along with three other dead girls, buried amongst the yellow flowers known as ‘Black-eyed Susans’, which also becomes their moniker. Hindered by her memory loss surrounding the incident, Tessa struggles to pinpoint who has done this to her, working through therapy and recovering with help of her best friend Lydia, but all the while unsure about what happened leading up to the time she was found and why she was chosen.

Now, 17 years later, Tessa’s doubts grow heavier about the man apprehended and serving on death-row for the crime, especially as the deadline for his black eyed susansexecution approaches. Re-examining the facts which don’t seem to add up, she re-counts the times that someone has planted Black-eyed Susans flower around her home, left there for her to find, as well as potential clues she has found and kept over the years. Now an adult with a teenaged daughter of her own, Tessa goes back to her memories and looks back with an adult mind, working with the police and with new DNA and forensic methods to find out if the right man really was caught, or if she is still in danger.

I’m not usually a big fan of the flashback method but in this case it works, the two narratives of Tessa at 17 after her abduction weaved with the perspective of Tessa in present time 17 years later work well together. The flashbacks are not prolonged or dragged out, and serve to heighten the anticipation as Tessa slowly unravels the mystery in both time periods.

Filled with intense, eccentric and interesting characters, the novel is a well-crafted one, making the mystery pulled together by not only the characters but their backgrounds and their stories. There’s Tessa’s  grandfather with his morbid fascination with death, fairy-tale stories and a giant, almost grotesque castle of a house; her best friend Lydia, a highly intelligent young girl who supports Tessa with witticisms and poetry, yet is fascinated by death, celebrity gossip murder cases and eccentric parts of history, Tessa’s own daughter Charlie, wiser than her years and cool in the face of Tessa’s fears; and of course their scatty elderly neighbour Effie, a quirky, brilliant scientist who can’t cook and is worried about someone stealing all the diggers in the neighbourhood.

I won’t agree with critics who say this is for fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl – although it may perhaps have a touch of the same dark mystery of Dark Places by the same author, which follows a woman looking for answers about her family’s massacre. The book is one that slowly creeps up on the reader, intense but well-researched, combining the psychological with facts about forensics. For those who like thrillers and mystery, this is a good pick although be prepared for a slower unravelling of the story rather than fast-paced action.

Although I wasn’t entirely too satisfied with the ending of this novel, it is a good one, and there is enough of the unexpected if you don’t spot the hints along the way. Heaberlin has an ability to create characters which, although flawed, are interesting ones – Tessa herself is a myriad of emotions and but her growth from scarred teenager to a stable, confident woman and mother is admirable. This is a satisfyingly creepy and compelling story, almost a twist on a dark fairytale which leads you through to new questions with each new answer given – but definitely a thriller to remember.

 

Neal’s Yard

My sister and I were making the most of the gorgeous (and long-awaited!) sunshine today and had a wander around Covent Garden, coming across this gorgeous spot hidden away in the alleyways. I love finding places where you can sit and enjoy the surroundings like this, which look much more prettier in life, but I’m sure you can see how vibrant this place looks!

Rainbow buildings, flowers and plenty of sunshine for this weekend!

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One of the things I look out for whenever I go somewhere new are bookstores and libraries. I’ve been lucky enough so far to find some beautiful examples, such as this lovely bookstore in Istanbul which I found while strolling around in the New City, and which was beautifully put together.

I was pretty delightly, then, to find this colourful, quirky bookstore in Greece one on of the Islands, in the area called Oia which is famous for its beautiful sunsets and landscapes, (and which is a very popular tourist spot for honeymooners) – it was hidden away along the main street with stairs leading down into the bookshop inside. What I loved about this bookstore what the the outside was just as pretty as its interior – there were plenty of paintings and decor around the building so there was something to catch your eye wherever you look.

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I loved the random pieces scattered around – bookshelves, plants, typewriters and handwitten signs to give the personal touch and make it feel homely. I always love finding places like this, and it was great to see the effort put into decorating this bookshop.

The interior of the bookshop was a little dark (excuse the grainy pictures!) but it felt a little like a personal dreamland – hundreds of books in various languages crammed together on bookshelves, with some hanging from the ceiling, piled up on the cabinets and generally giving plenty of invitation for passerbys to come and immerse themselves in the world of books.

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We left this place with a big smile on our face (myself more than anyone else) because it was such a beautiful corner of a beautiful city, and I loved the fact that it seemed untouched by commercial values, instead asking customers to give what they can and to make the most of seeing the books. It’s made me keep an eye out for more of these places around the city, and of course, I’ll be posting more of these when I find them!

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