365 things that made 2017 awesome

It’s no secret that 2017 hasn’t been the easiest of years for me. There’s been loads of tough moments for me to go through.

Thanksfully, there’s also been a lot of small and big happy things.

As an exercise in mind- and gratefulness, over the whole year, I’ve noted down the top happy thing for each day of 2017.

And here they are – my 2017 shiny little moments of happiness!

365 things that made 2017 awesome ● Yearly retrospective ● Cake + WhiskyJAN.

1. Starting the year with a horizon of fireworks and a glass of bubbly.

2. Roasted onions, steamed potatoes + raclette cheese + hot oven = lazy raclette FTW!!

3. Super comfy new office chairs.

4. Finally stocked up on Earl Grey again!

5. Leftover Pizza Pilgrim’s pizza for dinner.

6. Home-cooked steak dinner with roasties and garlic aioli. (Garlic is my spirit animal)

7. Sales shopping, the grown up edit!

8. The best Chinese noodles at Xi’an Impression.

9. Colourful salads for lunch.

10. The flying carpet bit of Aladdin the musical.

11. Lunch at Ahi Poke & shopping with my sister.

12. Coconut cookies, skinny fries & good times with my bro’!

13. Tapas at my favourite place.

14. Slow dancing to Lee Fields & The Expressions

15. A lazy day at home and THAT Sherlock finale!

16. Chipotle’s guac’ & chips.

17. THIS salad!

18. THIS salad (again!)

19. Winner winner scallop stir-fry dinner (a loose adaptation of this recipe)

20. Beautiful seafood miso ramen for lunch, then pizza, Westworld & chill!

21. Pud’ & cocktails at Talli Joe with my fave

22. Steamed potato, melted cheese, smoked pepper. ’tis the little things.

23. Shooting some of my favourite photos to date of my favourite recipe ever (and getting to eat it all afterwards!)

24. British food quiz night at Roast restaurant with HotJoint! (Join their next event, it’s a lot of fun!!)

25. Finally getting my head out of the blog rut I’ve been stuck in for a while.

26. Exciting blogging opportunities opened up by Blogfoster (and catching up with blogger friends)

27. A well deserved early night!

28. *That* Kung Pao pork taco at Breddos Tacos

29. The ultimate breakfast of champions: Meatliquor’s Dead Hippie burger in bed!!

30. Chatting about any- and everything with my mum over the phone.

31. Delicious, warming (and super-easy to make!) Thai chicken noodle soup for lunch.


32. Making exciting weekend plans.

33. The scales finally making a little move in the right direction!

34. Pizza, Netflix & chill (classic Friday plans right there!)

35. The best kind of busy days: Falling in love with Spitafields all over again, lunch at Smokestak, The Mousetrap, Yautcha’s dim sums.

36. Risotto Milanese .

37. A fascinating night learning all about (and tasting!) Hudson whiskey.

38. Cheat’s chicken Satay for dinner.

39. Planning and impromptu trip to Munich (+ more chicken Satay)

40. Dinner with Michelle, Seetal & Raj at Honey & Smoke. Bloggers + mezze + cake = the best.

41. Winner winner dosa dinner!

42. NEW HAAAAAAAAIR (and possibly new flat?!)!

43. That feeling you get after a full day of decluttering. Also, S’MORES CHEESECAKE POTS!

44. Spicy pork belly for lunch & BRGR.CO #TheFounder for dinner.

45. Pizza + Champagne + comfy sofa! #WinningAtVday #YouCanKeepYour£70Menu #cheapdate

46. Lazy garlic bread (I just rubbed a clove of garlic on toasted bread, buttered it and called it a day) with buttersquash soup for dinner.

47. A rare quiet day at work.

48. Spring in the air (fingers crossed).

49. Lunch at Berber & Q’s Shawarma Bar.

50. Researching bank accounts + IKEA dreamin’ + Sushi dinner = Winning at adulting today!

51. Pizza & long overdue catch up with Vi Vian.

52. More food + catch ups, this time with Jess at Tang.


54. Pots & Co salted caramel & chocolate pots de crème

55. Surprise dinner at Lima (totally my kind of surprise).

56. Loads of candles, endless cups of tea, Satay chicken (again).

57. Started The Girl Before & I’m hooked!

58. *THIS* paleo granola. Lifechanging.

59. A very succesful late-night online shopping sesh (now the proud owners of a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a Dualit toaster & a cast-iron skillet…)

365 things that made 2017 awesome ● Yearly retrospective ● Cake + WhiskyMAR.

60. Salt water happy nails.

61. A night at the (Irish) ambassador.

62. Lunch at Som Saa.

63. Polpo‘s pork & fennel meatballs.

64. Cooking up a (middle eastern-ish) storm + afternoon spent chatting with friends over said storm and tea + triple rainbows

65. Leaving work early (and THERE IS STILL LIGHT PAST 5PM!!)

66. Grey’s Anatomy binge-watching.

67. Frenetic packing with a side of ham tortellini, tomato sauce & crumbled feta.

68. Dublin Day 1 – Loads of walking, robots & dinner at Forest Avenue!

69. Dublin Day 2 – Whiskey, books & rugby.

70. Dublin Day 3 -Brunch at The Fumbally, more whiskey, more walking and then some more whiskey!

71. Home sweet home

72. Date night steak!

73. Feasting on Medjool dates and Mella’s Fudge.

74. Starting to see the end line of our packing marathon.

75. When you find THE BEST bathroom cleaner EVER and you don’t have to scrub one bit! #thatmovinglife

76. Pinkberry frozen yoghurt for dinner.

77. Dinner at Oldroyd, brilliant as always (the rhubarb tart and bergamot posset desserts especially so).

78. Beauty & The Beast at the Screen on the Green.

79. Dinner at Tayyabs.

80. The BF bringing home Lucky Chip burgers (and fries, the guy knows me well).

81. Dinner at (one of) my (many) happy place(s). Duck leg + breast with wild garlic mash and custard tart, in case you were wondering…

82. MOVING DAY = SO grateful for naps & food delivery!

83. 12+h of sleep!!

84. Ah-mazing Buontalenti gelato from Badiani – only 4 ingredients but definitely worth crossing the River for!

85. All the Ikea / Bob the Builder vibes.

86. First hot cross bun of the season for breakfast!

87. Finally having black jeans back in my wardrobe!!

88. Garlic butter mushroom bun for dinner

89. Memmingen’s pastel houses and well-stocked bakeries.

90. The best of friends and ice creams in Munich.


91. Munich Day 2 – City walks, vodka-candy shots, photo books and endless giggles.

92. Munich Day 3 – Bavarian brunch + the gorgeous Pinakotek museum.

93. Bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner #mycarblife

94. Bed rubber foot pads. ‘Tis the little things.

95. Cream egg brownie baking.

96. Brighton Day 1 – The sound of the sea, walking along the beach & amazing peanut butter + caramel ice cream from Boho Gelato.

97. Brighton Day 2 – Shopping, photomaton pictures taking with my fave, vegan buddha bowl for lunch, ice cream, pizza + wine at Franco Manca for dinner.

98. Brighton Day 3 – Lazy day + impromptu picnic feat. incredible egg + wild garlic sandwiches from Silo.

99. Our new flat starting to feel like home.

100. Pasta, pizza and ALL THE CARBS!

101. Binge-watching Chefs Table.

102. A fridge full of Farmdrop goodies.

103. That long weekend ahead feeling!

104. Date night at home with the BF, wine and Arrival.

105. BRGR.CO’s mac & cheese.

106. Spring gnocchi + ALL THE CHOCOLATE!

107. Lunch at The Palomar + perfectly cut new white J Crew linen shirt.

108. When your fridge leftover come together in one random-yet-delicious salad bowl!

109. My mum being the most attentionate of people.

110. A simple home-cooked dinner.

111. Having 0 moving boxes left to empty!

112. Our cocktail-fulled housewarming party (finally!).

113. A voté! (fingers crossed)

114. Binge-watching ’13 reasons why’.

115. Clearing up my to-do list.

116. Pad Thai is always a good idea.

117. New Ipad = life changed!!

118. Luca’s selection of Britalian small plates.

119. Cinema with the Mr. (and a box of popcorn bigger than my head).

120. Buttery scrambled eggs for breakfast.



122. Booking tickets for Cuba (and somehow finding a direct flight that doesn’t cost the Earth!).


124. Packing, packing, packing (am I the only one finding it incredibly satisfying?)

125. Barcelona Day 1 – The light falling from into El Born’s small streets, tapas lunch at Bar Brutal, the views from Montjuïc, vermouth at Morro Fi…

126. Barcelona Day 2 – La Boqueria market, tapas feast at Jai-Ca and all of my favourite people under one roof!

127. Barcelona Day 3 – Escriba’s croissants, gorgeous weather, loads of walking and somehow, despite the fact that everything that could have gone wrong basically did (and then some), making it in time for our train back!

128. Burgers and laughing with Scott and the early-London-times gang.

129. Working from home + peanut butter chicken winner dinner!

130. Spring vegetable quiche (and strawberries) for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

131. Home made Pad See Ewe for dinner.

132. Kiln + Crosstown Doughnuts + The Piano Bar = the perfect Soho evening!

133. The Big Bang Theory’s finale.

134. Cycling in the sun & catching up on Masterchef Australia.

135. Best effort-to-result ratio dinner: trout en papillote + steamed baby potatoes + homemade tzatziki. Spring supper perfection.

136. The plumpiest, yummiest Medjool dates from Farmdrop.

137. Baby pink nails.

138. An early morning visit to New Covent Garden Flower Market.

139. *THAT* Grey’s Anatomy finale!!

140. Making progress on my to-do list + pizzaaaaaaaaa!

141. Shake Shack burgers + the sun being back in London (and hopefully here to stay!)

142. Winner winner marinated steak & Mexican corn salad dinner!

143. Treating myself to an after-work walk around Chelsea in Bloom.

144. Gin-masterclass at The Refinery with Simple Pool + The London Essence Co.

145. Tomato, mozza & home-grown micro basil – simple really is best!

146. The season’s first apricots.

147. -Finally- exploring the new ‘hood, culminating with a little wine-ing & dining at Noble Rot.

148. Tacos, ice cream & the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

149. Polenta orange syrup cake.

150. An unexpected working-from-home day.

151. G&Ts at Cinnamon Kitchen’s colourful Summer Gin Garden + impromptu dinner at Gunpowder.

365 things that made 2017 awesome ● Yearly retrospective ● Cake + WhiskyJUN.

152. The last of those parmesan & poppy seed biscuits for lunch.

153. PIZZAAAAAAA + House of Cards’ season finale. (No, YOU binge-watched the entire thing in less than a week!)

154. Fresh (super spicy!) Xi’an-style udon for dinner.

155. Juicy peaches from the food market + Ottolenghi week on Masterchef Australia!!

156. Garlic butter salmon a la The Londoner for dinner.

157. This red pepper tortilla (with some added chorizo) for lunch.

158.  Pastel blue nailpolish.

159. Putting ideas into words and words into actions.

160. That dirty, messy, DELICIOUS Dip & Flip burger (and cheese fries!)

161. Sunshine, cocktails & catching up with my my faves in Cambridge.

162. A clean home is a happy home!

163. Cycling in the sun.

164. The most delicate apple blossom, mastic & Bruichladdich whisky cocktail at Scarfes Bar.

165. Paella masterclass & all the bubbly at the Anna de Codorníu Terrace on the Thames.

166. Winner winner vegan dinner lunch (and my baby sister turning 20!!)

167. A weel-deserved post-cycling-and-grocery-shopping Callipo in the 30°C heat!

168. Sriracha mayo on e’rythiiiiiing!

169. London’s best pizza with my fave!

170. Probably the only time you’ll ever hear me say ‘God bless air conditioning’!

171. All the online window shopping!!

172. Homemade chicken teriyaki rice bowls.

173. A perfectly cooked steak dinner while binge-watching Mr. Selfridge + PAYDAY (FINALLY!).

174. Sales shopping & dinner at Temper.

175. The loooooongest night I’ve had in FOREVER & dinner at Vivian’s.

176. Errands, iced coffee & simple pasta dinner.

177. The smell of roast chicken (& the taste of crispy skin!)

178. Winner winner (budget) steak dinner!

179. Finally finding out who A.D. is.

180. The Diner’s garlic butter fries.

181. Breakfast for dinner #TeamAvocado


182. A visit to my beloved Borough Market.

183. Indulging my croissant cravings.

184. Satay chicken salad packed lunch.

185. A real taste of home via a tomato & mustard tart.


187. Kin‘s Bun Cha ??

188. Adding choc’ chops to this week’s granola batch #goodmove

189. Going to IKEA to buy boring grown-up things (a new toilet seat) and getting out with the prettiest carafe/vase, super cute cups and a set of bay blue bedlinnen.

190. Our new non-broken, non-gross toilet seat.

191. Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference White Choc’ & Raspberry cookies ?

192. First good hair day in a looooong time!

193. Onion-soup-style quiche for lunch!!

194. Back on the Once Upon A Time bandwagon…

195. Cointreau Fizz & dim sums to make up for the lack of fireworks.

196. Sneaky Domino’s dinner.

197. Vegetarian lasagna FTW!

198. Winter is back! #GoT

199. Our shower is fixed and a working shower is the best thing EVER!

200. Apricot jam in the making and it smells so goooooooood!

201. Vegan chocolate mousse ftw.

202. Friyay done right with burgers + fries + cookies + Les Misérables on the telly.

203. Listening to the rain whilst reading a book. And pizza.

204. Freshly coloured hair.

205. Walking back home and peanut butter cups for pudding.

206. Blackcurrant + apple bircher muesli.

207. Chicken Katsu!

208. Finally watching East Side Sushi.

209. Friyay G&T and my fave Bun Cha for dinner.

210. Mezze, robots, apéro and RuPaul binge-watch.

211. Breakfast and life catch-up with my fave.

212. Monday-appropriate pineapple fizz, ah-mazing oyster sauce & veggie noodles and Game of Thrones obv.


213. Winner, winner, grilled steak dinner!

214. The juiciest nectarines from Farmdrop.

215. Saviour face masks (this one!)

216. Mid-afternoon naps and burger diners.

217. Ordering half the menu at Som Saa.

218. Baked potatoes.

219. Cake for dinner at Cutter & Squidge.

220. Homemade lasagna.

221. Finishing Once Upon A Time.

222. Peach crumble in a jar.

223. Fort building parties are the best parties ❤

224. My skin miiiiiiight be on the way out of its recent breaking-out party.

225. Grey & rainy day calls for spiced lentil soup!

226. Tomato & peaches all day, everyday!

227. Scrambled eggs for lunch. #perksofworkingfromhome

228. The most delicious #NationalBurgerDay warm up at Ben’s Canteen.

229. Birthday dinner at El Pastor and my new shooooooooes!

230. Another Kin Bun Cha dinner.

231. Visiting the prettiest store in all the land!

232. Planning our upcoming Paris trip.

233. God bless Mario Badescu drying lotion!

234. Discovering the life-changing magic of the Mooncup (about time…).

235. Packing (yes, I’m one of those people who actually enjoy packing)!

236. Arriving in Paris, dinner at Verjus & *THAT* view of the Louvre at night!

237. Croissants, shopping & tapas with friends.

238. Ober Mama’s pasta (& tiramisu!), walks along Paris’ canals, drinks ‘en terrace’, giggles and gossips.

239. More croissants, exploring Montmartre and quality time with the best-est friends.

240. Just back from holiday & already planning our next (Cuban!) adventure!

241. Magic & cocktails!

242. Aubergine salad – always a winner!

243. The BF deliveroo-ing ice cream for lunch.


244. Cream cheese carrot cake? YES PLEASE!!

245. Autumn in the air and the first soup of the season!

246. Thin sweater & bare ankle weather.

247. Blackcurrant jam ❤

248. Fresh bed linnen.

249. Corn & tuna salad lunch.

250. M&S’ nduja tomato sauce is the bomb!

251. Polenta plum cobbler.

252. Booking all our Cuba accomodations (the holiday excitement is real!).

253. ALL THE DUMPLINGS at London’s Chinese Food Festival!

254. Banana bread porridge (aka my new favourite way to start the day!).

255. Making my first (super easy!) dumplings.

256. Binge-watching Gilmore Girl.

257. Getting new breakfast-spiration thanks to Food at 52, Sally Bee & Very Lazy!

258. Lemongrass & Coconut Panna Cotta for pudding!

259. Touring London’s City Hall & dinner at Madame D.

260. Finally making it to Malty St. Market.

261. Starting to get the hang of this whole working from home thing…

262. A visit to Paperchase is always a good idea!

263. Weekday brunch = ultimate working-from-home perk!

264. A potato-in-every-dish tasting menu is my kind fo tasting menu! Well done Idohan!

265. The boyfriend working from home.

266. The Little Viet Kitchen’s spring rolls.

267. Sunny autumn days are the best!

268. The Big Bang Theory season premiere.

269. So excited for the opening of pumpkin / squash soup season!!

270. Dinner at Darjeeling Express.

271. The first appearance of my signature sausage casserole on my table this season.

272. 100% obsessed with those white chocolate & raspberry cookies.

273. The best cure for SAD – cheese fondue, wine & giggles!

365 things that made 2017 awesome ● Yearly retrospective ● Cake + WhiskyOCT.


275. All-day snuggles before the BF goes to India.

276. Getting stuck into Dan Brown’s Origin.

277. Squash soup + apple & black pudding sausage rolls is what Autumn dinner dreams are made of!

278. Finally getting things moving in the right direction work-wise.

279. Make the most of Fry-day with chips for dinner!

280. London’s best ramen at Kanada-Ya.

281. #BloggersBoozyBrunch at The Avenue.

282. Absolutely obsessed with Nexflix’s The Good Place.

283. Soup, soup soup!

284. Buttered toast is my spirit animal.

285. Bluebird Tea finally landing in London!

286. The Mr.’s back (and he brought Leon’s meatballs with him!).

287. Catching up on fave TV shows (How to Get Away With Murder ftw)!

288. Another fabulous party at the Palace!

289. A Columbia Road house plant shopping and Reubens kind of day (the best kind!).

290. Finally getting our visas for Cuba sorted!

291. Spicy pork dumplings for lunch.

292. Another spicy pork dumpling lunch (can’t get enough of them!!)

293. Previewing the Autumn cocktail menu at TwoRuba.

294. Cocktail masterclass at Hixter Bankside followed by one of London’s best steak at Macellaio RC.

295. Smoking Goat’s spicy chicken wings!!

296. Deglet Nour dates ♥♥

297. I had forgotten how good The Collective‘s strawberry & mascarpone yoghurt is (now, how do we go about making it a permanent flavour?!)

298. Freshly baked apple turnovers.

299. Learning to make Koláčes with Budweiser Budvar.

300. Leftover pastries from yesterday’s masterclass for breakfast.

301. Absolutely OBSESSED with this sticky date porridge!!

302. Chicken and mushroom pie for dinner.

303. The odd satisfaction of a nearly-empty fridge.

304. Suitcases all packed and ready for Cuba!


305. Getting my nails painted in the prettiest shade of baby blue at London Grace.

306. That take-off feeling (and a really good in-flight meal!).

307. Cuba Day 1 – Gigantic casa breakfast, first steps in Havana and Ropa Vieja at El Cubano.

308. Cuba Day 2 – Lemonade at Montserrate Bar and time by the sea on the Malecon.

309. Cuba Day 3 – Taking in the views in Vinales.

310. Cuba Day 4 – Horseback riding through the Vinales Valley and swimming in the lake.

311. Cuba Day 5 – I’m always at my happiest by the seaside (especially when the sea is WARM!!)

312. Cuba Day 6 – Sea-swimming and fish soup.

313. Cuba Day 7 – The views on the car journey from Playa Larga to Trinidad.

314. Cuba Day 8 – Making it to the Parque El Cubano waterfall.

315. Cuba Day 9 – Seeing a quadruple rainbow over Trinidad (and finally fealing good enough to eat something other than rice)!

316. Cuba Day 10 – Mojitos & patatas bravas at El Cochinero, a tour of Havana’s Vedado in the cutest car, incredible jamon croquetas at La Guarida and the best night’s sleep at Animas 303.

317. Cuba Day 11 – Riding in a Coco taxi + binge-watching The Handmaid’s Tale on the plane.

318. Wifi everywhere (and late afternoon naps).

319. Not feeling the effect of jetlag!

320. Domino’s dinner.

321. Murder on the Orient Express with a cup of tea at Everyman Cinema.

322. A productive afternoon of Christmas shopping.

323. Christmas present wrapping round 1 & Christmas playlist building.

324. Tray roast salad for lunch.

325. Looking through our Cuba pictures.

326. Bread + butter pudding for breakfast.

327. I forgot how good (and cheap!!) Pizza Union’s mushroom pizza is!!

328. A spot of independant store Christmas shopping on Exmouth Market, followed by Patty & Bun burgers on the sofa.

329. An incredible impromptu dinner at Anglo.

330. Moving forward with our Christmas shopping.

331. First time watching Elf!

332. Breakfast at the gorgeous Balcon with Clarence Court, followed by a tour of London’s prettiest Christmas lights & windows.

333. My first ever hot pot dinner.

334. Basically living off easy-peelers and I regret nothing.


335. Bublé playlist & canapé prepping.

336. Festive cocktail fuelled-Christmas party.

337. Padella pasta & long-overdue catch-up with my fave human being.

338. The most efficient Monday I’ve had in a long time.

339. -Finally- being the proud owner of a pink, glittery deer head.

340. Pasta dinner.

341. Being reunited with the best mum in the world!

342. Christmas shopping with my mum & Christmas partying with my love.

343. Whisky cocktails & burger dinner.

344. Roast at the Quality Chop House.

345. Spinach baked eggs for dinner.

346. The look on my mum’s face after her first taste of my ultimate mac’n’cheese recipe.

347. Padella‘s simple tomato pasta – simply gorgeous!

348. Leftover pigs in blankets.

349. More of London’s best chicken wings with one of my fave people.

350. Lazy sofa day with all the Christmas movies.

351. Mmmmmh, noodle soup!

352. Prtty festive nails from The Little Nail Room, followed by a funghi pizza party with my fave.

353. Going home for Christmas.

354. Foie gras for breakfast #onlyinfrance.

355. The smell of my parents’ Christmas tree.

356. First taste of my version of Rachel Phipps’ gin-cured salmon and it’s a winner!

357. Christmas grocery shopping with my mum.

358. Cooking up the Christmas feast with the whole family.

359. My prettyyyyyyyy!

360. Little nuggets of self-improvment wisdom and raclette party.

361. Tea shopping, being reunited with Sephora and dinner with my grand parents.

362. Chateau road trip with the Mr. and the sister (+ French McDo and yet more foie gras ’cause I’m all about that balanced diet).

363. Catching up with one of my favourite human beings.

364. Cuban mojitos, Chinese takeaway and proving I’m still the Ticket to Ride master (any other addicts to this game around?)

365. A packed last day ahead – squeezing in as much family quality time (and couscous stew) as possible before celebrating the upcoming new year with friends!

Hoping that 2018 brings you and your loved ones as many happy moments as 2017 did! What were your highlights?

365 things that made 2017 awesome

27 things I’m looking forward to

Today’s my 27th birthday.

And for the first time in literally forever, I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Birthday wishes • Cake + Whisky

Not because I don’t want to be old or any of this nonsense, but I’m going through a rough patch at the moment, with lots of things to work through and sort out and I somehow wish my birthday wasn’t caught in the middle of it all.

So yeah, not the happiest of birthday this time ’round.

But it doesn’t stop me looking forward to the year ahead and all the good things it will bring, including all of the below…

  1. Going to Cuba
  2. FINALLY eating at El Pastor (muuuuuuch excited for dinner tonight!!)
  3. Wearing my new blue suede ballerinas
  4. Christmas – family gatherings, Christmas cocktail parties, glittery lights, wrapping presents, over-eating, all of it!
  5. Seeing Wicked in the theatre
  6. And Les Miserables too (hopefully)
  7. Watching the new Crime of the Orient Express movie
  8. Reading the upcoming new Dan Brown book
  9. Catching up with friends in Paris
  10. Finally seeing the Royal Opera House’s production of Alice in Wonderland (after all, it did take me 5 years to get tickets…)
  11. Finding prints for our bedroom (I love this one but it wouldn’t really work…)
  12. Getting to wear my signature perfume once again (an early birthday present from me to myself)
  13. Hosting more house parties
  14. Perfecting my skillet cookie recipe (it’s coming people, it’s coming!)
  15. Exploring more of London, always
  16. Visiting my baby bro’ first proper appartment
  17. Teaching myself how to make puff pastry
  18. Buying new underwear (some like shoes, some like bags, I like underwear. Deal with it.)
  19. Visiting the Barbican conservatory
  20. Taking too many pictures (obv)
  21. Seeing Sheldon marry Amy #teamshamy
  22. Lighting up this candle (it smells divine)
  23. Doing more crafty things – be it embroidery, hand lettering or just colouring
  24. Getting a new laptop (fingers crossed)
  25. Finally getting around to watching some classic movies (can you believe I’ve never seen E.T. or Titanic?)
  26. Learning new things
  27. And, most importantly, finding my way back to a happy, peaceful me (hopefully)
27 things I’m looking forward to

Halloween Inspiration

This is Halloween! This is Halloween!

Piles of pumpkins, flying crisp white sheets, black cats and spiders aplenty, there’s no doubt about it: the scariest night of the year is upon us!

As a kid, Halloween was one of my favourite holidays.

The candy, the candles, the spookiness, I loved it all… and to some extend, I still do & there’s hardly anything making me more excited than a good Hallow’s Eve-inspired moodboard!

After all, ‘black is such a happy colour‘!

Halloween Inspiration | Cake + Whisky

Image sources: 1. Unknown – 2. via Myopia – 3. via The Davy Graves Aesthetic – 4. The Jewels of New York – 5. Unknown – 6. Dividing ME

Halloween Inspiration | Cake + Whisky

Image source: As Above So Below

Halloween Inspiration | Cake + Whisky

Image sources: 1. Unknown – 2. via Camille Styles – 3. – 4. The Rover Boutique – 5. via Fortune Tellers & Dreamcatchers – 6. via DARK

Do you guys have any exciting plans this Halloween? Mine include eating too much candy (any excuse I get, I use!), watching spooky movies and maybe befriending a black cat (or twelve)!

Halloween Inspiration

6 tips to improve your food styling & photography

I started taking pictures of my food (and other people’s ??) well before I started a blog, and even before Instagram was a thing. Obviously, the obsession’s only gotten worse since then.

So trust me when I say, I understand how difficult it can be to make food look beautiful. Making things tasty is quite a challenge in itself, but making it look good is even harder.

But, whether you’re an avid food blogger yourself, or a teeny-tiny bit addicted to Instagram, sometimes, making home-cooked dishes look supermodel-perfect in front of the camera does matter.

If you’re not sure where to start, below are a few easy tips* to up your food styling & photography game (and achieve that drool-worthy shot every time!)

1. Get inspired

When you’re eating out, flicking through your favourite food mag or reading your favourite food blogs, take note of what looks appealing and what doesn’t.

Salted Caramel Brownies | Cake + Whisky

As for any form of art, there’s a lot you can pick up from looking at and analysing other people’s work.

Angles,composition, props… there’s so much going into a beautiful food pictures and finding what makes you hungry is the first step to being able to create that feeling in your own pictures.

I like to save my favourite pictures onto a Pinterest board so I can refer to it for inspiration or for times I struggle to put things together.

2. Tell the story of the dish through its picture

As the proverb goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, which is why you should try to let the picture express as much as possible about the dish it features.

Food Styling Tips

An easy way to do that is to feature some of the ingredients in their whole, pre-cooked shape in the picture.

Autumnal Hazelnut Torte recipe | Cake + Whisky

Another way to go about it is to include elements that inspired the recipe, the way food stylist Mademoiselle Poirot did, including cobnuts, autumn leaves and even garden scissors in the styling of this autumnal hazelnut torte at an event I recently attended.

Food Styling Tips

No matter what you go for, make sure you keep your props, colors, and serving sizes consistent with the atmosphere the dish is meant to evoke, and that you get a few ‘in progress’ shots as well as they’re often more inviting than the final set.

3. Favour natural light

There’s nothing better than natural light when it comes to food photography.

Quinoa Fried Rice

Now, I know that can be a little bit tricky at times (looking at you, night-at-4-PM-November!), but it truly is worth it. Ideally, you want the light to come from a large-ish window, from the side of your frame.

It’s best to take a few test shots around your flat/house until you find the best spot for you to settle in for ultimate results!

4. Let’s get messy!

Pouring, dripping, overflowing… sometimes, a little mess is all you need to take your picture to the next delicious level!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

Melting ice cream, crumbled up cookies, pancakes dripping with syrup… in many cases, a bit of a mess communicates movement, dynamism, and the pleasure of eating.

So if it makes you hungry, get messy (just keep in mind you’ll also be the one cleaning it up later though!)

5. Use a tripod

Angle, composition, movement, and possibly a bit of pouring action on the side… food photography is serious work and more often than not, two hands are simply not enough.

Curried Cauliflower Salad | Cake + Whisky

A tripod is an unexpensive piece of equipment (I payed about £30 for mine) that’s well worth investing in as it will make your job much easier!

6.  An extra set of hands (or several) is always good

Even with a tripod, I find it much easier to control the outcome if I’m not trying to balance everything up all by myself.

Food styling tips

Whether it’s to sprinkle icing sugar on top of your latest GBBO-worthy masterpiece or to help you polish it all off post-photography, an extra steady pair of hands, fresh eyes and tastebuds are the very best tool you could have on your food styling & photography set!

*This article & tips were inspired by an event I recently attended with Curry’s and Neff but wasn’t in any way sponsored and all words, pictures and opinion my own.

6 tips to improve your food styling & photography

7 mince pies having an identity crisis

Mince pies.

The British Christmas staple if there ever was one.

Each family seems to have its own recipe that is not to be messed with.

I on the other hand am still to create my own, so I’m currently sampling every mince pie I can get my hands on (you know, in the name of research… Tough job but somebody’s got to do it!).

And while most places stick to the fruit-mix-in-pastry version, there are also some more… creative ones out there!

1. Crosstown’s mince pie doughnuts

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Crosstown Mince Pie doughnut

With its mini mince pie doughnuts, complete with brandy butter glaze and vanilla crumble topping, Crosstown has achieve the perfect jam doughnut and mince pie breeding. Pillowy sourdough dough, fruit-rich boozy filling and addictive signature crumble, I wouldn’t mind finding a big box of those under the tree!

2. Joe & Seph’s mince pie pop corn

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Joe & seph's mince pie popcorn

Going deeper into the novely mince pie market, you’ll find this brandy-infused caramel-coated popcorn which claims to be as “rich, fruity and aromatic [as] a mince pie”. I say, not a bad option for a Christmas movie marathon!

3. Rinkoff Bakery’s Mince pie cronut

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Rinkoff's Mince Pie Cronut

Given the choice, I’ll always pick a croissant over a pie, so Rinkoff’s mince pie cronuts is very much my idea of festive heaven! (Just don’t think about the calories content. It’s Christmas, it doesn’t count!).

4. Sainsbury’s Mince Pie Ice Cream

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Sainsbury's Mince Pie Ice Cream

Mince pie ice cream. Now, THAT is a game changer. Serving it over oven-baked apples, in a mince Pie milkshake, as a mince pie sundae… the possibilities are endless (hellooooo creative yet lazy Chrismas dessert!)!

5. Bad Brownie’s mince pie brownie

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Bad Brownie mince pie brownie

I wasn’t entirely convinced about the mince meat / chocolate combination until I tried one of Bad Brownie boozy and Christmassy Mince Pie Brownie. Dangerously good (just like evrything else they bake).

6. Mince pie chocolate 

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Nom Nom mince pie chocolateMade fresh in south Wales with boozy mincemeat and shortbread enveloped in milk chocolate, this Mince pie chocolate bar is every Christmas addict chocolate lovers’ dream come true (and a great stocking filler)!

7. Mince pie vodka

7 mince pies having an identity crisis | Mince pie vodka recipe from Waitrose

Why not give your cocktail a bit of the mince pie treatment this festive season? This recipe from Waitrose seems easy enough to make a few bottles at a time (and I can garantee you’ll win at homemade gift giving then!)

Which of those mince pie treats would you like to try? 

7 mince pies having an identity crisis

Two times too many.

{Day 9219 – Heartbroken but still determined to make love & kindness win}

I’ve spent most of this weekend staring at screens trying to make sense of the tragic news that were sent my way. Not that there was any point. It doesn’t make any sense.

I went to bed on Friday hoping that the shootings I had been spending the evening reading about were just a horrible nightmare I could wake up from. But it wasn’t.

It’s the second time this year that Paris has been the target of terrorist attacks. Two times too many.

Paris has never been my home, but I have lived there and many of my friends still do.

Most importantly, Paris is the capital of the country I’m from, this douce France I love so very much even though I left it.

It angers me that these attacks so obviously targeted civilians. Bars, restaurants, football stadiums, concert halls… It was an attack towards Paris’ heart and soul, its very spirit.

But on that point, I know terrorists can not win.

No matter how hard they try, Paris will always be the best place on Earth to enjoy life at its fullest, and this has well been proven through the immediate reactions to the atrocious events of this past Friday. The #PorteOuverte mouvement was such a beautiful initiative and restored part of my faith in humanity.

I still worry about the aftermath of these attacks. The finger pointing. The advantage taking. The political consequences.

Which is why there are two things we mustn’t forget.

1. Terrorism has no religion. The only group terrorists can be linked to are the terrorist organisations that they claim to belong to. There is no reason we should blame other people for the crimes those individuals committed, simply because they worship the same god.

2. The only way forward is love. There will always be people to try and take advantage of terrible events like this one to drive their own political, religious or social agendas. Those people have no interest whatsoever in doing what’s best for humanity and protect it against crimes. Don’t be fooled into their traps. Be kind instead and the world will be a better place.

All there is for me and us all to do is to stand strong and not give up to fear.

Instead let’s live and be kind, laught and be happy, to keep the spirit of Paris alive and help it remain the indestructible City of Love & Light.

Two times too many.

Halloween is coming to town

The spookiest night of the year is only a few days away! How exciting!

I’m not usually one for skulls, witches and ghosts, but Halloween‘s almost there and it was about time I (and this blog) got in the mood (board) for it!

Halloween Inspiration | SkullsHalloween Inspiration | Dia de Muertos Sugar Skull make upHalloween Inspiration | Pineapple Jack O LanternWitch from The Cherry Blossom GirlHalloween Inspiration | Snow White Poisoned AppleHalloween Inspiration | Gingerbread skeletons from Donna HeyMummy from The Cherry Blossom GirlHalloween Inspiration | Spider web + witchHalloween Inspiration | Halloween cocktailHalloween Inspiration | Adams FamilySretsis-AW13_Backstage14-682x1024Halloween InspirationHalloween Inspiration | Bat

Do you guys have any exciting plans this Halloween? (mine definitely include eating too much candy, watching spooky movies and reliving my Hallow’s Eve childhood memories!)

Halloween is coming to town

Little indulgences | Yvonne & Guite’s canelés

You might not know this about me just yet but I love slow mail. Hand-written letters, postcards, surprise parcels, you name it, I send it.

But more often than not, my own mailbox seems to only bring me bills and useless ads for places I’ll never visit.

But last week was anything but that, because instead of all those things I immediately put in the (recycling) bin, I received a pretty little white patisserie box promising “Little Indulgences“…
Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewCake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewOnce I lifted the lid, familiar aromas of vanilla and rum perfumes the room. The accompagnying cards are delightfully retro but I can only focus on that sweet smell that brings back childhood memories. With trembling hands, I open the tissue paper standing between me and those “little indulgences”.Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewAnd here they are. Rows after rows of perfect canelés (both in the Regular and mini sizes).
Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewI first discovered those delightful Bordeaux specialities when I was just a kid travelling with my grandmother. I can’t even remember where it was or when, but this first bite into the caracteristic caramelized crust, followed by the chewiness of the soft interior is something I have never forgotten. The apparent simplicity of the canelé, and yet the complexity of flavour and texture fascinates me. It is around that time that I fall in love with desserts and start baking frantically. Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewCake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewThe first bite brings me back to this first taste I ever had of canelé. Yvonne & Guite prides itself on making canelés “as they should be” and I don’t think there’s a better way to put it.

Which is not really surprising. Caroline, Yvonne & Guite‘s founder, started her company in September last year but just like I did, she fell over in the caldron of canelés in her childhood. She experienced in the family kitchen with her sister, began baking them on a regular basis after being gifted moulds by her mum, start developping her own recipes as she couldn’t find anything she was entirely happy with in books or on the Internet… 
Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewAfter failing to find the perfect canelés for a house party, Caroline makes it her mission to introduce London’s foodie to this traditional French wonder. The canelé revolution is on its way.yvonne-guite-12Made with all-natural ingredients, freshness truly is key when it comes to canelés. Since no artificial colouring or preservatives are used, they’re best if eaten within two-three days of their baking date. Challenge accepted!Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewYvonne & Guite’s canelés have the most perfect of textures: slightly crisp crust and soft, very moist interiors. Just how they should be. 
Cake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewCake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewCake + Whisky | Yvonne & Guite's canelés reviewCan we all please take a second to admire how cute the mini-canelés are? I must admit I liked the regular-sized one better (mostly because they fitted my childhood memory better though!), but those would make the best of gifts, wouldn’t they? #DefinitelyOnMyChristmasList

If you feel like you need a box of canelés in your life (trust me, you do!), you can order them by contacting Yvonne & Guite by phone at 0795 794 6984 or email at hello@yvonneguite.com.

Regular and mini-canelés are also distributed by Bonativo, who is taking London’s farmers and producers online in a bid to make food shopping more local and sustainable (click: Bakery | Cakes & Brownies).

*I was gifted this sample box by Yvonne & Guite but all over-excitement, opinions and pictures are definitely mine! 

Little indulgences | Yvonne & Guite’s canelés

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award

Guys… As crazy as it seems, I’ve been nominated for another blog award (apparently my cocktails-and-cake strategy to take over the world is working! 😜)! Thank you to Michelle of Sugardust & Starlight (the great mind behing #ltbloggers) for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ AwardSisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

The rules are pretty simple:

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link them in your post.
Answer the ten questions you have been sent.
Come up with 10 questions of your own.
Spread the love and nominate up to 10 bloggers!

Ok, so here it goes!

1. What is your favourite book and why? My all-time favourite is Antigone by Jean Anouilh (a modern re-write of Sophocles’ classic and a true masterpiece, but it hasn’t been translated into English unfortunately). I recently read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and if you haven’t read it already, you really should; it’s the best thriller I’ve come accross in a long long time.
2. What did you do today? Not much sofar. I went to the doctor, which was a massive waste of my time, spent too much time on Instagram and packed about 25 suitcases in my head. Such a productive morning!
3. If you could have any pet, what would it be? A cat. I’m such a cat-lady-to-be. 
4. What’s your current favourite song and why? Hmm, this is embarassing. I don’t really listen to music (#weirdo). I used to when I had to drive a car every day, but that’s not quite the case anymore…
5. If you could give just one piece of advice for life, what would it be? Love yourself.
6. Do you have a favourite quote and what is it? “I started with an idea an then it becomes something else” – Pablo Picasso (so representative of how I actually function!)
7. What do you enjoy reading most in other people’s blogs? The “lightbulbs” moments I get and I’m all like “How did I not think about this before?”
8. What’s your worst habit? Forgetting to take off my make-up before I go to bed far too often.
9. What’s your favourite film and why? I have several; Love me if you dare (a slightly fucked up love story between Marion Cottilard and Guillaume Canet), The Lion King (obv.) and my latest crush, The Theory of Everything (I still can’t get over Eddie Redmayne’s incredible performance!).
10. How would you spend the perfect day? A nice lie-in, followed by breakfast in bed, then a nice walk on the beach, and dinner at my favourite restaurant with the people I love most.

As far as sharing the blog love is concerned, I am nominating some of my latest discoveries and some all-times favourites!

Hannah Gale
100 things I love
Persephone H
Rent or Chanel (best blog name ever or what?😂)
Elle Bloggs
Things Sarah Loves
Oui Stephanie
Full of Living
Amanda Bootes
Cross my Heart & Hope to Die

I can’t wait to see their answers to my (rather nosy) questions!

1. Your favourite season? (Summer! Summer! Please say Summer!)
2. Your Pokemon soulmate? (I wish I was an elegant Persian, but I’m afraid Snorlax‘s mine…)
3. What’s ALWAYS in your bag? (Most of the time, I don’t carry a bag and only have keys, Oyster Card, credit card & smartphone. When I do carry a bag though, my whole life’s likely to be in it)
4. Your guilty pleasure? (Butter. Good sea salt butter on EVERYTHING!)
5. Your #1 summer goal? (I say naps in the park and walks. And alcoholic ice lollies.)
6. Something you didn’t like as a kid but love now? (Walks. see #5)
7. Things you ALWAYS buy at IKEA? (I can’t resist mugs. There. The secret is out.)
8. Which Hogward House will you probably be in? (I think I’d make a great Ravenclaw.)
9. The one thing you always forget even though you really shouldn’t! (To charge my phone. Which is basically the modern day equivalent to “actually taking the shopping list along when you go shopping”, mainly because my shopping list happens to be on my phone!)
10. Where would you much rather be right now? (“In bed. Or taking a nap on a sunny beach somewhere.” says my inner Snorlax (see #2))

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award