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Tuesday, August 5

Marine Lake


After eventually investing in a second SUP board, this time a hardboard, Ben and I took them out to the Marine Lake for the evening. It was a warm, calm evening on the lake; perfect for paddle boarding. The marine lake is very big, with bridges to go under and islands to explore. However we were not alone on the lake, with a big family of swans curiously following us around the lake. There was something romantic about paddling alongside Ben on the calm waters, the perfect way to enjoy the sunset.

Tuesday, July 29

Summertime Notes

{Harry walking on air}

I'm officially back to my blogging roots, despite me being virtually silent for the past month or so, I think it was really important for me to reconsider what I love doing in life; and that is blogging. I can't really pinpoint a main reason for why I love to blog; but what I thoroughly enjoy is sharing with you, my lovely readers, my photographs and thoughts as well as being part of such a great community! 

Now I'm officially back I aim to redirect my blog to be more focused on my lifestyle; providing a virtual window for my blogging family to explore. Yet it only seems right to fill you in on what I've been up to recently due to me being MIA. 

First things first, I've been making the most of the gorgeous weather Britain has been blessed with, meaning my little family (me, Ben and Dirty Harry) have been calling the beach our second home. A major lifestyle change which has happened as of late is that Ben and I have fully got into Stand Up Paddle Boarding (previous posts Lets go SUP Boarding and Wetsuit Pursuit). So be sure to keep updated with our SUP adventures!

As I've been on my summer break, I have also been able to indulge in more leisurely reading, such as finishing all three Gillian Flynn books (which were outstanding), enjoying The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello which is fabulously funny and I have started to read the heart-wrenching novel; The Fault in Our Stars after being in literal floods of tears during the movie. I've also been experimenting more in the kitchen with new recipes and also as a result of living a healthy lifestyle, I am testing out new healthy recipes.

I'm super excited for this new adventure with you!

Love Kate xo

Tuesday, May 20

Gooey Toffee Brownies

Since having my own kitchen and utensils, I have really dived into cooking and baking, there's something extremely relaxing about cooking up your favourite delights or experimenting with new meals/deserts. So, knowing that Ben is a huge fan of brownies and cookies in general (an American boy at heart); I cooked up a batch of gooey toffee brownies. And yes, I did get the recipe from the ever-so-brilliant BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes. This is a must have cookery book! Or if you don't want to wait to bake these brownies, see their recipe here

These bad boys went in no time, they were dangerously delicious if I do say so myself. So good I had to pull myself away from licking the mixing bowl clean!

Thursday, May 15

Interior | Home Office


One thing I've always dreamed of is designing my own office when I got my own place. There's something about the office that represents your personality, where you are able to be as creative as you want; because you have to feel inspired in your work space in order to be productive! So as Ben and I have been in our new home for a few months, we are planning on creating an office where both of us can work, Ben designing for joinery and carpentary; whilst I'll be burrowing into books and no doubt procrastinating on blogs (whilst in theory I should be doing university work). The items I've chosen are suitable for both of us to work in; apart from the pink filing cabinet which can be purchased in duck egg blue: these items are harmonious for both sexes. 


2. Always hanging clock. (£62.48)

3. Airedale illustration. (£13.93+)

4. Rustic storage desk. (£294.71)

5.  White waste-can. (£21.85)





10. Acrylic magazine rack. (£24.95)

Tuesday, May 13

The Blue Mallard

Every once in a while Ben and I love to indulge in a meal out, whether its somewhere we've never been before or a old favourite, more often than not it's an old favourite we always revisit. Although I really enjoy cooking dinner with Ben and relaxing with home cooked food and a chilled glass of white wine, there's something exciting about switching things up a bit and letting someone else do the cooking. 

So we only deemed it necessary that we go to our favourite restaurant, The Blue Mallard to enjoy a late lunch, where we (over)indulged in a 3 course lunch. But hey, what's a girl to do?!

So we cracked open the fresh French white wine, sinking into our chairs as we deliberated what to order. The ambiance inside The Blue Mallard is so relaxing and oozes sophistication with its high ceilings, exposed beams and oak furniture. And not to forget, all of the food is homemade!
Eventually we made our minds up and for starters I had Chicken Liver and Port Parfait whilst Ben tucked into a fancy salad which I unfortunately cannot remember the name of! However I can promise you that it was delicious, as I had a cheeky test of it. 
For mains I was adventurous and opted for the Crispy braised pork belly, garden herb mash, sautĂ© of black pudding, roast pear and sage jus meal which was outstanding; I am going to definitely try and cook pork belly for Ben soon, we enjoyed it that much! Ben's meal was just as yummy as he ordered the 12 hour confit leg of lamb; so tender and flavorsome!
Although we weren't planning on having a desert, once we were handed the desert menus we couldn't resist having the raspberry and strawberry meringue and the vanilla rice pudding and fresh berries. 

After stuffing ourselves, we paid our dues and had a leisurely walk to take in the fresh air and relieve our full tummies. We ended the night snuggled up watching The Break Up, an utter classic. 

Sweater: Mango // Jeans: Hollister // Boots: Zara // Bag: Mulberry // Watch: Michael Kors // Jewellery: Tiffany

Sunday, May 11

Weekly Musings


With exam season well and truly underway, I have been keeping myself motivated throughout the week by sticking to a timetable and then also ensuring that I still enjoy myself in my breaks. However I have a tendency for having too-long-'a-break when I'm musing through blogs or checking out Asos' new collections. However I'm sure you don't want to hear about my book-worm activities, so I'll keep to the fun stuff.

1. Book shops, especially the interior design section where you feel endlessly inspired. 

2. Waking up early, something which Ben and I do every week day, but for some reason my body clock has adjusted to this and as a result I wake up around 7am on a weekend. 

3. The sound of rain pattering on the windows: a common encounter living in Britain.

4. Having no unhealthy food in the house; therefore avoiding that mid-afternoon lust for junk food.

5. Rediscovering old series from my teens; such as The Hills and 90210 - and the fashion choices mid 2000's, nostalgia at its best.

6. Recycling Ben's old tees as my pajamas, i.e. snug as a bug in a rug.

7. Homemade scones, served warm with butter and raspberry jam ... de-lic-ious.

8. Dinner parties and hosting evenings in, as I am a homebug, this is my sorta' thang.

9. Finding hidden gems in the place where you live, Ben and I found a quant little cafe which we are planning on visiting some time soon!

10. Ebay, whether you're selling or buying, Ebay is a great online shop. Ben & I have just sold our old oven, fireplace and coffee machine. Saving up those pennies never felt so good! Goodbye unwanted items :-)

What has been making you happy this week? I'd love to know what main things inspire you!

Thursday, May 8

A Guide to Istanbul

Good morning! I hope you're having a great week so far and that you are looking forward to the weekend ahead. I know I am, on Friday Ben and I are having my brother and his girlfriend over for her belated birthday celebration. I think I may just remake the carrot cake I made last week as it was such a hit! Or I'd be fascinated to hear of any of your favourite cakes/dream birthday cake as I just love cooking and getting flour all down my Cath Kidston apron!

Tuesday, May 6

May Mood Board



May is well and truly upon us now and I am overjoyed as I adore warm weather and all the summery things that come with it; apart from wasps, I hate wasps. But I can cope with them if it means warm evenings, indulgent picnics and long evening walks. So I have assembled an array of different things which I'm looking forward to enjoying in the following months. 

What are you most excited about this Summer?

Sunday, May 4

Weekly Musings


This week I came across a shocking revelation: my final week of second year at university is over. I thought I had another week left of lectures, only to find all the revision and final lectures were this week. I am relieved yet sad to be saying farewell to my second year, I guess I'm a big girl now, going into third year with a whole lot of dissertation work to be cracking on with. Anyway, apart from all my day-to-day stuff, I have still been able to appreciate non-work things despite the craziness. Hope you've had  a good week!

1. Weekly shops. Yes, you heard read me right. A bit of an odd thing to enjoy, let alone put at the top of your list, but it really feels so good to get out there into the big wide supermarket and buy all the fruit, veg and other tasty treats you've been running out of over the week. I think this week my trolly was full of nuts, my new snack and (not so secret) obsession.

2. Watching the making of Beyonce's visual album, although you may not think it could be possible, you will love her even more after watching it!

3. The Other Woman movie which is the ultimate chic flick, if you haven't already, you need to see it. I think Cameron Diaz should have her own bullet point on this week's Weekly Musings; as I think I may have a girl crush.

4. Letting my hair dry naturally, although I do love styling it with the hair dryer, I am loving the natural look at the minute.

5. Avocados. Tried them for the first time this week and me and Ben are huge fans! (They were in my trolly also).

6. When I'm not reading my favourite blogs, I source my inspiration from Pinterest. (Find my account here).

7. Bank Holiday Weekends. This weekend being one of them, with tomorrow being a full day of relaxtion and maybe a picnic at the beach with Ben and Dirty Harry.

8. Long showers, you could be anywhere in the world when you're in a hot shower. It's the perfect treat (and must have) after a long run with the girls.

9. Pink nail polish makes you feel all that more feminine.

10. Fresh bed linen; the best feeling ever to get into a fresh bed.

Thursday, May 1

Carrot Cake


Ever since I tasted Carrot Cake at the cafe where I work part time, I was hooked ever since. Whenever the chefs brought out a fresh, warm Carrot Cake from the oven, I would longingly wish to cut a piece for myself. However, if I did do that, I would be 200lbs and there'd be no cake left for the customers! So, over the weekend whilst Ben was busy doing work, I whipped up my first Carrot Cake, with a pot of steaming Earl Grey and arranged the garden furniture; I know, I am becoming quite the domestic goddess! It wasn't too long before Harry was imitating my longing face I do at the Cafe, wishing he could sit with us and enjoy afternoon tea. But let's get onto the magic that is the icing, this was delicious to say the least and the Ginger Buttercream Icing accompanied the Carrot Cake perfectly. I think Ben thought so too, as he indulged in a second slice. Definitely a cake worth making and find out how to below! (Oh, and by the way, I can take no credit for this recipe, it's all due to the ever so amazing BBC Good Food 101 Cakes and Bakes cookbook).

Ingredients:

The Carrot Cake:

175g/6oz light muscovado sugar
175ml/6fl oz sunflower oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
140g/5oz  grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
100g/4oz raisins
grated zest of 1 large orange
175g/6oz self-raising flower
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated will give you the best flavour)

The Ginger Spiced Buttercream Icing:

140g of butter, softened (a generous 1/2 cup or 5 ounces)
280g of sifted icing sugar (2 cups)
1 TBS milk
1 TBS syrup from a jar of preserved ginger
(alternately you can use 2 TBS milk and 1/2 tsp ground ginger)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C. 
Oil and line the base and sides of an 18cm/7in square tin (or any tin/cake mold of your choice!)
Tip the sugar into a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil and add the eggs.
Lightly mix, then stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.
Mix the flour, soda and spices, then sift into the bowl. 
Lightly mix all the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until it feels firm and springy when you press in the centre. 
Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack.
To make the frosting beat all of the ingredients together until the mixture is creamy.   Spread this on top of the cake.  Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, April 29

Life According to Instagram | April


Instagram, my go-to app whenever I have free time or not, I just love musing through the news feed which is jam-packed of my all-time favourite bloggers, friends, celebrities, brands and whatnot. This month I have been a busy bee on over on my Instagram account, with my trip to Istanbul being documented throughout on my beloved Insta. Not only that, but daily things of what I have been up to and things which inspire me; Instagram is the place to be. If I had to choose my favourite picture of the month, it would be the Liverpool snap, bottom line, second from the right. I just love how dramatic the Titanic Museum looks, with it's reflection in the sparkling Liverpool Docks.

I'd love to know what you have been up to this April, and don't be shy, come and say hey over on my Instagram!

You can also catch up on my Istanbul Photo Diaries Part I and Part II 




Sunday, April 27

Weekly Musings



This week has been extraordinarily inspiring and progressive for me, mainly because I have started running with my amazing friends and I'm also blessed to call them my work colleagues. Starting a new hobby and fitness workout, such as running with other people is great, as you feel energized and motivated to eat well. So for me this week I am pretty health orientated, however I can't resist including other indulgences I've been loving also.

1. Exceeding your expectations. On Saturday after work; me, Aycan and Fozia ran up an extremely steep hill and felt great afterward.

2. Fargo. A new series which me and Ben are obsessed with after finishing Breaking Bad. Goodbye Breaking Bad *sob*.

3. Tweeting and retweeting until my hearts content. I've been on twitter for a while now, @andkateblog, but I've discovered tons of amazing new twitter accounts, from interior design to fitness. I am also relishing in tweeting myself of course :-).

4. Spending hours nestled in the University library, such a lethargic and rewarding experience. You'll find me hidden in a den of philosophical books.

5. Gluten free orange and polenta, the most delicious cake ever made.

6. Amazon's cash back on Nikon products, an excellent excuse to buy a new lens!

7. Pimms, I am literally over the moon it is the season for Pimms, the perfect summer's evening drink.

8. Snuggling up with Harry, aka my blogging buddy. 

9. Strawberry scented candles make everything better.

10. Daydreaming about Sophie Hulme's accessories, especially the T-Rex key fob!

Friday, April 25

Istanbul Photo Diary Part II

Hey again! I hope you enjoyed my previous post on Istanbul, I have that many pictures on my Nikon's SD card and countless memories from my city break I just had to do a part II. 

Sunday, April 20

Weekly Musings


This week I have been inspired by so many things, Istanbul and it's vibrant culture really inspired me to be more creative and I have tons of new and fresh blog posts with great content to follow! I also have found that by coming back home and resettling back into life with Ben and our lively little Welsh Terrier, Dirty Harry; I am appreciating the little things. So I have acculmulated 10 things which have been inspiring to me this week or have been a positive influence on my day-to-day life.

1. Quiet nights in with Ben, enjoying homemade pizza.

2. Long walks with Harry to clear those cobwebs!

3. Being organised.

4. Decorating our new home with the things we love.

5. The weekly run I have started with my 3 friends from work, burning those calories never felt so good!

6. Breaking Bad Season 5. This will blow your mind!

7. Catching up on my favourite blogs.

8. Painting my nails pastel colours.

9. Easter eggs, 'cos you know, it's Easter and all.

10. Washing my face with my favourite Bobbi Brown Cleanser.

Wednesday, April 16

Istanbul Photo Diary Part I

For my mum's birthday, me and my family headed over to the culturally vibrant city that is Istanbul. I was super excited to discover all of the historic landmarks and browse around fanatically the famous Grand Bazaar and Spice markets. During our stay, we were located at the ever so luxurious The Peak Hotel in the heart of the city, just around the corner from delicious traditional restaurants, the metro and this retro little tram pictured below. 

Thursday, March 27

South Ken, London

London is such a special city, there is something magical about it's architecture and the fast-paced life. 

Tuesday, March 25

Change


As March is drawing to a close, there are many visible changes all around us, the blossom flowering on the trees, flowers slowly springing up and the weather is getting warmer. Yet these aren't the only changes happening, life for me since the end of February has been non-stop due to me landing my postgraduate job (yipeee!). However this has required a lot of time, concentration and work in order to pass each hurdle, slowly but steadily bringing me towards my firm placement. Although I am only in 2nd year of my undergraduate degree, I am extremely excited about the prospects for when I graduate and undertake my actual job.

P.S. I may have been absent from here for a while, but my Instagram account is full of up to date pictures so be sure to keep up with me there :).

Tuesday, February 11

Just a Thought


As the mornings are getting lighter and the prospect of Spring is on the horizon, I can't help but feel a tingle of excitement. As Ben and I have settled in nicely to our new home, I am looking forward to the coming months, hosting BBQs, lounging around outside and sipping Pimms whilst listening to the radio. Fellow bloggers, Joy Felicity Jane and The Littlest Things, both based in Australia are making me wish I could bring summer to Britain right away. However for now I guess I will have to make do with the transition to spring from winter. Yet I can say that what I do love about this time of the year is the crisp mornings where speckles of frost cover the plants. This week I am loving:

1) Freshly baked croissants in the morning (the recipe will be up soon for these delicious treats)

2) The current music in the charts, making mornings and long commutes much easier

3) Lie ins. But let's get one thing clear, I and Ben only have one lie in a week, (sob) and that is on a Sunday when both of us don't work (yipee!)

4) Coffee breaks with my best friends, with a creamy amaretto latte

5) Volunteer work; it is so rewarding so be involved in being part of a charity organisation aiming at improving the education of children and young adults

6) Long walks with Harry and Ben. It's always great to go for a walk and blow the weekly cobwebs away, essentially getting things into perspective

Saturday, February 8

Leek & Potato Soup


Since I work part time at a local cafe, I was inspired by the unusual and classic soups they make. As I had never made a soup before, I opted to make one of my favourites, the classic leek and potato soup. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and how delicious it tasted! This soup must (in my opinion) be accompanied by a thick homemade granary bread in order to soak up those flavours. Perfect lunch for a snuggly day inside sheltering from the frosty weather.

Notepad (and hand blender) at the ready, tell me your go-to homemade soups.

Ingredients

1 leek, about 350g, cleaned and sliced
350 - 400g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 litre water
125ml double cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Method

1) Put the leek and potatoes into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the salt and the water and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft and cooked through, about 30 - 35 minutes. Then turn off the heat and, with a hand blender, whizz until smooth.

2) Add the cream and stir it into the soup, then add the parsley and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust with seasoning, and serve with crusty bread.