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Countryfile: Cooking, Kardashians & Creepy Villages

23 Nov

Having just returned from what seemed like the Village of Death, today I’m obsessing over what just happened!

Having rented a cottage for the week, Dan and I did our first ever weekly grocery shop (for those who don’t know, we still live with my Mum, who has a household system for things such as cooking and laundry…but she’s the only one involved in said system) and felt proud to only spend £8 (using a month’s worth of Tesco Clubcard coupons)!

My vision for this week: road trip, cosiness, cuddles, walkies (we took Princess along for the ride) and cooking.

Reality: We arrived in the dark, in the village of Thorndon (probably the world’s darkest village), in the rain and without a human welcoming.

The reality of our arrival sent the ladies on the trip into somewhat of a sulk; can you spot the unhappy Bichon Frise?

Obviously I didn’t take a photo of my own sulkiness because a) it wasn’t pretty and b) I was busy planning how to get the best out of this weird sitch.

I didn’t come up with much, which actually worked out for the best. Holidays with me usually include a basic plan of what I want to do (in my head it is a precisely timed schedule) but I decided to take a chill pill on this trip. Sort of…

The fact that the cottage we rented was in the front yard of the owner’s farmhouse wouldn’t have bothered me as much if they actually introduced themselves at some point during our stay. Not only did we not get a ‘hello’, we didn’t even get as much as a wave as they glared at us as they walked back and forth from work/school/dog walks, etc.

Sulk number 2 was averted with a tactical closing of the curtains. Out of sight, out of mind. Wonderful…

I learnt LOTS about myself this week, also…

1) I can cook and will (occasionally) cook! Not exactly the healthiest of meals but I managed sausages and steamed veggies (including boiled potatoes, thank you very much!), a killer Tikka Massala curry and a delish tuna and chicken pasta bake! Although entry level recipes, I’m still exceptionally proud of myself as I even managed to wash up afterwards.

2) I need pyjamas. Currently, my pyjama arrangements consist of mismatched velour tracksuits from Zax about 5 years ago, odd Primarni sets which are not warm or comfortable; or old underwear. All of which are not suitable for situations in which you are staying in someone else’s property.

I hear you asking why I suddenly care about a section of one’s wardrobe that makes up about 1% of one’s overall wardrobe space…

Enter Kourtney Kardashian:

She’s known for her cute, on-screen pyjama style and I want a piece of this matching, silky, cosy heaven. I have my heart set on 3 pyjama sets so far:

This adorbs doggy set from River Island (rather apt, too, I thought), £30:

Def pulling a Kourtney with these and opting for a huge pattern. I can’t think of anything better than multiple pink elephants! Also, for £19 at Very they are pretty much as beautiful as bargains come!

Luxury pyjamas seem to me a little bit pointless…unless they look like this. These Wildfox PJs are from ASOS and will cost £100… buuuttttt… they make you look and feel super trendy. WIN! Where’s my credit card??

Moving on…

3) I learnt that country villages are possibly some of the creepiest places to live in the world. Our humble abode was situated in the quaint little village of Thorndon, in the rolling countryside of Suffolk. Nearest towns are Eye and Debenham, both of which boast a nice church and a co-op. Not much else around unless you trek over 20 miles to Ipswich or Norwich.

No street lighting after dark (which means after about half past 3 in the afternoon at this time of the year) meant that taking the dog for her after dinner poop was unimaginably chilling and the fact that there are no pavements adds a touch of danger to the proceedings. Not that we needed to go far, nothing to do and nothing to see.

4) Lastly, I learnt that Helen Flanagan annoys the living crap out of me, Hugo Taylor is a legend and Ashley Roberts is not only delicious sans make-up, she should also WIN this year’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!

Quick-fire reasons for the above statement:

“I LOVE SNAKES! Oh, it’s coming towards me… oh…OH! I’M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW!!” – Fake-ass Helen failing yet another trial.

“I’d like to produce films, get into television… and I’d actually like to own my own Formula 1 team *cheeky smug side smile*” – Hugo after taking career advice from Rosemary Shrager, of all people!

“We can work on that!” – Ashley after teaching Rosemary Shrager the Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Don’t Cha’ dance, forever creating one of the funniest moments of this year’s series so far

“Who used my CLEAN towel? Where’d my clean towel go??” – Ashley outing Helen as the selfish thief she really is…

Right after she earned 8 meals for camp in her bushtucker trial! Also, Ashley is extremely FIT 🙂

Soooo, in conclusion, this week I’ve learnt some stuff. Not exactly huge life lessons but I suppose learning to cook counts as a big one. Also, one does need pyjamas.

That was my week!

Until next time… PEACE!

XOXOX

xxx As always I require feedback to suppress my need for acceptance! 😉 So, as always follow me on Twitter @sheldan2207 or leave a little comment under here! I love to hear from you! xxx

http://hellogiggles.com/

http://thepajamacompany.com/blog

http://www.riverisland.com/women/nightwear–slippers/pyjamas/Pink-dog-print-pyjama-top-626751

http://www.very.co.uk/sorbet-elephant-flannel-pyjamas/1101036218.prd?browseToken=%2fb%2f1734%2fr%2f100

http://www.asos.com/Wildfox-Cloud-Set/pgeproduct.aspx?sgid=5370&cid=6046&Rf900=1529&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=200&sort=-1&clr=Blue

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.nowmagazine.co.uk

Holidays At Home: Pretending I’m Rich In Dorset

27 Oct

After a week in Christchurch, I always get home, semi-unpack and wonder where the hell the time went. Since my grandparents moved there over ten years ago, my family and I have always had one guaranteed ‘holiday at home’ each year.

Taking notes earlier with my other half, Dan (also my travelling partner, as usual), remembering what we did on which day was all too much of a blur. Thankfully, my Twitter account is like the word acquivalent of a memory album.

I’ll begin with my ‘Holiday Highlight’. And you mustn’t laugh, judge or skip this bit because the venue has the world’s dullest name. The best bit of the week, by far, was the Tank Museum.

I told you not to laugh!

Thursday morning, Dan and I got up at stupid o’clock in the morning to make the 60 mile round-trip to the British Army base at Bovington Camp. Naturally, the sat-nav promised a 60 minute journey each way and took us on the most congested route imaginable, so it’s probably worth judging your own route in advance (especially if you have young kids or a short-tempered woman in the passenger seat).

If you’re a huge dork, like me, the fun will start as soon as you are in within about 3/4 miles of the camp. Due to the fact that the camp is a serving British Army base and MOD training ground, we had to trail behind a huge, great tank with an L plate stuck on the back, to get to the car park.

And ended, poignantly, with an insight into the modern war conditions with a walk-through exhibition called ‘Battle Group Afghanistan’;

The majority of our remaining time in Christchurch revolved around spending money. The only thing to put one off such an affluent, upmarket area such as Christchurch is the cost.

Having woken up very late Friday morning, Dan and I found ourselves too late for breakfast and too early for lunch so headed to Kelly’s Kitchen on Christchurch high street for brunch. Warm and bustling it looked ideal for a quick bite to eat (as do most of the quaint little eateries in seaside towns)but, almost choking on my rather tasteless £5.30 panini and £1.95 cup of tea, I really wished I had looked at the menu first. Jacket potatoes averaged at £7 each and a standard English breakfast will set you back almost £5. My recommendation? Get used to these prices or practise making packed lunches to avoid cost quibbles.

Dinner can be done slightly cheaper with a river-side Harvester, local Toby Carvery and newly opened Pizza Express, which, I have been assured by locals, are always good and busy.

If a local man tells you a place is worth a go, it’s worth a go. If he says not to go, you do not go. Quick Dorset lesson for you.

Friday night would’ve been one to remember had I not drunk so much alcohol. ‘The Kings Arms’ on Castle Street is where we dined (my original choice of restaurant was booed by the locals so given a miss) in a dark and smoulderingly-lit dining room. The atmosphere had a whiff of affluence and I was the youngest there by at least 20 years. Prices from about £40 a head got us numerous beverages, a starter each, an exquisite main and dessert (although I went for the Tequila/Disaronno drenched Birds of Paradise dessert cocktail instead of the more traditional Lemon Posset). If this seems expenive to you, don’t worry I nearly had a fit until I realised the waitress serving our table was not only helpful but genuinely cared for our best interests. I wish I had gotten her name because she was the sort of waitress that knew what you wanted even if you didn’t know yourelf yet. The sort of waitress your Nan can’t get enough of, basically. Also, the food was by far some of the finest around and furthermore, it is all locally produced to within a 15 mile radius and the menu designed by top chef, Alex Aitken.

The night was rounded off with a set of live music at Christchurch bar, The Thomas Tripp. I’m not really into live cover bands so this was something new for me but I have to admit East Cliff Overdrive did a fine job and even managed to cover Adele without butchering it (Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse could probably be left off the set list in future though).

I always learn something about myself when I stay at my grandparents’ house for an annual Holiday at Home and this year was no exception. In fact I learnt a number of things this year:

1) Being drunk under the table by my Nan taught me I don’t drink enough at home

2) Mixing with people far better off than myself makes me believe I am richer than I am (resulting in a heartbreaking bank balance upon return)

3) I am already an old woman who enjoys luxury pedicures, dandy customer service and a decent, hilly hike

and 4) I missed Princess (my little Bichon Frise dog) far too much to be classed as ‘normal’

Always a pleasure!

xx Peace xx

All photos are my own.

Have you ever been to Christchurch/Burley/Bournemouth/Bovington Camp???

Where else can I go for a Holiday at Home???

Follow Me @sheldan2207 on Twitter or comment below

xXx

Racing The World In Cardiff At The FIM British Speedway Grand Prix

27 Aug

Hi! Haven’t blogged in sooo long! This Bank Holiday weekend saw my boyfriend Dan and I roadtrip our asses up to Wales for the Speedway Grand Prix in Cardiff. This is my travel review of the weekend; not in my usual style so I hope you guys enjoy something new

xx Peace xx

Arriving damp, late and dishevelled somewhat distorted my first impressions of Cardiff. When one has wet toes and knotty hair, one doesn’t appreciate drunken scallywags interrupting an on-going, rainy hunt for the hotel. True to form, I’d dressed inappropriately and misjudged the enormity of the Bank Holiday Speedway Grand Prix crowd, so rapidly checked-in, changed into something more uncomfortable and met with the lads to get drunk with the rest of world.

For a moment, whilst pondering over Ice Speedway Tours the next day, I felt transported back to London mid-Olympics.  From the bemused Chinese claiming free cans of Monster energy drink (not a bad idea after last night); to the horny Polish in Ann Summers, rainbow flocks of patriotic sheep followed one another soaking up the atmosphere and cheap booze in the city centre. Cardiff had been transformed into a happy, sunny Speedway convention.

Everywhere you turned, various Speedway riders were seen out and about, much to the excitement of their diehard fans.

“Did you see Darcy Ward at the bar?”

“I stood by Rory Schlein!”

“Chris, can I have a photo?!”

Most of my meals were provided by fast food chains or a JD Wetherspoons bar as not only were they the only place with space to sit and eat, I was on a budget. The hotel (Cardiff Central Travelodge) was £140 for one night so funds were tight. However, most of the entertainment throughout the day was provided by the Speedway stalls, street games and live music, all of which were free.

The Grand Prix, held in the Millennium Stadium, seemed surprisingly under-booked as the racing begun. I put it down to the Olympics and the lacklustre entertainment because tickets were only £29.50. The atmosphere was still electric with European, Aussie and American fans all in close proximity, but not once did I feel anxious. 22 heats of quality racing later and we reached the Grand Final which saw Aussie Chris Holder take the title.

Leaving Cardiff was reminiscent of Friday’s arrival. Tired and in a mini-skirt I clambered for the exit. Next year, I’ll wear jeans.

[ All pictures are my own 🙂 ]

How’s This For A View…

6 Aug

If you’re ever in London your first stop should be Trafalgar Square/Horse Guards Parade. The Beach Volleyball Olympic Event was held at the Horse Guards and boy! What a view! Not only is the area steeped in rich culture and history it is also home to some wonderful architecture too.

These are some of the photos I took Thursday 2nd August at The Beach Volleyball Event (p.s sorry for poor quality they are from the camera phone!):

The hot dancers in between matches perked up the crowd with their random, upbeat moves;

& here are team Germany and team Netherlands about to battle it out on court;

Whilst the City’s world renowned landmarks, The London Eye and Big Ben, cut an impresive skyline just above;

I just wanted to share a few home snaps of my Olympic experience to follow on from my earlier post.

Photos are picture-perfect memories that last a lifetime.

x Peace x

2012 Games Pessimist PROUD To Have Been There!

5 Aug

I WAS THERE!

That is what I can say to my future grandkids, children, family and friends.

“Remember when London hosted the most successful, beautiful, poignant Games in history, kids?! NO?? Come here, Grandma Shelby will tell you all about it…”

I am soooo into it! Yesterday was an astonishing day for British Athletes as it saw new hero, girl-crush and all round superstar Jessica Ennis finally get her Gold Medal draped around her neck as she powered through the 800m race to, of course, come first. Greg Rutherford threw himself as far as he could to bag the Gold in the Men’s Long Jump and gave the most heartfelt yet baffled speech as he tried to get his head round his achievement. Hardcore runner Mo Farah got his anticipated Gold in the (rather tortuous) 10,000m race. Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott rowed their way to victory in the Women’s Pursuit; Andrew Trigg Hodge, Tom James, Pete Reed and Alex Gregory also rowed towards the Gold in the Men’s Four and Sophie Hosking and Kat Copeland got their hands on a somewhat unexpected Gold Medal as they won the Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls!

But winning aside, what I really can’t get over is my insistent love for it all! Rewind to one month ago and I was the epitome of a digruntled Brit; “What is all the fuss?”, “Olympic bed covers? What else can they flog?” and “Why are Olympic stars endorsing blister plasters and Subway food?” were some of my most frequent whinges.

The Opening Ceremony started (I was forced to watch it by my better half and I’m glad I did now in hindsight) and I didn’t get it. It was boring, confusing and downright messy (in my own humble opinion but don’t judge me yet).

Then they cleared away the Industrial Revolution stuff (thank goodness!) and got on with what can be confirmed as the greatest show on Earth (so far). From the music to the choreography to the set to everyone involved, the whole thing was perfectly timed, included world renowned superstars (David Beckham on that boat…ahem!), had a touch of the Great British sense of humour (Her Maj shooting out of that chopper… classic) and exuded a powerfully stunning visual to millions of people around the globe.

My Olympic obsession began.

So ever since I’ve been watching, following, pining for tickets that the media keep telling me are NOT available (yet hundreds of empty seats are clearly visible at almost every event…sigh…moan…sigh) and cheering on for Team GB!!

But then…

Horse Guards Parade, London, Thurday 2nd August: I WAS THERE!! A good chum of mine offered me a ticket to the Beach Volleyball Wednesday evening and I hurriedly accepted, booked a dogsitter and went home early from work. Excited is an understatement. I was BUZZING!

Next day, a good service on all tube services meant the trains weren’t grossly packed and the City felt friendly. I don’t remember a time I was EVER said “Hello” to on the tube let alone asked where I’m from and what I’m coming to London for today! A Brazilian tour guide and a very cockney lady were having a conversation directly opposite me about empty seats and Team GB, a German couple and an Australian were talking flight prices and what each of their countries has to offer and that they should go stay because it really is a fabulous country. All whilst a group of European lads were being sternly warned about their beer drinking.

Inside the arena I took my seat at around 2pm and didn’t leave it until 6pm! Honestly, the feeling of being in that arena felt like I was on an 18-30s holiday not casually supporting the Beach Volleyball teams! Sexy conga dancers and a perky female host perked us all up between matches and started mexican waves and long bursts of cheers for whoever we were there for.

My pal and I sat through Germany v Netherlands, Grrrrrrreat Britain v Russian Federation and USA v Spain – all cracking to see and an almighty barrage of support for Great Britain. So much so it gave me gooseys!

After dinner at Garfunkel’s (Trafalgar Square – go there, the pizza and rosé were to die!) we headed for home and I literally collapsed into my bed. The dogsitter had thankfully walked the dog 3x already throughout the day, groomed her, cleaned her up and got her ready for bed. Touch! (See below for her website, her services are FULLY recommended!)

I can apologise at this stage as I seem to have rambled on for over 800 words! However I’m glad I gave in to my hardened British disapproval and involved myself in an event that will be forever remembered and cherished.

x Peace London x

News & Photo Sources:

www.mirror.co.uk

www.itv.com

www.telegraph.co.uk

www.thesun.co.uk

www.metro.co.uk

For a personalised pet day care, dog walking, house sitting and pet grooming service use Pets, Muts & Huts:

http://www.petsmutsandhuts.co.uk/default.html

Can You Feel The Love Tonight?

24 May

Being treated to a champagne carvery at the Strand Palace’s hotel restaurant (“The Strand Carvery”) already made me feel a million dollars. Especially after a day shopping in Camden in the blazing sunshine. Almost perfect.

Little did I know that the grand finale of my birthday in London awaits right round the corner, at the Lyceum theatre.

As the curtain rose and the ensemble began ‘The Circle of Life’, genuine tears of joy welled up in my eyes as I realised I was about to witness the critically-acclaimed theatre acquivalent of my all-time favourite Disney film. Live on stage. Right now.

Sung in perfect symphony and displayed in a stunning visual, the opening scene blew me away. I’m not a theatre buff, I’m not a keen stage director nor am I a critic of any sort. BUT right from the start I was open-mouthed; speechless.

[ http://media.monstersandcritics.com/theatre/thelionkinglondonproduction_1/images/group2/lkjune187.jpg ]

As far as costume designs go, nothing can compare to those in the Lion King. It’s clear that it has taken an untold amount of time, dedication and art to create such a striking resemblance to what we could only imagine the characters would look like had they come to life.

I was afraid to blink in case I missed something!

At the start, I was anxious to see how the ‘Stampede’ scene would be re-created as, let’s not lie, it’s the most emotional, pivotal scene in the story. I needn’t have worried! Each and every animal has been accounted for in intricate detail, with choreography to match.

[ http://media2.senatus.net/files/myerscms/senatus_SH7LF9.jpg ]

Every cast member clearly put their heart and soul into their performances, however the stand-out act, for me, was played by Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as Rafiki.

[ http://s3.broadway.com/photos/large/144709.jpg ]

SERIOUSLY, the ONLY advice I can give you from here is GO AND SEE THIS AMAZING show. Humourous, emotional, visually mind-blowing and heaven for your ears it is everything you expect from an award-winning West End show.

Ridin’ The Tube

23 May

I LOVE LONDON!

Every time I visit I learn something new. Yesterday was my birthday and to celebrate my other half took me into Town for shopping, dinner and theatre.

London folk have there own way of doing things, just like all the other cities in the world. But London Folk do their thing in style.

Every individual in London has a style niche. My particular fave was the preppy summer-girl look with long tousled ‘bed hair’, minimal make-up, bronzed skin and dressed in a cute dress or dungarees and pastel pumps. I’ve put together some examples of the outfits I saw and just L.O.V.E.D:

1) Dungarees have made quite a comeback it seems! So many girls in them yesterday, styled with flatforms and a hat that screams ‘I’m Cooler Than YOU Coz I Am In This HAT!”

 +  +

+

 

The dungarees above are from American Apparel and are £76 [ See http://store.americanapparel.co.uk/rsadm310.html?cid=1957-1959 ]

The crop top above is Exclusive to ASOS at the moment at is £25 [ See http://www.asos.com/ASOS-Petite/ASOS-PETITE-Exclusive-Gingham-Crop-Top/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2174812&SearchQuery=gingham&Rf-700=1000&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=20&sort=-1&clr=Whitelilac ]

The flatforms can be found on ASOS too and are River Island. They are £55. [ See http://www.asos.com/River-Island/River-Island-Strapped-Flatform-Sandals/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2156427&cid=6992&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=200&sort=-1&clr=Brown ]

The hat is yet again ASOS and £10 [ See http://www.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Loop-Yarn-Boyfriend-Beanie/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2159665&cid=4174&Rf900=1491&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=-1&sort=-1&clr=Grey ]

2)  I saw so many cute girly dresses yesterday is prompted me to invest in some myself! My fave outfit in London looked very similar to this one:

+ +

I am The Trilby’s biggest fan. It makes the world’s cutest dress and shoe combo uber-cool… Long-live the trilby!

This black one is from ASOS and is £20 [ See http://www.asos.com/Seeberger/Seeberger-Straw-Trilby-Hat/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2033072&cid=4174&Rf900=1491&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=-1&sort=-1&clr=Black ]

The super-cute summer dress is from Urban Outfitters and is £68 [ See http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/thistlepearl-eyelet-dress/invt/5130466605000/&bklist= ]

Summery and chirpy the shoes compliment the dress nicely. They are a MASSIVE BARGAIN as well at only £9.99 from H&M [ See http://www.hm.com/gb/product/97836?article=97836-A#article=97836-C ]

3)  CRAZY PLATFORM SHOE BOOTS were everywhere! Obviously not a first choice for traipsing around the Underground in but still worth the effort! By far my favourites are:

         OR  

 Neon was another big trend yesterday with statement accesories spotted all over the place.These flourescent pink shoes (above left) are from Prodigy Red and also come in lime green or black. They are £31.99 [ See  http://www.prodigyred.com/Footwear/c42/p3088/Kendra-Suedette-Block-Heel-Lace-Shoes/product_info.html?attr_id=56 ].

Above left are just beyond beautiful. Cheap as chips; they are £33 from Chockers. [ See http://www.chockersshoes.co.uk/search/LUCIA3/product/americano/ ]

Well that’s my London fashion update for you. Tomorrow I’m going to write a review of the Lion King. Hope you L.O.V.E xx

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