Theatre, cooking and a chilled weekend

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The third week in September the nice weather continued. For most of the week at least.

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So I made the best of it eating a lot of caprese salads. With the best supermarket mozzarella I have ever come across. Yum! Some leftover charcuterie from the weekend added some protein as well.

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In the evening we had dinner at Honest Burgers on Southbank before we went to see Peter Gynt (an adaptation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt set in modern day Scotland) at The National Theatre. It was really long and I’m not sure the adaptation really worked, but it was still nice to see it.

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The next day I once again had caprese for lunch (can’t get enough) but with the addition of avocado and prosciutto. So yummy!

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I also managed to eat a whole bag of Swedish Polly sweets in just a few days. Wish I had bought more though. Other than work I didn’t do much on Wednesday. Had toast for dinner and went to bed early.

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But Thursday night I spent some time in the kitchen. We pretended it was Friday and I made us a three course dinner consisting of puff pastry bites (recipe to come), pasta al limone (will post this soon) and white chocolate crème with raspberries (also to come). Now that I have someone to cook for I enjoy cooking for just myself a bit less.

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Friday we had eggs for breakfast and I worked from home the whole day. In the evening we had dinner at Home SW15 (love their shrimp burger!) before going to the cinema to see Once upon a time in Hollywood. Such a great film!

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Saturday I had a lie-in, did some errands and had store-bought pizza for dinner in front of a film I’ve wanted to see for a long time now; All the president’s men with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the Washington Post journalists uncovering the Watergate affair. Really good!

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On the Sunday I had another lie-in and stayed inside all day as it was pouring down with rain the whole day. I read a lot, put on a face mask and made a very simple pasta for dinner (cheese tortellini with browned butter, parmesan and lemon). It was a day of rest and so needed.

Picnic, black tie party and concert!

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The second week of September we had quite nice weather. An Indian summer almost. But even so a Monday is still a Monday and I just stayed in after work. Read a new book by one of my favourite authors and just took it easy.

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Tuesday I had caprese with burrata for lunch and it made me so happy it was salad weather again!

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In the evening we had dinner at Green Room before we went to the Margaret Atwood talk at The National Theatre. She was of course amazing, and so were the three actresses reading chapters from her new book!

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The following day I went to The New Forest for work during the day and had my Pret lunch by my desk as usual.

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Back in London in the evening I met up with a friend for impromptu cocktails and pizza. So fun!

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Thursday I switched up my caprese salad a bit and added avocado – so yummy!

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As it was a glorious day I took the opportunity to do work errands AND enjoy my first and only frappe this summer.

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In the evening I made a really quick supper, consisting of cheese filled tortellini and fried mushrooms from the freezer. Super speedy and yummy! I also watched the first episode of a new series that seems promising; The Loudest Voice.

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On Friday I made some puff pastry slices topped with prosciutto and tomatoes as a starter and then made our favourite prawn pasta, but without the mushrooms.

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Saturday started with a lie-in and a cooked breakfast, as usual.

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And then we decided to have a little picnic in the park so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather!

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In the evening we went to a fun black tie party by the river and we got to sip champagne while taking in this view and sunset. A good start indeed.

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But we also had our faces painted by a really talented artist and enjoyed a hog roast followed by an ice cream of your choice! Such a great evening!

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Another lie in and another cooked breakfast on the Sunday before we got ready.

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We shared a pizza for lunch before heading east, using several different modes of transport.

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First the tube, then the DLR and then this cable car that I hadn’t tried before. Not the fastest route to the O2 but definitely the most fun!

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Then we had dinner at Gaucho, enjoying steak, fries and red wine.

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Next we had some drinks in the Sky Backstage bar while waiting for the concert to start.

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We saw Muse for a second time this year and as this concert was smaller it was a bit more intimate, but I loved both concerts equally. And the new album is so good!!

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Back home we had toast and hot chocolate before bed to unwind after a pretty full on but amazing weekend!

 

 

 

Autumn, nights in and seeing friends

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September and it seems like autumn arrived when I wasn’t looking. The week before it was summer and then this. I can’t say that I was prepared for such a sudden change, or that I liked it. But I of course dealt with it.

By slowing down, concentrating on work and staying inside a lot more (since the weather changed drastically to cold, windy and rainy).

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The first day back after a lovely summer of leisure (and some work, but broken up by fun plans and weekends away) I concentrated on getting on top of things work wise and to catch up on sleep. So I had Shake Shack for dinner and an early night.

The following day was pretty much the same, but without the burger. And it was so needed to just introvert for a few days and catch up on chores (hello laundry) and getting back on track.

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On the Wednesday I had enough energy left after work to whip up some tortilla pizzas (which isn’t exactly hard but that’s all I could muster) and finished reading a brilliant book, which I highly recommend; The Silent Patient. One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read in a while!

Thursday and more comfort food, I had homemade (and by “made” I mean assembled) chicken escalope burger with cheese and grilled peppers. And I watched a film I missed when it was on at the cinema; Call me by your name. Really sweet film!

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Friday I ventured outside to meet a friend for dinner at a pub in Surbiton. It was low key and lovely to catch up so perfect for a Friday.

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The following day I had a long lie-in and then did some errands locally and treated myself to a coffee and custard filled croissant at a café nearby.

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Back home I went up to the roof terrace to enjoy some sunshine as it was finely nice weather again!

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I didn’t feel great on Sunday but after a morning in bed I managed to meet two friends for a late Sunday lunch followed by an ice cream and a stroll in the park. A perfect Sunday activity, and all in all a good first week back.

Summer in Norfolk and a long weekend in Italy

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The last week in August was mainly a week of fun for me; not a lot of work. Monday was a bank holiday so we were all off and I had Tuesday and Friday off. Wednesday and Thursday I worked from Norfolk and so had the evenings there at least.

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Monday was a gloriously sunny day so we went on a little trip to Holkham Hall with the children. First we spent some time in the lovely (and big) playground and then went for a little walk around the estate, stopping by the lake so we could all go on a little rowing adventure. So in we went, four adults, three children and a small dog all in the same rowing boat. It was such a lovely little outing and the perfect activity on a hot day. While the children and their parents stayed to have lunch my boyfriend’s mother and I drove to the golf club to have lunch with our boy, and also the proud winner of that weekend’s golf competition!

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After lunch we went down to the beach for a swim and drying off in the sun, before grabbing an ice cream on the way to the car.

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In the evening we toasted the winner with champagne and had a lovely dinner prepared partly by us all. Somebody did the food shopping, another took care of the wine, somebody manned the barbecue and yours truly contributed with a smoked paprika butter for the steak, potato salad, tomato salad and a green salad with avocado.

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The next day I had the day off so we made the most of it with a little road trip. Starting with crayfish baguettes in Brancaster Straithe because I had heard so much about them and then a little boat trip in Wells-next-the-Sea.

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It was really fun to see a working (and thriving) commercial harbour with boatload after boatload of fresh lobster and crab. Our little boat trip went out to one of the lovely beaches and back out again and it was so much being on the sea for a little while.

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After a lovely artisan ice cream we drove back to get ready for a dinner party. It started with rosé and blinis with smoked salmon and sour cream in the garden and then we moved inside for the rest of the evening. Another lovely evening!

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Wednesday I locked myself in a room during the day to work, but came out for lunch and of course in the evening. We had fresh crab with mayonnaise and salad for lunch and it was probably the best lunch that week! So yummy!

In the evening we had a little date night, just him and me, and went to The Jolly Sailor for pizzas and then to another pub for a drink afterwards. So nice with a chilled and cosy evening just the two of us.

On Thursday I worked during the day and in the evening we had lasagne for dinner, followed by meringues, berries and cream for pudding. Then it was time to say goodbye to lovely Norfolk and drive back to London as we were going away again early the next morning.

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On the Friday morning we flew to Milan, rented a car and drove to Piedmont where our friends were waiting for us.

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After some delays we arrived just in time for the wine tasting and basically started our stay by drinking four large glasses of lovely local wines. A good start indeed. After a very speedy shower and change of clothes, the whole group (we were here for a wedding!) had aperitivo outside, followed by a whole buffet of antipasti followed by pasta and pudding at the table. And the wine was flowing! Such a lovely evening toasting the happy couple and listening to Italian live music. Around midnight the day had caught up with us (we had about 4 hrs sleep the previous night plus all the travelling) so after a quick dip in the pool we went to bed and slept and slept.

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The next day (our friend’s wedding day!) started with a late breakfast and then we joined the others by the pool. We had lovely salads for lunch (caprese and ham and melon) and then I decided to practice my speech but I ended up tweaking it as well.

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Then it was time to get ready for the wedding and join everyone but the happy couple for bubbly and nibbles before we followed the cellist to the spot among the vines where the wedding ceremony would take place. It was such a beautiful wedding! Afterwards we walked back down to the hotel to toast the happy couple before we sat down for dinner.

It was a lovely and long wedding breakfast with great food, nice wines and lots of speeches, singing and games. Afterwards we watched the bride and groom cut the cake and have their first dance. Then the dancing continued until the early hours when most of the guests gathered by the pool for a swim before going to bed.

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The next day we had brunch at the hotel and after some more time by the pool we packed up and drove to Acqui Terme for lunch, at a place recommended by the sommelier at the hotel.

Next we stopped at some Roman ruins and made a few stops on the way to the airport.

Such a lovely week! It feels so much longer when you visit different places. And I loved that we got a little bit more of the gorgeous summer weather, both in Norfolk and of course, in Italy (where I definitely would expect it!).

 

Nights in, book club and a few days in Norfolk!

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The fourth week in August was a nice mix of evenings in and out, fun with the girls and a some lovely days by the seaside.

Monday was a regular work day and in the evening I had a nice night in. I made a batch of tomato sauce (to stock the freezer with) and used some of it to make tortilla pizzas for supper. It’s so easy to make, and still I sort of forgot about them for a few years. But they’re now back in my rotation and a much nicer alternative to store-bought pizzas that I try to eat less of.

My entertainment that evening consisted of a few episodes of Elementary before going to bed early.

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The next day was very similar with work as usual and a night with Elementary.

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On the Wednesday night the book club girls came round for some nibbles, drinks and book chat on the roof terrace while it was still summer and we had such a lovely evening!

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The following day I went down to the New Forest for work and met up with some friends back in London in the evening.

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We didn’t really have a plan but ended up at The Railhouse Café near Victoria where they could squeeze us in.

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On the Friday afternoon I found myself on a train once again; this time on my way to Norfolk for a few days by the seaside. On arrival all of us (my boyfriend’s family and I) had a lovely dinner outside in the garden.

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The following day we went fruit picking with the children, followed by some time on the playground and of course an ice cream as the weather was lovely. We had such a lovely day and a lovely evening too, with a quick appearance at a drinks party followed by dinner out.

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I had some local Norfolk oysters followed by the lobster Thermidor. Love being by the seaside eating seafood!

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Sunday the weather was amazing so we all went to the beach. We sunbathed, went swimming, made sand castles and had a picnic. Such a lovely day!

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On the way home we stopped by a really cute little private railway, only open to the public a few times a year, and had a little ride on it. So lovely for children and adults alike!

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In the evening two of us made dinner and put a whole turbot on the barbecue. It might look ridiculous but it worked out really well! Yum!

 

Back in London and a country weekend

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When the third week of August started I was back on British soil, having landed at Heathrow late the night before. Not one for wasting time I started working on the Monday morning and finished unpacking in the evening. But as the fridge was empty and the week ahead busy with social events I opted for a takeaway instead of cooking. My favourite gyro from The Athenian.

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The next evening after work I met up with Gaby for a catchup over prosecco and pizza at bustling Franco Manca. But after dinner we moved to a nearby hotel bar for another drink in a quieter place. We might be getting old, but I for one have never been a fan of shouting conversation.

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On the Wednesday evening I met up with a group of ex-colleagues at our usual place, over prosecco and nibbles. As everybody rushed to catch their trains I found myself with plenty of time to spare before bedtime (as the night owl I am) and went home to watch TV.

The next evening my boyfriend and I went to the cinema and watched Blinded by the Light. I really enjoyed it and although it’s foremost a feelgood film I found the story (based on true events) really charming. Before the cinema we usually have burgers at the nearby GBK for dinner but this time we tried our luck at Nando’s instead since we’re both a bit tired of GBK. Especially the service. I just wish there were some better fast food restaurants around, like Shake Shack or Franco Manca, but in the meantime Nando’s hit the spot. Mainly because they have mashed potatoes. Yum!

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On the Friday we drove to Northamptonshire where we were staying the weekend with a group of others. On the Friday we had a lovely casual dinner and when everybody but us had turned in we ended up watching a comedy program I actually found funny. It was pretty harsh but still (or maybe because of it) really funny!

The rest of the day consisted of croquet, swimming in the pool and rosé in the sunshine followed by a more formal dinner. On the Sunday I didn’t feel very well and so had to stay in bed all morning, but at least I managed to get up in time for lunch so I could say goodbye to everyone. The rest of the afternoon we took it easy and in the evening I took the train back to London.

 

My second week in Sweden!

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The second week in Sweden by dear boyfriend came to visit. So on the Monday morning on my way to pick him up from the train from Copenhagen airport I stopped at Ikea to buy a few things. It was almost empty and a breeze  to shop (i.e. the opposite of the Ikea shopping experience in the UK!).

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After I had picked him up we drove into central Malmö and went for a nice walk in the sunshine to the west harbour, and afterwards we had lunch at Saluhallen, the foodhall. We shared a huge burger and a crab ravioli and neither of us could decide on what we wanted.

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In the evening we had dinner with my parents. Starting with bubbly and parmesan biscuits, then barbecued chicken (so yummy!) with slaw, crispy potatoes and tzatsiki.

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For pudding mamma had made crema catalana which we enjoyed with berries.

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The following day we had some friends coming for fika, and so to avoid a sugar overload we started with a savoury quiche and salad and then had a lovely apple and blueberry cake with vanilla and blueberry ice cream to finish. We played a bit with the children in the garden and had a lovely time catching up!

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In the evening we bought pizzas and had a very chilled night in watching a Swedish sing-along show (!) and a good documentary.

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The following day we had a morning swim in the sea and then started prepping for our little dinner party that evening.

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As a starter we had melon and prosciutto as well as a caprese salad and for the main course we had shrimp rolls, skin-on oven fries and a nice salad. For pudding I had made lemon posset that I served with whipped cream, apricots from the garden and blueberries. Such a lovely evening!

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Thursday my boyfriend played golf with my best friend’s husband and his dad most of the day so I met up with a childhood friend in the morning.

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We played on the beach with his children until suddenly a rain storm drew in, so we took refuge at a nearby restaurant that was just opening for lunch. As we had finished eating the dark clouds disappeared and we could go outside for a nice walk in the sun and an ice cream. After I had said goodbye to them I quickly went to the supermarket and stocked up for dinner that evening and then met up with my best friend Emma for a glass of wine while I was prepping dinner and we waited for the golfers to come back.

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To make it easier with my goddaughter’s bed time we had our started – the much loved bruschetta bar – before she went to bed, and the rest of the dinner after.

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So while my friends put her to bed I finished cooking the pasta carbonara with girolles and for pudding we had a lovely frozen daim cheesecake. It was one of those lovely evenings where you forget about time and just sit there chatting, laughing and sipping wine until you suddenly realise it’s late and we should all go to bed.

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We stayed over so the next morning I got to play with my goddaughter some more before we went back to the summer house. As it was my boyfriend’s last day in Sweden we made the most of the afternoon with a little outing to Smygehuk (the southernmost point in Sweden) where we had delicious (and huge!) prawn sandwiches, then went for a little walk and finished off with an ice cream before we went back home to pack.

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After I had dropped him off at the train to the airport I had a very simple supper with my parents; grilled hotdogs! We were still full from the prawn sandwiches so didn’t want a full-on dinner so sausages were perfect!

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On the Saturday I did some sunbathing before we went home to our other house to pick a few things up and get a few things done. In the evening my parents and I had a little mini crayfish party, as we all love seafood and especially crayfish at this time of year. First we had a girolle toast, then the Swedish crayfish with bread and cheese and aquavit!

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The next day (my last in Sweden, sob…) mamma and I went to a flea market where I bought some bouillon bowls and plates (I’m such a crockery addict!).

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Then I packed my bags while mamma and pappa organised fika for my best friend and her family, so I could see them one last time before I left. We had Danish open-faced sandwiches with prawns and brussels pate respectively and a chewy toffee cake with lightly whipped cream afterwards. It was a short fika but lovely seeing my friends and god daughter once more.

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The journey back to London was easy, so I hung out in the lounge a bit before my flight, enjoying a light supper of smoked salmon and potato salad before I boarded, already missing Sweden. Thank you for two lovely weeks! ❤️