Sunday, April 30, 2017

A little Anthropologie wishlist


There are a few stores which I visit which simply make me happy. Beautiful clothes, pretty homewares, lovely gifts, fabulous scents and pampering items, interesting books - all of these are the things I love to see, and purchase. And Anthropologie is always a place I like to visit to pick up some or all of the above. I popped into the beautiful Regents Street store the other day and just had to do a little wishlist post on a few things that caught my eye!


I couldn't find this exact set on the website, but I love the range of blues Anthro always stock.  Matthew's very good about the sheer range of plates I have in our house.

Speaking of, don't you just love these gorgeous melamine plates for picnicking or outdoor dining?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The CN Tower


Every city has its iconic monument, building or structure.

The Eiffel Tower.

The London Eye.

The Empire State Building.

In Toronto there are many beautiful buildings, but none are more iconic and recognisable than the CN Tower. So when we visited a few months ago, of course  we had to visit. After buying our tickets and a wait of about thirty minutes we were soon speeding up the tower, whizzing upwards as we looked out of the glass elevator at the city skyline.

Once there we were treated to gorgeous views of the city, the islands, Lake Ontario and beyond. At a height of 346/351 metres (or even higher if you venture up to the Skypod) you can see a long, long way!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Amedeo, Rome

 

We spent so much of our time in Italy on the go. As it was our first trip we were so keen to see and experience as much as we possibly could, and we walked for miles, hopped on and off coaches and trains, climbed a bazillion steps (seriously, my thighs lost a couple of inches in a matter of a week!), and general dashed around from morning to  night, having a ball.

We stayed in a sweet little hotel close to Termini, and on one evening we weren't sure where to go for dinner, so we popped around the corner to Amedeo, a little restaurant just off Via Cavour. As it was spur of the moment we had no idea what the food would be like, but man, was I glad we visited - everything was delicious!

As soon as we were sat down, menus appeared and we were soon sipping on fruity, mellow glasses of Anagni, a lovely red.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Diner, Islington


It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love me a trip to The Diner. In a city jampacked with food options, it's my frequent go-to for tasty comfort food and fun cocktails - from burgers to nachos to margaritas there are always a bunch of good things on offer. So when I was invited along to see the newly refurbished Islington location, along with some of my faves (oh hey, Erica, Jas, Charley & Charlie), you know I was all in, right?


I've always liked the Islington branch of The Diner - it's such a great location and a frequent brunch spot for me and my girls. The new refurb looks amazing - I love the bar in the middle of the restaurant, it really opens up the space, as well as giving you somewhere to wait if you're early for your table. The outside of the room is covered with booths, perfect for that Americana vibe we all love at The Diner!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Book Review: The Hate U Give


One of my favourite things about the close of the year is the excitement of the year to come - the shows to await, the albums to look for, and best of all (for a bookworm like me), the books to get excited about. I love poring over the lists and noting down the titles of books I'm looking forward to, and pre-ordering them (or if I'm lucky and know the PR, requesting a proof).

In the 2017 lists, a book the really stood out for me was The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas.  The buzz around this book was deafening, and so many writers, bloggers and thinkers I admire were flagging it up as a book to watch. So I pre-ordered my copy and awaited delivery.

Set in contemporary America, The Hate U Give follows the story of Starr, a girl growing up in the poor neighbourhood of Garden Heights where her family have lived for generations, and who attends Williamson, a private school in the suburbs. As the book unfolds it becomes apparent that Starr struggles with belonging in either setting. At home she feels distant from peers as her school life and much of her social life takes place away from Garden Heights. Meanwhile at school she has friends with home lives incredibly different to her own, and as the narrative unfolds we see Starr struggling with her status as an outlier at school - her background and ethnicity both singles her out and gives her an allure of cool bestowed upon her by her fellow students due to her perceived otherness.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Monday #....20 (I think?)

Last year, when I was away from teaching for a while I got really into posting my Happy Mondays each week (inspired by the lovely round ups of good bloggy friends like Katy, Jasmin, Charlie and Charley, amongst others). Then came January and the whizz and whirl of a new term, and realistically I knew the series would have to fall off the radar.

But today finds me on a chilled Monday (it's been a day of reading, lesson planning, laundry, trash TV and housework) and with plenty to be happy about, so I thought I'd revive the format. Something I'm intending to do from time to time, cause heck, this is my space and I shall use it as I see fit. :)

(While I have you, thank you for all the kind responses after this post. I feel so lucky to have such kind people around me!)

1. Cooking



How lovely it is to have time to cook up some new recipes. The recent sunny weather has me dreaming up quick dinners, big salads, and refreshing cocktails. Pictured above, a quick lunch of mushroom risotto topped with Santini tomatoes (so tangy and fresh).

Thursday, April 06, 2017

I Love Your Blog: Vicky Dalton-Banks


While I love being a lifestyle blogger, I like to read blogs of a million different types. From books to food to fashion to travel there are so many awesome people writing great things, taking amazing pictures and creating compelling, interesting content. What a delight it is to be a small cog within this realm!

One of my favourite foodie bloggers, as well as a great traveller and truly a 'must click' for restaurant recommendations here in town is the lovely Vicky Dalton-Banks. I've been reading her blog for about two years now and I adore it, and I've been lucky to become friends with the lady herself through a series of food events and the wonder that is Pizza Club. I was delighted when Vicky agreed to be part of I Love Your Blog, and hope you enjoy her interview below.

Pretty lady! All pictures from Vicky's awesome blog :)

How long have you been blogging?

I've been blogging for 2 and a half years and probably love doing it more than ever!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Fattie Fattie Fattie Oi Oi Oi


A few moments ago I was having a scroll through instagram, embracing a little downtime after doing a metric tonne of laundry and ironing a bundle of things too. As I sat down for a little break in the early evening sunshine, my notifications popped up. As I clicked through, I spotted that a comment had been left on the picture above. The picture's over a month old, which is why I think I even noticed - most of my recent notifications have been on the slew of pretty Italian scenes I've been sharing. Man, Italy is gorgeous. 

Before I continue with the tale, a little aside on the image above.

I happen to love the picture, not because I look good, or it's especially clever, or even a great insta-shot. I look a bit mad, to be fair - I'd been up since 4.45am to get on the Eurostar, my hair is clearly having a moment, I'm grinning like a loon and the Arc de Triomphe shot I was aiming for has just been obscured by a van. However, I also look happy...because I was. And because I am.

So back to the comment. The comment left, coincidentally, by someone who had followed and then promptly found a selfie to leave his oh-so-special and important tuppence worth of opinion on. The comment? Fattie Fattie Fattie Oi Oi Oi.

I mean. What critique. What wit. What a way to get straight to the point and present me with some brand new information. Because obviously, being the size and weight I am, this fact had never been brought to my attention. I mean, when you're larger than the average/ fat/ obese/ plump/ voluptuous (pick your flavour - I've been called them all and I am them all) heaven knows this is never pointed out to you! The culture and time we live in never objectifies people, let alone women.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Beautiful Burano



At the start of each month I love checking in on the #travellinkup and seeing if the theme is one that works for me, my blog, and my travels. And this month, the theme could not be a better match! This month it's all about inspiration, and after a ten-day trip to beautiful Italy, I am certainly feeling extremely inspired.

Amongst our many adventures, one of my favourite places to visit was the gorgeous island of Burano. This technicolour dream of a place was a delightful place to explore, enjoy some lunch, and stroll around in the sunshine looking at the lovely houses.


I did consider having a play and an edit with the photos, but in all truth the place was so stunning I just uploading these as is - the pretty houses and beautiful streets and canals more than speak for themselves, don't you think?

Saturday, April 01, 2017

How To Be A Grown Up


You know how some writers just chime with you?

How when you read their poetry, or prose, or journalism, and you feel you could be kindred spirits, so close to the nerve their writing goes? The writers who you feel 'get' you, who tick all those lovely empathy boxes?

For me, one of that select bunch is Daisy Buchanan. And for many others too, as evinced by her thousands of twitter followers, agony-aunt-for-Grazia gig, and her widely enjoyed and discussed writings for many other publications (seriously, I could list but we would be here a while...my faves are her witty, outspoken, wonderful writings for The PoolI have such a soft spot for that site!).  Imagine my delight then when a couple of months ago I spotted some tweets discussing an upcoming book by the divine Ms B, which I clearly had to get a copy of to review.

A little tweeting and a quick request later, my very own hot pink proof of How To Be A Grown Up (Headline, releases on April 6th) arrived, and I devoured the thing over my winter break. This is a simply marvellous book, full of humour and intelligence, but more than that, full of kindness. Daisy writes about everything, from friendship to career, love to money, the bedroom to the boardroom and fills each chapter with wisdom, as well as funny stories and interesting anecdotes aplenty. Like sitting down with a trusted friend and catching up over a drink or two, this book is not only entertaining, you come away from it feeling enriched, like you've got some extra hints and tips to take away.

The book seems to be pitched for twenty-somethings (it certainly seems to be the case on Amazon etc) but even being in my mid-thirties there was plenty I could reflect on and learn from, as well as plenty of cringey moments I could enjoy with a little distance from my teens and early adulthood! I would have loved to have read this when I was a little younger, but could still relish it in my current season of life.

This book straddles two very different genres with skill - it's both a funny, entertaining read and a book chock-full of actionable, useful advice - combining the two is no mean feat! Throughout Buchanan's talent for a story and her ear for a well-crafted line shine through, and this is a wee gem of a read. When it releases I'll definitely be gifting a few copies to some of my best girls. Well worth your time - I'll be looking out for this bright pink cover on my commutes to work later this year!




Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book to review from the publisher. All opinions, thoughts and ponderings are my own.

Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm Claire...

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.

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