January by the numbers, and my goals for February

Happy end of January, all. Hasn't this month felt long? Even though I like January, this has felt like a long old month. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the dark, maybe it's the political maelstrom, I just know it's been a long month and I'm quite looking forward to a new page on the calendar.

As this year I've made my new year's resolutions monthly targets, I figured I'd check in each month with an update on how they've gone, as well as given a few vital stats for the month just past. There are lots of plans and changes afoot in 2017, and I think it'll be fun to keep a record.

So, January by the numbers...

Blog events attended: A rather lacklustre 2. I have, however, had some lovely get-togethers with bloggy friends.

Brunching up a storm with Emma was a highlight!

Books read: A better 6 (The Dry, Relativity, Homegoing, How To Be A Grown Up, The Bear And The Nightingale, The One).
View Post

Casa Brindisa, South Kensington

A photo posted by Claire Roper (@cmclaire) on

On Christmas Eve I had the unexpected treat of having Matthew around. As he usually works over the Christmas and New Year's period  he's ordinarily in the office, but as Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday we got to spend the whole day together. It's my favourite day of the year, so it was lovely to get to share it with him.

As I was so excited I decided to plan a few treats for the day - I dearly love a treat. I booked us both tickets to Carols by Candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall and planned for a walk and some cocktails too. We also decided that we'd pop out for lunch before the concert at 2.30pm - as I'd be cooking for most of Christmas morning I was excited to let someone else take up the pots and pans the night before! We had a look at the available restaurants near the Royal Albert Hall and decided on Casa Brindisa, a small chain I'd heard of but which I'd never visited. We both thought tapas sounded great (it's a real family favourite) and it was close enough to the venue that we could get there in good time and enjoy the meal.

We were seated promptly at a comfortable table and soon furnished with Estrella and water.  The restaurant was nicely busy but by no means jam-packed - the days around Christmas lend a real calm to London venues as many people decamp for the festivities. As is traditional for tapas, we selected a few items and shared the wealth. We ordered the dados de manchego, the pan de coca, the croquetas de jamon y pollo, the patatas bravas y aioli, the pimentos de padron and the ensalada de pato.

The dados de manchego were just as expected - sharp yet creamy, served with a little honey to cut the tang. The pan de coca was gorgeously tomatoey and tasty, with a slightly chargrilled flavour. I adored the croquetas - it took all my self-control not to order another round; they were simply delicious.

The patatas bravas didn't arrive, alas - our waitress didn't use a pad (I'm not sure if that's policy or preference) so the request for these never made its way to the kitchen. We did try to flag this but to no avail. The pimentos (a Matthew favourite) were just right, and the portion was generous too. I loved the ensalada de pato, with a lovely dressing, gorgeous little cubes of beetroot, and slivers of tender, moist duck.

If you're in South Ken and looking for a pleasant spot for some tapas, I'd advise you to seek out Casa Brindisa - the perfect little spot for a pre- or post- museum or Royal Albert Hall feast. I'll certainly be returning; I'm determined to try the patatas bravas now!

Casa Brindisa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

View Post

An Ode To January

I love the January chill.

I love the January lull.

After the November darkening, as the nights draw in, and the fun and brightness of the Christmas season, I love this little portion of the year. For some the darker feel can get oppressive, and there have certainly been years where I've felt the weight of it all. Years and years of Januarys have improved this though, and thanks to a few tricks and changes (including but not limited to extending my sleep schedule by a half-hour, spending a little time with a SAD-lamp, taking vitamin D, increasing my veggie intake and walking for a decent amount several times a week) I'm able to embrace this navy-blue month in all its glory.

Yes, to me, January is a deep, dark navy blue. the colour of night skies and school uniforms. When I was younger I didn't really see the beauty in Januarys. It was so easy to get distracted and swept away by the bright pinks and oranges of summer, the twinkling fairy lights of December, or the burnt oranges and nut browns of October. With age I've acquired a fondness for January though, and always try to remember to stop and think about all the reasons I adore it so.

January is a great month for reading, watching and listening. In the brighter summer months I always feel like I should be out and about, but in murky and damp January no-one judges you for curling up. It's a time for weekend afternoons curled up cosy with a cup of tea and a ood book or two. Or going to the movies and sitting in the warm, in the dark, letting the magicians of Hollywood sweep you away. Or losing a string of evenings to a boxset or a Netflix binge.

January is for planning. I know it's a fairly arbitrary way of looking at the world, but so help me I love watching the calendar tick over to a new year. January is a great time to set goals, build towards dreams, and plan. Matthew and I are looking forward to holiday planning, and I've got a pleasant little list of things I'd like to achieve with my work, my writing, and other areas.

January is for wholesome, hearty food. I love breaking out the slow cooker and making stews  and soups and chillis. It's the perfect time to make bread - a toasty home on a cold day with fresh bread baking is the very epitome of homey bliss. I love adding new flavours and ingredients to our roster and cooking lovely meals.

January is for catching up. Everyone heads off on the four winds for Christmas, but in January town feels busy once more. I'm loving seeing my diary fill with brunches, lunches and (early) dinners.

January is for sleep. Never is it so easy to turn in as in these velvety dark nights! Getting up is a tad harder, of course, but earlier bedtimes have me well rested and reading to set off for another day; albeit a day which starts for me while the sky is still inky-black-blue overhead.

So that's my cosy, social, book-heavy January.​ What does this month mean to you?
View Post

A Poppet Post

Oh helloes hoomans!

I were finking the other days, between grooming my booful fur and having a sits, that is has bin a whiles since I did write a letters on this ere blog and share some picatures of me and them itzens.

Clur did tell me was a new year. I did tell her that was a silly, because every year after all is THE YEAR OF THE POPPET CAT, but you know how hoomans is. I decided to hoomer her rather than arguing as argumenties can bump into my naps schedule and I are nots a fan of that! In ovver Clur noos, she has gone back to works a bit. I was a bits cross about that but I knew she did miss the childrens. So i said was okay.

I are genrous kitten

View Post

What's In My Bag? (Winter Edition)

I've always loved these kinds of posts, but have never got around to doing my own. My innate nosiness means I'm always intrigued to see which items people tote around for their average day in the city, or out and about, and I hope if like me you enjoy learning about this sort of thing that this satisfies the very human instinct to see what others are up to!

I'm often out in the city for hours on end, and when I am I like to make sure I'm prepared (those years of being a Brownie and a Girl Guide, and the offspring of military folk, come in very handy). There's nothing worse than being caught short and discovering that you're miles from home without water/a tissue/lip balm!

Please enjoy the early morning realness of these snaps. January is not the one for photo gorgeousness at 6am/9pm...

This is my current winter bag. It's a grey slouchy pleather (for want of a better description!) bag from Accessorise, which I picked up in the early autumn before our US and Canada trip. I wanted a roomy, useful bag, with zippered sections to keep things secure as we dashed between flights, buses, taxis and boats, but with roomy sections which were easy to get into when you just wanted to grab a bottle of water, a pair of sunglasses or a scarf. This bag turned out to be perfect for purpose and was really a trooper throughout our travels, and it's now my go-to bag for the winter in London. It's big enough to carry all the bits and bobs I need out in town (teachers always carry a *tonne* of stuff, I find) but small enough to carry without injuring oneself or taking people out on the tube.

In my bag I always tend to have:

View Post

I Love your Blog: Silverspoon London

One of the coolest things about blogging is the community you get to be part of, a community filled with inspiring writers, talented photographers, creative folk by the bucketful and so many hilarious, clever people. I started I Love Your Blog  a few years ago as a way to celebrate some of my favourite bloggers and it's always fun when schedules work out and an interview can happen.

This time I've interviewed the lovely Angie from Silverspoon London. Angie's blog is a treasure trove of beautiful pictures, travel and food inspiration, and fabulous writing. I love her tips on places to dine here in London, and her travel posts are full of great stories, amazing locations and drool-worthy hotels! As well as being a wonderful blogger, Angie herself is an utter delight - intelligent and charming with a dry wit. I'm so pleased she agreed to be part of the series.


Angie (R) with Lauren from The Lifestyle Diaries. All pics in this post kindly provided by Angie.

How long have you been blogging?

I started my blog in January 2014 so it’s now been three years and I’ve loved every minute of it.

What do you blog about?  Do you have a specific goal with your blog (i.e. reviewing products, promoting a business, building a brand, transitioning into a writing / media / digital career), or is it more a record of your life?

View Post

My 2017 resolutions

I have been everywhere on the new year's resolutions scale.

There have been years where I haven't set any.

There have been years where I've set a simple, single goal (pay off my credit cards in full, read X number of books, etc.).

And there have been years when I've gone a little cray-cray and written some big old list of things I want to achieve, only to run out of steam by January 7th/February/April when life throws an inevitable spanner into the works!

This year I'm going to do something a little different. I love the start of the year and the potential it holds for new adventures, fresh starts and new beginnings. Added in with some changes personal to me this January, there's a good opportunity for positive developments.

I'm going to try something a little different, basing my resolutions in forming habits and staggered changes. This year I really want to focus on myself and my wellness and wellbeing - less in an oh-my-gosh-must-lose-weight-RIGHT-NOW way, but more in a self-care, health-improving, fitness-building way. I don't feel at my prime at the moment, and I'd love to improve my fitness, eating and sleep habits gradually over the year.

Each month I'm going to introduce a new wellness habit and a new fitness habit. My hope is that for each habit the first month will create novelty, the second will be the 'work' month to get it to really stick, and by the third month it'll be a habit that's more ingrained and easier to just do. I've used this methodology with other habits I've wanted to cultivate so I'm excited to apply it to my health.

So without further ado, here are January's habits.

Wellness: No playing on my phone or iPad before bed. So simple, but this is such a naughty habit of mine, even though I know it's a bad idea. But now I've set up a station across the room for devices, and I'm hopeful that this habit will become an easy process. A least a half-hour/hour before rest I'll be logging off and plugging them in till morning.

Fitness: Five walks a week of 30 minutes or more. I love walking and find that walking time is often my best time for thinking up new ideas, processing information, and relieving stress. I'm keen to focus on this habit and make it a part of my days again.

I have chosen this path because I want my new year's resolutions to come from a place of self-love and kindness. I'm tired of looking after myself poorly (for someone who can be such a mother hen, I can sure be a total meanie to myself). I'm excited to see where this journey may lead, and I'll be keeping you posted as we move through 2017.

Do you have any resolutions this year?
View Post
Next PostNewer Posts Previous PostOlder Posts Home