Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Gift Inspiration

Tomorrow is the first day of December, which reminds you that time flies - next few weeks will be filled with festive drinks, work do's and cozy evenings with a big duvet and heating on full blast (I read somewhere, this December might be one of the coldest in years). Sooo... I suggest you to sort out the presents for your loved ones now, and then relax knowing you don't have to rush through packed stores and worry about deliveries not turning up in time for Christmas. 

Stores and magazines have brilliant gift guides, which can give you some idea of what to get for family and friends. For those who need more inspiration, here's my list of gifts that don't break the bank and would make your loved ones happy. I didn't categorise them into groups like 'for parents', 'for boyfriend', etc., it's more of a bundle of things, which you can look at, and hopefully spot something, important person in your life would love.

Let's see what we have here...

1. Beautiful kitchen towel from Etsy, (£8.30).

2. Tasty tea bundle, including spiced winter red tea, chai tea and chocolate flake tea, from Teapigs, (£10).

3. Whiskey dictionary print from Bouf, (£9).

 4. Butter London nail polish in The Black Knight, from Selfridges, (£12).

5. An album frame from Urban Outfitters, (£12).

6. Carhartt Cable Beanie from Asos, (£35).

7. Beautiful hair ties from Anthropologie, (£20).

8. Jamie Oliver herb growing set from Debenhams, (£14 normally, £11.20 now with 20% discount).

9. Little Norway spruce Christmas tree from Not On The High Street, (£10).

10. Shore Leave dip dye tee from Urban Outfitters, (£22).

11. Mulled wine mugs and spices from John Lewis, (£15).

12. Hand knitted bobble hat from Urban Outfitters, (£24).

13. Art print from Rockett St George, (£14).

14. Set of 4 measuring cups from Not On The High Street, (£18.95).

15. Zodiac coin purse from Anthropologie, (£18).

I could go on and on, but this post would get way too long... I hope you found inspiration here and have an idea a of what you're going to surprise your friends and family with. 
My only advice, don't leave it 'til too late!


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Digbeth Dining Club

Birmingham has something really exciting and fresh on the scene. Digbeth Dining Club brings the best 'street food', paired with great music - the atmosphere is completely different from anything else in Brum at the moment.
I spent Friday evening gorging on beautiful pizzas from Pizza Monkey, and fresh tastes of Caribbean food from Soupremes Soulfood.

Polina and I shared two pizzas and a curry goat, which was a clear winner for me - tender meat, fluffy rice, and the spiciness was just right... Pizzas were flavoursome, crispy and chewy in the right places, my favourite was a Simple Monkey - a classic combo of melting mozzarella, fresh basil and tomatoes.

Lakosa, Augustus Gloop and Dr Love played some chilled out hip hop, dub, house and garage, which added to the atmosphere of this unique venue. 

I can't recommend DDC enough, it's definitely a place to be on a Friday evening for those who enjoy great quality, locally sourced food, a few drinks and chilled out tunes.

Digbeth Dining Club is on every Friday (they will have a break in January) at Spotlight, they open at 5pm for drinks and serve food from 6pm to 11pm or until it sells out, (I did miss out on jerk chicken, as it was gone before I knew it). Follow these guys on Twitter for updates on what's to come next Friday.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mulled Wine

'Tis the season to be jolly, and 'tis also the time for the German Christmas Market to come back to Birmingham and set their little wooden shops all over the town. Dark cold evenings are much better spent in the market - warm mulled wine, huge glasses of unfiltered German beer and sausages, what's better than that?  
As good as it sounds, sometimes leaving your warm house to enjoy a glass of mulled wine and a German munch in freezing cold doesn't sound very appealing. Well, with this recipe for mulled wine, you can make your home feel like your very own warm and cozy German Market (however, I have to tell you, it won't be the same without the singing moose).

You will need:

a bottle of red wine - not the cheapest, but doesn't have to be the best stuff either,
150ml spiced rum,
250ml cranberry juice,
2 tbsp honey,
3 tbsp brown sugar,
2 clementines,
half an orange, sliced
peel of 1 lime,
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar,
8 cloves,
a cinnamon stick,
a pinch of nutmeg,
a pinch of allspice.

Peel the clementine with a sharp knife or a peeler, chuck it in a deep saucepan, and squeeze the juice from your clementines. Now add everything else apart from wine and rum.

Let it all simmer until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and leave it for a few minutes - the spices and fruity peels will mingle together releasing beautiful flavours into the syrup. 

Now turn the heat down and add the wine and rum (adding the alcohol at the end means you won't burn off the alcohol). 
Heat it on low until warm, and don't forget to try it for yourself, you might prefer it sweeter/fruitier/stronger - add whatever you feel it needs. Look at you making your own mulled wine! 

Serve your wine in mugs if you want a real 'German Market' feel, or in glasses/jars - I ladled mine into sugar rimmed jars. Enjoy these bad boys on a comfy sofa or in your bed, while watching newest episodes of 'Dexter' and 'Walking Dead'.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Date In London

A few days ago I realised that I haven't been to the theater for a while now, so... A couple of hours later a trip to London's Theater Royal Haymarket for me and my boyfriend was arranged and I was getting pretty excited. 

Yesterday we arrived in sunny London, and as it was lunchtime, we headed to Pho Spitalfields for a simple healthy Vietnamese street food.

I had a flowering jasmine tea, purely because I just love watching it bloom! Take a look at this beauty...

Big bowls of soup served with a plate of fresh herbs and spices, (you add them to your soup yourself) are the most popular menu option, and I was in need of something warm and filling. We started with some fried pork springrolls...

Might not look the best, but it surely tastes good!

Ooohing and aaahing with full stomachs we decided to take a long walk around Shoreditch, visiting some quirky shops and stopping at a cafe for a glass of wine and a brownie.

Found a couple of Stef's vinyls at the record store.

I managed to grow that ginger mustache I always wanted so much!

After another glass of wine or two we were heading to the theater, to see a comedy 'One Man, Two Guvnors', which was just the perfect ending to a lovely day we had in the capital.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Time Flies

I realised that I haven't posted anything in a week... Ooops! Well, I can say it was a busy week, but I think a proof is needed! 

Agne and I went to the Electric Cinema - UK's oldest working cinema, to see The Shining Extended Cut, which gave us the creeps for the rest of the evening. It was the first time I saw The Shining, and also the first time I saw Electric Cinema so full!

These seats filled pretty quick after we arrived!

In the week I did some shopping too - got myself a skirt, and a pair of warm shoes for my mum.

The next pictures summarise my Sundays, it's either chocolate or Haagen Dazs Pralines and Cream ice cream. Or even better - both! And I know this doesn't prove I was busy, on the contrary, I was resting, but that's what Sundays are for anyway!

And then there was a paintball session with workmates yesterday. I came back so tired and happy, not even the bruises could have ruined my mood.

All in all, a very nice week, but I am looking forward to going to the capital tomorrow, will surely do a post about how it went!