Apparently I went through a stage of wearing very dark clothes at one point in my early teens. I don’t really remember that, perhaps I’ve blocked it out. I did consider going a bit goth in my later teens but to be honest it would have been too much of an uphill struggle with my family so I let that phase pass unexplored. These days I like to wear bright colours and plenty of patterns,sometimes all at once.
I was feeling exceptionally cheerful a few weeks ago and decided to wear red, yellow and orange all in one go, to stick two fingers up at the miserable weather and I think the result is one rather jolly splash of colour well worthy of a smile. This charm necklace was a £1 charity shop find and I've taken to wearing it on every possible occasion since buying it, I do get attached to things.
Skirt, jumper, skirt and necklace all from charity shops. Boots - Internacionale. These pictures are rubbish quality I'm afraid, sorry about that but I did want to share my bright look even if my hair looks a bit odd as well. I'm wearing a little band thing with black and gold thingys on which looks rather lovely but not in my hair. A rethink may be in order.
On Tuesday I went out to see Royal Blood play at the Norwich Waterfront with Chris. It's not all that often I head out to gigs, especially to see a new band; it has to be one I really feel I have to get to see. The first time I heard material from Royal Blood was last year while I was listening to Radio 1 at work, I can remember it clearly. 'Out of the black' came on and I stopped what I was doing to stare at the radio because the intro was so intense and utterly grabbed my attention. I probably pulled a 'dafuq' face, wondering who these guys were. Think 'The Captain' by Biffy Clyro except in RB's case the rest of the track delivers. A couple of weeks ago I heard their second single 'Little Monsters' play on the radio which also got me all excited. Two real-deal tracks. As luck would have it I found that they were coming to Norwich in a week's time so I booked tickets, all rather fortunate.
Let me tell you that Royal Blood playing live is something you need to witness. Bands should (in my opinion) sound just as good, if not better live and Royal Blood certainly did not disappoint! There are just two guys in the band but there is no shortage of talent or noise so I guess it proves that you don't need numbers to make good music. Their sound is loud rock, catchy yet rough and tumble; a bit of Muse, Biffy, Arctic Monkeys, best heard at high volume with an air guitar to hand.
My only whinge was that they didn't play all that many tracks, or seem to, either that or time flew by without me realising it as I was having so much fun. Tracks to watch out for as well as the delicious Out of the Black and Little Monster are 'Figure it out' and 'Come on Over' but there is no sign of the album yet it's very much a case that they're keeping me waiting. On purpose.
Oh wait, I haven't told you about the support act which are well worth a mention; Tigercub opened the show and immediately swept me off my sturdy feet with their super catchy tracks which I would go so far as to say sounds a bit like cheerful rock to me. I'm sure parallels have already been drawn with Nirvana, as the lead vocalist has the most hypnotisingly husky voice a la Kurt Cobain. Last night I tried to find out a bit more about this three-piece but there isn't much to be found yet although their Youtube channel has three videos so far with Centrefold being my firm favourite with Little Rope and Mother being good listens as well. I guess they played around 8 tracks which I all enjoyed with what I would uneducatedly describe as nifty riffs, it's a bit of a shame that the volume was SO loud that I couldn't make out any words (thought I picked up 'telephone' but that turned out to be 'centrefold' and another song may have been about liver but goodness only knows). Tigercub have found a fan in me and I'll be keeping my ear to the ground to hunt down new music from them.
Get your backsides out to see both these young bands, they're more than worth a listen.
I love food. Whether eating out or dining in at home if I'm trying something a little bit different then life is good. For our pre-Valentines day meal we decided to book a table at the Russian restaurant called Rasputin. We'd been once before, around 18 months ago with friends on a weeknight and wanted to return for another go. Last time it was very quiet so I cleverly made a Saturday evening booking a few weeks beforehand for 7pm. Due to me making a bungle with travel arrangements we arrived a bit earlier and the place was deserted so at least I could snap a few pictures without attracting any attention. Nothing says romance like taking blog pictures. Sorry for the dredful picture quality - low lighting and phone cameras is not a great combination.
The menu looked very similar, if not the same as last time; a short set menu with two courses £10 and three for £13.50 which I would class as particularly good value. Being a greedy mare, I wanted to order from the larger menu which was quite a bit more money (but hey).
I ordered the rabbit pate, served with pickled beetroot, rye bread and butter along with salad leaves. Adventurous-ish. Although the dish was quite pleasant, I was expecting a spreadable pate; what arrived was something I would have classed as a terrine.
Chris settled on the Soup of the day which we were informed was Borsch (beef). It has to be said that Irina is always on hand to explain anything on the menu and appears to do all the cooking herself. The soup was plentiful and a little thinner than anticipated but served with cheesy toast (which I was distinctly envious of!)
We plumped for a bottle of red wine between us, the label on the bottle is like a piece of art to me. All the wines are from abroad – I forget the precise areas but the one we chose initially was Armenian I think (this one was the alternative as the other one wasn't available).
For mains we both chose the Gregory Rasputin Pork which we both ate on the previous visit too, on the basis that it was so good before I couldn't resist! Breaded pork with cheese (and mushrooms but I ordered without the offensive fungi) on delicious mashed potato with a tomato sauce reduction with sauerkraut with sausage in. Absolutely scrumptious. Plate-lickingly good.
It's pretty rare I can leave before a pudding if we're out for a special meal and having already glanced at the dessert menu when intially ordering I had my heart set on the pavlova. I made a good choice, it was a generous portion and hit the spot.
Chris opted for the pancakes which he enjoyed and frankly I was disappointed that he ate them all, I wanted to have some too.
By this time we were rather merry on wine and decided to order Armenian brandy coffees, something which I would never do with a clear head as I don't drink spirits! I made an assumption that the brandy would be in the coffee but that was not the case, so I had a sip and pulled a face so tipped it into the coffee (which then made the coffee undrinkable too) so swapped it for Chris' unspoilt coffee. Note to self: you don't drink spirits. The petit fours looked cute but I only ate the ones which looked like ring doughnuts. Do not be fooled: they are rock hard. Nearly broke a tooth!
We had a thoroughly enjoyable meal with the only real downside being the quietness of the restaurant. By the time we left there were another 3 tables of diners and of course the traditional music playing. The plus side of course was that we had no trouble with service or feeling like we were being rushed. The decoration is a little odd and I imagine some potential diners do not make it as far as the restaurant tables (the dining is on the first floor – probably part of the reason for it being quiet) which would be a shame.
Rasputin gets a thumbs up from me. Have you dined Russian style?
Something has been missing in my life this winter and that would be the wearing of shorts. In the past I would have named shorts and tights as part of my signature winter style but for some reason this year I've almost forgotten about my shorts altogether. I felt very at home in this outfit which I wore in town recently and that is something really special about wearing favourites; the feelgood factor. This burgundy Vero Moda jumper is properly worn in now, washed a few dozen times and looking a little tatty upon closer inspection. It hasn't performed that shrinking-stretching trick that I've witnessed before (have you had jumpers that shrink in height but stretch in width? Utterly confounding) and is one of the first I would think of reaching for to bung on over anything when I'm feeling chilly. The rich red wine colour means it is best suited to autumn and winter so I've been getting a good number of wears in, even if most outfits haven't made it on to the blog. You might just be able to make out my Joules blouse peeking out.
The shorts, boots and bag are all second hand finds with the boots being down to pennies per wear. I bought them years ago on ebay for around £5 and have walked hundreds of miles in them (so much so that I had them re-heeled as they looked a bit sorry for themselves) and are so comfy as well as being pretty versatile. I'm really quite fond of this necklace from George at Asda that I wore with my pretty dress here and appreciate it's simplicity.
Eat clean, eat often, eat a balanced diet. I've been trying out healthier meals lately and by this I mean less crappy processed for (including premade sauces and packets of stuff), less carby rubbish; bread, pasta, rice and potatoes and more homemade fare with plenty of protein and roughage. Apparently the last food catch up post was in September so I have no idea what’s happened in between then and now but here are some dishes from the last few weeks.
Black bean burgers with corn on the cob and stir fries vegetables (and a few noodles)
Sausages with swede mash and peas – home ish made southern fried chicken with chips and beans
Cowboy bbq chicken stew with brown basmati – Roast pork and all the trimmings
Left: Homemade fishcake and right: pan fried trout both served with stir fried veg and noodles
Lamb dopiaza (jarred sadly) with naan and onion baji with brown basmati
Ham, leek and cider pie (pre-rolled light pastry atop)
Pork loin, celeriac mash and steamed vegetables – sausages and sweet potato mash with peas
Home breaded chicken with bbq dip and salad – more ham pie with celeriac mash and veg
Smoked haddock, swede mash and steamed veg with cheese sauce – cruddy fish portion with minted cauliflower and pea mash with steamed veg
Chicken tikka portions with minted raita dip and salad – more black bean burgers with carrot mash and corn on the cob
Trout en papilotte with cauliflower puree and steamed vegetables - - homemade lentil and bacon soup
Did you notice that (some) of my photos are better than usual? I’m using a new method and am so far pleased with the results. Looking back at these meals I have to proclaim that I’m pretty pleased with the efforts we’ve made as the dishes certainly are colourful with a good mix of different components.
I’ve been tagged for some fun blogger questions recently by Lisa from The Brunette Diaries (thanks!)so I'll crack on...
1) Have you already broken a new years resolution?
Yes, I vowed to get more sleep and I've failed! I got to bed early enough one maybe three nights so far this year. Averaging around 6 hours sleep is bad.
2) Did you celebrate on new years eve?
Yes, in my onesie in front of the tv. Par-tay!
3) Do you worry about what the New Year will bring?
I would worry if I thought about it so I'm not thinking about it.
4) Are you booking a holiday sometime soon and where to?
I'm due to make some holiday plans but I always put it off as I hate figuring these things out.
5) Was 2013 a good/bad year for you?
I'm going to say GOOD! It was good.
6) If you could buy one thing now with £20.00 what would it be?
A 10k race entry
7) If you could buy one thing now for £500.00 what would it be?
An old banger of a convertible for summer. I nearly did 2 years ago but the insurance quote was ridiculous.
8) What month is your birthday?
Oh, nice try. PASS!
9) Have you ever been to Devon/Cornwall?
I haven't. It's a heck of a distance from Norfolk. I would like to visit one day.
10) Have you got a best friend and why are they your best friend?
My husband is my best friend. I never understand why some people don't quote their partner as their best friend.
11) Do you like your job?
We don't talk about work on here.
What was the first blog you ever came across?
It was Laura's blog A Daisy chain Dream and it was through the people that left comments on the post I read that I discovered everyone else.
Name a blog that enables your purchases.
That's a toughie as I virtually never say 'I want what so-and-so has got' but Char of T*Rexes and Tiaras probably makes me feel like my spending is under control! Pretty sure Char has around 10x more clothes and 200x more shoes than me.
Five blogs everyone should be reading?
Nu-uh! Read whatever you fancy and not what anyone tells you to read.
What is your favourite way to read blogs?
I like the ease of flicking through the Bloglovin' app but it is rubbish for attempting to comment plus it's so stripped down you get no sense of blog design.
Favourite blogs/ Bloggers that inspire you?
I have quite a few! I'm not going to be able to get them all down here but here's my attempt:
An Alien World
World of Joy
Lucy in the Clouds
T*Rexes and Tiaras
The Brunette Diaries
The Villa on Mount Pleasant
Frills n Spills
Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks
A Daisy Chain Dream
Sunny sweet pea
Favourite blog design/look?
MINE! Muhahahaha, that's probably cheating but hey.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Do I need a favourite? No. Everything is awesome except how much I now want to keep spending on clothes as well as the amount of sleep I lose because I'm staying up late editing pictures/replying to comments/drafting posts
Name a blogger you would most like to see write a book?
Kezzie is full of stories so I think she would write an excellent book.
Hazel chose these questions as part of another tag so I'm answering these as well while I'm on a roll
1. If you were a cartoon character who would you be?
Dogtanian. Probably spelt wrong too.
2. What's your nickname?
Soph. Genius people!
3. What are you reading at the moment?
Blogs and a book called The Buried Circle by Jenni Mills. It's so long and is dragging.
4. If you could take a year off work with limitless funds, how would you spend your year?
Asleep most probably. For a week. Then probably in training for the heptathlon or boxing or 10k racing.
5. What is your signature dish?
Lasagne. How basic!
6. What is the one thing that everyone should do, at least once, in their lifetime?
Sex! Crude maybe but everyone was thinking it.
7. Have you ever given blood?
No. I used to use the excuse that I was under the weight minimum but then that became no longer valid. My Mum became anaemic as a direct result of years of giving blood so that's put me off too.
8. Do you have any tattoos?
Not yet but I hope to at some point, although as my brother advised - my parents would kill me even though I'm well on the way to 30. Hrumph.
9. Name a film that you have watched over and over again?
Harry Potter series. Never gets old!
10. What question would you most like to ask me?
Can we go charity shopping again in the spring?
11. Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery? What is it, how did it come to be yours?
Yes, several pieces my Grandma passed on to me (before dementia took hold, she's not dead)
Tag yourselves, you're all it. Play along and have some fun!