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Sunday Catch-up #35

My first full week of work is done and I am back in the swing of things, feeling shattered at the end of each day but kind of glad to be back. We’ve had a fab weekend with my parents starting Ian’s birthday celebrations with a beer festival and the most amazing carvery today! x

This week I have been…

Making: room for our new vintage suitcase-table hybrid

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Going: to a beer fest in the sunshine

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Wearing: my new Nine West handbag

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Eating: a delicious carvery for lunch

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Drinking: beer!

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Reading: I’ve almost finished this one

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Watching: Inkmaster – love it!

Buying: a new bra set – Freya is a great brand for larger-busted ladies

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Planning: for a little European city break over half term

Cooking: a healthy cauliflower and egg curry

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Baking: nothing this week

Writing: daily blog posts…I’m trying to keep them up!

Favouriting: the trainline website – I managed to nab some bargain train tickets this week

Working on: staying organised

Trying to decide: whether to write a not-so-great review of a restaurant we went to last week

Wishing: I was braver when it comes to dealing with these…

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Enjoying: this month’s Birchbox

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Needing: to try out a fig recipe sent by my friend Collette

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Feeling: proud of my bestie for completing a charity run

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Giggling at: my brother ordering the most girly-looking cocktails!

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Restaurant Review – Wahaca, Bristol

It is tricky to write a review about a chain restaurant as quality control means a certain dish in one location is pretty much identical to that in another. However, Ian and I had such a good meal at this new branch of my favourite Mexican restaurant recently, I thought it merited a blog post!

We went to Wahaca, at the top of Park Street, a couple of weeks ago, getting a table with no problem at about 7 on Saturday night. We started with a couple of margaritas; Ian went for a classic and I tried a passion fruit one which I think added a lovely tropical twist.

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We are both big fans of the ‘Street Food‘ part of the menu and, so that we could try as much as possible, ordered a sharing menu, plus some of my favourite taquitos.

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The stand-out favourites for me included a broccoli and avocado side dish, the smoked salmon tostadas and the chipotle chicken quesadilla.

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We even had a little portion of churros y chocolate to finish the meal.

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Usually reserved for visits to London, I am so happy there is a Wahaca close by so I can now satisfy my Mexican cravings in under an hour! x

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Restaurant Review – Lucha Libre, Manchester

We were in Manchester this weekend and I had a real craving for some Mexican food. After a quick look on Google, we decided on Lucha Libre in the centre of town as it looked cool and had tapas-style Mexican street food meaning we could try lots of smaller dishes.

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After a quick drink at BrewDog, one of Ian’s favourite places for a good pint of ale, we walked over to Lucha Libre and sat down with the menus. The restaurant itself is in a huge, converted warehouse and I loved the decoration of bright sugar skulls, garlands of red chillies and lots of Mexican food packaging.

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I made my first fundamental error by allowing Ian to order a cocktail for me…cue this enormous green skull and two flaming limes! Despite taking up a fair proportion of our two-person table, this tequila-based cocktail was actually pretty good, with a refreshing hit of apple and grapefruit juice.

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After a look through the extensive menu (which reminded me a lot of Wahaca with its fresh, street-food style dishes), we settled on a sharing platter with a side of ‘Dirty Fries’.

I was really impressed with the selection we received on our ‘Street Food Tray’; pulled pork tacos with pickled red onion, buttermilk fried chicken tacos with an amazing coriander sauce, rib taquitos, chicken tostadas and a chorizo and potato quesadilla. My favourites were the quesadilla and the fried chicken – if I wasn’t so stuffed, I could have ordered another portion of them both!

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The side dish of fries was a mix of white and sweet potato, topped with beef brisket chili con carne, cheese and sour cream.

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Mexican cuisine is one of my favourites and one I almost always choose to eat at when we have the chance. Previously, I had to wait until I was in London but I heard this week that Bristol is getting a Wahaca so my craving can be easily satisfied now!

We had a great meal at Lucha Libre and if it were closer, I would definitely be back! x

Restaurant Review – Wahaca, Islington

I have eaten in a couple of Wahaca restaurants now (and bought the cookbooks!) but I don’t think I have ever done a proper blog review so here is an ode to my favourite Mexican restaurant. It’s not a cuisine that we have very easy access to (the nearest decent Mexican restaurant to us is in Bristol) but one that I love…tacos, nachos, guacamole, pulled pork, margaritas – I love it all!

When I was in London recently with friends, we were going to try out Five Guys but when we saw a Wahaca next door, we quickly changed our minds!

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The brainchild of Thomasina Miers, Wahaca serves Mexican market food with the option of small plates to share or something a bit heartier. The thing that always impresses me is how fresh and vibrant everything tastes and the specials are constantly changing with the seasons.

We started off with cocktails and guacamole – my hibiscus margarita was great!

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Unable to choose just one dish, I went for some sharing options with Ian and my friend Hannah.  My highlights included:

Crisp quesadillas

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The most delicious fish tacos

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Sweet potato and feta taquitos

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Pork pibil tacos

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All utterly delicious and a great selection for vegetarians too…I can’t wait for my next visit! x

Recipe – Summer Coolers

With all of this gorgeous sunshine of late, I have been swapping my usual mugs of tea for something a bit cooler and more refreshing and here are three of my favourites.

I feel a bit cheeky calling them ‘recipes’ as they are more of a suggestion if you are stuck for something a bit different to drink when the sun comes out.

Iced Coffee

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I saw this idea on Pinterest so cannot take full credit! Rather than using ice cubes to make an iced coffee and end up with a watered down drink, simply brew some strong coffee in a cafetiere then freeze it in ice cube trays. When you want an iced coffee, simply pour a glass of cold milk, add your coffee ice cubes and you have a quick and easy drink. I add a little shot of rum or amaretto sometimes to turn it into a cocktail too!

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Bloody Mary

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Continuing on the cocktails, Ian and I have really got into Bloody Marys lately. I always order one of these whenever we fly but Ian’s homemade version is ten times better! I asked him for a recipe but I think we just follow the basic rule of ice, a glug of decent vodka, a dash of Worcester sauce, a dash of Tabasco or hot sauce and then top up with tomato juice and give it a stir with a stick of celery…yum!

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Mint and Cucumber Water

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Finally, when you want something really simple and thirst-quenching, having a jug of this to hand in the fridge is a godsend! Simply slice up some cucumber, grab a handful of mint and throw them in a jug of water. The mint and cucumber will gently infuse for a delicately-flavoured drink.

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Latest Purchases #51 – Urban Outfitters Rugs

Urgh – I had the most horrendous day yesterday. I had plans for some pampering and a haircut, followed by lunch with Ian, a wander around Bath and a spot of shopping…perfect.

However, my tyre blew on my way into Bath meaning I had to cancel said haircut, wait ages for the AA then spend an hour driving around with them trying to source a tyre for a Smart car! Not quite the relaxing afternoon I had in mind but to make things better I came home and baked then Ian took me up to the pub for cocktails and dinner.

I made the loveliest little carrot cake loaves (recipe coming soon!) and then had a wonderful Mojito, followed by tempura-battered belly pork and my absolute favourite fish stew which has reappeared on the menu at our local…serenity restored!

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Today, I wanted to share some recent purchases from Urban Outfitters home section. I am getting slightly obsessed with interiors at the moment and I love the way a statement rug can absolutely change a room.

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The first, biggest and most expensive one I bought was my gorgeous green and cream chevron print rug, which is taking pride of place in my newly decorated conservatory. I love this modern print yet with it only having two colours, it isn’t too loud or in-your-face.

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My next two rugs are slightly smaller and haven’t found a permanent place in my home but it’s only a matter of time before I find one for them.

First up, continuing my love of chevron prints is this pink and cream version. This pink is actually much brighter than it appeared on the website but neons are on trend at the moment and against a simple carpet or floor, I think it will work.

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Finally, a fun spotty option:

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I love the colour combinations on this rug.

All three rugs are quick thick and feel sturdy which bodes well for their lasting power.

I bought these in the Urban Outfitters sale, which I find great for picking up some bargains – I think all three rugs cost about £40 which is amazing when you see how much some larger rugs sell for.

Recipe – Peach Colada Cocktail

It has been a busy Monday here today but then again I think Mondays are all about getting stuff done! It was my first day back at school and I have to say it was a shock to the system getting up at 6:30am again. A few large coffees helped and the fact that the children don’t start back until Wednesday so I can ease myself back in gently.

At home, we had the builders arrive today to re-roof our utility room and do a bit of cosmetic work to the walls. Foolishly I spent last night cleaning the kitchen, including mopping the floor, which turned out to be a massive waste of time as there is now dust EVERYWHERE! I don’t like this messy stage of DIY but as soon as it is done, Ian and I can get on with the fun part of painting and adding the finishing touches to another room and tick it off the to-do list.

I feel like I have lost my DIY mojo recently but two of my friends have just bought ‘project’ houses and listening to them talk about all the things they want to do has given me a boost to get back into it so watch this space for some ‘before and afters’!

Today’s recipe is a little bit different as it is for a cocktail…why not on a Monday night?!

colada2 I had a fruit bowl full of ripe peaches and coconut milk left over from making some chicken satay and decided to have a play around and add some booze to the mix. I have called this a ‘Peach Colada’ as it reminds me of a Pina Colada except with the pineapple substituted for peach. To create this fruity, creamy cocktail for two people you simply need: colada4 colada6

  • 1 peach, de-stoned, skinned and chopped into chunks
  • Half a tin of coconut milk
  • 1 fresh lime
  • A good shot of rum – I used Captain Morgan Spiced Rum but you could use white rum too
  • Ice cubes

colada7 Simply pop the peach and coconut milk in a blender and whizz it up until it is smooth. Add the rum, squeeze in the lime, have a taste and if it tastes good (it will!) then serve over ice with lime wedges.

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A tropical cocktail to savour the end of the summer! xxx colada16