Sunday round-up #10

Girl in Brogues / Sunday round-up #10

1. This week marked the end of 6 months working in General Paediatrics; tomorrow I’ll be starting a new job in Neonatology. I’m slightly terrified of the prospect of looking after tiny little babies, but equally excited too! I always love a new challenge.

2. We had a staff party on Friday evening as most of the doctors are going off in different directions to different hospitals. We had a pretty subdued affair at our local Italian as some of us were working early the next day! I discovered pasta alla siciliana, which is a tomato sauce pasta with aubergine – ah-mazzzinnngg! I need to experiment more with my pasta sauces.

3. Harpall and I discovered a new series by Judd Apatow on Netflix called Love – a sort of dark comedy about an unexpected romance between a sweet, nerdy guy and a brash girl with an addictive personality. I like it because like Master of None, it’s pretty spot on about modern dating and far more relevant. I would requote my favourite lines… but they’re pretty rude and I don’t want a telling off! Check it out for yourself!

4. I went to visit some peeps in Reading this weekend and got to relive my old Reading days when I lived there a few years ago. I don’t care what people say about the place, I love it. I love the dodgy road system, the drunk guy raving in the town centre, the riverside. Also, they’ve opened some fab food joints since I’ve been away – we had Asian fusion food and cocktails in Coconut Bar & Kitchen and student-type hot dogs and mac and cheese in the funky Pavlov’s Dog.

What my mum taught me

Girl in Brogues / Mother's Day

Girl in Brogues / Mother's Day

My mum is somewhat a celebrity in my group of friends for being one of a kind. She’s headstrong, makes outrageously funny comments and a tiger mum. When Debenhams asked me to collaborate with them for Mother’s Day on the life lessons she taught me, I was more than happy to oblige. I chose a selection of gifts for my mum, which I’ll be sending off as a little care package across the world to her. For my mum, I chose a beautiful Land’s End scarf, Kiehls Creme de Corps moisturiser, a mug which states the truth (haha!) and some relaxing Aveda tea (if you want to check out Debenhams’ picks, visit here!). My mum’s the sort of person who doesn’t like making any spectacle of her birthday or Mother’s Day – but you know what mum, you have to have these gifts because you deserve it!

Girl in Brogues / Mother's Day

What my mum taught me

1. Push yourself. When growing up, my tiger mum was a teeny bit of a taskmaster. She would expect good grades, but also made sure we went to music and dance classes. I used to complain so much (I hated violin lessons), but looking back, I’m so grateful she enabled me to develop myself in so many ways

2. Age is but a number. In her 50s, my mum did hot yoga and climbed Mount Kinabalu. She started to train in a creative arts studio and began to sell her own products. She never saw getting older as a reason to slow down; if anything, she sped up! I bet even decades from now, my mum will still be kicking ass in some way or form.

3. Nothing gets in the way of your passion. A few years ago, my mum was hit with quite a bad kidney disease which led to multiple hospital admissions. Despite being bed-bound, she continued to work on projects and desperately wanted to get back to the studio. I have still yet to meet a person who has as much passion and devotion as my mum does to her art.

Girl in Brogues / Mother's Day

** This post was written in collaboration with Debenhams; all products chosen by myself and opinions my own.

February ’16 playlist

Girl in Brogues / February '16 playlist

Photo credits (from L→R): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 67, 8, 9.

I always find the beginning of the year is quite sparse in terms of new music; the rush for Christmas releases is over, so the music industry only slowly cranks back into action mid-January.

This month, I’ve been listening to Alessia Cara (the hot new thing in pop, don’t you know?), the moody Morrissey-like sound of Savages and California dreaminess of Day Wave, who I saw live not too long ago. But I think my favourite song from the past few months has to be Aquilo, with their dreamy, sparkling one-off song Never Seen You Get So Low. I hear they’re working on a new album, so something to look out for!

Winchester photo diary

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

I love my bunch of pals from uni. I love that they love doing old people stuff with me, like going to National Trust sites, rifling through antique markets and sitting down for tea when we’re a bit puffed out from walking. Charlie took us to Winchester for a day visit a few weekends ago; a lovely little town with a lot of history.

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

Our first stop was the Winchester City Mill, a working mill near the centre of the town. We saw how flour was produced and looked out for otters, who occasionally make a surprise appearance via the mill (otter watch – what a wonderful concept).

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

After stopping for tea and cake near Winchester Cathedral, we headed towards The Great Hall,  a grand medieval hall with stained glass windows and home to the famous legend of King Arthur’s Round Table.

 

Girl in Brogues / Winchester

At the end of our afternoon, we strolled along the market stalls in Winchester city centre, which is a great place for looking at antiques, furniture and wares from independent artists.

Mestizo

Girl in Brogues / Mestizo

I have to give it to my friend Kim, she knows how to find a good restaurant. She spotted Mestizo, a restaurant offering authentic Mexican fare, from Instagram. Namely the taco tray that they offer above. But I’ll get on to that later.

Girl in Brogues / Mestizo

Sitting down, Mestizo has a very different vibe to Wahaca and Chiquitos; the setting is more slick, smart and formal. There’s no loud Mariachi music in the background and their waiters are dressed in black. So of course, I was expecting some very different food.

We started off with their classic nachos with refried beans, just because we felt we couldn’t have Mexican without a few nachos. I admit, with 50% of my university diet stemming from our student bar’s greasy nachos, I wanted more cheese and more salsa; but that’s a poor reflection of me rather than Mestizo.

Their smoothies are very good. I ordered the Acapulco twice, a mixture of mango, strawberry and orange in a sugar-rimmed glass. The queso fritos were pretty nice too, in a pool of salsa, but cheese sticks are inevitably always awesome.

Naturally, I liked some parts of the Antojitos platter better. The jaladas (stuffed jalapeno chillis), flautas (rolled tortillas filled with chicken) and empanadas were pretty great with the salsa, but I wasn’t sure I was into the tamales. I think it’s more of the novelty of steamed corn maize; I’m not used to my food being slightly more plain.

Finally, we ended with the taco tray; a huge selection of fillings for our corn and plain tortillas. You can pick four essentially meat or veg fillings to go with all the sauces and salad. I think we picked pretty well – the marinated lamb and cactus fillings were delicious, with two big thumbs up to the Arrachera (beef marinated in beer). My taste buds were a little confused by the chocolate-infused pollo con mole, but hey, I was discovering my visit to this restaurant was blowing all my preconceptions of how broad Mexican cuisine can be.

Girl in Brogues / Mestizo

We’re all smiling in this picture (because the food was super yum), but also busting a gut. We definitely over-ordered on the starters (and we even knew this whilst we were ordering!), so we unfortunately didn’t fully appreciate the glory of the taco tray. But hey, I’d visit again and give the taco tray another go; just probably on an empty stomach.

Mestizo
103 Hampstead Road
London
NW1 3EL
http://london.mestizomx.com

How to be a Woman

Girl in Brogues / How to be a Woman

“It’s difficult to see the glass ceiling because it’s made of glass. Virtually invisible. What we need is for more birds to fly above it and shit all over it, so we can see it properly.”

Caitlin Moran is like the outspoken, belly-aching funny friend I wish I had known all the way through puberty and my early 20s. Having spent most of these years feeling somewhat like an oddball, I imagine Moran would’ve made me feel relatively normal. And I don’t mean by comparison, but rather she would’ve validated my confused thoughts on what it is to be female.

Her book is a chronological memoir of milestones in her life, all the way from being 13 to 35 years old. She writes chapters on ‘I Become Furry!‘, ‘I Am In Love!‘ and ‘I Encounter Sexism!‘ and through this makes some hilarious and astute observations on feminism and the human race in general.

Even before I really knew what a feminist was, I had all the ideas of a feminist. So when I encounter negative comments about being a feminist, it inevitably leads to crushing disappointment. It isn’t about ball-crushing ‘down with the men‘; it’s about us girls having a fair share of the pie. As Moran says, it’s about being one of The Guys – and as much as this simplifies a fairly complex movement, it’s a notion I very much agree with.

This is not the book to delve into a socio-political commentary on modern feminism; it’s more of a giggle a minute book with Moran’s sometimes controversial views thrown in. To illustrate my point, there’s a few good pages where she discusses names for the vagina (the list is quite extensive), then she later on delves into topics of abortion and pornography. In any case, whether you’re a guy or girl, closet feminist or out and proud, this book is a good starting point to challenge your views on what it is to be a woman.

PS. I call them va-jay-jays.

Sunday round-up #9

Girl in Brogues / Sunday round-up #9

1. Harpall and I went to see Gabrielle Aplin at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town on Monday. Dressed in an ethereal-looking gypsy sleeved white dress, she soothed us into swaying along to her songs from both her albums. Taking occasional sips from her mug of what I presumed was tea, it was like she was my musical spirit-animal, but with better hair. I particularly enjoyed her acoustic rendition of Space Oddity.

2. Harpall has been having wild coughing fits at home and along with that, has spread the virus on to me! So now we’re both withering on the sofa at home, runny nose, headaches and all. It was a shame, because I didn’t feel well enough to join the picket line at work on Tuesday for the Junior Doctors Strikes. Which brings me on to…

3. Our profession has been dealt a devastating blow this week – Jeremy Hunt has decided to impose a contract on Junior Doctors – meaning that we could be forced to accept a contract subjecting us to more hours and less pay. Of course, we’re not taking this lying down. If he thinks we would accept any contract that impacts our patients’ safety, he’s got another thing coming.

4. We’ve packed our rucksacks for our epic Vietnam adventure tomorrow! Harpall and I will be travelling from Ho Chi Minh City, exploring the Mekong Delta, relaxing in Hoi An and cruising around Halong Bay near Hanoi. Vietnam appealed to us because a) it’s cheap, b) a totally different culture, c) the food. I fear my trips to Pho will never be the same again.

I can’t wait to share my adventures in Vietnam and I’ve scheduled some posts in my absence. See you when I get back!

Peanut butter banana bread

Girl in Brogues / Peanut butter banana bread

Or rather, peanut butter banana bread with chocolate chips, but that’s not a snappy title.

I’ve decided this is my ultimate “cheer up, mate” cake. There is something for everyone in this cake. And if you don’t like peanut butter and banana together, I think that possibly there is something wrong with you.

I’m not saying that this is the perfect recipe, as there is still room to fiddle around with the proportions of peanut butter and flour in this cake, as long as it ends up as a remotely cake-y batter. I’ve tried a few versions, but this version from the comments section of an online recipe is possibly the best one that brings out the flavour of peanut butter.

Girl in Brogues / Peanut butter banana bread

Peanut butter banana bread

(as adapted from this recipe here)

Ingredients
115g butter
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas
170g peanut butter
260g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100-150g dark chocolate chips

Method
1. Pre-heat oven to 160ºC fan.
2. Beat together butter and caster sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs until incorporated.
3. Mix in sifted plain flour, peanut butter, bananas and baking powder. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Pour into loaf tin and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking every 20 minutes.

On the Balcony #2

Girl in Brogues / On the balcony #2

Girl in Brogues / On the balcony #2

Girl in Brogues / On the balcony #2

Girl in Brogues / On the balcony #2

Coat – Topshop / Top – Zara / Jeans – Topshop / Boots – Office

I owe a lot to this coat. It’s an effective blizzard-shield, it assists in my blending in with the East London crowd and it saved me a few pretty pennies when I bought it in the sale. I wear it everyday; to work, clubs, exhibitions and back. I have had countless people at house parties and the hospital try it on and in return, I have an incriminating photo of a topless male friend wearing it just to make him feel that little bit more sexy.

I head off to Vietnam in a few weeks and I’m told it’s the country to get some pretty zippy and affordable tailoring done. So of course, I’m thinking about investing in another winter coat there because, let’s face it, being on the slightly more petite size means I have to forgo some excellent coats as they make me look I have yet to hit puberty. But I don’t think that means this coat will be placed on the backbenches; far from it. I can see myself working this coat until I’m at least 52 years old. And you can’t stop me.

(Late) Sunday round-up #8

Girl in Brogues / Cheeseboard

1. This weekend we went to Bournemouth to stay with my flatmate’s family. We went out for Korean food, spent the evening trying to figure out how to play complicated board games and feasted on cheese. The cheese was so stinky, we actually thought that on the drive down someone was persistently farting in the car; that’s until we opened the boot and all olfactory hell broke loose! On our late Sunday afternoon, we had seafood by the beach and took a walk looking at the grey skies and sea, which surprisingly was pretty nice!

2. I had my 10 day stretch finish on Friday, which ultimately led to me being so exhausted by the end. What’s worse is that because we were short-staffed, I was having burn out and started having some disillusionment with my job. Thanks to my weekend break away, I feel better now and ready to go back to work!

3. I’m sure it’s not only the January blues, but along with the burn out I’ve been feeling particularly apathetic and lazy recently. My jeans all feel too tight, my eczema’s flaring up, I feel tired constantly etc. I think my life needs a bit of a shake-up. I’m going to start with introducing teeny bits of exercise and starting to treat myself a bit more. I’m so worried about money all the time that I always find excuses not to buy myself something (I know, weird). I think this is a future post that may be brewing.

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