Tuesday, 28 June 2011

pancake sundays...

I love getting up early(ish) on a Sunday and making my flatmates pancakes. Not only is it quick, easy and takes minimal effort to get lots of yummy pancakes, I like to treat my hardworking friends. Also, I think they are a great hangover cure as they soak up all the badness from the night before (NB:this has not been clinically tested!). I always follow my mum's age-old recipe but this time substituted normal milk for soya as one of my friends who was eating with us is lactose intolerant:

Ingredients (to make about 15 medium sized pancakes):

220g/8oz plain flour (sifted)
pinch of salt
4 medium eggs
400ml/14fl oz milk mixed with 150ml/6fl oz water

A drop of vegetable/sunflower oil:
I use this when heating the pan to make it non-stick. I only do this for the first pancake and as long as you have a non-stick pan all the other pancakes can do without any extra oil.

Preparation (5-10 mins)

  • Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve. Make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Whisk the eggs and incorporate the flour from the edge into it.
  • Then, gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  • Pour a little sunflower/vegetable oil into the pan and leave it to heat for a few minutes.
  • Turn the heat down to a medium fire and place a ladle full of mixture into the pan and make sure the bottom is covered evenly.
  • Leave to cook for a few minutes until the bottom is slightly crispy.
  • Flip with a fish slice and cook for another minute or so on the other side.
  • Serve with lemon juice, sugar, jam, fruit, syrup or honey. You can also make savoury pancakes with cheese and ham for those without a sweet tooth. Roll the pancake and serve on a plate. Voila, Bon Appetit!

I hope that you have fun making these! Let me know how it goes!
Hasta pronto!
Em x

Saturday, 25 June 2011

l'auberge espagnole...

I must admit that I am a big fan of foreign films and in particular French and Spanish cinema. This film is not a new release, in fact, it's nearly 10 years old. However, I think the themes and messages within the film are just as relevant and appealing all these years later and so I wanted to share it with you. I first discovered L'Auberge Espagnole (translated into English as: Pot Luck) when I was about to embark on my year abroad in Barcelona. At the time a friend told me that I couldn't possibly move abroad without first watching this film. The only thing I knew before I ordered it on Amazon was that it was a French language film starring Audrey Tatou who I loved in Amelie. I also knew that it was about a group of Erasmus students in Barcelona (exactly the situation I was about the enter).

So, after sitting down and watching the film for the first time I found myself pondering a lot of questions by the start of the closing credits. Firstly I wondered whether this was what my year abroad was going to be like. Was I going to end up like the protagonist Xavier (tortured by a feeling of hopelessness when I returned back to the UK)? Were all the Erasmus students I would encounter going to be that care free? (actually I didn't doubt this). 

L'Auberge Espagnole is a comedy. There are many characters who make you laugh hysterically for example, William, the cringe inducing but endearing English stereotype of the film. It is also a film that doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't set out to be nominated for an Oscar and it doesn't feature a cast of particularly big names. However, it does deal with some deeper issues that are at first hidden under the comic situations the new friends encounter. These include the troubles found in long distant relationships and the feeling of disillusion that seems to affect all young adults at one time or another. In the film disillusion overshadows their education, career path and future life and helps you to realise this it is ok to feel like this. 

Pot Luck is a film that helped me to gain a good understanding of what moving from one country to another is like. Plus, I enjoyed spotting all the locations in Barcelona that I remember! I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who wants to watch something a little bit different and funny or if you are thinking of moving abroad for some time. There are definitely some do's and don'ts in this film, but I'll let you figure those out for yourself.

Hasta pronto!

EJ x

polka dots...

So if you're like me and love polka dots then I'm sure you'll like these vintage inspired nails which are perfect for Summer now that it's actually sandal weather. This design works well with any two colours as long as they are very different shades (a dark for the base and light for the dots works best). I used Eyeko vintage polish for 'elegant nails' and a cheap white colour from a French Manicure set I've literally had for years. If you've not heard of Eyeko they are a really cool internet brand that sells lots of reasonably priced and good quality make-up. Eyeko means 'love' in Japanese and the company defines itself as "part Brit girl, part Tokyo cutie" and the packaging reflects this. You have to also try their lip pens which come in 3 different classic shades and are extremely long lasting. Ok so here's how to get the polka dot effect nails:

Step 1 - Paint your nails all over with your base colour and make sure to do 2 coats and to let both dry properly before moving on.

Step 2 - Get an old grip/bobby pin and dip the end in your dot colour. Make sure it is covered with enough polish but not too much otherwise it is prone to dripping and making a splodge instead of a dot. Now I know there are tools on the market especially for this job but personally I think it is a little wasteful to spend money on this when a pin does the job just as well!

Step 3 - Randomly dot the light colour on the nail. Make sure they are not too close together so you get a nice even effect.

Step 4 - Continue with all nails and wait to dry. I don't usually put a top coat on and it lasts a good few days before chipping. Hey presto - polka dot nails!

I hope you like these vintage nails!

Hasta pronto!

EJ x

joe & the juice...

OK! So I can't keep it in any longer. I have to share with you one of my new favourite places to go for a catch up with friends on the weekend. I can't take credit for having discovered this place first hand as it was recommended by a friend, but it really is a cool and different take on the average coffee places I know that I'm fed up with. The big cafe chains (Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Costa etc) are all very similar and you can sometimes feel as if you are just another big sugar-free vanilla skinny latte (my drink of choice) on their conveyor belt of mass produced and bland coffee. Joe & The Juice on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air in the cafe world. 

Situated right next to Oxford Circus Tube Station (281 Regents Street) Joe & The Juice is a Danish company with two locations in central London (the other on Broadwick Street). What I like about this place is as well as serving coffee (the Joe in Joe & The Juice if you will) it also does the most amazing fresh juices you could imagine. With a menu of around 15 different combo juices (try the Hangover Heaven with freshly squeezed orange, elderflower and mint - bliss!) they make the drink up then and there for you. Drinks come in two sizes and I recommend the bigger size as it's better value for money at around £4.50 compared with £3.85. Also try their special ginger shot for a welcome kick if you need an energy boost without the caffein. 

You can then enjoy your coffee or juice in a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere. With cool music and comfy sofas to lounge on, this is a place where you can spend hours chatting away without anyone batting an eyelid. Service is friendly and all the baristas/juicers are (dare I say it) rather easy on the eye! For such a central location I'd say everything is reasonably priced so it's well worth a visit on a weekend afternoon. I know I will be returning ASAP!

Hasta pronto!

EJ x

P.S Thanks for the pictures Tom!

Friday, 24 June 2011

viva españa...

Summer plans are in the bag!  So having studied Spanish at university and because I have a few weeks off over the Summer I am able to go travelling around old España. I'm doing 2 main trips as I have quite a busy Summer (it's wedding central this year!).

The first stop on my journey is Barcelona, my second home where I will be staying for a week. I describe it as my second home because I lived there for 9 months during the year abroad part of my degree. I really love BCN, or Barna as we dubbed it. Not only do you have all the benefits of being in Spain, namely: the culture, language, everything is pretty much cheaper and you have sun practically all year round, but also there are beaches and the nightlife is amazing. One of my best friends from my time there is coming with me for a reunion with some of the other people we met whilst out in Spain. This not only means free accommodation (yippie!) but also a chance for us to re-visit our old haunts. I haven't been back to Barcelona since leaving 3 years ago and am so excited to get that funny feeling back in my tummy and reminisce about all great times we had there.

Then after a brief spell in Blighty I'm back off to Spain in August but this time all by myself as I'm travelling solo around Andalucia which I have never visited before. I know that I will probably die from heatstroke as it averages 40 degrees in the South during the Summer months but this fact is not in the least destroying any smidgen of my excitement. After 5 days in Seville I am doing a whistle-stop tour by bus or train (I haven't yet decided) to Granada, Cordoba and concluding my 15 days in Malaga. I have to say as well as being thrilled about the prospect of visiting so many interesting places and soaking up lots of culture as well as Spanish speaking practice, I must confess I am a bit nervous about it all. I haven't ever really travelled by myself and although I moved to Spain by myself some years ago I hope that there are lots of lovely friendly people staying in the same hostels as me to have some good comprany on my travels!

So.... time for a new Summer wardrobe and I need to remember - no carbs before marbs! 

Hasta pronto!

EJ x

new beginnings...

I can't believe that this is the first post in my new blog! I have been thinking about setting this blog up for about... three years now but every time I thought about entering into the world of blogging I didn't have a clue where to start. I think this feeling of confusion stemmed from the fact that whilst at university I was writing an essay a week and at the time the idea of writing for pleasure was not up there on my list of priorities. However, after a year of working "in the real world" I feel as though now is the right time! 

I'm not a blogger "noob" however. I have enjoyed reading both my friends' blogs and those of random writers for a long time. I love being able to search around and discovering somebody who is passionate about their opinions and sharing their views with strangers. I think this is one reason why I am fascinated by the concept of blogging. It is a great vehicle for self-expression whether the people are intending to write for the masses or whether it serves as a medium for self-catharsis. 

When trying to decide what genre to classify my blog I didn't want to solely be a fashion-come-recipe-come-review-come-travel (you catch my drift) blog. I would rather write about a melange of topics to reflect the things that fill my life. I am a twenty-something living and working in central London and it can be in a word: hectic. But, I do love everything about it and think it's about time I properly reflect on it. 

I hope that you enjoy reading my blog, please comment and leave your messages!

Hasta pronto!


P.S. If you're wondering about the title of the blog, it comes from one of my favourite songs of all time Blue Light by Bloc Party.