Friday, August 30, 2013


For many years I was not a card person at all. I didn't see the point of giving something which probably wasn't going to be read and was probably going to be thrown away about two days later so I just didn't bother, yet I collected cards given to me and kept them for years. Then I figured out that what it is all probably about is giving someone a card which can't be thrown away too easily. One with a special or thoughtful message, or personalised. Better still, one which was handmade. So that's what I started doing - putting effort into cards, the words written and images chosen. I make most of the cards I give these days, either with a little animal illustration or some sort of magazine cut-out creation. When I am lacking inspiration I jump at the opportunity to hunt around on Pinterest (any excuse) but my favourite place for browsing is in Paperchase. The other day, I had some time to kill on Tottenham Court Road and spent a good half hour in the huge Paperchase shop there (it has lots of floors!!). I like looking in there for art supplies usually but this time was looking for inspiration for an anniversary card. In all our years together, I have never bought an anniversary card for Michael before because they are all so soppy and I don't like the idea of somebody else buying their boyfriend the same card as I have given mine - I realise that that sounds ridiculous and precious, but I like to use my own words and make it as personalised as possible. I'm probably not the most romantic person in the world and this, coupled with my hatred for commercialised events/holidays, mean that handmade is the only option. Paperchase, in all fairness, is the lesser of all card shop evils and I like the quirkiness and simplicity of a lot of their cards. Needless to say, I gave up on the anniversary card search and was instead distracted by the three cards pictured above. I LOVED the series I found these cards in! For some reason they all really tickled me but these were my favourites. 
Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Walking in London

London by night - beautiful, magical place of wonder.

I've also discovered that walking around the city, when only the commuters have come out to play, is much, much nicer than when the place is crowded with tourists. The rush away from public transport, however busy, seems organised and therefore much calmer. The other morning, bright and early, I went for an hour and a half walk from London Bridge to Euston Rd, sipping on a free latte shot, eating doorstep toast and chatting about everything and nothing. Much nicer than the 5pm rush I must say! 
Pin It Now!

Sunday roundup

Reading: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Watching: The Great British Bake Off, Don't Tell the Bride
Listening to: Arctic Monkeys, Kodaline, Ron Pope
Admiring: Bridget Christie winning a prize at the Edinburgh Fringe and accepting it in a "No More Page 3" t-shirt (I really want one of these!); the letter a small business, the Wandering Duck, responded to the Sun with; and this moonlight 

Laughing at: Aisling Bea
Playing: chase the kitten
Visiting: hospital
Eating: out every day as a result of visiting hospital every day - mostly at Wasabi :) but also this monster of a burger at Byron for a friend's birthday

This has been a fairly unusual week. I've been visiting Mikey in hospital every day since he had emergency surgery so not really had much time for anything else. Hospitals are funny places; they can make you feel safe and vulnerable all at the same time. This hospital is pretty amazing though - so modern and clean, with brilliant specialists and an excellent standard of care. Oh and this lovely view from the ward...can you spot St Paul's?

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Baking with Beeta: COOKING EDITION

At the end of a very lovely #lbloggers chat the other weekend, I had to dash off and help my mum prepare dinner - paella. Yum yum flipping yum. I had a request for the recipe so here I am duly sharing the love/yum with you :) When I was in Madrid, I tried paella for the first time and found the experience slightly intimidating as the prawns still had heads on, I'd never eaten mussels before and I couldn't figure out what anything else in the dish was! This version is a lot simpler but hopefully one day I will attempt proper paella too :) We based this attempt on The Guardian's recipe in their little "Cook" supplement on a Saturday. 

To make this (for 4 people)

You will need:

- 4 cups of paella rice
- 750ml chicken or vegetable stock (or fish for a particularly fishy dish)
- a red pepper or two (I used 1 and a half), chopped
- 200g prawns, cooked
- 200g chorizo (we had garlic and paprika flavour), chopped
- white fish, chopped (if you fancy it)
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- a few sprigs of parsley
- the juice of one little lemon

1. Using a relatively shallow pan (a wok may also work) and a dash of oil, cook the onion, peppers and garlic.
2. Add the chopped chorizo chunks to the pan and leave until the red juice oozes out. 
3. Add the rice and mix everything through. We were slightly ill-prepared and didn't actually use paella rice...being Iranian we have a never ending stash of Basmati so we used this this time. If you want to do the same, I suggest cooking the rice separately for a bit before finishing it off with everything else.
4. Add the stock (and the fish pieces if desired), leave to simmer and cover it up for 15 minutes.
5. Add the prawns and after a few minutes, stir through the lemon juice. You should aim for the majority of the stock to have been soaked up before you're done.
6. Throw on the parsley and voilá! 

What's your favourite bit of paella? I can't resist the chorizo!

PS. I didn't actually burn any of this :)
Pin It Now!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Adopting a kitten

Last week we adopted a kitten from a local animal shelter. The volunteers there looked after the animals so well - what a cool job! They had ducks, birds, dogs, cats and an old rabbit, but we were there to look at kittens specifically. It was all very easy - we rang up to make an appointment in advance and then spent some time getting to know the cats so we could figure out which one to take home with us.


Look how cute all these little babies are! How on earth were we meant to choose between them all?!

We had to think about it overnight and still when we returned the next day, we were debating between three different ones. They were put to the cuddle test and then another little one got involved. The decision became to be between FOUR! Which one would you have picked? They were very different in personality and each had their own loveable traits. It felt awful having to just choose one to take home - we wanted to take them all!!

The animals had all been rescued or handed into the shelter to be looked after and they are really cared for very well. They all seemed happy which was lovely to see because most of them had been through hardship. We ended up choosing this little kitten.....

Say hi to Cosmo!

He is a playful little thing with a mischief in his bones and the cutest zig zag markings. He even has a little black heart on his chest. His favourite thing at the moment is hiding under my bed/tables/the sofa, getting confused at his reflection when he passes by the piano and trying to grab my Glastonbury wristband or necklace. 

It is lovely how much life this little addition has injected into our household. Thanks and welcome, Cosmo :) We promise to look after you always :)

Pin It Now!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday roundup

Recently, I have been...
Eating: homemade profiteroles courtesy of my clever little sister
Drinking: green tea with peach and cherry blossom, homemade mojitos
Listening to: The Undercover Hippy's EP, Arctic Monkeys' Glastonbury set
Doing: swimming and exercise classes
Cooking: paella (recipe coming soon)
Watching: "The Beach" (one of those that I'm pleased I read the book of before the film)
Visiting: friends, the National Portrait Gallery (my favourite gallery), Nonsuch Park and the butterfly house at the Natural History Museum
Making: a fire (as above) and a birthday card
Buying: books from charity shops
Reading: "Status Anxiety" by Alain de Botton - an interesting take on why society is so concerned with hierarchy, judgement and worth
Playing: with the kitten!

Any recommendations for next week?
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Today two things happened. I did something that scares me, and I realised something that worries me. Both made me feel silly. I'll tackle them in reverse order because I'm feeling contrary. 

Worry: Sometimes, particularly in instances where I'm trying to convey how amazing something is or explain something that I really care about, the thoughts in my head won't translate as aptly as they should when I speak. It's like the thoughts aren't linked to actual words and instead take the shape of squiggles, patterns and an overwhelming sense of emotion which eats up my words. It makes me feel so silly and like I am not fluent in my own language, which is scary really. I was trying to explain how good a book I was recently reading is to my friend today and I just could not sell it as well as I wanted to be able to. I must admit that I find writing a lot easier than talking a lot of the time. Is that why people text lots instead of call? My thoughts are a lot more fluid when I try and get them out on paper. It's like I spend so long thinking about them in my own head that they don't really belong outside of my head and just live there. Does this happen to anybody else?

Scary thing: I went to a Zumba class. Now if you don't know me in person, you need to be aware that I am somewhat lacking in grace when it comes to movement beyond walking, particularly now much more than before, so why I thought this was a good idea is beyond me. I have tripped over air before. I hate dancing in general, even after a few cocktails, so doing this in front of OTHER PEOPLE, COMPLETELY SOBER and IN FRONT OF A MIRROR was hideous!! I couldn't coordinate my legs very well at all for all the fancy footwork and felt so silly next to the other girls in the class who were definitely regulars! The girl who took the class was amazing and I felt embarrassed that she probably wasn't dissimilar in age to me yet could move brilliantly! I don't really believe in wishing you were somebody else because nobody's life is perfect and you should embrace your own etc etc, but for those 45 minutes in that class, I felt like I NEEDED to be this girl! All hope of moving half as well as she does was abandoned every time I caught sight of myself in the mirror however. Blahhh. One thing that was amazing about the class though which kind of makes up for it being so embarrassing is the fact that I smiled and laughed the whole way through it and for that reason, I would 100% recommend it to every single one of you. It is literally hilarious and a wonderful way to get fit. And nobody is really looking at you at all, however silly you look, so I think I might go back :)

P.S. Kitten photos coming soon! Watch this space... :)

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Today we are getting a kitten!

WE HAVE BEEN WAITING OUR WHOLE LIVES FOR THIS!!! I will update you all of course with photos galore once the little kitten is happy and settled in our home. For now, I will tell you the story of another little kitty.

This little cat was waiting for me on the middle of my road last week as I left my house. I crouched down to say hello and he/she jumped up onto my legs to reciprocate. We chatted about how I was going to be late for my date if I were to sit and play all evening but I didn't want to say bye so I told her to wait for me til I returned. Turns out there was a little miscommunication and as I stroked her back to say "see you later", she decided to follow me the whole way down the road. Now, main roads are no place for little kits like this one and I couldn't have her follow me the whole way to the village - that's a 30 minute walk! I tried to explain that it would be much safer for her to just relax in the summer evening wonderful sunshine but she was having none of it! I rang my sister for cat advice (she's good at meowing) and asked if she would get involved in a little trick - not mean and definitely necessary! I turned around and walked back towards my house, up the hill, with the little kitter cat prancing up the hill by my side. Enchanted by her friendliness, I couldn't just leave her so I got my sister to come outside and distract her/pretend to be me, so that I could make a quick yet subtle getaway. It worked! But my family had to entertain her for a couple of hours before she was happy to leave. 

Pin It Now!