Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My birthday week

Hi Anna!

Happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend :) I know I did thanks to you! I should really say happy Tuesday because this blog was typed in two parts. Halfway through I ended up going for drinks in the local pub with my housemate and that went on for 6 hours because of the unexpected sunshine.

(Started typing on Sunday) As I'm typing this I'm eating the most delicious made ever by yours truly for lunch! Before I go into that in detail, let me tell you how I celebrated my second birthday in London!

So on Tuesday, it was pretty much a normal morning. I went to the gym and I was a little sad that the first person to wish me happy birthday in person was the gym receptionist. It must've come up on the screen and I was a little embarassed that I was at the gym on my birthday. I felt like I had no life! He even asked if I was planning to do anything and told him the truth that I just wanted it to be a normal day. Nothing monumental about turning 27. It was rather exciting to check my facebook and feel the love from friends and that really made me smile, especially messages from people I haven't spoken to in a while. I felt enveloped in warm air and a spray of wildflowers!

Benny insisted I had to do something even if it's small so I last minutely organised drinks at a local pub that I always walk past when I go to the gym. It was a nice quiet night with Shaz, Lauren and Benny. It was quite special that Shaz and Lauren also celebrated my birthday last year with a picnic on Hampstead Heath. I think one of the best part of the day was picking out the cake! I am such a kid. I saw the Hungry Caterpillar one and I thought YES! But then I saw the Gruffalo one and I spent about 15 minutes deciding getting in the way of mums selecting cakes for their children. I think only a teacher/parent/child would know who the Gruffalo is and can appreciate a Gruffalo cake! Funny how Lauren thought it was from The Wild Things. That is one book I don't like. We had the cake back at my place and to tell you the truth it wasn't the greatest tasting cake because there was just too much icing (which was unavoidable if you wanted some character loaded up on it). We had a few more drinks and then at about 2am I was ready to be in bed.

Or this?

Very happy indeed!

On Wednesday it was predicted to be partially sunny for half the day and of late there has not been any decent sunshine at all so I knew I had to get out and soak whatever sun was poking through the clouds. I am so glad that my next birthday will not be in London... all that grey is depressing. I was going to go to Richmond Park as I've never been before and I wanted to see the wild deers, but I decided to go to Hampstead because I didn't want to make the long journey there to be rained on. Good decision because it did rain later on the afternoon! It was really nice sitting on a bench reading and people watching. I love Hampstead Heath! I am going to officially announce that it is my most FAVOURITE place in London! I have so many fond memories here and it's one place in the middle of all the hustle and bustle that feels like I'm in the English countryside. Now I'm wondering maybe I have declared numerously how much I love it there.

On Friday I decided to make roast chicken. I don't know where this desire came from. One free range corn fed chicken, bunch of thyme, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper and an hour in the oven later, my chicken was done! It was my first roast chicken ever and according to Benny it was good but he did keep pestering me to watch Heston and pick up some pointers.  Good thing I invited him over to help eat the chicken otherwise it will be chicken salad, chicken soup, chicken sandwich, chicken-whatever- you-like for the rest of the week.
First time roasting chicken
Brothers are great for taking photos. This is how I transfer the chicken from tray to board- by the two back legs!

This brings me to my awesome pizza. I made it using the leftover chicken. A M A Z I N G! I know it was because I made my housemate taste one and he ended up getting a second piece! I used olive oil, salt, plain yoghurt and self raising flour for the base (google yoghurt base if interested!) and this time, instead of assembling it all together and into the oven, I roasted capsicums, mushrooms, leftover chicken, olives, and tossed all together with olive oil, oregano and capers. When everything was cooked, I added the red onion slices and mixed it all up then piled it on the pizza base. From now on, I am going to roast everything in the oven first. It gathers so much flavour that way. Not very traditional but I love my pizzas loaded with vegies and it's the best way to cook them without them dampening the pizza base.

You can barely see the base! haha!

I can't wait for my parents to come back from their tour so I can cook. I think it's time someone paid me to cook dinner for them. I could be a live out chef, but they have to expect some meals to not taste that great because I'm not that great. It will be wholesome, healthy and low in fat though :)

Saturday was turning 27 part 2! Very exciting stuff! In the morning I went to the post office to pick up my parcel! YAY!!! It was presents from you! I loved how you wrapped it with butcher's paper. I love the rustic simplistic look of it. When I saw the earrings I knew I had to incorporate them with my outfit to high tea later on the afternoon.The necklace watch is too cool of an idea!! I've never seen one like it and I love how unusual it looks and it makes me feel like an explorer from centuries ago! I love the meaning of the gifts it's hard to decide which one is my favourite!!! I love them all!!!

I don't know how I managed this facial expression. It's my quizzical look and it makes me laugh. Terrible! All this time I wanted to rip open and find out what's inside!
I can't rotate some of my pics :( WOHOOOO three in one! I just wanted to tear the paper open straight away.. but no.. photos first.

LOVE LOVE Had to use them straight awayyy!! I made a bit of a mess and got my hands covered in ink :/ Friends beware- you will be receiving handmade cards, wrapping paper etc. covered in these stamps. Stamp crazy!

Time + traveller :) I love the symbolism of this little piece of jewelry. I feel like I need a monocle and a telescope too! I haven't figured out the chain yet :(

In the rush of opening your presents, I realised I did not take a photo of the earrings because I put them on my lobes straight away! Maybe you can spot them in the photos to come.

Lauren and I have been trying to do new things in London and we both thought that having afternoon tea and dressing up would be a lovely experience. I had google and booked at The Lanesborough Hotel for 4pm the night before and was happy that there were places available for us on Saturday.

It was my third high tea experience. The first two times were in Perth, I remember going to one in Cottosloe with you Anna, and then another time by the Swan River with HW. That was age ago and I forgot how fun it was to be all dainty, drink tea and marvel at the tiny portions of carefully presented delights! I also forgot how full you get too! It was fantastic because they also offered you refill of whatever you like. Looking at the photos you might think we needed round two, but the sandwiches and savouries really filled us up. We also decided to go all out and have champers too, shame that was not free flow! It was such a splendid afternoon tea and the service and setting was impeccable. There were only waiters it seems that you have to be good looking to work there.
Scones and sweets hmm... I'm getting into this layer of lemon, berry cheese mousse with crumbled cheesecake base and diced crunchy rhubarb. YUM!
With my lovely Lauren. Just noticed that Lauren has a little quiche on her plate! Aw you can't really see your earrings here but they were perfect for the simple elegant sweet look I was going for. The savouries were at the bottom and I liked them more than the sweets. The top layer of sweets had too many flavours and textures going at once and it was almost a bit distracting because I was too busy looking at them and trying to get them without sticking the whole thing in my mouth. Definitely preferred the red velvet cake in the middle tier though.
I tried all three but loved the plain scone the best!
Other afternoon-tea-ers

Feeling tiny next to this oversized bouquet in the reception hall

At about 7pm we walked to Piccadilly Circus to sip on half price cocktails in Jewel Bar. It was a really lavish sultry decorated bar think chandeliers, candles, drapery etc, with lots of very good looking women! In some bars, people are so well dressed and trendy it's good fun to people watch.

Their waitresses wear shiny gold sequin dresses
I haven't been around the area at night and it was so lovely to see it lit up. I have to admit I have a soft spot for London when the lights come on at night. Although it was raining, it was fun to take photos and we even ended the night in an Irish bar  but at around 1130pn we called it a night and randomly went inside a souvenir shop making a note of things we wanted to buy to commemorate our stay in London then we split ways to head home.
This brolly fits inside my clutch. One thing about London is you always have to carry and umbrella and wear patent shoes.

There you go Anna... that was my birthday week :) Thank you and to all my lovely friends for your thoughts and warm wishes XXXX

I will finish here with a photo of the culprit that stole my planned afternoon away from blogging. 
Strawberry & lime goodness

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