Ah Spain.... It seems like this was ages ago when in fact it was only 2 weeks ago! That's work for ya!
My parents have a house in Calpe (Costa Blanca) and we go whenever we get a chance. It's a really beautiful part of Spain. The only downfall is the flight over. We fly into Alicante which is only about 30 minutes from Benidorm. Need I say more.....
We spent a week in Calpe doing a whole lot of nothing and it was lovely :)
It wasn't quite sun-lounging weather, but the weather was a bit better than the week of rain that was predicted.
One of the best things about Europe is the culture of weekly markets and Spain is no different. I checked out this one on my last day in Calpe and was amazed by the fantastic deals you could get on such fresh produce. Don't even get me started on Spanish tomatoes. My mouth is beginning to water just thinking of their yumminess!
I'm really excited because next week I am going to New Orleans for work and although I didn't live too far away when I grew up in Florida, I have never been!
Ok, so the last post I made was a Friday Grooves post, meaning I haven't posted anything in between for a week. (Not going to guilt trip myself, not going to guilt trip myself.....)
I did have a lovely time last week in Spain and it almost seems like ages ago now with the week I have had at work. Not all stress though as there have been some good events this week! I am up to Manchester this weekend and off to New Orleans next weekend :)
In the meantime, here is a new track from Chairlift. Don't ask me to pronounce it because it has way too many syllables, but at least you have the lyrics to follow along in the video :)!
Thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog....whoever you are!
For the second installation of Friday Grooves
I bring you the essence of chill. The song is called The Only Moment We Were Alone
by an instrumental group in Texas called Explosions in the sky
. This tune will just make you want take a road trip anywhere, hang your head out the window, shut your eyes (if you're not driving, obviously) and let the wind blow through your hair. Ok, so maybe I have been influenced by the video. Either way, I'm in!
There are no lyrics, just a 10 minute instrumental masterpiece with a great build up around the 05:30 mark.
It will be a quiet one this week. I am in Spain on a much needed break with my husband and parents. We are in a place called Calpe on the Costa Blanca. It´s such a great holiday location and I am very lucky to have parents who live here!
This week won´t be filled with much sun bathing unfortunately as the weather isn´t looking so hot (haha, no pun intended). It will be filled with a lot of reading, sampling of Spanish wine ;) and relaxing!
I've decided to keep the musical element to my blog as I am constantly on the hunt for new tunes. Also, it helps to start creating a bit of consistency (and a bit of discipline for me!). I hope you like some of the finds. You'll see that I like a whole assortment of music (no consistency there really....) from indie rock to chilled out trance to super teeny pop music.
My first pick in this series is a band called Delta Spirit
who are from San Diego and has been around for a bit, but as most things, I have just discovered them :) The song is titled California
and the first line states 'I want you to move to California....'. Yes please!! It's super chilled out and it's my pick for the week :)
So if I can notice a pattern everywhere, the trend must have already passed! Is it me or do you not see chevrons everywhere from pillow cushions to coffee mugs! It's such a simple design, but it really makes a statement, especially in bright colours. Here is a small selection of the many chevrons which are probably from 2 seasons ago ;)
Beklina via juliasroomfordessert.blogspot.co.uk
Wouldn't these totes make the perfect summer beach accessory? I'm a big fan of the turquoise one!
Chevron pillow from HoneyPieDesign on Etsy
Dress from Piperlime.com
Urban Outfitters Duvet
I know the stripes are white and not black, but it is still screaming Charlie Brown to me. Either way, it's bright and beautiful! I have never really been a fan of urban outfitters for their clothes, but I have been seeing a lot of lovely bedding from there lately.
Chevron Blankets from Horchow.com
Not only do these blankets look uber comfy (I am thinking perfect for a future transatlantic flight...), but I have also discovered Horchow
which is so classy and chic! Looking forward to drooling over that site a bit more.
This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous! I spent as much time outdoors as possible to take advantage of the beautiful sunshine. We hosted some friends for a BBQ and my husband cooked up some scrumptious dishes.
If you are ever looking for a perfect go-to dish for a bbq or perhaps you just want a good summer dish, you must try Jamie Oliver
's Moroccan chicken kebabs with avoacado dip. It is so delicious! This is from the latest book in the Jamie Does... series
. I found this recipe via The Independent
however, so here it is. Try it out!Morocco: Chicken kebabs with avocado dip4 boneless chicken breasts (approximately 125g each), preferably free-range or organic, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 Arab-style breads or flatbreads
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve
For the marinade
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsps olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the avocado dip
2 ripe avocados
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
1 fresh green or red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Nothing could be simpler to knock up than these chicken skewers. Again, you've got wonderful warm flatbreads as the carrier for hot, delicious meat cooked simply on a barbecue. Although the fresh avocado dip here isn't typically Moroccan, the smooth and silky texture spiked with chilli really complements the sizzling chicken kebabs.
I've used chicken breasts here because they're quicker to cook and people seem to buy them more often, but if I were making these at home I'd probably go for skinless, boneless chicken thighs and cook them on a slightly lower heat for five or 10 minutes more.
The breasts will be delicious, but if you have the inclination to spend a bit more time and effort, the thigh meat will reward you by being slightly stickier and more melt-in-the-mouth. You'll get amazing results if you marinate these overnight before grilling them.
Another thing I'll say is that every house should have 20 metal skewers. It might sound a bit geeky, but you just need to buy them once and they'll see you through the rest of your life. I think there is something quite spectacular about a load of kebabs lined up by a barbecue or pan, waiting to be cooked.
1. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
2. Toss the chicken chunks in the marinade until evenly coated, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes -- longer if possible.
3. Meanwhile, make your avocado dip. Halve your avocados, get rid of the stones and spoon the flesh into a bowl. Add all the other dip ingredients and a pinch of salt and pepper, and mash well with a fork or a potato masher. You can make this really smooth, or rustic and chunky; it's up to you. I like mine somewhere in the middle. Have a taste to check the seasoning, then put aside.
4. When you're ready to cook, get a griddle pan on a medium heat. Once it's really hot, add your marinated chicken pieces and cook for five to seven minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through and golden, with lovely char marks.
5. While that's happening, warm your breads through in another hot dry pan for about 30 seconds per side.
6. Tear your breads in half, then slit them open with a knife. Dollop the gorgeous avocado dip into the pockets and top with a few pieces of chicken.
Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.
Have I mentioned my obsession with all things stationery before? I mean I'm REALLY into it. Can't walk past a card shop without stopping and picking up a little notebook here, a card set there, oh and maybe I'll take the pen in every
hotel I stay in! It's not a very compact hobby and makes for a very heavy move to a new house! I really don't know what it is about paper that makes me so happy. It's just... lovely :) I know I'm not the only one out there. I recently discovered a blog called notebook stories and it is entirely dedicated to notebooks and journals.
I LOVE it! And for those who are more interested in wedding invites and other associated stationery, there is Oh So Beautiful Paper
, which is where we got the idea for our wedding invitations (all created in house by my brilliant hubby....future post on that:). Anyway, just wanted to warn you before my endless posts on stationery. Here's the first! And speaking of those obsessed with journals, Nicole is the founder of the most charming etsy store called journaljunky
which has handmade recycled journals and they are so pretty! I'm especially a fan of the mini binder series. I feel like we should be best friends, especially when she says things like... My name is Nicole and I love to write. "Hi Nicole..." I have huge collections of journals and writing stuff. Many journals are full and many are empty. Earthtone colors, empty pages, pens, flowers and design inspire me. I. Need. Help. (Clap, clap, clap...)
Photo credits: Nicole Annette - Journal Junky
Aren't these so divine? As I was browsing the etsy shop I also came across Nicole's blog called I Love Journals
. That so made my night! Anyone else with me in this obsession??
The past two days have been absolutely gorgeous and I only wish I wasn't stuck inside an office so I could enjoy it! I had a little wander around Oxford last night and reminisced on a beautiful day last May when I got married! I wandered past the church, the hotel, and of course I couldn't resist stopping in MAC (where I had a lovely allergic reaction to the eyelash adhesive resulting in a blood shoot eye right before the wedding....). I can't believe we're coming up on a year. Where did the time go?
I found this lovely etsy shop awhile back and thought I would share it with you all. The shop is called Gardenmis
run by Priscilla
in Cincinnati. She creates handmade, organic gifts including lavender and botanical sachets. "Gardenmis was born of my desire to work from home alongside my three children. It has been filled with beautiful self discovery along the way. Learning what it is you love to do, is no small thing. I love what I do! From working on having my own lavender farm to finding the perfect suppliers to selecting what fabrics I use and all the while doing it surrounded by those I love best. Each and every purchase is important to me + one I hope you enjoy." - Priscilla
Isn't that lovely? Here is a sampling of her beautiful work....
Scented drawer sachets
A cousin of mine is getting married in the south of France in September and I thought these would be a wonderful alternative to throwing rice or flower petals.