Month: September 2016

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

In a bid to gain a few more “culture cells” in my body, on the weekend the man and I went to check out a pop up art gallery just down the road from us in Greenwich village. In the last year or so I have gained an interest in art, and the collecting of pieces. Whether they be paintings, prints or sculptures I’m keen to get on board with collecting pieces that make me happy.

We checked out the Fine Art Gallery housing oil paintings by the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. We were especially interested as all of the paintings featured landscapes and scenes from around Greenwich – where we live and first met. We’ve always said we’d love to buy a painting/print to take to New Zealand one day that encompasses where we found each other and lived in London. Triple cheese, I know.

While I enjoyed a lot of the paintings, sadly I didn’t love any. I’m a firm believer in falling in love with a piece of artwork, no matter the price, as you’re likely going to have to look at the damn thing every day – much the same as picking a partner. If on first sight one thing really annoys you about the painting (or your partner), it never going to improve! It’s always going to be that lemon in an open cut or tiny stone in your shoe that pisses you off. We will keep hunting, we’re only new at this, so really should see as many pieces as possible before plunging our house deposit into an art collection (my other half is far too sensible and would never let me do this).

art

Feature painting source.

BBC Bake sale

The biggest news to hit Britain this week: the Great British Bake Off sale. BBC have sold the rights to the show to Channel 4, a somewhat surprise given its success over the years. Turns out it’s not been a sale of choice, more that the production company in charge of GBBO pocketed themselves in the range of an extra £10 million.

I for one, am an avid Bake Off fan, having never missed an episode. The hosts, the innuendos and the soggy bottoms keep your drawn in. Also of course the nail biting moments when time is ticking down and 24 identical Cypriot flaoumas or a 30cm tall Bavarian clock tower made of shortbread must be completed and standing strong.

While Channel 4 insist they will work hard to keep the integrity of the show – will it be the same? Mel and Sue have stepped down from hosting, and Paul and Mary have walked away from judging. All four created the comfort and entertainment you want on a Wednesday evening, so the next team picking up the roles have big shoes to fill. There are rumours Jamie Oliver could pick up a spot on the new baking edition… no complaints from my side!

Work perks

A big part of my new job, in a new department and new building, is attending breakfast meetings to discuss resources. Do we have enough people? Are they the right people? Should they be perm? Should they be temp? It’s endless. The best part about these breakfast meetings is the chance to chill and enjoy a freshly brewed coffee and a croissant provided by the business.

I swear the powers above and those running the meetings book breakfast slots on purpose. I have no reason to complain, they don’t start until 9:00am – you’d think they’d be cracking the whip to get us in for 7:00 or even 8:00. This morning’s meeting ran over by 15 minutes, but I found that I learnt a lot from the MD hosting it.

Another thing I discovered, yesterday, was our large open deck flooded with sunshine on the 15th floor where we can enjoy our lunch and the 360 degree views of London’s city landscape – it’s stunning! One of my colleagues said to me after I recoiled him on my adventure to find the sunny spot; “there aren’t many perks to this job, but that’s one of them“. I thought to myself that he should do a week in the trenches of HR, then he’d be thrilled by his suntrap lunch spot.

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

This is a five star book for me. I had no expectation going into, it having never read any of Backman’s books. Set in Sweden with a backdrop of a calm suburban street, it’s both comical and heartwarming.

Ove is cranky, he reminds me of Mr Fredricksen in the film Up, they both have the same short temper towards change, other people interfering and have lost their wives, their kindred spirits.

“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”

The book is also full of humour, from a grumpy old man’s point of view. Backman’s way with words and clear descriptions of characters and situations had me in giggles on the bus and on the tube on the way to work.

“Ove glares out of the window. The poser is jogging. Not that Ove is provoked by jogging. Not at all. Ove couldn’t give a damn about people jogging. What he can’t understand is why they have to make such a big thing of it. With those smug smiles on their faces, as if they were out there curing pulmonary emphysema.”

It’s a book I know I will go back to and an author I will research more on. I have read another of Backman’s books, Britt-Marie was Here, I did enjoy it but the character of Ove is what made me fall in love with his first novel. The book has also been made into a film, which I’ve not seen, but as always I would say read the book first!

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Come Dine With Me

A couple of girlfriends and I have embarked on our own Come Dine With Me (CDWM) challenge: taking turns to cook each other a three course meal. This is what we do now that we are proper grown ups, in our 30s. No nights out on the tiles, eating fried chicken and vomiting in the back of a taxi. But, damn those were good times last month.

Both the girls have already had their turns, highlights would include a succulent rack of lamb, mixing our own cocktails and playing Twister with a Butler in the Buff. On October 1st it’s my turn to host and I need to impress.

I’ve decided to go with a Jamie Oliver themed menu, as of course, I adore him. When they arrive I will start with a prosecco based cocktail and an hors d’oeuvres I’ve not yet decided on. The menu will then consist of:

Potted crab with asparagus
Seafood paella
Lemon pavlova

I figure my menu will be light enough that they will actually want to eat each course, they’re also technically tricky, but not impossible to make. It helps that I have made them all before on different occasions. The hard bit will be making sure I time them correctly, but with these girls, I know I can always throw a bottle of wine their way and it will keep them happy in between courses.

Recently I bought a new cast iron paella pan, as I was previously just using a large frying pan, so I now need to make at least one paella before October as a practise and to season the new pan.

Watch this space for the follow up and reviews I receive post meal from my hopefully sizzled friends.