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Archive for February, 2012

A lazy (hungover!) Friday night is so much better when you’ve got some new Chanel to play with.

Chanel Le Vernis, Vendetta

Chanel, Le Vernis

Nails – Vendetta by Chanel 

Chanel, Vendetta, Emerald

I’ve been painting my nails for so long that I can still work with shaky hangover hands.

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Jam Companion

I live with a jam consuming fiend. If there’s jam at Three Small Apples HQ, it’s already between 2 slices of bread. So imagine my surprise when I found a lone jar of home-made blackberry and apple jam…! I thought I should mark this monumental, unlikely to be repeated, occasion, and there’s no better way to eat jam than with scones!

The recipe was meant to make 8-12… how come I only ended up with 7 (plus a midget scone)?

So easy that if I wasn’t sickened by the amount of clotted cream I consumed (probably 5 times the amount above), I’d bake these every week!

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I think most people know I spend far too much time in Starbucks. And I’ve got a Gold Level reward card to prove it.  But super sweet coffee (“Can I have a tall, skinny hazelnut latte please?” Yes, I know what I sound like) and free Wi-fi? There isn’t actually a better way to spend lunchtime while at work. Although that might be because I work in a slightly disappointing area of West London.

Thankfully, I don’t live in the aforementioned disappointing area of West London. Instead, I live in an area of North London that is so bloody amazing that I honestly dwell on how great it is ALL THE TIME, as well as constantly wonder out loud why I didn’t move there sooner? (Answer: I didn’t want to. I’m reminded of the answer every time I do choose to wonder out loud within earshot of the people who tried to convince me to move…).  And in this amazing area of North London, not only is there NOT a Starbucks nearby, but there is such an abundance of coffee shops, tea rooms and cafés, that I probably wouldn’t visit even if one was to crop up.

Fred & Fran is one of the abundance. Found on a quiet residential road, a minute away from Stoke Newington Church Street, Fred & Fran is a small, simply decorated and cosy ‘Artisan Coffee House’, serving, as well as Square Mile coffee, a good selection of drinks, homemade sandwiches and cakes.

Cappucino

Free serve yourself water, so you can hang round and rehydrate while you ogle the food choices of others.

My chocolate, mandarin and almond cake was worth braving the rain for in itself. Sweet and tangy with just the right amount of almond, I was a bit sorry that I had to share this with Mr Three Small Apples. If I hadn’t borrowed the money off him (it’s cash only) to buy the cake and coffees in the first place, I might have told him to get him own.

Fred & Fran:  55 Kynaston Road, London N16 0EB

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Perfect when you’re thirsty, perfect for dunking biscuits and perfect for cold hands, tea does it all. I’ve got so many teas at Three Small Apples HQ that not only do I have a shelf for them, but it takes me ages to answer the seemingly simple question “Cup of tea?”. Oolong? Earl Grey? White Tea with rose buds? It’s not a decision to take lightly.

Anthropologie

These gorgeous floral mugs from Anthropologie are almost a bit too pretty to be stored away in the mug cupboard… but they are going to make for the prettiest (and girliest) cup of builder’s tea.

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February, it’s dark, it’s depressing and it’s the month of my birth.

Still, it’s not all bad… because I get presents:

What a cutie.

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Feline fine…

(groan, sorry!!)

Where’s the best place to take a cocktail-loving, kitten-obssessed girl for her birthday? The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town of course!

Hidden beneath The Breakfast Club, a stone’s throw (if you know where you’re going…you don’t want to get lost around here, it’s Jack the Ripper territory!) from Liverpool Street Station, this tiny cocktail bar is found down a secret passage behind a Smeg Fridge…  So far, so good. Once through the fridge, and down some treacherous stairs (maybe it was my heels that were treacherous… but who wears flats on their birthday?!) we found ourselves in a dimly light basement bar, filled with polished wood, high tables, kitschy decor and friendly staff.

On the table sat the cocktail menu, found on a scroll of paper, tucked into an empty ‘cat food’ tin (not suitable for cool cats or fat cats) and was a simple list of around 20 cocktails, separated into classics and specials. Small but perfectly formed.

A bit of happy sampling took place, and the results?

My Alpine Fizz was the perfect blend of gin, elderflower liqueur and champagne, fruity, fizzy and subtle, whereas the tongue-twistingly named Ian Kane’s Yang Tao Smash managed to be sweet, sour, minty and refreshing in one go.  The Pear and Cardamon Sidecar was to die for, and the Tom Collins? Well I think that might have to be my new ‘must drink, will drink’ drink (and not just because Midori drank it in Norwegian Wood… although that does makes me love it that tiny bit more).

With its cat paraphernalia, its fake bathroom exit (don’t leave through the Smeg or you’re in trouble) and it’s Shoreditch location, The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town might sounds a bit too cool for school but it’s not. It’s lovely. You should go.

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Siberian weather eh? That’s nice.

Actually, it’s not. I’ve been over-wearing the only really warm cardigan that I own, layering up with Uniqlo Heat tech, wearing Uggs in public (yes, I hate myself a bit for it!) and I’m still cold!  So in an attempt to thaw myself out, I decided to make an attempt at chilli hot chocolate.

I obviously used the easiest recipe I could find, and the result? Pretty damn good.

It’s apparently going to start getting warmer this week… but don’t let that stop you trying this out.

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