Hemsley & Hemsley – pea, peach and goats cheese salad

Pea, peach and goats cheese salad

I was given this book for Christmas from my divine older sister.

Now, I’m usually a big old hater of recipe books like this. Devastatingly beautiful women on the front, glowing skin and shimmering hair, cute geek-chic/Scandi-esque knits…eurgh, envy emanates from me like the smell of a turkey farm, and my initial reaction to the first flick through of this recipe book was no different.

Books like this (a la Simply Ella and her motley ‘clean crew’) seem to sell the women/men in them, rather than the recipes inside, which isn’t exactly ground breaking news, I know.

But when I am making the concerted effort to feel healthy, to love my body and get down and jiggy with all things green and clean, I want someone a bit more…dare I say, normal? Instead of gleaming, beautified hipsters who definitely have had a mini roll or two, but would rather you suggest they snort coke off aging grannies than admit they enjoy a bottle of Sprite, I want someone who looks like they just brush the mud off their home grown veggies, and bite into a beetroot raw. 

I want someone who is a bit scrappy, makes everything seasonal from their own garden (as much as possible) but has the simplicity of ingredients that Hemsley and Hemsley have been able to achieve.

Instead of listing ingredients found in the depths of the rainforest, or *gasp* in back woods health food shops, they list things that the average shmoe (that’ll be me) can actually afford, something for which I am most appreciative.

Pea, peach and goats cheese salad

Picture from the Hemsley and Hemsley book ‘The Art of Eating Well’


But anyway. Ranting aside…

This salad is just ridiculous. To the point where I actually forced Alex into having it for dinner twice in a row. Now for normal people that would be normal. I have this insane inability to eat the same meal twice in a week. It just makes me feel stodgy and sick, a bit stagnant and bored. It does not help the old bank balance, and you’d think by now I’d be able to manage portions properly. I cannot.

But this salad was everything I wanted it to be. It was crunchy, flavoursome, the depth of the goats cheese was expertly sliced by the min, the buttery, softness of the courgettes counteracted by the crispness of the little gem lettuce. In short, it was delicious.

If you’re sick of eating shit salads, with sad wilting celery and crappy lettuce, please, give this bad boy a go. Trust me, you’ll be wanting to eat this at least for four days straight.



Birthday Twerkday


I’m a ridiculous human being, this much most of you should know by now. One of the many facets of being a ridiculous human being the ability to become very obsessed, very quickly about pointless, non-events events. Like my twenty-third birthday, for example.

I’ve already bought my outfit. Yes, I know, I have no money but I always get myself a new outfit for my birthday. It’s basically a tradition.
It’s a silk pyjama style playsuit from Topshop, it’s basically the most beautiful thing anyone could imagine. I always look for something that’s weird enough to look different, but gorgeous enough to be classic, not just a seasonal fad piece, unfortunately I’ve made that mistake one to many times before.

I’m working on wearing clothes that actually fit my body correctly. I’m the WORST for this, old school Trinny and Susanna would punch me in the tit if they knew. Being a curvy pear (sounds hilarious) means that my big old donkey booty looks better in tighter stuff, but I love me a big slouchy jumper and leggings. Unfortunately they make me look like a shelf. An upside down muffin, spilling out over leggings. Yum.

 I decided a wrap front would be better for me (for the big old tatty-bo’s), and a tie waist to highlight my waist. I’m currently looking for shoes, as I’m planning to get my feet tattooed in May. I want to look into more alternative flatform type creps, if I’m going down the whole weird front. However, I am in two minds about whether to go down the whole ‘pyjama’ front, with some soft, jazzy loafers.

Image 1 of ASOS THEME Mule Platform Sandals

These are ridiculously gorj. From Asos (my absolute haven), they look sexy but also also weird enough to complete the whole look. My only beef is the covering up of the tootsies, and also the height. I fell over in heels a couple of years ago and seriously pranged my right foot, meaning most ‘heel’ heels are kind of out of the question for me, but look, look at the pretty.

T.U.K. Shoes Light Pink Reptile Viva Loafers

These little beauties are from T.U.K and are just what I’m on about. The iconic tassle. The thick tread. I could get as drunk as a skunk and still be able to walk. I got some quite similar a couple of year ago and I wore them till the soles split, those puppies went with me everywhere. A gorgeous loafer can toughen up any super girly outfit and make it cool, plus you can walk to the nearest takeaway for cheesy chips and a Fanta.


Last weekend was awesome. So awesome. Words cannot describe, or even begin to go into the awesomeness of last weekend, that’s how awesome it was.

I went back to Derby with Alex, and we got to go out with all our old friends. Obviously, I see them a hell of a lot more than he does (the last time he was back was before Christmas), but in a weird way that made us going back seem even more special. We have made a vow to go back once a month. It’ll keep me off his back, still means we get to go out AND it means we won’t be spending that much money; happy days.

It does mean, however, that we drink and eat like pure gluttons. We revert straight back to our first summer of being together, loads of wine, lots of takeaways and telling each other secrets. All incredibly good fun; not a sustainable lifestyle. When we got back to Lincoln I put in force a Clean Week. Good, clean healthy meals all week, no snackage, no bad food, lots of nutrition to get our bodies back on track. Needless to say, Alex has supported me 100%. He’s eaten all the clean meals I’ve cooked, and gave me pointers and encouragement. He’s also had a McDonalds and some Mini Eggs. So you can’t win them all.

The main point of Clean Week is to detox a little bit of our sinful weekend, and also to try and see if we both can eat these super healthy recipes. Some of them were kind of gross (completely from my own doing), and others were GORGEOUS.


Sweet Potato Curry

This was a variation of a recipe I cook anyway, but I wanted to see how Alex would fair without his protein. Of course, it was utterly delicious, and I added bak choi, celery, peppers and spring onions to the mix. This not only added more veggie for your buck, but also kept us fuller for longer. I decided to keep the sweet potato whole, so it was almost like chunks of meat. Meat that is sweet, and orange and tastes like sweet potato. I’m not saying I’m a genius, but I think I had Alex fooled…
I got it from a blog off here, which is Something Clean, Something Green and all of his recipes are AMAZING!!! Have a snoop on his blog, it’s delish.


Skinny Omelette

Skinny Omelette Wraps

Looking at the picture, I can safely say that ours WHERE BY NO MEANS PERFECT. Our pan has a domed base, so already the edges were a lot thicker than the middle, making for an incredibly eggy wrap. I also realised that I am a self-confessed veggie pusher, so added to the original recipe by shoving in peppers and celery. I’m also incredibly stingy and they were going out of date, so…DON’T HATE A GIRL ‘CUZ SHE’S THRIFTY, KAY?!
Anyway. They had so much potential. The pesto went exceptionally well with the cheese (we used goats cheese) and the greens just added a whole other texture.
If I can advise anybody on these, I would say make sure they are as thin as possible, and maybe think about something sharp to zip through it, maybe add a bit of lemon juice to the egg? I don’t know. Have a wiggle.
They are from 101 cookbooks, and there’s LOADS of other recipes on there to try.


Pesto Brown Rice with Sautéed Swiss Chard (Vegan & GF) | picklesnhoney.com

Pesto Rice and Sautéed Greens

Look at the picture on that. Just look at it. Who WOULDN’T want to try and eat that? Now, I had already bought some pesto from the shops, so I didn’t actually make the pesto in this recipe, but I thought that would be definitely something for me to try! And then, 10 minutes before I started cooking, I realised we only had white rice in, not brown.
As you can see, the dinner was slowly spiralling from clean, vegan loveliness to half-arsed Humpday crap. Still, we persevered.
For some reason, there is the odd time when we make rice and it turns into a starchy pan of hateful glue. I cannot work out why, I do all of my steps the same but it still slams it’s bedroom door in my face and tells me I’m ruining it’s life. This being said, it was still mildly edible. The greens were the real show stopper of this meal though. I sauteed spinach, a parboiled sweet potato and some of the remaining bok choi with a crap tonne of garlic, whilst stirring pesto through the gelatinous oozing glob in the pan. Funnily enough it tasted really yummy, Alex’s only complaint was that the rice made him feel like he was going to shit himself. A fair critique.
If you want to actually do this recipe properly, it was from Pickles n Honey, a gorgeous vegan food blog that cooks seasonal stuff.


 Dark Chocolate Chunk Chocolate Avocado Cookies. The healthiest cookies in the world. No butter, no sugar, no grains. And you won't be able to tell! Gluten free.

Avocado Cookies

Now, very very technically I actually made these the day before, but these are what I ate for my dinner on Thursday so I think I should still put them here.

These cookies have changed my life. I think they’ve made me start believing in God. I think that aliens exist. I think they’ve cured me of my aggressive, irrational hatred of Susan Boyle.
These cookies are something else, but you’ve GOT to make sure that your avocados are ripe. And I mean if they aren’t basically falling out of their skins to get into your mixing bowl, they may still be a little under. The riper they are, the creamier they are and the better they are to whizz into a thin batter. When you do the first step of mixing them with an egg it should be dead runny. I am inpatient fucker, but if I am telling you to wait until all of the lumps are gone, trust it’s it’s for a worthwhile cause. These cookies are Alex’s favourite thing, mainly because they are so chocolatey it’s ridiculous, but also because how territorial I get over them. Is it possible to fancy a cookie?

They are from Sprouted Fig, which was originally The Smoothie Lover, and she has lots of beautiful, equally tasty things on there.


""Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This. This beauty. This resplendent casserole of sheer perfection. As you can tell, I completely adored this casserole, and even better, Alex did too. It’s really easy to swap in different ingredients too, so I added goats cheese for the top layer instead because it was about to go off. The only problem is that I’m always cooking for two, which meant we had a HUGE amount leftover. We were going to his parents the next day so I had to chuck it away, BUT I have to say that this is definitely going to be a recipe that I’m going to cook for friends and family alike. It’s also dead easy, so I would hugely recommend this.
I found the recipe on Pinterest, but the original is from Gimme Some Oven and all their stuff is DELICIOUS. Please go check it out.

UYW4 – God dammit, RuPaul was right!


After last weeks utter chaos, I’m glad to note that this week has been a lot quieter, more peaceful and thankfully a heck of a lot more loving.

I was sick for a couple of days though, finally got taken down by the dreaded lurgy that was apparently plaguing all my Derby friends. This meant I had to take things easy, take a day off from my Ultimate practice and laze on the sofa watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Even though this rest was necessary and very much needed, I found myself struggling to let myself be. Even though I am a complete TV addict, I can’t sit in the same spot for more than an hour. Seriously, ask Alex, I am the literal living metaphor of ‘ants in your pants’. I get so irritable if I’m in the house longer than one day. So grumpy and irascible that everyone outside has a purpose, and my only purpose at this point in time is to read more Mark Haddon.

I think that has been the biggest problem for me being unemployed. A lack of ‘real’ purpose. The guilt that comes with writing all day, painting and learning how to use InDesign, when really I should be out there, sweating my bollocks off and working any job even if I hate it.


Let me explain this further.


I’ve managed to get three interviews next week (WOOOOOOO), all in completely different sectors, all of which I could do well. The first is an exam invigilator, the second being a brand ambassador for a charity, and the third  is a scriptwriter for radio. Obviously, given my love of writing I would love to do the last, but each of the others have their benefits. The first would mean I get to stay in Lincoln, a place I am growing to love, with lots of time in between exams to write, to see family and not be exhausted. The charity job means I could travel around, talk to people and slowly get better from the lingering miasma of shyness that has been encircling my body these past few months. The scriptwriting, well, that’s just a bit dribbly, but I would have a round commute of 2 hours every day.

Each of these jobs would give me a ‘real’ purpose, a reason for me being on this earth. Old Grace would be shooting straight for the hardest position, the scriptwriting, because it’s the furthest away, the one that will test me the most and the one that will incite the most change and chaos into my life. I’m a bit of a weird masochist. The New Grace however isn’t counting out the others just yet.

The pressure I am under to get a ‘real, proper job’ is huge. Not particularly from my family (they let that dream fizzle out a long time ago), but from certain friends and other outside influences. It seems to me that in today’s world if you aren’t pushing yourself to the point of snapping, you aren’t working hard enough. If you aren’t dying when you come home every night from work, then you aren’t working hard enough. If you aren’t slurping two bottles of wine over the weekend just to wind down from your hectic life, then you aren’t working hard enough.
Personally I think all of the above is utter horse shit.

Don’t get it twisted, I LOVE hard work. I love having to sit for hours on end working on solutions, I did English at Uni and spent hours researching essays on Baudrillard’s theory on simulacra; it’s basically my wet dream. Saying this, I will not compromise my actual life for something that won’t benefit me as a person holistically. All because it’s what I should be doing right now, now doesn’t qualify as enough of a reason to do it.

I am beginning to realise my worth, not only as a woman, but just as a person. I have a lot to offer any company, and  rather than taking on positions because I feel flattered that they even looked at me, I’m starting to realise that actually, they want me because I’m bloody good. So, instead of getting down about rejections, I’m spurred on by the acceptances. Instead of letting myself be defined by a facety look, I’m the girl who wants to wear socks and a skirt in March. Instead of constantly apologising for who I am, I’m going to rejoice in the fact that yes, I can be VERY ditzy and floopy, but if you give me 15 minutes and an idea I’m going to produce a story board you’re probably going to love.

Just from taking a couple of days to love myself, I’ve realised that the intrinsic, crushing guilt all the female members of my family, nay my contemporaries in society, suffer from is completely wrong. Alex tells me all the time, “Don’t feel like you ever have to explain something that you want to do,” and he’s so right.

So the next time somebody, anybody, gives you beef about getting up at 3pm, or about the weird shoes you like, or the fact that you want to wile out to Justin Bieber on your own, just smile, and say back “Because I am being myself.” Guaranteed they aren’t going to understand, but that doesn’t matter. Life isn’t about them, it’s about you.


What happened on Saturday?


I should be writing about my most recent Ultimate Yogi week. I should. It was compelling, I’m getting stronger, but unfortunately I also bailed on two days. Day one, my gal pal was coming to visit my new house for the first time, and day two I was too hungover to function. My brother had to pick up dinner for me and deliver it to the sofa; I wasn’t half in a bad way.

Those of you who know me, I’m not a drinker. Not a frequent one anyway. In my group of friends, I’m known as Two Drink Radford, because my alcohol tolerance is so low. One New Years Eve I managed to expel sausages from my nose, after which they dubbed me ‘The Nasal Mincer’. I drank heavily at Uni, until I realised that it actually really isn’t that cute, I felt like shit ALL the time and I was fat and broke. Not the best combination.

On Saturday I went back to true, Nasal Mincer form. It was actually quite impressive how much I threw up, but that doesn’t compare to what happened before it. Not even close.


I saw The Horrid Ex out, a lad who I had split up with yeaaaaaaaaars ago. The last time I saw him, I was equally inebriated in a horrible bar in Derby and I went over to say hello, he looked me up and down and blanked me. That night I saw another old flame who solely flirted with my best mate in front of me. It was a hit bank holiday, made even shitter by horrible boys and cheap sambucca, which surprisingly ended in me decorating the floor an aniseed grey.

The Horrid Ex was my college sweetheart, the first guy I ever loved, and I was with him for about 3 years. He was tall, had a slight lisp and really loved acting like a total nob with me. I ran a house drama play for my school and my play won, so he bought me a box of Chinese and rented all of the Star Wars films for the weekend. We went to Amsterdam, just the two of us. His family were the nicest posh people I’ve ever met. He came on holiday with my family.

He would abandon me on nights out to get with other girls, occasionally in front of me. He would slate any creative thing I did, without so much as a second thought. He would never take no for an answer. He would criticise my body, to the point that I couldn’t get changed in front of him anymore.


He ruined my life for two years.


So seeing him on Saturday wasn’t really my idea of a good night, but I suffered a kind of moth->lamplight effect. I knew it would hurt, I knew he would singe my wings off and burn me alive, and yet I sat with him for an hour whilst he talked about how pissed off his new girlfriend was at him.

It’s fair to say, I snapped.

After we shared an awkward, incredibly garbled catch up of our lives, I began the onslaught. I stood up, a mouth full of anger but a body emanating calm serenity.

“Admit you are a terrible person.” I repeated, louder and louder, whilst jabbing him in the chest with my finger. He refused at first, but after repeat 30 I think he realised I wasn’t letting up, so he capitulated. He bought me a drink, which I drank, much to my refusal and dislike. We were talking about jobs, obviously he’s very well employed and I was recently made redundant, so the slight self-loathing got the better of me. He said, “That’s my girl,” as I downed the jager-bomb. Almost as a knee-jerk reaction to my utter revulsion, I legged it to the ladies and efficiently emptied the contents in my stomach all over the toilet floor.


People often don’t tell you what it’s going to be like when you see the person who irrevocably changed your life. They never say how it’ll make you feel, or what you’ll do afterwards. I think if I had been sober I would have been scared, panicked, deeply anxious about how I looked, as if his opinion still remotely mattered. But I was drunk. I had a voice, and a mind, the girl that accepted him holding her best mate up against a wall in a club was long gone, and who had replaced her but the girl he tore down and built herself up again. The girl who can stand on her own two feet, look at him directly in the eye with no anger, no fear, and say finally “I don’t care about you.”

I don’t care if I see him again. It isn’t relevant to my life anymore. I am no longer broken and in need of cigarettes and alcohol to give me a feeling of self-worth anymore. He was more than horrendous to me, but it’s made me this passionate, loving, resilient person and if anything I should be grateful.

So if you are reading this, Horrid Ex, don’t worry, I have gone through and edited all my work like you suggested. I hope your jet set life brings you all the things you have ever wanted in this world and more.

Fuck you.



Week 2 – Ultimate Yogi 108


I’m coming to the close of my second week of the Ultimate Yogi experience. My back is sore. My hips are achey. I found myself doubting throughout Cardio and Strength.

I think a lot of the pain and aches that I’m feeling are more to  do with my personal life than the actual programme, although I do feel that the warm up leave something to be desired. Again, this is more to do with me than the actual course.

I do my yoga in the morning as soon as I get up. It gives me energy, and being of the slightly panicky Polly persuasion, it helps centre me and get me in the right frame of mind for the rest of my day. The only problem with this, is that I’m all crickety ricket and achey from sleeping on a dodgey mattress all night, stealing duvet and space from Alex.
So when I get up, shove a sports bra on and tie the old mane out of my face, I’m hardly prepped for an intense hour of work out. I at least should be going through a couple Cat/Cows to prep the old spine. I have hyper extension in pretty much all of my joints; my shoulders, hips, knees (and weirdly) thumbs to name a few. This makes yoga so much more important to me, because as I build strength round these joints now, I’m ensuring a stronger future for when I’m old and all my joints are popping out.
This also means it’s VITAL for me to warm up, because it’s so easy for me to be a bit lazy and fight the strength and just pop back into my extra stretchy joints.

It’s a minefield.

The doubting myself thing, well that’s hardly anything new, lets face it. What is interesting is how aware I am of it now.

When Hunky Travis tells me to get ready for Yogi Pushups, almost like a “Bless you” after a sneeze, I hear “How am I going to fucking do that?”, every single time.
I don’t meaaaaaan to. It’s not like I enjoy doubting myself, I don’t glean any pleasure from getting frustrated and defeating myself before I can even attempt to get into position, but it just pops up; very much like a pop-up actually.

I think what is happening, is that my self-awareness is starting to develop from doing such an intense practice. With respecting myself and what my body can actually do, I’m also aware of the faux limitations my mind places on me. This extrapolates wider to my actual life.

I’m currently still looking for jobs, applying for every single position and not hearing anything. It does begin to get disheartening when you have a First at Uni, and a local pub doesn’t want you to even cover a couple of shifts. In no way am I saying I’m entitled to work over other people, don’t get me twisted, it’s just that I’ve been promised a future and a job would be secure for me, and that very truly IS NOT the case.

Instead of getting all sour puss and making lists of all the stress that is sleeting on my parade, instead I’ve started looking at all of the positives. I’m healthy, I get more time to write and create, I’ve almost finished my screen play AND my gorgeous boy has just got us some new shelves from B&Q; WHAT IS THERE TO HATE ABOUT.

SO I’m taking my Week Two in my stride, much like the stresses of my life this week. It’s getting achey and sore, I’m getting a bit frustrated, but I’m learning that all I have to do is breathe, focus, and the situation will change; it has to. Nothing stays stagnant forever, even if it changes for the negative it’s still shift to get used to. I choose not to be phased and jolted by this knock back of a twingey hip and no replies to my GLEAMING CV.



(Why yes, it’s New York Fashion Week OF COURSE!)


Fashion week. Faaaaaaashion week fashion week fashion week. It’s just…delicious. I love fashion week every year. Usually I sit on the computer in the evenings and scour the latest collections, but I must say this year I have been, *slaps wrists enthusiastically* very preoccupied.

Now I have a free day I can delve into what I have missed so far, what I;m loving, what has surprised me, and of course, what influences am I going to be carrying forward to coming seasons.



I am new to Kate Spade. We have not been formerly introduced, I cannot call her ‘Katie’ just yet, but my my, WHAT an introduction. Her NYFW presentation immediately grabbed me whilst I was catching up, and mainly because of the influences she cited.

Anybody who wants to cite Liza Minelli and Ella Fitzgerald as muses, already has me shaking my pom-poms for her. The bright popping reds and dreamy rose chiffon that looks like a second skin, just OH MY GOD shoot me. The shoes. The cute but geeky block heels and flats that won’t kill me. The big, huge Cossack style cream hats that just ooze glamour when really, they probably shouldn’t; for me it’s the perfect blend of weird and girly the stuff of dreams. It’s beautiful, it’s eye-flutteringly cute, and it’s not totally unwearable. I mean, I could totally see myself in the houndstooth coat on the right there…hint…hint.

Kate Spade New York Has a New "Geeky-Chic" Look for Fall


Oh wow. This was just…dribbly. Even though I like to be influenced by some more preppy, ‘art teacher’ style outfits (because they actually suit my body type), I can’t help but run with gay abandon to Alexander Wang’s presentation. It’s just everything I want and more. Edgy patterned tights with chokers. Models looking like they’ve crawled up from sewers and decided to strut on the runway. Unapologetic, sharp grubby-ness that makes me all warm and gooey, all the way down to my leaking Doc Martens. There was denim, with lots of fluffy knits and a dark palette mixed with the odd splash of neon pink. It was a Tumbler moment, most definitely.
To me, they looked liked the kind of girls I’d want to impress on a night out. The girls who I’d try and smoke in front of. The girls that would stand in the corner of a club not dancing, and that would be more alluring.
Oh, and I need this jumper.


I know what you are going to say. I know.
“It’s not exactly wearable everyday, is it?”
No, it isn’t.
“I thought you were going on about wearability up there.”
Well, yes, I was.
“So, you’ve just, changed your mind?!”
Yes. Yes I did.
I defy ANYONE who can look at the Rodarte collection and not want to wear every, single stitch on those model’s bodies. It’s beautiful. It’s vampy. It’s so gothic glam I want to throw up, put some lace and leather on it, then gaze moodily at it.
The sequins. The lace. The fishnets with ruffled boots is just TOO MUCH. There were huge  multi-coloured long fur coats, which nod to the 70’s resurgence, the layering is perfect for F/W 2016 AND the dark lip/bare face trend that I love SO VERY DEARLY.
Yes, I got very overexcited about this collection.
And can I just take a minute over the white, bridal looks please. They are just..wowsers trousers. I want to wear a veil now. Every day. And if anybody asks me why I shall stare blankly at their faces, for I am a lost soul.
For me, I loved the prior two designers I mentioned, but Rodarte was a real standout. Any designer that can railroad my dislike for ostentatious designs and get me strung out like a junkie, definitely has my vote.
I’m getting married in this, don’t even care.