Showing posts from February, 2014

Magazine Musings

My name is Sophie, and I buy FAR too many magazines.
That would have been my confession just six months ago. For as long as I can remember, I have loved the world of magazines. The glossy covers, the beautiful images, that mixture of beauty, fashion, life and advice. Monthly magazines, gossipy weekly magazines, it didn’t matter. I loved them, one and all.
Looking back at the amount of money I must have spent on magazines over the years actually now makes me shudder. When you consider your average glossy monthly is around the £4, and I loved far more than one of them…
Then, about six months ago, I graduated from university and ‘real life’ begun. I moved back home whilst job hunting, and began work in September of 2013. I realised more than ever that I needed to watch my pennies. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about budgeting at university, but it took starting work and earning an actual salary to really make me think.
Flicking through the November issue of a popular magazine, I f…

The Reading List #22

A day late I know, but here is this weekend’s reading list round-up:

Jacob’s Room, Virginia Woolf

It’s not been long since my last Woolf book, but I’ve had a few hanging around on my shelf waiting to be read! This is the story of Jacob Flanders, killed in the First World War. It conjures up the period beautifully, and also covers the stories of those left at home.
This, as with all of Woolf’s work has a very clear and unique style. The writing is very fluid, and you skip through the pages. The spectrum of characters and emotions it covers are broad, and I think it’s my favourite all round book of Virginia Woolf’s.

Kate Moss, Chris Roberts*

I was lucky enough to be sent this beautiful biography of Kate Moss, and it would make the perfect gift for any fans. Although there is a lot of emphasis on the images, it is written in the style of a more wordy biography. By that I mean it’s not just a few words around lots of images, it’s actually a well-crafted and ordered story of Moss’ life and…

The Recipe Post #4: Easy Mediterranean Feta Rice

This is one of my complete go-to, easy recipes. It’s unbelievably quick, and tastes fresh and filling. Plus, it has feta cheese in it, which is just the best. The cheat is the use of the Tilda rice, which adds some extra flavour and saves more time.
I initially found this on a site like Good Food using different rice and veg, and then have adapted it a little each time I’ve made it to suit my mood or the people eating it.

To serve 2, you will need:

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved Handful rocket leaves, and extra to serve 1tbsp olive oil 125g feta cheese – I tend to vary how much depending on how sticky I want it! 1 red pepper, diced Tilda lime and coriander rice (one of the ‘2mins in the microwave’ packs) 200g (1/2 can) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Pour the olive oil into a deep non-stick frying pan over a gentle heat. Add the roughly chopped tomatoes and diced pepper and gently fry.

Stir in a generous handful of rocket leaves. When wilted, add the diced feta cheese.

Carefully spoon…

The Reading List #21

Finally my reading lists are catching up with where I’m actually at with my books! I have slowed down a little bit recently as I’ve been busier, but will be back on the reading bandwagon soon. Here’s the latest list:

The Uninvited Guests, Sadie Jones

On the eve of Emerald’s 20th birthday, mysterious strangers appear on the doorstep, stranded in the area by a train accident. As the night goes on, the Torrington family realise there may be something more complex going on amongst their guests.
This story had potential, and the set-up was done very well. I wasn’t sure about any of the characters, though, and didn’t feel I knew them very well. The suspense was well sustained, though, and it kept me turning the pages.

A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan

Bennie Salazar, an old music mogul, and Sasha, his young PA, offer two perspectives on their lives from the 1970s onwards through their careers. They face ups and downs, travel everywhere from Africa to San Francisco, and meet with peo…

The Recipe Post #3: Courgette and Tomato Pasta

Next up, it’s another pasta recipe! A couple of weeks ago some of my girlfriends came round in the evening before one returned to uni, and I wanted to make something simple and tasty, that wouldn’t involve me standing over the stove and excluded from the general conversation. Everyone had had long days of work or uni, and so we needed something tasty.

I have no idea where I got this initial recipe from, but I took the basis of it and threw in my own substitutions or alterations, and it seemed to go down well. I’ve got more into making sauces for pasta recently. It can be so cheap and easy to throw in a sauce that I had fallen into the trap of doing that, but it’s so inexpensive to make your own sauce, and it has an extra edge of tastiness.

For this recipe, which serves about 4, you will need:

4 cloves garlic, crushed
400g can chopped tomatoes
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
400-450g amori pasta (twirls)
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed chillies
2 courgettes, diced
25g fresh bas…

The Reading List #20

How miserable is this weather? I just can’t believe it’s still raining, and the wind is so strong. If you’re hiding inside this weekend, here’s my latest round-up of reading…

Tigers in Red Weather, Liza Klaussmann

Nick and her cousin Helena grew up together and spent their summers at Tiger House, a tradition that continues when they have their own families. One year, a tragedy happens that mean summers can never be the same.
This book was packed with very interesting family relationships, and contained some great observations and complex characters. It was a nice read, but I wasn’t wowed by the overall plot, and felt it could have been taken a bit further. An interesting read, maybe for on a holiday, but not the best thing I’ve read recently.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy

Yet another classic that I have finally got round to reading. I had a friend at school who adored this book and I’m not sure I ever actually admitted I hadn’t read it! In a nutshell, Tess is seeking part off…

The Great Facebook Purge

A couple of years ago, I deleted a LOT of people from Facebook. Well, I ‘unfriended’ them. When you first get Facebook, which for me was at school, it becomes all about how many ‘friends’ you have, and about immediately connecting with everyone you meet. Then you start university, and that game starts all over again. The problem is, the majority of those people you just don’t care about. It’s not that I wish ill on any of them, but I just don’t need to know every detail of their lives. The new rule is, if I wouldn’t stop for a chat in the street, or drop them a message to catch up, I don’t need to be a Facebook friend.
I think that became even more clear for me when I got into Twitter. Twitter is more about connecting publicly with a wide range of people, who share your interests. In contrast, I see Facebook as much more private, a space to share photos and messages with ‘real life’ friends. I’m not too strict, and there are people in my ‘friend’ list that I’ve not caught up with in …

The Recipe Post #2: Tomato and Pancetta Pasta

My friend Hope came over for dinner recently, and after long days at work and a lot to catch up on, we needed something quick and filling. I originally tore this recipe out of Reveal or Closer magazine months and months ago, and it certainly filled that gap in our tummies! In fact, my dad had the leftovers as a pasta salad the next day, and was also a fan!

For this dish, to serve two, you will need:
1tbsp olive oil 1 small red onion, finely sliced ½ tsp dried chilli flakes 75g diced pancetta 400g can chopped tomatoes 2tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped Dried pasta, to serve 2

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions over a medium heat for about three minutes. Add the chilli and pancetta and cook for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, stir, and gently simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta, drain and tip into the pan with the sauce.

Return the pan to a…

The Reading List #19

I cannot believe the weather outside, it’s getting more and more wintery! When will spring be here? Tonight I will be curled up in the warmth with a book. If you’re looking for something new to read, here’s my latest reading list:

Animal Farm, George Orwell

This is an absolute classic, and one I can’t quite believe I’ve not got around to reading until now. Everyone knows the set-up of this story, and it’s so widely quoted and parodied that I found myself recognising huge chunks of it.
The animals of Manor Farm get rid of their humans, and decide to run the farm themselves, but an elite group begin to take control. It is a fantastic piece of work, well measured, and creepily true to life. I understand fully now why it occupies such an important place in history and writing, and it is well worth picking up.

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

This is the story of an island overlooked by a lighthouse, and the people that live in its shadow. Mrs Ramsey is the central figure, and there are …