I’m pretty sure Hagrid talked about this guy at some point

When my mum was here, she left me a book:

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It’s about Ove, an old, angry man who tries to kill himself after the death of his wife, but instead gets roped into helping his neighbours get their lives straight. He starts off as the most unsympathetic kind of man I could imagine, and yet, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him. To flesh out someone who we’ve all met and loathed into a fully realised character is very clever, and all the more effective for all that you thought he was annoying at first. That’s something that I hope I’ll be able to do one day!

I kind of want to recommend this book to everyone I know. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the people I know won’t be able to read it since as far as I know, it isn’t being translated to English. Rest assured that you are missing out, though!

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Vegan mac and cheese

Today I made a food! I very rarely cook, because I’m lazy and it’s easier to buy ready made. But today I had a day off and no excuse not to do it, so I googled “quick easy vegan recipes” and went to work selecting which picture looked the most delicious. I must say that I was disappointed in how quick and easy most of the recipes were patently not, but I suppose if you’re trying to cook something delicious and nutritious on a somewhat restrictive diet, ease and quickness will have to take a back seat.

In the end, I had read enough mac and cheese recipes that I knew what I needed, but I couldn’t tell you which one I actually followed. Probably none of them too closely; I tend to cook quite haphazardly. Whenever I was young and asked my father how much of this or that you need in a particular dish, his answer was always “enough”. So now that’s my cooking philosophy! Put enough of everything in and cook it until it’s done.

So here is everything I used:

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Cashew nuts
Soya milk (roughly 2/3 as much as  the cashews)
Splash of soy sauce
half a yellow pepper
nutritional yeast (maybe half a deciliter)

Put in a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more milk, if it’s not thick enough, add more cashews. In the meantime, cook pasta and put some broccoli in the pot during the last minute or so. Done! And absolutely delicious!

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As someone who still eats cheese, I can tell you that this tastes nothing like cheese. It does kind of scratch that same itch, though, for a creamy sauce. This is just a way more nutty sauce with a slight tinge of cheese in the aftertaste, due to the nutritional yeast. I would also assume that if you don’t like nutritional yeast, you won’t like this, because it’s basically all it tastes of.

This sauce is very similar to a sauce from a video I posted recently, and I’ve made that sauce quite a lot of times. I would say that the soya milk made quite a big difference, so if you want a really fresh and light pasta sauce, cooking without soya milk is the best option, and if you want a creamy and filling one, cooking with it is the way to go. This is all very intuitive, really, but it’s always exciting learning new things!

heatwave

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year in old London Town. It was absolutely amazing! I went to the park wearing this face:

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I felt very cool. The top is from Forever21, which is apparently my spirit animal; one of the days I was out with my mum, two separate girls came up to me and asked where Forever21 was, despite the fact that I wasn’t carrying a bag from them or even wearing any of their clothes. Apparently I just fit their branding to a T!

After a lovely picnic in the park with a lasagna from 42 degrees raw (told you I’d go back immediately!), I went to work, where I was given this here lolly:

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When I say “was given” I mean commandeered, but my personal policy is that if you are too drunk to realise that someone has taken your novelty item, you do not deserve it back. Applies especially to hats. I don’t particularly need it, but I suppose the next time I go out, I’ll bring it and pass it on to someone else. It’ll be like the sisterhood of the travelling lolly.

There can be only one

Today it’s one month exactly until I leave London! I’m so unbelievably excited. I need to plan everything I want to do and time is running out. I had a list, and I have actually managed to do most of it already – the Lion King was on there twice!

The things I have left to do are these: I’d like to go to a performance at the Globe theatre, I’d like to go see a gig in Camden, and I want to go to London Wonderground, which as far as I can tell is a cabaret fair on the south bank. I figure it shouldn’t be all too hard to get these three things done, but you never know – time flies at a ridiculous pace at times.

I also need to say goodbye to everyone I’ve met here, which will obviously be the saddest part. It is so overwhelming to try to plan something that sometimes I just kind of shut down and think to myself that I’ll do it tomorrow, but of course it is just as overwhelming tomorrow too. I’ve written  a list, though; that usually helps.

Voodoo central

Isn’t this house just the lushest thing ever?! It is somewhere in San Fransisco; unfortunately I was unable to find out more specifically where.

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The only colour I like separately on this house is purple, but they all go together so well! I prefer to wear black, always, but if I was a bit more southern European in terms of looks, I would definitely wear this colour combination as often as I possibly could. It kind of reminds me of the witch doctor from Princess and the Frog! If the inhabitants of this house are not into voodoo and magic I will eat my shoes.

(image via Tumblr)

Natural beauty

Anyone ever heard the expression “you are your own biggest enemy”? It is so true! I’m currently on a kick where I want to be as natural as possible with what I put on and in my body. What I put in my body is obviously something I’m more used to keeping natural since I’m a vegetarian, but lately I’ve been feeling like I should extend this to the outside. If I don’t think it would do me any good if I ate it, why would it do me any good if I put it on my face?

I managed to forget all about this when I bought my new face cream, though. I got one from a brand I like (out of courtesy I won’t mention them as I am complaining!), and it wasn’t until I got home that I thought to read the ingredient list. I hadn’t heard of a single thing on there before! I can’t pronounce half of it and the only thing on there that I know what it actually is, is water.

I will use it up, because I’m not quite at a point in my life where I will throw something brand new away, but next time I will definitely make sure to pay more attention. I’m loving Lush at the moment so I don’t know why I didn’t think to go there for my lotion needs.

Lulu luggage

I have been waiting a while to show off my new luggage – I didn’t want to take the protective covering off just yet but I felt like it was time to get a picture of it. Isn’t it just the most delightful thing you have seen in your entire life!?

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I am extremely happy with it. Packing this bag will be like watching an angel descend from heaven to slap you in the face. It’s making me so much more excited to go to Melbourne – as if I needed yet another reason!

The power of scent

I didn’t do a lot of shopping while my mum was here, even though there was a lot of running in and out of shops! The one thing I did get, though, was a bottle of Shalimar.

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As the lovely lady at Guerlain told me, this is one of the oldest scents in the world, and you can definitely tell. When I wear it, I feel like a lovely vintage vixen who would never have something so mundane as a bedroom; I only occupy boudoirs. It makes me want to roll around in lingerie on a velvet bed and smoke from a cigarette holder (and I don’t even smoke!).

This is how I imagine New Orleans would smell in the summer, and it’s making me want to go. I want to get my tarot cards out and delve deep in the unknown – as you can see, it’s having quite the effect on me! It’s rare that a scent makes me want to live out my wildest dreams, but this one does. I feel like it is just the thing you need to bring out the deep passions and ambitions you have inside.

I started a playlist with music that awakes the same beast in me. I think scent and sounds are the most important to creating a mood – a scent brings instant associations, as does music. Armed with both, you’re invincible!

All by myself

I just saw my mum off at King’s Cross, after almost a week full of fun. I’m quite sad to see her go, but we had a great time together!

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On Saturday, we went for a walk down by the Thames, and happened upon Somerset house. We both love fashion and the 50’s, so when we saw this we thought we’d go in and have a look around. Fashion photography was so much better back then! There were so many photos I would have loved on my wall.

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I also made her pose on the Nelson stairs – apparently these stairs are not to be missed. I wasn’t sure, but I’ll trust the experts when it comes to art.

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When we were done being cultured, we went to Kettner’s in soho for some champagne. My mum loves champagne and I would, of course, never say no to anything sparkly. I’d been tipped off that Kettner’s serves the champagne in the old style glasses if you ask, and I just think that’s how it should always be served. It was an absolutely delightful evening!

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My mum had never been to a burlesque performance, so on Sunday I took her to Madame Jojo’s (also in soho. Can you tell I’m gay or what?). We had a great time with lots of laughs – I think it was a good thing that her first performance was quite a funny one! I also think that since I keep telling her I want to do it myself, she is a bit relieved that it is not as seedy as she might have previously thought.

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We took this picture on the way home. The difference in skin tones was a running joke throughout the weekend!

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Okay, I think this was almost my favourite part of the entire trip. There is a cafe in London called 42 degrees raw. If you ever get a chance, go there. I cannot stress this enough! It is a raw vegan cafe and it is SO. GOOD. We shared a raw lasagna and some curry “rice”. I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. I’m going back as soon as I can!

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Here’s my gorgeous mum!

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Here’s my gorgeous food! It was made of courgettes layered with cashew paste, tomatoes, pesto, and tomato paste, with sunflower seeds on top. So simple and so delicious! I need to learn how to make this and convert every single person into someone who eats only this.

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On Monday, we went to the Saatchi gallery to look at some modern art. We both thought this old paper bag was quite cool! I can’t remember the artist’s name, unfortunately, but he’d cut out trees from various bags and displayed them like dollhouses. We also went to the V&A to look at the fashion exhibitions, and at the end of the day we tried to get tickets for A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Globe theatre, but it proved impossible. We walked down the south bank instead, which wasn’t too shabby!

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On Tuesday, I’d got us tickets to the Lion King musical. The first time my mum was here, we went to see our first musical ever, Wicked, and I was instantly hooked. We have since made it a tradition to go see one each time she visits me in London! Apparently people back home laughed when she told them which one we were seeing this time, but it was really good! The Lion King was my favourite movie when I was little, and it’s still my favourite animated movie. I started crying when they sang the first note (no joke!) and all in all I cried for literally half the performance.

Mother of demons

My mum is coming tomorrow! I am so excited I’m about to piss myself. I’ve cleaned my room and hid everything she’s not meant to see (this is only partly a joke) so I am all ready!

We are so similar in many ways, which is a massive plus for travelling together. We almost always want to do the same things, whether that is something cultured or just skipping out on all that and going shopping instead. She’s a vegetarian as well, so I’m excited to take her to a few good veggie restaurants when she’s here. I’ve also got tickets for us to see the Lion King musical on Tuesday! I’m thinking I might take her to see a burlesque performance as well – she indicated she would be interested as long as I was comfortable with it. I think that means she thinks it’s seedier than it is, so I’ll definitely take her so that the next time I tell her I want to do it myself she won’t get the vapours!