Sunday, April 23, 2017

On bookstores, harnessing the sun, and face-stuffing

HEYYOUGUYS. Guess how many blog posts I planned to write but never did and now they're likely never to see the light of day? The rest of my Christmas burgers - I had 16 in total, shout out to Chick 'n Sours for the best one - our trip to the Ice Hotel in January - in which the northern lights flipped us the bird but we still basked in the glow of permanent snow-twilight while snowmobiling and dogsledding - and last month's trip to Sicily. (Though that one may still make it in at some point, probably when I'm feeling moody at the endless London grey and want to pretend it's okay because you can leave it so easily.)

Instead of all those topics that come with built-in photographs and adventures, I will tell you all about my day of nothing yesterday. Extra fun, because I have no pics or actual story. Good to get the practice in if I'm going to do an additional MyBloWriMo in June this year (jury's still out on that one). 

Al and I are very good at spending our weekends lazily and yesterday was no exception. We booked a nice lunch, then spent the afternoon wandering through bookstores on our way to a nice dinner. These activities encompassed two of our favourite past-times: eating, and reading, and eating some more.

The first bookstore we hit was Persephone, notable as both a publisher and bookseller of out-of-print works by female authors. It was teeny tiny and quaint and crowded and sweet and the overall environment made me want to buy every book in the house, even though I knew I probably wouldn't make it to the end of half of them (all that old timey wordsmithing, innit). I did get this one, though, because it was flipping hilarious:
 

Here are the first two pages that sold me:


I think we all know Lady B.

After that we hit Skoob - MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOKSTORE EVER, like the green apple of London - which has - according to le googles - over 55,000 used books. The ceiling was low, the shop was dark and underground and full of nooks, and books were stacked EVERYwhere. After tripping over a half dozen piled haphazardly on the floor, I was in love. I couldn't stop myself from buying a handful of crime novels on our way out. 

We also hit Judd's used books, which was no Skoob but had - randomly and weirdly - an excellent vegetarian cookbook selection - before wandering to Treadwell's. NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT TREADWELL'S. This came as a recommendation from my favourite darkest magik friends as an 'occult bookshop,' which is - as one pointed out - 'two of the best words to hear in sequence in the English language.' And the shop was LOVELY. Warm and incensey with Celtic font everywhere, including on the signs to the Hindu and Biblical sections. I couldn't resist buying two aroma oils - frankincense and sage - which - per the shopkeeper - apparently have planetary alignments (the Sun and Jupiter, respectively) that would bring me wellbeing (the former) and success (the latter). To think I just thought they smelled nice! Embarrassing. Needless to say, I blended the two before bed and smeared them all over my face. 



Then we headed to the Waterstones on Gower which - while being a chain - still exists, so gets props for surviving in an Amazon-era. This one is extra lovely because it's got red carpet and mini-levels. We headed straight for the basement to see an art exhibit - recommended by KT - of The Quiet Medusa, who sculpts/stitches/creates doll-like female effigies - that relate to works of literature and also her life. It was powerful and intimate stuff. Do go to see it if you're in the area.

And then we ate some more and then went home and read some more. It was a thrilling day, I tell you. 

I hope to see you again in June - post- our next trip Stateside - and until then,

Big hugs and lots of love,
Esss

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

No, YOU ate four burgers in two days.

OMGYOUGUYS.

 I am officially on a Christmas Burger Rampage. 


And YOUGUYS, it turns out the only thing better than a Christmas sandwich is THIS:


These are the first four Wolf and I have tried, and I have to tell you, it is HARD WORK, all this research. We have to cut these in half, and then put them in our mouths. But we are doing it for YOU, our loved ones. Because not all Christmas burgers are equal, and you need to save yourself for the best. We, on the other hand, enjoying flirting with heart disease. Live dangerously, live once.

1. Byron Cheesemas: An objectively tasty burger (how can a double-cheeseburger topped with an onion ring and bacon relish not be?) but as A put it: 'What's Christmassy about it?'

2. Patty & Bun: THIS IS WHY THE HOLIDAY EXISTS. The photo above does NOT do this burger justice - it's the result of me trying to filter out the red lighting from the restaurant (speaking of, why do places use those?? It makes everything look awful!). It was hands down the juiciest turkey I think I've ever had. Like ever. It comes buttermilk fried, with sage and onion stuffing and bacon and sprouts and sausage relish and pickled red cabbage. It was the exact OPPOSITE of Byron's. It was ALL Christmas. And you wouldn't think brussels sprouts would work in a burger, would you? EXCEPT THEY DO AND I'M A FOOL FOR THINKING OTHERWISE.

3. MeatLiquor: WHAT THE HECK IS THAT SAUSAGE PATTY DOING? No amount of stuffing and gravy could save that grey squeaky slab. UGH. Next time I'll get their double cheeseburger with an onion ring and call it a day.

4. Lucky Chip: This was Alan's favourite of the bunch. It may have been mine, too, but I devoured it too quickly to tell. Really I should eat another one to double check. It was a lush deer patty with stilton cheese and a blueberry, blackberry, gin jam. I KNOW. No wonder MeatLiquor made me so mad afterward.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a guinea fowl dip bap with stuffing and cranberry sauce and gravy from The Duke's Head to try, and my home defibrillator isn't going to charge itself!

Big hugs and lots of love,
Esss


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

And we have DONE it.

OMGYOUGUYS. It's the last day of MyBloWriMo, and we have survived it once again. Well, in theory.



I'm currently on my way to some super feisty birthday tea for my friend Kaitlyn and it's gonna get REAL. I'm going to attempt to cure my head cold with some strong, burning herbal remedy. Nothing could possibly go wrong here. BECAUSE I SAID HERBAL. 


Speaking of - does anybody know if it's okay to put Olbas oil in the bath? Or Vicks? I want to mentholate my brains out next time I'm in there. Girl cannot BREATHE and Girl wants SOLUTIONS.


Okay so just now I went to get my coat for the walk to Hackney Central and saw Wolf's flannel lumberjack vest that he got in Japan and I stole it to put over my dress. I don't even feel sorry for doing this, even though it's his, even though it doesn't match what I'm wearing. It's like wearing a HUG. It is so soft and squishy and has the added benefit of looking super cool, like a cosy homeless person. He is never getting it back.


I'm looking forward to posting again soon! It may not be tomorrow - God forbid - but I am VERY good at Random Posting and in addition to Christmas shenanigans in Scotland, we're going to the Ice Hotel in Sweden for Wolf's birthday and that should not go un-talked-about. And if I can possibly do it, I may make MyBloWriMo a bi-annual affair and pick this self-torture back up in June, which also happens to be my birthday month so there will be LOTS TO BLOG ABOUT. Namely, me.

In the meantime, thank you so much for checking in this month: I appreciate every second that you gave to this/me/my ramblings. I hope you have a great holiday season, and . . . 

Big hugs and lots of love,
Essss


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

They don't call it 'dreaded' for nothing

WELL, YOUGUYS. I spent an entire season fighting the lurgy that was causing friends to drop around me, and at last it has caught up to me as well. It was only a matter of time, really: public transportation alone would've taken me down eventually. I've denied its onset for a couple of days - 'I'm sniffling because of ALLERGIES' - but this morning when I woke up, tissued glued to my cheek, I was forced to acknowledge that either allergies have gotten a lot more vicious or I've succumbed to a nasty little cold.


Man, Ron Swanson is really my spirit animal this week.

In other news, I am staying off Facebook - as a cruiser, not a poster - until I have watched the Gilmore Girls. I am determined to love it, regardless of what those 'last four words' are, and all the vague-complaints about it - even if there aren't any specific spoilers - are getting me down before I've even started. Stars Hollow is my happy place, and I won't let it be rained on!


In other news: must leave the house today, despite all desire to the contrary. This afternoon there's a CAMRA festival that oughtn't be missed, and tonight I have book club - and no sickness is going to keep me from a good old fashioned book rant. As for the other book clubbers I will be germing on:


Stay healthy, youguys, and see you tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,
Essss

p.s. I tried the Eat Festive Full Works Baguette and THIS was a Christmas sandwich! Now I've got to get my paws on their brie and truffle mac 'n cheese. I am sure it will provide just the healing I need . . .


Monday, November 28, 2016

It was no Good Wife, that's for sure.

UGH YOUGUYS. I just finished my book club reading for our meeting tomorrow and it was a big, fat pile of whyyyyyy. The chosen book was The Girls (the one based on Charles Manson's cult, so that part intrigued me, yay violence!) but the main character was just so . . . unpleasant. And the book itself (as I said to a couple friends around the 24% mark) is page after page of gross, overwritten pubescence. Her mom is weak, her crush is a loser, her friends are fat, she's obsessed with sex, and what beauty in the grotesque! The intimacy of popping pimples on the best friend's back, the 60's free-lovers with their long, split hair and scrawny, ashy knees and mosquito-scabbed ankles over bare feet splashing in algae-ridden ponds and isn't it looooovely her freckled shoulders spinning carelessly through the dust motes in the shimmer of the cracked kitchen window? Let's talk about her loose breasts and brittle fingernails again. Make it more visceral this time. Surely there's a blackhead on her sweaty neck that was missed the first go-round! HIPPIE-PROSE AND I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR IT.

I was recently part of a wonderful literary radio chat show - subject matter 'The Unlikeable Female Protagonist' and how difficult that was for Certain Genders - and one of the points of the discussion was how relatable the protagonist (male or female) had to be for enjoyment of the book to take place. I was all over the place on this matter, though I veered toward needing them not to be a-holes. I couldn't stand Jules in The Interestings and that tainted the book for me (why is she so DULL!) but somehow Humbert Humbert was okay. Holden Caulfield is absolutely intolerable to adult-me, but was adored - highlighted, dog-eared - by adolescent-me. So this is a moving target. But The Girls was basically:

Though it did make me understand how murder could happen. 

And in other news: only two days until MyBloWriMo wraps up! We all thought we wouldn't get there, but here the date fast approaches. What fortitude you've shown to THIS Unlikeable Female Protagonist. 

I hope your Mondays were slightly-more-than-decent (let's not raise the bar too high, it IS Monday, after all), and I look forward to tomorrow!

Big hugs and lots of love,
Essss