Thursday, October 30, 2014

There's a picture of Paris in here, so that has to count for something.

OMGYOUGUYS. I don't know if you've noticed, but we are back to the Old Blogger layout. Mostly because ARRRGGHHHH WIDGETS and UGGGGHHHH FUNCTIONALITY and all those other petty concerns that make a blog run. So while it's not as sexy sexy, at least it works and for today that's the kind of pony I want to ride. (Well, technically, I'd like to saunter on the Wordpress stallion, but the whole importing-tagging-domain-seo-drama is just too much for me, so the pony it is.)

On the BRIGHT side, you can now subscribe via email! See that button on the right? You should totally use that; it's way better than FB as a means of knowing when I've posted. Plus then during the month of November when I'm on here EVERY FIVE MINUTES, you'll wake up each morning to a little ping in your mailbox and isn't that a nice way to start the day? All the manic you can hold, before you've even left the bathroom!

IN OTHER NEWS, I have got a HEAD cold. Like straight-up rock-in-throat fever dreams. It's pretty tight because HELLOOOOO Nyquil, love of my heart, but it also means that I have been homebound for the past couple of days. So that's been fun. Check out all the ironing I've done. I'll be totally better tomorrow, though, I can feel it. Plus the WEEKEND. We have got priorities.

SPEAKING OF - we've got tickets to Our Town tomorrow night! I love plays, they are just too much. And they don't generally involve any pesky ballads that I may or may not fall asleep during (I'm looking at you, Lion King). I particularly love plays at the Almeida Theatre because one, it is on our doorstep along with a million lovely little restaurants which just makes for a super sweet night out, but also because it's such a tiny brilliant venue that no matter where you sit, you feel mildly concerned that the actors could - at any moment - wind up in your lap. It's wonderfully alarming, which all good plays should be. Also they get all the best productions before they go West End. Triple threat!

I found this photo when I was looking for a new masthead image and thought 'Hey, at least it's not Lake Garda!' 

Okay, I'll see you again on Saturday! I can't believe it's almost November. You are going to be getting some dodgy posts soon. Apologies in advance. Don't forget to subscribe! 

Big hugs and lots of love,

p.s. I hope you don't mind the new masthead. I tried and tried to find the original file of the previous masthead so I could re-shape and -size it, but no luck. I'll keep trying, though! I do so love this image.

Monday, October 27, 2014

On celeriac, DND, and a proper night out

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. - Oscar Wilde

OMGYOUGUYS. So this post was supposed to go out yesterday because everyone knows Sundays are Winning Blog Days and I might have actually gotten a comment that wasn't from my mom, but you know what? STUFF HAPPENS. I like to think that Mondays are the new Sundays, though, so let's carry on! *throwing on rucksack with a big harrumph* A lot is happening around here.

First item of note: we have officially met Downstairs Neighbor! His name is Duncan. DUNCAN! Downstairs Neighbor Duncan! Man. It just writes itself. DND is skinny and he has a girlfriend named Sari and she has dark hair and I already like them. Sari isn't moving in with him until January officially but she says she'll be visiting until then from her current abode in Balham because she likes to 'holiday' in Islington. Funny girl. Every day here is like a holiday, I see where she's coming from.

Second item: this is where you realise why I named the blog what I did. Because right now we are going to talk celeriac. CELERIAC. I hope you've still got that rucksack on, because this may be where you want to hoof it.

Last week I got the below celeriac in my veg box, and immediately my mom - who was in London for a day on a long layover - squealed, 'It has a smiley face!'
Seriously. I almost felt bad whacking his head in two. 

So then of course I had a celeriac to deal with, menu-wise. The rest of my veg box was easy to use - courgette frittata! buttered kale! juice up them carrots! Then this guy, with a face only my mother could love. Clearly it was soup o'clock. It was either that or a salad but with the weather turning cool, a salad just seemed so FRESH and SUMMERY and altogether WHY and also when it is cold outside, I don't know any better way to celebrate than smashing a whole bunch of vegetables together in a pot. 
Plus so many potatoes to use up. SO MANY POTATOES.

Speaking of my mom's layover: we had the LOVELIEST day together, it has got to be said. We wandered Covent Garden and Seven Dials and Carnaby Street and shopped and lunched and shopped some more and then we had the sort of sweet and nonsensical and funny chat that can only occur over a glass of wine and then returned home to pizza and a movie. I know, right! Just too much.
 Plus Neal's Yard treats everyone right. Though hey! This could be old news because I rarely make it down there, but did you know all the vegetarian cafes are closed? What on earth could possibly fill these retail spaces and remain simpatico to the spirit of the place? I hope they fill well.  *News Break over and out.*

And last but not least: Saturday night I went to a hen do! This is Brit-speak for 'bachelorette party' and after games at the bride's home (all served by a male model wearing nothing but an apron, aptly named 'Will,' which I totally wouldn't have believed for a second except he did LOOK like a Will, all ginger-shortbread-on-a-porcelain-plate) and dinner at Cafe Boheme, we went dancing and it was such fun it made me wonder why I don't go dancing more often* and also now I am looking forward to the wedding because More Dancing.

This should really say it all. I was wearing flats like the sexy thing I am. But they were GOLD, because PARTY.

Coming up soon! Chris O'Dowd and fennel. It's gonna get so real up in here.

Big hugs and lots of love,

*I suspect it is because I'm in bed by ten every night. Why can't there be any DAYtime night clubs? Dayclubs. Someone get on that. Also, make sure it has a buffet.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember Downstairs Owner? The one who gave me the keys to her flat, to the horror of us all? She's responsibly having some work done on the roof of her kitchen before the New Neighbor moves in because apparently it leaks and this was not ideal for her. (Sidebar: New Neighbor is moving in Saturday. I'm planning on making him wildly uncomfortable by bringing him homemade* welcome brownies.) Anyway, her kitchen forms our roof terrace, which meant that in order for the roofers to lay down the new concrete that would prevent rain from getting in her house, they had to pull everything off our terrace - from the decking to the planters full of dead bushes that I cultivated with the same finesse I do any green thing, namely, none, and how on earth did it die so fast - and none of this was a problem, because they would put back it all back in place when they were done.

Cue today: they are finished with her work and it's Put Back Our Stuff Time. Except rather than putting back our original decking, they appear to be out there installing NEW decking. I can tell, because this is blonde wood, and ours was black. Maybe they didn't think I'd notice. It's weirdly making me happy, because WHAT?!

In related news: last night I dragged A downstairs to check out the apartment. He was horribly, horribly uncomfortable using the key (I know, right) and made me hammer on the door for like five minutes, just to make sure nobody was in there. Then he spent the first thirty seconds yelling - as though we were in the middle of the world's loudest conversation - 'ALRIGHT, JUST MAKE SURE THEIR CEILING IS FINE!' like if someone was really in there, they'd be like, 'Oh, okay, they're just breaking into my house in the middle of the night to check on my kitchen. No problem.' It was hilarious. (Until he wouldn't let me play with anything.) I liked the space - it was tiny and dark and just what an old Victorian one-bedroom in London should be. I hope the new neighbor likes it, too, and invites us to his parties. He'll have to, because doesn't he remember when I brought him homemade* brownies?

You'll never guess where this photo was taken.

REDIRECT!** I keep reading all these articles lately about people whose lives have improved as a result of giving up coffee. I mean, yeah, but *pauses to chug third cup*

Sorry. Where was I?

Once I cooked with matcha powder (have I mentioned my friend's cookbook is coming out soon?) and that has to buy me some health points. *feels good about self, goes to turn on kettle*

Alright, I'm officially off the rails and should probably go do something that betters the world (or at least my flat). Laundry?

Big hugs and lots of love,

* Not homemade. What do I look like? 
** You can tell I was an English major because I use really graceful transitioning techniques in my writing. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horse's good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment. - Ludwig Wittgenstein 


The owner of the flat downstairs just gave me a spare set of her keys because the flat is currently empty and there are lots of workers and estate agents and other random people who go in and out all day, and naturally it makes sense for us to hold a spare key just in case. Needless to say, we won't be holding it long, as it is only a matter of time until she comes back to check on the property and finds me lying on the floor in her empty living room, wondering how long it will take my tomatoes to grow in her back garden as I stroke a cat named Downstairs-Only Kitty.

But for now, I feel drunk with power. And curiosity. What does that flat even LOOK like? Only a secret midnight visit will tell. If it's nice, I'll let you know and then you can move to London and rent it and we can be neighbors and I promise I'll never use the key I copied ten times to secret-midnight-visit you.*

Sidebar: don't you love it when you buy leggings for £4 and then ten wears later, they're practically transparent and you know if you wash them one more time, they'll just disintegrate entirely? I love that. I'm wearing a pair of them right now and I feel like a fancy lady.

See this picture? This is also Lake Garda. I am just going to keep posting these pics one at a time so that by the time November rolls around, I don't have enough for an actual blog post. That's why they call me 'Plan Ahead Rona.'

Here is a story: once upon a time, many moons ago in San Francisco, I knew a girl who met this guy at a party in the Mission, decided he was The One, and stole his handmade alpaca scarf that he got in Peru because that is what one does when one finds true love. It nearly worked: he contacted the party-goers the following week to see if anyone had accidentally picked it up, she feigned chagrin at having it, he came to her place to retrieve it. As a thank you for 'saving' his scarf, he gave her a copy of a literary magazine he published. She was more impressed by his hair than the publication, and that is how it ended up in my grubby, delighted paws. I ended up subscribing, got to know Adrian, and now, nearly ten years later, I find myself attending these wonderful and crazy nights that he hosts all over the world. If you like books, comedy, and completely-non-literary-brutal-competition, this is the STUFF. I just got tickets to London's next Literary Death Match, and here's where it gets good: YOUGUYS IT'S CHRIS O'DOWD AND NICK V. MURPHY. *cue head explosion here*

It's all too much. I can't even.

I'll leave it to you to interpret this one.

Honestly. Between this and having Downstairs Key, I don't know how my day can get any better. I need to go lie down.

Right after my Moone Boy Marathon.

Big hugs and lots of love,

*This part is not true. I will. But I will be silent, and I will only watch you for a few minutes hours while petting D-O Kitty.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"I am awesome and mighty and cannot be made small." - Tavi Gevinson

Hey hey, blogahos.

Two sweet things of note have happened recently that I would like to share and that have led to the writing of this post. One, a mighty and light-filled friend is in the process of publishing her first cookbook, and as one of her recipe-testers, I can tell you it is a winner. It is available now for pre-order and you should buy at least two (one for you to mark up and one to give to your favourite tea-drinker).  Because she is good, because this is good. She is also someone who nudges where nudges need be: in the course of our emails over the past few months, she has asked about my blog. Am I going to post anytime soon? She would like that.

I have kept that email in my inbox; it warms my wee rusty cockles. It also made me realise that I wanted to post again and that perhaps I have done myself a disservice by not continuing to cultivate this space, or at least enjoy it a bit more.

And then on Friday a friend texted me this quote from Friday Night Lights: 'Clear eyes. Full heart. Can't lose.' (Though let's be honest, she was using Cassandra-speak and said, 'Full heart, clean something can't lose.') It made me want to take the field and kick some *ss. Also, clean. (Those are the sorts of gifts Cassandra gives.)

So here I am, posting. Maybe just to see if I still have any words in me. Or maybe to see if my eyes are still clear and my heart is still full and I can't lose. Maybe this will be my personal challenge, like NaNoWriMo, except instead of a novel, I post here for thirty days in the month of November. Wouldn't that be something? (Apologies now if that happens. Who knows what nonsense will reveal itself.) I'll see if I can summon some posts in the next week or so and if it seems alright, then CRAZY LIKE A FOX.

(Coming soon: Lake Garda! I KNOW, right. You don't even want to know how long ago this was taken.)

Big hugs and lots of love,