Powered by Blogger.

9 nice things | January and February

Sort of weird to sit here writing about some nice things I bought in January, whilst some crazy bloke with a pretty small political mandate is doing some pretty crazy things. 27% of the eligible US voters chose President Trump (a little more than 27% chose Hillary Clinton) so why he thinks he can, by himself, without any approval from congress or the senate do something that so undermines the tolerance, freedom and immigration that the US was built on, blows my mind. Seems like a good way to get yourself impeached to me. I also think it is seems bizarre he chalks this up to being part of the war on terrorism - not just because the countries he's picked has nothing to do with the 9/11 hijackers - but mainly because this seems to be exactly what terrorists want. To divide us, to disrupt our lives and to make us believe they are what Islam is. But anyway, in this time when the stench of all this crazy crap is going on in some ways it can seem silly, but I think it is just as important as ever to stop and smell the roses. So without further adieu some little roses for a Sunday afternoon:

Introducing the Neighbourhood Supper Club

At my birthday barbecue in August, I was chatting to my old school friend Louise and her partner Tom about my new local Italian - Trattoria Raffaele. (New as in I am a relatively new local, Trattoria Raffaele has been around since 2008.)  It is just a teeny tiny 30-40 seater, mains £8-£15 Italian, but for a couple of weeks in 2016 it was Trip Advisor's number 1 restaurant out of all the 18,000 restaurants in London. (At the time of writing this, it is number 110, which still puts it in almost the top 0.5% of London restaurants).

Now I am not saying I would necessarily head there if I had the choice between dining in there and one of London's Michelin star, champagne soaked spots, but sometimes (especially if I just wanted to wear jeans and a jumper) I might, and it is certainly the perfect cosy Friday night dinner. If you're ever in South East London, it is definitely worth booking a table and heading down Sydenham Hill for. Order something from the specials, and smile at the waiters, who if you are lucky will feed you wine whilst you wait for your table to be set.

Tom and Louise were keen to check Trattoria Raffaele out, and spoke highly of a Turkish around the corner from them in Stoke Newington, and so, the Neighbourhood Supper Club was conceived! With all of us living across London, we thought it would be a sweet idea to visit each other's local favourites. There are 11 of us in my school friendship group still living in the London area, plus our partners, so we have plenty of locals to get through, before we are even on the second round. (I think I already have Joanna's in Crystal Palace eyed up for the next time everyone heads south of the river).

Peppermint and white hot chocolate

Taking some time to read and write blogs has made my life a little better in countless ways: it has given me the courage to make outlandish homeware decisions like buying a teal velvet upholstered bed. It has reintroduced me to the relaxing world of Lush bath bombs. It has given me a reflective, creative outlet, and introduced me to a community of thoughtful, intelligent and artistic people. And, possibly most importantly, it has led me to be the type of person who makes their own hot chocolate. Come this time of year, the supermarket aisle with the tea and coffee is stacked with all the brands and all the flavours of easy peasy just add boiling water or milk hot chocolate. So who (but maybe chefs, and chocolatiers) would forgo those aisles full of easy peasy hot chocolate to grate, and heat and simmer? Lifestyle bloggers that is who.

The best hot chocolate I've ever had was in Angelina's in Paris, where I think they just basically melt bars of chocolate and serve it in a tea cup. They give you a jug of double whipped cream to help you take away the richness. Now that is the type of hot chocolate I am talking about, one so sweet and rich that double cream waters it down. None of this add boiling water supermarket stuff.

Not being a Parisian patisserie chef I don't have the Angelina recipe (though I would suggest melting a bar of dairy milk would get you quite close) but I love this recipe from Smitten Kitchen which is still rich and intense and delicious, but is maybe a little more drinkable day to day. Every year I make Smitten Kitchen's mix to include (along side some of my own blood and sweat and tears) in Christmas hampers for my friends and family, but this year I am getting in early with a little bit of experimenting. Christmas 2017 will be a real hot chocolate treat. I've swapped a little bit of the dark rich chocolate with some sweet white chocolate, but counteracted that with some peppermint to freshen it up. The result is deliciousness, in my opinion.

7 free apps to help make 2017 your best year yet

If your New Year's Resolution was to spend less time as a screen zombie, gawping at your phone, this post is not for you. If you ideally would have liked to make a New Year's resolution to spend less time as a phone screen zombie, but decided that was all too much too soon, then this is the post for you, because this post will turn you from walking dead phone addict to a walking catwalker...(?) Ok, so I couldn't actually finish that with a nice punchline but you get the gist -

Imagine if your phone, rather than a place to lose hours scrolling through the instagram accounts of people who go on holiday more than you, actually made you happier, healthier, more productive? I don't know why I am saying this as if its a revelation, I mean we've all heard of my fitness pal. (If no, where have you been and scroll down to number fourth app mentioned below.)

But basically the premise of this post is, phones can be amazing little goal encouragers. They are with you and your eyes are clasped to them almost all the time, so they are the perfect thing to encourage you to meditate or read a poem or not eat a second slice of that red velvet cheesecake.

Happy New Year! Happy New Look!

Welcome to 2017! I hope whoever is reading this feels fresh and fabulous to face the new year and new start! But hey, if  no, everyone knows you get the 1st January off from your New Year resolutions.

My Grandpa boyfriend (not actually a Grandpa) got his turn to choose what we were doing for NYE, so instead of partying on a beach in the Philippines (my choice, last year) we stayed in just the 2 of us, ordered chinese, opened 2 bottles of champagne and played Monopoly. And actually, it was really nice and even nicer, I feel like a human being today! I have all this 1st January bounce, that has been sapped by alcohol ever since I had my first hangover. I might actually go for a run. Probably won't, but I may do.


Extra mysterious with the mug on my mug

Ok, first things first. I lied in my bio on the home page, the hip hop album thing is all a ruse to get you to this page. If you were thinking “Oh someone who not only puts thoroughly edited close ups they’ve taken of their coffees and candles on the internet but also raps. Now that is a new type of blogger” then you are wrong. I am afraid I am not, the album doesn’t exist, woopsy daisy and sorry. However, if you think Loner Lover Friend sounds like a hip hop album, that could be because it is only one word different from R. Kelly’s 1993 hit “Homie Lover Friend”.

And no, I am not some huge R. Kelly fan - though who doesn’t lose their **** a little bit when they hear “now, um, usually I don’t do this but uh, go head’ on and break em off with a little preview of the remix…” after a pina colada or two? This isn’t an R. Kelly fan site (though it is accidentally morphing into a Beyonce and/or scented candles one), and really Homie Lover Friend has nothing to do with me or this blog (though close friends and family may argue I sound like the girl described in the song, what with my “sexy gangsta way”). That is now my second lie, I absolutely have never been described like that.

I started Loner Lover Friend to try and get better at enjoying my own company, as it is not my strong suit being all by myself. In the interest of making this space as authentic as any heavily filtered corner of the internet can be, the main reason I don't like my own company is because when it is not distracted by other people (and to be honest sometimes even when it is) my brain turns against me, and fills itself with horrible thoughts, and I have a panic attack. Not surprisingly, brainstorming the 3462 different ways my loved ones might have been hurt or killed at that very moment can do that to a girl.

 But I know being happy in my own company is the root of being better company for everyone else. A better friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend, you name it. (Loner Lover Friend Daughter Sister Cousin Granddaughter Niece Colleague was already taken on blogspot sadly).

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “we must be our own before we can be anothers”. (And yes, I have just quoted Emerson and R. Kelly pretty much back to back.)

Over 2 (on and off) years into reading and writing blogs, I am not sure whether I am that much better at spending a Saturday alone, but I definitely have my own thing, a hobby that is all mine - this little space.

I have a lot of love for the blogging world - yes there is a lot of standing on tables to take flat lays of your (now cold) food, you spend an unreasonable amount of your disposable income on flowers, Jo Malone everything and picturesque cups of tea, and yeah it is a curated life you are showing to everyone, snippets of reality rather than the whole messy thing.

But I think for me, it also makes me live more purposefully, and appreciate the smallest most beautiful things like a really good hot chocolate or a bright Autumn day. It helps me feel like I’m not just hurtling through life in neutral, barely aware of my choices from my career path to how I spend my Friday night. And I think it makes me more mindful, helps me take moments and appreciate the art of slow living, the every day, life’s little knick knacks. Blogging is about happy things - the big adventures and the small things that make life, well life, and I like that.

It hasn't made my panic attacks disappear, but I like to think it has loosened their clutch on me a little bit. It has given me determination that when I am not having one, I am going to try my darndest to be as content as I can be and experience as many wonderful things as possible (rather than spending my time panicking that I am going to have a panic attack, which is not the best).

On Loner Lover Friend, you’ll find everything from my suggestions for weird and wonderful nights out in my home town of London, to recipes for ice cream sandwiches. Travel guides for 24 hours in New York City, to my experience moving in with my boyfriend, set to GIFs from Beyonce’s visual album. A post goes up every other Sunday, you can follow me if you fancy it by clicking here.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Some posts I quite like if you are too exhausted after that epic “about me” post to browse (understandable):

Out and about: A silent disco with a view and 43 thoughts you will have there (an oldie, but a goodie, in my opinion)
Miscellaneous thoughts: Going for a run
In and hosting and/or making: 3 ways to brunch with baked ricotta plus I've recently started a sort of  "real dinner parties" series where I break down all the cooking and prepping for feeding and entertaining a small gathering, as I should have done it. Because someone might as well learn from my dinner party mistakes (I certainly don't).

I also have a series, 9 nice things which posts every other month and looks back on the last month at 3 things you can buy, 3 things you can read or watch on the web, and 3 just lovely things to appreciate in the world. It then looks forward at 9 things to see, do, eat and celebrate in the month to come. A little gratitude list of past, present and future. The latest 9 nice things is here.

Plus, that link you have been waiting for from the moment I mentioned R. Kelly, now usually I don't do this but…