Happy Friday!


Happy Friday!


 I was pretty sceptical  about instagram stories at first, being a fan of a well curated insta feed and all. I've certainly never felt the draw of snap chat and a break away from the delightful square format felt messy and unstructured. Then I stumbled across a few fellow instagramers who were using stories as an opportunity for fresh creativity and ideas, one such lady is 5ft inf and i'm a big fan of her 'Animated stills'. Over on the 5ft inf blog Phillipa has given some insight into the process she uses and I've been inspired to create a few of my own, available for viewing now on the TWC instagram feed plus a few silly ones will be popping up sporadically via my own personal IG in stories.

My current favourite food blog is Lady & Pups 'an angry food blog' combining beautiful photography with great recipes and storytelling. Recipes are also offered in gram measurements which always pleases me. 

TWC friend Kenton Hall's movie 'A dozen summers' was released on DVD this week, you can order your copy here

To mark the launch of the City Festival this weekend there is an outdoor screening of The Jungle Book this evening (Fingers crossed the weather will brighten up!) You can find out more about the city festival and the events over the next week here


I'm spending a good portion of my time working in Reading at the moment, which is conveniently located for popping on a train to London for an evening. And I've been lucky enough to see two top class theatre productions as a result, in the past fortnight - one at the Old Vic and the other at the Young! 

Unfortunately I think Yerma, starring Billie Piper, is now sold out - but there's always the chance of returned tickets on the day. It's one of the most powerful productions I've ever seen on stage, and the reviews are spot-on: Billie really is fantastic as the lead character desperately chasing her desire to have a baby.

The good news is, there still seems to be seats available for Tim Minchin's re-imagining of the film Groundhog Day, as a stage musical. Very funny, very clever staging, hugely recommended. I'd happily see it again, and again, and... you get the joke.




A beginners guide to... Antiquing


A beginners guide to... Antiquing

I must confess to being a bit of a hoarder, if I haven't done so already. So any activity that involves hunting for treasure and rifling through rails of vintage clobber is right up my street. Back in June I had my first experience of Newark International Antiques & collectors Fair. I arrived at the Newark show ground to meet up with TWC friend and Contributor Matthew Cook who had offered to tutor me in the ways of antiquing. Matthew has an incredible eye for vintage bargains and is friends with many of the collectors so I was in good hands and certain not to be swindled.

Things I learnt from my first day antiquing...

  • Start early if you want to catch the best bargains.
  • Cash is the only currency, set a spending budget and only take as much as you want to spend (Sound, solid advice from Matthew, it would be quite easy to get carried away!)
  • Go with a clear idea of what items you would like to purchase, with so much to see one can easily veer off track.
  • The fair is enormous, the largest in Europe, it took us around two and a half hours to stroll round.
  • Larger items can be purchased then left with the dealer for collection later,  just be sure to remember which stand you purchased from!
  • Bartering is acceptable, most dealers will be prepared to cut you a deal if you wish to purchase a couple of items from their stand.
  • That being said, try not to fall in love with the most expensive product at the fair, some items really are unique, rare and special. 
  • Beware of impostor products- a week before my visit to Newark I'd taken a trip to The Range and purchased a large glass vase for a very reasonable price. I saw the same product on one of the stands being sold at a tremendous uplift.
  • Look for signs of authenticity- hallmarks on silver, branding on ceramics, it's all about the finer details.
  • Don't be put off by years of grime- tremendous beauty can be revealed through a bit of scrubbing and you're giving products a new lease of life.
  • However, do avoid rust, cracks and scratches.

Needles to say, i'm clearly a natural when it comes to antiquing (Or adding to my hoard, depending on which way you look at it.) by the end of our trip my treasure included three cake knives, one vintage mirror, five cake stands and one vintage Hovis loaf tin. Not bad for a morning's work!

Newark antiques fair is on this week, Thursday 18th to Friday 19th August at the Newark showground. Do let us know if you have any antiquing tips to share!


Weekend Review: Dimple Patel


Weekend Review: Dimple Patel

Had a good weekend? It was a busy one for today's reviewer, Dimple Patel - who is currently preparing to launch an exciting radio project in her home city... (which isn't New York!)

What do you do for work?

I'm a freelance radio producer, I make radio programmes, develop radio projects and train people in audio storytelling.

What has inspired your current radio project?

My current radio project is establishing and running a refugee arts station called Sanctuary Radio. It's a pop-up internet radio station from 18th August to 11th September, with programmes produced and presented by refugees and asylum seekers in Leicester. My inspiration came from events that I'd been to showcasing refugee arts and I remember seeing some fascinating work by artists, filmmakers and musicians, and thinking people should know about this.

What's been your proudest career moment so far?

Probably last year when one of my radio projects was part of an exhibition called Adopting Britain at Southbank Centre in London. The project was a collection of migrant stories of people who had moved to Leicester and the exhibition curators designed a special listening post with my audio stories. I was invited to the launch and I was able to take some of the wonderful people I had the privilege to interview to the exhibition too, including a 93 year old WW2 refugee. She first went to the Royal Festival Hall when it opened as part of The Festival of Britain in 1951, as a 'Tonic to the Nation' after the devastation of WW2, and so to go back again over 60 years later to see people listening to her life story in there was quite special. I felt proud that day. 

And your biggest achievement outside of work?

Having managed to buy a home feels like a big achievement!

When is your weekend?

For the past seven years, in my last job, I worked four days a week and had Fridays off - so I've got used to a three day weekend! It's great because you have one day to wind down and then you still have Saturday and Sunday. I still like to stick to the three day weekend as much as I can.

How did you spend this weekend?

On Saturday I went to Leicester Caribbean Carnival. I was working at a stall with Radio2Funky - which is an online urban music radio station. Luckily my work doesn't often feel like work. The weather was hot, I saw friends, ate some good Caribbean food - tried curried goat for the first time.
On Sunday I went to Crawley in Sussex to see my brother, sister-in-law, nephews and niece as they are visiting from Singapore where they live now. We spent four hours in motorway traffic, so it took twice as long as it should have! But I had a lovely day once I got there. It was the twins' birthday so I bought them Leicester City football shirts, and of course one for their older brother too. They were following the Leicester City story out in Singapore, so the shirts went down well.
I also had the chance to tie a rakhi on my brother's wrists as a sister's blessing for a Hindu festival called Raksha Bandan. It's actually not until next week and normally I'd have to post it, but as my brother was here we did it early. I got a nice gift from my brother too, which is also part of the tradition!

How typical was it for you?

Not very typical - it just happened to be a busy one. 

What's your ideal Sunday menu - with no restrictions?

Breakfast: Eggs royale and a cappuccino - al fresco in a warm climate.
Lunch: Roast dinner - a late lunch - made by Jamie Oliver.
Dinner: I wouldn't be that hungry after a late roast dinner, but I'd have a dessert featuring chocolate and then a savoury midnight snack!
I'd be with loved ones for all the meals.

What's in your fridge?

Not a lot today - broccoli, spring onions, spinach, tomatoes, cheese (feta, cheddar, parmesan), watermelon, raspberries, garlic bread, various chutneys, half a bottle of wine... I need to go food shopping.

QUICK FIRE - without much thought, name your absolute favourite...

Book: 84, Charing Cross Road - by Helene Hanff
Film: 2 Days in New York - it makes me laugh.
Holiday destination: NYC... but also Vietnam
Museum: MIA (The Museum of Islamic Art) in Doha, for the building itself
Exercise: Yoga

How can people follow what you do and get in contact?

You can find me on Twitter @_dimplepatel


Recipe: Pina Colada Granita


Recipe: Pina Colada Granita

If you Like Pina Colada, and getting caught in the rain...

Then i've a rather fabulous recipe for you today. It's been a while since I posted a recipe, my bad. Yes the great British summertime is upon us with ever variable  & inconsistent weather. I'd planned this recipe in for a couple of weeks ago when the weather was scorchio, but hey,  you know, life and stuff intervened. So, here we are, unpredictability abounds and once again we need to pack all the things into the handbag before leaving the house: sunglasses, umbrella, wellies etc. To take or not to take the coat? That is the burning question. Largely if I take the coat I know the weather will be fine, if I decide to chance without it then theres bound to be a full blown thunderstorm. I had quite the comedy moment just a few weeks ago outside Radio Leicester when my golfing umbrella blew clean inside out, I honestly did not know this was possible with a golfing umbrella and i'm fairly sure Mary Poppins didn't have to put up with this sort of shit.

The important thing is Pina Coladas exude summer, and they can be enjoyed in the rain thus making them officially the best cocktail for British summertime. This recipe can be served straight up if it's a bit chilly, but if the weather should take a sudden turn then granita is most definitely the way. Alternatively, this could be made on a rainy day and stored in the freezer until a sunshine occasion should present itself. The decision is yours. 

You will need...

  • 250ml coconut milk
  • 150ml pineapple juice
  • 100g pineapple, peeled and diced
  • 50ml white rum (Optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar or alternative sweetener
  • Pineapple & maraschino cherries to garnish

Place the coconut milk, pineapple, pineapple juice, rum and sugar into a food processor or blender and blitz until completely smooth. Freeze for 1 hour then scrape the frozen edges into the centre with a fork. Repeat this process every half hour until the granita is completely frozen, this should take around 2-3 hours. Store in the freezer until ready to use, to serve scrape the surface of the granita to break up the flakes once more. 

Spoon into glasses and garnish with pineapple, cherries and cocktail umbrellas, if you happen to have them to hand, just in case of rain.


Happy Friday!


Happy Friday!

It's almost the weekend and to get you in the mood here's some things we're looking forward to...

Tonight you can catch a special David Bowie themed Prom, streamed live from the Royal Albert Hall by the BBC - Becca is seriously considering face paint for the occasion.

We're planning to catch some Modern craft next week at LCB Depot in Leicester. Ornamentum are group of Leicestershire based designer makers and their Precious objects exhibition runs from 2nd to 16th August.

Beautiful cook books on Elle's wish list include Ruby Tandoh's Flavour (Love Ruby's mantra, "eat what you love!") and Georgina Hayden's Stirring Slowly


Travel: A day at Sandringham


Travel: A day at Sandringham

We're big fans of Norfolk and have reported back from holidays there - including one weekend together - a number of times (see here, here, here and here for examples!)

So it's no real surprise that I found myself back in the eastern county just a few weeks ago, when Paul and myself gatecrashed my parents' summer holiday.

Most of our break was spent in and around our beach-side cottage and nearby Hunstanton - playing the 2p machines, eating our weight in fish and chips, taking short walks with the dog, playing board games and watching Wimbledon on the telly.

However, within this busy schedule, we (that is me, mum and Paul - dad took the opportunity to enjoy some time without us!) did find time for a day trip to the Queen's Norfolk retreat.

I'd visited Sandringham once before as a child, but only had a hazy recollection of standing by neatly trimmed hedges with my Granny, on a hot summer day. I'll definitely remember it clearly the second time round.

First stop was the museum, which contained a number of interesting displays on the history of the house and the Royals' relationship with it since 1862, plus a selection of vintage vehicles and gifted objects from all around the world. I was particularly amazed by a mini replica of a James Bond car, made for one of the princes, which took three months to make - who knows how much that's worth!

After refuelling at the stable cafe (one of the best cheese scones I've ever had) we headed into the house itself. Only a section of the downstairs is open, but as someone who can quickly develop "museum lethargy" I actually preferred this  - not to say I wouldn't have jumped at the opportunity to peek inside the Queen's bedroom given half the chance!

Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere in the world.”
— King George V

The thing that really made the house visit special was the attitude and the knowledge of the museum guides, who were dotted around each room. Not only did they know their stuff, but they delivered interesting nuggets of information with humour and energy which really got across the history of the house, but how the rooms are still used today. I'm not sure I entirely believe that Prince Philip himself uses a ride on mower to trim the grass, as one guide suggested...!

However the star attraction, particularly on a sunny day, has to be the 24 hectares of gardens. They're a mixture of highly manicured and more natural landscaping, dotted with sculptures, and overall stunningly beautiful. We took in the beautiful view looking back at the house, as we strolled over to the estate church, and wished we were floating in a boat on the lake.

Altogether we spent around four hours exploring the house and grounds, which felt a good length of time, before making our way back to our home-away-from-home on the coast. A fully recommended trip out.

Have you visited Sandringham - what were your impressions? What's your tip for a sunny day trip out in your neck of the woods?