We were so happy when we heard that the lovely Ruth Clowes was returning to blogging at Clarendon Spark - a blog devoted to the past and present of one of our favourite parts of Leicester - especially as it gave us an excuse to ask her a few questions about her weekend habits...!
What do you do for work?
I'm a communications manager for a charity. I also do a bit of freelance writing on the side, including writing about Leicestershire and Rutland's restaurants for Food and Drink Guides. This is brilliant because it combines two of my great passions - writing and eating delicious food.
What's your proudest career moment so far?
You won't find this on my CV, but my proudest career moment was in 2001, when I had a summer job at the Jodrell Bank Observatory café. A hero of mine, Sir Patrick Moore, was visiting the observatory (it houses one of the most powerful radio telescopes in the world) and popped into the café for lunch. I had the honour of serving him up a humble portion of sausage, chips and beans. I was seriously star struck (pun intended).
What's your favourite way to relax and unwind after a busy day?
A bit of escapism works wonders. If my day has been particularly stressful I like to spend some time researching wherever I'm going next on holiday and maybe making a few restaurant bookings or practicing ordering a coffee in the local language.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Along with everyone else in my class at primary school, I wanted to be an astronaut. I think we must have done a class project on space and we all got a bit carried away. We didn't just have vague aspirations to become astronauts - we were genuinely convinced that it was going to happen and that the lot of us were going to join NASA and jet off to Mars together. I don't think anyone in the class realised this ambition, although I did at least get to meet Sir Patrick.
What are your favourite pastimes outside of work?
I'm incredibly faddy. Apart from the obvious things that everyone does in their spare time like drinking gin and watching Lucy Worsley documentaries, my favourite hobbies change frequently. I'll probably be onto something else by the time you publish this, but right now I'm enjoying knitting, origami and the board game Carcassonne. Obviously, I'm hugely geeky as well as incredibly faddy.
What's your favourite thing about living in Clarendon Park?
Clarendon Park has got that whole 'village within the city' vibe going on. I love the number of independent shops and businesses in the area. Along with the high student population and the strong sense of community, it makes for a vibrant and laid-back atmosphere.
When is your weekend?
My weekend starts at 5pm on Friday afternoon and doesn't end until I arrive at work on Monday morning. That's 64 hours of solid back-to-back weekend loveliness.
What's a typical weekend look like for you?
My partner and I are both very busy at work right now, so our weekends are precious and we try to keep them as tranquil as possible. Friday evenings invariably involve a trip to Babelas on Queens Road for a few glasses of The Crossings and a cheese board. Saturday mornings are generally given over to chores but the rest of the weekend is a heady mix of tasty food, frequent macchiato breaks, blogging, reading, Yahtzee and general restorative vegetation.
Although I'm a lover of routine, I try to make sure each weekend involves something novel, which is invariably a visit to a new independent café, restaurant or shop somewhere in Leicestershire. Last weekend I spent an evening at the fabulous Delilah deli in St Martins at a 'Four Corners' wine and food tasting event.
Your ideal weekend break...
A lazy few days somewhere in Europe with a pretty old town. No itinerary or pre-bookings or 'must-dos', just plenty of sitting outside sunny cafes, wandering through cobbled streets, soaking up the atmosphere, taking photos and eating delicious food.
Your ideal Sunday menu...
Breakfast: Boiled eggs and soldiers on a sunny balcony overlooking a sleepy town square
Lunch: A picnic in the park with friends - delicious morsels picked up from a local deli on the way
Dinner: Loads of tiny courses and matched wines somewhere fancy. John's House in Mountsorrel will do very nicely.
Do you have a signature dish you like to cook?
I love making frittatas because they're so quick and easy and a really good way of using up tasty leftovers. Just chuck it all in pan, cook everything through and pour some beaten eggs on top. Finish it off with a good thick layer of grilled cheese. It's not very sophisticated but it's always tasty.
What's in your fridge?
There's a Brockleby's Wild Deer Pie that I bought at the Clarendon Park Summer Fair in there right now with my name on it. Also a big pot of posh gravy to go with it.
QUICK FIRE - without too much thought, name your absolute favourite...
Book: An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
Film: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, or anything else directed by Wes Anderson
TV Series: The Sky at Night
Holiday destination: Cadiz, Spain
Museum: Musée Rodin, Paris
What is your guilty pleasure?
Raw bacon. Preferably smoked. Straight from the packet.