Food Porn Friday

That's right, I'm just gonna hit you up straight away with the money shot. I won't be a tease. Just look at that cheese...

So as last Friday was payday Carl and I decided to indulge ourselves with some serious filth. We'd normally go on a "hot date" on a payday Friday, but when he's playing rugby the next day we can't really get away with having drinks so he doesn't have a sore head the next day (roll on the summer when I'll stop being a rugby widow!).

He decided he really wanted burgers and macaroni cheese,which I thought was a bit random at first but later discovered was pure genius. After a quick Pinterest search while ambling round Sainsburys after work, we decided to loosely base our burgers on Jamie's Insanity Burger, and found a recipe for Mac N Cheese on BBC's Good Food website. For the meat, we opted for Sainsbury's finest steak burgers which turned out to be excellent, but we were let down by the bread. There wasn't a great selection of buns. Should have gone to 'Trose for some brioche action! For the macaroni we didn't have any stale bread so just used normal dried breadcrumbs which were fine. Just make sure you opt for extra mature cheddar if you decide to make this. Think it made all the difference!

The best bit about the Jamie recipe was the 'burger sauce' which consisted of finely chopped lettuce, mayo, ketchup, Tabasco and Worcester sauce. Combined with the hefty burgers, mustard and gherkins, this sauce turned our burgers into a proper treat. Will definitely be whipping up batches of this sauce when barbecue season rolls round!

So much cheese...

Is your mouth watering yet?

That last picture is a lie. There definitely weren't any leftovers. Not that there ever are with Carl around... 

Well this has made me well and truly starving! What's your favourite burger combo? Let me know in the comments.

Kirstie xo.

#TMBT: Paris

Another proper throwback for you this week, all the way back to 2007. Did you enjoy last week's trip to Venice? Well today we're going back to Paris, and incidentally for another 'school' trip, except this time was during University. I studied History of Art and the module at the time was focusing on French art pre-the revolution, so Paris was a natural fit.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was seeing the Palace of Versaille. I was obsessed with the Marie Antoinette film by Sofia Coppola starring Kirsten Dunst that had not long been out, so loved experiencing the grandiose rooms of the palace and seeing the little village she created for herself, among her grounds. The gardens themselves were breathtaking, but as we visited during winter lots of the sculptures were covered over. I vowed then that I'd head back one day in summer to see the gardens in all their glory; eight years later I still haven't been back!

That's the trouble with working in travel I guess; too many places keep being added to my wishlist.

Anyway, you know the 'artsy' vibe I mentioned in my Venice photos? Well it's definitely still creeping in to these pictures that were also dug up from the Flickr archive. I also want to note that my camera at the time was bloody awful. I tried to edit out some of the grainyness but to no avail, so you'll just have to go with it. Maybe it adds a certain edgyness? Ha, who am I kidding?

Spot the grainy Eiffel Tower

Shameless mirror selfie in The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

Check out Marie's love of Leopard Print...

*Le sigh* Another one of the things I loved about Paris was the food. I've blogged before about trying to recreate the best meal I've ever eaten with a recipe for Provencal style chicken casserole with Dauphinoise potatoes and green beans which you can find here. Send me a tweet if you decide to make it! Or let me know if you've enjoyed this little nostalgique look back through my photos of Paris, I'm at @btwncandc

Until next Tuesday! 
Kirstie xo.

Meet Hoppy

Hello again, hope you're having a good week? Today I wanted to introduce you to a little guy that's been in my life since Christmas, who I've been meaning to show to you since then. His name is Hoppy and looks a little something like this...

Ok I'm going to stop referring to my necklace as an actual alive being now. But look how cute! I got this from The Boyfriend for Christmas and I absolutely love it. I wanted a small necklace I could wear every day when I don't have on a chunky statement necklace, and that would remind me of him. I think the one he chose is so perfect as reminds me of the first time I met one of his younger cousins and she kept calling him Hoppy (long story about him being in a cast for ages...) which I thought was the cutest nickname ever. Little hoppy bunny. Quite ironic for a beefy rugby player!

Anyway it's from the designer Alex Monroe; I hadn't heard of the brand before but after spying online I'm totally in love with the range and do recognise the Bumble Bee pendants. I really like a pair of Swallow stud earrings which are a bargain at £405. Ahem. Maybe next Christmas?

Do you like him? Let me know what Alex Monroe piece you're a fan of in the comments or send me a tweet @btwncandc

Kirstie xo.

#TMBT: Venice

I think this will probably be the furthest back I'll take you in one of these #TakeMeBackTuesday posts. Today we're heading all the way back to 2005 and hopping on over to Venice, Italy. This was my first ever trip to Italy and it was an immediate love affair. I went as part of an Art trip, and at the time was really *into* photography, and probably still under the impression I'd be off to Art College to 'hone my craft'. I can't believe it's been 10 years since then.

So these are some photos from the trip that I managed to dig up from my old Flickr account. I think you can definitely tell from the tone of the photos that I was into the artsy vibe...

The Rialto Bridge

Bare feet on Murano

Fleeting moments in St Mark's Square
A curious little boy who I remember took imaginary photographs with his toy camera

Looking back through these photos actually makes me feel so nostalgic. Not just for Venice, which I loved, but for that feeling of ambition and pride in my photography. A moment of my life that always stands out is when I went for my interview for my foundation year at Art College, and talking through my portfolio the interviewer being really impressed with my photos. 

Turned out that I decided to go on to do History of Art instead and sort of left photography behind. It's something I've always wanted to get back into, I guess I just feel like everyone is into photography these days. Not that that should stop me, I don't know. We'll see. 

For now I hope you enjoyed this slice of Italian imagery. I've got some photographs of Rome knocking around somewhere that I'll try and dig out for another of these #TMBT posts.

What's your favourite place in Italy? I'm hoping to tick off Florence and Naples next!

Kirstie xo.

Valentines in Harrogate

Happy Sunday! Hope you've had a good weekend? I can't believe how quickly mine has gone. So not ready for it to be Monday again in the morning. We've spent most of the weekend decorating so finally the bathroom is finished for now. We still need to add the finishing touches of skirting board and architrave but we've done all the hard work for now. Hoorah.

Anyway I thought I would share some snaps from last weekend, as managed to spend a rare Saturday with The Boyfriend. His break in the rugby season happened to coincide with Valentines Day, otherwise I'd have had a hot date with my paint roller. We decided to drive over to Harrogate which is only about 40 minutes from where we live, and hadn't yet been there together.

We started our little day date with coffee and cake (and a cheese and ham toastie for The Boy) in a cute little coffee shop. Apart from my own (I'm not shy of saying I make a mean brownie) it was the best brownie I've ever bought. Topped with pistachio nuts and perfectly gooey in the middle; a definite winner. The coffee was rather lovely too.

Next I suggested we "pop into" Jo Malone for "a browse". A nice surprise was that being Valentines Day we were greeted with a glass of champagne which I think definitely helped loosen up The Boy's purse strings, as he treated me to a bottle of some gorgeous smelling perfume. It was a close call between Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Vanilla & Anise, but the Vanilla just tipped it. Again as a Valentines treat they included two cute little sample bottles of Red Roses and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily. I like the Ginger one but really not a fan of anything Rose scented which is a shame

Next we mooched around the shops, which I thought were quite similar to the shops in York, before heading back out of town for our lunch. My friend at work had recommended The Pine Marten which was a 5 minute drive from the centre, and I'm so glad we listened to her suggestion. It had a lovely, countryside feel with a huge roaring fire and wood paneled dining room. It was a little bit quiet for my liking, but I guessed most people would have been headed there for Valentines night rather than at lunchtime.

To start we shared a platter of different types of pork which was delicious (apart from the unnecessary addition of watermelon, yuk!) then I opted for the roast lamb while he devoured a huge steak. I was secretly jealous of his chips which looked divine. The food was perfect and just what we wanted. I'd definitely go back, especially as the outside space looked like a gorgeous place to spend a summer evening.

We spent the rest of the day back in York watching the Six Nations at the pub, then cosied up with a DVD. All in all it was a perfect day and so nice to be able to spend some time together outside in civilization, not imprisoned by having to work on the house.

How did you spend your Valentines Day? Let me know in the comments or send me a tweet @btwncandc

Kirstie xo.

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