Lottie Loves: 36

Friday, 18 July 2014

Instagram of the week: Graduation day selfie! One of my favourite selfies, EVER!

1. I was so girly last week and got a manicure! I'm the kind of girl that is most comfortable in overalls, bare feet and in mud so it's quite a change for me. I loved it though! Even though it felt a bit like the dentist for my hands...

2. Joy! What are you doing to me?! I must make these Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls.

3. About Time. What a charming and eclectic film. Only Richard Curtis directs romantic films that I love to watch.

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2. I saw it! It did not disappoint, I even got a bit emotional (no shame). I can confirm that I still want a dragon.

5. I completely failed at cooking cous cous this week. I'm not sure how it happened but it came out like a paste. I'm grateful that J keeps quiet and eats anything I put on his plate.

6. Last weekend I was thrilled to provide the favours for a wedding. What an exciting step for Lottie's Little Kitchen and a real honour to be included in someones special day!

7. I'm drinking copious jugs of iced water in this warm and humid weather. I want to get on the flavoured water bandwagon asap!

8. Fresh flowers in the house. It's such a treat! I haven't been in my house for more than a stretch of 5 days recently, so I felt I couldn't have fresh flowers and not enjoy them completely. I always think it's kinda sad to come back home to dead flowers. But my schedule is settling down and I was treated to two bunches of flowers for my graduation. My flat is blooming again and I love it.

9. Holiday planning. Well not so much planning as toing and froing. All I want is adventure but the World has so many damn options!

10. Spending time with family. Recently and happily I've been spending a load of time with my wonderful and talented family. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have them all as my best friends.

Have a happy weekend, friends! x


Thursday, 17 July 2014

I've officially graduated!
Shaken hands with the chancellor, been handed my certificate, wore the robes and everything. It's a pretty busy day considering you're only on the stage for all of 20 seconds, but what a day to remember! My Mum managed to snap a fair few photos of the day (easy to see where I get my snap-happy tendencies from...) and I'd love to share them with you. It was a jolly occasion for sure. 
I began my day by collecting my robes and then snapchatting grad robe related jokes to everyone. I think I was just a little bit giddy. But as you can see, such a glorious robe and hood lends itself to all sorts of lols.
Also could've been mistaken for a graduate from Slytherin house.

Then I was showered with graduation flowers - lucky me! A beautiful bunch from J.

And a darling bunch of Sweet Peas from my Mum. They're so incredibly fragrant and are still perfuming my flat and brightening my day.

Then once my family + J were suited and booted we headed down to the ceremony in glorious sunshine. I sat amongst giggly graduands waiting for my name to be called.
Then my moment had come! I received my degree in English and didn't trip. Hurrah!

Looking chuffed, feeling chuffed!

An hour and a half and a bajillion fellow graduates later, and we were done and filing out! I look particularly excited but appears my attitude wasn't contagious for the boy on my right. Cheer up pal, you've just got a degree!

And look who else made it across the stage trip-free and looking dapper...

Hey there J!

Clever little chappo!

We flooded out into the courtyard and Mum spotted a golden photo opportunity by climbing up the fire escape. She's got dedication to the cause.

Best waves people! 

Then we hopped back to my flat and had a few photos in the grounds. One grownup one...

And one dementor one.
The Harry Potter opportunities are endless. 

Jumping for joy - we've graduated!

All smiles with Josie.

Then we cracked out our best dance moves to celebrate.
Strong, aren't they?

With my fantastic parents. Thanks for everything, guys!

 My supports in every way and my best pals.

And here are a couple of my favourite family shots. Josie jumps and dwarfs us all, whilst giving herself a spectacular beard. You go - Jo!

And one of my favourite photos, ever! All smiles.

After we finished with the photo session, we kicked off our shoes, shrugged off our suit jackets and robes and changed into shorts and tshirts to enjoy the sun. Dad popped open the champers and we celebrated picnic style.  

I mean who wants to sit inside when you can sprawl out on the grass with your best friends and a veritable feast! 

Glasses were raised every which way.

And we tucked in to one of the happiest meals I've had!

The rest of the day was passed in chatter and laughter. The perfect way to celebrate 3 years at Loughborough University, Josie getting into the netball England A team (SUPER STAR!!) and my parents being the bomb diggity.

A Pit Stop at The Crafters Barn

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I have a big ol' Northern blog post up my metaphorical sleeve. But I was scrolling through my archives yesterday and noticed there has been a distinct lack of food on LLK in recent weeks. This means the chunky post from upt North (said in Northern accent, obvs) has to wait in the wings whilst this baby takes the floor. Never fear though, this foodie adventure is set in Edinburgh so still has a certain Northern charm. So where are we eating? The Crafters Barn, just of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. In the perfect spot for those spending the day touristing (touristing should totally be a verb) around Edinburgh. I saw Crafters on one of Rosie's posts and I just knew I had to try it. A gourmet kitchen that is right up my street. I mean anywhere that hangs light bulbs from the ceiling in a Pintrest-y fashion has my seal of approval. 

It means I can take these pretty, blurry photos and creates a lovely warm atmosphere whilst retaining an air of cool. 

There were also candles burning in every corner, making it cosy, welcoming and incredibly photogenic. Food bloggers, rejoice! 

J and I shared the restaurant with a whole host of groups. Old couples, young couples, families, ladies who lunch and even somebody celebrating their graduation! It's always a good sign when you can happily feed the whole family.
Sometimes I wonder if people know I'm taking pictures of them... I think I got away with this one. 

When I finished embarrassing J by taking photos of strangers we snuggled into armchairs of our own. I was quite partial to this one and want one similar for reading.
Nerd, right?

When asking J to strike a pose on his sofa he came up with this. I think he was taking the piss... But we can appreciate the beauty of the window seat at least! Fab people watching.

We ordered a couple of fiery ginger beers that came in mason jars (more Pintrest-like detailing to love!!) and settled down to the menu. The lunch menu is relatively short but I would happily eat each dish. It's all very appealing, I'm not just an eager beaver chubbo.

We decided to have two small plates to start. On the left you have a Quail scotch egg, breaded haggis (yes, haggis!) and celeriac puree. When in Rome, right? And on the right there is a bowl of seriously smokey chorizo infused with Leffe blonde beer. Because who doesn't want to eat a bowl of chorizo (answer: no-one).

Dat yolk though.
J loved haggis, I was on the fence. It was a bit too herby and meaty for me. I like something a little lighter, but I'm so pleased I tried it!

Then we skipped onto the mains. I went for a seriously good tomato, basil and chilli soup served with great hunks of bread. It was rich, hot and filling without being too salty or creamy as tomato soup so often can be. I was proud of my ordering with this one. 

I mean don't you just want to dive into that bowl?
I also want Crafters crockery. What a cute soup bowl!

J went for the Mexican Fiesta Pizza. Loaded with peppers, chili beans, jalapenos, sour cream and corn chips. Annoyingly this boy was so excited I only managed to snap one picture before he devoured it. But I managed to nab a little slice and I can tell you it was carby carby heaven.

And then we were back out to explore some more Edinburgh delights! I have to say that Crafters was pretty lovely and made a great stop for lunch during a busy day in the city. And now I can't wait to share the rest of my adventures along the beautiful Northumbrian coast with you. Here's a little sneak peek!

Summer Bucket List

Monday, 7 July 2014

I've been meaning to put up this post for a while. Ever since I put down my pen and finished my degree my head has been buzzing with summer to-dos, half-planned adventures and lists of fun. And why haven't I been able to post my list of intended fun? Well I've only been having too much real-life fun! What a jolly state of affairs, hey?! But with a little breather I wanted to share with you what was on my summer bucket list. So here goes, a summer to-do list (some of which I've actually already ticked off thanks to my slow ass posting).

- Camp outside! Campfire desirable, but portable BBQ will appease my fiery, marshmallow-charring needs.

- Enjoy some live music. This is one I've already done but I'd happily let live music wash over me everyday of the week. Humans are such talented creatures!

- Go on a cycling adventure, hopefully with a picnic in my backpack. This is one I'm eager to do, and will enjoy just as soon as I fix my bike seat. Currently whenever I sit on it, it slides down and I end up cycling with my knees around my ears. But soon cycling adventure, I shall have you!

- Find and make a delicious, no churn strawberry ice cream that doesn't just taste like double cream. It can be done! I am determined.  

- Try meditation. I want to grab at least 10 minutes a day for my mind. It deserves some chill time.  

- Dip my toes in an English sea. Another one that I've already done - but more detail on that in the form of a travel post soon.

- TIE-DYE! Man I want to be one of those edgy kids in a tie dye top. This summer it will happen.

- Spend the day frolicking at an outdoor swimming pool. Hands up who loves the word frolicking? *Hands are up*.

- Travelling! My backpack and walking boots are calling my name...

- Start jotting down novel ideas. Must make the most of this mammoth summer to be as creative as humanly possible. I draw the line at drinking absinthe and lopping off my ear lobe, though. (That's one for all you VVG fans out there, holla!)

- Work on this blog! This to-do has it's very own to-do list. From buying a domain to perhaps investing in a new camera lens... Exciting (and pricey) prospects!

- Perfect a watermelon cocktail > fill a watermelon with said cocktail > drink with perhaps a small amount of sharing > fall on floor from cocktail genius.

- Try bikram yoga regardless of the fact I'm the sweatiest person ever when exercising. (Thanks for those genes, Papa).

- Create a summer playlist/revamp my iPod. I mean who STILL wants to be listening to I am titaaaaniiiiumm? (Me secretly, but I do need new songs for my awful, awful dance moves).

- Spend a day (or maybe even a weekend!!!) without my phone. Instagram can wait.


Whats on your summer bucket list, friends?  If you have anything crazy cool I want to know about it! Mainly so I can pinch the idea for my list too...

Lottie Loves: 35

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Instagram of the week: Boating in the North Sea!

1. I haven't spent much time indoors this week. I've done a lot of walking, exploring and even boating - as you can see above. I've got a tonne of adventures I can't wait to share with you, so keep your eyes peeled!

2. Making lists. There are so many things that I want/need to do at the moment. It's hard to keep on top of things sometimes and I love to make lists to keep track. They make me feel organised and sometimes I even buy new stationary to write them on. SOMEBODY STOP ME!!

3. Dipping my toes in the sea. Whenever I go to a beach, whether it be in Britain or Barbados, or in November or July, I just have to go in! Even if it's just to my ankles, I can't resist a dip. My most recent foray was into the North Sea and it was so cold my ankles went numb. Refreshing, though!

4. Have you seen Megs' post on body confidence? It's awesome! Go, you beautiful lady!

5. Whilst J is a big gamer (want to hear more about it? Check out his blog here) I'm too impatient to finish an xbox game. I do however make one exception for Lego Hobbit. If you're a fan of The Hobbit, Lego or gaming then you have to check it out! I recommend both the Harry Potter versions, too. 

6. I've nearly finished A Clash of Kings (the second book in the Game of Thrones series) and I love it! At nearly 900 pages long it's no weekend read but the quality of the characters and world is really worth getting stuck into. I'm a fan George R.R., I'm a fan.

7. The Strawberry Tart at Patisserie Valerie is dangerously good. I want more. MORE I SAY. #noregrets

8. Upholding traditions with J. Each year we do a huge summer shop at the Bullring in Birmingham. The day mostly comprises of me talking J out of ridiculous purchases but we always have such a lovely day together. And I love that we have a few traditions together.

9. This week has been crazy busy and the weekend isn't going to be any slower. I love having plans with my favourite people but I'm looking forward to a lazy day next weekend. I'm thinking a lie in, baking and perhaps a class at the gym.

10. Puppy videos are a crucial ingredient to a great weekend (and life).

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

Lottie Loves: 34

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Instagram of the week: If I were an insect, I'd like to be a bumblebee.

1. THIS Cherry Almond Dutch Baby. Bravo, Smitten Kitchen, bravo.


3. I spent 45 minutes in WH Smith this week. I spent my time browsing their card selection and picking up cards that are perfect for people I know. There birthdays aren't for months but I like to be prepared. And there is nothing better than a perfect card! Anyone else do this...?

4. I desperately want to see How To Train Your Dragon 2. I am a child. I also want a dragon.

5. I've been eating salads all week to make the most of the hot weather. I love stretching out my salad repertoire and moving away from my usual recipes. You've gotta try out this Curried Chicken and Mango Salad - delish! And so filling. Salads FTW!

6. If you're as nutty about Harry Potter as I am, you'll appreciate these 29 Times Tumblr Raised Serious Questions about Harry Potter. 26 made me laugh, a lot.

7. I'm trying to fill the Game of Thrones hole in my life. J and I have picked up Hannibal season two but it's just a bit too creepy for me. And there's no Peter Dinklage.

8. I love Rosie's vlogs. Such lovely snippets of her daily life!

9. 10 ways you're making your life harder than it has to be. Simplify.

10.Wimbledon! Who else is loving? I'm hoping to go next week - hopefully the weather will hold out and let me get near Rafa...

Have a happy weekend, friends! x

A 21st and an 80th Birthday

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Last weekend I had two very important birthday parties written into my diary. The first was my Granddad's 80th, who is undoubtedly a dude by the way. The second was J's 21st - another dude, I'd say! I was super excited for this birthday bonanza weekend to begin and made sure to have my camera on me at all times to record as many moments as possible. I was that excited, I even made J do a couple of shots before we hit the road for the weekend. Long suffering, that one. 

They weren't all posed and regular though - I made sure to chuck a few crazy ones in there. Then we were off! 

Just over an hour later and we were settling down at a table that was almost floating off to the ceiling with 80th balloons. 

And all to celebrate this chap's birthday!

The usual suspects were there to celebrate - hey, Jo!

A group of siblings and spouses...

and of course my parents were there chatting away too.

Josie spent most of lunch chuckling away with my lovely Grandma.

And they smiled on demand for me! Darlings.

Josie was also found horsing around with my maternal grandmother. 

And then both my grandmothers were giggling together. As you might be able to see - there is a lot of laughter in this family.

Of course we fitted in some food too - I only snapped a creme brulee but I also ate a slice of pie the size of my head (by 'I ate' I mean 'half ate and Josie finished it off'). 

And then there was of course birthday cake, clapping and raised glasses to the main man!

After all the candles were blown out there was enough time of a cuddle...

And a photo opportunity...

... or two! Hugs, kisses and best wishes were exchanged before we all waved goodbye with smiles on our faces. Cheers to you, Grandad - you're the bomb diggity!

The next day was J's 21st birthday! As you can imagine, we had something sophisticated, grown up and mature lined up to celebrate...

Oh yes, we went to Legoland. J, myself and 6 other adults.

I put on my best 5-old-face and started posing with the Lego. First up - Yoda. 

J was taken with Yoda too. 

Although saying that, he was taken with most of them. Photo taking OVERLOAD.

We continued to hare round like children, taking on Legoland's maze in 5 minutes flat! Everyone else opted for a more leisurely pace and look like grownups. But they couldn't say they were Kings of the Castle, so swings and roundabouts really.  

Then we checked out Legoland's Miniland. Check out London below made entirely of Lego. This is cool apparently...

Well J and his Dad obviously thought so, anyway!

A ride or two and we were quite ready for lunch!

We enjoyed all sorts of goodies including quiche, chicken, sandwiches and THIS 3 tier chocolate fudge cake adorned with sprinkles because, birthday.

I've been meaning to blog this recipe for you but keep forgetting to photograph it. I will write on it eventually - it is UH-MAZING. 

Bubbles were poured, happy birthday was sung and candles were blown out. Then after getting thoroughly soaked on the log flume in the afternoon we headed back home for a few more birthday surprises.

I made J wait in the car whilst I set up balloons, banners and all sorts of other birthday goodies. 

Including some presents (yes that is Thomas the Tank Engine paper...)

And pokemon birthday cupcakes! J is certainly still young at heart.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was set up on DVD (because Richard Griffiths as Vernon Dursley should be featured on every birthday) and I let J in!

He was particularly fond of the Pokemon cupcakes!

 Happy birthday, honey bee!

I had such a wonderful weekend celebrating birthdays with all the people I love the most. Here's to the next one, chaps!

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