Here are the top 12 things you might like to know about me
I’ve gone gluten-free. After 8 years of will she/won’t she be eating gluten this week my health decided I had to fully commit. I made the transition in Autumn 2016 and haven’t looked back. So, there are many recipes on the blog which don’t quite fit in with the way I now eat but they are so good I couldn’t bear to part with them. These days I only publish gluten-free recipes and sell gluten-free cakes at my cake stall. It’s opened up my eyes to so many different ingredients and made me think about my recipes a lot more. I cook almost everything from scratch and avoid processed food as much as possible. Although that means I can still eat chocolate. Plenty and plenty of chocolate.
In June 2015 I was blessed with the utterly fabulous Cole. So if I am not posting here or hanging out at my cake stall you can find me in the company of my strong-willed, affectionate and fun-loving son. We might be at a toddler class singing Twinkle Twinkle for the zillionth time, baking flapjacks in the kitchen, or visiting the swings in Finsbury Park. If you’re lucky you can even catch us mid-tantrum because I won’t let him watch TV, drink my tea or play with the knobs of the oven. Our house is a constant tip, to-do lists don’t get done the same as they used to and I am rarely wearing matching socks as my life now happily revolves around raising this tiny human.
I am a bit obsessed with my pets. I work from home and spend most of my time with Cole and my three little monsters, Willow, Wesley and Billy Buddy. The three of them follow Cole and I from room to room like little shadows and are the heart of our household. I have always been around cats which were my absolute favourite animal and topic of conversation from a young age and I am convinced that one day I will be that crazy old cat lady who lives with hundreds of feline friends and chases the local children away with a broom. However, Billy Buddy is the first dog I have ever lived with and now I’m not sure I could ever be without a dog either, despite the fact that we’ve had to come to terms with the fact that our house will from now on be in perpetual chaos.
I like musicals. No, scratch that, I love musicals and to make matters worse I really like to sing along to them. My most likely to be at school was the lead role in Rent, which I must have seen a dozen times, and I still really feel that one day I could be cast in a one-man-band type production of it, I will more than happily play every role and sing all the different parts just in case you’re looking for someone to do that. So if you had any respect for me before (of course you didn’t I’m the crazy cat lady) then you now realise how foolish you were.
I live in Stroud Green, North London which is a colourful stretch of town between Finsbury Park and Crouch End. It’s brilliant living here as we have a great range of local restaurants on our doorstep like Max’s Sandwich Shop, Season and Petek and the fantastic North London boozers The Old Dairy, The Stapleton and the Faltering Fallback. We have lovely vintage shops, small boutiques and delis aplenty. Plus our nearest tube is Finsbury Park which I think is the most useful tube station in London, it only takes 12 minutes to get to the centre of town and never seems to be stricken by tube strikes or snow days. The best thing about Stroud Green though is Parkland Walk, the old abandoned railway line which is now a nature reserve. It’s a beautiful wooded pathway, about 5km long and is where we take Billy Buddy for his walk every day, it’s practically like living in the countryside.
I studied Film and Literature at The University of Warwick. This is ironic as even though I am very well versed in the French New Wave, Scorsese, the gothic novel and 19th century American literature, it that doesn’t stop me from having the most flimsy tastes in film and books that it’s possible to have. Plus I’m not even ashamed of it. Give me Gone with the Wind, When Harry Met Sally, The Notebook and 50 First Dates any day over Citizen Kane and War and Peace. My favourite authors are Fiona Walker, Sarah Addison Allen and Sophie Kinsella which tells you all you need to know, I am a sucker for a bit of romance with a laugh or two thrown in for good measure.
I went to an all girls boarding school. Tuck boxes, mufti, exeats and prep were a big thing back in the day. We spent a term in the Dordogne, France, tennis coaching was mandatory, we played lacrosse which we called lax without irony, we had our own chapel, had music lessons in the cloisters and I got an A-level in Latin. Even I can’t believe that last one.
I belong to the Stroud Green Women’s Institute. A few years ago most of my friends moved out of London, either because of jobs, moving in with boyfriends who lived far away or basically because they were sick of London. I suddenly found myself a billy-no-mates so I joined the Stroud Green WI. We meet once a month with plenty of homemade cake and get involved in all sorts of things like calligraphy, how to make your own lip balm and quilting and we are visited by brilliant speakers on topics like forensic science, beekeeping and cheese making. We also organise the Stroud Green WInter Fair every November which is the highlight of our local calendar.
I used to be a TV Producer but gave up working as a Producer full-time in July 2013 to umm and ahh for the next few months about what I wanted to do and it’s brought me here. When I’m not running around after an errant toddler I write a food blog, I have a market stall selling my own cakes and preserves and I bake cakes for people that ask me to.
I love to travel and my most favourite places I have been to are Vietnam, the Deep South, Mexico, Spain and California. Of course, I travel mainly for the food so my stomach tends to govern what country I go to next. I also spent three months volunteering in Ghana in my early twenties. Plus I just can’t get enough of my own fair isle. Discovering all sorts of nooks and crannies of the UK is one of my favourite things to do.
I am a big fan of TV. I watch it a lot and get far too involved with the characters believing them to be my friends and mistaking the storylines for actually what’s happening in real life. I also love to read reviews and recaps of every episode of TV I’ve seen. I even read those of the shows that I don’t watch. My favourite programme is of course Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve seen the whole thing end to end more times than I choose to admit and has also made me a huge Whedonite. So it goes without saying that I also love Angel and Firefly and will tolerate Dollhouse more than the average TV viewer. I also love love Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Arrested Development, Felicity, Party Down, Greys Anatomy, iZombie, Gavin and Stacey, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and the first few series of How I Met Your Mother. Yup, there’s a bit of a pattern emerging with my cultural touchstones.
The University of Warwick not only set me on a path of film and literature enlightenment but also introduced me to the best part of my life as that is where I met my husband and daddy to the Cole Bear. He is the poor suffering soul who puts up with my cat obsession, my incessant warbling at inconvenient times and unsuitable pitches, my constant haranguing for him to make me a gin and tonic (his really are the best in the world), my inability to clean anything at all except the kitchen, my frustrating determination that I must never go back, ever, or I might die and my constant yo-yo dieting – I can never remember if I’m supposed to be eating carbs that week, but I fully expect him to. And he has also watched Buffy the Musical with me about eleven-hundred times without nary a complaint. He’s the best.