FriendsFest

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I am sorry, but don’t you know just by looking at this picture what series this is from?

That’s right. Friends. The most recognizable living room in tv history.

Comedy Central UK will be bringing a piece of New York to the West End with FriendsFest.

The lucky ones who got tickets – before they were sold out (I know, right?)- will be able to walk through the famous sets like a full scale Monica’s apartment. There will be original props and memorabilia that you will be able to see everything of this awesome show and even get a cup of coffee in Central Perk.

Have fun and good luck with tickets!

For more info check out the website.

Claudia x

Dismaland Bemusement Park

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Gloomy staff members, Disney nightmare, sad rides.

All this and much more on the new park on the block. Dismaland is a mock theme park in England that brings to its visitors attention things that have been going wrong with the world.

Dismaland is a satirical  take on theme parks and it conveys art from about 60 artists like Banksy, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Espo.

As everything organized by Banksy, this project came to us a  surprise. There was no media involved in its construction (only some curious eyes). This is not only a depressing theme park. This is also a statement of today’s state of mind. There is a pool filled with boats, representing the emigrants trying to reach the UK. There is an orca jumping to a plastic pool, the entrance fake security is a joke….

It is a massive art gallery that doesn’t make you think of speed and fun and fluffy places. It’s supposed to make you think.

If you’re in the UK, please come and have a look, it might be once in a lifetime chance of seeing not only Banksy’s work, but all the artists that have joined forces to create Dismaland.

Dismaland will be open for 5 weeks and its located inside the walls of a derelict seaside swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, UK.

For more details and tickets go here.

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Claudia x

Finger licking cinnamon rolls!

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Hello my sweets!

Today, in order to be a bit different I will share with you a wonderful recipe that is just too good let it go unnoticed.

The question is not wether you like cinnamon rolls or not. The real question is: HOW much do you love them? – Or, in my case, how many can you have before passing out from sugar overdose?

So here is a beautiful recipe; enjoy!

First things first: this recipe is for about 12 fat rolls.

On to the dough! You will need:

  • 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar 
  • 10grams instant dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
  • 15grams kosher salt (1 tablespoon)
  • 4 eggs plus one yolk (cold from the fridge they say is the best)
  • an almost full cup of milk (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)
  • around 18 tablespoons of soft unsalted butter, plus more for the pan (18 tablespoons)

For the yummy filling:

  • unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons) – I can already feel the diabetes coming!!!!
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/2tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • pinchfreshly grated nutmeg
  • Egg wash, for finishing

For the delicious icing:

  • 3cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract

All set? Go!!!!

Make the dough the day before you want to make the cinnamon rolls. To make the dough, combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.

  1. Add the eggs and milk and mix on low speed until the mixture forms a ball around the hook, 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is very smooth, 5 more minutes. (Note: If you are planning to make the cinnamon rolls on the same day, use room temperature eggs and warm milk.)
  2. Continue mixing the dough on medium speed and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition. All of the butter should be added over 3 minutes of mixing.
  3. Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and let rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The dough is very enriched, so it may not expand much.
  4. While the dough rises, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let the mixture firm up to a spreadable consistency at room temperature. Reserve at room temperature.
  5. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and pat out into a rectangle with about 1-inch thickness. Cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Note: If you want to make the cinnamon rolls the same day, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or freeze for 15 to 20 minutes at this point, then continue.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 190º C (375ºF). Grease a large casserole or 9- x 13-inch baking dish generously with softened butter.
  7. Lightly flour your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Remove the parchment from the dough, and flour the top surface of the dough. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick.
  8. Dollop the prepared filling all over the dough, then use an offset spatula to spread the filling into an even layer. Try to spread the filling all the way to the edges of the dough so it is fully covered.
  9. Starting with the long side closest to you, begin to roll the dough into a tight spiral. Use your thumbs to prop the dough off the work surface and use your fingers to keep the roll tight while you work.
  10. Slice the finished roll into pieces 1 1/2-inch wide using a serrated knife. Arrange the rolls inside the prepared baking dish, leaving about 1/4 inch between each one. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  11. Brush the top of the rolls with egg wash and bake until they are golden on the surface and the filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. While the rolls bake, combine the ingredients for the frosting in a medium bowl. Cover and reserve at room temperature.
  12. When the rolls are baked, let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then spread or drizzle the icing on top. Serve warm.

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How scrumptious is that?

I will be honest, I did cheat on some things like the sugar and salt, but it was still heavenly! It did not look as good as the picture from the recipe but I am guessing that’s because I am clumsy and, again, a do a lot by eye – ups!

For this recipe and many more, please visit Food52.

Good luck! And enjoy!

Claudia x

Waking up next to him ~

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I was never a person that liked sleeping with next to someone.

Did not matter if it was family or friends; it would always end up being a night where I woke up multiple times. I was either too hot, or someone was stealing my blanket. My brother talks in his sleep. My cousins take over the bed. Some friends keep turning. Some people snore like it’s nobody’s business. Some people have weird dreams and keep twitching.

And then there’s me. Let’s be honest: I too snore. Not shaking house bear kind of snore, but still a noticeable deeper breathing ah! I don’t like being too hot. I have my side of the bed. I like to put a blanket around me so I am as covered as a good burrito. I sleep belly down but kind of to my side. I like to keep a foot peeking out the covers in mild weather. I hate sweating in bed. I need to be arms distance to a glass or bottle of water.

Selfish, I know, but we all have out habits. Sometimes I would have the most quiet people sleeping next to me. People that didn’t move and should be my bed soulmates, but I still kept waking up. For no reason other than not being alone.

Until he started sleeping next to me. It was never weird. I always slept like a baby. It never felt weird. Suddenly his smell was the most homely smell I ever knew. His arms are just the perfect length to hold me. He sleeps on his own side – which is not mine!!!!

We both have our own sleeping positions which are completely opposite but most of the nights I wake up for a minute and we are holding hands. Sometimes his hand is on my thigh and I love it. Sometimes he wakes me up because he is drooling all over my arm or shoulder and notices and tries to clean it – sounds disgusting, but I am so mellow that I don’t really mind. Sometimes I am holding him on my big spoon position. He always warms my feet – they are always cold!- with his own. He always kisses me good night even when I am already in dreamland.

Suddenly sleeping next to someone is not weird or awkward anymore. When I do night shifts, knowing that I am going home to him, a sleepy cuddly him, I smile and hurry.

He feels like home. And I love it.

Claudia x

London Wetland Centre

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As you can see, this weekend we opted for a very cultural and eco-friendly weekend.

We visited the London Wetland Centre. Located close to Putney, the centre is quite big with a crazy amount of birds. For bird-watchers, is a haven in the middle of the city! they have otters who swim freely in the centre. Endangered bird species and you can even see cows grazing the grass for them. It’s brilliant.

The centre is filled with colourful flowers and plants and animals just roam around not even a tiny bit afraid of you. I loved it!

There are walking tours available along with little courses such as wild photography and bird-watching. Schools and parents come here alike and the kids are delighted!

The gardens are sustainable and beautiful. Feel free to stroll while you explore and just forget about noisy London and enjoy this heavenly place.

It is also very interactive. You can feed birds, have a net and explore the bottom of ponds. You can climb a tower and look around and be amazed on how such a big place has been unnoticed by most of us.

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It is indeed pricey, but to think they live on that… It’s amazing.

Go there! Visit! More info here!

Claudia x

Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

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Last week, me and my boyfriend packed a lunch, tourist-like, and made our way to a little museum on the outskirts of London.

The Horniman Museum and Gardens is situated just up the road from Forest Hill and it’s a private collection that just became too big to be a normal house.

Mr Horniman was a victorian tea trader and philanthropist, who began  to collect objects, specimens and artefacts ‘illustrating natural history and the arts and handicrafts of various peoples of the world’ from around 1860. His overarching mission was to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’ and educate and enrich the lives of the local community.

The museum is his actual house, which was extended over the years. It also sits on a hill from where you have lovely views of London. They have an Aquarium and a massive permanent exhibition of his collection of animals and specimens.

Being a free museum the visitors come time and again to explore it. there are family and school activities throughout the year making it the perfect field trip for science and history.

It is also interactive, in the gardens you can play with air instruments placed for your enjoyment. I loved it and I am sure I’ll go again – seeing it’s really close to home!

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Have fun discovering the world!

Claudia x

Growing Blueberries at Home

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Living in the city sometimes makes you want to see more green and take care of something that can be both pretty and fives back to you. Blueberries are a perfect fruit to grow at home. Wether it’s in your garden (if you lucky to have one) or pots or containers for a pretty balcony or big window.

There are some things you will need to ensure though. This will be a quick guide for container home grown blueberries.

To start off make sure you choose the sunniest place in your house. Blueberries thrive in sunny places and they should be sheltered from frost and shade. Let’s just say: they are happy in the sun!

Make sure you get a container that it is 60cm. This will be required because you will need at least 2 varieties of blueberries and they will grow quite a lot in the first two years. This is to ensure crosspollination occurs and more chances of a healthy and fertile plant. There are a lot of types blueberries that you can get. The more common are: Bluecrop, Chandler, Duke and Nelson.

You will need some ericaceous compost. Blueberries are very picky with the soil they are in and will require something acidic. The required PH is 5. Always try to get something around this level which is the ones the plant prefers. If you have any questions about this, please see the packaging of the soil, they always have neat recommendations and tips.

Once you have your blueberry plant you have to prepare it before planting. Please let it soak for about 20 minutes before transferring it to the soil.You will need to put some crocks at the end of the pot to ensure good drainage.

Once you have plant it, make sure you keep the soil moist but not soggy – this would just kill it.

The best time to plant it it’s from November to February and harvest time would be July and August. During the first two years pruning won’t be something that you’ll need to do, but you can always trim it, but be careful not to cut the healthy branches – always try to just cut the dead part. Pruning is always better when the plant is more dormant – around December or January. It’s highly recommended that you should concentrate on getting the plant growing in the first year in order to maximise the wood on the plant to bear fruit the year after. Obviously always cut off any dead or broken branches and also any that look like they are going to touch the ground and also any very spindly growth should be removed at ground level.

When watering the plants always try to use the rain water as the tap one is too agressive for it. But in time of need, don’t be scared. Make sure during growing season you keep the roots moist. Then, in late spring when the leaves bloom and open, you will need to feed it a bit of fertilizer. Do not use the same you would buy for tomatoes as they do not have the required nutrients.

If you have to re-pot because of growth, try to do it in Autumn and this should be needed every two years or so.

Be careful of birds, they love blueberries as much as the next person so make sure you have some sort of protection – otherwise all of the crops will be theirs, ah!

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Good luck with your berries and happy gardening!

Claudia x