October 19, 2014

A Cat's Life #15

The nights are drawing in and so I am sitting on the sofa in our room full of lamplight and the smell of homemade chicken stock bubbling away on the stove wafts over in peels, reminding me that dinner is not far off.

This beautiful October Sunday inspired me to pick up where I had left off with the Cat's Life series, simply writing about where I've been lately as a kind of diary to myself and perhaps as inspiration for a Cafe Cat reader - where would you like to go? Where have you been?

At Home

The Cafe Cat at Home 
My favourite season is here and so I've been busy bringing the autumn indoors and foraging for herbs, dried flowers and nuts. I like the idea of having a seasonal still life on the mantle although I wonder what I'll do with it all when I have to light that fire.
 Burger Monday is still going strong. What's Burger Monday? It's as easy as Burgers on Monday, inspired by different themes. That just gone was the Italian - with pesto beef burgers, sundried tomatoes, mozarella cheese and Proscuitto ham.

At our house, we feel like Mondays can be a bit of a drag and so burgers are just the ticket. Our catch phrase is 'Burger Mondays. Making Monday more bearable.'
The Italian

To Meet
Where do you like to meet people in London? I'm usually inclined towards cafes and living in Islington means there's no shortage here. Fink's Cafe is filled with natural light and everything looks and tastes wonderful, down to the last detail.
Cafes in Islington, London

Vagabond N7 is another great choice, in close proximity to Highbury and Islington station and boasts a small, bedraggled garden, if you feel like taking your coffee with the sound of rustling leaves.
Coffee at Vagabond N7 
For evenings, Fink's is also a choice spot for a reasonably priced glass of wine - just £3 for their house wine, sourced from small vineyards in Italy. You can also pick up a box to take home, too.Islington Wine Spots

However, if you're looking for something more central and sweeter, Gelupo is a fantastic gelato hot spot tucked just behind Piccadilly. I recommend the sour cherry and ricotta and, a little tip, be sure to take a tote bag with you as you're bound to stock up on Italian delicacies sold in the deli at the rear of the parlour.
Ice Cream in London  
To Play
Islington Farm London

It's not always easy to find things to do for free in London and so it's a pleasure to live not so far from Freightliner's Farm just off Holloway Road. You'd imagine I'd take pictures of the pigs, cow and goats but no, there's a really rather wonderful cat there and, what's more, they serve incredible soup in the cafe with the vegetables they grow on the premises.
Soup at the Cafe
To Eat

Having lived in Spain on and off in my twenties, I became rather fond of tapas. Londoners have been raving about Barrafina and it was recently rewarded a Michelin star. Leyla and I went to see what the fuss was all about and our highlights included the carabineros (really rather large prawns) and the flan. For astute and whimsically-written London restaurant reviews, be sure to visit her blog.
Tapas in London
London Tapas Adelaide Street

Knowing that I'm rather fond of ice cream, Zomato kindly sent me undercover at Fortnum and Mason's 'The Parlour' - I know, who knew Fortnum and Mason's had an ice cream parlour? A ruddy fantastic idea if you've got Christmas Hampers to build and need to restore your energy - the sundaes are really rather decadent, with some coming in at £35. I chose a modest 'Original Dusty Road' that came with a little coffee macaron and it was just lovely. If you're an ice cream lover, you ought to check it out.
London Ice Cream Parlours

To Read
I recently met with the sweet Izy from Top With Cinnamon and she told me all about her debut book, aptly named Top With Cinnamon. I ordered myself a copy and have been flipping through her fantastic pictures trying to decide what first - the pretzel cinnamon rolls or her best chocolate chip cookies. A collection of her favourite family recipes, it feels a bit like home in a book; full of nostalgic flavours.
A Book By Izy Hossack

To Travel

A small city or country girl at heart, it's always a relief to escape London and I recently whizzed up to Staffordshire to see the talented Stef from Forged in Fables.

We ate oatcakes, took to the hills for long walks and, the most exciting of all, took the Churnet Valley Steam Train through the countryside.
Staffordshire Steam Train

Things to do in Staffordshire

Have you ever been on a steam train? It's quite something, pulling through Staffordshire in cosy little compartments with the whistle and chug. We got to talking about begonias with the people sharing our carriage and, having made friends over garden maintenance, we all wished we had paid the extra fare to feast in the dining cart where you can get a three-course Sunday lunch.

I feel as if finally, the pace of life is picking up again after years of being quite unsettled.
With Christmas so near, I'm excited to make what I hope will be our home for a time to come feel festive, to meet more people and discover great places to visit in London and beyond.

 Where have you been lately, how have you been feeling and what are you excited about?
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