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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Summer 2012: A meal at the Pink Giraffe, Oxford


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In our boredom yesterday evening, me and my mother decided to go out for a meal at the Pink Giraffe. Previously an vegetarian restaurant, this little gem in St. Clements now offers both meat and veggie dishes (using soya and other non-meat alternatives) to suit and Chinese food lover.  Seated by the window, we were presented with 3 menus; the all-you-can-eat buffet, the A la Carte and the drinks. 

We decided that the all-you-can-eat would be the best money saving option and at £15.50 a person it was quite nice on the pocket, especially considering the quality of the food. The all-you-can-eat takes some getting used to. There are 3 courses from which you must select; your starter, second and mains. Desert is not included within this and neither are drinks, not that you would ever have room for desert!. Depending on the amount of people in your party (we only had two; me and my mother) your number of dishes in each category will increase. So as a party of two we were entitled to two starters, a second and three mains. This was more than enough and we did not even finish what we had in front of us!

To accompany the dinner my mother went for the house white, commenting that it was delicious and fruity, with apricot notes. I went for the less sophisticated and more thirst-quenching Coca Cola.  To start we had the vegetable spring rolls and BBQ chicken wings. The spring rolls were fresh and crisp. packed with vegetables where as the BBQ chicken wings were sweet and tangy, a lovely mix of savoury and sweet tastes. 

Our second was the satay chicken skewers. The sauce that accompanied it was heavenly, the best I have ever had in a Chinese restaurant (and Chinese is my favourite food type!). The chicken skewers failed to impress my mother, commenting on how the texture of the meat felt quite fatty, but how it may have been a result of the coating used upon them. 

The mains however, were a lot more impressive. We were asked individually which rice we would prefer, unanimously coming to the decision that egg fried would be best. We chose to try the restaurants speciality dish of chicken in Pink Giraffe style sauce, sweet and sour chicken and chicken with pineapple and cashew nuts. As you can probably gather all chicken dishes, something you will eventually realise is the only meat I eat! All these dishes were accompanied by an array of crisp and fresh vegetables, a symphony of flavours. The chicken with pineapple and cashew nuts was particularly delicious, although all dishes impressed. What was even more impressive was that my mother managed to use chopsticks throughout the entirety of the meal! These mains were accompanied by a mass of egg fried rice and we had prawn crackers throughout the courses to nibble on.

Overall, the meal was lovely. The restaurant has a friendly atmosphere and a quick service. With each course we were presented with new plates and a smile. The meal came to around £40 in total, including a glass or wine, or two! However, you cannot really put a price on a good experience and good company. The Pink Giraffe is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Oxford, it is truly a unique experience in comparison to the other numerous Chinese restaurants in the area. 

Here is to hoping you get a good fortune in your cookie as you leave! 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Summer 2012: Shopping for university essentials

I think I underestimated how hectic it would be to get myself prepared for university. Oh and also the cost. So far I have gathered a few things which I deem as essentials. I wanted to really make my stuff my own, not just go in with the same old bland stuff from home.

I got this cute little cat doorstop from Matalan on sale for £5. I thought it would be good to get one as it means I can have my door open and say hi to my flatmates as we move in (wanting to be friendly and all). Plus, who doesn't adore cats? The purple gingham print, floral nose and little bell makes this little doorstop look very cute! May also help when I am missing my own kitty's terribly.
'This little piggy gets the job done!'

I picked up this little piggy whisk for about £2 or £3 from TK Maxx, I needed some kitchen utensils and to be honest this little guy was quite adorable. Only trouble is that pink appears to be a recurring theme in my kitchenware and one I am going to have to attempt to stick to.

I got these floral bird mugs in the Next sale for £2 each. I thought they were gorgeous and even though I am not a hot drink lover I knew mugs would be a necessity. Being the sad little woman I am I bought two so that when my boyfriend came over we could chill and have hot drinks together.





It is pretty evident where my plates and bowl came from, being sprawled across the front of them and all. Although Jack Wills is seemingly expensive I got these beauty's in the sale (this is becoming a habit I know, but seriously I am a student and therefore poverty stricken) for £12.50! The plate at £7.50 and the bowl at £5. Here is to hoping no one has the same! Like to be the little individual and all.

Although I only have a few bowls and plates, I have ended up with a 16 piece floral cutlery set from Next and at only £6! I adore floral print so I was delighted when I saw these. I was at first tempted by a set I saw from Cath Kidston. Luckily I did not go ahead and buy it and have managed to save myself £39 in doing so! 


These cute 'Mr and Mrs' salt and pepper pots come from one of my favourite (and the hardest to get to) stores known as Tiger. It is a unique little place selling the quirkiest of home wares. I love the little china doll look of the pot accompanies by her gentleman and his spectacular moustache. These will definitely look interesting in the kitchen!


My new tumblers (notice they are a pair? Cheers James for needing one of everything also) are also from Tiger and are here demonstrated with a mini one (joking, its a little ginger tabby. Gosh my humour is shocking).   I love these as they have orange polka dots all around them and an old doily-esque rim. 


This is only the beginning there is a lot more to come. Why is moving out so damned expensive? Here is to hoping university will be as exciting as searching for all of this!












Saturday, 14 July 2012

Summer 2012: London



The second year of A Levels are a tough battle, one that many think is won after exams.
However, the reality is that there is a long wait till mid-August and a lot of stress and confusion that comes with it. Here is hoping I am a print journalism student at Nottingham Trent University come the end of September! Will definitely keep this updated.

I attempted to get a summer job, that failed. After a seemingly successful interview the news of an ever closer university place swiftly put my potential employers off. Goodbye £6.08 an hour and hello two-and-a-half months of poverty. Most people would enjoy the odd handout, I do not. I feel awful taking money from my mum and do my best to help her out. Hopefully in a few years I can really do her proud and give her all she deserves!

A short trip to London was rather fun. It is amazing how much of a city you miss when you are from the town so I decided to do a spot of sightseeing, bring out the tourist in me. A trip on the London Eye set it all off perfectly. The 4D show that came with the ticket was fascinating, quite breathtaking for a short. We followed this up with a river cruise, a tour of the Tower of London and a ride on the new Emirates-Airline cable car. After a long walk we made a quick dash via tube to Leicester Square. The latter being the most fun as we dashed about locals and tourists in M&M world and searched for delicious baked delights in Chinatown. The Golden Gate Cake Shop is bakery perfection and so unbelievably cheap. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the area.


After all the fun of the day I headed down to spend a few days with my Grandmother. She is Irish, tiny and rather hilarious. As I went down with my boyfriend, we spent most of our days spending way to much on the overpriced underground. However, I was delighted when a ticket man at the Tube Station transferred my old and rather bland card for a fabulous limited edition version, Beefeater and all (James got the rather snazzy one with dear old Queen Elizabeth in her Diamond Jubilee glow).


The best day featured a trip to Camden Town, a place well loved by my family and myself. I have an affinity with North London as it is my birthplace and one of the most diverse and vibrant places I know. The poverty in some areas is quite shocking though, saddening when you see the amount of genuine and hard working people about. Once there we set off into the numerous markets, let down by our lack of finds. I say this but my grandmother found a gorgeous dress for £29, which she was willing to pay £69 for in her deafness. Luckily I corrected her... . I am hoping to return there soon in search for some nice vintage clothes. 


The excitement of our day came when we went into the all-you-can-eat buffet Max Orient. Not the best quality but a brilliant selection. The meal including soft drinks came to £33.40 for the three of us. I adore Chinese takeaway and it is definitely worth a visit if you want a good and cheap meal. Otherwise head down the road and get a takeaway box for around £4-£5!


London is such a fabulous place! I am glad I am so close by and it will always be some place I make the effort to visit. Will be there again soon for the Olympic closing ceremony in Hyde Park! 







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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Summer 2012: Cocktails with the girls.



Me at Lan Kwai Fong

Cocktails with the girls proved to be fun. Lan Kwai Fong on the Cowley road (Oxford) is amazing. Seriously amazing. Walking past you would believe it to be an Old English Pub, step inside and you enter an orient inspired restaurant and cocktail bar (me being particularly interested in the latter). The cocktail list is huge and with a daily 'happy hour' from 4 till 7pm who could possibly resist? Not only are these drinks good value at around five pounds but they look fabulous! I am literally desperate to return.

Mango Bango, Screaming Orgasm
& Peach Margarita
Valuable life lesson
Is the food as good as the cocktails you say? Well I found it to be delicious on a lunch date with my mother. I had the sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice - yes I am boring.   My mother, on the other hand, went for the slightly more daring Malaysian style curry.
The staff were attentive and sweet, smiling away as they offered us prawn crackers and checked all was well. I even left with a cute smiling strawberry that often graces their delicious cocktails and freshly made cakes. 


Overall, Lan Kwai Fong is a treat and treasure to the Cowley Road. A little more expensive at around £7 -£8 a meal in comparison to other eateries in the area, but definitely worth the extra penny! 

You may even just see me in there on a sunny day. One Mango Bango please!