Things I have been cooking lately #123: Spicy skinny Mexican bake

So the skinny kick continues in the O household and I have been trying really hard to come up with recipes that are pack a lot of flavour but are still filling and healthy. I think this hearty bake definitely fits the bill. It also keeps really well as its flavours develop so it’s an excellent next day lunch.

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paper towns

BOOK REVIEW: Paper Towns by John Green

I decided to read Paper Towns because I saw the film trailer and thought it looked kind of intriguing. Despite being in my thirty-fifth year of existence I have always enjoyed a bit of Young Adult fiction as well as the occasional teen movie so the premise seemed like it had some merits. Generally when it comes to film adaptations I quite like to have read the book in advance so I thought why not check it out? I will be upfront and say that I didn’t like The Fault in Our Stars, which is by the same author, one bit but I don’t think you can judge an author by just one book so I decided not to let it put me off. Read more…


Film Friday #239

Love & Mercy (2014)

Love & Mercy follows the life of Brian Wilson, the key musical force behind iconic band the Beach Boys during two key phases of his life. Paul Dano plays a young Wilson in the period after the band’s initial success, during the conception of Pet Sounds and the initial abandonment of SMiLE, while John Cusack plays him in later life after he has become a virtual recluse at the hands of his psychologist, Dr Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti). Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #122: Moroccan couscous jewel salad

Mr O and I are continuing to work hard on our healthy eating so I’ve been making loads of salads.  This couscous based one has been such a hit that it’s become an almost overnight lunch/dinner staple. The reason it’s called a “jewel” salad is because all the pretty colourful ingredients look like little jewels dotted through the couscous.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

You would think after Moby Dick I would be avoiding books set at sea but our latest book club assignment had me right back in the ocean.

This time I was reading about Grace Winter a twenty-two year old woman who is one of a handful of survivors following the sinking of The Princess Alexandra. Grace is on trial along with two of her fellow survivors for an unspecified crime that occurred during the twenty-one days they were trapped on a lifeboat. Read more…


10 Directors who influenced my view of the world

A while ago someone did a post on 10 directors who changed their view of the world… or something like that. I can’t find the post or remember who it was… because I am crap but I really liked the post and I wanted to do one for myself. I have to admit that I only started really noticing directors relatively recently and having not had any kind of education in film studies I operate pretty much on instinct alone. That means my choices are potentially a bit different from what people might expect and also don’t necessarily include a lot of directors that are considered to be classically great. And you’ll also soon realise that I am a big fan of aesthetics. But here goes anyway and if you were the person who did the original post and read this please do tell me so that I can give you a credit and link. Read more…

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Film Quizzes: South Africa


I recently got to meet one of my fellow London based bloggers, Alex Raphael in person for a drink. We had a great time making friends and talking about brownies and he was sweet enough to do this quiz as a little tribute to me. Check it out.

Originally posted on Alex Raphael:

It was my absolute pleasure to meet WordPress readers Abbi and her husband Paul for drinks and blog-related chat. Those familiar with Abbi’s blog will know her as funny, entertaining and engaging, and in person she was no different. A very fun few hours. She’s even promised to bring some of her heavenly-sounding mint choc-chip cookies next time. In tribute to meeting my first blogger, I am doing a quiz on films set in South Africa, Abbi’s birthplace and home until she moved to London over 10 years ago. Feel free to suggest any other films set in South Africa that have captured your attention. A special shout-out to South Africans and fab WordPressers Natasha and Nadine too.

Film Quizzes - South Africa Film 1 (1960s)

Film Quizzes - South Africa Film 2 (1980s)

Film Quizzes - South Africa Film 3 (1990s)

Film Quizzes - South Africa Film 4 (2000s)

District 9 (2000s)

Film Quizzes - South Africa Film 6 (2000s)

Answers below

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Film Friday #238

Amy (2015)

This documentary follows the life of late singer Amy Winehouse from her discovery, through her stratospheric rise to fame, the media’s obsessive interest in her life and ultimate tragic death from overdose at twenty-seven. making use of mobile phone and home videos, official footage, interviews and voice overs from Amy’s friends and family director Asif Kapaidia attempts to pose the question of whether Amy’s death was inevitable or whether pressure from those closest to her along with intense media scrutiny pushed her over the edge. Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #121: Tandoori chicken salad

Summer has finally arrived in London and over the past couple of weeks it’s actually been quite hot. When the temperature goes up all I crave is salads, which is pretty handy when it comes to trying to lose weight. I got this spicy salad recipe from the Weight Watchers website and while it’s not exactly a substitute for a curry it does help to deal with any cravings for those kinds of flavours.


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Things I have been cooking lately #120: Red velvet cake

When I asked Mr O what he wanted for his birthday he said he didn’t want any presents he just wanted me to bake him a cake. This is pretty unusual since Mr O doesn’t really like cake but being a big fan of baking and a big fan of Mr O I couldn’t say no. He specifically requested a red velvet cake so I turned to my most trusty baking book, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and made this slightly wonky but still tasty three layer cake. There is something so pretty about the bright red sponge with the white cream cheese icing. Oh… and I did get him some other presents too. The cake was just the cherry on the top. Read more…


BOOK REVIEW: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

I have a confession to make. Before I got my Kindle I wasn’t particularly well-read. I had read an awful lot but when it came to any kind of classic literature there was a big hole in my repertoire. As most of you will know you can download books that have fallen into the public domain (i.e. out of copyright) for free. That includes a whole bunch of classic novels. So when I first got my Kindle I downloaded loads of famous works of literature, which I have been working through interspersed with assignments from book club, questionable Young Adult fiction and Game of Thrones. Some of them I absolutely fell in love with – Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice,  The Three Musketeers and absolutely everything Sherlock Holmes being among the favourites. Others have been less good and I don’t think I would recommend Madame Bovary or Tess of the D’Ubervilles to anyone. Read more...


Film Friday #237

Magic Mike XXL (2015)

It’s been three years since Mike (Channing Tatum) gave up stripping to start his own furniture business and things are going okay but he still has to work flat out just to make ends meet. When his former troupe tricks him into meeting up with them he decides to escape from work for one week and join them on one last hurrah to a stripping convention in Myrtle Beach before they all start new, “respectable” lives. Read more…


Things I have been cooking lately #119: Skinny vegetarian pasta bake

Recently Mr O and I have been trying to eat more healthily as I gained back a little of the weight I lost and we’d both been indulging everyone of our food whims… which never ends well. This is  recipe I put together by adapting a much more unhealthy one. It’s very tasty but also super healthy and I would highly recommend it if you’re trying to cut calories but not flavour. Read more…


10 Game of Thrones Characters that have disappeared into thin air

With season five of Game of Thrones now behind us I have gotten to thinking about some characters who appear to have simply vanished. I realise JRR Martin has chucked about a billion characters into the mix and we can’t stick with all of them but some of these are quite major players whose fates remain a mystery to us. Are they lost forever or will they reappear in season six? I guess only time will tell… but please remember before you read any further. Here be…

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Blogiversary Bash 2015: Abbi Osbiston


The amazing Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade is celebrating her birthday month with a Blogiversary Blogathon about favourite movies and TV Shows. She was kind enough to let me participate so if you want to check out my gif tribute to Everything is Illuminated, head on over!

Originally posted on Silver Screen Serenade:

...And then the party raptors showed up. …And then the party raptors showed up.

In the midst of all of this lovely Blogiversary celebrating (see the archives right here for all of the awesome posts so far), I am actually celebrating one more thing–my birthday! It’s kind of crazy thinking about how much things have changed from my last birthday to this one. New place. New job. Way too many new movies. ;) But it’s been a good time.

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Film Friday #236

Minions (2015)

This Despicable Me prequel follows the escapades of the Minions in the search for an evil master before discovering Gru. The basic premise is that since their evolution the Minions’ sole purpose has been to serve the biggest bad. Unfortunately for said biggest bad most of the time their general bumbling and chaotic behaviour causes more harm than good and is often fatal. After a terrible run in with Napoleon the little yellow fellas take shelter in a cave where their society initially flourishes but with no one to serve they become so miserable and listless until three intrepid Minions decide to venture into the outside world. Read more…


Things I have been cooking lately #118: Fish pie

I have been looking for a good fish pie recipe for ages. They often turn out to be bland and stodgy and it’s hard to get the exact right amount of sauce but this one is perfection. It’s flavoursome, rich and saucy without being soupy and it’s hard to stop eating after just one portion… well for me anyway. Read more…


JUNE STATS: Max Riemelt and the Burkina Faso National Lottery

So it’s the end of the month and we all know what that means… STATS, my monthly delve into how the hell anyone fouind my blog in the first place. (You can check out previous entries here). There’s been no slow down in people looking for masturbation scenes (highlighted in red on all images below) or in people who are looking for Max Riemelt. I think he is having a surge in popularity as he’s starring in the new Netflix series Sense8. But now onto other weird shiz… Read more…


10 great LGBT TV characters

This week is Pride Week in London, celebrating the achievements and providing a platform for the whole local LGBT . community. Every year the Pride activities culminate in a parade through London’s West End and it’s an amazingly colourful, vibrant and moving thing to behold and join in on whether you’re a member of the community or not. While many laws around the LGBT community have changed and are changing there are still a lot of social norms that need to change to provide genuine lived equality. Personally I think one of television and films’ most powerful positives is its ability to expose people to things they might not be used to and normalise them. While 20 years ago LGBT characters where almost unheard of more and more strong and interesting characters are making their way onto our screens and I’d like to believe that that’s had a lot of influence over changing attitudes. With that in mind and to show my support I bring you 10 great LGBT TV characters. Read more…


Film Friday #235

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1998)

After watching the original Star Wars trilogy in preparation for The Force Awakens we figured we should also revisit the prequels and so I bought Mr O the trilogy for his birthday. Episode 1 starts with Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) heading to the planet Naboo to try and resolve a trade blockade around the planet. The trade federation isn’t having any of it since their secret Sith Lord adviser actually wants to send a droid army to Naboo to overtake its government. Read more…