Lunch Date: Buddy’s Diner

I love Sundays. I love the peaceful feeling that accompanies them. It is a day of lazing before an evening of gentle preparation for the working week ahead. Even if I have to work on a Sunday, it never feels like much of a chore, because I’m guaranteed to be finished by 5pm.

I had the perfect Sunday last week. I woke up slowly and proceeded to dress and head out with my housemate bright and early. Well, early at least, the freezing conditions didn’t allow sunshine. But that was not to dampen my mood, as we were on our way to the farmer’s market.

The best bargain of the day had to be two 400g packs of frozen organic beef mince for £4. Seeing the decent prices of the meat and the selection of produce available really turned my housemate’s head. She said she’s definitely going to go along to the next one. Another person for the cause! One thing I find great about consistently going to the market is that you start to recognise stall holders and other visitors. When I approached my normal egg stall, he was already packing half a dozen eggs up for me. It’s great to feel part of the community in that way.

With full shopping bags, we headed to Buddy’s for breakfast.

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The Americana themed diner is my favourite restaurant in Winchester. I have been there countless times for breakfasts, lunches and dinners with various friends and family members. The staff are friendly and the food is always exceptional. If it was lunch or dinner, I’d soon have a plate of sticky BBQ ribs in front of me, meat falling off the bone. But as brunch was the meal of choice, the order of the day was The Buddy Breakfast.

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It beggars belief that you can get all of this food for £5.50. Sure, it’s not a healthy option, but on a lazy Sunday morning with latte and good conversation, there is really nothing better.

I didn’t realise how popular it is to go out for breakfast on a Sunday morning; we had to wait for our booth. It was a treat for me personally and not something I would undertake every week. One, because my student budget wouldn’t allow it. Two, because I have no control on how it is cooked, it’s not really a nutritious start to the day. And three, you can whip up most breakfast dishes for a lot cheaper at home. Take breakfast for me this morning, two chipolata sausages, a mini can of baked beans, a slice of griddled bread and a mug of tea. Grand total? 72p!

Whilst it’s very nice to sit amongst the Winchester set, sip coffee and set the world to rights, it’s often even better to spend a relaxing time at home with a big (cheap!) breakfast and a glossy magazine. Ah me, living for the weekend.

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Faker

I spend my life writing scribbles. I have all different breeds of scraps of paper, each with a scrawled note decorating it. They are story ideas, character names, settings I will return to one day in the far off future. I have amassed quite a collection of these notes, all housed in a large black notebook that also features ideas that I can write down at home. It’s called (imaginatively) the Ideas Book.

            But when asked to choose a story to write for one of my modules, the scribbles might have well have turned to dust. All of them seem childish, insignificant, or mostly, something that’s been done before. Filling out the proposal form filled me with such dread that I could feel panicked tears rising in my throat. What could I, me, little old me, possibly write that would be worthy? Am I worthy?

            “Fake it until you make it” came up in one of last week’s lectures. I have put that plan into action. As I writer, I thought to myself, I have the ability to make any idea wonderful, as long as I dedicate myself to it. As soon as I decided that it was impossible for me to fail, my pen started to flow more freely. I’m not a writer yet but I’m getting jolly good at pretending to be one.

            My story involves a teenage Victorian time traveller who has a difficult relationship with his father. I have no idea where this train of thought is going, but I plan to enjoy the view until the next stop. I think this is a healthy attitude to have towards all writing. We had a meeting this week about our final year project, the Extended Creative Project, the big one, the twenty-per-cent-of-my-entire-degree one. Yeah. I’m glad I’ve had this epiphany about organic writing processes now instead of at the start of third year.

            It just shows what you can achieve when you disregard all elements of fear. I should remember this. I feel all enlightened and philosophical right now. It may just be time to put pen to paper.

Am I a feminist?

You know how it goes. You’re studying literary ideologies and your task in to write an essay relating to this. You go to the library and come out with a bagful of book relating to your chosen subject. You start reading the work of Betty Friedan and Margaret Attwood and your pretty little head starts to think.

            I was inclined to think of my own conclusion on feminism. They are stoutly divided in two.

 

Reasons that I am not a feminist:

 

1)      I love to wear pretty dresses and look good for my chap. I would definitely be less inclined to wear jeans and the like around him. We got to choose our spring uniform at work this week and it’s almost shallow how much I love this dress. I smile every time I see it swinging merrily in my wardrobe.

 

2)      I love to cook and clean. I relish in the satisfaction of it. I always tidy and clean before the chap pays a visit. A highlight of his presence (one of many) is that I get to cook for two which is easier less challenging than preparing meals for one.

 

3)      I do believe it should be a goal for every woman to have children. In whatever guise that may be, natural conception, IVF, adoption, I do believe it’s a female duty to nurture children. It may not be their sole ambition but I think it’s a wish for all women.

 

Reasons that I am a feminist:

 

1)      I will never be told that I cannot do something because of my gender. That’s the reason I played football in primary school and why I am training to be a writer. My sexual organs play no role in deciding what is suitable for me to accomplish. I strongly believe in equality.

 

2)      I will not alter my views or beliefs to appease my partner. One can always be proved wrong, but I will not be swayed just to gain approval. Plus, the debate makes things interesting. We tend to agree more than disagree, but that doesn’t matter there isn’t room for different opinions.

 

3)      I have the power of choice. I choose to wear darling dresses as I waltz around the kitchen. I am not chained to the oven, I lock myself in there. I don’t do it because the chap, society or anyone else tells me I should. Likewise, others may choose to storm up the career ladder; it’s their right to do whatever makes them happy. I think woman today sometimes take for granted the social, financial and personal control they have. Yes we can now vote, but we can also go out without a chaperone, have our own bank accounts and eat in public on our own. It was a very different story a mere fifty years ago.

 

Do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Teatime

It seems impractical to deal with the concept of time on my little blog, but it plays such a crucial role in my life.

We are all servants to the mistress of Time. I do miss the bygone days of First Year where one could attend a lecture (two hours long, max) and then the rest of the day would be free. Now, every moment of the too few hours we are blessed with have to be filled. Each one has to be utilised and time wasting is almost as bad as food wastage.

I flit between Uni work, Cath Kidston work, seeing boyfriend, seeing friends, chores, cooking and sleeping on a daily basis. My life is hectic, but it is my own choices that have made it that way. The rare time off I had last week was blissful. After a joyous time at the farm shop, we went for a meander around town. Both me and my chap love browsing the charity shops, with the Oxfam bookshop being a favourite of ours. Chap walked away with a couple more classics to add to his evolving collection, and I found this . . .

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It really is the most charming piece of non-fiction. Nicey and Wifey (aka Stuart and Jenny Payne) have created an intriguing book, filled with factual information and witty anecdotes. It does what it says on the biscuit tin; it’s all about tea and biscuits. The history of tea, what makes a biscuit and different genres of biscuit are examples of chapters I’ve enjoyed so far. This little book has made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, with the British traits that are so recognisable always prompting a chuckle.

It reminded me that taking time out is important. My morning cup of tea is fast becoming a moment of meditation, a snippet of free time that reminds me that everything is fine with the world. Maybe we could introduce “tea therapy” as the new fashionable evening class, yes?

Time flies, that’s its movement of choice. But at least it takes a pause to enjoy a good cup of tea. I would love to be able to add biscuits into the ritual, but gluten-free ones are slightly pricey and finding the time – oh, what am I like. Maybe I do need to rearrange my priorities in order to fit everything in. Or I could just dream of the upcoming summer where free time will return to me once more. One day, there will be time for morning tea, afternoon tea, tiffin and the like, but for now, my few minutes a day will still make me smile.

I’m off to put the kettle on.

Lunch Date: The Good Life cafe

Welcome to my first regular feature on my blog. I shall be posting reviews from time to time, based on meals out I have with my boyfriend, friends or family. This should have been posted accordingly on Sunday, but you know how life is! I’d love to hear what you think.

 

What a treat! To go out for lunch with my chap. We decided to make the most of a rare Saturday free from work and I had just the place in mind.

            After my first venture into The Good Life farm shop, I was desperate to sample whatever their cafe had to offer. I was a little concerned that there would be no room at the inn on this sunny Saturday afternoon, but we found a two person table right in the heart of it all. There were enough diners to create atmosphere, without feeling overcrowded.

            It really did feel like an oversized country kitchen. The exposed beams, the blackboards detailing the specials and even a huge fireplace in the corner, flanked by leather armchairs, made me feel welcomed. After a brief glance at the menu, I thought I was going to have to resort to the gluten intolerant staple of jacket potato. That was until my beloved pointed out that gluten-free bread was offered. Hurrah! I was joyful in placing my order of soup of the day, accompanied by gluten-free bread. I was soon to be disappointed as a waitress arrived shortly after saying that their stock was completely empty, but would I like a large portion of carrot and parsnip soup to compensate? I took their offer and was very pleased to have done so.

            It certainly was a large portion. I knew as soon as the bowl was put in front of me that I would never reach the bottom. I plunged my spoon in regardless and let the orange liquor pour into my mouth. Gosh, it was delicious. Perfectly homemade with that blended texture, sweet and creamy too, I followed that spoonful with several more. I couldn’t have any more once I was full, but it was a truly flavourful dish.

            I ordered a hazelnut latte with my soup, as my quest to find the perfect latte continues. This one is a very high contender. There was just enough foam and the hazelnut flavour came through without being too sweet.

            My beau had an orange and apple juice drink with his three-cheese Panini with side salad. He, as a manly man, only picked at the salad, but said the Panini was delicious. Our meal came to £17 in total. Pretty steep for lunch, but I do not begrudge paying out for such a delicious meal, served by warm and attentive staff. I’m sure I will visit again, even if it’s just to get a second round with that delectable latte!