Today’s post is a little bit different. I just wanted to talk about a few of my favourite things, because they make me happy, and just why not. I feel like I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to improve and make things better, and not enough time just appreciating the things I love just as they are, right now. So that’s what we’re doing today, a list of just 10 things that make me happy.


Writing out a nice, new to do list never fails to make me feel like I’m in control and on top of the world. It’s a list of possibilities. It’s also an excuse to make something pretty with my hands.


Clean sheet night is a hallowed event in my house – not because it doesn’t happen often, I promise! I love feeling really tightly tucked into crisp, fresh sheets. Not only do they smell heavenly, they also make me feel really special and taken care of because it reminds me of being little and my mum making sure my sheets were as tucked as the 7could possibly be.


I love coming home to a letter sat waiting for me on the stairs. They usually come as surprises, little pick me ups at the end of the day, and they’re just the best. It’s such a lovely feeling to know that someone has taken the time to write to you and that a letter has physically travelled from their hands to yours.


There’s a ritual involved in making a cup of tea that’s just so calming. Standing by the kettle is a time to reset for me. In the office, the act of getting up, walking across, and waiting for the bag to stipe is my time to myself. It’s a moment away from the screen just to be. At home, my tea is an act of self-care. It’s the warming feeling of just holding the mug between two hands. A cup of tea is so much more than just a hot drink. It has so much personal history and so much around its everyday ritual. This piece by the incredible Ruby Tandoh says so much more so much better than I ever could.


I have a jumper that I only wear at night. In fact, I only wear it at night, after my shower, once I’m in my pyjamas. When I put that jumper on it’s a sign that says I’m cosy and relaxed and ready to get snuggle up. It’s also the softest loveliest grey jumper, even with its holes from being so well worn.


Peaches are on my mind because they’re my summer fruit. I work my way through at least one family pack a week. They just make me think of sunshine and good times. And they’re so damn tasty.


I’m one of those people who love wrapping gifts. It might be frustrating at times, darn you tricky shaped gifts. But I just love it. I love the physical act of wrapping. I love that wrapping is a chance to put a little bit extra effort into something for someone you love. I also just love nice stationery.


I made photo albums for the first-time last year, and I’m so glad I did. They bring back so many good memories. This reminds me that I really need to get better at taking photos and making more albums.


Painting my nails is a little indulgence that I love (and am slowly getting better at doing). It just makes me feel a bit fancy and forces me to sit still and not doing anything else but watch TV for 15 minutes while it dries properly.


He’s not a thing, but no list of things that bring me joy could be without Toffie. That grumpy little pooch is my whole world, and getting to go home to see him and seeing how happy he is to see me is a feeling that can’t be beaten. Whether that’s seeing his little “you’re home!!!” dance, or getting to smoosh his face, or, in quieter moments, time spent curled up together in front of the fire.

I am a big believer in treating yo self, and not just because I love Parks & Rec. I genuinely believe that treating yo self is good for you, and it’s something that I practise absolutely shamelessly (as you should too). So, before we get on with the rest of this post, here are 5 good reasons you should treat yo self, right now (if you want to):

  1. You deserve it – you’ve made it through today. You’re doing well. Just keeping on can be hard. You deserve something that will make you feel good.
  2. It will pick you up – who would have thought that getting something that you want leaves you feeling good?
  3. It’s a little bit of self-care – treating yo self is a little way to show yourself some kindness and reaffirm your own value, whether that’s that you’re worthy of sometime off, getting to read that book, or a little bit of ice cream
  4. It can motivate you – either having a treat waiting for you when you achieve your goal, or just to reaffirm you’re on track feeling good about yourself and a project can make you more keen to get on with it
  5. When you treat yo self you’re better able to treat those around you – if you’re in a good place and you know how to value (and spoil) yourself, you feel much more secure and positive and so you’re much better able to take care of those around you without needing something in return


The first and most important rule is that if you want a cookie, you can have a cookie. You’re a gosh darn grown up.

Treat yo self just because you can. If it makes you happy, just do it. Sometimes you just need to take a moment to go, yes, I am doing a good job, or yes, I have survived this awful day, week, year, and I deserve something nice. Those new shoes will put a pep in my step. I’ll come back to the office rejuvenated if I take myself out on a long lunch. I’ve been using the same old set of pencils for so long and I’ve improved so much that my work deserves a step up in quality.

You deserve to look after yourself, and feel a little bit special from time to time.

It’s also so nice to schedule in things to look forward to, because sometimes even grown ups need bribes. For me, that comes in the form of Friday morning cocopops. During the week at work I have a healthy breakfast, but when it comes to Friday I am allowed to have some cocopops and it marks the end of the week as a joyous time. It also gives me something to focus on Monday through Thursday.

Yes, a lot of my treats are food orientated, my dog and I have a lot in common starting with the fact that you can get us to do anything for a snack.


While Oprah says that a treat isn’t something that must be earned or justified. If you have a treat every day, it stops being a treat. For example, Christmas is great. But if you had Christmas all year round it wouldn’t be a special occasion any more, and you’d probably end up hating Wizzard. And I’m saying that as someone who LOVES Christmas.

I wrote a little while about practising patience, how to do it and why it’s worthwhile, and one of the big morals of that story is the cookie will taste better if you wait for it. I have actual first hand knowledge of this now, I used to have an evening treat every night with my cup of tea – a biscuit or some chocolate, just something sweet and lovely. But now, I only have those things on weekends (and sometimes Friday if it’s been a tough week), and let me tell you I appreciate them so much more.

I’m trying to practice this even more with big treats, and actively save up for them. This is in part so that I don’t spend as much, and in part so that it feels way more exciting when I get them. For example, I have been coveting a Monica Vinader pendant for the longest time, and I’m just waiting until I really feel like it’s a big treat yo self moment.

Remember when Donna and Tom celebrate treat yo self day, it’s the best day of the year, not every day of the year.

In Praise of Rubbish TV

I was a TV-show binger before binging was cool. I distinctly remember recording as many (out of order) episodes of House as I possibly could to spend my 12th birthday devouring. That was 2006 and my love for TV has not dissipated. I do, unfortunately, watch a lot less of it though.

I’ve had to cut down my viewing schedule, but the shows that have made the cut aren’t necessarily the best and brightest of small screen entertainment. The shows I can’t give up are the easiest, trashiest, and most familiar. I’m talking detective shows where I know who the bad guy is going to be in the first 5 minutes. Superhero series where they recap the past 5 seasons in the opening credits. Comedies whose laughter tracks tell me exactly when I’m meant to be having a good time. Period dramas where I can get carried away by completely unrealistic romanticism.

And, yes, I have watched and enjoyed the Kardashians.

I like to think I have good taste generally, that I can seek out quality. But I love trashy TV like I love pop music and anything with a picture of a puppy on it. I love it because it makes me feel happy, because it makes me stop thinking.

As much as I’ve called the TV I love trashy, I don’t think it’s bad. It’s very good at doing what it does (until it gets into the 14th season and the writers have clearly run out of storylines, NCIS my old friend I’m looking at you). They’re perfectly crafted pieces of pop tv. The characters are just interesting enough that you invest, but not too complicated. The story lines are easily digested, and quite often guessable, whilst still being pretty engaging. They have moments of darkness to give some contrast to their generally light humour.

The average shot length on these shows is something like 5 seconds. The literally tell you what to look at. You don’t even need to make that decision for yourself. You just have to sit back, relax and lose yourself.

They’re vanilla ice-cream but my gosh is vanilla ice cream damn tasty.

I mean what more could you want when you’re tired and frazzled than something that promises to replace your worries with those of a man who claims to be the fastest man in the world try and stop another guy who runs a bit faster and has a silly name like Zoom? How bad can life be if there’s not a man who can run fast enough to go back in time after you? How can you think about how busy you are when you’re watching them battle it out?

I’m someone who works hard, and stresses out even harder on top of generally just being pretty anxious. Very few things calm me down as much as 45minutes of escapism courtesy of the latest episode of one of my shows.

It’s not just the shows themselves it’s the rituals I’ve built around them now. The rotation they’re on that always leaves me with something to look forward to. The process of getting cosy in my pyjamas with a cup of tea before settling down at the end of the day. The way they always used to bring me and my mum together on school nights rather than me just being holed up doing homework.

I know some people will complain that I’m part of an over stimulated generation who can’t relax without being entertained. That I would be better off with a book, or meditating, or at least watch something “better”. Perhaps they’re right. But I do all of those things, and rubbish TV still has a huge part in my day because there’s something that only it can do.  It’s an audio visual comfort blanket and I’m not quite ready to give it up.

So, thank you to House for getting through the angst of being a teenager. Thank you to Instant Star (yes I said it) of introducing me to fandoms and a community that supported me without even knowing it. Thank you to the Gilmore Girls for my GCSEs. Thank you to Criminal Minds for my IB Results. Thank you to Suits and New Girl for that awkward period before I started Uni. Thank you to The Good Wife and Scandal for getting me through some of the tough patches of the first years of uni. Thank you to Pretty Little Liars and the Kardashians for curing summer holiday loneliness. Thank you to Arrow and Flash, I sometimes mock you but you’ve helped hold me together these last two years. Thank you to the NCISs, CSIs, Hawaii Five 0, and all of the procedural dramas for being there for me for way too long.

Thank you to all of the shows I haven’t listed here.

The next time someone asks me what I’ve been watching I won’t be embarrassed to tell them the truth. Trashy TV is a big part of my life and I genuinely think it has helped me more than it was designed to.

It’s been a while since I last put a recipe up on here, which feels like a real shame because I looooove food and I love sharing any tasty new discoveries. Since the warm weather has rendered many of my favourite comfort foods seasonally inappropriate (nothing will stop me eating chilli but I thought you guys might not want a chilli recipe in July) I’ve been looking to up my salad game.

Every summer I love the idea of eating salads every day, then, when it actually comes to it, I get bored after about a week because I don’t make anything that interesting or all that satisfying. So, this year, I recognised where I went wrong and went on a hunt for salads that would make me feel like I’d had a proper meal rather than just munching on some leaves. I’m sharing three of my favourites here with you today. Two of them are new, and one is an adaptation of a family favourite, but they’re all really tasty and I don’t end up feeling hungry half an hour after eating them.

Each one of these makes 2 portions because I like to make leftovers. Also, none of these recipes are precise, I’m more Nigel Slater than Heston Blumenthal so I normally just go with how I’m feeling.



  • 1 small ciabatta
  • 1 mozzarella ball, torn into chunks
  • 1 red onion, sliced into half moons
  • 125g mixed leaves
  • 1 courgette
  • Another veggie, I usually go with some cherry tomatoes (roasted with the courgette) or asparagus (steamed) if I’m feeling fancy


  • 5 TBSP cup – red wine vinegar.
  • 4 TBSP honey.
  • 4 TBSP olive oil.
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice.
  • 1 TSP Dijon mustard (optional, sometimes I don’t have any)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Sprinkle of mixed herbs


  1. Dice the courgette into 1cm cubes and roast for 20mins at 200C
  2. Tear the bread into 2cm chunks or there about, bake until golden and crisp, 10-15mins at 200C
  3. Make the dressing
  4. Combine – this one is best if you leave it for a couple of minutes so that the bread soaks up the dressing (works well hot and cold)




  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 100g halloumi sliced (if you don’t eat cheese I like this with aubergine instead of the halloumi as well)
  • 125g baby kale leaves
  • 30g crushed walnuts (I also sometimes use sunflower seeds if I’m lazy)
  • Sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • Clove of garlic


  • 12 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sprinkle of mixed herbs


  1. Dice the sweet potato into 1cm cubes and roast with the chilli and garlic for 25mins (or until slightly brown) at 200C. If you’re replacing the halloumi, do the same with the aubergine but it needs about 5-10 mins less
  2. Fry the halloumi for 2-3mins on each side (or until golden) at a medium-high heat
  3. Make the dressing
  4. Combine, sprinkling the walnuts on top (this one’s best hot, but is still okay cold the next day)



(FYI Peaches are one of my favourite things about summer and I am currently eating 2-3 a day)


  • 2 portions skirt steak, trimmed of fat and sliced (if you don’t eat meat I also like this with sliced Portobello mushrooms, I use 2-3 per portion)
  • 2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic mined or finely chopped
  • 1 TSP sugar
  • 1-2 peaches finely sliced
  • 125g rocket
  • 60g or so of crumbled up feta or goat’s cheese


  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. In a bag, marinate the steak in the balsamic, garlic and sugar for 20mins. If you’re doing this with mushrooms I just fry all of these off together.
  2. Fry the steak
  3. Make the dressing while the meat rests
  4. Combine everything (works well hot and cold)


What are your favourite salads? What are you eating now the weather’s that bit warmer?

People have been drawing portraits pretty much for as long as people have been drawing. They were the only way to capture someone’s likeness whether that be in a painting, a sculpture, a drawing, or a print. But portraits have always been about more than just documenting what someone looks like, they’ve been about capturing something more of that person whether that’s their wealth, their status, their taste, their work, the nobility, the political agenda, their virtue, or their intelligence.

Portraits began as something only available to royalty, and then the wealthy, before making their way through the middle classes and the working classes. These days portraits are for everyone. Whether that’s a 5ft oil masterpiece or a snapchat selfie.

I love portraits. I’m always drawn to the faces in galleries to try and work out what they’re thinking, to catch the light in their eyes. That’s why I’m now offering portrait commissions! I do a weekly portrait on my Instagram, but I just want to draw more faces and offer more people the chance to have their likeness captured. My portraits sit somewhere in the middle of the oil painting-selfie spectrum and are, I hope, perfect for their digital context. Simple and easily recognisable but still able to capture something of their subject and ripe to be personalised.

Today I thought I’d share with you three of my favourite portraits of all time, and a little bit of why I love them, as well as some info on how you can get your own.


I first saw this portrait in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, and it has stayed with me (in my heart and in postcard form) for the 5 years since. I’m not sure quite what it is that I find so captivating about this image but it stopped me in my tracks in the Prado and it has the same effect still. I’m normally just drawn to faces in portraits, as I think most people are, but I think I could spend as much time staring at his hand as I do any other aspect of the portrait. It’s such a quiet and muted painting, but there’s a kindness in his eyes and a gentleness in the hand that betrays a softness you wouldn’t expect from a Nobleman and the other regal portraits of the time. Perhaps that’s why I love it. Also, if you haven’t seen El Greco’s Portrait of Cardinal Fernando Niño de Guevara I would highly recommend it for the glasses alone.


I never really understood why people loved Van Gogh so much until I saw this painting in person in MOMA in New York. There’s just so much tenderness in this painting it can’t help but to move you. It’s truly  “the modern portrait,” a picture that renders character not by the imitation of the sitter’s appearance but through the independent, vivid life of colour, that he wrote to his brother Theo about. You can really see their Roulin and Van Gogh’s friendship in the composition and the softness of the eyes. I’ve since seen a number of the other portraits Van Gogh painted of Roulin, but this one remains my favourite, because I love the character of the darker green wallpaper and the way its depth is sits almost at the same level as the portrait, as if Roulin has become a part of the furniture.


Machin’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is the most reproduced artwork of all time, being printed on stamps over 220 billion times. Despite being in circulation since 1967 and being printed so many times it hasn’t aged at all. Perhaps that’s why the Queen has said it would take a “real work of quality” in order to replace it. I love the balance of grace and beauty with a real determination and authority. I love how you can see the relief in the plaster sculpture so well, even when printed. I also love that it took Machin about a year to create the portrait, with his first attempt being decried as “unrecognisable”. It wasn’t until he started working from the photographs taken by John Hedgecoe, as backups in case Machin didn’t produce anything, that he made the image we all know so well. As someone who’s just starting in portraiture, and often uses reference photos rather than live sitters, I find that really heartening.


If you’re a business looking for a set of matching profile images of your team, a blogger in need of a new profile image, an editor who requires a portrait to go with an interview or feature, or someone who just wants a portrait of themselves/their mum/their partner/their best friend/their crush/Ryan Gosling, I’ve got you covered.

Portrait prices start at £20, but if you’ve looking for a group or a rolling commission we can definitely chat! Plus if you include the magic code words “Joseph Roulin” when you email me, you’ll get a special friends and readers discount of 25% meaning you can have your very own portrait for a real bargain price of £15.

So, if you want your face up there with the Queen’s, just drop me a line.