Edith Llama

Hello,

It’s been a little bit longer than expected. Exams are finally over (woohoo) and I have trundled home for summer. The last week has mostly been spent unpacking and feeling guilty for not revising. I’ve been revising since March so it’s a hard thing to get used to. I’m praying that I’ve done enough to pass and resits are not awaiting me. But for now I don’t even want to know, they can keep them.

To celebrate our freedom, Llama Supporter and I trundled off in the Sunday sunshine for a walk. We decided to try out the Park Walk which runs from Highgate to Finsbury Park. Unbeknown to us, we picked the best day to walk it as there were youth theatre productions of plays such as The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet along the entire route for us to enjoy. The walk runs along a disused railway line that used to connect Highgate, Crouch End and Finsbury park. It was absolutely packed full of walkers, runners and cyclists enjoying the beautiful June sunshine and the theatre productions.

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On the way back we decided to take a little detour to Crouch End, to a little place I have been stalking on Instagram. Edith’s House is described as popping over to your Nan’s to enjoy some home cooking. It was quite busy when we arrived as it was just post lunch but luckily it started to empty just before we left so I could get snap happy. As you can see on arrival, it definitely feels like arriving at an elderly relative’s house for an afternoon catch up.

They have all manner of things on the menu which can be found here. They serve amazing cakes with afternoon tea, complete with tea cosy. As well as pudding shakes and many different types and flavours of scones. They also serve breakfast until 4pm (heaven!). I went for scrambled eggs and salmon on sourdough and Llama Supporter went for the build your own breakfast (scroll down to see). You can also hire the venue for parties in the evening and dogs are welcome too! It literally ticks all the boxes! The battery died on my camera and my phone is too full for photos so I had to improvise with Snapchat so forgive the quality!

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If kitsch isn’t your thing then you’ll probably best to avoid the place as it is literally coming out of the walls. But if you’re like me then head on over as it’s even more amazingly retro than I could ever have imagined! I will definitely be coming back here, with a charged camera, Maggot has already demanded I take her too so expect to see more of Edith’s House!

That’s it for this post, I have no immediate plans… one of the best feelings ever! But I will definitely be posting again soon. I’m also working on a little project at the moment which I can’t breath a word about, but if I pull it off then I will be updating you with photos of that too!

Until then, much love

K x

Somerset Llama

So we’re three exams down, five to go. Hopefully the worst is over (*touches all the wood within reach*). Today we had the spot test or better known as what is this beige object on this even bigger beige object. I’m having a moment before cracking on with the massive pile of physiology notes awaiting me. What I actually need is gin and to be laying by a swimming pool. But alas.

As I mentioned in my last post, Revision Llama is quite boring, which is why I have been reluctant to post. Until I actually did something fun yesterday. Yes, I left the house, I wore something other than my Grumpy Cat pyjamas. It was a good day. The Queen of Darkness and I decided to venture to The Ethicurean, which we recently discovered was in our sleepy village. I found out about it through my regular source – stalking other peoples Instagram profiles. It never fails to unveil many new places and ideas. As I survived my disease exams and the Queen of Darkness made it through farm rotations we thought we both needed a treat in the form of tea and cake.

The Ethicurean serve tea and cake Tuesday – Thursday 11-12, 3-5pm and between Friday – Sunday 10-12, 3-5pm, no booking required. If you arrive by bike they even offer a 10% discount, it’s reduced to 9% if you cheat and use an electric one! They also serve lunch and dinner with their menu changing twice daily. This is due to the fact they strive to grow everything on site or source it as locally as possible. As it stands, they have never had a Sunday lunch with available spaces. With bookings being made two months in advance. I fully intend to make a booking for next term to try out their amazing produce and put their claim of catering for any dietary need to the test! Stay tuned for that in the Autumn.

But anyway, back to Sunday! We were immediately fell in love with the place on arrival when we were greeted with a completely unspoilt view of the Mendips. After a quick wander, in search of cows, we made our way into the beautiful walled gardens and vegetable patches. We took full advantage of the weather and decided to have tea and cake in the garden and pretended we had lives of leisure. I decided on the Almond, Apple and Chai cake – gluten free of course. There were 2 choices on offer, a gluten free dream. As the Queen of Darkness isn’t a fan of coconut, the alternative gluten-free option,  she opted for the breakfast tea on its own.

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Hands down the best gluten-free cake I have ever had. And believe me, I have had many! I am constantly in search of my cake fix in a World of gluten-free dry crumbs. I can’t wait to go back and have more. AND it’s in walking distance of our cottage. We have also since discovered that they do cocktails at any time! We are already planning our return journey. Of course we’ll strap a couple of reflectors on our backs for the stumble home down the country lane for health and safety purposes. Never fear, us vet girls are always prepared! After we had removed every last drop of tea from the pot, we set off to explore the gardens. Which are absolutely stunning. You could get lost here for ages and forget all your troubles. When you leave the formal garden and head towards the orchard, there is even a fruit and veg shop, all grown on site, so you can stock up before returning home. Unfortunately the artist studios were not open, another excuse to return to check those out!

If you want to read more about The Ethicurean you can find their website here. They were also recently featured on Hidden Restaurants with Michel Roux JR. It’s episode 3 of the series and is currently available on 4OD. It definitely gets the Llama seal of approval from me.

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Credit to the Queen of Darkness for her shots of me. Hopefully she’s now got the taste for it too and will soon be kitted out with a camera as well! Prepare yourself for twice the amount of photo spam!

All too soon it was time to head back to the notes for me and the Pathology reading for the Queen of Darkness. We couldn’t make it back without a pit stop though. I pass this house all the time and never have my camera on me, so finally seized the moment! My wisteria hysteria knows no bounds.

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Right, are you still there?

It’s back to the notes. I’ll see you on the other side of exams for BADBADNOTGOOD excitement!

Much love

K x

 

Revision Llama

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Hello,

This is the first post of May, I have been locked away in a revision cave. As we had the first of many today, I’m having a break from the flashcards to have chocolate and tea. I also had a break post exam with the girls to discuss what we thought of the exam… see photo above. Tea and chocolate are my go to. Tea single handedly fuels my revision. To be honest it fuels every day life, but consumption triples during exam time. The Queen of Darkness and I keep SilverSpoon in sugar production. Along with my tea and chocolate, I’m listening to my favourite playlist. Unfortunately I’m the type of person that needs to study in silence, I really wish I wasn’t as music lifts my mood so much, but I just can’t find a way to mix the two. Although at the moment  it’s making me a bit home sick. My current playlist is full of songs that my Grandparents used on their home videos. I’ve watched them so many times I can tell you where they’re on holiday during which songs. Comforting and wonderful memories, but at the same time wishing I was home. As a side note, FiFi if you’re reading this, please, please can you make a copy of the DVD for me. I can’t find the VHS and it’s breaking my heart.

On the topic of moods, mine aren’t all that great at the moment. Exams are obviously a stressful time, this year it feels more so than ever. I know it’s my own doing but I feel a huge sense of pressure to pass. This year has been the hardest ever, not through academic content. Some of it has been like pulling teeth, especially when you’ve passed some of the subjects easily before and you’re having to redo them. This has without a doubt been the hardest year for my mental health. I have never, ever been on such a huge rollercoaster. So I feel like if I don’t pass now that is all for nothing.

I am fully aware I’m not the only one feeling like this.  The subject of mental health is on everyone’s lips at the moment and rightly so. For far too long it has been a taboo in society, to tell others you suffered with something like depression, even to close friends, it wasn’t the done thing. Thankfully times are a changing. Something that is becoming apparent is that no one is alone in suffering in some way, shape or form. With that said, all the support in the World still doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t feel completely alone.

Over Easter I was doing really well, even my nightmares had started to improve, something I could literally not even dream of. So I’m hoping the end of exams will relieve a lot of my stress and general feelings of sadness. It doesn’t help that at the moment I seem to be locked into a cycle of ‘if it can go wrong it will go wrong’. Today for example, when I was in traffic driving to the exam, a works van came round the corner in the opposite direction and lost its load of plumbing materials. Onto my car. And didn’t stop.  How I don’t have a broken windscreen I don’t know. As I said, it is one thing after another. Hopefully this is just a blip and as Yazz says: The only was is up!

I’m trying to plan a happy summer so at least I have something to look forward to from the pits of revision. So far, I’m going to see BADBADNOTGOOD with Llama Supporter. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out!

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Here’s a link to one of their songs. My extremely talented Llama Supporter also happened to put together the video too. He’s one of those really annoying people that can turn his hand to multiple things effortlessly.

I’ve also decided I’m going to have a Birthday party, I 100% do not want to celebrate my age, but I love a party and thought I should celebrate waving goodbye to my twenties in style. And I’m going to Dirt Quake, if you haven’t heard of it before, then firstly you haven’t been spending enough time with me! But I’ll let you off as I do have a habit of rabbiting on until people zone out. It’s basically a weekend event, in Norfolk, full of motorbike racing. Road bikes on a dirt track. It’s insane and amazing in equal amounts and to top it off, amongst other motorcycle royalty, Guy Martin is going to be there. I managed to stop myself from professing my undying love for him when I met him before, we had a chat about my t-shirt and his dog Nigel, so hopefully I can remain as ‘cool’ this time. I’m also dragging Llama Supporter out of London to come with me, lets hope it doesn’t scar him for life. But that’s it for Summer plans at the moment, hopefully I’ll get the chance to catch up with friends too! If you’ve got any suggestions of good places to go or things to do let me know!

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On that note, I better get on, food to cook, flash cards to cry into. Please be kind to one another, no one fully knows what someone else is going through. Even between close friends, some things can seem too much to share.

K x

Banned Llama

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I am now in full revision swing and slowly losing the will to live. I didn’t want to subject you to Animal Health, Disease and Management, believe me at the moment it feels like pulling teeth. As if I didn’t have enough to think about at the moment, my car is now rusting before my eyes. Unfortunately on my student budget I can’t justify the garage repairs and I have no Flashdance type welding skills either. Although if I fail these exams I may well look into it. So I am now saving for another mode of transport, I suggested a pony but that didn’t go down well with Llama Supporter, at least I wouldn’t have to tax it. Apparently the four wheeled variety is much preferred. With this in mind, my shopping habits have been suspended. This is going to be painful (you think I’m joking). But needs must.

Thankfully before I had the bad news, I hit Oxford Street with the lovely Number 1 Corgi Mum for a shopping day. We spent the entire afternoon and early evening going in just about every shop, pausing for cake and refreshments naturally. I was well behaved and only treated myself to a a cute embroidered t-shirt in Topshop and a Bobbi Brown artstick, in Sunset Orange on Corgi Mum’s recommendation. If you don’t have an orange lipstick, get one. If I can wear one with orange hair anyone can. I love it, it’s so fun and summery. I’m so glad she convinced me to get it, it’s amazing.

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So I have decided as I can’t go shopping, I will share with you all the things I love at the moment but can’t fill my wardrobe with. If you listen carefully you’ll be able to hear my Mother and Llama Supporter breathing a sigh of relief.

First up is Topshop. I find them a bit hit and miss sometimes. At the moment I am in love with so many of their items. They have gone to town with embroidery (I’m so obsessed with it at the moment) and it’s on everything. They have 20% off for students this week. Here are my favourites.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me add the multiple links to the items, they’re super easy to find on the website. If you can’t find them let me know, I have most of the tabs saved for torturing myself with. The blue cigarette trousers aren’t out online yet, but they have a full range of sizes of them in the Oxford St store if you’re desperate for them.

Next we have Missguided, they have 30% off for students at the moment, extra encouragement to spend your newly acquired loan. Just as a note the top on the left says ‘grey’ on the website despite the photo showing a nude coloured top. It is neither of these shades but in fact lilac. I know this because I own it, but haven’t managed to style it with anything as yet. I thought it went perfectly with the black lace up jeans, these are definitely on my wish list. The top does come in other shades too, I’m not sure how well they match their online photos though.

 

If you hadn’t already noticed, if it’s covered in cute embroidery or bow and frills I want it. I knew I was a magpie for shiny things but this is a whole new level. I’m so obsessed, in February I bought an embroidery kit and I’m slowly learning how to do it and then hopefully I’ll be able to customise my own things. So far I can say I’m much better at it than knitting. My Nan, the queen of knitting and baking, once told me she had never met anyone who was so lacking in knitting ability. So hopefully I’ve redeemed myself with my sewing.

I was just about to share with you some of my New Look finds, but I got distracted by this…

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Yes it’s embroidered, but that’s not the point, it’s extremely similar to the newly launched Cath Kidston bag for a third of the price…

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Cath Kidston have recently released these bags with much celebrity endorsement. They feature interchangeable straps so in theory you have multiple looks in one. These retail for £45.00 for the bag and the straps range from £15-£20 depending on the design. New Look’s version is £19.99. If you’re a student, New Look are also offering 20% off for a limited time so it’s even cheaper!

On the subject of Cath Kidston, I want it all. All of it. Here is a sample of the amazing items they have in at the moment. I limited myself to 8 items, partly to stop depressing myself and partly to not bore you for too long.

 

Look at the Lobster shoes!! Why am I poor?!

Ok, I’ve procrastinated for long enough. My flashcards are calling me. I hope you’re still with me and awake, if anyone else wants to share their recent finds with me please do! I literally can’t get enough of shopping, tell me what you’re buying. In a non-creepy way.

K x

TFL Llama

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This is just a very quick post with some money saving tips if you happen to be the lucky holder of a 16-25 railcard. Obviously I am (well) out of the age bracket, but thankfully, as I am still a full time student I qualify for one. Not only does it save you a third off overground travel as most students will know, it can also save you on the tube too.

I discovered this last year, but have been doing extensive research in to just how much it saves. The attendant at the station told me I wouldn’t notice the difference but I definitely have. If you regularly use the tube and still have a travel card get it linked to your oyster card ASAP! Very helpful people at the tube stations can do this for you via the oyster top-up/ticket machines.

After following Llama Supporter through ticket gates for nearly a year I can confirm I save every single time I travel. The TFL website states you save 34% off travel which is a saving definitely worth having, but there is more. Depending on the time, some journeys have even been free. FREE TRAVEL IN LONDON. That’s definitely something to shout about.

Think of all the extra food and alcohol those savings could buy, or in my case shoes and cake!

K x

Bloated Llama

Please note, this is a very whiny post. I’m feeling sorry for myself and I needed to have a rant.

I have been feeling pretty rubbish about my appearance of late, despite trying to stick to the FODMAP diet as best I can, I have been having days where I could easily pass for 6 months pregnant. No one likes it when you suddenly can’t fit into your favourite clothes, it’s instantly depressing, especially when you love clothes as much as I do. Currently I have two pairs of jeans and my dungarees that fit. Not one single other pair of trousers in my ownership can I get on. Believe me I have many. This reached its peak last night when I couldn’t get my biggest jeans on despite them usually needing a belt, equaling not a single pair fitting. Thankfully it’s Easter and pyjamas as day wear is slightly more acceptable, but still. I’ve now pinpointed the cause to the consumption of onion as a minor ingredient during lunch yesterday.

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The photo on the left was taken last night, the photo on the right was this morning. Less than 12 hours apart. Same outfit. Now I don’t show my stomach off to many people especially looking the way it did last night. But I have had many friends and relatives asking me about my symptoms and how it makes me feel, so I thought this was a good opportunity to actually show what it can look like sometimes. To date this is the worst it has ever looked. I also had really bad nausea to go with it too. I couldn’t even get my shoes on myself, mostly due to the pain but also due to the fact my stomach was not only huge, it was rock solid.

Food hates me and as time progresses, I’m slowly hating more and more of it too.

A lot of the time when I’m having a bad day it can just mean spending a great deal of it in the bathroom. Or in bed with horrendous cramps that feel a lot like really bad period pains. Others can be like this. I feel conscious of coming across as moaning as I am fully aware there are people worse off than me. Friends and family in fact that are worse off. But at the same time, I have encountered many people who tell you that having such a controlled diet that avoids so many things is excessive and that you need to get over it, it’s just stress. Especially when you tell people you can’t eat any form of onion or garlic at all. So hopefully as the saying goes a picture paints a thousand words. Some people seem to be unable to understand when you say you’re not well because they can’t see physical symptoms and yesterday you seemed fine and tomorrow you might be back to normal. But when you have days like this it completely and utterly takes over everything. I have joked before about knowing all the good toilet locations but it’s true. Unfortunately it has changed my life and it’s not much fun at the moment, even shopping, my favourite thing to do when I’m sad is becoming depressing as I’m up and down in sizes more than a hot air balloon. Maybe I’ll have to stick to shoe shopping for a bit instead (Llama Supporter has just come out in a cold sweat).

So the next time someone says they’re not feeling great, please be supportive, even if you don’t fully understand how they feel. Just be a good friend to them.

K x

Feathered Llama

Last weekend I went to stay with the beautiful Miss Hermés in Kent for a long overdue catch up and a very exciting event on Sunday! She is also a vet student but at Liverpool. We quickly got on to the topic of vet school and discussed recent course happenings before having a good moan about general vet student stresses. After we put the World to rights, we headed to Bills for dinner and more gossiping. As usual I was that annoying person in the restaurant and photographed all the food. Unlike Llama Supporter, Miss Hermés is much more understanding and supportive of my food photography. I started with avocado hummus and flat bread and Miss Hermés went for the crumbed halloumi sticks.

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We both decided on the buttermilk chicken burger with sweet potato fries. I’m terrible at trying new things once I find something I like in a restaurant. It’s got so bad that the staff in Burger Joint in Bristol not only recognise me, but they know my order off by heart! But anyways back to the Saturday night, after absolutely stuffing ourselves at dinner we went home to finish catching up whilst scrolling through Instagram and discussing recent events. Despite talking regularly on Whatsapp, we never run out of things to talk about.

On Sunday we set off nice and early for a very exciting morning in the sunshine for a falconry experience at The Hawking Centrewhich is based at beautiful Doddington Place gardens in Kent. We started off with a cup of tea (how all the best days start) before a tour round the bird mews. After a quick introduction to our adorable new feathered friends we got ready to fly Reggie the Barn Owl. Reggie is a very special Barn Owl, he was born with too much melanin, so is a beautiful brown colour. He wouldn’t have survived in the wild as his mum would have removed him from the nest.

We headed towards the woodland part of the garden with him. For each of the birds we wandered round different parts of the stunning gardens and woodlands. It felt so relaxed and the staff were so lovely and knowledgeable. The birds were able to fly off and then come back to us as and when they liked, but they knew full well where the food was located. Most of them wore a tracker incase they got too far away and they could then be located later on.

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After we returned Reggie to his perch, we took Cinders the Great Horned Owl out to the formal gardens and pond. She was so much stronger than Reggie. According to the handler, Laura, this breed has been known to kill muntjac deer. They have 900lbs of force in their feet.  Cinders flew much further away from us than Reggie, they tend to hunt from a greater distance and then glide in silently on their prey, which meant you had to keep an eye on where she was incase she decided you would make a better perch.

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Once we had wandered round the gardens and rock pools in the now very warm sun, we returned Cinders and met Stella. We took Stella the Harris Hawk along the woodland walk away from the main house and towards the sheep and lambs. Stella is used in the City regularly as a pigeon deterrent. Thankfully she wears a bell which makes her easier to locate in dense woodland. Unfortunately it still wasn’t enough for me to notice her coming up behind me and perching on my head for a better survey of the area. Stella also demonstrated, with the help of Miss Hermés, her (fake) rabbit catching skills before we returned her to her mews for an afternoon rest.

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We were then very privileged to meet Irina the Bald Eagle. I can’t remember how much Laura said Irina weighed but I definitely need to go to the gym more. We were told to keep our arms as straight and as level with our shoulder as possible, as if we dropped it down it would encourage her to take perch on our shoulders instead. Something I don’t think any of us wanted to experience. But definitely easier said than done. The shakes soon set in and she started to feel like she weighed 15kg. I can’t explain how amazing she was, this is probably the only time I will ever get to witness the shear beauty of one of these creatures up close. I’m so glad I’m not a mouse.

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Thankfully our next feathered encounter weighed a lot less but had so much character! We went to the lawn in front of the tea room to fly Maggie the Vulture. We took it in turns with the people who were on the full falconry day to fly her backwards and forwards with encouragement from fresh chicken. We managed to get two videos of us flying her too, but unfortunately at the moment, WordPress won’t let me upload them here. I will let you know when I have managed it!

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We also met, but didn’t get to fly, the following beautiful creatures!

Oreo the Spectacled Owl

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Nanook the Gyr Falcon

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Theo the Eagle Owl

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After a drink at the tea room and a lovely chat to the couple also in our group, we set off to explore the beautiful gardens. The gardens alone are enough of a reason to come and visit. They are maintained beautifully and are currently full of wonderful spring flowers.

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We then went back to Miss Hermés house for a lovely late lunch in the sunshine with her wonderful parents. Unfortunately, the weekend went far too quickly as usual and I was off home again. If you ever get the chance to go to the Hawking Centre or are thinking of booking an experience, I honestly can’t rate it enough. It’s an amazing experience for yourself or as a gift. The staff are so lovely and knowledgable and the grounds are stunning. A huge thank you to beautiful Miss Hermés for inviting me along, it’s one of the best days out I’ve ever been on.

K x