erica cooks | two ingredient pancakes

ok so maybe i'm a week late in with my pancake post, but... i suppose this is a chain reaction type thing. see, we had pancake/shrove tuesday in the week - i know not everyone celebrates or makes a big fuss over this day, but it really feels like everyone does when you're on social media. what started out as a purge of luxury ingredients before forty days of 'almsgiving', has been turned into another of those hallmark days where consumerism wins once again, and the world is encouraged to eatallthepancakes!

hey, i ain't mad, i love pancakes as much as the next person; from the tender age of... well, really young, i'd mastered and memorised the recipe for edmond's pikelets (kiwi/australian mini-pancake) and was sure that if my mum died, i'd be ok because i could live entirely on them, happily (except rip mum!), until the end of days.

these days though? i don't nearly eat enough pancakes. so, in the week as my instagram and blogger and twitter feeds were inundated with allofthepancakerecipes, there was one in particular called for only two ingredients: one banana and two eggs. now that seemed like a challenge i was not prepared to overlook. bonus points for being toooootally healthy, too.

now, i managed to mess up a betty crocker shake-and-make pancake mixture on tuesday, so i had zero expectations of making this "recipe" actually work. i use "quotation marks" there because, would you call the advice to "blend one banana and two eggs for two minutes, and pour into a pan on medium heat until brown" a recipe? no, me either. still, i had prepared myself for another cock-up, and readied myself for the disappointing realisation that my cooking skills were regressing to pre-teenage when all i could muster was cinnamon toast or boiled eggs... at a stretch.

so colour me surprised when the first attempt - the one usually destined for ritual sacrifice to the pagan gods, was successful. and by successful, i mean legitimately a success. it was not under or over done, it was not stuck and burnt to the pan at any point, it did not bubble or squeal, or look like pig slop on a plate. it was the epitome of the perfect pancake, and the best part: it was actually delicious. in my happy excitement, i managed to recreate that perfection another five times - that's right, two eggs and one pancake made six medium-sized pancakes, that i threw some maple syrup on and devoured in about four minutes flat. worth. every. mouthful.

so naturally, i wanted to share my joy with you... ok, maybe i just wanted to brag a bit.
have you made two-ingredient pancakes yet; tell me your thoughts!

wanderlust | vacation or staycation?

this year is going to be all about travel. well, that's the plan anyway. whether it be travel abroad or travel around the uk, i want to see and do a lot more of the world this year. we're now midway into february, and i have three trips booked, and another two in the planning stages, with another... ten or so floating on my "when i win the lottery" bucket list. for the next few months though, i have a couple of fun trips to look forward to, including a couple of "staycations" around the uk. 

staycation number one will be at the start of march, when i'll be heading to glasgow for the weekend to finaaaaally see what all the fuss is about, and catch up with my sparkle sister lynsay. i've been to edinburgh a couple of times now, and even out into the highlands and loch ness, but have never made it over to glasgow. almost made it at christmas, but only got as far as the lake district before deciding that four hours in one train was long enough. things i'm excited about seeing in glasgow (other than lynsay and gary's new house) are: the city centre mural trail, going on the tennant's tour, and getting out in the west end for dinner and drinks.

staycation number two will be over easter, and in the sleepy seaside town of st. austell, on cornwall's east coast. bex and i have been talking about a cornwall trip for over a year, and so with the lure of a four day weekend too much to resist, we went ahead and booked that in too. we booked the thursday before easter off as 'travelling day', as it a good handful of hours on a train, and we wanted as many days as possible to spend eating all the pasties and drinking all the cream tea and bathing in all the cornish ice cream. not even lying about that. things i am most looking forward to are: rowing a boat in the cornish riviera, picnicing in the lost gardens of heligan, and checking out the tall ships in the charlestown shipwreck and heritage centre. my friend mark, who we're going with, adores ships, and can't wait for this part of the weekend.

now as far as 'real' vacations go, i've one booked in so far for sure; in a couple of weeks, bex, nat and i will be beach-bound, on our way to palma de majorca! wipe that look of surprise of your faces, i've been throwing the idea around for a while now, and i think - especially in the case of late march when we're going, that it'll be mild enough for me to not be too grossed out and sweatified by the heat. i can't bloody wait! the place we're staying in is a short stroll from le seu cathedral, and we're super looking forward to checking out queso for their excellent range of spanish cheeses, and hitting up the gorgeous beaches in the area. three. more. weeks!

the last of the vacations will hopefully be an eastern mediterranean cruise after the summer. again, we'd been tossing around the idea of a cruise since the start of the year, and truth be told, it's only the price that's keeping me from booking something now. when we started our search, the last minute cruises seemed to be a lot lower than those booked months in advance, naturally, which is the reassurance i needed to not book something in haste. as i'm looking to hit 30 countries by the end of the year, i need to add seven or so to my list, making a cruise an excellent way of doing that, don't you think! i'd love to see turkey, croatia, greece and italy at least before the year's out, and i reckon this is how it'll be achieved!

so, I've a few fun weekenders on the horizon to look forward to already this year;
are you team vacation or team staycation? i'd love to hear your thoughts!

*this post was written in collaboration with thomson; all thoughts are my own*

w.i.w.t | these boots were made for...

i have been coveting dark grey boots for such a long time; i had an idea in my head of what they'd look like, and what i'd wear them with, and how slim and feminine they'd make my cankles look, and yet... i couldn't find any that i liked (and within my price range, i should add) for the longest time. then, a week or two before the wedding - when i should have been looking for outfits suitable for that particular affair), i came across these asos-branded bad boys, and on sale no less. meant to be?

i snapped them up and they arrived on a wednesday. that wednesday i decided it would be a really awesome idea to wear my brand new grey booties out for dinner and to the movies, having never, ever worn them before, and despite having actual, comfortable shoes on already, it didn't matter, these were the ones i'd been dreaming of, how could they be anything but comfortable?

hat + boots*: asos | skirt + jacket*: h&m | top c/o bon marche

well, they weren't, and i complained (more than normal) a lot about my sore feet. ben was so fed up he insisted i take them off mid-way through the film. while we were sitting down. i was complaining of sore feet as i sat down to watch a film. i mean, they reheeeaally hurt! i always buy my boots a size up so i can fit socks in, and because i've a wide foot (and a burgeoning bunion, thanks mum!), but even with the extra room, these were incredibly tight. i could barely fit my tights-covered feet in them, let alone a sock, or have any extra breathing room. so, they were put in their box and that's where they stayed... until the weekend.

i decided they were too cute to leave boxed up, and come spring these were going to be a very important part of my wardrobe, so i got to wearing them in. i wore them around the house as i tidied my room, hung some posters, cooked some pancakes, did some general personal admin, and then actually even wore them out of the house - albeit briefly, because they still bloody hurt. baby steps. pun intended.

i know they say we suffer for fashion, but... they've never been more right.
(apologies for the messy room; couldn't be bothered photoshopping out my mess this time.)

spring clean your winter wardrobe

and so here we are: late february, tulips in season, and a glimmer of blue-skied hope for spring on the horizon. we've down graded from the fur-lined padded parka, and are choosing to opt for the wool-blend coat and the lighter-weight scarf for the morning commute instead. regretting it most mornings, but we live in hope that by the end of the day, we will have made the right decision. the umbrella still lives safely inside our bags, of course, we're not idiots after all - no matter how hopeful we are. so, what's next?

spring. the mere thought of the seasonal change has us digging through our drawers and rails, desperately trying to find and figure out what to wear over the next few months. well, it did me over the weekend anyway (i'm counting down the days until payday, and on a fairly tight and self-imposed budget until then, so... i've been spending a lot of time indoors!), and after a bit of a clear out and re-tidy of what's left, i think i'm nicely prepared for the next few months, when we can lose those winter layers altogether. i thought i'd share with you here how i did it in five measly steps. have a read!

1. time management
if you're anything like me, you'll need to set aside at least a day to manage the problem. ensure there are no distractions (phone, friends, food)(ok, maybe some food) in your eye line, stick to the radio or spotify in the background to keep you going, and use something motivational to keep you focused; a reward for each of the areas you successfully complete (this is where the food comes in handy) is always a great idea.

2. the problem areas
whether you've collected too many woolly scarves or pairs of lacy socks or leather boots over winter, its time to tackle them individually. think about how many of each you've actually worn this season, and which of those will transition nicely into your spring wardrobe. you'll want to lose the heavier and darker items, as they'll weigh down your light and airy spring looks, so try and use perspective when tackling these areas.

3. divide and conquer
think about where the dregs of your wardrobe should go once you're done with them, and create piles for each; 'for ebay/charity', 'for friends' and 'to throw away' are the three i normally have in mind when it comes to a spring clean, remembering that nobody wants your broken or ruined items of clothing, no matter how sentimental they are for you. heavily worn or torn clothing should always go in your 'to throw away' pile, and never into the 'for charity' one.

4. storage solutions
there are a number of fitted wardrobe solutions out there, when it comes time to lose those heavy winter items completely for another year, think about where you could keep them outside of the actual wardrobe. those air-sucky bags that fit comfortably under the bed are a great way to keep coats and jumpers safe until the next winter, as are collapsible boxes that can sit at the bottom of the wardrobe and hold all of the boots you won't need until next year. think outside the box too - i have a half-empty bookshelf that i keep my boots in in the winter so they're handy, and kept out of the main wardrobe. anything to free up the space that can be filled with more dresses, obviously.

5. waste disposal
once you have your piles ready for charity, rubbish, to go under the bed for next year - or, whatever, make sure that's where the piles go. how annoying to have spent such a chunk of your time de-cluttering your space, just to then have to live amongst piles of clothing until you actually get around to moving it onto its new home. out of sight, out of mind; put those air-sucky bags away right now, take out the rubbish pronto, and get that bag off to your local charity store as soon as possible. you'll feel so much better having removed all the dregs from your space, and with all that new room inside the wardrobe, you'll definitely have earned an hour or so on asos, dreaming of all the ways you could fill it back up...

and there we have it; how i managed to prepare my wardrobe for spring.
i'd love to hear what tips you have for clearing our your wardrobe space, so leave them below!

*post written in collaboration with betta living. all tips are my own*

snapshots | greenwich village, london

i've been having some problems sleeping over the last few weeks, no thanks to a bit of a dodgy neck and a life-long problem with stress-related insomnia, so to have enjoyed a total of more than 20 hours of unbroken and unaided sleep over friday and saturday night was absolutely incredible. knowing that taking in too much sleep on a sunday morning usually leaves me sleepless come sunday night, i wanted to make sure i got out and did something that would tire the brain and body, and help along the fun new sleeping pills the nice doctor was lovely enough to prescribe me in the week.

after a stonking hot shower, freshly washed (and in desperate need of a dye job) hair and quick faff about in my newly tidied wardrobe, i still didn't really know what to do with my day. the weather was looking a bit sombre, and clearly promising rain later on, but having wasted a perfectly good saturday indoors taking care of a lot of personal admin (and eating a lot of pancakes), i was desperate to get out. i grabbed my coat, and set off - destination: unknown.

first things first i needed coffee; having discovered recently that my local hills & parkes delicatessen serves the glory that is monmouth coffee, it's now my new favourite deli. i used to have to go all the way into borough market to be able to indulge in the deliciousness, but now i know it's no more than five minutes walk from my flat - best news all year. their only downfall is that.. well, they're not as 'efficient' as the team at monmouth, and i'm usually left waiting for my coffee to be made with such care, that i could pop into sainsbury's and do my weekly shop before it's ready (worth the wait).

coffee in hand, i jumped on the first train out of honor oak park, still not totally sure where i was going...six minutes later i hopped off at new cross, plan in mind: greenwich village. there's always a variety of sunday markets on in the village - from antiques and trash-and-treasure type markets to the fresh food stalls undercover in the centre, so i knew i'd find something to entertain myself.

unfortunately, the wind was playing up so badly that a lot of the stalls had to close for the day in fear of all the wares blowing away. i thought i might blow away at one point! i did manage to wander through two of the vintage markets on the walk through to the centre of the village where i discovered that the undercover market is actually being renovated... typical. not wanting to be defeated by bad planning, i took off up the road to the park, to see if anything was occurring up there...

as i walked, it started to rain. as i upped my pace, the rain came down heavier. always without an umbrella, i threw my hood on over my headphones, put my head down, and charged on up the hill with zero regard for the families scuttling about trying to find cover - i was not about to join them in their huddles under drippy trees - i knew where the cover was; in the observatory. a hill that defeated me two summers ago (it was hot, i was unfit) was now nothing to me in the rain, and i overtook buggies and dogs and inappropriately-shoed women all clacking their way up the footpath.

as i reached the top, the rain seemed to slow... or maybe i stopped caring about it, when i was faced with such a beautiful view of my adopted city. for as far as the eye could see, there was london. from a foggy but visible st. paul's in the far left, through to the thames barrier and the excel centre to the far, far right - everything in between was just... mine. i was stood atop a hill in the south east of this enormous city, staring, smiling like a loon, as the rain continued - or, didn't, who knows - down around me. at that moment, there's nowhere else i would rather have been. honestly.

when i could finally break away from my spot on the hill, i made my way back down. having earned a hearty lunch (sunday, after all - would be rude not to), i was on the look out for a nice pub with an affordable sunday offering. realising that every pub i'd passed on the way in was now heaving with families trying to escape the rain, i knew my best bet would be somewhere closer to home; i hopped on a bus headed south, and made plans to eat at my local - the honor oak - having been teased enough by their feed on instagram, it was only time before i made my way there to try for myself.

a sunday well spent, i'd say... tell me about yours?