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I'm back and I'm moving!

Wow, it has been a while.

I am very sorry for the completely unannounced hiatus but it was completely necessary - I had to sort my life out!

I think where we left off I had just left my career in recruitment and had started working in a cafe around the corner from me in order to buy me some time to figure it all out.

And I did!


I am so unbelievably excited, my flight is on the 19th of June and I will be there a full year while I get my masters degree in Human Geography.

I was going to start a whole new blog for Amsterdam, one which was simply for me to document my travels and keep some pretty pictures for me to look back on in years to come, but then I realised that I had put so much work into The Orchard that it would be sad to see it get lost in blogosphere heaven.

Having said that, blogging takes a lot out of you, as you probably all know, so I'm gonna do it a little different this time round.

I'm doing it for me.  Expect to see a lot less make up and a lot more days out in Amsterdam.  Less 'filling the days posts' and more restaurants splashed with a pinch of style.

Let's see where it goes?

The Death of Girl Power

I hate the phrase 'Girl Power'.  It's so patronizing right?  I mean the theory is all good - women being powerful, but why infantilize that?

I mean, seriously why? 

That's not really what this post is about though.  What I want to talk about is something which makes my heart jump with joy.

It's the recent surge in auto-biographical books by powerful women.  Let's try a new phrase - Women Power.

Now I should mention that although I have all these books patiently waiting on my Kindle but I haven't actually read them yet.  So this post is really just pointing out the abundance of these types of books as opposed to a review of them.  That may follow when I actually get round to reading them, but right now I'm a little caught up in Phillip Pullman and His Dark Materials.

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

The first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online wasn't fashion - it was a stolen book. She spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and dumpster diving. By twenty-two, she had resigned herself to employment, but was still broke, directionless, and working a mediocre day job she'd taken for the health insurance.
It was there that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. Eight years later, she is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. Sophia's never been a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she's written#GIRLBOSS for outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is winding as all hell and lined with naysayers.
#GIRLBOSS includes Sophia's story, yet is infinitely bigger than Sophia. It's deeply personal yet universal. Filled with brazen wake-up calls ("You are not a special snowflake"), cunning and frank observations ("Failure is your invention"), and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal's meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that being successful isn't about how popular you were in high school or where you went to college (if you went to college). Rather, success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.
Sophia Amoruso turned her hobby selling vintage clothing on eBay into Nasty Gal, one of the fastest growing companies in America. Her rise has been covered by major media like The New York Times,ForbesFortuneInc., and The Wall Street Journal, and she has a devoted following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham, acclaimed writer-director-star of HBO and Sky Atlantic’s ‘Girls’ and the award-winning movie ‘Tiny Furniture’, displays her unique powers of observation, wisdom and humour in this exceptional collection of essays.
“If I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile. I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth. No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle.”

Yes Please by Amy Pohler

In Amy Poehler's highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much). Powered by Amy's charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Once in a generation a woman comes along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her.
Before 30 Rock, Mean Girls and 'Sarah Palin', Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher.
She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true.
At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon - from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

*Book blurbs found on

Coffee Shop Favourites - Tomato, Pepper and Kidney Bean Soup

I don't know if you know this about me yet, but I really, really want to open my own cafe.  We would serve wholefoods, mostly vegetarian, often vegan, sometimes raw.  All of our produce would be local and we would support local upcoming artists.

That's my dream.

So I decided to start collating some of my favourite recipes and share them here with you in a new series - Coffee Shop Favourites.

First up is an Andrew special - Tomato, Pepper and Kidney Bean Soup.

You'll need:

1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, chopped finey
1 Onion, Chopped finally
400g Red Pepper, chopped finely
1tsp paprika
1 tsp crushed chilli
1 Thyme Sprig
1 can of Kidney Beans
1 can Chopped Tomatoes
1 litre Vegetable Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

You wanna know what to do right?  It's so, so easy!!

Heat the olive oil in a pan and slowly cook the onion until softened.  Add in your garlic and cook for about 5 minutes before adding the paprika and thyme.

Pour in your chopped tomatoes and most of the kidney beans before adding the stock and bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for a further 30 minutes.  

Blend it all together until smooth and return to the heat and season.

Literally as simple as that!

Herbs and Their Uses

Let's talk about herbs.

I always buy them, I try to use them as much as possible but I've never been entirely what herb I should use when and how to get the most out of them.  Sure I know the basics, rosemary with lamb etc etc but I have a desire to know more.

And I desperately want a little herb patch like this Pinterest beauty.

You might wander why I choose these four herbs, and only these four herbs.

Well I'll tell you why, they were the only four I had lying around which were in photographic condition!


This is my all time favourite herb and the obvious use for rosemary is to pair it with lamb.  But did you know it also goes great in cooking, rosemary scone recipe anyone?  But why is that?  Well it's got this wonderful lemon pine flavour and is pretty strong.  It's a flavour of the Mediterranean but did you know the branches also make great basting brushes...


An odd choice to include you might say...  Another aromatic and woodsy flavour sage screams Christmas.  It's great with rich meats like pork or duck but be careful it's also used in reversal spells...

Corriander (also known as cilantro)

I'm not sure where I stand on this one, I can't quite decide if I like it or not.  Great in Mexican and Indian dishes, where would salsa be without it?  With a slight undertone of anise it's a bit of a love, hate one but nobody can deny it's a versatile one!   


With a minty yet citrusy flavour this is great in jazzing up some steamed rice.  Some say if you put some in your pillowcase all your dreams will be peaceful and some say it will bring you courage.  I can;t vouch for that but it does like a friend and pairs particularly well rosemary.  It also doesn't require much chopping due to it's small leaves which scores big points in my book!

What are your favourite herbs to cook with?

What Happened When I Quit My Job

If you follow me on twitter you may know that on 5th January 2015, the most depressing day of the year, I quit my job.

The Roast Chicken to Beat All Roast Chicken

Ok, it's the 22nd of January, I'm going to go out on a whim and say you are just about ready for another roast.  Christmas is long behind us, go on, you know you're tempted!

Pasta Pancetta

Chances are, if you're anything like me, you're still over the roast dinner.  But it is still cold out and you definitely want some comfort food.

Well, look no further!

This light, spicey bowl of sheer bliss is exactly what you're looking for.