Light at the end of the tunnel?

The Return from Jason Robbins on Vimeo.

 Sometimes I’m not sure whether I reveal too much or too little on this blog. It can be hard to get the balance right. But seeing as it’s a place for me to thrash out thoughts, ideas and, well, stuff, I think it’s not totally inappropriate to let you guys in on where I’m at right now and how I’m feeling. Too much? Ach, who knows!

Anyway, I’m now into the eleventh month of my life as an intern. A 31 year old intern. Ahem. As much as it kills me to even think it, let alone dwell on it for any length of time, I cannot get away from the fact that I have chosen to ‘start over’ at an age where most people are buying houses and having kids. A sorry and at times depressing state of affairs that, to be perfectly honest gets me really down. I keep thinking about the choices I’ve made along the way and how foolish I’ve been to believe that things will just work themselves out. I used to really believe that. Back when I had a little thing called faith.

Now, I’m not talking about God, religion or any kind of higher power here. I’m purely referring to that self belief that drives one to make crazy decisions – like say, giving up on a career to pursue a dream. The faith in ones ability that reckons nothing or nobody can stand in your way and you’re damn well going to succeed no matter what. Yeah, that kind of faith.

And it’s not just faith in myself that’s been rocked. Even though I’ve known this for years now, I don’t think it’s ever been more apparent than now that no-one (read NO-ONE) is going to help you win this game. The sad fact is you’re on your own. Sure, your Husband, family and friends will always be cheering you on from the sidelines but they can’t run, let alone win, the race for you.

Here’s the thing. Being good at something and working hard at it does not equal success. Fact. In my 31 years on this planet, this is the one difficult lesson I have had to shallow time and again. My bright and cheery disposition has been rocked so many times, picking myself up off the floor and dusting myself down has simply become par for the course. As an actor, I was the only performer I knew who could take rejection on the chin without so much as a flicker of emotion and just move on to the next audition with even more enthusiasm than before. It came with the job. I knew that. I accepted it. I was even fine with it.

Now though? This is different. It’s Personal. I take every sniff of a rejection personally.Too personally. Where’s my goddamn valour when I need it?! Ultimately, it’s survival of the fittest – this is a motto I carried with me during my years as a struggling actor. I just don’t know if I have any fight left in me or if I should just meekly return to Cornwall, open my vintage store, have a family and a simpler life. Is it really worth it, I keep asking myself?

Something that often pops into my mind when I’m going through my ‘minor blue periods’ is this John Lennon quote….

when i went to school, they asked me what i wanted to be when i grew up. i wrote down ‘happy’. they told me i didn’t understand the assignment. i told them they didn’t understand life.

I often need reminding that happiness really is the key to life. But what if your professional success is the key to happiness?

Right now, I’m still battling to be seen, heard and hired, and I’ll continue to until I get somewhere. Heck, in some ways I shouldn’t be complaining – in fact, with back to back internships, some would say I should be laughing. But it’s that one entry level PAID job I’m after. That first rung on the ladder that I’m busting to get my foot on. Deep down I know I’m good enough and if I can just cling on to that last remaining, dwindling bit of hope, I might just have enough left in me to make this crazy ‘career change’ business work. By golly, they don’t make it easy though.

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Keeping it Casual

“Fashion is like a party. Getting dressed is preparing to play a role.” – Yves Saint Laurent

I don’t know about you but this statement is so totally spot on and exactly how I approach dressing myself on a daily basis. Mood and mindset play such a pivotal part in the way we present ourselves to the world, wouldn’t you agree?

It always take me a few days to recover after being away from home and this could not be more apparent than in my subsequent post vacation outfits. I’m usually still in that relaxed holiday mode so the thought of getting dolled up does not appeal. Even when I’m opting for jeans though I can’t help but throw in a little curve ball whether it be on my head or elsewhere.

For me this is perfect weekend wear. Comfortable, casual, practical with just enough accessories to keep from being completely blah. You might notice the little piece of jewellery on my right arm – a lava charm bracelet I bought in Santorini. I completely adore it and have been wearing it non stop since I bought it at the beginning of our week in the sun. I love vacation purchases – they come loaded with so many memories.

What about you, how does your mood affect the way you dress?

top…peacocks/jeans…gap/bag…zara/scarf…vintage/sandals…can’t remember/earrings…urban outfitters/silver bracelet…vintage/lava bracelet…Santorini

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Miso Marinated Tofu

 

It’s official. I’ve got the post holiday blues. With nothing else for it, I’ve retreated to the kitchen and attempted to console myself in a bit of cooking therapy…..it’s kinda working.

We had so much wonderful food in Santorini and it was surprisingly easy to stick to a plant based diet although I did unintentionally eat a little Greek yoghurt – these things happen.

I did happen to have the most incredible pasta dish of my life (and I’ve eaten A LOT of pasta) – linguine with Santorini cherry tomatoes and capers. I know that doesn’t sound very exciting but it was seriously ‘wow’ – Santorini is famed for both its cherry toms and capers and I for one couldn’t get enough. I will definitely be trying to recreate this in my own kitchen soon. I even managed to get my hands on some knobbly baby tomatoes similar to the Santorini beauties. Obviously they won’t be as delicious but it’s the best I can do in these climes – harumph.

Last night though was tofu night. I’m a huge tofu fan and I would suggest that if your impression is one of a bland, tasteless slab of nothing, this recipe might just be enough to change your mind. It’s got a wonderfully caramelised, charred outer and creamy but firm inner. No need to salt the tofu either, the marinade does all the hard work for you and the longer you leave it the more intense the flavours become. Be warned though, your frying pan will take a beating – elbow grease needed for the clean up for sure!

1/2 block firm tofu

2 tbsp miso paste

juice 1/2 lime

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp agave or maple syrup

1/4 cup of oil (coconut, sunflower or canola)

Drain the tofu, place it in a shallow bowl with a plate on top. Now put two cans on top of the plate and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid, pat dry and cut lengthways so you get two equal halves. Then slice into four triangles. Return to the shallow bowl – I use two at a time and keep the rest in the fridge for another night.

In another bowl whisk together the miso paste, lime juice, tamari, sesame oil and sweetener. Pour the marinade over the tofu and turn the tofu several times to ensure it is completely coated. Set aside for at least 20 minutes – the longer you leave it the better although if you are in a hurry 10 mins will suffice.

Heat a quarter cup of oil in a skillet and add the tofu. Fry until dark and caramelised on one side (about 10 minutes) before turning over and doing the same on the other side. The great thing about tofu is that it retains its heat for an age but equally, if you  want to make this in advance and eat cold, it tastes just as good!

 

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Fantasy vs. Reality

No matter how much I’d love to wear a fabulous pair of heels during the day, the reality  is that in a City like London this can be a pretty silly idea. Sure, I’ve seen ladies teetering about the Capital in stilletos but their choice of footwear definitely impedes their speed and agility, which for me is of paramount importance. I need the ability to get from a to b without some shoes hindering my mobility.

So, I reserve footwear like these wedges for going out, special occasions and for when I know exactly how I’m getting to said venue and home again. When it comes to heels I always have a plan of action!

With that said, these vegan wedges (bourgeois boheme) are actually very comfortable – I could do a fair bit of traipsing in them before succumbing to my trusty flats. But with the British Summer being what it is the rain also prevented me from wearing these outdoors the other day.

Ballet flats might not be exactly in vogue still but they are so damned easy on the feet how can I not slip a pair on when I know I’ll be covering several miles. I say, pah to fashion and yes to comfort every time.

what i’m wearing…polka dot pussybow blouse/charity shop…shorts/la redoute…footless tights/lidl…straw hat/h&m…wedges/bourgeois boheme…pendant/gift

 

 

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Summer Scarf

As you’re reading this I should be lying on a beach in Santorini, sipping on something cool, reading a book and just generally having a sweet time. Summer scarves will be far from my mind and I hopefully will be rejuvenating my blogging prowess, ready to get back in the virtual saddle with more food, fashion and usual rambling posts.

I wore this last week when we were invited to (a fabulous) dinner at our friends and was thoroughly disgusted at having to wrap anything around my neck in the supposed height of summer.

But if I’m forced to don ridiculous attire in July then it may as well be covered in polka dots, right?

what i’m wearing…polka dot scarf/random store in putney…cotton blazer/h&m…blue animal print top/primark…camel high waisted trousers/mango…mustard woven belt/m&co…earrings/urban outfitters

 

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All packed and ready to go

well folks, tomorrow we head off for our long awaited week in the sun. i was determined to get off to a good start by ensuring i’m organised in the packing department and after taking a few tips from the pros i finally tackled the dreaded suitcase.

normally i wait until the morning of my flight and throw a random selection of clothes into whatever case is handy. i think this comes from my chicago days when we frequently returned to london and packing just felt like the most boring task in the world. so not interested. of course, that usually meant i’d arrive in either continent with a terrible wardrobe selection, thus spending several weeks in ramshackle outfits.

today though, i was organised. super organised. i divided the task at hand into sections…

….tops, bottoms, dresses, swimwear, accessories, footwear, jewellery and cosmetics.

not entirely intending to i seemed to settle on a vague colour theme. lots of blues, various shades of pink with a few stripes thrown in for good measure. i was pretty ruthless (this was very hard for me!) but in the end i’m really happy with my selection.

tops…white cotton top, mint tee, mint button down vest, orla kiely print vest, two striped gap vests, sleeveless denim shirt

skirts…pink pleated, colourful vintage, denim midi, polka dot cullottes

dresses…black midi, vintage floral, old navy striped dress with belt

shoes…flat green sandals, lime green havaianas, beige wedge sandals

accessories…beach bag, vera bradley clutch, satchel, selection of scarves, hat

cover ups…two striped dress style cover ups, blue/black patterned shirt dress, floral dress

other…betty boop beach towel, cosmetics, magazines, jewellery, snacks

we’ve decided to leave the cameras at home but i’ll be capturing moments on the iphone and most likely will still be on instagram at some point – knowing we have wifi in the apartment has pros and cons. i want an almost complete internet break to just be able to completely relax. because most of my work is done online it can sometimes get too much, so for the most part devices will be banned. this is gonna be good!

 

 

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Weekend Challenge

Even though I do regular wardrobe clear outs, I still have a silly amount of clothes that I hang on to…..and hardly ever wear! I know I’m not the only one who practices the art of hoarding but why do we do it? To placate some of the guilt that accompanies this wardrobe (and it quite literally is a wardrobe) of unworn pieces I’m making it my mission to try and incorporate at least one item into my outfit each weekend.

Saturday was pretty grim weather wise – no change there then – so I had to balance comfort with keeping warm and dry. I was determined to dust down this grey American Apparel dress and give it a new lease of life. A few years back, when I first bought the dress, it was a staple item in my wardrobe but it has since languished at the back of one of my closets for quite a while now.

The tights were a definite necessity but if I’m forced to wear such things in July they’d better be bright and these mustard ones fitted the bill. And it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for anything that has Henry Holland’s name attached to it, so a rabbit print blouse from his Debenhams collection it was. I’ve worn this blouse in so many ways including regularly pairing it with some Gap dark wash flared jeans – the shades are perfect together.

Of course, I had to throw in a thrifted item in the form of this black slouchy cardi – seriously one of my favourite finds ever, it has come in handy so many times, a total lifesaver.

Oh, and for the benefit of my veggie readers the boots are from my omnivore days (about a decade old. cripes!) but I refuse to throw them out because I still wear them a ton. It seems wasteful to me to do otherwise.

Also, on our Saturday ‘holiday list’ venture I had a very successful charity shop haul! I was so thrilled to find the perfect white cotton top, a fabulous black midi dress (yes, I actually found one!) and a super cute pink and white striped t-shirt. I also bought a fabulous polka dot pussybow blouse that isn’t strictly speaking for my Holidays but if there’s anything I’ve learnt in all my years of thrifting is that if you like it, buy it. The likelihood of it being there the next time you go is about a million to one.

All in all, I’d consider this weekend challenge a winner! Now, if only I can do the same with the rest of my unworn clothes….

grey dress/american apparel

rabbit print blouse/h! by henry holland (debenhams)

mustard tights/topshop

black cardi/charity shop

slouchy boots/office

glasses/specsavers

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ColourIFIC!

There was brief break in the rain today and it actually felt really summery, which gave me the perfect excuse to put on a bright ‘swishy’ skirt and a pair of painfully bright wedges (sunnies at the ready, these are blinding!). Any excuse to inject a bit of colour into this dreary weather we’ve been experiencing….

We took these in the strange little alleyway out the back of our flat – I like it ’cause it’s pretty hidden and not too many people walk past. Although today we had two very curious onlookers. Much gawking ensued making me feel more than wee bit awkward. Yes, I AM posing in an alleyway. Now move along please!

The light was so gorgeous when we were out, you’d never believe that within ten minutes of getting home the heavens opened. Yet again. Ugh.

All this crappy weather has a way of getting you (me) down, which is why this trip to Santorini cannot come soon enough. I’m determined to be organised with my packing. Normally, I panic pack but this time I’m approaching this Holiday with near military precision – taking my tips from the pros…..try here and here for how pack the perfect summer vacation case.

Tomorrow we head out to get the last few Holiday bits before we fly out Tuesday. I’ve got two Nora Ephron books on the list for my holiday reading, will be seeking out the perfect casual midi dress (I don’t hold out much hope for this one) or an equally casual maxi (will probably end up with the grey one in Gap I’ve had my eye on) and stocking up on snack bars for the journey….or when we arrive and inevitably can’t find anything to eat.

We’re going self catering so we won’t have to worry too much on the food front and from what I remember of Greek food, there should be a few options. I’ve read the fava is great on the Island and being a hummous freak this is all I need to know.

For now though, this circle skirt is only thing keeping my spirits alive until this weather decides to wise up and do one.

skirt/vintage mint top, cardi and brooch/h&m wedges/benetton

 

 

 

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PeaSoup’s ‘cruelty free’ Summer Picks – YouTube Vid!

Remember last summer when I uploaded a few videos to youtube? No? Well, I did…….ahem. Obviously I’m a glutton for punishment as I’ve just gone and uploaded my latest offering, which is essentially my ‘cruelty free’ guide to summer, showing you what I’ll be wearing on the beach, on my feet, on my skin and on my head. You’ve probably seen a few of these items already but hopefully there are a few other featured items that may be of interest – insanely  blue nail polish anyone?

I’d received a few requests on my previous vids asking me to do some more and that was the main instigator for filming these ones and they seem to have gone down pretty well – phew! Thank goodness the reaction has been more positive than critical. There are some seriously angry peeps out there and most of them seem to gravitate towards youtube.

I must admit though, having you guys hear me talk  waffle is a wee bit nerve wracking but what hey, eh? Also, I totally forgot there’s a limit on how long youtube videos can be, which is why I had to divide it into two parts – what a dope! Anyways, hope it’s helpful. Any questions, queries, comments welcome!

Oh, and guess what?!! We booked our holiday last night. Santorini Baby! So. Excited.

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Vegan Nutmeg Pancakes with Toasted Candied Walnuts

 

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog you’ll already know about my love for pancakes. I’ve posted countless recipes and whilst this one isn’t so different it’s definitely worth a mention. But yes, YAWN, yet another pancake recipe – feel free to roll your eyes.

Before you totally disown me though, let me just briefly enthuse about the (crucial) nutmeg addition –  I’m talking freshly grated nutmeg here and don’t scrimp! Although, I do remembering hearing too much nutmeg can cause hallucinations, so maybe don’t go overly crazy with it…

Nuts! There are two types I always have in my kitchen. Walnuts and pecans. Duh! Of course they’re delicious raw but I find toasting them not only brings out their natural flavour but also changes their texture, giving them that extra necessary crunch.

It’s all in the details. Don’t you agree?

Throw in a little agave and you end up with a sugared nut that you could serve on its own (perfect with a glass of vino) or as an accompaniment to desserts and breakfasts. Sprinkled on soya yogurt or vegan ice-cream? HEAVEN!

Oh yeah, and I might as well reveal my dirty little secret. Having not bought refined sugar for several months now, I decided to go and purchase a bag of the hard stuff when I was last at the supermarket.

Somebody fell of the sugar wagon. Hard.

pancakes

1 cup flour

1/4 sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 banana, mashed

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp soya butter

1 tbsp sunflower oil

In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add to the dry ingredients.

Melt the butter and oil together in a frying pan/skillet and add to the bowl ensuring everything is fully incorporated – I like to whisk and then use a spatula to scrape down the sides.

Allow the pancake mix to sit for a while. Meanwhile heat more oil in the pan and ladel in about a 1/4 cup at a time. I don’t like to overcrowd the pan so only cook one or two at a time. Cook until bubbles appear before flipping over and cooking for a further few minutes on the other side. Keep the pancakes warm in a low oven.

walnuts

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1 tbsp agave

Wipe the pan, add the walnuts and toast on a medium heat for a few minutes before adding the agave. Allow the walnuts to become sticky and then slightly hard – make sure to keep the nuts moving so they don’t stick to the pan.

Serve the pancakes with fresh berries, the candied walnuts, another good grating of nutmeg and lashings of agave or maple syrup. Brunch time!

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