Last Days of Summer

It really felt like the Bank Holiday marked the end of summer, didn’t it? Whilst I’m sure we have a few more  sunny days ahead the temperature has definitely dropped and there is an autumnal feel in the air. During our late afternoon walk around the wonderful Maryon Wilson Park near our home it was hard to believe it’s still August. Oh, London.

The change in weather marked a shift in my wardrobe too – from vest tops and floaty skirts to lights knits and layers. Luckily, I love this time of year. As long as it’s not blowing a gale I’m happy to wander about for hours but being ever practical means that flats are an absolute requirement. You probably think I live in these brogues and you wouldn’t be far off. My only regret with these shoes is that I didn’t buy them in black too and now they’re sold out. Typical.

As for the rest of the outfit? Well, I’m not embarrassed to admit they (dress and waistcoat) are hand me downs. Recently, I seem to be spending most of my time ‘rescuing’ clothing that my Sister no longer wears or likes and giving it a new lease of life. Whilst I wouldn’t normally shop in Primark (the mountains of disposable fashion bothers me more here than in any other highstreet store), I was quite happy to take both these items and rework them to suit my style. I think my Sister wore this dress (top? it’s quite short….) with skinnies or leggings but I was happy to don it as a mini because I put a slip underneath, which just about concealed my dignity. Plus the knitted waistcoat is so long at the back you can’t really tell it’s a shorty.

The setting couldn’t have been more perfect. Atmospheric to the max. You’d almost think we’d matched my outfit to it but nope, we had no idea the park was going to be so dark and moody. Pure chance.

what i’m wearing……mini dress/primark…..knitted waistcoat/primark…..tights/topshop……non-leather brogues/m&co…..satchel/nica

 

 

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Perfect Raspberry Smoothie

Now, I don’t mean to insult your intelligence here. I’m pretty sure all of you are accomplished smoothie makers and need no advice or tips from me. Nether the less, I feel that this particular raspberry smoothie is so good I might be forgiven for offering it up as some sort of recipe that you may be inclined to use.

Obviously I’m using the word recipe in the very loosest sense of the word, as I hardly think bunging a few (actually its four but who’s counting) ingredients into a blender constitutes as one – so think of this more of a friendly suggestion that results in absolutely the smoothest, creamiest and sweetest morning drink. Not that its consumption has to be confined to the earlier part of the day, it’s just that I don’t usually consider smoothies as anything other than breakfast fodder.

I pretty much always have chopped frozen bananas in my freezer ready to be whipped into ice-cream or blended into smoothies. These really are the crucial component, non-frozen bananas are no replacement…..sorry! The maple syrup might seem like an odd addition but I promise you will not taste it in the slightest. So why bother including it? Well, it really does help to bring out the natural sweetness of the fruit, which I think is essential to a successful smoothie. Of course, you can leave it out if you are very opposed to extra sweetener but in my opinion it won’t be as delicious.

Maybe you can share your favourite fruit smoothie recipe in the comment box, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!

raspberry & banana smoothie (serves two)

2 chopped frozen bananas

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup plant milk (i recommend soya or coconut)

2 tbsp maple syrup

……put everything in a blender and blitz until completely smooth. fill a glass with ice and pour. serve immediately…….

 

 

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Bowl Cuts & Bargains

I don’t normally go in for a double dose of blog posts on the same day but I just couldn’t wait to show off my new hairdo. I’ve been contemplating this style for a while (Joanna Lumley was my purdey inspiration, particularly this pic) but was waiting until I found the right hairdresser – this is not a haircut to be attempted by an inexperienced stylist or one who thinks you’re clearly out of your mind to want a cut that could so very easily render you resembling Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber.

So, I researched, researched and then did some more research before finally settling on a hairdressers in East London called Jones and Payne. I wanted to go somewhere that understood ‘retro’ haircuts and would give me what I asked for without screwing their face up and saying, ‘are you sure you want that?’. Thankfully my thoroughness paid off because I had a great salon experience and my stylist totally ‘got’ it…..I was seriously nervous beforehand, which I realise is utterly ridiculous but in my defense,  a bowl cut in the wrong hairdressing hands has disaster potential written all over it and I for one was taking no chances.

Off I skipped, happy as Larry with my new do, even managing to get stopped and snapped by Grazia whilst walking (I might have been skipping) down Regent Street. I doubt my pic will make the actual mag but it was nice to be asked none the less. Obviously, no trip into Central could go down without a detour into Anthroplogie. I always make a beeline for the sale room downstairs although I try not to make it too obvious by lingering around the new collection for a decent amount of time before hop footing it to the goods on offer in the basement. Sneaky.

Never disappointed, I rarely leave empty handed when I visit that store. It’s a little piece of retail heaven, I tell ya. These wide leg cropped (not so cropped on a short fry) trousers were reduced to an absurd 9.95 (originally 88….hello! bargain alert!) and have replaced my old wide leg denim culottes that I lived in for several years before the crotch went (delightful) and I had to get rid. Twas a sad day indeed because I just about slept in those things as they went with EVERYTHING.

I’d been keeping a keen eye on this pair online (now sold out) but didn’t want to buy them before trying them on. Trousers can be a difficult one for me because I have a substantial, well, erm, rear end.  Oh, and not forgetting those substantial thighs either – ah genes! Both of these combined have made trouser buying in the past a less than pleasant experience. Not so with these. I put ’em on, buttoned them up and hey presto, I knew they would become my new go to casual bottoms. Once again, Anthroplogie has come up trumps and no doubt I’ll be back for more sale action very soon.

what i’m wearing….wide leg trousers/anthropologie…..top/topshop…..t-bar wedges/charity shop…..bag/episode…..heart bracelet/lucy in disguise

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Etsy Sneaky Peaky

I’ve rather neglected my little etsy shop of late. After I sold all the main items, I kinda let it slide until it recently expired. I can be the master of procrastination at times. But I’m back on the case now and have listed a few cute dresses that should suit a wide variety of retro tastes – sixties through to eighties in a range of styles and shapes…any takers?

I’m hoping I will get my etsy shop properly restocked in the next few weeks, as it’s still looking a wee bit bare. Now that we are transitioning into the Autumn months, I’ll be aiming to get more fall friendly garments up there soon. Ach, who am I kidding, it’ll happen when it happens;)

Speaking of vintage finds, whilst I was out and about in East London yesterday (actually, I was getting a haircut but more on that in my next post) I came across a great little vintage store on Curtain Road called Paper Dress Vintage – know it? Not only do they sell an incredible selection of vintage clothes (rails of pretty dresses and skirts), they also serve coffee (nice) and cocktails (even better). Vintage and alcohol? Now that really is a lethal combination!

Anyway, if you are ever in this neck of the woods I highly recommend you pop in, it is definitely worth a visit. I’m just sorry I was so low on funds (haircuts are expensive) or else I would’ve happily laid down some cash for a dozen dresses I spied. And, if you find yourself on etsy anytime soon, why not mosey on over to MY ETSY SHOP……..:)

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Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

Easy meals are my specialty. That and a little something I like to call ‘making something out of nothing’. This is when you manage to create a half way decent meal out of a hotch potch, ramshackle assortment of random ingredients, making it look and taste as if it were meant to be. I’m pretty sure this skill alone was the clincher for my Husband.

Pistachios are a great substitute for pine nuts in homemade pesto – better than cashews and walnuts, in my opinion. In fact, I hate to even call them a substitute because really they stand alone in their pesto making greatness. Their already perfect texture and flavour is made even more fantastic by lightly toasting them in a dry frying pan. A small amount of effort for a big payoff – I recommend you don’t skip this step…..not to be pushy or anything;)

Of course, I might be biased, since I have had a pistachio soft spot for a very long time – you may have heard me discuss my mild obsession before, which all started when I first read Paula Danzinger’s The Pistachio Prescription as a young girl. I loved that book. In all those years, my love for these curious little nuts hasn’t waned and now I find any excuse to eat them or include them in my cooking.

They can be pricey though (usually double the price of walnuts!) but if I could I would use them in even more dishes – pistachio sushi anyone? Perhaps not. Although….! Right now, I’m loving them on my cereal and oatmeal but I also throw them into couscous, stir them through (soya) yoghurt and use them to make incredible, you got it……pesto.

Here’s what you need…..

1/2 cup pistachios

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup packed flat leaf parsley

2 cloves garlic

juice 1/2 lemon

several pinches of sea salt

Here’s how you make it….

Lightly toast the pistachios in a dry skillet over a medium heat for several minutes ensuring to turn them frequently. Let them cool a little before transferring them to a small handblender.

Blitz the pistachios to a fine rubble before adding the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, half of the olive oil and sea salt.

Blitz thoroughly until a thick paste has formed. Scrape down the sides, taste for seasoning, add the remainder of olive oil and more salt if desired and blitz again until you achieve a coarse pesto like sauce.

Stir through pasta, spread in sandwiches, on bruschetta, use as a dip or coating for cannellini beans.

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Picnic Quinoa Salad

This is my final post for Sublime under the guise of online coordinator. In some ways I can’t believe how quickly these last few months have flown but I also know it’s time to move on. I thought it only to appropriate to end how I began – with a recipe – and like most of my recipes, this one is to the point, requires very few ingredients and tastes, well, good.

Here’s the recipe…..!

And, if you’re wondering why the recipes have been rather scarce on the blog lately, it’s not because I’ve been boycotting the kitchen. Quite the opposite in fact. Although, I can’t deny it’s been refreshing not to feel obliged to photograph every other meal. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few ideas up my sleeve and most of them are definitely blog worthy. Some of them may have been inspired by a recent bout of foodnetwork mania but who’s telling;) I now have a little bit of time on my hands before my next internship begins and I’ll be making use of it by getting back to my recipe roots.

I even managed to update my etsy shop and listed a couple of very chic vintage dresses – why not have a peek for yourself…..VINTAGE DRESSES THIS WAY!

 

 

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Summer Lovin’

I don’t what it is about this City. From the very moment I set foot in the place thirteen years ago it’s taken a piece of me and is reluctant to give it back. Not that I’m complaining mind. This London summer just keeps getting better and better – what with the Jubilee, the Olympics and now a mini heatwave, I am once again enthralled with its charm.

Heads up. You can totally skip the next two paragraphs if you’ve heard me talk about my area of London before. We’re currently South East Londoners – but we didn’t go down without a fight;) Funnily enough I started my London adventure in the South East, New Cross to be precise. I’m a Goldsmiths graduate and when I say graduate I mean to say I lingered on for a 5 year stint and would gladly have stayed on longer had they let me. Sadly there isn’t a huge demand for endless theses on electroacoustic music and so I departed my alma mater to venture into the real world.

Now though, we’re just a little further along in the beautiful Royal Borough of Greenwich. Okay, so we don’t exactly live in the posh bit but we do reside on a very pleasant street next to a beautiful park and a gorgeous stately home that now is the local library come recital hall come quaint cafe. The gardens are so peaceful, I couldn’t honestly believe they were virtually deserted the evening we went – we had the whole place to ourselves. Hello people, the sun is out, you can come our of your homes now!

What can be better than an glorious evening with your Husband, chilling, eating fruit and reading. I’ve finally done the sensible thing and bought myself a couple of Nora Ephron books. I’m rather ashamed it’s taken me this long to get properly familiar with Ms. Ephron’s writing. I mean, of course I’ve watched all of her films about a million and one times…..When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia. These movies never tire. Ever. This is a woman whose writing has resonated with so many women for so many decades, I honestly can’t believe my own stupidity in not grabbing an Ephron book sooner.

So now that I’ve finished Heartburn I can safely say that I am more in love with this woman than ever. I can’t deny that her recent death was what spurred me on to read her wonderful, real, hilarious and downright heartwarming words and now I can’t get enough. Next up! I Feel Bad About My Neck.  Can’t wait Nora, cannot wait.

what i’m wearing?…..dress/ vintage (spitalfields market)….bag/zara….shoes/so old i can’t remember….belt/oxfam….blue cardigan/h&m

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grey Days and Penny Glasses

I can’t remember the last time I was properly ill but over the last two days I have been knocked sideways by some sort of horrendous tummy bug. It had been so long I’d forgotten what a dreadful patient I am. Not being one to sit still for any length of time, I find resting quite a challenge. My poor Hubby kept telling me to take it easy especially as I was determined to continue my normal daily work for the magazine plus answer any emails – all this in between doubling over in pain, of course.

Thankfully, I began to feel more like myself this afternoon and managed to get up, showered and dressed although I can’t say I’m fully recovered. I really hate how powerless sickness leaves you. It makes me so grateful for my generally good state of health. Yep, I am a total wuss. I apologise in advance to any midwives that may have to deal with me in the future. In all probability I will be the woman cursing her Husband with the gas and air attached to her mouth. Something to look forward to I suppose!

After surviving mainly on ice lollies for two days (only thing I could stomach) I was up for a little nourishment today. I went in for a late breakfast of weetabix, almond milk, banana soya yoghurt, strawberries, pecans, dates and coconut. Sounds like a mountain of food but it really wasn’t. By mid afternoon I was craving greens and so I sauteed up some spinach, which we had with some english muffins and pretty much tasted like heaven. Toasted ‘buttered’ perfection.

To match my greyish mood, I put on a very grey outfit. These little round specs are my hometime glasses because they’re so light and never give me a headache – most other glasses always seem to do that if I wear them for any length of time. They either pinch around the nose, ears or eventually feel like a ton weight pressing down on my face.

Those gorgeous sunflowers you see at the top were just about the only thing bringing colour to my otherwise dreary day(s). I know it’s an obvious question but how do flowers do that? You could be having the worst day ever but when you see a bloom or catch a whiff of its delicate scent, you’re mood can be completely, albeit momentarily, transformed. I love flowers, I really do.

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New Trews

Where do I even begin with this post. I feel like I’ve got an incredible amount of (totally useless) information to include. There’s the ‘cray cray’ cat, the fact I seem to be chanelling Dr.Seuss (clown shoes, bizarro eyeliner, hat clasp) with a nod to Jil Sander (off beat colour block combo) and the location (the side of our house is the not the most glamorous setting). Oh, and not forgetting the bag I’m wearing, which is a gift from my Husband, made by Romanian Shepherds (say wha?).

Hubby spent the last week in Romania – Transylvania to be precise – visiting rural villages and learning about their (basic but wonderful) way of life. It transpires that after your Husband has seen people living on the very bare minimum, harping on about your desperate need for more scatter cushions may provoke a rather impassioned (and wholly justified) response. To clarify, we are not in desperate need of more scatter cushions and I had a little reality check coming my way courtesy of Hubby. I conceded that whilst we may not need more scatter cushions, I definitely do want more. Better? Ahem.

Okay, so I’m not that shallow really but I can’t help but continually think of ways to make our home prettier. Same with my wardrobe. Recently it’s been ‘what essential piece of clothing  am I missing?’ What is the one article that would complete my thread collection but could give new life to garments that don’t yet have a partner to show them off to their best potential? The answer, I believe, lies in these trews (trousers, pants, bottoms, however you like them to be known).

Maybe it really does come down to age but I am so over low slung trousers. I cant bare having that feeling someone may catch an unexpected glimpse of my (usually threadbare) panties. This is not a good look for a 31 year old! Therefore the perfect high waisted pants have become a top priority in my world. Well actually, I already own the perfect pair of high waisted trousers (seen here and here) but I did definitely need (wait, want) an alternative. I’d had my eye on this American Apparel pair for a mammoth amount of time but at 68 quid, they were just beyond my reach price wise (remember, I’m an intern!) so when I noticed they were slashed to half price the other day, it really was a no brainer.

what i’m wearing…mint vest/annie greenabelle  purple high waisted trouser/american apparel  hat hair clasp/v&a museum shop  bag/made by shepherds in Romania  flatform sandals/down to earth(purchased at bullfrogs)

I hadn’t actually settled on a colour beforehand so tried on about eight pairs before both myself and my Sister, who accompanied me on this impromptu shopping trip, unanimously agreed on the purple. Turns out Calivintage has the exact same pair, something I noticed yesterday whilst browsing her blog, so I’m in good company it would seem. The grey were also a close contender…..maybe I need (want) a third pair…..hmmm.

Damn, I almost forgot the cat. Her name is Mabel and she is lovely/cray. After these were taken she darted into our flat like a bat out of hell and I later found her in a large pink holdall my Sister and I had out for our mini swishing party – yay for swapping clothes!  She likes to get her claws out though so I had to wait for my Husband to come back from his meeting to coax her home – once she’s in, she ain’t going nowhere. Underneath her bravado and constant miaowing, she is a real sweetie. Cray. But sweet.

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Easy Vegan Matcha Horchata

If i’ve not made my obsession with all things Mexican clear yet, let me take this opportunity to say…..I am obsessed with all things Mexican. Never having actually visited the place(on the when i start making money to do list), this obsession is merely based on hearsay, food I’ve tasted, made and oggled (that’s not a sp. mistake, I do been oggle. I’m an oggler), recipe books I’ve devoured and programmes I’ve watched on telly…..Thomasina Miers, Daisy Martinez and Rick Bayless to name but a few of my most admired tv chefs. It’s been an enjoyable education.

I got into Mexican cuisine in a big way when we lived in Chicago. We lived in an area where there were a crazy amount of Mexican food outlets – everything from taco joints (esp. this one!) through to full on restaurants that were open 24/7. And believe me, we did make full use of those wacky opening hours!

It was here that I first encountered Horchata. That cool and creamy sweet drink which is the perfect accompaniment to any Mexican meal. It can be made many ways but in Mexico the traditional ingredients are rice and cinnamon, so you could say this version is a huge cheat….. but who doesn’t love a shortcut, eh? Here in London, you can get a superb horchata at Wahaca, as well as some pretty authentic tasting Mexican fodder.

I’ve added the matcha in place of vanilla but of course a dash of good vanilla extract wouldn’t go amiss. I really love the subtle green tea flavour the matcha brings to the drink although if you don’t happen to have any, it will work just as well without. Quite honestly, this is the perfect summer drink. Surprisingly light, smooth and refreshing, I can’t wait to serve it at my next Mexican themed dinner party – don’t worry, I never go in for sombreros or mustaches, preferring to keep it somewhat less tacky. Kitsch, yes. Tacky, nooooo.

easy vegan matcha horchata

1/2 oats

2 cups filtered water

1/2 tsp good quality cooking matcha powder

1/2 cinnamon stick

1/8 cup maple syrup or agave

Blend the oats, water, matcha powder and cinnamon stick until smooth.

Add the sweetener and blitz again.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve or muslin cloth and serve over ice.

You can also refrigerate the horchata until you require it – should keep for a few days in the fridge.

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