Instagram Moments

Our tomatoes have finally come to fruition. Not that I can take any credit, it’s all Hubby’s handy work. They are so sweet and tasty, I’ve taken to popping them in sauces right at the end so they go perfectly soft, like a little tomato treat that bursts in your mouth. Yum!

We were stone cold freezing at Greenwich Market on Saturday; getting a hot apple brandy was a no brainer and hit the spot nicely. It’s never too early in the day for something warm and alcoholic as far as I’m concerned.

Teddy was sitting all on his lonesome on a wall in Blackheath Standard. I was going on one of my usual charity shop jaunts when I spotted him and on the way back I was greeted by his bottom – someone trying to be funny no doubt. I felt bad later for not turning him around. Poor teddy.

I’ve been donning a lot of casual attire lately. Maxing out the flared jean action (Gap do such a good flare) and teaming it with stripes and scarves. Comfortable, practical with just enough of a retro edge to see me through the day in relative style.

I watched my Sister (Mairead) perform at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday. Of course I’ve heard her sing a thousand times before but never solo at one of the greatest venues in world. She really wowed the crowd (and me) and it felt like the beginning of something wonderful; I’m so proud of her. Orla Kiely kindly dressed her that night too, the lucky thing.

After we dropped my Mum off at the station on Sunday we decided to wander around Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane. I thought this photo encapsulated London so brilliantly – where the old merges with the new. I do love this town.

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Three Sweet n’ Spooky Recipes For Halloween

Is it too early to start posting Halloween recipes yet? I like to get in early (or am I late, I can’t tell…) with these things. Mostly because ‘Holidays’ are my thing and Halloween is one of my favourites – Christmas clearly comes first but Halloween has always held a special place in my, ever so slightly dark, heart.

VEGAN PUMPKIN MUFFINS

Yes, I am one of those ‘Horror’ loving geeks that leaps at the first chance to dress up like a ghoul, eat spooky inspired food (which generally means green food colouring a go go) and soaking up every bit of Halloweenie (I can’t believe I still haven’t seen Frankenweenie) spirit that is going.

VEGAN CHOCOLATE BAT BISCUITS

So, in honour of this impending pagan festival I give you my three recipes that wouldn’t go amiss at any Halloween/Trick or Treatin’ event.

PUMPKIN BUTTER

Just so you know, I have my costume under complete control. I’m actually quite smug about my idea – which will remain top secret until the night of. Even if I don’t have a party to attend – we thought we did but now we don’t…I am wearing this goddamn outfit and traipsing about the streets with my Husband. I might even knock on a few doors. Probably not a great idea in South East London but in this instance I’m willing to take the risk. BRING IT, HALLOWEEEEEEN!!!!

 

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Smoky Toasty Vegan Quesadilla For One

What if I told you the main ingredient in this No’Quesa’dilla is, gulp, Brussel Sprouts. Would you scarper to the nearest non vegan blog faster than your little fingers can click? Hopefully it wont come to that and if I have managed to retain your attention until now then let me take this chance to say….Brussel Sprouts can taste good. Don’t believe me? One bite of these smoky toasty morsels and you’ll be eating your words. And your sprouts.

What you’ll need…

1 flour tortilla

1 shallot

5 brussels sprouts

2 garlic cloves

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp hummus

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

What you’ll do…

Heat the oil in a pan. Slice the shallot and add to pan. Salt and soften for a few minutes. 

Finely slice the sprouts, add to pan and cook for several minutes before adding salt and the sliced garlic cloves.

Cook for a few minutes more before sprinkling over the smoked paprika. Mix thoroughly and allow the flavours to infuse before stirring through the parsley and transferring to a bowl.

Heat the tortilla in a pan for a few minutes before spreading the dijon all over, the hummus over half and then topping with the Brussel Sprout mix. 

Fold and cook in the already heated pan until toasty on one side before turning over. Once the other side is toasted, cut into three triangles and serve – particularly nice with a warming bowl of soup!

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Quantified!

Let me tell you about a girl named Mary. Or rather, let me not, seeing as it might just spoil this totally amazing read for you and that would most certainly be a travesty. Not only because it details the incredible and fascinating life of one of the most influential and defining designers of our time but also tells the tale (in her own words) of an all round good girl done good.

The thing that surprised me least about this woman is that she likes to have fun, and lots of it. Good clean fun, I might add, which only makes her stories better – no ‘tripping out man’ nor ‘summer of love’ shenanigans here, thank you very much. It’s the best of the swinging Sixties and the best of fashion all rolled into one.

Oh, and anyone who surmises that most of the people who hold the title of ‘World’s Best Dressed Woman’ are in actual fact ‘squares’ is alright by me – just goes to show that not a lot has changed since the Sixties either….not naming any names mind.

I already knew me and Mary had something in common. We both attended Goldsmiths College and loved every minute of being there. Obviously I was aware of this prior to my application, and as well as being enthralled by the long list of impressive alumni – John Cale being just one of them (I mean, hello?!) who also happened to be married to another favourite designer of mine, Betsey Johnson, but I digress…., I was eager to be part of an institution that practically breeds (or maybe it just attracts) individuals. I knew I needed to be amongst these people. Trust me when I tell you the infectious creativity at Goldsmiths cavorts controversy and if anything that Quantified mini skirt did set some tongues wagging!

Quant’s passion is so utterly palpable throughout the book, I literally could not put it down. I was engrossed in her thought patterns, how she churned out design after fabulous design, picking up those essential industry skills as she went. For me, having just started out on this path, this was a must read at the best possible time. I can’t tell you how much Mary’s words have inspired and also comforted me – I now realise I don’t have to know it all in five minutes flat, how the hell could I? This is an industry that takes years to understand but Mary did it all with such abandon it’s hard not to get carried away with her free spirited approach to life and fashion.

I lapped up every word of this autobiography and subsequently found myself trawling the internet for original pieces in my price range, which led me to wonder why Quant isn’t still a big hit designer like she was back in her heyday of the Sixties and Seventies. Initially I was quite saddened that her brand hasn’t evolved like others but ultimately I feel her contribution to fashion is still so prominent today it hardly matters. You just need to look at the shapes, details and skirt lengths to realise that virtually nobody can match Quant when it comes to influencing current and I dare say future trends.

Her impact on fashion is truly astonishing and I for one am just grateful to have shared a little bit of creative space with her, albeit it a few generations apart. I’m pretty sure some of that Sixties Quant vibe is still lingering about those chequered Goldsmiths hallways and long may it last.

A fashionable woman wears clothes; the clothes don’t wear her.

Quant by Quant is currently available to buy at the V&A Museum Shop

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Instagram Moments

My favourite time of year is upon us and I am fully in Halloween mode. We bought our first pumpkin of the season on Friday and have been relishing eating comfort food and drinking apple cider all weekend. 

My Sister is touring with Don McLean (of American Pie fame – the song not the movie) over the next couple of months and I’ve been helping style her look for the stage. Orla Kiely provided much inspiration and we found several outfits that fit the bill perfectly.

We visited our beloved Cornwall the weekend before last for a friends wedding. St.Ives is utterly breathtaking and has inspired so many writers and painters, it’s hard not to fall in love with it a little bit more every time I visit.

I’ve just finished reading Quant by Quant (review to come!) and can’t get enough of pinafore dresses. I’m getting more daring with the length of my skirts too. Heck, I’ve only got a few more years left in which to do so without raising eyebrows so I’m going for it.

I need and must and will work at this magazine if it is the last thing I do. It is sheer perfection – from the features to the styling to the, well, everything. And would you just look at this cover?! It brings joy to my soul.

Roll out some thawed ready made puff pastry. Slice a cooking apple as thinly as you can and dredge  each slice in cinnamon sugar. Layer the apples, overlapping, in two columns, top with raisins and freshly grated nutmeg. Press down the edges with a fork and bake in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees celsius/400 fahrenheit) for 20-25 minutes. Serve with ‘ice-cream’.

Sometimes I like to be a tourist in my own city – I live in London for pete’s sake, it’s a pretty awesome place to be…although I occasionally have to remind myself of that. Like today. This is the route the bus takes from my flat to central London. Nice, eh?

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Schoolgirl Style

Time certainly runs away with you when you’re on a full time schedule. Not that I’m complaining mind because I kinda thrive with routine…I realise that makes me sound like a total bore but after being a touring actor for several years, sad as it is, routine is something I crave.

Typical timing though – I’m fighting off a stinking cold, which is making me feel like rubbish, hence the muted mood of these images. Boohoo, poor me. It’ll take more than that to stop me going to work though, or indeed blogging. I’m determined to get this blogging/work balance off to a good start, although I’m pushing it with this Wednesday post…..

My style at work is definitely more comfort based dressing than anything else. Obviously I like to put a little effort in and seeing as I’m surrounded by extremely well turned out Ladies (and Gents!), I feel it’s only fair that I should embrace my fashionable environment.

My current haircut has acted as a massive influence on what I’m wearing recently. Mostly I’m digging sixties silhouettes and shades – oh, and I am totally obsessing over tights. How people are still rocking about in bare legs is beyond me but more power to ya if you’re able to brave the cold and still look fabulous. Me? I’m one for wrapping up and staying warm, and with so much incredible leg wear available, keeping warm has never been so fun.

In fact, H&M provided me with so much stocking inspiration the other day, I snapped up a cream ‘woolly’ pair that I know is totally going to revolutionise my winter wardrobe. These super grey ribbed pair from M&S were a little freebie from fashion week and I’m pretty much in love them; comfortable, warm and versatile, bingo! Yep, I can safely say my stocking obsession shows no signs of stopping so expect quite a few more tights centered posts in the near future.

what i’m wearing….grey tights/m&s…dress/primarkorganic cotton top/zara…booties/officespectacles/gok wan for specsavers

 

 

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Seasalt on Scilly

Seasalt, that magnificent Cornish brand I have a mild obsession with, kindly invited me to their press day at The Gallery Soho on Thursday to have a gander at their S/S13 collection – their main line plus the adorable ‘Summer on Scilly’ range. Not only was I enthralled by the precious prints, gorgeous fabrics and perfect accessories but the girls themselves were so sweet I ended up staying for an age gossiping about the brand, cream teas and all things Cornwall…..hands down the best press day I’ve attended.

They’ve been experimenting with shapes, necklines and styles – I’m particularly loving the new square neckline, which is so wonderfully understated retro; exactly what I’ll be rocking next summer. Not forgetting the ridiculously cute embroidered pieces that were folksy perfection. Want, want, want. Need, need, need.

Of course, no press day would be complete without refreshments and these were provided by Tregothnan, an English tea company that actually has a plantation near Truro in Cornwall. How utterly cool and fabulously British is that? Obviously I don’t drink milk so I sampled the tea au naturel and it was seriously fantastic. The scones topped with clotted cream and Tregothnan’s own plum jam looked so incredible too, I couldn’t resist photographing one.

I didn’t go away empty handed either, as everyone who attended the press day received a lovely (and large) tote bag, lined with a super cute gingham print, which contained a gorgeous cotton scarf, some Tregothnan teabags and a little tub of lip balm, that I actually really needed because my lips have been quite dry of late, ahem.

All I can really ask is…..is it summer yet?

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Faux and Fabulous….Orla Kiely For Uniqlo Part Two

Sometimes life stutters and stops and sometimes it just flows. I can’t decide which best describes my current state of play but things appear to be going in the right direction and I can’t ask for much more than that.

After my weekend in Cornwall celebrating a friends wedding and relaxing in magical St.Ives, I feel ready to move forward and am excited for what lies ahead. I’m so thrilled to be embarking on a new internship…..found out yesterday, start Monday, could not be happier!

I think my mood shines through in these pics. It was a glorious autumn afternoon and we took a stroll up to Charlton House where we discovered this little alcove we hadn’t seen before. Wearing my other Orla Kiely for Uniqlo dress was a no brainer – these dresses are so easy wearing and meant I was able to don my new faux fur fifties (i’m approximating) hat I found in a bargain bin in Cornwall. How much do you reckon I paid for it? Go on, have a guess. Okay, I tell ya, I tell ya……a mere one solitary pound. God I love a good bargain.

I received such a good response on my last Orla Kiely post with people not only admiring the dress but actually making a point of purchasing one (or several) for themselves. I must say, I’m pretty tempted to invest in a couple more pieces myself but funds are so low at present (weekends in Cornwall are expensive) so my wants will have to wait.

The faux snakeskin bag is a purchase from many moons ago. It’s one of those purses I don’t use very regularly but seems to come in handy when you least expect it – I particularly love it with this outfit and its compact size makes it a great ‘going out’ bag.

I wish I could say the shoes were fake too but in my defense they are truly ancient (over a decade old) and have been re-heeled about half a dozen times, which not only makes them a great investment and keeps the cobbler in business but is surely better than buying a new non-leather pair that will be eventually end up in a landfill somewhere. Less waste in the long run and all that.

 

If you’ve made any Orla Kiely for Uniqlo purchases too please do let me know and send me a link to your post… I love to ogle pretty dresses and prints.

Oh yes, and I’m am way guilty of including about ten photos too many in this post. Guilty as charged. But hey, count yourself lucky, as I took about ten more out;)

what i’m wearing…dress/orla kiely for uniqlo…jacket and bag/primark…brooch/my nanny’s…tights/topshop…hat/second hand shop in st.ives…boots/office

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