Fresh Starts and Blue Scarves

I wish I could say that this blue scarf is as Irish as the landscape in the images, but alas it is yet another H&M find….yes, another one I had no willpower to resist. Scarves feature quite heavily in my wardrobe – I do live in the UK after all, which is mostly famed for its pretty dire weather – so I always have one on me or with me should the weather take a turn for the worse. I have learnt this lesson the hard way!

Thankfully the day we took these photos, the rain remained at bay but that didn’t make it any less blustery or cold. Not really surprising given we were at the very tip of Ireland. Specifically; Donegal. Even more specifically; an area known as the Inishowen Penisula. Possibly one of the most breathtakingly beautiful parts of this excessively gorgeous Country. Can you tell I’m a very proud Irish girl? Ahem.
We had an early wake up call from a family friend, which gave me very little time to think about my outfit. I also have limited clothing with me, by the way, so I just made sure to layer up – thermal polo neck(uniqlo)/ leopard print sweater and bag(Zara)/skinny jeans(gap)/vintage coat(Sue Ryder)/large blue scarf(H&M), new frames (Curtis Opticians, Derry), and on my feet I wore…, some very old, very gross reeboks belonging to my mother that I sure as hell wasn’t putting on the blog. Well I wasn’t destroying my new/old brogues clambering across rocks!
The scarf was the saviour to my otherwise shambolic ensemble but y’know, looking fashionable was basically at the bottom of my priority list. Being surrounded by such awe inspiring scenery certainly makes you put things in perspective and I had a long, much needed think about the coming year and what I hope to achieve. I’ve put some surprising resolutions in place for 2013, some of which I’ll reveal here and the rest I will fill you in on when they actually happen. Deal? Deal.


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Home for the Holidays

This is my first attempt at writing a post on the iPad and i must admit it feels a little bit alien to me. I don’t know what it is about a keyboard that aids me in writing and indeed thinking. Touchscreens are just so….modern. So, if this sucks, blame apple.

I wore this outfit on Christmas Day. Whilst not overtly festive, the rich colour combination and faux fur collar was reasonably apt for a Christmas Mass.

The brogues were another awesome Charity shop find and I haven’t had them off me since I bought them. At only £3.50 they seriously overtake any of my recent ‘bargains’, including this H&M coat, which was a very silly £19.99. Yes, it may very well have been made in a sweatshop, immediately bringing the outfit’s overall ‘sustainability’ and ‘kind’ factor down to about a zero. I may have to flail myself a several times just to deal with the unethical High Street guilt.
On a cheerier note, we had a lovely Christmas Day with, unsurprisingly, lots of great food and an entirely vegan dinner….my first attempt at a vegan meatloaf was borderline tremendous, even if I do say so myself. I don’t usually deal very well with pressure in the kitchen (even the bravest of family members daren’t come near me) and there were a few curve balls to cope with (limited oven space, too many people working around me and a last minute additional guest) but overall everything turned out just as I had hoped. In fact, the gravy was the best I’d ever made, not that I want to brag or anything!
Hope you all had an equally good day and are enjoying what remains of the holiday season as much as I am, i.e. being disgustingly lazy, watching about a gazillion movies, eating way too much food and enjoying red wine every single evening;)




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Lightly Spiced Vegan Bundt Cake

Between travelling, not having immediate access to a computer and ipads proving impossible to process photos on, my blogging has somewhat stalled. But the good news is I am officially back in the homeland and despite the weather (oh, the wonderful Irish weather!) I could not be happier. I’ve already done a swift recky of the charity shops and come up trumps with a pair of brogues, made a trip to the hairdressers, which resulted in what I am dubbing my ‘paige boy’ look,  and  made a start on my Christmas shopping…..I know, I know, I should be more organised but blame Ryanair for their lousy luggage restrictions not me!

Anywho, before we departed lovely London I was determined to squeeze in a bundt cake – I love a good bundt cake. As per usual I left it too late in the day to get the photos I wanted….after these were taken, I topped it with a cranberry glaze and some toasted, candied almonds. Sounds good, tasted good, no photographic evidence means I suck.

Ooompphh, this year has gone quick and I’m determined to go out with a bang, not a whimper. With this in mind, I’m going to do my very best to make these holidays as blog-filled as I can possibly make ’em. I think we’re off to a reasonably good start with this lightly spiced bundt cake, don’t you?

lightly spiced vegan bundt cake

2 cups plain flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground allpsice

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup soya yoghurt

1/2 oil

1/2 cup soya or other plant milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped medjool dates

for the drizzle….

1/4 cup sugar syrup

juice two clementines


Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarb and spices into a bowl. Stir through the sugar until thoroughly combined.

Whisk together the wet ingredients, transfer to the flour bowl and mix until a thick batter is formed. Gently stir through the dates.

Grease and flour the bundt tin. Pour in the batter, ensuring it is evenly distributed – I like to bang it on the table top to get rid of any air bubbles! Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack where it should cool completely before adding the clementine sugar syrup. Pierce holes around the cake using a chopstick and carefully pour in the clementine drizzle syrup.

Slice and serve.

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Seriously Simple Cranberry Sauce

Some like it sweet. Some like it sour. Or, if you’re like me you’ll like it a little bit of both. The tartness of this sauce is balanced by the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and clementine juice. Not forgetting the obligatory sugar addition – or any sweetener you fancy, I’ve made with agave before with great success.

The cranberries can be fresh or frozen; in my opinion it really doesn’t make too much difference and given that fresh cranberries can be tough to find near Christmas, I’d keep a stash in the freezer just in case.

I don’t just use this cranberry sauce as a Christmas dinner side. It’s a brilliant addition to festive canapes a la Joy the Baker. And of course I don’t use Brie, instead opting for the best vegan melting cheese on the market……Vegusto! This stuff is almost too good to be true. Melts like a dream, tastes alarmingly like the real thing, as well as being free from artificial flavourings and preservatives.

If you want to get your hands on some for yourself, Vegusto are still taking orders until Tuesday 19th December. Seeing as I will be in Ireland for Christmas I’ll be ordering a selection from plant goodness today to be delivered to my parents address for (excessive) consumption over the Christmas period.

Holiday’s are comin’, Holiday’s are comin’!


1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries

1/4 cup fairtrade granulated sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg

2 cloves

juice of one clementine


Put all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the fruit begins to soften.

Gently press the cranberries with a spatula leaving some cranberries whole if you wish – my preference.

Allow to cool before transferring to a tupperware container. Chill overnight. Will keep for at least a week, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Salvaged Style

Having just emerged from the haze of a brief internet-free existence it has become abundantly clear that I can live perfectly well without the aid of food blogs, reality vlogs and prolific (and pointless?) interweb fashion window browsing (I like to think I’m an expert in looking but never buying).  I’d like to say my absence was deliberate, a calculated decision to remove myself from this crazy blogging business but alas it took a particularly useless delivery man, coupled with some seriously diabolical customer service to leave us rendered high and dry in the internet stakes.

It was actually a particularly good opportunity to get au fait (again – remember the days without this internet melarkey?) with what is known as ‘real life’ and not too shabby it is too. Interacting with people face to face ain’t so bad really, and I quite enjoyed not feeling the need to take photos of everything I ate, wore and otherwise.

With that said, both Hubby and I might have succumbed to a little victory dance in our now entirely Christmas clad living room when the modem finally turned up tonight. Just in time for the run up to the Holidays, when I plan on getting jiggy with this little space again starting with this outfit, which I like to call ‘salvaged’ given it’s charity shop/vintage credentials.

See this coat? Six pounds and fifty pence I paid for this purple beauty. Pre-loved and perfect is what I say! I’m also a sucker for tartan, mustard and hats – this vintage red one has been with me for so many winters, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas without it. Salvaged style will always be where it’s at as far as I’m concerned. As much as I love new things, nothing gives me a greater thrill than finding a second hand gem. Although I do like to keep a stock of basics – t-shirts, long sleeved tops, polo necks, shirts and vests plus plain bottoms – in order to keep my vintage pieces looking fresh.

I also like to do regular clear outs and we recently bagged up a colossal amount of clothing, which we’ll be taking to charity shop before we leave for Ireland (Christmas in the homeland baby!) and I gotta tell you it feels good to have a pared down wardrobe with only my most treasured pieces. Sometimes I think we hang on to things for the sake of it. Maybe we like it but it doesn’t fit so well or think it might come in handy or about a billion other excuses you care to come up with.

what i wore….coat/sue ryder….tartan shirt/beyond retro….cardi/h&m…scarf/putney….jeans/fishboy….booties/office….bag/nica….red vintage hat/kingly court

I say, get rid and keep that clothing karma flowing….remember, one woman’s trash is another woman’s, ‘oh my gosh, this is the perfect dress/coat/whatever’. Take the pre-Christmas plunge and expunge (see what I did there?!) all that crapola from your closet. Start the New Year with a clear mind and a more simplified collection of threads.

And so the holiday season officially begins…..

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Instagram Moments

Yep, it’s that time again – a roundup of my latest instagram photos. It’s been a reasonably eventful couple of weeks. Thanksgiving, trips to Cornwall, lots of great eats and other stuff….

It’s time to bust out the red hat. Vintage. Obviously. Toasty. Clearly. Christmassy. Without a doubt. You may be seeing a lot of this hat over the next few weeks. Apologies in advance.

We went to Cornwall last weekend to see the in-law’s. On our way back we drove through Central London, which is always a treat…..minimal traffic and beautiful sights. It’s one of my favourite ways to appreciate this magnificent city we live in.

We took the remainder of the pumpkin pie I made for Thanksgiving with us to Cornwall….and subsequently ate it for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, ahem. Admittedly not the healthiest start to the day but damn tasty. The ginger snap crust is the best.

Meet Neep. My Husband animated this character when he worked on the children’s show ‘The Adventures of Abney and Teal’. This is a picture our Niece drew because she’s a fan and super proud of her ‘Uncle Jas’ – I think we have a budding artist on our hands!

Erm, I don’t usually make a habit of taking pictures of myself in the bathroom at work. Slightly embarrassing but a very cute vintage jacket, no? I’ve had it for years and it always makes me happy when I wear it. I think I might like red….:/

I’m pleased to say Thanksgiving was a success. With so little time to prepare anything I was amazed I actually pulled it off – seven sides plus dessert, what was I thinking?! The food was good, not my best, and I do plan on refining all the recipes for Christmas but it was enjoyable none the less. I’ve already made improvements to the braised cabbage and when I’m 100% happy with it I’ll be sure to post the recipe.

It might not look like much in the picture but this soup rocked my world mid week. Chickpea and chestnut are a match made in soupy heaven. Also, the bread looks burnt in the photo but in actual fact it was toasted perfection, rubbed with oil and (lot’s of) garlic. Here’s the recipe in a nutshell:

Roughly chop an onion, carrot and small broccoli. Lightly fry in a little oil in a deep pot. Mince 4-5 garlic cloves and add to pan. Season generously and sautee until the onion is transparent. Add around five cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 10mins until the veg is soft. Finally add the chickpeas and crumbled chestnuts and heat through. Finish with a decent amount of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.

Our dear friend Dan returned to Chicago on Friday. It was so lovely having him here in London and made us realise how much we miss our Chicago life. Shame. I think a trip to the US might be in order in the New Year. Best start saving dem pennies.

I found this image on my phone today. During the Olympics we managed to get to one event (Women’s Weightlifting is surprisingly very entertaining) at the Excel Centre and afterwards we walked through the area next to it, which had been transformed into a place for eating, relaxing and generally soaking up the Olympics atmosphere – it was so un-London but so fantastic. There were lot’s of random objects scattered about, this sign being one them. I love it.



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