Finding My Feet

DAILY DO’S AND DON’TS

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My routine is everything. I am seriously a creature of habit if ever there was one and right now I’m settling into my current daily do’s and don’ts, which may or may not portray me as being the dullest person on the planet but before you judge just remember that this is a routine in progress and I have yet to smooth out the finer details of my day. Ahem.

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I DO get up first and make Hubby and I breakfast.

I DON’T get showered and dressed before I complete at least one major task.

I DO make lunch everyday for 1pm.

I DON’T (or at least try not to) miss Gilmore Girls in the afternoon.

I DO make sure to fill my day with stuff that makes me happy, including cooking, writing and yes, even tidying.

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… not forgetting that little something that could be best described as ‘work’, of course, although seeing as I still find it difficult to think of writing as work it can remain in the ‘stuff I do during the day’ category.

SPONTANEOUS? MOI?

I realise this makes me sound awfully boring and even more than a wee bit anal (do other people gleefully divide their days in such a way?) but I honestly cannot help it. Since childhood I have taken pride in keeping every aspect of my life organised, and sad as it may seem it keeps me sane – I’m not saying I don’t like a little spontaneity none and again but even that requires some prior thought if I’m to fully enjoy it. I need to know the plan.

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Take the other day for example. We had already organised a long lunch when Hubby decided to take the entire afternoon off just so we could spend a bit of time exploring our new town. Not exactly planned but not precisely unplanned either – my kind of spontaneous activity. It wasn’t what you might call a wild day out but we had a blast finding bits for our costume tonight (‘cited!), having lunch in our favourite veggie cafe and visiting every charity shop in sight… and believe me when I tell you there are A LOT of charity shops to visit in Falmouth. It was an off the cuff afternoon that was made all the better by its sorta spontaneous nature.

COASTAL STYLE

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It was such a beautifully crisp day I decided to forgo any kind of jacket and instead use my faithful (and rather large) blue scarf as a buffer against the chill. The skirt was a(nother) charity shop find and due to fact I have still to unpack any of my winter clothes, this was one of the only clean cardi’s to hand. My new coastal style is slowly emerging but I’m still clinging desperately to my city ways too. For now, this is a happy compromise but who knows what I’ll be dressing like this time next year – bermudas and flip flops could very well be in my future.

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WHAT I’M WEARING… SKIRT, TOP & SATCHEL/VINTAGE… CARDI & BERET/H&M… ‘VERY VERY OLD!’ BOOTS/OFFICE… OWL PRINT BAG/TESCO

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Instagram Moments

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HERE COMES HALLOWEEN

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Halloween is nearly upon us and I feel totally unprepared – yet again. Every year I swear I’m going to savour the run-up to this awesome holiday and every year it seems to crop up before I’ve had a chance to even think about costumes, carving or candy – arrrgghhh! The day will not go unmarked, however, and we will be getting gussied up and heading over to watch a batch of spooky shorts at a studio near our house on the night… film and fancy dress? Now, that’s my kind of party!

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BIRTHDAY CAKE BAKING

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In lieu of any new pictures I thought I’d offer up a little instagram collage, which is definitely overdue. Clearly I’m still totally obsessed with this uh-mazing picture app and spend way too much time on it than is healthy or normal. As you can see my faithful Halloween scarecrow is making his yearly outings and is sitting pride of place on my kitchen windowsill, and I’ve been getting my hands dirty with some birthday cake baking (Hubbie turned 34!) and unnecessary but delicious crumble assemblage. I feel like I’ve embraced Autumn eating a bit too much already – eek.

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REMEMBER TO SMILE!!!

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Things are looking up here and I’m sending positive weekend vibes to everyone who takes the time to read this little blog ‘o mine. Smiles all round.

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Oh, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram – just click the button at the top!

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Mexican Black Bean Soup

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Remember this one? Well, you might recall the images but perhaps not the recipe because it never quite made it to the blog as I created it for an online magazine a couple of years back. I thought it about time I posted it here though so here it is in all its spicy, creamy, Mexicana glory… oh, and here’s the original article too!

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I am hopelessly devoted to Mexican cuisine. Spice and citrus, texture and taste, colourfully vibrant and abundantly fresh, it really does have it all. I often try to remember what my life was like prior to discovering this most wonderful of cuisines and worry that had I not spent two years in Chicago I would never has fully experienced everything Mexican food has to offer.

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Believe it or not Chicago has a mahoosive Mexican population (the third largest in the US apparently!) and we lived right smack bang in the middle of a huge Mexican district. There were taco joints on every corner and two 24hr Mexican restaurants mere minutes from my house. Suffice to say it was Mexican Food nirvana and I took full advantage – at least twice a week, eek!

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Now that I’m back in Blighty with barely a single Mexican restaurant in sight I have to provide my own tacos, burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, salsas, guacs and soups – oh yes, did I mention that Mexican’s are big on their soups?

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Wait a second though. Isn’t Mexican food heavily reliant on cheese, sour cream, meat and chicken stock? The short answer is yes but that doesn’t mean to say you can’t work around that and create perfectly authentic Mexican meals in your own kitchen completely sans animal products. Because, above everything else, it is the spices and herbs that bring any Mexican dish alive. Otherwise you’re just eating bread, cheese and meat, right?

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In my world Mexican food spells ‘Chipotle’. No, I’m not talking about the fast food place, I’m referring to the smoked chilli pepper that can be chopped, made into pastes or bought powder in form. As it can be quite difficult to obtain chipotle chilli’s here in the UK, I rely on the powder, which I buy from an awesome retailer called the Cool Chile Co.

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If you’re lacking in the chipotle department, never worry, you can acquire a similar flavour by just using a little more cumin and paprika – just make sure it is the smoked variety. However, if you want to evoke that true Mexican flavour in this or any other Mexican inspired dish then you really should invest in a little jar of chipotle goodness. You have been told!

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This black bean soup is so velvety, thick and luscious and, unless you’re already  familiar with blended bean soups, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. What an easy way to wow your guests at your Mexican themed dinner party, or do as I do and make it for a very quick and tasty lunch…

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Ahem, recipe below.

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Ingredients

½ sweet red pepper

½ red chilli

1x400g carton or can of organic black beans

1 tsp chipotle powder

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp vegan vegetable bouillon powder

2 sprigs of thyme

½ tsp dried oregano

Juice ½ lime

Few splashes of vegan fish free Worchester sauce

olive oil

Salt and pepper

to serve

¼ roughly chopped avocado

few sprigs of flat leaf parsley or coriander

spritz of lime

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Method

Chop and deseed the red pepper and chilli pepper into small pieces.

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Heat a little oil in a saucepan. Add the pepper, season with salt and pepper and lightly sauté for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Stir frequently.

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Add the chopped chilli, chipotle, cumin, paprika and stir to combine. Sweat for several minutes allowing the flavours of the spices to infuse.

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Drain and rinse the black beans and add to pan. Stir to coat the beans in all the spices, the thyme leaves, oregano and let it warm through before sprinkling in the vegetable bouillon and topping with water – you want the water to just cover the beans, as too much liquid will impair the texture.

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Splash in a few drops of Worchester sauce and bring it all to a gentle simmer.

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Transfer to a blender, add the lime juice and blitz until completely smooth. Return to pan and gently heat. Taste for seasoning.

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Serve with avocado, parsley or coriander and a spritz of fresh lime.

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Eat!

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There’s No Place Like Home

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

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You’ve probably noticed there’s usually not much heel action going on in this blog. There are several reasons for this and not least because they ain’t exactly the most practical of shoe – whether you’re traipsing around a large city like London or hiking through the wilds of Cornwall. Not normally associated with comfort I’ve spent a lifetime sticking to flats, wedges and mid-heels in the fear that those uber-high kind might leave me crippled within an hour of wearing them. To confound the issue further I’ve always had a wee bit of a complex about my rather short legs and not so dainty ankles, which I’d always believed to be somewhat highlighted (and not in a good way) by a stiletto style shoe. But, it’s nothing that can’t be solved with a midi-skirt and coloured tights combo, right?

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With all that said, I’m never not willing to give things a go, so when I was offered these ‘there’s no place like home’ Dorothy-tastic patent wonders I just couldn’t resist. Not only are the most glorious shade of red, they also happen to be 100% vegan friendly! That’s right, these patent beauties are NOT LEATHER… can you Adam and Eve it?

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STILETTO CONVERT

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Admiring shoes is one thing but their wearability will always be paramount in my eyes so the test-drive was crucial before I confirmed that they are not only the prettiest heels I may ever have owned but also the most comfortable. Thankfully they fitted like a glove (not an easy task given my ridiculous size 3 feet) and were also perfectly padded in all the right places – best insoles ever! And, after choosing to wear them on a girls night out, I can happily say they were everything I’d hoped they would be – no need to click my heels, I was happy to strut about in my very grown up Mary Janes all the way home (or at least to the car park)… flats begone, I might just be a stiletto convert.

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The outfit in question was the best mix and match I could muster, so forgive me for repeating my wardrobe choices. I’m fully aware you’ve seen all these items before, which is not great form for a fashion blog but hey, I’m working with what I’ve got. The good news is this might be the last week I have to live practically out of a suitcase because (drumroll purlease!) our carpet gets laid tomorrow (hurrah, hurray, callooh, callay) meaning I can finally properly unpack my things. I’ve literally been rocking the same small selection of clothes since August and it’s killing me – never thought I’d miss my wardrobe so much but I’m sorry to report I might just be beholden to that thing called style.

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The tights are a new purchase that I found in TKMaxx in Truro (the main shopping town here in Cornwall) and I adore them. So much so, they’re my tight of choice for the wedding I’ll be attending this weekend. The shoes will, of course, be making an appearance too – in fact, I actually cannot wait to show them off to my friends. Isn’t it funny the effect a little red patent can have on you – a sure fire way to brighten up your day I reckon. I don’t know about you but i”m officially sold.

what i’m wearing… blouse & skirt/vintage… sweater/gapred ‘Hellen’ high heels c/o eco vegan shoes and blue DKNY tights/TKMaxx

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Fishes Out Of Water

OH BOY!

Let’s start this blog post like any good episode of Quantum Leap would end… with an almighty ‘Oh Boy!’. It’s been a testing time here as we struggle to get to grips with this new area, which has only been confounded by the distinct lack of internet (hence no blog updates) meaning I have had to make serial trips to the nearest coffee shop in order to do my work. Not that I have any problem hanging out, drinking coffee and writing but being the 100% home bird that I am, I’d much prefer to be in the comfort of my own place where I’m able to go to loo should I so wish without worrying about what to do with my laptop.

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It’s probably all these little things that are impacting the bigger picture and making it nigh impossible to settle into our new way of life… let’s just say, it’s far from what we expected and neither of us can deny we’ve both been questioning our recent happiness in this part of Cornwall. In a nutshell, it ain’t Penzance.

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I suppose it never occurred to us that we were so attached to that funny little pirating town of yore, which is why it’s so baffling we’ve ended up homesick for a place we haven’t technically lived in for two years – what is wrong with us? In an attempt to shake off these negative thoughts we made it our mission to explore Falmouth and the surrounding area this past weekend, and it may or may not have gone to plan. Okay, so it didn’t exactly go to plan. Fishes out of water might be the best way to describe it… we desperately want to be fishes in the water but it would seem we’re very picky about what water it is we want to be in. Give me PZ, Marazion, Sennen, St.Ives, Mousehole… even Newlyn. Just not here.

 

TOSSING ‘N’ TURNING

Yes, way dramatic and yet these are the thoughts that kept me awake until 3am this morning – no lie. Tossing and turning and yearning for a part of the country that just seems to have captured my heart. So, what’s to be done? Well, for the time being we are willing to give it a go here but firm in the knowledge that this is not our forever home, which (and ever since we both voiced it out loud) has actually made everything a bit easier. Knowing this is just an in-betweeny bit hopefully means we can enjoy it for what it is and has taken the pressure off somewhat – no need to panic when we have confirmed that our hearts do in fact lie way down south where the land meets the raging sea. Unending horizons and glorious Cornish sunsets are still in our future, hurrah!

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What i’m wearing… top and waistcoat/vintage… trench coat/debenhams… indigo jeans/gap… socks/tabio… sandals/peacocks… bag/nica

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