Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunshine and smiles

I've just returned from a gorgeous weekend in sunny Bath with some wonderful friends. I smiled all the way home. In my opinion, there's nothing that sunshine can't improve! A pub lunch and a boat trip (with some singing courtesy of Miss KW) was just what I needed to perk me up and prepare me for a big weekend.

Anyway, the sun meant that I was able to get some summer clothes back out and see just what I have acquired over the last few years. My summer wardrobe is considerably bigger than my winter wardrobe, mostly because I hate winter! I wonder how anyone can possibly feel good about themselves when it's so cold and miserable outside. I feel like I just wear black constantly. My summer clothes mostly consist of lots of maxi dresses, vest tops and skirts. I'm on a tight budget so I can't go all out on buying new things this year. I do need some new sandals so here are some I've got my eye on at the moment:

They're all from trusty ASOS if you fancy having a look for yourself. Just a quick post today as I'm absolutely exhausted!

Hope you had a nice sunny weekend too!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Style Crush #13 : Michelle Williams

At the BAFTA awards recently Michelle Williams wore a custom made dress by H&M. To have high street brands on the red carpet is a rare thing; stars like to show off their money and they often get offered endless dresses from designers. It's refreshing to see somebody wearing a high street name. H&M also happens to be one of my go-to shops.

Michelle Williams has been promoting her latest film 'My week with Marilyn' and she looks absolutely stunning in the press shots.

The H&M dress

I am in love with this dress.

Cute and lacy with leopard print shoes. Want.

As Marilyn. I wish I looked like this when reading a book.

Pixie crop, bow and frills. Angelic.

Yellow dress, red lips and curly hair. This makes me want summer to arrive!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Style crush #12 : Fearne Cotton

Just a short post this evening because I'm feeling tired and I'm also far too entertained by Sarah Millican on the Jonathan Ross show to be writing for any amount of time. It's nice to see someone proving that women can be funny!

Anyway, onto my latest style crush. I remember when Fearne Cotton was a childrens tv presenter with 'wacky' clothes and a bob. Now she's a fully fledged style icon, the butt of Keith Lemon's jokes and has designed her own clothing line for Very. Her job title is probably TV presenter but she has done so many things now that it's hard to keep up. I don't know how she manages to do it all!

I wanted to feature her as my latest style crush because when she gets it right, she gets it very right. I probably wouldn't wear what she wears because she's an entirely different body shape to me, but that doesn't mean I can't covet her wardrobe.

Here are some of my favourite looks:

Simple white blouse and super blonde hair.

I love this vampy look with the hair colour. She looks really similar to Caroline Flack here!

Ankle socks and printed dress = cute

Another simple but gorgeous outfit.

I wish I could do my hair like this! Anyone know how?
Modelling for Very. I love the tattoo on her wrist too!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I love #9

I have to admit I've been rubbish at blogging recently. Lots of work to be getting on with so I've only really been posting when I've had something to say or a recipe to post. I'm treating this as a quick break from work before I get back on with it! I've made a V festival playlist to listen to in the background and I'm really enjoying the variety of music and hearing some of the lesser known songs from people like Emeli Sande and High Flying Birds.

I thought I'd share a secret today. My organising and planning obsession. I like being organised, having a plan and looking at things for all sorts of inspiration. Although I like planning, I do like to be spontaneous too. Some of the best things I've ever done have been completely last minute. I just think that being organised means you're always on top of things and ready for anything that comes your way. I like to find inspiration for various things in magazines and also online on Pinterest. You can have different boards to store your 'pins' so I've got boards for food, parties, style, home, places, beauty, wants and thoughts.

You know those annoying 'keep calm and...' posters which seem to be everywhere? Well, I don't post those, but I do like quotations and little slogans which are fairly similar. If that makes me sad then so be it, but it's my geeky side coming out. I love quotations from books, pictures of places to travel to and things that keep me motivated. Here are some of my pinterest 'thoughts':

Sunday, 11 March 2012

I love #8

1. Discovering new meals. This week I had Jamie Oliver's Indian Style Steak and have to say it was delicious! It was taken from his 30 minute meals book and I had seen him make it on tv too. It's ridiculously easy and does actually take less than 30 minutes. No food processor or anything! The yoghurt dip and curry sauce was so nice, I couldn't stop eating it. We didn't make the deserts but that was because we were so stuffed from the main meal. The recipe is here if you want to have a go.

Picture from Jamie Oliver site
2. Listening to old music. It's only when foraging through your old things or looking through an Ipod that you rediscover some old classics. I love hearing music which reminds me of my teenage years. Currently getting back into Green Day, Blink 182 and Linkin Park. Haha!

3. Sunshine. Everything is better when the sun is out. People are more polite, it's easier to get out of bed and you have way more energy. It makes me actually want to go and do things. When it's cold and miserable I just want to hibernate. I'm excited about buying a few summery dresses and some new sandals for summer time. I know I'm being a bit hopeful in March but it won't be long until summer sun and socialising!

4. Bargains. I recently found a gorgeous pink dress in H&M for £7 and have also decided to sign up to Zumba classes which cost an amazing £14 for ten sessions. I'm also considering starting to grow my own herbs and vegetables and I'm getting quite excited at the thought of it. I'm not sure if that makes me boring or amazingly bohemian. Either way, I'm fine with it.

5. Feminism. Most people who know me probably don't see me as a feminist. Feminism is still (wrongly) associated with the burning of bras, clumpy shoes and 'man hating'. In my opinion, that is not what feminism is. I want to avoid a long, drawn out rant so I'll keep it short. I see feminism as women having an equal chance to succeed as men. Feminism is currently having a new uprising which can be seen in the form of Caitlin Moran's book 'How to be a Woman'. Not only that, but the recent Cosmopolitan I bought was all about feminism and the fact that women should be recognised for their contributions to society and not belittled or devalued simply because of their gender. Women of the World Festival is currently underway and I think it's great that we are now able to have more informed and frank conversations about feminism without claiming that feminists are angry, unfunny and frumpy individuals. I could talk about this endlessly so I'll stop now. Here's a video of Daniel Craig...

Frangipane and jam tarts

Well it seems life got in the way of blogging recently. I can't pretend I've been doing anything glamorous; I've mostly been working, baking some more of my blueberry cupcakes and trying to arrange exciting things for the upcoming months. At the end of the month I'm off to see some of my best friends in Bath and then next month I'll be off to Cardiff for some welsh based fun. Catching up with old university friends is one of my favourite things. I love seeing what they've been up to. The best thing is realising that despite not seeing them all the time, we can slide straight back into old ways and have a great time together. I'm also going to be heading to V Festival in August. Ridiculously excited!

 Today I wanted to share a recent baking beauty. Frangipane and jam tarts sound much more difficult than they are. They only take about 20 minutes in all and then you get a good looking desert to show off! This is another success from my boyfriend and I can't take the credit. I can definitely share the recipe though!

What you will need:
Raspberry or strawberry jam
Pre-made sweet pastry cases
Frozen summer fruits
1 orange
Caster sugar
Icing sugar

For the frangipane:
100g butter unsalted
100g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
1 egg
Orange zest
Vanilla extract

What to do:
Heat the oven to about 180C.

First, make the frangipane: mix all frangipane ingredients together. Leave the butter out to soften at room temperature first.

Put a spoon of jam in each case, then a spoon of frangipane, then jam, and then more frangipane!

Brush egg around the case to keep it from burning in the oven and also to give it a nice golden glow

 Put the tarts in the preheated oven for 15-18 mins

While the tarts are baking, you can make the sauce. This will only take a couple of minutes. In a saucepan add a generous squeeze of orange juice, some frozen summer fruits (blackberries, redcurrants etc) and a good sprinkling of sugar. Allow this to heat in the pan until sauce like. Taste it to check it is sweet enough for you. If not, then add more sugar.

When the tarts are done, whip them out of the oven.

Put them on a place and add the sauce. Sprinkle icing sugar over the top and voila! 

Tuck in and enjoy. 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Blueberry cupcakes

Baking is my new found love. My latest Sunday afternoon saw me making blueberry cupcakes. They're really simple, take very little effort and taste lovely.

What you need:

115g plain flour
345g self raising flour
450g unsalted butter
460g caster sugar
8 eggs
1 tsp vanilla flavouring
375ml semi-skimmed milk 

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a cupcake baking tray with paper liners. 

Put the sugar and butter in a bowl and beat it until the mixture is a smooth, light yellow colour.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat them into the mixture as you go. Add the vanilla and mix this in. 

Sift the plain and self-raising flour in gradually and mix together. 

Add in the milk and stir until you have a bowl full of smooth, gooey goodness.

Next, spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners, add in some blueberries and bake for about 20 minutes or until they're golden on top.

After cooking, take the cupcakes out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Ta da! Golden on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside!

The perfect little treat! I made so much batter that I decided to freeze half of it so that I can get it out at busier times, leave to defrost and then get baking. I'm still to master the perfect icing so that's next on my baking to-do list. No baking this weekend as I've been busy eating French food (a giant steak) celebrating a birthday and an engagement, eating a gorgeous curry and seeing friends whom I should see far more often! I've spent most of today reading Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman and have only just managed to tear myself away from it in order to blog and then do some work. I really do love weekends.

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