Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Pumpkin & Chestnut Soup Recipe

As promised another pumpkin recipe. I simply adore squash season and not just because of the food but the colours, the crisp bright days and my love of hats can be fully realised. This is a light soup, I love a thick hearty soup as much as the next person but hate when all soups are the consistency of greek yoghurt. Maybe I have been living in Paris too long, soup is soup and potage is potage.

you will need;

1 small pumpkin (approximately 1kg)
100g whole cooked, peeled chestnuts
1 large white onion
50g butter
1tbsp sunflower oil
800ml vegetable stock
120ml double cream

  1. Roughly chop the onion and saute with the butter and oil over a low heat until soft.
  2. Meanwhile peel, de-seed and chop the pumpkin into cubes. Also quarter the chestnuts. You should be able to find these in a tin or frozen.
  3. Add the pumpkin and chestnuts to the softened onion and continue to cook over a low heat with the lid on, to keep the condensation in for 5mins.
  4. Pour in the stock and simmer for 30 mins.
  5. Blend until smooth. Stir through the cream. 
  6. Serve or allow to cool and freeze for a later date.

Friday, 21 November 2014

The AMARA Interior Blog Awards

So if you have been following you will have noticed a number of things happening in the left hand sidebar. A button appeared saying that I had been nominated for an award and asking you to vote for me. Then after your continued support I was shortlisted, and I changed my badge to proudly tell you I was shortlisted. When a person is up for an award they check out the competition, well we are only human right? To say I was in good company is an understatement. My fellow nominees all write and curate fantastic blogs, also we are all of a similar mindset as you can see from the group interview we gave, just click on the link to give it a read. 

Well award ceremony day arrived and so did a stomach bug, trust me when I say I am doing you a kindness by not going into details. It would appear that my Vivian of Holloway dress is STILL yet to get an outing. So I experienced the night via Twitter updates and was over the moon to see not only did I come second but the wonderful Apartment Apothecary won! I had a look at the photographs from the night itself and it is so sad that I did not make it and that I did not get to meet my fellow bloggers, I plan to rectify the last point soon. If you want to view the photographs you can do so here.
So what happens next? Well first of all the sidebar gets a new badge that reads Highly Commended! Second of all I have been chatting with my fellow nominees and they have kindly agreed to let me interview each of them and I will share those with you here over the coming months.In the meantime you can find links to their blogs via the Online Love button on the left sidebar under the interiors section of course. Lastly my blog has so many more home diy and design to share with you as I take on my largest renovation project yet.

Watch this space!

Eyeball lamp c/o Litecraft

Monday, 17 November 2014

Berry & Spice Smoothie

Summer always seems to be smoothie season, I suppose it is the season associated with soft fruits and cold drinks, but here I am in jumpers and thick socks hankering after more fruity goodness. The truth is there are many fruits still available in the colder seasons that work well in a smoothie and some more unusual ingredients, no spoilers but there are more winter smoothie recipes to come.

I tend to overly romanticise things, where is the harm in that? In my mind rummaging in bushes for blackberries I see myself as Kate Humble on a fashion shoot for Boden, strolling down a country lane muslin lined basket in hand casually plucking berries. In reality I am not Kate Humble, I am avoiding nettles, getting my hair caught in bushes, and jumping out of my skin when I see a large spider. I do however rock a good pair of wellies so it all evens out in the end. At the end of a berry hunt the satisfaction of your haul gets you over any nettle incidents you may have encountered.

For this recipe I wanted to supplement my foraged fruit with blueberries to add to my fruit injection
you will need;

1 cup blueberries
2 cups blackberries
3/4 pint milk
1tsp mixed spice

  1. Wash your fruit, especially if you have foraged your blackberries like I did.
  2.  Add your fruit to a saucepan with the mixed spice and slowly cook down to a pulp. Don't skip this stage, if you just add the mixed spice to raw fruit and milk the smoothie will taste powdery, trust me. Also blueberries have a tough skin and unless you ave a super dooper expensive blender, which I don't you get a smoothie that is in fact full of bits thus negating the name.
  3. Now comes patience. Allow your fruit and spice mixture to cool completely, preferably overnight in the fridge.
  4. Place the fruit mixture and milk into a blender and whiz until smooth, serve.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Passage Choiseul - Paris

Paris is simply filled with covered passages. Some are fully restored, others are more than a little rough around the edges. Some filled with chic and very expensive boutiques, the kind that are filled with shop assistants who can gauge your annual income with a glance. Others with Indian spices and restaurants.  They all have an individual charm and I highly recommend you spending some time trying to visit a couple.
If you are only in Paris for a short while Passage Choiseul is ideally situated for a visit as it is right by the National Opera House and a stones throw away from Galleries Lafayette. Regardless of the fact that the passage is situated in the first arrondissement the shops and cafes inside are reasonably priced. It is the perfect place to go to after being caught in the tourist crowds of the galleries and the opera house. 
Passage Choiseul is queit and filled with cute bistros and unlike some of the tourist filled cafes in Place de L'Opera they are filled with locals. Enjoying lunch in the beautiful glass roofed, light filled passage is must.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

How To Wear A Sheer Dress - 2 Ways

Have you ever wandered around the shops and seen something that you loved but then wondered how on earth you would work it into your wardrobe? For me that item was the sheer dress. I would see these beautiful dresses floating on the rail, the lovely flowing fabrics with their siren song saying buy me, buy me. Then I would stop and think it is a see through dress and I am not one for slut dressing, I just look a fool if I try to dress in an overtly sexy way, trust me I have tried and failed, so is there a place for it in my wardrobe.

This summer I finally cracked, maybe it was the sleep deprivation that caused me to impulse buy, maybe I could not resist the fact that it was 50% off, the lure of the bargain should never be underestimated, or maybe I just thought the dress is too pretty to ignore.

The way I see it is now you have your sheer dress you can go one of two directions. The first is what I like to call the going for it method. The dress I have is a shapeless dress that I could not wear with my figure unless it was sheer. With large breasts floaty clothes tend to ski jump off you making everything look like maternity wear, and believe me when you get your figure back after having a baby the last thing you want to do is hide it. With a sheer dress you can wear a shapeless dress and you can still see a silhouette of your actual shape. So here is my tip to help you with the going for it method. You in fact only see a silhouette, you show more flesh in the swimming pool and it is an excuse to buy underwear that is not old grey and embarrassing. I do not feel comfortable in regular knickers, not until they invent a pair of pants that does not disappear up your bottom with no notice so I wore some nude coloured french knickers, silky shorts basically, very tasteful. Also as a vegetarian I am so happy that fake biker jackets look good now, all hail the invention of PU.
The second way to wear a sheer dress is the layering option this is best suited to those who are less confident to go for it or have not had a chance to get great undies yet or when it is cold like now in Autumn.

Try to keep your silhouette shape by sticking to one colour and tight clothing. I wore skinny black jeans and a close fitting black vest with spaghetti straps.
Outfit Details
Shoes - Thrifted
  Jeans - French Connection
  Vest - Tesco  Cardigan - UniQlo   Biker Jacket - Etam

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Festival Of Thrift - Round Up

When I first decided to embark on my upcycled room project I was heavily pregnant, when it came to fruition I had a bouncy, crawling baby to consider. What I wanted to achieve from the project was to inspire people to upcycle in their own homes. I wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to upcycle regardless of your level of skill. That was the reason that I had everything from re purposed thermos flask vases to a complex sling chair and polished concrete coffee table.
The whole festival was alive with creativity, my only disappointment was that I did not have enough time to explore all the areas and eat all of the lovely smelling food. Nevertheless I was brimming with pride to be part of such a great festival. I am a huge fan of the ethos and seeing so many people inspired by what there saw was deeply satisfying. On the Saturday I was helped by an angel called Bernie who runs her own business called Pimp My Pine, I really could not have finished without her all of her help. 
These are images from Den Of Uniquity and the man himself, he repairs engines and with the parts left over he creates unique items for your home.
Despite being incredibly busy with my project I did get a chance to visit some of the amazingly creative stalls and even had time to buy myself a dress.

I have some wonderful ideas for next years festival, I hope to see you there!