Thursday, 24 April 2014

Fill Your Walls

I get a lot of feedback from my blog and presenting work. It is interesting to me the broad spectrum of people that stop by here. Some of you tell me that you come back for the recipes, others for the craft, one woman told me that her husband is my biggest fan as after discovering my blog she didn't spend so much on magazines. That one made me smile and it was also a huge compliment, in fact I am complimented every time I check my stats. One of the things that I get from time to time is that some of you stop by to look at the pictures, like to feel inspired but do not feel confident enough in your own abilities. That is one of the reasons I started to create posts with simple suggestions for putting your own art into your homes, my previous post Afternoon Wall Art had a great response. One of my readers sent me a photo of her version from the Afternoon Wall Art post, it looks so good Hannah that I am sharing it with everyone,  (don't worry I checked this with her first guys).
We all love making our homes nice and having it filled with personal memories, an Etsy print that was a wedding gift, a framed photograph of your baby holding your finger, but having something you have made yourself is the most personal way to decorate your home of all.

Not everyone is great at drawing but everyone can write! I love language, I can chat all day, in fact the collective noun for myself and one of my besties Lucy is the witter vortex. I also love language and words in art and have always used them. The perfect thing about using words is that you use the words that are pertinent to you. A word or a phrase that is important or a private joke between you and your partner.
These two pieces are phrases that are important to me right now. Since the birth of my baby boy I really do feel like happily ever after encapsulates how I feel everyday, regardless of how little sleep I may have had. Smile more is born from the fact since learning to smile he uses them all the time but gets upset if he looks at you and you are not smiling. 

To make happily ever after I simply cut the letters out from patterned paper and stuck them down. I could have hand drawn the second piece but I had just bought the perfect font that I wanted to try out an it has a really nice hand drawn quality to it. It is called Quarry and was bought from My Fonts.
I hope you have fun making words for your walls.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Homemade Guacamole

I am particular about my guacamole, lots of the store bought ones come off a little synthetic in their flavour, I suppose this is due to the amount of colours and preservatives they add. I also have very definite ideas about onions in guacamole, I feel that anything other than spring onions overpower the delicate flavour of the avocado. 

you will need;

2 ripe avocado
1 tomato
2 spring onions
1 lemon, squeezed
1 green chilli
pinch red chilli powder
salt and pepper

method;
  1. Roughly mash the avocado with a fork.
  2. Slice the spring onions and chilli, and chop your tomato up into small pieces.
  3. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and you are done.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

What I Wore - New York, Paris, Todmorden?

I was feeling more than cosmopolitan today with my shoes that came from New York, clothes from France and Todmorden charity shops prancing around in front of the Eiffel Tower. I can think of far worse ways to spend Easter Sunday. This is my first post baby what I wore post, so hello again.

I am in love with these shoes that were bought from New York and whinged their way to me for my birthday. With their elegant high backed design and my desire to keep them looking nice I had to put them on with a shoe horn, how grown up is that? Okay I will admit having a mortgage and a baby are pretty grown up things to do also but the shoe horn thing is definitely in my top 5. They are incredibly comfortable and I can verify that their claims that Fluevog shoes are resistant to Satan is true, as you can see from the following images there is not one devil to be seen. You know when you are wearing good shoes when on their first outing your feet are not torn to pieces. Growing up I thought that 'breaking shoes in' was a necessity, it is not if the shoes are mega wicked well made uber shoes.
Being in Paris is great, having shoes from New York is cool but home is home. My top although from a French company was bought in a charity shop in Todmorden, sleep Yorkshire town. It is one of the few tops that I owned pre pregnancy that still fits after breast explosion of 2013. A brief aside, I love skirts that have pockets!
Outfit Details

Blouse -Kookai (thrifted)
Shoes - Fluevog
Socks - C & A
Skirt -The Gap (thrifted)
Cardigan - Camaieu
Fox Ring  - Monoprix
Sunglasses - Thrifted


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Secrets To French Style

There is a reason that Paris is referred to as the capital of fashion, and France is a country synonymous with style. What is it about French fashion that captivates the world? French style is about simple chic, filling your wardrobe with classic pieces that have timeless appeal. Even their pyjamas are classy, how do I know that? Well I am wearing french pjymas in Paris in the picture above and the one below! Amazing right?
The classic Breton Stripe is a great example of the classic styles that make French fashion so chic. I am really excited by the bloggers competition being held by La Redoute to become their brand ambassador. They have put together a fantastic look book highlighting key elements of  the Secrets of French Style. 

To be in with a chance of being the La Redoute brand ambassador, a role I would truly love, I have to share with you my top fashion tip. So here it goes.

Wear it with confidence!

Now I could tell you to clinch jumpers and cardigans in with a belt or how to pack for a weekend away but the piece of advice that I value the most is the one I received from my mother and took me 10 years to take notice of. There is no point in wearing the latest trend if you don't feel comfortable in it, clothes are an expression of yourself, I explain this in a previous post on fashion. Wearing something with confidence may sound easier said than done but here my tips for that, the first being, be aware of your body shape. 

Fashion is often influenced by popular culture and last year the store were filled with Great Gatsby, 1930s inspired clothing. As much as I was in love with the beautiful dresses I am well aware that my figure is not be suited to the cut. My breasts and hips look better in a more Mad Men stlye of outfit, see;
Being aware of your body shape does not mean you are limited to one style. I break out of the Joan dress genre often. Below I am embracing the classic knitwear and fitted trousers of classic French style.
Wearing clothes with confidence enables me to look and feel good even when my body shape changed, like when I was pregnant.
  
Being aware of your body shape and what suits you is one way to wear your style with confidence and look great. Another tip for achieving this is to be sure before you buy. We all have those pieces in our wardrobe that are nothing but clutter now. The skirt we rushed out to buy on a lunch break or the dress we bought for a night out that we were not sure of but we had to buy something. Well stop that. If you  try something on and you are no sure about it don't buy it. If I wake up and I am having a bad hair day, haven't slept and didn't put on any make up to contend with unflattering store lights and mirrors, I don't shop that day. If you are not feeling great then you will not feel good about anything you try on that day and could end up in a bad image slump. When you feel good go shopping, by things that suit your body shape, and WEAR IT WITH CONFIDENCE.

Hopefully I will be chosen as the new brand ambassador for La Redoute and I will get to share more advice with you using their wonderful range of classic items, I promise to show you how to pack for a weekend away in hand luggage using classic French style.

Pots Of Awesome Mr. Izzard

Some years ago I watched Eddie Izzard doing stand up and talking about how the word awesome has become diluted. He told the audience how a word that was primarily intended to describe the sheer awesomeness of heaven, a deity or the vastness of space has now become synonymous with a great sale or a hot dog. As I am typing this precised version of quite a funny bit it has occurred to me that it has lost a certain je ne sais quoi. What I mean by that is that it is not funny anymore. I do not want you to want any of you who are not familiar with the chap to think that he is not funny. He is in fact full of wit and insightful observational humour. Please do not take this ramble of mine as a loyal fan with misplaced loyalty going to bat for the guy. Instead see this as a writer who in her own way has raised a smile or maybe three in folk from time to time, but, when it comes to recanting someone else's jokes in a written format when they were meat to be performed she is hopeless. 

Where was I? So this comedian, blah blah blah, the word awesome. I, like many a hot dog manufacturers before me have given the title awesome to food. I challenge Mr. Izzard and anyone else who shares the opinion that we use the word awesome too freely to disagree. In fact if there is an astronaut out there who has in fact seen the awesomness of space could you please make this recipe and confirm for me what I already know that these are nothing short of pots of absolute, unadulterated, chocolate awesome. If you have not yet tasted awesome it tastes like these. Have I built them up enough? I don't think I have because they also happen to be incredibly simple to create. If you have struggled with mousse recipes in the past don't be put off, this one you will be able to master.
you will need; (makes 8)

200g chocolate (around 60% cocoa)
6 eggs
15g white chocolate
15g dark bitter chocolate

method;
  1. Melt the 200g of chocolate over a pan of water. Please do not microwave your chocolate to melt it it changes it and ruins the flavour.
  2. Separate the eggs into 2 mixing bowls. Very slowly add the melted chocolate to the egg yolks. If you don't take your time the egg yolks will scramble and cook.
  3. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold them into the chocolate and egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated.
  4. Grate the white and bitter chocolate, mix theses and split equally between the bottom of 8 espresso cups. The choclate nibs will be a nice surprise at the end of the mousse.
  5. Fill each cup with mousse and chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
A great little pudding for dinner parties because they look so cute in the espresso cups but far more satisfying consumed by yourself in pyjamas listening to records.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Adventures In Pin Curls

Season after season of Mad Men I would sit and drool over the hair, and clothes and furniture and cocktails, but we are talking about hair here. Well after watching the new series Masters Of Sex, another 50s based show I could no longer continue without trying to put my hair in pin curls. The main character, Virginia often had her hair in pin curls in the evening so I paused on the relevant scene and attempted to recreate the look. 

Below is an image of how my hair looked whilst in pin curls, I don't know about you but I quite liked it as a 'do' in itself. I even attended a mummy and baby group like that.

How to;

Start with slightly damp hair, ever so slightly damp. In fact you could have it completely dry and dampen it with setting lotion if you are truly committed to the 50s vibe. Part your hair how you would like it to be when finished. I pinned the parts of my grown out fringe down as I didn't want to curl them. Section your hair off into sections about 3 fingers thick. Starting from the bottom of your hair make a curl, rolling under towards your head. Once you have finished rolling twist the loop so that it is flat towards your head and secure with pins. 

So to give you an idea of time, putting the curls in took me less time than blow drying or straightening my hair. In future I will take a little more time on the back. I left the curls in for 7 hours.
I had 7 pin curls on my head. You may want to change this for yourself depending on how much hair you have and how tight you want the curls to be.
Taking the curls out took less than five minutes. Then with a large flat paddle brush, this tool is vital, I brushed the curls out from the underneath.

I was pleased with the results, especially for a first attempt. The curls were done on a Thursday and my hair was still wavy on Sunday, and all of this was done without any heat damage on my hair so a double bonus.  I am still not as good as the Mad Men or Masters Of Sex ladies but hey they have on set stylists so I am letting myself off the hook.