30 April 2014
D I S H Y #2 ||
This week's dish of the week comes [vaguely] via Brussels. The girls and I were well overdue a catch up since our mini trip to Brussels [find out what we got up to here]. We'd talked about eating mussels in London a lot while eating mussels in Brussels so it was about time we did something about it. Say hello to: Kakkoii, one of the three moules platters by Belgo described as: mussels in Japanese breadcrumbs with a red chilli tomato salsa and ginger mayo. Not your traditional mussels in a pot with lovely juices but a delicious version with a fun twist.
27 April 2014
N A I L A R T E X P E R I M E N T S ||
I feel like I haven't had a favourite nail art experiment of 2014 yet. This week's nails may just be about to change that. Say hello to my bunny nails, version #2! I tried this out for the first time last year when I went to the Jugged Hare with London Larder blog [these were relatively successful brown bunnies] but I think attempt two may have just beaten last year's creation. I love them and hope you do too!
nail art pen by Barry M || I'm really sceptical about using nail art tools for my designs. I just don't believe in going crazy and investing in all sorts of tools when the brush itself can achieve so many fun designs on its own. I also found the only nail art pens I've ever used quite frustrating for quality and ease of use [I tried them here]. However, I'm really glad I picked up the Barry M nail art pen in black on a whim because I think it's amazing - super easy to use, great for precise details and the finish is excellent [hopefully you agree]. Would 100% recommend.
Happy Sunday Bloggy-bunnies!
Step-by-Step || if you feel like having a go too
1. apply your base background [berry ice cream by Barry M]
2. draw a half-moon for your bunny's face at the top of the nail [matt white by Barry M]
3. draw lines into the half moon for the ears [matt white by Barry M]
4. Go over the half-moons [handy if your ears went over a bit]
5. add in your glittery pink ears [mediterranean by Barry M Aquarium Collection]
6. add your bunnies' noses [peach melba by Barry M]
7. add the colour of your bunnies' eyes [blue moon by Barry M]
8. add on your whiskers and dot your eyes [nail art pen in black by Barry M]
Final step: make your bunnies eat chocolate cake and drink a latte!
where || Café Vintage
If you want to find some good homemade cake to feed your newly made furry-friends, then a new place I've discovered is the cute Café Vintage in Finsbury Park. It's a great place to eat, grab a coffee or tea and shop for vintage clothes all in one go. Enjoy!
23 April 2014
D I S H Y #1 || "Oh my doesn't that just look so dishy."
Welcome to a new feature on my blog: every Wednesday, I will aim to post my favourite Dish of the Week [either out or homemade]. For the first edition, I am so so happy to introduce to you guys this marvellous dessert I had over the Easter long weekend. MOVE OVER CHOCOLATE and enter the all-mighty, all-sizzling [in it's hot pan], all-fruity-and-delicious Warm Berry Waffle with summer berry compote and vanilla dairy ice cream made by the lovely people at Wildwood Kitchen. There's one in Covent Garden, go enjoy, you're welcome.
21 April 2014
the tartan desert boots ||
I've had my eye on desert boots for a while and when the chance (i.e. the Christmas sales) came I managed to get myself a pair at a bargain price from Clarks. Instead of the classic brown, I went for something a little left field: the tartan originals. Growing up in London, Camden used to be one of my favourite places to explore as a teen and I think the British-punk vibe from the time is still very much a part of me. So when tartan appears, I feel a little rebellious and end up buying non-classic boots. It was more difficult than I thought to style them - in the end, I opted for a red dress and leather studded jacket [both presents from family] and John's umbrella added a little something something. It was a very cosy outfit for such a rainy day and the boots were so comfortable to run around in. The best purchase.
dress & leather jacket [presents from family]
umbrella [my friend John's]
scarf [Uniqlo x Lulu Guinness]
More Clarks Desert Boots here - have a major crush on the lilac pair too.
jackson + rye ||
Not sure if I mentioned before but Diane gave up sugar for lent this year [it's in everything so this is a big achievement, believe me]. To mark the end of her sugar-less 40 days, she decided she wanted pancakes to celebrate. We ended up at Jackson + Rye - famed for their brunches and specifically pancakes. So, we ordered a batch of buttermilk pancakes, some cobbler, a beets & kale salad and mac n cheese. We sort of ate everything backwards [pancakes first as it was on the brunch menu, then ate early dinner]. It reminded Diane of school [apparently that was her rebellious activity back then] and had me a little confused but it didn't matter because it was all very tasty.
the birthday girl ||
Despite it being over a week since Diane's actual birthday, this was the first chance that I could give her her birthday present along with some new Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure nail varnish I got from work. I ended up buying her some cute coral sunnies from Warehouse as I thought they would come in handy over the summer. They looked very cute on and am glad I got the colour right [she was wearing the exact same shade top by chance yesterday!].
Hope you've all had a delightful Chocolate Weekend!
18 April 2014
nailspiration || coachella
Every year I say: I really need to go to Coachella. Every year, I don't. Organisation failure. Either way, I was inspired - this time by the beautiful photos of Palm Springs from some of my favourite bloggers in attendance this year. I personally love Sincerely Jules' palm tree related snaps, she always makes them look so good. [Check out her review of the festival and adventures with Havaianas here]. Moving on from palm trees, Coachella always seems like a fantastic festival to go to and I feel like the line up gets better each year. Music is such a big part of my life too so I was excited when I found out I could watch the shows live via Pinboard Blog [late nights, but worth it]. You can catch The Highlights from Weekend One here. Aargh, I wish I was there this weekend!
nail varnishes ||
base & top coat [5 in 1 nail treat by Rimmel]
background [pembridge crescent by Nails Inc & rose chic by Maybelline Colour Show]
palm trees [mushroom & teal by Barry M]
14 April 2014
where || national wedding show
briding (verb) | the act of attending wedding shows and acting like you're getting hitched so that you can get free chocolate, cake and balloon hats [maybe].
coat & bag [zara]
I have reached a time in my life where friends are slowly starting to put a ring-on-it; one of which is my long time friend Ellie [blue dress]. This then of course starts the wedding planning frenzy and means we start going to events like The National Wedding Show to get inspired, spoilt and enticed into all things wedding related. Hearing the number of brides who would descend onto London for this show, I immediately had to mentally prepare myself for an intense day. In reality, once you're inside the spacious Olympia showroom it doesn't feel as crazy as you'd imagine. Yes, there are lots of people & Yes, most people are trying to get you to their stall but actually as long as you focus on the key things you're looking for [for us, mainly the dress] then it's doable. It's a long day though so I would recommend comfy shoes, some snacks [the food in there is expensive] and go with friends so that it's more fun than chore.
the list ||
The dress, the venue, the bouquet, the car, the cake… the list goes on. Who knew there were so many things to buy when planning a wedding. Either way, the world is your oyster here because believe me anything you haven't thought of, someone at the trade show will have. If you already know what theme you're going for then you can filter out the many options, and if not - I am sure you will leave with one [or the vague beginnings of one]. What I learnt: the Vera Wang bouquets from Interflora are something else, it's really easy to get lured into wanting a castle for your big day [they are quite the backdrop], wedding cars are very comfortable and spacious [for the giant dress you'll be wearing I think] and cupcakes are just as much star-of-the-show as the actual cake.
the show ||
the dress ||
the distractions ||
11 April 2014
I watched a Bond movie, this is what followed. Despite all the amazing guesses I've had this week [including Gold Finger, Egyptian Ghost, Snazzy Ghost, etc.] this week's nailspiration is actually a result of watching Golden Eye. Gold background and some eyes. I could have just put one eye on each but I didn't want cyclopes on my fingers during a working week - but various pairs of eyes, I'm OK with.
varnish || metal rush & black cab by +rimmellondon, snow by Nails Inc
While I'm on nails, here are a few recently-released ranges which I have both my real and nail eyes on:
Nails Inc Floral | daisy lane floral, richmond gardens floral & floral street mews
Urban Outfitters W.I.P | beaded in mint, splash, orchid, voodoo, halo & seashells
Revlon Parfumerie | [my favourites are] moonlit woods, spun sugar & ginger melon [but below are good too!]
 The Nails Inc Floral range just suits my current spring-y mood and I like that it's super sparkly but with proper detail.  I'm ashamed to admit I didn't even know Urban Outfitters made nail varnish [yes, I've been hiding in a cave] but what a great discovery - the colours look more on the edgy-side of classic shades but will need to test out.  Gimmicky or not, there's something about scented nail varnish that intrigues me. Maybe it reminds me of my teenage years when I invested in scented pens [you know what I'm talking about, you were there] but this just sounds like fun. Who wouldn't want a standout colour accompanied by standout lovely smelling nails?
Have you tried any of these new ranges? What's your verdict? Would love to know before I explore.
9 April 2014
where || colombia road flower market, london
Any colour. You won't be short of choice at Colombia Road Flower Market so I would suggest thinking long and hard about this [ha]. Seriously though: How Do You Pick? I really like going down to one of London's most famous flower markets, it makes for a very cheery Sunday. Emilia hadn't been before so was in for a treat - even though I've been many times now, her excitement still got me too.
I'm by far not an expert in surviving markets but if I had three tips for all of you for this market, they would be:
RESIST || browse it all before you buy - it's tempting I know, but trust me you need to prioritise or you might regret it. Your purse won't thank you either. Look at the whole offering and at the end pick 2-3 favourites you'd like to pick up, then go go go go go. Attack!
TIMING || go early or go late - useful advice I've been given in the past and I totally agree as these are the times you are most likely to get the best deals. The middle bit is just a bit meh.
FOCUS || listen out and be quick - if you do the above, you will need to keep your wits about you because the market will be packed. Listen out for sellers shouting deals, remember deals [so you can compare], and act quickly if that deal is on your target flowers [I've lost some deals by being too slow before].
I find it so hard to walk away from Colombia Road Flower Market without thinking I wish I also had that, that and that. Ultimately, if I could fill a house with flowers I probably would, but that's just not practical, is it now? So here's to hoping that one day I can build a tropical garden filled with a rainbow collection of flowers and plants that I can call my own flower market. One day [cross fingers]. Until then, I'm just going to keep enjoying going back to this market as it always adds a smile and some cheer to my weekends. With so many colours, lovely smells and a good deal to be had - it will always have my heart [sorry purse].
Here are our lovely bunches - Emilia and I got some excellent deals. We also ended up [unintentionally] colour-coordinating our flowers, we had all shades of pinks and purples. Lovely. We already can't wait to go back.
what we bought || white and pink lilies, white and pink [light & dark] peonies, purple hyacinths & pastel purple tulips
Now, it's your turn - go, [let me know what you thought and if you have any flower arranging tips] and enjoy!