Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Shelf inspiration

There is a new addition to my bedroom. 
I now have my very own gloriously sleek shelf.

This now presents me with a mighty fine task - arranging my books, magazines & stuff! Being a self-confessed Pinterest addict & lover of all things design, I have created a small collection to gather ideas for my room...

These are only my absolute favourites, & they all come from my pinterest board - 'To build a home'.

Here are my absolute top 3 favourite things to put on shelves:
  • Flowers & plants
  • Piles and stacks of books, maybe even colour coded!
  • Art - with beautiful frames, or sketches even can be very pretty

Monday, 25 February 2013

Sweet Potato, Haloumi and Greens Puff Pie

This recipe was a result of mine & E's need for something delicious & warm during my Weekend in Cambridge.

And it definitely ticks both of those boxes, along with being quick, easy & oh-so-tasty. Essentially it is a feast wrapped in puff pastry. And here is how to make it...

Ingredients for 3 puff pies:
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bag of greens
  • Haloumi cheese
  • A roll of puff pastry
  • 1 egg wash

First of all, chop your onions into fairly small chunks and fry them so they are soft.
To avoid having tears pouring down your face as I did, I recommend sunglasses to shield the pain of the onions.

Then wash your sweet potatoes & DON'T peel them (the skin adds so much more flavour), then bake them until they are soft (you can do this much quicker in a microwave, but for an oven I recommend about 30-40 minutes).

Wash your greens and steam them to soften them.

At this point you should have your onions, sweet potatoes & greens ready. It is time to roll out the puff pastry. Lay it out and divide it into 3 rectangles (which you will later fold over to make your mini pies).

Chop the Haloumi cheese into small chunks & then add your onions, greens, sweet potato & Haloumi to one side of each rectangle.

Once you've filled each designated side of the pastry, it's time to fold over. Once you have covered it all, pinch the sides of your mini pie so as to not let any of the insides show.

Then grease a baking tray, add the egg wash on top of your pie, and pierce small holes onto the top (not sure why but as that's what they do to pasties - so why not?).

Then wait for around 15-20 minutes with your oven at 200 degrees Celsius. (This time could change according to your oven.)

Once out of the oven they're ready to eat, so dig in & enjoy!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Sketchbook: A Mostly Latin Lunch

Todd Selby is incredible. 

I first came across his work when I saw his video for Zara. It was unlike any other ad campaign. So I just had to investigate his blog.

 Full of incredible & inspiring photos of creative people & their lives, you can't help but get engrossed. His photos & videos are wonderful. One of my favourites at the moment is Ignacio's Mostly Latin Lunch

I just had to do a little bit of sketching from the video. How could I resist drawing starfruit?

I'm a huge fan of Todd's work, so here are 5 of my favourite projects of his:

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Windowsill Gardening

Officially, spring will come in 28 days - on March 20th.

But apparently the sun can wait no longer. So I have taken full advantage of this & taken to gardening.

As I don't have any plants in my room, I decided to take a trip down to the local garden centre & pick my perfect indoor plant.

The place was filled with colour & it looked beautiful with the spring sunshine.

One of the more personal touches I enjoyed was the farmer's market nestled inside the Garden Centre. Filled with local produce & presented delightfully, there was a lovely variety of jams, vegetables & many other products.

After having a little nosey around, & debating whether to get a Paprika plant - I didn't as they grow outdoors - I found what I had been looking for. Kalanchoe Flaming Katy. 

A plant I could keep in my room, which didn't require much attention & which looked beautiful.

I also bought some Carrot Rondo seeds for a windowbox vegetable patch - aren't they the cutest?

Once home, I planted my tiny carrot seeds & pampered my flower.

Fingers crossed in a few months I'll be using the carrots in a recipe post...

Monday, 18 February 2013

Weekend in Cambridge

This weekend was the beginning of my holiday. So it was the perfect opportunity to spend the weekend with my sister at university.

I arrived in the afternoon & we had time for a walk & cookies before we wrapped up & began the hunt for a restaurant.

After a short search, we picked out a little Mediterranean restaurant. Both our meals were lovely - I had Salmon Agora whereas E had Moroccan Style Tagine.

We then did some exploring before escaping the cold for a short supermarket trip to buy some microwave popcorn. As I don't have a microwave at home (shocking I know) this would be the first time I had it & so the prospect was very exciting.

We dashed through the cold back to my sister's room to do some sketching & watch Anna Karenina with our popcorn. I had no idea I had been missing out on something so tasty.

After a surprisingly good night considering I had to camp on the floor, we did a little more exploring. Although it was still early, the parks were filled with students playing football, rugby & a whole host of other games. We also managed to catch a snippet of a rowing race.

We then had a little meet up with a distant cousin we had never met before. This was lovely - we had heard he went to the same university but never had the actual chance to meet until then.

Our thoughts then turned to lunch.

We've always liked to experiment with recipes, so this was our chance to combine our favourite flavours into a perfect lunch. A mixture of sweet potato, greens, puff pastry, onions & haloumi cheese, it was GLORIOUS. I'm sure I'll be posting the recipe one day.

It really was one of the best lunches I've had in a while - I can't rave on about it enough, especially if you consider how speedy, easy and tasty it was.

Once our lunch was over, we had hot drinks & treated ourselves to chocolates & our mother's homemade cookies before heading out for one last exploration before I had to leave.

Cambridge is so beautiful, it's always a pleasure to go there, between the parks, rowing races, shops and university events, there is always something going on.

A perfect start to my little holiday.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Picking Daisy Petals

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me...
We've all done it as a child, picking petals off those poor little daisies & when you get older, flowers are still a huge part of romance.

And I adore it.

The spectrum of colour flower merchants bring is beautiful.

On the subject of loved ones, here is my list of 10 things to do together:

  • Go to a roller disco (yes, retro clothing is a must).
  • Make pancakes & fill them with every flavour imaginable.
  • Draw / paint each other, let your creativity out.
  • Go on a road-trip - get lost & explore.
  • Build a blanket fort.
  • Go to a zoo.
  • Slow dance to old fashioned music.
  • Sprint in the night - is there anything better?
  • Sing at the top of your voices to your favourite songs.
  • Bake yourselves a fancy meal at home & wear your best gear.

And to finish off, here is a lovely quote from a lovely bear:

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever."
-Winnie The Pooh

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Roaring Twenties

If I could choose to live in any period, it would be the 1920s. They were incredible. Oozing with class and sophistication, who wouldn't want to live in the time of Gatsby?

In anticipation for the film, I've been flicking through my big book of vogue covers and adore the fashion drawings of the time. Inspired by their beautiful outfits and 'chic' appearance, I thought I might try a few of my own...

So here is a peek into my sketchbook, a 20s inspired double page spread.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Happy Chinese New Year! The year of the snake has arrived...
And to celebrate, here are a few oriental snippets of my day in London.

We arrived just in time to catch the parade. There were a lot of people, music & red - which I adored - seeing as it's my favourite colour...

The snake itself was brilliant. It's so interesting to see how the people under control this humungous puppet. It's like a dance.

The make up some people in the parade wore was divine, let alone all the delicately designed headpieces and kimonos.

As the parade moved along, we followed the crowds down to Trafalgar square. It was packed with stalls, tourists & once again, RED.

There was a brilliant atmosphere despite the freezing wind & rain - hence I just had to add this photo in...

However my favourite aspect of the celebration was the beautiful decoration of the area. Lanterns were hung in all the streets like bunting, filling Soho with colour.

I also received my first fortune cookie. Apparently Friday will be my lucky day - we shall see...

Once my feet were completely frozen & my shoes completely ruined, we decided it was just about time to go indoors, so ventured into the National Portrait Gallery.

This place is wonderful, I was particularly captured by the more modern pieces, aren't they just brilliant?
Home to the Duchess of Cambridge's first portrait & a spectrum of incredible pieces, I definitely recommend going here.

We then left the gallery to meet up with some friends for a gathering, the food was delicious & people were lovely. Next year I recommend making the journey.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Parisian Brunch

I have created the most scrumptious, speedy & satisfying brunch recipe you will ever find. In my opinion. And here it is...

Ingredients for 3:
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 2 Mushrooms
  • A packet of ready made croissant dough for 6
  • 3 Eggs
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Feta cheese

First of all, chop your pepper into very small pieces (approximately 1cm wide, high & thick) & put this into a bowl. Clean your mushrooms, slice them & add them to your bowl.

Fry your chopped peppers & mushrooms in a pan. You could also fry some bacon at this point ready to add in later on.

Then slice your cherry tomatoes, cut your feta into small chunks & put this aside for later. Fry your 3 eggs, trying to keep the rounded shape.

Roll out the croissant dough. Here comes the tricky bit.

Place your fried egg into the centre of a rectangle of dough (or slightly smaller) then add your fried vegetables & feta cheese on / around of your egg.

Wrap the remaining uncovered dough over the sides of the filling & pinch the sides so they stay wrapped.

This is how mine looked before they went into the oven, with two croissants created with my remaining dough. 

 After only 10 minutes in the oven, they will be beautifully golden & after the small addition of your juicy tomatoes, they're ready to devour.

Perfect for a quick & delicious brunch.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

From The Domicile Of Your Own Bedroom

Shopping online has a bundle of advantages. My favourite? You can shop with your duvet still wrapped around you on those cold winter mornings. Bliss.

So to add to the distractions of the internet, here is my own little compilation of products you wish you had.

Moxi roller skates which can be found here. Topshop have just started selling them & they are delicious. Personally, teal is my favourite colour, but they come in several different designs.

This Kate Spade Watch, found here, is utter perfection, as with all Kate Spade items, fingers crossed for Valentine's day?

Both of these art prints can be found at Rockett St George, & I adore the style. In particular the Magpie Belle piece (left), I've always had a thing for her artwork.

And don't worry gents, you are not forgotten.

Of all toys, vintage toys are always the best, & this beauty of a camera can be found at UO.

If you prefer to tackle shopping from a DIY aspect, these top hat pendent lights are your go to! Combining British heritage & class, they are perfection.

That's the end of my snippet of procrastination, but if you want a recommendation of more 'go to' shops, here's a little list: