Saturday, 30 June 2012

NYC: To Do

The High Line

This is an old Freight Rail Line which has been made into a public park - in the summer, it is heaving with market stalls, walkers and sunbathers and even has Art installations along the path. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking district all the way to West 34th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenue).


Last time I was in New York, I made my first visit to the MoMA and I loved it. It's $25 entry but so worth it.

Martin Kippenberger, Van Gogh and Takashi Murakami
Other recommended galleries:
The Frick
The Met

Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue

A huge warehouse style building full of health shops (we love 'One Lucky Duck'), great trinket shops as well as NYC favourites Anthropologie and 'Fat Witch Bakery'. A great alternative for lunch.

Brooklyn Bridge

On a clear day, it's astounding. Stop for world-famous 'Grimaldi's' pizza when you arrive in Brooklyn.

Me and my close friend Natalie, 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker for US Harpers
I always refer to Time Out New York for things to do - check out their guide to 'free' events here

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Technical #fail

Severe apologies for the lack of posts this week- my Internet has been down at home and I have been in mild panic! Hopefully should be up and running by the weekend.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Wedding Season

Wedding season is upon us...and with the sales starting early this year it's a great time to get a good deal on your outfit.
I never let wedding outfits panic me, I know I'll have something at the back of my wardrobe I can jazz up with a new bag or shoe...accessories, I think, are the key.
This bag was £20 from Zara and makes any dress look wedding-ready:

Chiffon maxi dresses are a great investments for weddings  - they make it easier to wear flats and hide pasty legs! H&M has some perfect ones right now, this one is from the their Conscious Collection:

Ring, Phoebe Coleman, bracelets, Dima & Carolina Bucci
Dress, £59.99, H&M
£95, Cabinet at Kabiri
£20, River Island

This outfit is all Designer but all from the sales - the dress is Lanvin (£190) and the jacket Matthew Williamson (£200) but they have both proved their worth over the years.

 £140 in the sale, Acne at Net A Porter

£59.99, Zara

£28, Next

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Recipe: Calamari, chorizo and butter beans

I love to cook tapas-style meals in the summer. These flavours go so well together - serve as a side or a whole meal.

Via BBC Good Food

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Half teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of cruched dried chillies
  • Half teaspoon dried oregano
  • 100g diced chorizo
  • 200g drained butter beans
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 250g small squid tubes
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour

  1. Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a medium sauce pan then add the onion and cook for 4-5 mins, until tender.
  2. Add the garlic, cumin, chillies and oregano then cook for another minute. Add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned and the onions have started to caramelized.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and drained butter beans then simmer for 20 mins or until it has thickened. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut the squid into 1cm thick rings. Pat it dry on kitchen paper towels. Add some salt and pepper (I add some oregano) to the flour then coat each piece of squid in the seasoned flour.
  5. Heat a tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and when it's smoking hot add the squid. Cook the squid for 2-3 mins until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Serve the fried squid on top of the butter bean and chorizo sauce.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Frugal Website:

This isn't just any website. This will change the way you choose your phone contract:

Recommended by a colleague at work (who deals with money and budgets -trust him). This is a third-party website which allows you to either upgrade your old contract/stay with same contract but pick a free gift or pay less for the contract/minutes you have.

My partner last year decided he didn't need a better contract, so kept paying the same rate but chose a brand new laptop as a bonus gift.

I decided I wanted to lower my costs instead, so through this website I found a contract that offered the same amount of minutes/texts/emails/internet use for £20 a month rather than £35.

Funnily enough, after I told my phone company that I was switching through this website, they tried to offer me a counter deal. Firstly, it still wasn't as good as £20 a month and it was interesting that I had been with them for 7 years and they had never offered me any sort of deal. It just shows these companies can do better deals but they don't make you aware.

Good luck!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Day Trip: Clandon Park

Clandon Park is a National Trust Palladian Mansion just outside Guildford with beautiful gardens. I am not a member of The National Trust but one day hope to be, I enjoy all of Britain's historical sights.
Admission is roughly £9 but there are also many free National Trust venues - Morden Hall Park is so near my house and I am ashamed to admit I have passed it many times but not spent time there. This summer I hope to feed the ducks:

6th-9th September 2012 - Heritage Open Days
Every year, for 4 days only, many Heritage properties which usually charge admission open up to the public. Listings appear on the website mid-July so keep your eyes peeled.

Other FREE days out I love...

Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London

I don't think many cities have galleries quite likes ours. Tate Britain is one of my favourite London Galleries - the hold some fabulous works by J W Waterhouse as well as modern work by Bridget Riley, Peter Blake and Damien Hirst (I think a lot of people assume that only the Tate Modern holds these).

Bridget Riley at Tate Britain
Columbia Road Flower Market, London E2

Last month I visited Columbia Road Flower Market for the first poured with rain all day - but this only meant the flowers were cheaper! It is great for a day out with lots of cafes for brunch and cute shops selling Art and trinkets. Perfect for just a Sunday morning stroll if you're short of cash.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham

I think Birmingham gets a bad rep where Culture is concerned but galleries like this should put that reputation to bed, housing masterpieces like Albert Moore's 'Dreamers':

Many galleries abroad have certain days or opening times which are free entry. The Prado Museum in Madrid, for instance, has free entry Mondays to Saturdays 6pm-8pm and Sundays 5pm-8pm. Time to enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Recipe: Rose Bakery Mini Tartlets

Rose Bakery cookbook
These are so cute and delicious - and perfect for party nibbles. The great thing about them - although fiddly at first - is that once you master the basic recipe, you can use pretty much any filling you want!

(Enough to make 3 x 28xm tart crusts)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 250g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250ml cold water
  1. Process the flour, salt and butter for about 5-8 seconds, then put the mixture in a bowl.
  2. Now make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mixture and add the egg yolk and half the water. Stir with a fork, adding more if necessary.
  3. When the fork can't go anymore, use your hands to bring the dough together. 
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
  5. Preheat oven to 180c.
  6. Take it out and divide into 3 pieces.
  7. Roll out one of the pieces on a floured surface. When it is around 4mm thick, line a tart tin. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Chill again for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake the tart cases for about 25-30 minutes until golden.
  • 500ml single cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  1. Beat all ingredients together in a bowl until they are mixed well.
FILLING (this is for mushroom and chive)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g mushroom, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 200g grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 handful chopped chives
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms with the garlic and salt and pepper till all the liquid has gone.
  2. Scatter the cheese over the base of the tart cases. Place the mushrooms on this and pour as much the cream mixture into each one as you can.
  3. Sprinkle with chives and transfer into the oven. 
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until the filling has set and is golden. 

Mushroom and herb tartlets - first attempt!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Brand In Focus:

Since launching in 2006, has become every Fashionista's one-stop shop for the latest must-have designer product. However, this has never compromised their promise of mid-market, affordable price-points.  With Sarah Curran at the helm, she has managed to bring to us what she describes as 'everyday luxury' with a clever mix of product both on the pulse and aspirational but at the same time being cost-conscious.
Although these days you can find prominent designers such as 3.1 Phillip Lim and up and coming Sophie Hulme on the site, 70-75% of the website's stock is still under £250.
Whether you're looking for the perfect white t-shirt, or that sparkly clutch for a weddding, My-wardrobe has it. I also love the 'Classics' section, which incorporates all those items I strongly believe in - Smythson notebooks, Mulberry bags, Anya Hindmarch wallets....

What I am lusting after right now from are investments, trust me):

Friday, 15 June 2012

In a New York Minute...

I just spent another whirlwind weekend in New York - I was working, however, I did manage to buy a few bits from J Crew (see middle left).
We shot in a suite at The Bowery Hotel, and I couldn't resist the opportunity of a rooftop photo - so amazing. This skirt has a front panel covered with matt white sequins - £39.99 from H&M. I don't usually do 'lady-like', so I pair a pencil skirt with flat sandals (an old Balenciaga sale purchase which I have never regretted) and a crew-neck sweater. The grey sweater was a new purchase, $79.95 from J Crew (but is v good quality).

$79.50, J Crew

Jewellery on the shoot - my favourites are from Laura Lee

Taking my new sandals out, £20, River Island

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Entries from my scrapbook...

Places I've been, things I've seen, places I want to see and stuff I love...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wedding Gift Ideas

It's not often that weddings deviate from the traditional giftlist/ buy our honeymoon option but every so often you want to get an 'added extra' for the Bride and are a few ideas:
Personalised sketch of wedding venue (unframed), £38, Notonthehighstreet
I love this DIY Bride 'essentials' kit - fill with essentials for the bride to be such as mints, tissues, hairpins!
Download from
Personalised stationery with her 'new' initial adds a personal touch, £34 for 25, Honeytree Publishing

£12, Alphabet Bags

Personalised address stamp, £16, Notonthehighstreet

Monday, 11 June 2012

Make Your Own Cards...

I've always wanted a label embosser and imagine my surprise when I was sent one on my birthday - complete with neon tape! I set to work designing cards for friends - they are great for labelling envelopes for invites.

Blank postcards, £3.50, Tate

Neon tape, £7.99, Amazon

Dymo mini label embosser, £9.74, Amazon

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Dare to wear: Wedged high-tops

Ash hightop trainers, Burberry trench, Cos sweatshirt, River Island skirt, Theyskens' Theory bag

These have been the trainer of choice for off-duty models and stylists for a while now and it's time to decide: can they work for me? I never thought I could incorporate them into my wardrobe as I'm not really a trainer girl but there is a way to dress them up without looking scruffy. I've teamed mine with my favourite pleated skirt from River Island.
The High Street have done great versions, but I think Ash have the best selection out there, I love the new tri-colour style that have just launched. 
£149, Ash at Red Direct
£175, Ash
£189, Ash

Style inspiration: Hedvig from

The original, (in the sale at £215), Isabel Marant at Net A Porter

Best of the rest:
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