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

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

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!

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

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

Thursday, 7 June 2012

*Frugal Purchase*

Remember the desk from Dwell I wanted? Well, it went back out of the sale (grrr) so we started re-looking...
And we found this one instead from for £169 (and when I registered they emailed me a £10 voucher), and I can't wait for it to arrive.

At the moment our study is a bare room with a coat of paint (Dulux's Muted Stone), but as soon as the desk arrives we will start filling it up.

Our inspiration:

Watch this space for developments!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

On Your Bike...

Behind the scenes of a recent photoshoot. Bike from ebay, flowers from Scarlet & Violet
Okay so I borrowed this bike from my sister...though it did inspire me! She bought this from ebay and it is so gorgeous, I can see myself cycling around in a vintage tea-dress, satchel and flowers in the front on my way to a friend's for afternoon tea...
However, now is the time to be SERIOUS and life isn't like it is on Shoreditch High Street. You will also need a helmet, decent bike lock and the correct equipment. And always be prepared for punctures. But this could save you so much money (and help the environment!).
My yearly travel costs £1641.60. A good bike costs roughly £450 and you keep fit. You do the maths.

Best Single Speed Bikes....
£490, Tokyobikes
£445, Bike Republic
£220, Camden Cycles

Urban Outfitters have partnered with 'Create' to sell a range of single speed bikes from June 2012, £340

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Frugal Traveller

See my frugal travel tips in this month's Red Magazine, interviewed by Claire Brayford, out now. I'm so happy with how it turned out, and the styling is fantastic (that is all down to Laura Fantacci, from


Friday, 1 June 2012

NYC: Where To Eat

I just found out I am going back to NYC next week for work, only for a few days, so I am planning my meals very carefully...

New York as a city, can be really daunting. I remember the first time I went my mum and I tried to fit in all the sights in one weekend. Now, after many visits, I think the food (and the right food) plays just as important part in a trip to NYC as anything else. I have had many a wonderful meal here and the vibe in Manhattan, I believe, is like no other city on earth.

Arturo’s Pizza, 106 W. Houston Street
I don't expect everyone's experience here to match my first: we arrived late on a Friday evening, the place was heaving, a Jazz band was playing and we met Matt Dillon (and NO photographic proof, can you believe it?!). But the pizzas are huge (4 can easily share one), the food is cheap and the buzz excellent. Need I say more?

The Cupping Room, 359 West Broadway I love this place for brunch. The portions are huge and keep you full ALL day, I always take the opportunity to order American style French Toast with lots of luscious fruit on the side.

One small portion of French Toast coming up!

Catch, 21 9th Avenue
Great location in Soho (via a small doorway - be careful you don't miss it) and the seafood is delicious. Very relaxed, tapas style food, you can order small sushi or crab linguine dishes without the oppulence of 'seafood dining'. And the truffle fries are delicious! Also, great restaurant which you can guarantee would have an atmosphere on say, a Tuesday evening.

Shake Shack, 691 8th Avenue (but based all over New York)
You know my list wouldn't be complete without a burger restaurant! This is a bit of a cult restaurant (with people queuing to get in - but don't let this put you off, it moves quickly). All burgers are 100% Angus beef, all served medium and they use green and sustainable materials in the building.
Recommended: ShackBurger (American cheese, lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce). ShackBurger and cheesy fries= $8.95

N, 33 Crosby Street
It's actually a Spanish 'n' but I couldn't find the key! I passed by this with my friend a few years and we had to go in - it's so sweet - very narrow with small tables with candles - great to stop by for a pre-dinner drink and they serve Tapas too.

Schiller’s, 131 Rivington Street
This is the place I'd open in London if I could. Very New York, brasserie style food and uber cool dining without the hefty price tag. I love that the wine is listed by price and just labelled 'Cheap', 'Decent' or 'Good'. Try to find out what nights the DJ plays too...

Artichoke Pizza, 114 Tenth Avenue (but there are more locations)
They say you're not a New Yorker if you haven't had this pizza...and I only tried it last month. There is no point even looking at the menu, the Artichike Pizza is incredible, if a little rich...make sure you share it (or order by the slice)!

Balthazar, 80 Spring Street
If you've visited New York but not Balthazar or Pasti's, why not?! Make a reservation and enjoy a taste of New York.

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